From the publisher:
Welcome to the visualization of a dream: for Mennonite Church USA to share Christ's call to peace and justice with people who are uncertain or even leery of it, and to do so with the 21st century's medium of choice.
The goal of the articles, commentary, comics and posters contained in PeaceSigns is to invite people to explore Christian peacemaking. We will meet our objective if peace folk forward e-zine articles to their quizzical friends, who then subscribe; if web surfers find us and stay with us; if pastors who wonder how to preach peace to their congregations draw fresh inspiration here.
So, please take a minute to let us know <http://peace.mennolink.org/emailsusan.html> if you think this prototype issue is helpful and invitational to people who aren't quite sure whether peacemaking is Christian. We'll refine the prototype during January and prepare to release the first issue of PeaceSigns in March. You may invite your friends, church members and family to sign up on the Peace and Justice Support Network website <http://peace.mennolink.org/peacesigns> so they don't miss an issue.
Thanks for your support as we explore this new mission and medium. Christ's message is undeniably exciting and inviting. Please pray that we do it justice!
-Susan Mark Landis, peace advocate for the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board
[The Peace and Justice Support Network is a ministry of the Mission Network <http://www.mennonitemission.net> and the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA. <http://www.mennoniteusa.org>]
by Merrill R. Miller
"Otterville" is copyrighted and is not to be reproduced in any form without permission. Contact Merrill Miller at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Personal security. Airport security. Homeland security. National security. Global security. Security concerns seem to dominate daily life, especially since Sept. 11, 2001. Many of us are now more careful about where and how we travel, and we pay closer attention to our surroundings when we are in public. Nationally, we have seen striking changes in U.S. policy and practice.<read more>
How do we impact society for Christ and his kingdom? How do we help people understand a "third way" to choose and behave? How do we share and promote the rule of God now? How do we work to break the cycle of violence?<read more>
Seeds of the reign of God
by Carol Rose
Jesus announced the reign of God. Directly and in parables, Jesus taught that the reign of God is present and coming, growing as from a tiny seed and worth giving everything for. In action, Jesus and the community of followers lived into the reign of God. Healing, redemptive relationships among members of groups that were alienated from each other, good news preached to the poor-these were and are signs of the reign of God breaking in.<read more>
I sense two agendas competing for the attention of socially concerned Christians. There is an official agenda when we meet: the Iraq war, abortion, immigration reform. Then there's the unofficial agenda. It comes up after the closing prayer but before people slip out the door-when those gathered talk about what's really on their minds: the 2004 presidential election.<read more>
"Keep on loving each other as sisters and brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Paul's words in Hebrews 13:1-2 took on new meaning for me in 1975, in Saigon. It was only a few months after the war's end, and I had befriended a young North Vietnamese soldier.<read more>
In the fall of 2002, members of a study group at First Mennonite Church in Reedley, Calif. <http://firstmennonitereedley.ca.us.mennonite.net>, realized they had "stepped over the line" that separates active and passive involvement in social issues. The group's study of James Juhnke's The Missing Peace <http://www.mennolink.org/books/jamescjuhnke.html> and Walter Wink's The Powers That Be <http://www.walterwink.com> convinced them that Jesus' opposition to oppression was not passive, but active.<read more>
Being peaceful and just must not only pertain directly to people. We can also do justice by minimizing our impact on air and water, plants and animals. Something as simple as household cleaning is a good start.<read more>
Earth: It's our home
by Merrill R. Miller
This is the first of a set of four posters. Come back next issue for a new one! Follow the link below to download this 416K Acrobat file. (Acrobat Reader required to view)
Lao people learn that if someone does something to you, you are supposed to fight back. But we learned with Second Mile that there is something different [than that] in the teaching of Jesus and in Mennonite peace theology. -Kuaying Teng, co-pastor, Lao Christian Fellowship, St. Catharines, Ont.<read more>
Peace is a journey that follows many roads, a journey we take both individually and collectively. For those who want to help move their local congregation further down its own road toward peace, Second Mile can be an important resource.
Follow the link below to download Alfredo's inspirational poster.
"A Candle-Light is a protest at midnight. It is a non-conformist. It says to the darkness, 'I beg to differ.'" - Samuel Rayan, India
(141K Acrobat file, Adobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing)
God calls us to action-and that action arises from our worship, where we come to understand that God calls us to both charity and justice:
Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land." Deut. 15:11, NRSV
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:23-24, NRSV
This month, we invite you and your congregation to respond to the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic. "Generations at Risk" <http://www.mcc.org/aids/index.html> is a 10-year, multi-million dollar initiative of Mennonite Central Committee. The resources found on this site will help you balance your acts of compassion with your acts of justice seeking.
Other things you can do:
Write your legislators, with help from Third Way Café <http://www.thirdway.com/wv/article.asp?ID=307>.
Use special resources from "Generations at Risk" <http://www.mcc.org/aids/resources/index.html> to ground your action in worship and the Word.
Share your thoughts! Send your brief reactions to an article along with your name and location, using our online form at: <http://peace.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/m.pl?p=r>. We'll excerpt letters for our next issue.