OUR VIEW OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF PEACE BUILDING
The current development in the ministry of PBCI is a practical articulation of its Peace Theology—that is, advancing the Gospel of Shalom as personified in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
As we conduct Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Seminar sessions among many Christian groups, we were becoming more aware that the Body of Christ in the Philippines is facing a number of challenges brought about by the influence of the dark side of globalization. Such negative influences include:
:: Extreme Individualism. This is the most emphasized modern cultural value being communicated in the big media, causing the family and community to be disintegrated.
:: Practical Materialism. Many families may be religious during Sunday mornings, but practicing materialists during most of the week, influenced more by commercial advertisements and greed-oriented consumerism than by biblical principles, biblical ethics, and biblical morality.
:: A Culture of Violence and War. A belief system that human conflicts and differences are ultimately resolved by the use of force; thus, justifying personal, domestic, social, and political violence.
:: A Mechanistic View of People. In opposition to the biblical view of people, a mechanistic anthropological view treats humans and the creation as machine-projects rather than living organisms that are also story-subjects. Thus, the family, the church and the community is seen as an organization to be fixed rather than an organism to be healed.
We often hear from many Christian leaders and teachers that our discipleship processes must address the above challenges. It was during these times of community-based theological reflections that we realize how much our shalom-convictions are so needed to help in discipling our nation.
PBCI’s church-resourcing ministry would help address these challenges.
PBCI church-resourcing and peace-building ministries start with Shalom. The Hebrew word shalom basically means, “completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace.” Completeness has the idea of being whole—that is, all the parts are connected with each other. Soundness can be understood also as safety of the body and clarity of mind. Welfare can be viewed as wellness—that is, holistic health and prosperity. Peace can be read as tranquility, contentment, and healthy relationships with God and other human beings, and thus, the absence of any hostility or war. Shalom can be summarized as the quality of life characterized by harmonious relationship with God, with our Being, with Others, and with the Creation. Shalom is a vision of life where spirituality, community, identity, and economy-ecology are harmoniously connected with each other.
PBCI church-resourcing and peace-building ministries are centered on Jesus, who is Shalom personified! Jesus is the Prince of Shalom. Jesus, the Prince of Shalom, is the center of the Good News (euanggelion). From the New Testament perspective, it is absurd to talk about “evangelizing the world” without “peacemaking in the world.” Our understanding of biblical peace is based on the unequivocal declaration that Jesus Christ is the center of life and reality, and that Christ brings the whole creation intact!
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven… (Col. 1:15-23 NIV)
PBCI church-resourcing and peace-building ministries do not separate Jesus and Peace. They both demonstrate and proclaim the Prince of Shalom through actions and words.
PBCI church-resourcing and peace-building ministries would nurture its clientele based on the idea derived from New Testament term, martyría—that is, a disciple is a martyr-witness. This is not about having a messianic complex. This is not about mere adventurism in a place of danger. This is not a search for an extreme religious experience. This has been the discipleship legacy of the Church’s martyr-leaders in the past 2000+ years. This is the kind of discipleship we need in our beautiful, but conflicted, land!
Being martyr-witnesses, first of all, means that we will love all people unconditionally and we will practice selfless love to the point of offering our lives to the people with whom we are called to live and to serve. This is exemplified in the humble life of Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow in response to His sacrificial love.
Secondly, it means that, by God’s grace, we will not lie. As witnesses to the truth we have experienced in Jesus Christ, we will initiate transparent and honest interaction with all the people concerned as we relate with them and as we formulate and implement our ministry policies.
Thirdly, being martyr-witnesses affirm that Justice is an attribute of God. Therefore, our tasks will be implemented in accordance with what is just and equitable among all people concerned.
Fourthly, it means practicing genuine forgiveness. Using the energies available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will absorb the violence committed against us so that our lives may be used as servants to stop the cycle of violence within us and around us.
Finally, it means incarnating God’s peace in our lives. We will seek harmony and reconciliation with the Creator, with our Being, with Others, and with the Creation. We believe in solving problems through non-violence. By God’s grace and mercy, we will not use weapons to hurt or to kill people as a means to accomplish our dreams, mission, and objectives.
PBCI church-resourcing and peace-building ministries emphasize shalom-transformation that leads to holistic harmonious living.