For more than a decade, we have been working together with Muslim leaders towards peace and reconciliation in our land. We mutually respect each others’ theological differences. We approach peacebuilding from each other’s faith-perspective. And yet, we find so many common grounds to work together for justice-based peace.
Here is our peace and reconciliation perspectives from a biblical point of view:
PAR is PEACE AND RECONCILIATION.
PAR is the heart of our ministry.
PEACE. The concept of peace — from the Hebrew term shalom and the Arabic term salaam — is understood here as:
- Harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation);
- Harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation);
- Harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and,
- Harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).
RECONCILIATION. This is focused on building relationships between antagonists. The primary goal is to seek innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace
- the painful past and
- the necessary shared future as a means of dealing with
- the present.
PAR MOVEMENT. Through the eyes of faith, we envision a PAR Movement based on salaam-shalom. We see our land enjoying a God-initiated wave towards a taste of salaam-globalization. We see various peoples’ initiatives toward making our land and people harmonious in all their relationships. We see our local communities influenced by a culture of peace.
This PAR Movement starts with a nationwide education, organization, and mobilization plan.
1. We discern a PAR Leader in every province who practice a set of ethical leadership behavior. PAR Leaders are respected women- and men-of-peace. This principle is derived from Jesus’ instruction to the seventy people he sent out: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” (Luke 10:5-7 NIV)
A person of peace must be discerned and would have the following characteristics:
- Prioritizes salaam-oriented values in her or his life. Righteousness, justice, peace, and mercy are very important to this person.
- Earns the respect of people. This person’s family and community regard him or her as trustworthy.
- Accepts and welcomes strangers. This person is hospitable.
- Cares about your safety and security. This person becomes your protector.
- Expands your connections to a network of key leaders. This person serves as your ‘public relations officer’.
This person of peace must also be discerned communally. The discernment process will be done in consultation with the leaders of each province’s civil society organizations, religious groups, political fronts, business organizations, and government agencies. PAR Leaders are respected women- and men-of-peace who are actively modelling a person who demonstrates
- a heart of a servant;
- a soul of a teacher;
- a mind of a manager; and,
- the strength of a leader.
2. We facilitate the organization of PAR Communities in every province under the leadership of the PAR Leader. These PAR Communities are groups of community leaders—church leaders, local government leaders, civil society organization leaders, academic leaders, business leaders, or any mix of these—
- who have expressed interest to have a working relationship with us as a consulting and training team focused on Peace and Reconciliation;
- who have made a commitment to embrace Peace Theology;
- who have invited us to teach them our PAR Seminar Series;
- who have a vision to work with us in developing a PAR Program needed in their area; and,
- who have organized themselves as a catalyst group to organize PAR Teams in their particular province.
3. We help organize PAR Teams. PAR Teams are composed of local volunteers from various communities who are trained for 8 months to be on-going, rapidly-mobilized teams who will implement their PAR Communities’ programs. The general objectives of PAR Teams are:
- to promote peace and reconciliation in our land by giving skilled, courageous support to communities experiencing various conflicts
- to inspire various parties-in-conflict to discard violence in favor of nonviolent action as a means of settling differences
- to provide various communities with first-hand information and resources for responding to situations of conflict, and to urge their active involvement
- to interpret a nonviolent perspective to the media and to our nation as a whole
4. We facilitate the development of PAR Programs. PAR Programs are peace-building action plans that are discerned by the PAR Communities as they get immersed in the challenges and opportunities in their local contexts. These programs include:
- Inclusive Development Training
- Community Organization
- Peace Education
- Armed Conflict Area Survival Training
- Fact-Finding Missions
- Conflict Transformation
- Disaster Preparedness
- Trauma Healing
- Inter-Faith Dialogue
- Cross-Cultural Communications
- Fair Trade Initiatives
God willing, the PAR Communities in all the provinces of the Philippines would advance as a Peace and Reconciliation Movement with an integrated framework for peace-building, who are organized in partnership with various parts of the People of God, who are mobilized to do ministries of justice and peace in the name of Jesus, and who will lovingly serve all the peoples of our land unconditionally regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political ideology, to the end that our land will experience holistic, radical transformation!
Because we see through the eyes of faith, we see a higher reality. We see so much hope! And we are motivated to work with love and joy to help transform our land and people towards justice and peace!
PeaceBuilders Community, Inc.
01 January 2011