(image taken from vox.com)
This is part of a book blogging project for Scot McKnight‘s book, One.Life. In this blogging project, various contributors will be looking at each chapter of the book as McKnight unfolds his answer to the question, “What is a Christian?” I believe that what McKnight has to say will challenge each of us in different ways on how we view what it means to follow Jesus and how we help children and families understand that. Please interact with what is written here in the comments section below. Also, I encourage you to pick up One.Life and read along with us adding your thoughts and impressions as well.
The review for chapter 6 is submitted by Jesse Smith. Jesse helps just over 100 volunteers partner with parents to raise spiritual champions in a northwest suburb (can you have farmland in a suburb?) of Chicago. In 2008, he answered the call to move from the DC metro area and serve as the children’s pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Wauconda. He and his wife of 19 years are raising two boys (8 and 5) who are eating all the food that comes near the house. Jesse is in the final weeks (June, come quickly) of seeking a Master’s degree in Children & Family Ministry from Bethel Seminary. His passion is to see fathers encouraging one another and engaged in the life of their children and writes about this at Orange Dads. You can find Jesse on Facebook, Twitter, and lurking around the net in various other places.
Chapter 6: Peace.Life
We are of Peace.
For those of you not familiar with that line, it’s the ‘tag line’ of the Visitors in the remake of V. The Visitors are aliens that have come to eat or some other way destroy humanity, but first they want us
to fall prey to their lie—they’re peaceful.
That was the first thing I thought about when asked to review chapter 6 of Scot McKnight’s new book. Chapter 6 is called Peace.Life. My second thought was more Miss America-like: World Peace. I think we can spend a lot of time and debate on how to achieve, or if we can even achieve, World Peace—or any kind of peace. So I wondered how I would be able to relate this chapter to ministering to children—is peace within their grasp?
McKnight quickly changed my focus. Within the first few paragraphs he points out that the first thing we need to recover about peace is that “peace is a result, not a goal.” Hmmm… Peace is what happens after years of a good relationship. His example was great: Instead of focusing on having a good marriage (or a peaceful marriage), a couple that focuses on loving one another will have a marriage of peace. Peace is not the goal in marriage or society, love is.
Wow. That’ll preach.
It got me to thinking I need to teach children how to get along, how to love one another—that’ll bring peace. Then McKnight tosses in another thought: “It is well with my soul.” Sure, serenity is a nice thing to have, but did Jesus call us to have a life of inner peace? Or are we called to ‘kingdom peace’? Can we even have inner peace without the other?
Can you have peace when the poor have no food?
Can we have peace when people are being sold for sex?
Our tendency is to reduce the idea of peace to an inner quality – but when Jesus used the word, was he thinking about something bigger?
McKnight has some great insight, and his writing kept me reading. I don’t want to spoil the whole chapter, but I want to make sure you know the entrée. I’ll share two final snippits: one that disgusted me and one that you need to ask yourself.
First, here’s the ugly… According to an ’89 Gallup poll, 11% of Catholics and nonevangelical Christians objected to having Black neighbors.
Then I read on. The numbers rise: 16% of mainline protestants, 17% of Baptist and evangelicals, and 20% of Southern Baptist.
Is that peace?
I’ll close with a few more questions, ones that he’s written:
- What is the reputation of your community of faith in the larger community?
- Do the poor seek out your church?
- Do the wounded?
- Do the needy?
This is a great chapter for thinking through questions and answers about what we’ll teach the next generation as well as what we will do today.
Be sure to check out the rest of this book blogging project:
- March 28 – Chapter 1: One.Life – Doug Olson
- March 29 – Chapter 2: Kingdom.Life – Eli Suddarth
- March 30 – Chapter 3: Imagined.Life – Dan Scott
- March 31 – Chapter 4: Love.Life – Emily Mullens
- April 1 – Chapter 5: Justice.Life – Noel Walker
- April 2 – Chapter 6: Peace.Life – Jesse Smith
- April 3 – Chapter 7: Wisdom.Life – Jared Massey
- April 4 – Chapter 8: Church.Life – Tim Shiels
- April 5 – Chpater 9: Committed.Life – Chris Lema
- April 6 – Chapter 10: Sex.Life – Henry Zonio
- April 7 – Chpater 11: Vocation.Life – Helen Lee
- April 8 – Chapter 12: Eternity.Life – Christiaan VandenHuevel
- April 9 – Chapter 13: God.Is.Love.Life – Henry Zonio
- April 10 – Chapter 14: Cross.Life.Ressurection.Life – Barbara Graves