Wars, both past and present, have employed it, or at least convened to discuss it. The ‘it’ I’m referring to is a ceasefire. I’d like to propose, to all who are currently ‘firing,’ that we engage in a 24-hour ceasefire. The ‘firing’ I’m thinking of is the unusual word, ‘polemic,’ which the dictionary defines as: an aggressive attack on the opinions and principles of another, warlike, hostile. So, a whole day of no poisonous Op Eds, no blistering political cartoons, no hate speech, no use of social media to try to destroy another, no insidious, hotly roiling articles geared to stir up dissension, and no in-person diatribes against a non-present party. This could trickle down (please, God!) to family relationships, no husband-wife screaming fits, no parent-child or child-parent destructive behaviors, no schoolground bullying/fighting, no road rage. Just twenty-four hours! The earth might just shift on its axis! Maybe the silence would be deafening! Maybe love would have an opportunity to slip through the cracks, through the noise pollution and begin its healing work. (This is what we dreamers hope for, you know.)

In our current, ongoing state we may have forgotten that a different way of relating is even an option. Dr. Luke Bretherton, Professor of Moral and Political Theology at Duke University, says:

When I meet someone with whom I disagree, whom I dislike, or whom I find threatening, I can do one of four things. I can kill them, I can create a structure of coercion so I can control them, or I can make life so difficult that they run away. Or I can do politics. That is to say, I can form, norm, and sustain some kind of common life amid asymmetries of power, competing visions of the good, and my own feelings of aversion or fear without killing, coercing, or causing them to flee.”

The result of widespread societal animosity is crushing despair, chronic overwhelm, stress-related malaises for which there is no effective treatment, and soaring suicide rates. It’s as if we live in a perpetual state of verbal warfare. No structure feels solid enough to provide adequate shelter from the barrage of ‘information.’ But there is one! It’s the Kingdom of God – eternal, unchanging, peaceable, joyful, sufficient. Enter the Church, God’s chosen ones. We are Kingdom Ambassadors, agents of the King, Peace forth-tellers. Even in 2024.

Our mission, since we’ve already been commissioned (cf. Matthew 28), is to be building community, enriching it, encouraging it, sustaining it, and that, to the farthest places on earth. And not just for a day, but until Jesus returns. It seems to me this calls for some audacious believers. Y’all look like primed recruits to me. See you tomorrow – 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM.  PD

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