At the end of last year’s Setting our Stories Straight series, I teased out what I called a ‘Summary of Affirmations’. This was particularly helpful framing for me since that series was so much about criticizing Modern Christian narratives: After writing so much about what I don’t believe is authentic Christian teaching, it was nice to return to a more positive approach as the series ended. While the Pathways of Peace series that just wrapped up was on the whole much more positive in its orientation, I thought a similar exercise would be helpful here too.
So, without further ado, here are some theological affirmations that have emerged from this series:
- As Christians, we have been entrusted with what Paul called “a ministry of reconciliation.” This means that reconciliation — the healing of fractured relationships of all kinds, including and especially among the world’s peoples — is a legitimate and central part of Christian life.
- Domination is antithetical to the spirit of the Gospel, in any and every sphere of life. As Christians, we must constantly examine ourselves and our beliefs and repent of any places where the ways of domination have crept int our hearts and minds.
- The Bible’s ideas of justice and righteousness are about the presence of healed and whole, life-giving, and reciprocal relationships in which all parties live out their responsibilities to the others. The Scriptures call this original and desired state ‘peace’, or Shalom.
- God’s promises of peace extend beyond humanity to include all of Creation.
- Similarly, the Bible’s understanding of faith is inherently relational and responsible: It involves living in such a way that promotes, creates, sustains, and renews these relationships of peace.
- Faithful relationships bear good fruit for all parties involved.
- Humility involves:
- properly understanding our relationships to one another and before God
- following the example of Jesus, who willingly set aside divine privilege to bless the world.
- understanding the limitations of our knowledge and beliefs and being willing to be surprised and have our ideas about the world overturned.
- Every one of us has a role to play in the world. It is up to each of us to discern that role, within our communities, and live it out for the life of the world.
- All of these things are embodied in story, in ceremony, and in visions and dreams, which are all tools that create a paradigm for all of life.