The Measure of a Place

The Measure of a Place  by Chip Zimmer, Director of International MinistriesI was 21 years old and a recent college graduate when I traveled outside North America for the first time.  In August 1970 I flew to Nepal, where I would spend two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. My introduction to Nepalese culture had begun two months earlier during training in Davis, California, but it wasn’t until we were on our final approach into Tribhuvan Airport that I appreciated how different Nepal was from anything I’d experienced before.  There, outside my window and a few hundred feet below, stood Bodnath, one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in the Kathmandu valley.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the domed temple, with its superstructure of painted eyes, prayer flags, and golden crown.  This definitely was not Kansas. I’ve often found that my most intense memories of a place are linked to sights, sounds, or smells.  As vivid as these are, however, such physical stimuli can be misleading.  They may tell me that a place is different, but it is not until I have been granted access into the lives of people who live there that I form an appreciation for a culture’s fundamental shape, and for how its values align with or are at odds with my own or with God’s. My friend Ted Kober discovered this on his first visit to India several years ago.  Ted had been invited by church leaders to teach peacemaking in the southern part of the country.  After one of the presentations, a pastor raised his hand to ask a question that went...

The Dangers of “Good” Advocacy

The Dangers of “Good” Advocacy  This article originally appeared in the Spring 1990 issue of the Christian Legal Society’s Quarterly publication.by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries When can doing a good job actually hurt your client? A call to conscientious representation and reconciliation.A few months ago, I was asked to arbitrate a sizable contract dispute. Although the facts and the law were clearly in the defendant’s favor, the plaintiff’s attorney did a masterful job advocating his client’s position. A few hours’ testimony stretched into three long days, and for a while even I was beginning to wonder whether the plaintiff had been treated unfairly. By the time both sides rested their cases, however, it was clear to me that the plaintiff had breached the contract and that the defendant’s subsequent actions were justified, both legally and morally. I knew that my decision would probably destroy the plaintiff’s last hope of salvaging his business, and I felt badly when I denied his claim. What disturbed me even more, however, was the realization that this young man had been deluded by his own attorney. No, the attorney did nothing that should be reported to a commission on practice. In fact, his performance was superb by worldly standards. From a biblical view, however, it left much to be desired. A Decade of Blindfold Advocacy The trouble with this attorney, from my perspective, was that he was too effective when it came to advocating his client’s case. Hour after hour, he drew attention to every fact that appeared to justify his client’s conduct or condemn the defendant’s actions. At the same time,...

The Cross and Criticism

The Cross and CriticismThis article originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of The Journal of Biblical Counseling, (Vol. 17, No. 3) and is reprinted by permission. It is also available in booklet form.by Dr. Alfred J. Poirier, former Chairman of the Board of Directors for Peacemaker Ministries Culture of Peace Booklets Short and easy-to-read booklets provide “bite-sized morsels” on topics related to biblical peacemaking—perfect for giving away to friends and family members! $1.75/ea more info On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its crew embarked on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. The most outstanding objective of the Challenger 51-L mission was the delivery of educational lessons from space by teacher Christa McAuliffe. A lesson was, indeed, delivered, but not one which anyone expected.Just 75 seconds after liftoff, tragedy struck. Before a watching world the shuttle suddenly erupted overhead, disintegrating the cabin along with its crew. The debris of metal, blood and bones plummeted to earth, along with our nation’s glory. What had gone wrong? That was the pressing question everyone asked. As teams of researchers examined the wreckage, the specific cause was soon found. The problem was with the O-rings (circular rubber seals), which had been designed to fit snugly into the joints of the booster engine sections. Evidently, the O-rings had become defective under adverse conditions, and the resulting mechanical failure led to the tragedy. Was that the whole story? The truth eventually got out. The New York Times put it frankly: the ultimate cause of the space shuttle disaster was pride. A group of top managers failed to...

Protecting Ourselves is The Most Dangerous Course of Action

Protecting Ourselves is The Most Dangerous Course of Action  by the Rev. Eric FoleyIf Koreans follow the recent example of how the Amish responded to a shooting tragedy, we can change Americans’ opinions of Koreans. Mrs. Foley and I met last month in Korea with our good friend, Elder Chun, one of the leaders of the Holy Club movement. He told us that he would be leading an April meeting of 100 Korean church pastors and leaders in Las Vegas to answer the question, “How can Korean people overcome the negative opinion that many Americans have of Koreans in the United States?” That question has become even more important this week now that the news media has revealed that the gunman responsible for the largest shooting in modern American history was a Korean immigrant. Here are some of the comments Americans made to newspapers around the country after they discovered the ethnic identity of the shooter:  “As in 9/11, another immigrant allowed into this country to kill Americans. I’ll bet he received a U.S. government grant to pay his tuition; and he senselessly killed 32 of our own children.” “Anybody who eats dogs is highly suspect.” “No Asian immigration and this tragic incident would not have occurred.” These comments certainly do not reflect the feelings of most Americans; however, another American point of view was shared much more frequently in USA Today and other newspapers. In response to articles that reported a South Korean official’s comments that South Korea hoped the tragedy would not “stir up racial prejudice or confrontation,” and in response to the news that South Korean...

Portrait of a Peacemaker

Portrait of a Peacemakerby Jim Soft, Board Member for Peacemaker Ministries The Peacemaker In this foundational peacemaking resource, Ken Sande describes the powerful biblical principles you can use to resolve conflict. Download Chapter 1 for FREE! $13.95 more info One of the most profound and rare eulogies in all the Bible is ascribed to Barnabas: “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). That passage continues, “And a great number of people were brought to the Lord …,” no doubt in part because of Barnabas’ encouragement and peacemaking mission. Romans 5:1 clearly teaches that when a man has been justified by faith, he will have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the primary goal of the Christian peacemaker is to point men who are in conflict to the Savior.Barnabas successfully resolved tensions and conflicts on four different levels: (1) between an individual and a group (Acts 9:20-31), (2) between two “races” of people (Acts 11:19-26), (3) between two churches, Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 15:1-35), and (4) between two individuals, Paul and John Mark (Acts 13:13, 15:36-40; 2 Tim. 4:11). Any man used by God to resolve conflicts between groups, nations, churches, and individuals is obviously a man whose character is worth emulating. F. F. Bruce says of this unique and good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and faith, “According to Luke, it was Barnabas whose good offices (character) brought Paul and the leaders of Jerusalem together. Although Paul says nothing of this it is antecedently probable that someone acted as mediator, and all that we know of Barnabas...