Thursday, April 30, 2015

living without enemies

I recently finished the book Living without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence, written by Marcia A. Owen and Samuel Wells.  

In the recent rash of gun violence in Waterloo, and on the heels of both peaceful and violent protests across the country, this has been a timely read.  

"With senseless violence occurring throughout society, people are suffering and communities are groaning.  Fear and not knowing where to begin hold many back from doing anything.  But is "doing something" really what is most needed?

Marcia Owen and Samuel Wells tell the story of a community's journey into deeper dimensions of social engagement.  Through prayer vigils for local victims of gun violence and friendships with both victims and offenders, Owen learned that presence was precisely the opposite of violence- it was love.  Living without Enemies offers profound insights into what it takes to overcome powerlessness, transcend fear and engage in radical acceptance in our dangerous world."  

I found this a beautiful and challenging narrative of a mom who moved toward the violence in her community and discovered a love that transcends fear and death.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

youth art team prepares for urban gallery installation

The Youth Art Team began a spring Urban Gallery project yesterday with a trip to Des Moines to learn about Public Art!

Thanks to David for giving his Saturday to lead us through the Historical Museum and help us to consider aspects of creating public art for our community.

The team stood in front of CARE, a trash receptacle that shares a message with the 6th Ave. Corridor Neighborhood.

An artist in the 6th Ave. Corridor Neighborhood encouraged the Youth Art Team to keep lifting their voices and sharing their ideas with our community.

We came home from Des Moines and met today for our first big learning and planning session.  Thanks to the Behrends Family for making team snacks and decorating them with awesome Scripture and pictures!

Heidi reminded the team what an urban gallery installation is all about.

Waterloo Historians, Bob Neymeyer and Annette Freeseman, led a tour through downtown Waterloo, sharing many interesting stories and pictures from the past.

After the downtown tour, four lifetime residents shared about their memories of Downtown.  They talked of going to the movies, shopping, and what life was like before cell phones.  They also spoke of the power of love to overcome adversity in life, how love can change even the hardest of hearts, and how love can overcome segregation and bring people together.  

Students recapped the day through sketches, lists, and sharing what stories and details had stuck with them from the tour and interviews.  
Our guests joined us in our closing prayer circle and Youth Art Team cheer.

Can't wait to see what God will inspire and create through this team, as they bring a message of hope and beauty to Downtown Waterloo.  Praying that it all points to the one who redeems and reconciles all things- Jesus!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

dietrich bonhoeffer

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's death at the hand of the Nazis.  I read the book Bonhoeffer a few years back, and his life so emboldened me.  Disciple of Jesus, Prophet, Friend.  His life in the Kingdom of God was so compelling!  Some of my favorite quotes of his...

Peacemakers will bear the cross with their Lord, for peace was made at the cross.

We pray for big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.

Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.  not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.

You can only learn obedience by obeying.

The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one's life to a larger goal.

There can only be a community of peace when it does not rest on lies and injustice.

Jesus calls men, not to a new religion, but to life.

The church is the church only when it exists for others.

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.

Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God.

May God in his mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may he lead us to himself.