I am a catalyst for change in my community.
One of my favorite clichés in the world happens every year at the Miss America pageant. Beautiful women walk up to the microphone and declare that what they want most is world peace. And we cheer, not because they have spoken from the heart about what they deeply believe or because they have expressed profound depth of character, but because they have said the most acceptable statement of belief in our world: I want world peace.
I am not so callous as to believe that these women are lying or insincere. I think we really do long for world peace. We all long for an end to conflict and war. There is universal acceptance of this.
Today’s conflict is on how we make peace.
Rome demanded peace through dominance and submission. Many of our leaders like that idea, too.
But there are other ideas…
The apostle Paul led communities of profound gender equality.
Gandhi led a peace revolution of self-determination and liberation.
Martin Luther King, Jr. shared Jesus’s vision for a radical equality among all of the people of earth.
Where there are workers for peace, there are also workers for justice, equality, tolerance, and love.
I think there are too many pragmatists; too many people that think peace is impossible or “unrealistic”. This is not only acceptance of the status quo, but a vote of confidence for war and conflict and evil. For all of us recognize the ugliness, but few of us stand against it. Few speak up in defense of the powerless, the misunderstood, the judged, and the dismissed. Few speak on behalf of justice against oppression or on behalf of love against hate or on behalf of mercy against vengeance. Few speak of anything meaningful at all.
So beautiful people say they want world peace and we smile and cheer and believe that it is a noble goal.
Jesus tells us it is an attainable goal.
We are catalysts for change in our communities.
I am currently an Episcopal Priest-in-Charge of St. Paul’s in St. Clair Michigan, a parish in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. I have also served congregations in Atlanta and Western Michigan. After completing seminary in 2007, I have become increasingly interested in alternative worship and emergent church and am searching for a way to help reorient the institutional church to its new foundation.