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The Practice of Peace in Deeply Divided Times

The Practice of Peace in Deeply Divided Times

July 14, 2017 | These are hard times to talk about peace for those of us who happen to live in the United States. It has always been hard for Americans with a modicum of sensitivity to join in global conversations of peace with those from other North American and global locations given now more common negative perceptions of the US across the globe. American peace activists and rights workers are used to critiques of US government and culture, because we know where we live, the United States, and the reality of all of us tacitly benefiting from the spoils of empire. We are in even more awkward spaces now, both within and outside of country, in the pursuit of peace. Our usual pithy pronouncements are not good enough. We find them flaccid or arid in the face of current national and global circumstances. What is there to do? Read more »

Lunch with the Law

Lunch with the Law

July 13, 2017 | For three hours every Thursday, a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers at a church on the other side of the mountain from my home in western North Carolina. Ten Spanish-speaking women and an equal number of us English speakers share Bible study, exchange language lessons, and enjoy a potluck lunch. At the first meeting I attended in mid-January, we crowded into the kitchen while Carmela gave us a lesson in making mole verde. Beatriz moved among us with a photo album from her daughter Gabriela’s quinceañera, the 15th birthday celebration that is both religious ceremony and party—a very big event in Mexican culture. Laughter and animated conversation were abundant. A week later, the mood was starkly different. The executive order calling for increased raids against undocumented persons had come out of the White House, and North Carolina was among the states targeted in the crackdown. A sense of terror hung in the air. Read more »

The Paradox of Prophetic Hope in a Distressing Time

The Paradox of Prophetic Hope in a Distressing Time

July 3, 2017 | Humans do not manage the Spirit of God. Our challenge, beloved, is to accept that God’s Spirit is free to work in ways we never considered and do not understand. God’s Spirit is free to move where we never imagined movement would be possible. God’s Spirit is free to call people we haven’t considered “religious” to speak and act with prophetic insight and courage. Whenever traditional people like Joshua become set in our ways, count on God’s Spirit to work through other people to do new things for love and justice. Yes, God sent young people, lesbians and gay men, bisexual, transgender, and queer people who have been considered “outside the mainstream” of religious thought and practice to do the love and justice work we see being done in the Black Lives Matter movement and to challenge congregations and larger religious bodies about the intersectionality of oppression in new ways. Yes, God is inspiring more women and girls and men and boys to throw off longstanding notions of male privilege about who should be leaders – in religious efforts and otherwise. God is doing this love and justice in these new ways because the Holy Spirit is free! Read more »

ABC's Creation Justice Network releases statement in support of the Paris Climate Agreement

June 23, 2017 | American Baptist Churches' (ABC) Creation Justice Network released a recent statement standing in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. "I have been encouraged by the responses of cities, states, and businesses around the [United States] who have pledged to maintain the nation's commitment to the Paris Agreement with or without Washington's support," said Rev. Ian Mevorach, a member of the ABC Creation Justice Network Steering Committee. "As people of faith we have an important role to play in shaping public opinion and empowering people to claim our responsibility as stewards of God's creation." You can read the full statement at this link. Read more »

Pan African Peace Network & U.S. Programs

June 12, 2017 | Through BPFNA's Gavel Fund, we have been able to get to know some incredible peacemakers with the Pan African Peace Network (PAPNET)! Here is a message and slideshow from Dan Buttry on some of the peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation work being done by members of PAPNET. Read more »

Will it Hold Water?

June 7, 2017 | Despite our airplanes and smart phones, it seems we’ve not made much improvement in the last few thousand years in creating structures and societies that truly ‘hold water’...making the good gifts of God available in abundance to all God’s children. It doesn’t take much to know that today we are still in a heap of trouble. At BPFNA's 2016 Peace Camp, one presenter asked us, "Raise your hands if you think the system is broken." Hands flew up all around the room. "It’s easy to think that," he said, "if we don’t know our history. No. This system is not broken: it was built this way." Whether we like it or not, the foundation of our country is cracked and leaky. And perhaps some think that doesn’t matter so much as long as we can be happily, obliviously in love with Jesus, but I don’t think so.  Read more »

I Refuse to Give Up

June 6, 2017 | On May 23rd, US President Donald Trump released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. It was no surprise to anyone that this document severely slashed funding for hunger programs at home and abroad. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, described it as an assault on poor and hungry people everywhere. It will, without any doubt, take food out of the mouths of children, elderly people, and disabled people. The administration wants to decrease foreign aid spending by one-third and fold the US Aid to International Development department (USAID) into the State Department. These plans were announced at the same time that we were getting word about four looming (if not outright) famines in Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. United Nations (UN) officials say these famines will result in the largest food crisis since 1945. In the face of these realities, I feel outrage when I realize that my country’s leaders care so little for the most vulnerable people in the US and the world. Read more »

Daring to go where we have not gone before

Daring to go where we have not gone before

May 25, 2017 | For the first time, BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz is daring to go where we have not gone before for our Summer Conference! This is a huge deal for us as an organization! Although since its inception our organization established a firm commitment to represent the voices of North America (Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA and Canada), the structures of power, privilege and economic inequality among the countries we represent have made it extremely difficult to live into this commitment fully. Yet, it is also true that as an organization of loving Christians committed to peace and justice, we have made bold statements in the past. We have committed to non-violent resolution of conflict whereas our governments have chosen the path of war. We have committed to be a welcoming and affirming community to all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We have committed to become the BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz, and bear in our very name our commitment to the inclusion of languages and cultural perspectives different from those based in the USA-English speaking world. We have committed to reimagine a world in which love has the last and loudest voice in the way we come together as the body of Christ. Read more »

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