My last blog talked about restarting BridgeBuilders. This has been a weird time for me. I sense at times God’s prodding to journey a bit down a road I thought had been long abandoned. To be honest, however, I’m a bit reluctant to open all this up again in this season of my journey. In response to that blog posting, a lady I know sent me the following email.
Just finished listening to your latest podcast about the “revival” of Bridge Builders, and I am so grateful that God is giving you platforms to share a peacemaker’s message. My heart has been heavy for so long watching the way we are tearing one another apart. Knowing how afraid we all are (and have been, probably since 9-11), it is understandable that our “fight-or-flight” system stays triggered all the time. We no longer use our prefrontal cortex, spiraling downward into animalistic, survival behaviors. Everyone who is different from us–or thinks differently–is the “enemy”, which must be destroyed.
Someone has to speak a calming message; Someone has to get us to take a collective breath; Someone has to tell us there is a better way.
I know you have just reached that “now-I-get-to-rest” milestone of turning 65 (belated happy birthday!), and it would be completely understandable if you chose to walk away from the doors which seem to be opening, inviting you to step in. But, thank you for being willing to press on a little longer. Thank you for being willing to be the peacemaker our world so desperately needs right now. I am praying that God will give you great strength and wisdom, and will give you a “megaphone” to speak Shalom to us all.
Honestly, this touched me deeply me when I read it and yet I heard the breath of the Spirit in it as well. At the time I got it I was in Dallas to see if God was bringing together a team to write a book about peacemaking across the significant differences that divide our culture. (See picture above and video below.) So the timing wasn’t lost on me, and I shared it with the team knowing this was also for them. We don’t need Someone speaking a calming message, but many someones! I have also been amazed by the number of people I heard from who want to learn this as well and be a voice in their own community. I may have to do a retreat some day to help others carry this passion as well. Jesus did give us the ministry of reconciliation after all.
I’ve spent the day today in another city in Texas to help a university deal with an issue that is dividing their community. I’m amazed at how easy it is to slide into this part of my life again. It’s really weird. Because when I look from a distance all this seems overwhelming. When I actually sit down with people I have a clarity of sight that gets some wonderful responses, and I come away with new insights I’d never contemplated before. The pathway is uncertain, but my Companion on it is not. And your prayers and encouragement do comfort and inspire me.
Now, back to the book. I’m pretty sure all three of us who came together in Dallas were blown away by our time these past three days. Our hearts were in sync and the lessons God has taught each of us in our journeys are so similar, even though our circumstances have been so different. We found ourselves making points for each other as if we’d been through all of this before. Weird. I was with Bob Prater and Arnita Taylor, both of whom have some incredible stories of God’s work in their lives and carry a passion for encouraging people to reach across their comfort zones to speak words of peace in the earth. The project we outlined went far better than I could have hoped. This seems to have the breath of his Spirit upon it. Though, of course, that remains to be seen.
I know a lot of people can’t imagine how you bring three people together and start to write a book, so here’s small sample to give you the flavor of our time together:
Now t I start my flight home. My first flight is already late, but fortunately I have lots of space before my second flight out of DFW.