Monday, June 20, 2011

A Peacemaking Heart @PMMinistries @christianaudio @caReviewers

During my graduate program, I got to be involved in a research project exploring Muslim-Christian interfaith peacemaking. It included dialogue between evangelical Christians and Muslims from across the country to create a new peacemaking manual. My dissertation was a secondary study on this initial project, too, so I became very familiar with ideas of faith-based peacemaking.

Since that time, I have been very interested in the few faith-based peacemaking programs in existence, particularly those that are of any good quality. Peacemaking Ministries has been one that I have been following for a few years that I have really liked. They offer a variety of paid and free resources, including a weekly email devotional.

Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaking Ministries, wrote Resolving Daily Conflict along with Kevin Johnson. This book provides some very strong peacemaking techniques that are well grounded in both the Bible and peacemaking theory.

The thing that frustrated me in my peacemaking research is that many of the peacemaking suggestions were rather repetitive and separated from actual practice. Sande's work is augmented by his own peacemaking work, which makes it far more credible. However, being familiar with the peacemaking literature, the techniques are not that novel.

There were two elements of this book that I really appreciated. The first was the broad definition of peacemaking. Rather than just looking at traditional violence, Sande and Johnson note how managing daily conflict is actually peacemaking,

The more notable element coincided with one of the conclusions of my dissertation, that peacemaking activity needs to be rooted in the development of a peacemaking heart. What I noted is that virtually all peacemaking literature solely looks at actions. The problem with that is action without real intent will fall flat, hence the relatively ineffectiveness of peacemaking training programs and interventions to revolutionize the world. I proposed that developing more of heart of peacemaking would make the techniques more successful.

Sande and Johnson's work is the first and only text that explains peacemaking strategies that actually explores and encourages developing such a peacemaking heart. They initiated their tome through explaining how peacemaking is central to God's heart, the Christian faith, and Christian living. They emphasized how important it is to be close with God and have our hearts shaped by God in order to be effective peacemakers.

Again, although the actual peacemaking strategies are nothing new, the emphasis on heart and connection to God puts this text far above other resources that I have encountered.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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