Evangelicals for Peace in a Country Divided

by Rick Love

I went to Washington DC the week after the Presidential election. As expected, I met a divided DC. One of my friends from the State Department said, “People still come to the office and break down crying.”

I, along with 50 others, were there for the Evangelicals for Peace consultation, “Christians Engaging Global Conflict: ISIS and Syria.”

So what kind of peace did this Evangelical consultation bring to DC?

Congressman James McGovern from Massachusetts kicked off the consultation on Capitol Hill with a stirring, thoughtful message about the challenges of the Syrian conflict. McGovern deftly shifted our attention from the polarized climate within our own country to the unspeakable suffering in Syria.

Next we had two panels of those who were pro-Trump and those who were pro-Clinton. How's that for peacemaking? We not only talked about peace “over there” but actually engaged in peaceful conversations about our differences “over here!”

Later that evening we were honored to have Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals give a keynote address about why Evangelicals should be involved in preventing and ending global conflict. Leith’s message was both encouraging and sobering because of the long-term heart work and hard work necessary to make peace. If I could summarize it in my own words, I would say, "Blessed are the peacemakers who persevere!"

One of the highlights of the second day of the consultation was having Mariela Shaker, a Syrian refugee, share her experiences and then play the violin for us! The elegance of Mariela’s performance lifted our spirits and reminded us that the horror of war did not quench the beauty of God’s image in her life.

We were also encouraged to learn that some of the participants present at the consultation are on the Trump Presidential transition team. They are working alongside other people of faith to address the top global challenges of our time, including the urgent crisis in Iraq and Syria.

We have a long, hard road to bring an end to the conflict in Syria and see healing in that devastated land. But the Evangelicals for Peace consultation reminded me that Republicans and Democrats can work together in constructive, relevant ways. The Prince of Peace can help us transcend our political perspectives for the greater good. I am so encouraged to be part of this diverse and amazing network!

Evangelicals for Peace is a network of 10 Christian organizations dedicated to educating, equipping and mobilizing the body of Christ to advance 1) solutions to violent conflict, 2) foreign and security policies that encourage justice, and 3) peace and reconciliation of global enemies.