Read an excerpt from Michael Battle's book

- Practicing Reconciliation

Where do I find God in this world of tragedy and pain?

This is a world of tragedy and pain. It is also a world of joy and fulfillment. It is my conviction that God is present to us in both worlds.

The Way to Peace

a short interview with Michael Battle, author of Practicing Reconciliation in a Violent World

Michael BattleIs it really possible for us to live in peace?
The possibility lies within perception, and perception is learned. So, in short, we must learn to see peace as a necessary reality. Inevitably, because of increasing human capacity to destroy the planet, we will learn to live peaceably with others.

How can I love my enemy when my enemy only wishes me harm?
The paradox here is that the same person who proves to be our enemy can also be our friend. In other words, there is no such thing as a pure enemy—there is more of a continuum between friendship and enmity in all of us. So, just as it is easy to love those who love us, we must enter the fray and seek to shape the continuum always toward friendship. This is what Jesus means by discipleship. No one can force friendship (not even Jesus). We all have the capacity for betrayal and hatred. Jesus, however, always entered relationships with the disciples as a catalyst to move toward love rather than hatred.

Why are other people important to my personal relationship with God?
Great question! No one can be a Christian alone . . . just like God is not God alone. We depend on others for our salvation, and the greatest other is God. And the reason God is not God alone is because Christians believe that God is three persons in one nature.

Does reconciliation mean that I can't stand up for what I believe?
Reconciliation demands such assertion. You see, to be reconciled demands that the broken bone be set. The pain in doing so makes us all conscious. This means that cheap grace and false piety get in the way and act as gangrene in healing and true reconciliation.

What is the first step toward reconciling myself with others?
For the Christian, the first step is belief in God in Christ—without belief in God in Christ (the one who is really capable of forgiveness), reconciliation is unachievable and unintelligible. Jesus constantly taught first to love God, and by so doing, we will eventually love others.

What does heaven have to do with the mess here on earth?
Without a perspective of transcendent life (the community of saints), we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die. Heaven is a necessary corrective to such nearsightedness. As many of us know, heaven has gotten a bad rap because Freud and Marx have rightly criticized many so called Christians who said they believed in heaven when all along they were worshipping themselves in delusion. But we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Human beings naturally imprint upon reality (like baby ducklings need the mother duck to know how to be a duck). We need heaven in order to know how to live on earth.

Copyright ©2006

Practicing Reconciliation in a Violent World by Michael Battle
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