Student Op-Ed: Restoring Sanity and Preaching Peace

About a month ago, one of my favorite college professors emailed me a question to this effect:
“Are you crazy enough to get on a rally bus and to go to D.C. for the Rally to Restore Sanity?

My reply to her?

“Why, yes I am!”

And so began our 24-hour adventure. Becky and I left at 3:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning, along with about 50 other rally-goers. By 6 p.m. that night, we were back on the bus barreling toward Durham (very tired because restoring sanity, as you may imagine, can be very tiring). But for at least the eight hours we were in D.C., we listened and talked and laughed and looked…and looked…and looked.

Everywhere we looked, there was a new sign with a new message.  Unfortunately, not all the signs were respectful — an important theme the Rally to Restore Sanity had advertised. But the signs that were thoughtful were also quite powerful and reminded me why I was glad that I went to the rally.

Here are a few:

  • “Even my sign chooses not to yell.”
  • “Santa Spreads the Wealth.”
  • “Hate Fear. Fear Hate.”
  • “Let’s Stop Arguing. They’re Both Awesome.” (with a photo of Prince and Michael Jackson)
  • “I understand your stance, and while I disagree, I’m pretty sure you’re not a Nazi.”
  • “Stop Americans from stealing our jobs.”
  • “#1 Threat to America: Gay, Mexican, Muslim Bears.”
  • “My opinions change with new information.”
  • “Fear Bedbugs.”

After the dust from the mid-term elections has settled, I don’t know if you are cheering or grumbling. But wherever you place yourself on the political spectrum, the need remains for reasonable, respectful conversations. And for Christians, this is not just a need. Our calling to engage one another across lines of division goes beyond merely having good manners.

As Costa Rican theologian Ruth Padilla Deborst said in this video below, we are called to embody, make, and preach peace.

Ruth Padilla Deborst: Bible Exposition of Ephesians 2

And what does that look like, again?

Deborst reminds us:  “Are we aware that the most powerful testimony of God’s love to the world are the reconciled relations between us regardless of our background?… When our families, neighbors, colleagues, communities look at our local congregation, are they struck by the loving and just relationships between the members? Will we commit to living out the calling to follow Jesus and his reconciling mission of being, making and boldly preaching peace?”


Christina HolderAbout the Author: Christina Holder is a student associate working with the Center for Reconciliation and a first year Masters of Divinity student at Duke Divinity School. She is a freelance writer with experience reporting from Liberia.

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