The Calvinist tradition of public engagement is part of the historic self-understanding of Presbyterians. From a Presbyterian perspective, our faith demands that we take our responsibility as citizens seriously and involve ourselves in the public affairs of our community, our nation, and the world.
In a sense, the New York Daily News was right. Whether the issue is terrorism, gun violence, or police misconduct, God isn’t fixing it -- not without us. God acts through us. We are God’s hands and feet. God comes to us in Jesus Christ to guide our feet in the way of peace . . . but we still have to do the walking.
God created this earth and all the life upon it over billions of years of evolution to the point that we human beings emerged and human civilization developed. I cannot believe that it would be the will of God for us to destroy the world as we know it in a nuclear holocaust. We human beings may have the power to do it, but only God has the authority.
Historians have debated for decades whether or not it was necessary for the U.S. to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to force Japan to surrender and bring an end to the Second World War. But wherever we come down on that question, surely we can agree that the United States bears more responsibility than any other nation for bringing an end to the nuclear threat. The United States has more nuclear weapons than any other nation. We invented nuclear weapons, and we are the only country to have ever used them. We led the world into the nuclear age. We have a moral responsibility to lead the world out of it.
I was thrilled to be able to attend the Campaign Nonviolence National Conference this past weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement to mainstream nonviolence and to foster a culture of peace free from war, poverty, environmental destruction, and the epidemic of violence.” The Campaign, launched last year by Pace e Bene, has been endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. In its first year, Campaign Nonviolence inspired 240 nonviolent actions across the country during the week of September 21-27, 2014.
"It seems to me that loving our brothers and sisters means, at the very least, listening to them. I hope that we are listening to the cries coming out of West Baltimore, the cries of anger, pain, hopelessness, and despair, the cries for racial and economic justice, the cries for respect and dignity. Only then can we begin to understand what is going on in our beloved city." (excerpt from "God is Love," a sermon preached by the Rev. Roger Scott Powers on May 3, 2015)