the peace of being saved by Story {guest post Amy Peterson}

Amy and I crossed paths because of the Festival of Faith and Writing last spring (and later found our our sisters worship at the same church!) Smart and passionate, Amy writes (and teaches) about faith and pop culture, as well as motherhood and making all things new. This post is challenging and beautiful, and I'm so glad to host her words here. Welcome, Amy.

In Ezekiel, God condemns the false prophets who cry, “Peace!” when there is no peace.

Am I that false prophet?

My husband and I, we are peace-lovers by nature. We are quiet, we move slowly through ideas and emotions, we usually agree. We are far from perfect, but there is true peace in our household, even while I am stepping on legos, hands full of dishes, and Jack is playing chase the preschooler with the toddler riding on his shoulders.

We rent a house in a small town in the cornfields of the Midwest, cloistered in a Christian college community. We spend our evenings tired, writing songs, sewing scraps together, and watching far too much tv.

Sometimes I wonder: Do the daily routines of my peaceful life imply–falsely--that I live in a peaceful world, no battles left to fight? Have I created a life so protected that I can deceive myself into thinking that everything is alright?

Does anything in my day point prophetically to the deep brokenness of our world, and to a great Healer? Does anything in my life acknowledge the global realities of war, famine, disease, persecution, and poverty, or do I live as if those things don’t exist?

Am I living a life that effectively proclaims “peace” when there is none?

I like to think that small things in my life do point to the realities of our broken world and our great Healer. That when we eat Haitian-style red beans and rice, and pray for Kensley, a child we sponsor through Compassion, we are expressing solidarity. That my unwillingness to buy clothing made in sweatshops is a way of pursuing peace. That when I teach one child to have empathy or generosity towards another, I am nurturing souls who will someday have empathy and generosity in the wider world.

But I’m not convinced that those tokens are enough. Shouldn’t I be fighting for peace, rather than taking safe baby steps toward it?

Everything in me longs to see true redemption, true conflict and resolution, the beautiful Story of resurrection at work in our world. And yet: when I wake up, I am more interested in checking twitter than praying for the persecuted church. Before I go to sleep, I am more concerned about Kristina Braverman’s cancer than I am about the 26% of mothers in Swaziland who are infected with AIDS. Instead of engaging in the true Story, with all its risks and heartache, I daily choose other stories to satisfy my needs for drama and meaning.

I allow the artificial conflicts and phony resolutions of television shows and social media to fill the emotional space in my heart that could be spent on the true needs of the world. I have neatly protected myself against encountering true difficulty, true tragedy, any story that might be too much for me to bear. And I feed my God-given desire for story, for conflict and resolution, in a safer way, one that promises to always resolve neatly, and usually after just half an hour.

I am poorer for it. Peace, after all, whether you look at it in Hebrew (shalom) or Greek (eirene), implies not the absence of conflict but its resolution. Peace is hard-won.

I need to rededicate myself to peace, not because the world needs me to save it, but because I need to be saved. I need to let go of the false peace born of ignoring the deep cracks in the world; I need to resume fighting for the true peace that is the Kingdom coming to earth. When the credits roll, I want my voice to ring with the true prophets, not just to fade into the same old theme song. 

Will you help me? Will you join?

Amy teaches ESL Writing and American Pop Culture at Taylor University, and spends most of her time making a home for her best-friend-husband and their two (frankly adorable) children.

She shares her mostly unedited thoughts about faith, motherhood, books, movies, television, and food at Connect with her on twitter @amylpeterson.
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