Posted: November 3, 2022
Resource highlight: Shared Convictions
“The Spirit of Jesus empowers us to trust God in all areas of life so we become peacemakers who renounce violence, love our enemies, seek justice, and share our possessions with those in need.”
—Shared Conviction #5
As Christ’s followers who are called to embody his life, death, and resurrection in our daily lives, we must understand why we do what we do and what our calling is to practice what Christ taught and did during his earthly ministry. MWC’s Shared Convictions express some of our values and identity as Anabaptist-Mennonite followers of Christ.
What does this imply for our current situation?
As I pondered this question, my thoughts returned to the recent trips. It was an honour for me to travel to Australia and South Korea to visit partners and friends.
On my visit with the Anabaptist Association in Australia and New Zealand (AAANZ), I was amazed by the story of our brothers and sisters in Sydney who welcomed a family of refugees from Ukraine into their home.
On this trip, I also attended a Public Theology Conference hosted by the Cooperative Hub Brisbane. Many presentations were about decolonizing theology, mission, and practices as Christians who bear the legacy of colonizing Aboriginal people in Australia.
How do we live as Christian in our modern society when we carry such baggage?
They also shared challenges and concerns about the church in a post-Christian era.
- How can Christian values be embodied in all areas of life when people are less interested in religious activity than they were previously?
- How do we be peacemakers who seek justice, especially when dealing with past trauma and colonization of Indigenous peoples?
After Australia, I visited peacebuilders in South Korea: Northeast Asian Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI), Korean Peacebuilding Institute (KOPI), Mennonite Central Committee Northeast Asia, Korean Anabaptist Center (KAC), Mennonite Church in South Korea (MCSK).
From the top of the mountain in Chuncheon, one can see the valley that became the battlefield during the Korean war in 1950-1953. As I reflected on the history of the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, my heart was deeply sad.
- How can we become peacemakers in this situation?
- How can we follow Christ while bearing the wounds of war, separation from family?
- How do we talk about peace, justice, reconciliation or even forgiving our enemies?
- Who is our enemy?
My encounters with Anabaptist-Mennonite brothers and sisters in South Korea shaped me. They demonstrate what it means to be a Christ follower. These believers transform their own trauma into a Christ-like life. They bear passion, peace, love and a heart to welcome strangers in their home. Alongside delicious Korean food, they share the stories of their difficult past without showing any anger, revenge or hatred. Kamsahamnida!
I am truly grateful to have met true peacemakers who embody Christ’s love and compassion, living out the way of peace. I am encouraged by a family who opens their home for a refugee family refugee; they have shown what Christ love is.
As a Deacons Commission chair, I can see the hope of the global community of Anabaptist-Mennonite continuing to walk together in this way of life – as expressed in our Shared Convictions – here and now!
— Andi Santoso is the chair of the Deacons Commission (2022-2028). An ordained pastor with GKMI (Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia, an MWC member church), he currently serves with Mennonite Mission Network as regional administrator for Asia and the Middle East.