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Geoff Rinehard

Geoff Rinehart is a pastor of a non-denominational church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, called Chi Rho; in addition, Geoff is a Master’s student here at Whitworth University. The church is small having less than fifty members, and it meets at the Coeur d’Alene city center.
Interview by
Daniel Geiter, May 2014

    I believe that peace in the world would take the form of positive peace. Not only would it involve a lack of global conflict, but it would also involve structural peace. The primary reason that conflict occurs is based around the idea of individuals allowing ego and selfish desires to come before the good of their communities.

    The way to achieve peace is to focus on creating mutual agreements based around creating a mindset where individuals do not enter into discussion or conflict prepared to fight, in particular the different terms I use are “hands up posture” to imply willingness for violence and “hands down” implying an acceptance of looking for peace.
  
    
My work is involved in peace on two levels. I call the first level the practical one; this involves being a mediator for those I serve in both my church and my community so that they can enter into discussion with the aforementioned “hands down” posture. The second level that my work involves is what I refer to as the theoretical level, which refers to how one lives a life for Christ, the Prince of Peace, and how I lead my church to live that way. I fundamentally believe that in order for there to be more peace in our communities, nation, and world we need love. This entails not just experiencing the feeling of love, but understanding that love is a verb that defines how we treat others. When individuals start utilizing love as a verb, then they will begin to start putting others' needs before their own and become able to unconditionally accept others as they are. I believe that our culture screams against this methodology for peace. This is exhibited, in our electoral system of fighting to gain an advantage by whatever means necessary or just the fact that it puts individuals into two opposing adversarial parties.

    Jesus believes that what we can more effectively promote peace in our communities by simply going and meeting your neighbors. Peace has to start within your family and then it must move to people within your neighborhood and community. I believe that where students should go to learn about peace is firstly the biblical books of Luke and Acts. These books exhibit resolution of conflict in the early church, particularly the book of Acts. Whether one is, a religious individual or not the messages that can be learned from these passages of the Bible apply to an understanding of positive peace. In addition, I believe that students must be involved in cross-cultural activities that broaden their understanding of people. My position on nonviolent confrontation has shifted throughout my life as I have grown older and has come to see biblical teachings exhibiting peaceful non-violence.