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Rodney McAuley

Rodney McAuley works with Spokane Youth for Christ
Interviewed by Lauren Pangborn

May 2012

Peace is a biblical worldview. What comes to mind when I define peace is the word ‘shalom’ out of the Old Testament. Jeremiah 29:7 [paraphrased] says “See the peace of the place where you have been kept captive because in its’ peace you will find yours.” The word peace in this verse is the word shalom, which is “comprehensive, total, well-being.” “Nothing missing, nothing broken” is a definition I’ve picked up over time and it means to be complete, perfect, full, healthy, sound, tranquil, and prosperous. I is a biblical word: Jesus himself was the Prince of Peace. He said “blessed are the peace-makers” and my definition of peace stems from that concept or idea. Peace is then more than the absence of war and conflict; it is, rather, the wholeness that the entire human race seeks. Brokenness (or the absence of peace) is a human condition. We are all broken, we’re just broken differently. The wars waged in the natural are just reflections of the internal brokenness that we all, as human beings, have. The pursuit of peace (which, by definition, includes the wholeness that all humans seek) is through Jesus Christ.

I work with Spokane Youth for Christ doing youth and family ministry that is neighborhood focused. City Life works with kids ages eleven to nineteen and their families in a tight neighborhood context. Our approach to ministry (our approach to shalom) is to build relationships with the kids who live in this broken, at-risk, poverty, high-crime neighborhood to see them come to a place of wholeness, which we believe comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. And as they come to wholeness, their families also come to wholeness or completeness. As we raise them up as leaders to give back to their neighborhood, then we see a community transformed. My perception of peace has to do with seeing brokenness healed, relationships restored, and communities that have been negatively impacted by conflict brought back to wholeness, completeness and prosperity where there is poverty. In a lot of ways, it’s a pipe dream. But not for me.

                There are two gentleman—George Otis, CEO of The Sentinel Group, and Ed Silvoso, who are mentors of mine and who have done work around the world, where they have documented instances where entire communities have been transformed because they have experienced the power and presence of the Lord in such a manner than peace has come. John Perkins, another mentor of mine and founder of Christian Community Development Association, defines restoration of peace within a community with three R’s: Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution.

My heroes are Jesus—the Prince of Peace—and Martin Luther King Jr., who was arguably one of the best illustrations of the pursuit of nonviolent conflict resolution. There was very much warfare involved with the work that he did and it required an awful lot of bravery in terms of what he and his followers had to. Gandhi, a mentor of MLK, was no wimp, but was actually very brave. Jesus, the epitome of the peacemaker, was meek, but was not weak. In that sense, it does require as much, if not more, bravery to engage in nonviolent conflict resolution than it does to wage war.

                Peace, in a nutshell, is “Nothing broken; nothing missing.”