Joshua Garber
Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hey, check out this news article.

​Just kidding – it's in Russian. But let me do my best to summarize what happened:

 

 

Some locals noticed a few of our Russian students hung their nation's flag outside their resident hall window at LCC International University. They interpreted it as "spying for Putin" and contacted a Lithuanian online publication, which added they were a "sign of Russia's occupation."

LCC students caught wind of the article, realized that their Russian brothers and sisters were being misrepresented, and proceeded to hang flags from nearly a dozen of the 25+ countries represented at the university.

Russian flag

Flags

This action, combined with a thoughtful letter by one of the students that was forwarded as a response to local media, transformed the situation. Here are some excerpts:

[...] all the students who had flags of the countries of their origin hung them out of their rooms to support our fellow Russian students who suffered such an injustice. We want to make sure that these students know that they have support in the face of everyone at LCC, and that they are welcomed here [...] We are all a part of the Christian institution that promotes peace and understanding, and we must make sure that no one is discriminated against [...]

The result has been several articles like the one linked above that speaks to the unique nature of LCC International University and, more importantly, speaks to the significance of tolerance and love in a world filled with messages of fear and hate.

It also illustrates the level of creativity often needed to pursue justice and find lasting solutions to conflict that don't resort to force and coercion. The above situation is one that could have easily divided our students against the Russians or pitted LCC against Klaipeda. Instead, the parties have grown closer thanks to the creativity of a few students.

Whenever it comes up that I'm a pacifist, I often find myself being written off. I suspect much of this is rooted in the misconception that pacifism is synonymous with being passive.

There is nothing passive about pursuing peace, justice, and following the way of Jesus.

Let me write that in a larger font just to make sure that's clear:

There is nothing passive about pursuing peace, justice, and following the way of Jesus.

I came across another article this week that really speaks to this idea. If you like the idea of redeeming neo-Nazis, check this out!

Neither of these instances of nonviolent activism is heralded as a "Christian" event. But if part of the idea of God's kingdom is that it's something that can be experienced both presently and in the future, then these are moments where you can get a glimpse of that.

In what ways are you a nonviolent activist? How do you actively pursue peace and justice as you follow Jesus?

 

 

https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Fighting for Peace

​Alisha and Joshua Garber serve at LCC International University in Lithuania as mission associates for Mennonite Mission Network. Alisha is the director of community life and dean of discipline. Joshua is the spiritual formation coordinator. This post was originally posted on their blog.


 

 

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