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Peacemaking Report #1

Hello Friends,

This last month I participated in an intense training session for those who are planning to be part of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

This is some sharing from my experience during the training that might interest you. Training was very intense and full. Much of the info was just introductory because of limited time, just giving us tastes of the subjects. We were encouraged to do more study later.

One topic was racism. Training was located in a "rough" neighborhood -- police even stopped and informed us this was not a safe place to be. I become aware that when I walked down the street and I passed a stranger of color I often had a certain fear that was absent when the stranger was white. After going to church at the First Church of the Brethren, which is 80% black, I often asked for a ride to the training center. I began to notice how I always asked whites, so the last time I asked a black man. He gave me the ride and we had an enjoyable conversation, just like with any white couple.

Another time each of us shared something un-CPT like that we enjoyed or did. I shared that I still felt a need to use the word “Father” in praying, because for me it conveyed the personalness and closeness of God that I missed just using the word “God.” Another trainee said she felt the same
way. Another said prayer has not been a part of his life very much, at the end when we shared areas we wanted to grow in he said he wanted to learn to pray. In some ways the Lord has called somewhat secular persons to CPT, and a hunch I have is that it is the 4000 praying churches that is
making up for our lacks, that might be a place where you come in. Sharing deeply such amongst ourselves was a significant part of the training. I’ve never built such a close bond in so fast time with a group, even though each of us came from very different paths to CPT.

We were told that we each needed to feel a call to be part of CPT. It’s not something you do because it’s fun, or a neat thing to do. CPT is clearly Christian -- it is central to take Jesus, his teachings, his ways and the Bible very seriously.

During training the Lord gave me a number of experiences where he gave me depression and then helped me see unresolved things in relationships I needed to work on. As soon as I worked on them I got relief. This continues to be my experience after the training. Depression is still not fun,
but the Lord seems to be using it for a good purpose in my life now. I feel real clear though that not all my depression has been situational; at times it's the chemistry in my brain.

We all shared out life stories. It was very moving when one of our trainees shared how he had been detained and tortured in South Africa. Through a kind act of one of his torturers he came to forgive them.

Well that’s a little what training is like.

Blessing on you today,
Jim

P.S. Right after training we had the seminar "Is War the Answer to Terrorism?" here in Princeton, as mentioned in my 12/26 letter. It went well, Both sides were presented and it was stretching for all of us. We are now planning a follow up meeting on 2/23/03 to facilitate more dialogue by using a Open Space meeting format. I think it will built understanding between the opposing positions.

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