you don’t start a war in a church – you launch a movement

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. – John 14:27

Emanuel AME – image from

Let me offer just one more thought in response to last Wednesday’s Charleston shootings; and this may be the most profound.

The young man who perpetrated the atrocity is reported to have said that he intended to “start a race war.” Interestingly, ironically, poetically, what he may have achieved is the exact opposite. You see, you don’t start a war in a church, what you start in church is a movement, and this may be the beginnings of a huge step toward peace.

The backlash (rather than war) has been love, reconciliation, compassion, clearing the air, and social-political initiatives designed to remove symbols of hate and disunity from places where they appear to have the sanction of government.

This is what happens when you try to start a war in a church.

Because the kind of peace, the quality of peace, that emanates from a commitment to following Jesus, is nothing like the barbed, defensive, arm’s-length stalemate that the world negotiates under the shadow and threat of its armies. Faith in Jesus promises that love will trump fear at every turn.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. – 1 John 4:18

So it appears to me that the plans of the hate-filled terrorist have backfired in an epic fashion. Right now – and please God that it continues – what he has achieved is to ignite a movement toward reconciliation.

Derek Maul
Derek Maul

If you want to start a war, the last place you need to go is to church.

In love, and because of love – DEREK


  1. This is so on point. It is typical that churches and their members step up to the plate and pray, reaching out with compassion and love and grace and peace. These types of tragedies bring to the surface things that need to be addressed. We band together, united in spirit. We do not run off carrying swords and rifles looking to kill “the infidels.” (That would be a completely different “religion.”)


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