About this issue: Peace and purpose
Many of us can remember a first conversation in Sunday school
about the Matthew 18 lesson in which Peter asks Jesus how many
times one should forgive another
As many as seven
times? Jesus response is 70 times seven.
On hearing this, my first thought leaned toward the literal: We
only have to forgive someone 490 times? Around the table
in my Sunday school room, the idea seemed as likely as that of
a class visitor who had bragged to us that he intended to save
his weekly 25-cent allowance to buy a Rolls Royce. In these situations,
we elementary schoolers could see only concrete goals both
seemingly impossible to reach and we wondered how to get
along in the meantime.
What we were not able to see, probably not even fathom, was that
it was not the goal but the process that was most important. We
were to work at forgiveness and understanding. And in the process
of forgiveness, transformation is possible for everyone.
The skills in forgiveness, according to Ephesians, include being
kind and considering the perspective of another; letting go of
bitterness and thoughts of revenge; treating others gently, with
a tender heart that accepts the hurt; and lovingly forgiving each
other. To do this, we make ourselves vulnerable, said
Ruth Krall, professor of Bible, nursing and psychology and director
of peace, justice and conflict studies, in a thoughtful presentation
to faculty members during our fall retreat. She said reconciliation
is a journey, acknowledging that the spirit must be transformed
in order to make forgiveness relevant to others, to heal and to
These are difficult lessons. It is frightening to make ourselves
vulnerable in a world that though growing increasingly
interconnected is often polarized, between individuals,
ethnic and religious communities, economies, political and environmental
issues and more.
Goshen Colleges mission is to prepare servant-leaders
for the church and world. Can we, Krall asked, share
in the brokenness of the world we cannot anticipate
swing the balance toward healing?
Throughout her years of directing peace studies at Goshen, Krall,
building on institutional history, has emphasized and supported
peace-related components across academic and campus life
through forums, student groups, conferences, the arts, cross-listed
courses, the longtime minor and new major and more. The purpose
is to prepare students of all majors to seek throughout their
lives to repair the brokenness of the world with peace
and justice restored as their goals, knowing conflict is as inherent
to humans as our desire for love. At the least, transformation
can be achieved quarters can add up to a Rolls Royce.
In this issue, we look at the cross-disciplinary nature of peace,
justice and conflict studies at Goshen College as well as special
programs committed to peace journeys. Read what faculty are thinking
about, and how a current student and numerous alumni are working
for a more just even forgiving world.
Continuing our open invitation, we hope you will take
time to share with us your own experience with Goshen College
and how it has affected your life your faith, vocation,
friends and family, international connections, etc. Contact me
or Rachel Lapp, Goshen College, 1700 South Main Street, Goshen,
IN 46526; call (574) 535-7569 or (800) 348-7422, ext. 7569.