NOTE: This episode was recorded via Skype in mid-June, shortly after the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Florida.
In this episode, we’ll be exploring what it looks like to live out peacemaking within the context of the local church community. The Adventist Peace Church Network was formed to support this vision and our host Jeff Boyd interviews two leaders in this network – Lisa Diller and Jeffrey Gang. Both are members of the Adventist Peace Fellowship Board of Directors.
Lisa Diller, Ph.D, teaches early modern world history at her alma mater Southern Adventist University in Tennessee. Though raised on a farm in rural West Virginia, she learned to love the city while earning her Ph.D at the University of Chicago and researching her dissertation in London. In addition to seventeenth century religion and politics, Lisa enjoys service and activism in her urban neighborhood and ministry in her local church, The Well, which she helped start with her husband Tommy in 2008. Lisa’s academic credentials enable her to talk about history and politics—but her passion is learning how to be part of the kingdom of God. She says, “I love the friendships and adventures (sometimes travel?!) that come with discipleship. My many nieces and nephews keep me busy with homework as well as some serious playtime, and when I’m not on the phone with one of my parents or siblings, I like to be out working in the ‘yarden’ of my 100-year old house.”
Jeffrey Gang, D.Min. is an ordained-commissioned Seventh-day Adventist Minister. He has served congregations in Florida and Southern California over a span of twenty years. Until recently Jeffrey has served as pastor of the Anaheim Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Orange Country, California. Through his leadership, Anaheim became one of the first Seventh-day Adventist congregations to formally begin the process of becoming an Adventist Peace Church. As of this podcast he has joined the faculty at Loma Linda University’s School of Religion as an assistant professor in relational studies. He is also in the process of completing a second doctoral degree through the University of Aberdeen’s School of Divinity, History, and Philosopy in Abderdeen Scotland. His PhD research is in the ecclesiology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and its implications for Seventh-day Adventist remnant theology. For many years now Jeffrey has been an advocate of social justice, in particular peace work, which he believes is a biblical mandate for all Seventh-day Adventists. Jeffrey currently resides in Redlands, California with his wife, Dr. Gina Bietz Gang, and their three children, Madison (17), Braden (14), and McKenna (12). In his spare time Jeffrey enjoys cycling.
Show Notes (Recorded June 2016)
- 2:20 Anaheim Church as inaugural congregation in the Adventist Peace Church Network
- 3:20 Motivation for focus on peace and justice
- 5:00 Expressions of peace and justice in the local congregations
- 14:40 International concerns
- 21:55 Criticism and pushback
- 27:35 Pastoral versus prophetic
- 34:30 Challenges in a peace church
- 39:07 People and sources of inspiration as well as influential resources (see list of Lisa Diller’s recommendations below)
- 52:27 Are social ethics and social action a distraction from the gospel?
- 54:02 Guidance for other congregations to join the Peace Church Network
Lisa Diller’s Book Recommendations
These are the books we are actually reading together as a leadership team for our small local church:
- Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus (so so so so good) by Christopher Smith and John Pattison
- Simple Church by Eric Geiger and Thom Rainer
- Pursuing God’s Will Together By Ruth Haley Barton
- The Church on the Other Side By Brian McLaren
- More ready than You Realize by Brian McLaren
- Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels by Scot McKnight
- The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community By Paul Sparks, Tim Sorens and Dwight Friesen
Here are books that I have read which have shaped much of how we do what we do on the local level:
- Scot McKnight: Fellowship of Differents
- Scot McKnight: Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church
- David Csinos and Melvin Bray, eds.: Faith Forward: A Dialogue on Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity
- Harvie M. Conn and Manuel Ortiz: Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City and the People of God
- Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp: Being White: Finding our Place in a Multiethnic World
- Joseph Myers: The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups
- Robert Lupton: Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal
- Ray Bakke: The Urban Christian: Effective Ministry in Today’s Urban World
- Christine D. Pohl: Living into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us
- David Anderson: Gracism: The Art of Inclusion
- Tom Sine: The New Conspirators: Creating the Future one Mustard Seed at a Time
- George Yancey: Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility
- Rich Richardson: Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey
- John McKnight and Peter Block: The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
DONATIONS: If you appreciated these conversations, we hope you’ll share the podcast with others. And we welcome your donations to support future episodes of Adventist Peace Radio. You can donate online at AdventistPeace.org (link).
THANKS: Thank you Sarah Fusté for narrating this episode. I appreciated your patience when I changed our recording schedule while Episode 3 was in production.
MUSIC: Our theme music is “Green Fields” by Scott Holmes, via Free Music Archive.
DISCLAIMER: And as always, our disclaimer: Adventist Peace Fellowship is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports work for peacemaking and social justice building upon the values of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition. We are not part of, affiliated with, or supported by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists or any affiliates known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Any content, opinions, statements, products or services offered by Adventist Peace Fellowship, are solely those of our organization, and not those of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.