Harrison Ford Predicts the Future
I really like Harrison Ford. In spite of the fact that he insists on running in almost every movie he does and he runs like he's carrying a whole pack of invisible toddlers on his neck, I enjoy pretty much every performance of his I see. One of my favorites is his turn in the great Air Force One, a quintessentially 90s action thriller in which Ford portrays fictional United States President James Marshall. President Marshall is an impossibly flawless man - principled, brave, genuine, incorruptible, resolved, kind, gentle, strong. Early on in the film, President Marshall makes a speech in which he utters the following line, "Real peace is not just the absence of conflict - it's the presence of justice."
This is a great line in a great speech in a great performance in a great movie. But, more importantly, it's also a direction for the future of Not Easily Broken Ministries. When I first saw this film back in 1997, I had no idea that I would end up where I have, doing what I'm doing. But even then, I was struck by that line and the power that philosophy could have over how I ordered my steps - or perhaps, how I looked for God's ordering of my steps. Now, 20 years later (wow... hold on... let me let that sink in............... okay, I'm good.) 20 years later, I look back at Not Easily Broken Ministries first 18 months and I see that we have been facilitating the elimination of conflict from marriages in our community. That's certainly something to be celebrated, something we intend to continue doing. But it's only half of the job. The other half is the creation of justice - and to do that, Not Easily Broken Ministries needs to adopt a broader perspective.
In Hebrew, the word for peace is "shalom," or more literally, "שלם." However, if we look a little deeper into this word, we find a recipe for creating justice. In Hebrew, the combination of these characters creates the word that translates as "peace" into English, but each of the characters also has meaning in and of itself. If taken individually, these characters can help us gain a greater understanding of what exactly peace is. Remember that Hebrew is read from right to left, as opposed to the English left to right.
ש Shin: teeth, destroy, consume
ל Lamed: the staff, authority
ם Mem: water, chaos
When we look at the characters in order, we can see that to erase conflict and create justice is to "destroy the authority of the chaos." In our case, our mission of justice requires us to work to destroy to the authority attached to the chaos found in the institution of marriage. That's a lofty goal, and we're going to need to take advantage of every opportunity to extend our reach beyond what just Carly and I can do through our individual interactions. Here are four ways we intend to start doing that, and we'll elaborate on each one throughout this week. Check back about the same time tomorrow to find out more about the first one.
- Change the narrative surrounding the institution of marriage.
- Equip the systems that support marriage to more effectively carry out their work.
- Eliminate the culture of busyness that prevents individuals and support systems from properly prioritizing quality relationships.
- Develop a team of leaders working on all of these things with us.
Our goal is to shalom marriage in the world - to destroy the authority creating chaos in marriage. We do that every day, with every couple that we meet whose marriage becomes a better and more accurate picture of Christ and his relationship with the church. But we can do more. Stay tuned to find out exactly what that looks like as we all work together to bring order to this chaos.