Last week Charletta and I spent 5 days at the Cornerstone Music Festival promoting Christian Peacemaker Teams. For me, it was an inspiring awakening to the "Revolution in Jesusland" as Zack Exley calls it. That is, the increasing openness of young American Evangelicals to God’s vision for shalom. It’s an awareness that Jesus’ redemption is not just an individual soul thing, but an invitation to transformation of relationships, communities and creation as a whole.
Charletta and I joined Jim Fitz at a booth that he has been staffing for the past 5 years. When Jim first started out, no one at Cornerstone had ever heard of CPT. Furthermore people were openly hostile. "Are you really Christian?" was the frequent challenge. Over the years, responses have begun to change. Even the one person who sat down and argued for half an hour about the efficacy of nonviolence told us he gets our newsletter. Part of the reason for this is Jim’s persistant witness. Many people come by with a familiar greeting for Jim. His beard and his hat are well known. But Jim’s perseverence is not the only influence on changing attitudes.
A week ago, Zach Exley posted the story of a young man titled Put one back in the Mennonite column. It’s a story that resonated with many readers of the post (see the comment from Tyler for example). And judging by the conversations I had at the CPT booth, it’s an increasingly common story. One young man told me that he used to thing CPTers were hippies and peaceniks and then he read the The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and now he really thinks we’re doing great work. We talked for 20 minutes and he told me about the challenge of discussions about pacifism with his middle-aged Republican friend.