Following Christ 2008: The Promise of Shalom
Welcome to "The Promise of Shalom" track informational page for Following Christ 2008! Read here about our plans for the program and get to know those who are leading the track.
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Tim Mackie, Chair
Tim Mackie is a Ph.D. student in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is also a member of the pastoral teaching team at Blackhawk church in Madison. He’s been married for seven years to an amazing young woman named Jessica, who has made possible his entirely too long graduate student career. He has a keen interest to integrate the best of biblical scholarship with the life and mission of the church and to equip Christ followers to find their redemptive niche in the world.
One could say that the ultimate goal of the grand biblical narrative is the achievement of shalom — usually translated “peace” or “wholeness.” God creates a good world, humans mess it all up, and the Creator sets out on a journey to make everything right once again.
The scope of the promise of shalom in the Bible is grand and universal; nothing escapes its purview. Moreover, the strange claim of the New Testament is that the future shalom promised in the Prophets has actually invaded backwards into our present world, and that this has happened in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This is, after all, what the angels said Jesus would bring (“Peace on earth!” Luke 2:14), what Jesus himself promised (“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” John 14:27), and what we are urged to embrace by the apostles (“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe,” Romans 15:13).
And yet, for most of us, the bridge between the future, universal shalom for which we hope and the personal, day-to-day shalom for which we strive seems so difficult to build. “Divine peacefulness” is simply not an expression many of us would use to describe our lives. But of all the religious traditions on offer in our culture today, it is surely Christianity that puts forth the most robust claim that shalom belongs not only to the renewed creation but also to our lives in the here and now. Where’s the disconnect?
The Promise of Shalom track at Following Christ 2008 certainly cannot claim to solve this problem, which is so particular and personal for every one of us. But this track is designed to offer some space and time for meditation and personal reflection for you to start that journey. We’ll spend time encountering a number of biblical texts that speak of the promise of shalom, both in future-universal and present-personal terms. Through music, narrative, and teaching we will create time for reflection upon your own life circumstances — asking where, why, and how you need a fresh infusion of Christ’s hope and shalom. Our goal is that, whatever your vocational field, you can walk away from the conference with a sense of renewed hope that God’s promise of shalom is not only for the world to come but available amidst the grit of your daily experience.