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Posted on by Ben Hodson

For clarity I would like to define what I mean in my use of a couple of terms; redemption and peacemaking.  The word redemption is often used in the context of religious language but I am using it here in its original root word meaning ‘to be brought back’ and in the context of society, it is referring to the positive transformation and betterment of humanityThis is a subjective notion, but I am looking at change which appears to bring positive social, economic, relational and emotional benefits, such as bringing peace to a region.  When talking about peace we normally use the term “peace keeping”. This is usually a reference to establishing a context where the peace keepers bring an absence of war, conflict or violence.  The UN “peacekeepers” are an example of this idea of peacekeeping. However, it seems that the reality is that the peace is only upheld in as far as these soldiers have the capacity to enforce it and it often resurfaces when the peacekeepers leave. It seems history shows us that violence rarely stops violence or deals with the root of the problem but it seems we are reluctant to believe the evidence or that there maybe a better way. Perhaps a better concept in this redemptive context would be the concept of being ‘peacemakers’. In Hebrew culture they have the concept of Shalom which goes some way to describing the idea of peacemaking. We translate Shalom in English as peace, however, Shalom goes much deeper than “the absence of violence”.  It describes a complete well being, welfare and safety for an individual or group of people. So when I am using the term or concept of peacemaking it is more than stopping violence or removing conflict, it is to bring a sense of wellbeing, of wholeness in terms of safety and security. It’s to deal with the deeper issues of why the conflict or violence is there. Art maybe a blunt tool to try and stop violence but it has a unique ‘sharpness’ in its ability to expose and deal with the roots of an issue and has wonderful healing and nurturing properties to help bring wholeness, hope and a sense of wellbeing.