Peace Coffees


Rhinoceros Beetle

Sunday, November 23, 2014, began for me at 6:00 a.m. when I listened to Krista Tippit’s interview with Reza Aslan about the reformation of Islam, followed by a stimulating lesson on the natural evolution of armaments among insects and animals. Scientists “know” that opposing sides sometimes

Black Rhinoceros

Black Rhinoceros

agree on a “cease fire,”  but they do not know how the creatures negotiate it. The program ended with some clues to how a ceasefire can happen among humans, beginning with the church.

At church the sermon was based on the story of  the ten lepers healed by Jesus, and only one who was a Samaritan remembered, stopped and returned to Jesus to give thanks. We were encouraged to remember with thanksgiving through a communion service.

Part of the ritual declared that there are “no divisions” at this table. This obese and balding Old Fool stopped, remembered who he was and gave thanks that he was not excluded from the table.  Then My Joy and I went to a nearby cafe to share a meal of baby beef liver fried with onions.

From there we went to Bethany Christian School to see a student production of Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol. The carol tells the story of a rich, stingy old man who is transformed into a man moved with compassion for the poor and disabled. The tale was brought to life by the amazing energy of students displayed for 90 minutes singing, dancing and acting without intermission on stage.


Scrooge and cast receiving applause at play’s end

After the play at Bethany, My Joy and I rested for an hour and then went to The New Perspectives on Faith at College Mennonite Church.  The speaker of the evening was John Paul Lederach, the son of John and Naomi Lederach who are members of CMC and widely known in the Mennonite Church.

Their son John Paul is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and concurrently Distinguished Scholar at Eastern Mennonite University. He has written widely on conflict resolution and mediation.

An audio version of Lederach’s speech will be posted with other speeches on the New Perspectives website.  Lederach’s speech was enriched by the pictures and stories of little known peace-makers.

John Paul

John Paul Lederach

His speech centered on the need for compassion toward all.  He urged such simple acts as inviting one with whom we disagree to have coffee or lunch together.  Regular coffee drinking should continue, not until there is agreement, but until the two who disagree become friends.

Here is a link to an interview in which John Paul introduces himself.  The interview will make the speech on The New Perspectives website more enjoyable when you hear it.

Thought after Sunday: If insects and animals negotiate temporary ceasefires, why cannot we who have larger brains and the ability to talk, negotiate a  permanent cease fire? 



About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Peace Coffees

  1. Sara Alice Zimmerly says:

    There was a professor who said that what may sound like a bird’s pretty song to us may actually be a warning to another bird invading his territory. Imagine if instead of fighting at country boarders, people sang at each other!

    I have no idea how to reference this little quote. Sorry. Also, notice the mother in the old black and white movie “Silent Night” which I cannot reference either. Sorry again.

    • Martin Lehman says:

      I heard on NPR a human attempt at interpreting the first morning song of a cardinal. It was “I am a cardinal. This is my territory. I am a male. I am Fred. I feel fit. I am ready to mate!”

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