This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Pizza party in response to gang killing

Back in July, I posted here about a prayer service on my street in response to the shoorting of a gang member. This week, my friend Jarrod McKenna, who I interviewed for this blog, helped organize an even more creative response to a gang related murder near where he lived: They had a pizza party.

Jarrod has more about the event, in his blog post about the afternoon gathering. There are a lot of great photos taken by his friend Tom Day. These are my two favorite:

pizza party


Along with the pizzas, there was a prayer with loved ones of people who have been killed on the street. What a wonderful taste of God’s shalom in response to deep tragedy.

I’m reminded of an ice cream social organized by some friends of mine in Goshen a few years ago when the KKK promised to come to protest outside an organization serving the local Hispanic community. As I remember the story, the Klan was so intimidated by the prospect of ice cream they never showed up.

Jarrod quotes an Eastern Orthodox bishop quoting a character in Dostoevsky’s Brother’s Karamazov:

“At some thoughts a man stands perplexed, above all at the sight of human sin, and he wonders whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide: “I will combat it by humble love.” If you resolve on that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force: it is the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”

Small creative actions like this one are a reminder to me that the church’s imagination is it’s most important asset. In a world in which innovation has come to be associated with a never ending stream of gleaming gadgets, we have an opportunity to model a very different form of creativity.

The kingdom comes not through the longevity of our institutions or the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns, but through spontaneous pizza parties and ice cream socials in the face of deep brokenness.

Where the world has only shock and outrage, let us together imagine acts of quiet delight and graceful surprises.

Tim Nafziger is passionate about gathering people with shared values to work together for change in our communities and our world. One such space is Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) where he works as interim assistant director. Tim lives with his wife Charletta in the Ojai Valley in southern California where they connect with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministires. Tim has written chapters in Widening the Circle: Experiments in Christian Discipleship; Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change; and 118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq. His photo portfolio is at You can follow Tim on Twitter at @tim_nafziger

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