Peace and reconciliation are things to pursue with your enemies rather than your friends, says Bethel Professor of Bible and Religion Patricia Shelly.
She doesn’t claim the observation as original, but it has become even more important to her personally since she visited Iran in February 2007 and attended two subsequent meetings in New York with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, most recently this past Sept. 25.
A year ago, Shelly was part of an interfaith gathering with Ahmadinejad in New York, at which she offered a closing blessing. This time, she was one of the speakers at a meeting where about 300 religious leaders, including Ahmadinejad, discussed religion’s role in responding to global challenges and in building peace and understanding between societies. Shelly presented “the Anabaptist/Mennonite Christian perspective.” Mennonite Central Committee, American Friends Service Committee and three other religious organizations were the dialogue sponsors.