• Jesus-Shalom is the communication sphere of Anvil Trust using the mediums of podcast, blog and live video conversations and discussions. It explores provocative biblical and contemporary issues from shalom perspectives, plus regular interviews with ‘Shalom Activists’ working in diverse roles.

    Visit Jesus-Shalom
  • Anvil Trust is the centrepoint and legal foundation of a movement whose purpose is to articulate, advocate and advance an understanding and activism based on a Jesus-centred all-inclusive vision of shalom, through Workshop learning, Peacemeal community and Jesus-Shalom podcasts.

    Visit Anvil Trust
  • Workshop is the learning sphere of Anvil Trust.  Creating safe yet brave spaces to explore a spirituality that inspires understanding, formation and activism from a Jesus-centred shalom. Value-focused, inclusive and empowering, it offers resources, courses and live video conversations.

    Visit Workshop
  • Peacemeal is the community-building sphere of Anvil Trust. Inspired by the ‘table-fellowship’ of Jesus every meal can become a portal for nurturing relationship, developing community, spiritual encounter and radical social change. We are a catalyst to reveal and inspire radical table possibilities.

    Visit Peacemeal


Peace, spirituality, values, and activism
from a Jesus perspective

The “what” of “Jesus-Shalom”

In my previous post I spoke about the “why” of this website. In particular I noted that this site exists to provide a place for engaging the connection between Jesus and shalom. It exists to explore how this connection might inform—perhaps even transform—both sides of the hyphen: how understandings of Jesus might inform our sense of shalom; and how our understandings of shalom might inform our sense of Jesus.

In this post I turn to the “what” of the website–the kinds of things we might explore within our “Jesus-shalom connection.

Given the inclusive nature of shalom, are explorations can, in principle, be all-inclusive—extending to personal and interpersonal spheres of life; communal and social spheres; and even political and ecological spheres. No area of life is off limits.

But within these rather expansive parameters, we do have some particular areas of focus that we will return to, again and again. For the sake of simplicity, we can call these “identity,” “spirituality,” and “ecology.”

“Identity” has to do with all those things that go into making us who we are, the ways we distinguish ourselves as individuals, communities, countries, and species. In particular, Jesus-Shalom will be attentive to matters of gender and sexuality, race and class.

“Spirituality” has to do with the different ways contemporary people are “religious.” This includes, of course, what those in the West have called traditional religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, etc.), but it also includes a range of practices and explorations that don’t necessarily fit within only one of these “religions”—they are often a blending hybrid—or emerge outside of these traditions (e.g., indigenous spiritualities).

“Ecology,” of course, has to do with our inclusive planetary environment and our more local ecosystems (or watersheds).

These are rough definitions—really more like place-holders, for the time being. And we will be providing more specificity and clarity in the course of our conversations. But for now it is worth mentioning one further comment: these areas of engagement are frequently mentioned by those who are leaving (or have left) Christian belief, behaviour, and belonging. Our host culture (in the West) increasingly things, feels, and acts as though Christians have nothing of value to contribute to these three contemporary challenges.

Put a different way, our contemporary world (again, in the West) has changed with regard to each of these areas of life and culture—identity, spirituality, ecology—and many (especially younger generations) have found these changes attractive and compelling, authentic and life-giving. And when they turned to Christian churches and theologies, they have found either a generally negative posture toward these contemporary developments (at worst), or a mostly negative posture with only minimal resources for making Christian “sense” of these new realities.

Here at Jesus-Shalom we wish to take up a different posture, one that is generally positive toward contemporary cultural developments around identity, spirituality, and ecology. That is not to say, of course, that there aren’t places of reservation and caution, question and critique. But we wish to offer such caution, question, and critique from within a fundamental orientation of acknowledgement and acceptance, assent and affirmation. And within this positive orientation, we wish to develop Jesus-centred and shalom-oriented accounts of identity, spirituality, and ecology that are both credible and practical, that is, showing good thinking and supportive of good living.

So that is the unique niche that Jesus-Shalom seeks to occupy—Jesus-centred and world-embracing shalom, with regard to identity, spirituality, and ecology, in personal, interpersonal, social, political, and environmental life. That is a bit field to play in. But both Jesus and shalom suggest it can’t be otherwise.

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