As we anticipate Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17) and as we practice Purposeful Acts of Kindness (as Bob Bruinsma encouraged us to do in the last issue), we would do well to heed kindness mascot Mister Rogers’ advice: “There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” In each moment of potential kindness, however, we must ask ourselves: What does kindness look like in this situation?
TOWARD THE END OF The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Frodo and Sam, on their way to destroy the Ring, take a rest “in a dark crevice between two great piers of rock” on the stairs of Cirith Ungol. As they rest, Sam gets to wondering: “‘I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?’”
The congregation I pastor is taking steps to become a “Restorative Congregation.” Based on principles of the restorative justice movement that emerged in the late 1970s, restorative congregations are places where every person has God-given worth, where no one is disposable, and where conflict and harm are most effectively addressed by attending to the needs of everyone affected.