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Middle East

Learn more on the Office of Social Justice website.

Who Will Make Us Salty Again?

In 1 Peter 2:9-10, and in Matthew 5:14-16, and in Philippians 2:14-15, we are told that, having received mercy, having been given the role of light (in a world that so desperately needs it), and having God at work within us—we are to see ourselves as royalty. But how should being royalty make us act?

January Series: Our Picks

Have you seen the line-up for this year’s January Series from Calvin College yet? Every year, the college puts on a free series of talks on various issues of the day, presented at their campus in Grand Rapids and streamed online, as well as at remote sites across the continent. (Each address begins at 12:30 PM EST.) We commend Calvin for a diverse, high-quality line-up of speakers with important things to say, especially about justice and diversity. Here are our staff picks for this year.  

Worship Resources for Peace in a Time of Fear

In response to the San Bernardino shooting and increasingly hostile anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Office of Race Relations and Office of Social Justice have collaborated on this litany and prayer. The litany is drawn from the Christian Reformed Church’s three confessions, the Contemporary Testimony (Our World Belongs to God), and one Ecumenical Faith Declaration (Belhar Confession).

Litany

People of God, from where does your hope come this day?

Loving our Enemies on 9/11

On 9/11 the West was suddenly confronted with the reality of Islamic extremism in the form of Al-Qaeda and the ideology of Osama Bin Laden. We all woke up to the dangers of fundamentalism. This was especially true for the Church in North America. Since 9/11 and despite or, as some might argue, as a result of the war on terror, extremism has only increased. Now we hear constantly about ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, and other groups. Our own countries of the USA and Canada are more secure thanks to the efforts of Homeland Security and CSIS.

Not to Speak is to Speak

Can I be honest with you, reader? The last thing I want to do is write an article about Gaza.

Because in the face of what has just happened there, all the words that I keep trying to string together into some kind of meaningful or helpful thought seem superfluous, empty, and trite.

Listing the numbers also won’t do, as horrifying as they are.

2,168 people, killed.

521 children, killed.

12,000 people, injured.

500,000 people, displaced.

We are Iraqi, We are Christian

On our Salaam Project Facebook page, the post that has received the most views is one called “We are Iraqi, we are Christian.” The article describes Muslims standing alongside Christians in Baghdad protesting together the persecution of Christians in Mosul by ISIS or Islamic State. This parallels the #WeareN hashtag that is spreading over social media and that was recently highlighted in a post by Phil Reinders.

The Olive Trees of Cremisan

On the last afternoon of Christ at the Checkpoint conference several hundred of us stood on the ancient, stony terraces among the olive trees to celebrate a Eucharist of solidarity with the people of Beit Jala (pronounced ‘bait-yala’) –Bethlehem’s smaller sister. It was icy cold and rainy. “Why don’t we do this inside the nice warm monastery?” I thought to myself.

I would find out why a little later.

Good Enough

This is one of my favorite passages from Nicholas Wolterstorff. I first appreciated its significance on July 4, 2011, when I was living in Colombia, South America, participating in the Mennonite Central Committee’s Seed program. We were a mix of people from all the Americas: Peru, Colombia, Mexico, US, and Canada. On American Independence Day, with the smell of brownies in the oven and Taylor Swift playing in the background, we came together—not to celebrate our country, but to recognize where we came from.

Scholarships for 2014 Justice Conference

This winter, World Renew and the OSJ are able to offer up to 20 scholarships towards the registration cost of The Justice Conference, happening in Los Angeles, Friday evening February 21 through February 22. If you would like to apply for a scholarship to attend this conference let us know by filling out this application by January 20.

Review: Tiny Dancer by Anthony Flacco

“I had to admit I harbored the rudiments of racism, an unconscious attitude that I fight daily, but that none of us can totally escape,” writes Mary Pipher in her book The Middle of Everywhere. How true! As refugee committees we discuss who to sponsor even though in our mission statement we express the desire to help anyone from anywhere. We worry if our country will stay ‘Christian’ and be trouble free. We stereotype and show our fear of strangers especially those coming from Muslim nations, I would argue, because of their aptitude for violence and their notorious low value on females.

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