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Peace & War

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September 11—A Reflection

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

“Now we are part of a community”: Youhanna, Yosra, & Abeer

Youhanna and Yosra, and their four adult children Martin, Alen, Aiden, and Abeer are from Qaraqosh, Iraq. In 2014 they were forced to flee their home when ISIS invaded and destroyed their predominantly Christian area. After spending several years in asylum in Lebanon, they had the good fortune of being sponsored to come to Canada by Harvest Bible Chapel. Martin arrived in September of 2017 and the rest of the family arrived in January of 2018.

Shifting Views on Israel-Palestine

The news from Israel and the Palestinian territories seldom sounds hopeful. More often than not, the more we learn about the many complex layers of the conflict, the more discouraged we can become about the prospects for the future. When I speak about the realities on the ground there, people frequently ask me: What does hope look like?

I Didn’t Know

As a black Christian with roots in the south and the Baptist church, I always knew that the Jewish people were important. Their struggle in the book of Exodus was likened to the struggle of slaves in the south – “Go Down Moses”, that great Negro Spiritual.

Religious Persecution...in Israel?

Israel is widely touted as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” Other Middle Eastern countries have governmental structures ranging from absolute dictatorship to one party systems where, although the population has the right to vote, only one view is permissible. Israel, however, has a multi-party system with electoral representation, a judiciary and an executive body. At a glance, it appears that the system is similar to that of the United States. Consequently, many people assume that religious freedom, a democratic value, is a given in Israel.

Home

I became personally involved in questions of justice in Palestine/Israel because of a friendship with someone who grew up and went to the Catholic school in Jerusalem. He had to leave in 1967 and has no right of return to his home. It is a great sadness for him. Now he does not want to go back because he would not be able to bear going there while his homeland is under Israeli military occupation.

Is Jesus a Zionist?

Jesus would find modern Zionism peculiar. More than that, in his own day, he rejected the closest thing to it. But first let’s explain our terms.

History in the Making: The Tearing Apart of Jerusalem

From the very first mention in the Scriptures Salem, the city of peace, was known for its hospitality under the leadership of the high priest and king, Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20). Salem is believed to be the historical precursor to the modern day Holy City of Jerusalem. Known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim and in Arabic as al-Quds, Jerusalem’s multi-religious landscape includes the sacred sites of the three major Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Clinging to a God who Carries Tragedy Around

I went to a concert in Toronto last night. Donovan Woods played the Danforth Music Hall. He walked on stage, hat in hand, and said (paraphrased): “I live in Toronto too. And I’m thinking about that van that hit those pedestrians on Monday. And I’m going to keep thinking about it, all night. And I’m going to sing some songs. And I’ll probably tell some jokes. But the whole time I’ll be thinking about it. And so will you. And that’s okay.”

What is Happening in Israel and Palestine?

Over the Easter weekend, the news media was once again flooded with violent images coming out of Israel and Palestine. We saw groups of masked Palestinians stoke fires made of tires while thick smoke rose into the grey-blue Gazan sky. On the other side of the barrier fence we saw Israeli artillery vehicles shoot teargas to disperse the crowds, and a hundred snipers shoot live ammunition as the people ran for cover. What is going on over there? Will the violence ever end?

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