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Peace & War

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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?

Welcoming Refugees: From Compassion to Action in 4 Steps

I remember the excitement I felt when our refugee friends walked into the waiting area at O’Hare. The little group from our church did not know how to speak to them, but we had attempted some signs in Arabic and brought small gifts and flowers to try to show them a warm welcome.

We Were Once Strangers Too

I first started truly learning about the Syrian refugee crisis in November 2015, when I heard about children dying and boats capsizing and sentiments expressed in off-hand comments like "Why should we let them in? They're not refugees, they're just migrants."

The Sanctity of Life in the Heidelberg Catechism: The Sixth Commandment

In his comments on the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder,” John Calvin writes, “The purport of this commandment is that since the Lord has bound the whole human race by a kind of unity, the safety of all ought to be considered as entrusted to each.” As creatures made in God’s image, we are called to do whatever is required to “defend the life of our neighbor; to promote whatever tends to his tranquility, to be vigilant in warding off harm, and, when danger comes, to assist in removing it” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.8.39).

The Burden of Palestinian Christians’ Oppression

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

So You're Going to the Holy Land?

As I listened, the truth became clear to me: These are not issues. They are people. 

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