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Middle East

Learn more on the Office of Social Justice website.

An Indigenous Therapeutic

In the Fall of 2018 I visited Palestine-Israel. Our Palestinian tour guide was also an Israeli citizen. He was one of only 60 officially recognized Palestinian guides. This is in contrast with the 5,000 plus Jewish tour guides. This discrepancy tells you who’s story gets told.

Violence Against Christians: Degradation of the Sacred and the Holy in Jerusalem

Just this past week, I heard a colleague of mine - a missionary for an international Christian agency based in Jerusalem - tell how he was spat upon when coming out of a worship service in the Old City of Jerusalem. The story of priests and Christian leaders experiencing harassment, jeering, and even the throwing of stones is not new in the sacred Holy City. Unfortunately, the number of incidents has risen dramatically this past year, and the safety and security of local Christians living in the region has become increasingly at risk. 

Allahu Akbar - Finding God in Umm El Kheir

The Arabic phrase Allahu Akbar might be literally translated as “God is the greatest.” It is an expression we often hear in the American media devoid of any theological significance and as a trope to justify discrimination against Muslims and Islamic believers in God (Allah). And yet - for many religious Muslims - it is simply a reminder that God is in control and worthy to be praised. 

The Holy Land Unplugged: American Christian Investment and Responsible Pilgrimage

As I write this, I am en route to the Holy Land … A place that I hold deep in my heart and that is sacred to many believers around the world. The land is holy and has such rich history and theological significance. But the “holy land” can not be understood apart from the contemporary geopolitics between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. And today, the realities on the ground continue to escalate with some of the worst violence we’ve seen in years.

Armenia: Land of Saint Gregory the Illuminator

A country only the size of Maryland, many American Christians might not know about the hidden gem of Armenia, nestled in the South Caucuses with Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran at the southern border, and Turkey to the west. The capital city of Yerevan is shadowed by the most spectacular view of Mount Ararat, where Christian explorers claim to have found remnants of Noah’s Ark beneath the snow and volcanic debris in 2010.

Justice Prayers - November 16, 2022

"I pray to God—my life a prayer— and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning." - Psalm 130:5-6 MSG

Going to Church

I took going to church for granted growing up. 

I grew up in a CRC home where church was expected twice a Sunday along with catechism classes, cadets, and youth group mixed in there somewhere. Mostly I would complain if my parents forced me to go. I would sullenly sit and stir up trouble in any way I could without the pastor, cadet counselor, or youth leader feeling compelled to call my dad. I not only took it for granted; I rebelled against it.

Justice Prayers - September 7, 2022

"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." - Isaiah 58:10 (NLT)

Justice for Shireen

Shireen Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who worked with Al Jazeera for 25 years. She was beloved by the Palestinian community and well known for reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the Arab world, Shireen Abu Akleh’s name was well known, even before her death. Shireen exhibited courage and thoughtful principled analysis in her reporting. Many thought her an inspiration for women interested in pursuing a career in journalism. From a Melkite Catholic family, she was born in Jerusalem and lived in the United States during her early life.

Christian Religious Liberty in Egypt

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of spending three weeks in Egypt. I travel regularly to Egypt for my work with Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), but it was my husband’s first time in the country. Thus, we did some of the prerequisite things like getting our pictures taken at the pyramids and traveling along the Nile River to learn about the thousands of years of ancient history when the Egyptian empire existed at the center of civilization. 

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