All tagged God

An Obligation to Justice

Jesus turning the tables of the money changers

Recently, I had a conversation with an evangelical Christian who argued that a focus on social justice among Christians distracts from the “real issues,” especially evangelism and discipleship. This person argued that we just need to trust Jesus and primarily focus on the spiritual needs of people. However, when I read Scripture, I see a God of justice and a faith that is lived out in action (James 2:14-17).

Is your empathy boundaried?

I regularly walk in Jerusalem by a Jewish neighborhood that borders a Palestinian one, and while Palestinians can cross freely into the Jewish one, and I into the Palestinian one, I rarely do anymore. A simple street runs between the two neighborhoods, but it represents something bigger, a divide that is not meant to be crossed. A few years ago it was easier, but since then X-marked blocks, raids, attacks and more have come and gone, and Israeli security guards intermittently patrol the area.

Rampant Radical Rhetoric

I’m a person who likes to read. I read widely and appreciate many styles and genres including news, non-fiction, journalism, poetry, theology, literature, academic and scientific writing and many kinds of fiction. I tend, however, to stay away from, or only occasionally visit, the popular forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter. After all, I can’t read everything. . . 

Diversity: Between Apocalyptics and Advocates

As Christians, we believe that as a community we should get along, yet at times we fail at implementing this ideal. On a collective scale, there are significant differences between the Messianic Jewish community and the Palestinian Evangelical community regarding how we view peace and how we put it into practice. Of course this is a generalization and there are individuals who think differently than the majority, but collectively, we are moving in distinctly opposite directions.

Choose the Light

In this dark season our hearts turn to the ever rising sun where, day upon day, it rises from the embrace of the night. So it is with our souls-mornings do come, whether misted, fogged or bright. In this season of long nights, the star from the East once rose, lit the night sky, sent Magi on their long journey, seeking and finding the promised One who came to illuminate the darkness with his presence, the promise of deliverance. He has come and his light shattered the power of darkness forever. In this place where it all began, we carry this ever bright reality in the midst of a fallen world and an increasingly perverse generation.

To the Suffering: A Holiday Message of Love

As I write this Christmas post, my heart is heavy as I’m reminded of the millions of Iraqi/Syrian refugees that will be spending this season away from their homes and families. I’m also reminded of the Palestinian mothers who will be spending this season missing their sons/daughters who have been killed in the latest round of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Yom Kippur We All Need and Guilt We All Share

This year I have heard dozens of theories tossed around about the Jewish holiday season, replete with blood moons and shmitas and other “signs,” which may or may not be significant. But I think those things are mere distractions from what is really central to seeing the healing and refreshment that we so desire and often fast for, and the guilt we all share and need to repent from.

Deserts and Dreams

Whether plants or people, there are times and seasons in every life. Each one has its beauty and its blessing, its pain and sometimes sorrow. Summer in Israel/Palestine, with its unending, relentless heat, dryness and desert winds, seems an overly long season this year. Perhaps it’s the tedious stream of almost daily, or at least weekly, “incidents” that plague our region, or the flow of ludicrous statements from our politicians, or maybe it’s the way the world looks on and loudly trumpets its opinions about everything that happens here.

Pass the Peace

Peace has to be one of the most misunderstood and elusive concepts in our world. Everyone talks about it, but few have any concept of what it means. In Israel, we say shalom (peace) when we meet someone and when we say goodbye to them. When we greet one another and say “how are you;” we are literally saying “how’s your peace?” We frame our relationships with words of peace, yet the very prevalence of the word seems to empty it of meaning, trivializing the enormity of the concept.