• Light A Candle

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog!

    Join 1,461 other followers

  • Blog Archive

  • Recent Posts

  • Share this blog

    Bookmark and Share
  • Categories

  • del.icio.us

  • Blog with Integrity

    BlogWithIntegrity.com

  • Facebook Badge

  • Javarain

    • RT @renato_mariotti: Forcing someone to respect the flag is not patriotism. It’s totalitarianism. Our nation is about freedom, not fascism.<a href="http://www.twitter.com/Javarain"><img src="http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/twitter-b.png" alt="Follow Javarain on Twitter"/></a> 5 days ago
    • RT @thehill: JUST IN: Tillerson breaks with Trump: Staying in Iran deal is in US's best interest hill.cm/ZWbG62r https://t.co/3aSI9…<a href="http://www.twitter.com/Javarain"><img src="http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/twitter-b.png" alt="Follow Javarain on Twitter"/></a> 5 days ago
  • October 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Blog Stats

    • 15,220 hits

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem


English: "(...) Entry of Pilgrims into Be...

English: “(…) Entry of Pilgrims into Bethlehem at Christmas time. It was taken in 1890.” (text from same source) Note: At the source of this picture, several pictures portray Christmas in Bethlehem in 1898 (not 1890). This picture seems to be the only exception. It could be that the indicated date is actually a typo… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Autograph manuscript of first stanza ...

English: Autograph manuscript of first stanza of O Little Town of Bethlehem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On December 21st, our family will be gathering with others in worship for the seventh annual joint simulcast Christmas service with the people of Bethlehem at the Washington National Cathedral.

Prayers, readings, and hymns alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine via the Internet, bringing together people of different lands, languages, and ethnic backgrounds in celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace.

In this age of turmoil and religious strife, it may be a surprise to some to know that Christians have religious freedom in Palestine and that Christmas and other Holy Days are celebrated vigorously!

The carol, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, was inspired by a pilgrim’s first visit to Bethlehem many years ago. This year it will acquire new meaning for me as we join in song with the “Living Stones”, as the descendents of the first followers of Jesus call themselves today. Let me encourage you to visit and attend church services in Palestine when you make your pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Inspiration awaits.

Learn more about the writer of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, Philip Brooks and his journey, below.

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/o_little_town_of_bethlehem.htm

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/HTML/christmas_classics_videos.htm#Chap_02

Palestinian Outrage at Romney Is Understandable


During his visit to Israel last week, Mitt Romney remarked that Israel was so much further advanced than the surrounding

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948 (Photo credit: BlatantWorld.com)

nations, comparing “her” quite clearly with Palestine… which, due to Israel’s control, isn’t permitted to have the status of being a state or nation.

One Democrat here at home commented that if Romney made such gaffes while he was a tourist, imagine what he would do as President.

I’m fed up with both the GOP and the DEMS, to be honest, but to blame the victim for being poor and “uncultured”, touched a nerve. Below, you’ll find two articles by others who reacted unfavorably.

Dear Mr. Romney: Palestinians are Poor Because You Stole from them and Kept them Stateless.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.”


Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bombe...

Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bomber Stopped in Gaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage (Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

I wish this title were true, or even wishful thinking. There are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and this incident illustrates it well.

I’ve heard that at this time when the Palestinians are increasing their efforts at non-violent negotiations and protests, the Israelis are increasing their aggressive behaviors.

As I watched the following short, YouTube clip sent by a Christian friend, several thoughts ran through my mind.

What is Done in Secret?  uL-GmYBNDqY

Sure, the young protesters were there to provoke a response, but they were non-violent. They were present in Israel to call attention to the violence and injustice done towards Palestinians, something seldom seen in the Western press, and not deemed important by American Christians.

That there are real security concerns in Israel is a fact.  The IDF is trained to suspect all Palestinians of the most egregious crimes and behaviors.  They do not differentiate. Imagine an entire nation labeled “Terrorist Killers”! This includes small children, pregnant women, old women and hard working farmers who are Muslim and Christian.

That there is an over diligence and over reaction often to the point of bullying on the part of the IDF and the Government is a well documented fact.

Let’s give the Lt. Col. who over reacted, the benefit of the doubt: PTSD, Family troubles, Stress, Depression, Economic problems may have entered in.  But, consider what happens in similar situations to a lone Palestinian farmer who doesn’t have a camera following him, when he argues with a soldier about the confiscation of his land?

Read what blogger Emily L. Hauser, who left Israel because of their policies toward the Palestinians, has to say.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.” « Emily L. Hauser – In My Head.

Musalaha: Breaking Down the Dividing Wall of Hostility


Deutsch: Musalaha Camp der jungen Erwachsenen ...

Musalaha Camp Summer 2010 in Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musalaha is an organization in Palestine that is doing a great and practical work. It brings Israeli and Palestinian teenagers together, often for the first time in their lives.

http://www.musalaha.org/

UN demands end to Israel demolitions in West Bank


UN demands end to Israel demolitions in West Bank – Yahoo! News.

Practicing Peace


The word, “Peace”, seems to irritate some Christians. They want to qualify it in “spiritual” terms, not “Hippie” peace and love…Secular terms…How many times have I seen the bumper sticker, “Know Jesus, Know Peace. No Jesus, No Peace”
Peace! I get that, I really do. I’m thankful for a peaceful heart and relationship with my creator and it has grown as I’ve matured in my faith.
But, many church people I know squash talk of peace with a knowing shake of their heads and a quote from a well-known passage in the Old Testament, though out of context:
“Peace, Peace, and there is no Peace”,  in context, it referred to false prophets who soothed Israel in ancient times, telling the Jews that everything would be okay, when it wasn’t.  In other words, Liars.
I understand where they’re coming from when Evangelicals do this. We believe and experience that Christ brings peace to our hearts through His forgiveness and love.
So it’s frustrating and painful to watch people struggle towards peace outside of that transforming faith and love, when we know darn well that nothing short of a “miracle” will bring it. So, Christians/Evangelicals just don’t think it’s “worth the trouble”. Why bother?
Here’s where I disagree.
Jesus said in His sermon on the mountain, “Happy are those who work for peace for God will call them his children”.  I think He was serious about wanting people’s hearts to have a peaceful transformation leading to peace.  If we’re not out there mixing with people who aren’t peaceful, how on earth can this transformation take place?  I guess you could say, I expect God to show up in the midst of the process, in unexpected ways!
My experience in Evangelical Churches in the USA where I live and worship is that people often respond negatively to good news coming out of the Arab World. I’m told frankly that it is because of the church’s “Biblical” foundations which they feel excludes the Arab world from…? The Peace Process?
However, there are a growing number of followers of Christ around the world who, despite criticism from devout believers, are working to break down barriers to peace in the Holy Land, hoping to exclude neither Jew, Palestinian, nor Christian from the process.  I like to count myself among that number.

The “Christ at the Check Point” Conference,  http://christatthecheckpoint.com/ , in Bethlehem is one place where all of us come together to learn from Palestinian believers how it is done.

Read this article by Munther Isaac, Academic Dean of Bethlehem Bible College to learn more.

How Evangelicals Are Learning to Be Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Pro-Justice and Always Pro-Jesus
by Munther Isaac

Many evangelicals, who were discouraged by the failed prophecies and the “mood of doom” that dominated the evangelical church in the second half of the 20th century, are rediscovering that the gospel also speaks powerfully to issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation. Books about the end times, such as those written by Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey, no longer dominate the bookshops, and people are being challenged by writings that focuses on the here and now, instead of the there and then!

In particular, the evangelical church typically has looked at the Middle East through the eyes of prophecy, leaning towards an unconditional support for Israel. Evangelicals in the West cheered the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent wars, believing them to be signs of the second coming of Christ—all the while neglecting the impact these events had on real people in the Middle East, specifically on Palestinians, and especially on the Palestinian Church.

The irony for Palestinian Christians is that evangelicals, with their over-emphasis on prophecy, have lost the capacity of being prophetic!

In many cases, when Palestinian Christians (or those who are sympathetic to them) share their take on things, they are demonized, ridiculed, and even accused of being anti-Semitic. The mere presence and voice of Palestinian Christians presents a dilemma for many Christian Zionists, who prefer a simple black-and-white perspective. But over the years, Palestinian Christians have challenged the Western church to consider what it means to be the church. They have reminded them of the importance of justice and peacemaking. If our theology produces apathy to injustice, it must be re-examined. In the words of Carl Medearis, “If your end-times theology trumps the clear commands in Scripture to love neighbors and enemies, then it is time to rethink your theology.”

Many who come to visit the “Holy Land” are troubled by the situation of Palestinians, and are beginning to ask questions about the occupation and the injustices that Palestinians are facing on a daily basis.
Facts do not lie. There is still the problem of about 5 million refugees, of whom about 1.8 million still live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and the surrounding Arab countries. The 700 kilometer-long (435 mile) separation wall continues to affect the lives of Palestinians, leaving thousands living in isolated ghettos. The building of this wall has been judged illegal by the International Court of Justice.

The building of settlements continues to complicate matters for Palestinians and remains one of the biggest obstacles to peace. Though Palestinians and Israelis share the same water resources, per capita use in Israel is three and a half times higher than in the West Bank, due to water restrictions placed on Palestine by Israel. The Israeli military occupation is the longest occupation in modern history. Any visitor to the Palestinian areas cannot escape these realities. Checkpoints, the wall, refugee camps, land confiscations, and lack of water define the reality of Palestinians.

More and more evangelicals are paying attention to the Palestinian Church and its testimony and ministry in the midst of the conflict; the writings of Elias Chacour, Naim Ateek, Mitri Raheb, and Alex Awad are good examples, along with the nonviolent peace activities and advocacy by Palestinian Christian organizations. There are also the writings of many Western evangelicals who are sympathetic to Palestinians, and new documentaries that offer a different perspective, such as With God on Our Side and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

Then there is the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference, in and of itself a big example of this change. Among the confirmed speakers for 2012 are ESA’s Ron Sider and Paul Alexander, John Ortberg, Lynne Hybels, Shane Clainborne, Tony Campolo, Samuel Rodriguez, Sang Bok David Kim, and many more.
In addition to the international speakers, local Palestinian and Messianic Jewish leaders will share their own experiences and offer diverse perspectives. Participants will meet Palestinian Christians, and be able to listen and see first-hand the realities on the ground, as seen through the eyes of the people.

Lynne Hybels, co-founder of the Willow Creek Church with her husband Bill, has described her discovery of the church in Palestine. She concluded after many journeys, “I am still pro-Israel, but I’ve also become pro-Palestine, pro-peace, and pro-justice and pro-equality for Jews and Arabs living as neighbors in the Holy Land. And the bottom line is always: pro-Jesus!”

If more Christians go to Bethlehem in 2012 and leave with the same attitude, we can start looking at this part of the world with hope, in a time when it is desperately needed.

Munther Isaac is the Vice Academic Dean at Bethlehem Bible College and a PhD candidate at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies. He is also the director of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference. Learn more about the event.

Mustafa Tamimi Has Died


It is reported that Palestinian protester, Mustafa Tamimi, picked up and threw rocks at the IDF, thus compromising a Peaceful Protest. Of course, he was wrong to let his passion move him to throwing rocks.

For those who think, it is impossible for Palestinians to be “peaceful”, you should know that many of these peaceful protests have originated out of the Palestinian Evangelical Christian Church working alongside Muslims.

“Point is that the IDF should not use a tear gas canister like a projectile weapon. It should be aimed up into the crowd for dispersal, not in a protestor’s face. There are ways of dispersing crowds, and the IDF soldier will ultimately go unpunished.”

Warning: The video feed has a very gruesome scene.

Mustafa Tamimi has died | Mondoweiss.