A song that shows how war can destroy your humanity

tel aviv rally

This video was recorded in Tel Aviv by Ha'aertz journalist Haim Har-Zahav. The lyrics of the chant start off with an attack against the Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi saying that he's a terrorist and he needs to have his papers taken away from him. Then it comes to a line that is chilling to the bone: "There's no more school in Gaza; there are no children left. Ole! Ole!" The full transcript is provided by Ali Abunimah. I know there's no answer to the following question but I'll ask it anyway. … [Read more...]

An enemy is someone whose story you haven’t heard


A couple of weeks ago, Brian Zahnd preached a sermon on the healing of Naaman the Syrian commander by the Israelite prophet Elisha. He pointed out that Naaman was the head of an army that had been at war with the Israelites for years, so the analogy today would be if an Israelite prophet had healed the commander of Hamas. Zahnd made a profound statement as part of his sermon that I've been contemplating over the past couple of weeks: "An enemy is someone whose story you haven't heard." Jesus … [Read more...]

When children get in the way of our boundaries in Gaza and California

gaza kid

Children get in the way. It's what they do. My children get in my way all the time whenever I want to have a simple Gnostic life where I don't have to acknowledge the physical world outside of my laptop. My youngest son is the worst. He'll say things like "Daddy, I just want to spend some time with you," and then I can't just turn back to whatever I was doing. I was running on the beach with him last night, and I had a chilling moment. A wave hit him and he fell over and I panicked for an … [Read more...]

Looking Back on 2012: Oct-Dec

Since it's the last day of 2012, I have to cover three months in this final post of looking back so I'm going to give myself 12 posts from the past three months instead of just 10. This fall, we experienced two alternatives for responding to an election season: preachers endorsing political candidates from the pulpit or Christians coming together across the political spectrum to celebrate communion. Jerry Sandusky got convicted for his crimes, so I asked what would need to happen for him to … [Read more...]

Can Israel love its enemies in Gaza and keep its people safe?

I realize I've had blogorrhea lately about the Gaza crisis. This is probably my last piece on it, taking a more theological angle considering Jesus' command to love your enemies as a pragmatic foreign policy strategy and also proposing that we understand Satan to be the Great Terrorist who makes us all terrorists to varying degrees according to our influences, privilege, desperation, and access to tools of violence. I'm cautiously hopeful because the Israel/Gaza ceasefire scheduled for 2 pm EST … [Read more...]

What counts as terrorism?

I realize I'll get in trouble for writing this. I hope you can love me even when God puts it on my heart to advocate for people whose existence has been delegitimized with the label of "terrorism." And I hope you understand that my advocacy does not connote moral approval of very evil things that have been done and are being done. I used to be a youth pastor to kids who society had written off on account of their being "gang-bangers" and "illegal aliens," and I discovered they were beautiful … [Read more...]

The disaster of not talking with your enemies

One of the most cogent things that Barack Obama said during his 2008 presidential campaigns was that he would sit down with America's enemies since it's bad strategy to "punish" them by not talking with them. He was widely ridiculed by people whose heroes Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon accomplished their greatest foreign policy achievements with the USSR and China precisely through their willingness to treat America's enemies with dignity, which happened in a different time before American … [Read more...]

Six things I can say about Gaza

It's hard to articulate a legitimate Christian response to the tragedy in Gaza right now. My inclination is to take the side of the underdog and go against all of my fellow evangelicals whose commitment to Israel's absolute infallibility helps make Israel unaccountable for the $3 billion of our tax dollars that they get each year. But there's no way to justify the rockets that the Gazans are firing at Israel from a moral or even a strategic perspective. And I can understand that if people are … [Read more...]

Five kids that God cares about

Below are pictures of five kids that God cares about. … [Read more...]

Three images about Gaza that speak for themselves

My heart is sick at what is happening in Gaza right now. I can't think clearly enough to write with the sensitivity that I want to have in saying anything about that conflict so I'm going to minimize what I say for now, but I need you to see three things so you can understand why I'm fasting today and hopefully have your eyes opened to a tremendous blasphemy that is being done to the name of God and His desire for peace, mercy, and justice to reign over the Earth. … [Read more...]