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...]

The only two sides of any human conflict for Christians who love their enemies

arab jewish kid

We live in a world that loves to draw lines between "us" and "them." This line-drawing has grown very loud in recent days between supporters of the two sides in the Israel/Gaza conflict. Either it's God's chosen people vs. a degenerate race of terrorists or it's the colonial racist imperialists vs. their oppressed victims. Both easy narratives are deeply unjust to the history of the conflict. Many evangelical Christians in my generation "stand with Gaza" at least partly because our parents' … [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...]

Anti-semitism, apartheid, and sensitivity in talking about Israel

John Kerry got in trouble. His crime, as Israeli columnist Noam Sheifaz put it, was "speculating that theoretically, in the distant future, Israel could do something bad." Specifically, he said that unless a two-state solution can be brokered between Israel and Palestine, Israel will either end up with a democratic society without a Jewish majority or an apartheid state in which Palestinians don't have equal rights. The problem was that he said the word apartheid. And the right-wing pundits have … [Read more...]

Yom Kippur: What does atonement mean?

Today is Yom Kippur, Judaism's day of atonement. It's a day for fasting, repentance, and healing. Atonement is a concept that Christianity inherited from Judaism. Jesus' cross is our Yom Kippur for our sins. The Hebrew word kippur means most literally "to cover." In English, atonement is a compound of three words: at-one-ment. So what is being made "at one" with atonement? And how does being "covered" by something make us "at one"? … [Read more...]

Israeli youth picks prison over occupation

I just came across this video from Nathan Blanc, a 19 year old Israeli who has refused the mandatory time of service in the Israeli military because of his objection to the occupation of Palestine. Israeli law does not allow for conscientious objectors so they are sent to prison if they refuse to serve. Hear what he has to say and judge for yourself, and then check out this link to an article about other Israeli youth who are picking prison over occupation. … [Read more...]

Biblical Zion requires a one-state solution

The UN General Assembly today passed a resolution to grant Palestine "observer-state status," which Palestinian Authority premier Mahmoud Abbas declared the "last chance to save the two-state solution." I'm actually opposed to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. I don't think it can be supported Biblically, because the Biblical prophecy about Zion in Isaiah 2:2-4 says that it's the mountain of the Lord's temple to which "all the nations will stream" in order to receive God's judgment … [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...]