November 5, 2023

We are all familiar with the October 7th surprise attack by the resistance group Hamas against unsuspecting Israelis. We also know about Israel’s relentless bombing campaign that started the next day and continues even to this moment. Let’s play a game. Thought experiment #1 Imagine you’ve been in a coma for two months, and you just woke up today. You turn on the TV to see what’s going on in the world, and all the news programs are talking about... Read more

November 2, 2023

Different format today! Pop some popcorn and settle in for my chat with Spiritual Brewpub’s Michael Camp (unsolicited: I highly recommend his Patheos blog and the many goodies on his website). Full disclosure: Michael did not offer me beer in exchange for being a guest on his podcast. I tend to think his “brewpub” might in fact be metaphorical. Just a hypothesis. (Commercial: if you question “business as usual” in Christianity – or want to question it – subscribe to... Read more

October 30, 2023

I met the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb during a visit to Bethlehem in 2013. At that time, he was pastoring Christmas Lutheran Church, and we talked a bit after the service. I’ve been fortunate to get to know Mitri since then on some of his many visits to the US. He is the Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, as well as a prolific author and compelling speaker.... Read more

October 28, 2023

It’s troubling to see, day after day, compassionate people doling out compassion with a teaspoon, as if too much empathy for the 3,000+ Palestinian children who have died in the past weeks will somehow leave too little for the 30 Israeli children killed on October 7th. And so we are carefully balancing our expressions of grief: half for this side, half for that side. Christians, our “fair and balanced” compassion makes Palestinians invisible. They feel unloved, unnoticed, unvalued. It doesn’t... Read more

October 24, 2023

Jesus died on a hill for defying the conventional “wisdom” of his day. Conventional wisdom says love your friends and hate your enemies; Jesus preaches that we should love all people. Conventional wisdom says shun and judge those who are different from you; Jesus tells us to help anyone in need. Conventional wisdom says those who are in prison deserve their punishment; Jesus came to set the captives free. Conventional wisdom expects the needy to lift themselves up by their... Read more

October 22, 2023

On Oct 7, the resistance group Hamas did not invade a peace-loving country. To Israelis, it may have felt tranquil and carefree – they were dancing, raising families on tree-lined streets, planning vacations abroad. Palestinians are pretty much invisible, locked as they are behind high concrete walls and driving on segregated roads. Israelis have never experienced the kind of invasion they got that day. The roles are usually reversed. This time Palestinians were killing, kidnapping, making a mess, causing panic... Read more

October 19, 2023

Alhamdulillah (thank God), after nine days of silence, prayer, and (not gonna lie) near despair, yesterday we heard from our family in Gaza. At last. Horea wants me to share her words with anyone who will read them. Will you take the time? (lightly edited, and yes, yesterday was my birthday, and again, shoutout to Google Translate) Hi, good evening. How are you, Aunt Kathy? How is Uncle Ziyad? I hope you are all well. I love you with all... Read more

October 17, 2023

At least 500 Palestinian people have been killed in a bombing of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza City. Just like that. UPDATE: Israel is now claiming – without providing evidence – that it did not bomb the hospital (kind of like it claimed that it did not kill Shireen Abu Akleh – until the truth came out). Time will tell. Israel has been demanding that Gazans in the north of their densely populated enclave flee to the south, also densely... Read more

October 15, 2023

As the world is gripped by the situation in Israel and Palestine – including Hamas – it is critical to be informed – it’s literally a matter of life and death. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that freedom brings with it an implicit responsibility – to actually know what you’re talking about. Without accurate knowledge, we only make things worse. By passing along misinformation, or poorly-informed opinions, we may inadvertently support the worst players As my husband and... Read more

October 9, 2023

People of faith, we can not hide our heads in the sand any longer. Today we learn from an expert what it’s like to sit through Israeli airstrikes. Below is part of a conversation I had with my dear niece Horea, and a message she wanted me to pass on to you. Horea lives in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. She is 26 and lives with her parents and eight younger siblings. She and I have been communicating... Read more

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