Eugene Cho

another perspective on israel and palestine

* Please take a few mins to view these pictures from the recent sitaution in Gaza.  Let me warn you that they are incredibly graphic and intense but lest our hearts grow hardened and desensitized:

As promised earlier, here’s another perspective on the tension between Israel and Palestine and why Israel should feel threatened and act in some way.  The article below in the NY Times is a good read as was the post I shared yesterday. I am not a radical Zionist since I don’t even quite know what that means anymore. As much as people try to cite history to support their views, I also believe that God chose Israel to carry out His plan of redemption for the larger world and while this many not include the totality of Israel from a political or statehood perspective, the “people” of Israel is still part of God’s future plans as well.  The important thing we need to all remember is that God’s plan of salvation, redemption, and grace is not just for one nation or people but the larger creation – including Palestinians.  Isn’t this the good news?

We’re all aware of the Holocaust but what do we really know besides numbers?  In my lifetime, I find it incredibly provocative that in the 38 years of living thus far and in the numerous places I’ve traveled around the world, I have always encountered some form of random prejudice and borderline animosity/hatred for Israel and/or Jewish people.  On occasions, I have asked these people – men or women, young or old, Western or Eastern – why they have such views and most don’t have the slightest clue.  But they do and worse, there are those who seek to eradicate their existence.  Why?  

This doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of human right or international guidelines but something for us to consider.  Peace and shalom.   I yearn for the day when God will restore all.  Until that day, may we wrestle and work towards that Kingdom.

Take 10 minutes to read this NY Times opinion column entitled, Why Israel Feels Threatened: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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