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:  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/12/israel_and_gaza.html

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: Continue reading “another perspective on israel and palestine”

one perspective on israel and palestine

Like many of you, I have been following the recent escalation of tension and Israel’s “all our war” on Gaza with much sadness, frustration, and prayer.  As a usual sympathizer with Israel for various reasons, I have been appalled at the current assault and the lack of strong condemnation by the U.S. leaders including both the current president and president elect.  

The issues are immensely complex and Hamas had “something coming” [in my opinion] but the fallout on this “all-out assault” will only escalate to more deaths – on both sides and on both sides of the ocean.  As you’re reading up on news wherever you are, also check out these additional news sources: BBC News  and Al Jazeera.

I’m currently on vacation so I don’t have time to write more but I do want to “share” couple posts by others – today and tomorrow to engage your thoughts.  This is a note that one of our church folks, Cyra, wrote and I thought it was worth sharing [with her permission].

Question:  What do you think?

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Here’s Cyra’s thoughts on Israel and Palestine:

I’m no blogger, but Matt’s at work, and he’s sick of listening to me vent about Israel and Palestine anyway.

One of the hardest parts of growing up, I think, is learning that some of the things you were taught as a child are just wrong. Fortunately for me, as my worldview has shifted, so has my parents’, so we are able to agree that some of the things they taught me were wrong. One example is the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

As a child, all I ever heard about Israel and Palestine was that Israel is constantly under attack and that as Christians it is our duty to support Israel (since the Jews are God’s chosen people) and encourage our government to do the same. I heard this at home, but mostly I heard this at the various churches I attended. Just writing this, I can feel anger swelling up inside me toward all the people who propagated this lie, until I remind myself that many of those people, my parents included, were simply unaware of the truth of the situation and had been lied to themselves. Continue reading “one perspective on israel and palestine”

george bush and the shoe-throwing journalist

George Bush and his legacy as President of the United States?  What do you think?  Is it too early to tell since the war on terror will mark the legacy of his presidency?

When he was sworn in eight years ago, who would have thunk things would have turned out in this manner.  Even folks in his own party have dismissed him, opposed his leadership and pleas, and he was clearly ignored at his own party’s convention.  Now, I know that 9/11 changed everything but who would have thunk?  So much convoluted thoughts in my head bit let me share four random things including the news of the shoe-throwin’ journalist: 

from BBC News Continue reading “george bush and the shoe-throwing journalist”

the abortion conversation – the sequel

I really need to do a better job in following up on sequels to earlier posts.  This is the sequel to the original The Abortion Conversation which sparked some good and intense dialogue.

A commenter wrote:

Eugene said:
“However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal.”

Instead of “abortion”, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft.  How does it read then?  Is cost any reason not to criminalize an act where another person is harmed?  Obviously, we still have murders and other crimes even though it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it. Continue reading “the abortion conversation – the sequel”

gratitude and prayers on veterans day

Let me begin by sharing my appreciation for all veterans and their service and sacrifice for this country.  I am able to enjoy certain blessings, privileges, freedoms, and benefits because of those that sought to preserve such liberties.  The world has witnessed the rise of those who would seek to destroy the gift of freedom and liberties and there were those who sacrficed to oppose such forces.   May our country, in our righteousness and power, distinguish between aggressors and protectors. 

My parents were children of the Korean War.  The stories they share are as hard to believe as the “When I was a kid, I used to walk 12 miles to school” stories.  My father served in the US Army.  We have several folks that are currently serving in the military in our church community.  Couple have already served stints in Iraq and may need to return in the near future.  I hide no reservations in my stance of being against this war but despite my opposition to the war, I do not want my support and appreciation for our troops to be feint.  And through our “merger” with Interbay Church 1.5 years ago, I have personally heard the stories of several who served in the military through both World War II and Vietnam.  I am thankful for them; Words cannot capture. 

How about you?  Do you have loved ones that are currently serving in the military?  Where?  How many of your parents and grandparents are veterans? 

Share your stories. Continue reading “gratitude and prayers on veterans day”

how i’m voting

My ballot still sits on my desk but I’ll be completing it soon and walking it in on Tuesday to my local polling place.  As I shared last week and again, yesterday during my sermon at Quest, I will not be divulging who I am voting for various reasons. 

Side question: Do you think “active” pastors [currently serving congregations] should publicly share who they are voting for?

Politics can get heated and messy.  You don’t just have to watch the various media and news outlets to know this.  You can also sense the tension within the Christian community which I think is perfectly normal and okay as long as we 1] engage in the rules of civility and 2] get off our righteous soapboxes and consider what it means for us to live out our faith and convictions beyond the election season.  Continue reading “how i’m voting”