The thing that has always touched me the most when I have visited non-Western cultures is the personal stories of people’s lives.
Going into Gaza and and East Jerusalem last year gave me the opportunity to hear some more.
Here are some of them…
Some people think Paris happened because they let too many Syrian refugees in. Others counter that what those refugees were fleeing is the very same violence as happened in Paris. I think both lines of reasoning are overly simplistic.
The problem with distorted thinking is that it nearly always contains a tiny element of truth, and it is this that people grab on to in order to justify their own ideologies. As the U2 song, Raised by Wolves laments, “the worst things in the world are justified by belief”. Continue reading
I was recently at a training day where several ‘stations’ were set up, much in the tradition of the stations of the cross in the Catholic Church. One of the stations had a video showing of this guy called Matt who goes around the world being filmed simply dancing. Of all the stations I went to that morning, and all the reflecting I did, this one had the most impact on me. Although, looking at Matt’s website, it seems as though he is just doing this because he loves to travel, for me the following video speaks of something deeper. Through his dancing exploits around the world, he is bringing people together and releasing a sense of joy.
There is something about joyful dance that makes the spirit come alive. King David danced for joy, and for millennia it has been an expression of exuberant pleasure. What this video reminded me of was the fact that whoever and wherever we are, from the sights and smells of Jerusalem to the nearby occupied West Bank, to the wartorn mountains of Afghanistan, to the shopping malls of western suburbia, we are one people, living on one planet. We are all children of God; as Bono put it, “Jesus, Jew Muhammad. It’s true – all sons of Abraham.” Enjoy.
There will never be peace in the Middle East until the U.S., as the world’s only superpower and with all its resulting influence and power, calls for both sides to lay down their weapons, and not just Hezbollah (referring to the current crisis in Lebanon). The US needs to show courageous global leadership by being a true peacemaker, especially if it is to truly be a Christian nation. As Bono so brilliantly puts in in the live versions of ‘Love and Peace…or else’ – “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed – all sons of Abraham”.