Jon Stewart Weighs In On Gaza

This pretty much speaks for itself. Comedy can speak with a powerful prophetic voice.

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But Who Started It?

After writing a column about Israel’s collective punishment in Gaza I got some feedback suggesting that Israel was merely responding to Hamas’ violation of a six-month-old ceasefire. That has been the dominant narrative in the US media. Now, I understand that when you start asking about who started what in the Mideast, you can go back thousands of years finding fault, but still, I think this video from CNN is worth a watch:

Collective Punishment in Gaza: A Question of Morality

This column also ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Form.

As I write this column, Israel’s military has called up reservists and has prepared tanks and artillery units for a possible land assault into Gaza. This follows a weekend in which the same military dropped hundreds of tons of bombs on Gaza, killing or wounding hundreds of Hamas militants; dozens of civilians also are among those killed or wounded.
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Something There is that Doesn’t Love a Wall

This column ran as the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality website on December 3, 2007.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

–Robert Frost, from “Mending Wall”

Last week’s meeting in Annapolis, Maryland—in which President Bush convened a host of interested parties to talk about peace between Israel and Palestine—got me thinking about walls.

Of course, given the ongoing construction of the Great West Bank Barrier—a combination of massive wall and fencing that, when finished, will appropriate for Israel an extra ten percent of what remains of Palestinian land—walls are a hard topic to avoid for anyone who is even remotely interested in what goes on in the land that Abrahams’ spiritual heirs call holy. Continue reading

Seeing Through Fear at The X-Ray Project

This column was the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality website on November 5, 2007.

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

On a recent visit to San Jose State University I picked up a brochure for what promises to be a complicated and disturbing art installation set to open in San Jose this week. The X-RAY Project is a collection of x-ray and MRI images gathered from hospitals in Jerusalem and arranged for display by an artist named Dianne Covert. The diagnostic images are of the injuries sustained by victims of terrorism, and they show with clinical sterility what pain and suffering is endured when terrorists strike.

According to The X-RAY Project’s website, the traveling exhibit’s aim is to “explore the most important social issue of our time: the effects of terrorism on a civilian population.” The project was born of the artist’s desire to push back against those who might condone terrorism.

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A Prayer For Peace

The following prayer comes from Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders of Salt Films. Marthame and Elizabeth are former Presbyterian missionaries to the West Bank. I hope you will join me in praying in a similar way.

We see Hezbollah move to consolidate their regional influence by inciting Israel, and manipulating the resulting death and destruction for their anti-Israel, religious extremist agenda.
Lord God, may it stop.

We see Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate military actions, meting out devastation without regard for civilian life or civilian infrastructure.
Lord God, may it stop.

We see our own government’s failure to mediate, refusing to speak to enemies, enemies whom Christ calls us to love and pray for.
Lord God, may it stop.

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