My neighbors moved in across the street just under a year ago. There is an older couple that appear to be grandparents, a younger couple with two small girls, and I think one other adult. The older gentleman’s name is Milkiet; he speaks very little English, is very gregarious and friendly, and is a pretty solid volleyball player, although our family has noticed that the techniques he learned playing in India are very different from the ones we learned.
It strikes me as funny that his volleyball techniques stand out as a difference when he also speaks a different language, dresses differently (including his turban), eats different food, and worships differently.
A sermon illustration from 40 years ago has stuck with me. The pastor had us imagine a father hearing from his son, “Dad, I’m really grateful for all the stuff you give to me. We go on fine trips. You protect me…but sometimes, Dad, I don’t quite trust you.” The pastor claimed that would devastate the father. Then came the point: “Our Father must feel that way when we say, in effect, ‘Father, I like all your good gifts, but….’”
I’m on my ninth day of a juice fast. I won’t tell you how long I’m planning to go, because I’m afraid I won’t make it. I’m doing this to lose weight, to detox my body, to try something difficult, and to change my poor eating habits. As I sip my lunch bottle of apple, orange, and kale, I’m still waiting for that claim of energy and vigor to kick in. Nine days without coffee. Nine days without chewing. I miss chewing.
Before you think I’ve lost my mind and am just rambling, I have learned a few things about myself and the world we live in, and I’d like to share them with you.
Reflections on a Recent Visit to Palestine and Israel
It is March 1, 2017. A breezy chill greets us as we step off the bus in the Israeli settlement next to Daher’s Vineyard, just southwest of Bethlehem, Palestine. We walk down a two-track through the expansive Judah mountains, framed by deep and terraced walls on each side of our path. Beautiful, and depressing.
We are in Bethlehem to visit those we refer to as “living stones” (from 1 Peter 2:5): Christians in this tortured “holy” land who are proactively standing up to poverty, brokenness, and injustice in holy ways. As we approach a compound on the top of a windy hill, the welcome sign reads, “We Refuse to Be Enemies.”