Jesus-Focused Conversations in Occupied Bethlehem
I arrived in Bethlehem last Sunday evening to speak at a conference called "Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice." I'm not a theologian or an expert in anything. In fact, it's likely that I was invited to speak here mainly to fill the "token woman" slot on the list of speakers. So be it. I'm grateful for whatever underlying story allowed me to be here this week.
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I wish I had a video of every tender, heartfelt, Jesus-focused conversation I've had this week so I could post it on this Web site and say, "Here. Watch this. This is a Christian Palestinian woman. This is a Christian Palestinian man. This is a Christian Israeli woman. This is a Christian Israeli man. These are people committed to peace and justice for all people in the Holy Land."
I don't know what Americans are hearing on the news about current events in Jerusalem. Whatever you're hearing, I hope you're praying for protection for innocent people on all sides of this conflict, for the silencing of people on both sides who are encouraging violence, for wisdom for elected officials everywhere who have the power to impact events in Israel-Palestine, for our Christian brothers and sisters throughout this region -- as well as Muslims and Jews, and for the women and children who always fare the worst when violence invades a community. I hope you're praying for peace in the Holy Land.
Lynne Hybels is the advocate for global engagement at Willow Creek Community Church and author of Nice Girls Don't Change the World.