Julie Polter 12-01-2011

Joking for Jesus, The Courage to Love, Body Meets Soul, Rethinking War.

Alex Awad 11-28-2011
Palestinian Christians hold mass near Bethlehem to protest construction of Israe

Palestinian Christians hold mass near Bethlehem to protest construction of Israeli separation barrier (

What one quickly learns when visiting Bethlehem is that the political climate today is quite similar to the one that was prevailing during the time of Jesus. One exception is that the Palestinian inhabitants of Bethlehem today are being occupied by those who consider themselves the offspring or cultural descendants of Jews who were under the yoke of Roman occupation in the first century.  Other reminders of the political similarities are the weekly demonstrations on the outskirts of Bethlehem by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals to nonviolently protest the confiscation of Palestinian land to build new Jewish settlements. Unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators face heavily equipped Israeli troops who protect those who steal Palestinian lands in the West Bank and construct segregated settlements on them.  This reminds us of the brutality of the Roman occupation forces against Jewish freedom fighters.

But Bethlehem today is not all consumed with politics. Many of the folks in Bethlehem could not care less about politics. Repeated disappointments with the host of so-called peace brokers and failed peace plans have caused many Bethlehemites to abandon politics. They just want a decent standard of living to carry on with life in security with their children and grandchildren. These are the people who in spite of the same closures and repression by the forces of occupation, choose to be peaceful. They hope that freedom will come but they don't know when or how it will come. Like the folks who lived when Jesus was born, they continue to wait quietly for political liberation.

Joshua Witchger 10-05-2011


We've compiled a list of links where you can learn more about the genesis of the #OccupyWallStreet movement, including links to news reports, organizations involved in formenting the movement and local groups in every state where you can get involved close to home (if you don't live in Lower Manhattan.)

Glen Stassen 09-20-2011

American Christian Zionism is pushing the U.S. government to support Israeli policies that our international friends find immoral and illegal.

We have come to believe that Christian Zionism underwrites theft of Palestinian land and oppresses Palestinian people, helps create the conditions for an explosion of violence, and pushes US policy in a destructive direction that violates our nation's commitment to universal human rights.

We write as evangelical Christians committed to Israel's security. We worry about your support for policies that violate biblical warnings about injustice and may lead to the destruction of Israel.

Sami Awad 08-03-2011

100216_090527-1503-palestineWhenever I give talks on the effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian livelihood, the status of nonviolence as a means to resisting the occupation, and how I believe nonviolence is the only way to move forward to resolve the conflict and create a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, one of the first and immediate questions I get from foreign visitors to my office in Bethlehem is, What you said is good, but what about the Muslims? Do they also believe in nonviolence? Do they understand it?" Even if I don't mention religion in my presentation -- and I rarely do -- this question always seems to make its way in our discussions.

Lynne Hybels 06-06-2011

No, I am not submitting a belated entry into the heated conversation about Rob Bell's latest book.

Theresa Cho 05-06-2011

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." (John 19:24-27)

Mother's Day is always fun when the kids are young -- the homemade crafts, the valiant efforts of breakfast making, and the conscientious attention a mother receives in contrast to the usual "being taken for granted" and "aww mom, do I have to" gestures. My son is a sweet boy -- caring, empathetic, and a rule follower. When I was pregnant with him, it was as if this little organism had invaded my whole body. I felt pregnant from head to toe -- migraines, severe morning sickness, bloody noses, swelled feet, strong cravings for watermelon, and oh yeah ... my favorite: constipation. Sorry if that is sharing too much, but like I said, I was literally pregnant from head to toe.

Aaron Taylor 04-13-2011

A friend of mine pointed out on his Facebook page that 45.9 percent of Americans blame Muslims for the Christian immigration out of the Holy Land, while only 7.4 percent of Americans cite Israeli restrictions as contributing to Arab Christian immigration.

Alex Awad 03-22-2011

After decades of repression by autocratic dictators, the restless masses in the Middle East and North Africa are going to the streets -- most of them nonviolently -- and asking their leaders to step down.

Becky Garrison 12-09-2010
For those who are looking for something beyond the traditional 12 days of Christmas gift-giving shtick, here are some ideas I gleaned during my ongoing travels for
Tony Campolo 05-19-2010

I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the Bethlehem Bible College; and what I witnessed firsthand sent chills up my back. Listening to the horror stories told to me by oppressed Palestinians elicited feelings ranging from indignation to compassion.

Sami Awad 05-05-2010

For many years, Palestinians have engaged in nonviolent actions aimed at resisting the Israeli military occupation and its violent and humiliating policies aimed at suppressing the will of the Palestinians in seeking to achieve their legitimate aspirations.

Gary M. Burge 04-26-2010

Bethlehem, West Bank. Evangelicals have never been keen on political protests. Especially the sort that includes rifles and grenades -- in the hands of your opponents.

Ryan Beiler 04-09-2010

Several sources have recommended this commentary by M.J. Rosenberg at Media Matters as a helpful analysis of the new "Obama Peace Plan" for the Middle East.

Rose Marie Berger 03-30-2010
Protesters crossed the main gate in the separation wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 2010.
Troy Jackson 03-26-2010

From the window of my hotel room in Bethlehem, I could see the "security" wall that separates the West Bank from the rest of Israel.

Lynne Hybels 03-19-2010

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.

Brian McLaren 02-08-2010
It's one thing to go to the "Holy Land" and see where Jesus worked and walked in the past.
Brian McLaren 01-26-2010

We arrived in Bethlehem with our wonderful group of pilgrims. Folks are getting acquainted, and in a few minutes, our journey begins.