April 3, 2012
People like learning from experts. And better yet, experts who not only know their stuff but who give good advice based on personal experiences. As we learn from them and experience for ourselves the truth of what they have to teach, they become more credible. They are teachers we can trust. In Indonesia we have a phrase for people like this: sudah makan banyak garam, which literally means people who "have eaten much salt." People who eat much salt have a lot of life experience and know what they are talking about.
March 27, 2012
We were honored to have Brandon Sipes and Jim Weigel with our Arizona staff team last week. They belong to a group of people who developed the Kumi method. What is Kumi? It's an approach to conflict transformation that developed out of the issues in Israel-Palestine and is now being used around the world in many types of conflict. We wanted to hear from Brandon and Jim about their work and see how it could help us with our own work of peacemaking.
March 23, 2012
The year from spring 2011 to the coming spring of 2012 has been a year full of women proclaiming "Peace!" at the top of their lungs. Not quiet wishes for tranquility or ease, but bold pushes toward equity and right-ness, even as they are buffeted in the process. Faced with such conviction, I wonder if their demands don't carry the same weight we assign to formal "prayer": an act moving people beyond themselves in acknowledgement of Something bigger, Someone more gracious and powerful. Across boundaries of age, economic status, nationality, and religion, women are reaching for more. Praying.
March 16, 2012
As people of faith, both Christians and Muslims, God calls us to face this issue head on from both the macro level (thinking about the poorest of the poor worldwide) and the micro level (what we can do locally). God also expects us to work simultaneously on long-term solutions, tackling systemic injustices globally, nationally, and even locally; and on short term poverty alleviation, that is, assisting victims of floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
March 13, 2012
You are already aware of what comes to mind when people think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: young Israeli soldiers with machine guns. Palestinian boys throwing rocks at these machine gun-toting Israelis. Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up buses of Israelis. The massive cement wall snaking its way through this divided country bringing "security" to Israelis and "oppression" to the Palestinians. I just spent 10 days in the un-holy land and I, too, picture all of the scenes above. But I now have a new way of seeing the threats upon Israelis and the occupation of the Palestinians.
March 8, 2012
This week I made my second-ever visit to a synagogue and for the first time participated in a brit milah, the Jewish circumcision ritual. Rabbi Eric Solomon and Rabbi Jenny Solomon, of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, recently welcomed their son into the world, and they honored me immensely by inviting me to join other friends and family at the ceremony.
March 6, 2012
No tomorrow? This morning on the radio I heard a song with the words, "Let your little light shine like there's no tomorrow." It got me wondering: are believers called to live as though there's no tomorrow, or are we called to live towards a better tomorrow? Let me put it like this: are we to live in apocalyptic fear or in resurrection hope? Pessimism, realism, optimism? Is there another option?
February 28, 2012
Last week I happened to see Newsweek's cover article, "The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World," and read it immediately. My reaction was that, like Ayaan Hirsi's other writings, it is less than truthful. In short...
February 23, 2012
Iran has been prominent in the news once more over the past few weeks as the Iranian government continues to press its nuclear program. It seems like Iran offers another antagonistic tidbit of information into its progress every week. Given its past stated hostility toward the nation of Israel through the mouthpiece of its firebrand president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel and the United States have justifiable concerns about the true nature of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
February 21, 2012
I have shared an elevator with the Managing Director of the IMF. It's in interesting feeling to exchange a smile with the woman recently gracing the cover of Newsweek magazine with the title, "The Trillion Dollar Woman." In a very real sense, she and her team of economists are given the task of fixing a frighteningly broken world. An economist and a pastor... are we not partners in the same task? A trillion dollar woman and a spirit-filled man?