How Evangelicals Are Learning to Be Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Pro-Justice and Always Pro-Jesus – Growing up in an environment where eschatology equaled Left Behind and patriotism meant fighting with and for Israel at all costs, I found this perspective helpful and refreshing.
“Many evangelicals, who were discouraged by the failed prophecies and the “mood of doom” that dominated the evangelical church in the second half of the 20th century, are rediscovering that the gospel also speaks powerfully to issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation.
Books about the end times, such as those written by Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey, no longer dominate the bookshops, and people are being challenged by writings that focuses on the here and now, instead of the there and then!
In particular, the evangelical church typically has looked at the Middle East through the eyes of prophecy, leaning towards an unconditional support for Israel. Evangelicals in the West cheered the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent wars, believing them to be signs of the second coming of Christ—all the while neglecting the impact these events had on real people in the Middle East, specifically on Palestinians, and especially on the Palestinian Church.
The irony for Palestinian Christians is that evangelicals, with their over-emphasis on prophecy, have lost the capacity of being prophetic!
In many cases, when Palestinian Christians (or those who are sympathetic to them) share their take on things, they are demonized, ridiculed, and even accused of being anti-Semitic. The mere presence and voice of Palestinian Christians presents a dilemma for many Christian Zionists, who prefer a simple black and white perspective. But over the years, Palestinian Christians have challenged the Western church to consider what it means to be the church. They have reminded them of the importance of justice and peacemaking. If our theology produces apathy to injustice, it must be re-examined. In the words of Carl Medearis:
If your end-times theology trumps the clear commands in Scripture to love neighbours and enemies, then it is time to rethink your theology.
Many who come to visit the “Holy Land” are troubled by the situation of Palestinians, and are beginning to ask questions about the occupation and the injustices that the Palestinians are facing on a daily basis.”
Four Lies About Introverts – If you’ve been keeping up with the recent information and writing on introverts and extroverts, this article is likely nothing new, but another helpful angle, particularly to Christians in ministry. This Gospel Coalition blog piece is written by Amie Patrick.
“2. Introverts don’t like people.
This has perhaps been the lie that’s stung most for me. I care deeply about people, but I need time alone to recharge in order to be able to give them my best. It’s taken me years to view this as good stewardship rather than some sort of flaw I need to overcome. Actually, and perhaps ironically, the chief thing that’s kept me from loving people well has been my attempt to be someone I’m not. The more I’ve tried to be that “life of the party” girl, endlessly accommodating others without considering what I need to recover, the less capacity I’ve had to actually love people well.
We’re all responsible to obey biblical commands related to loving people sacrificially and living hospitably and generously. And it’s a cop-out to use introversion as an excuse for self-protective isolation. But there’s not just one or even ten “right” ways to love people well. I’ve learned to get better at small talk and interacting with strangers, because it’s important and necessary, but it’s never going to be my greatest strength. I’ve become much more comfortable in opening our home to small and large groups of people, both in planned and spontaneous ways, but going deep with one or two people over coffee is always going to be a place where I thrive. Accepting my God-given introversion, I still allow myself to be stretched or uncomfortable. But I passionately pursue opportunities where I can love people deeply with my gifts and life, and then humbly take responsibility for what it looks like for me to be refreshed.
3. Solitude is selfish and indulgent.
Now there’s a reality here that can be true. If my choice to be alone is primarily to serve myself and intensify a me-oriented focus, it is a problem. But for a long time I believed solitude for the purpose of prayer, Bible study, or worship is necessary, but anything beyond that is probably frivolous. However, I’ve come to experience great benefits from a variety of solitary activities. Solitude in itself isn’t inherently helpful or harmful, but the underlying purpose is pivotal. I can go for a run by myself to clear my head and enjoy God’s gift of nature—or to sinfully distract myself from something I need to confront. I can sit alone in a coffee shop in order to think deeply and process life events—or to worry about things beyond my control. When I cooperate with the way God has designed me, and surrender my solitude to him, he uses it to refresh my soul in often unexpected and powerful ways.”
I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife – This article struck a chord with me and some of the bristling I’ve felt when hearing (or reading) men speak of their “smoking hot wives.”
“When a man brags about his wife’s looks, body, or smoking hot prowess, we may consider his remarks loving compliments from a husband to his better half, but when I hear a man say those things, I bristle. Especially if he’s a pastor, a man apportioned by God to shepherd not only the men in their congregations, but the women too. Wounded women. Tired women. Abused women. Women with so many “godly” expectations thrown at them that they’ll either break under the weight or bootstrap themselves, try-try-trying harder, experiencing burnout, and never quite living up to anyone’s expectations.”