Peacemaking will make your faith stronger — even if it endangers it

Back in the mid-80’s I was lured out of my Protestant practices into Lent by an unlikely connection. We discovered the Lenten Desert Experience. Ever since then, I have been pondering all the things we learned from dipping our toes into protesting the ocean of violent work of the U. S. Empire.

nuclear testMaybe one of my readers will remind me how we got connected. I suspect it came from hanging around with our beloved Franciscans. However it happened, we got wind of a group now called the Nevada Desert Experience who were inventively protesting the ongoing testing of nuclear weapons in the huge Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas. We could not resist going out there to see what was happening; we had to do something! Before long it was an annual event. Gwen even appeared in the local paper sporting plastic handcuffs.

George H.W. Bush ended full-scale nuclear testing in 1992 which felt like a surprising victory. His son, however, added the beefed up drone base at nearby Creech AFB and started less-invasive testing. We managed to stick our cocktail swords into the belly of the beast for a few years, but that monster has amazing recuperative capacity! That’s why we need a Savior.

For those interested, here is a short history from the Nevada Desert Experience site. The rest of you can skip to my point after it.

The Lenten Desert Experience (LDE) began in the early spring of 1982 to honor St. Francis of Asissi’s love of nature, peacefulness, and opposition to governmental violence. The primarily Christian prayer-activists came to the Nevada National Security Site daily for six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, just prior to Easter 1982. This was an obvious, creative, and bold peaceful witness against nuclear weapons testing in Newe Sogobia. Soon these experiences in the Nevada desert were drawing more participants, of a greater variety in faith traditions and spiritual paths. The folks who organized the first LDE continued to help facilitate other events in the region near Las Vegas, NV as part of a larger movement. The people coming annually for LDE formally organized themselves into a group known as Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) and this group remains steadily organizing nuclear abolition events to carry on the peaceful witness against nuclear destruction. Participants joining the NDE and other abolitionist events care sincerely about protecting the air, water, soil and earthlings, and against the spiritual sickness of mega-violence in the history of the world. In 1991 Dom Helder Camara commentedin a way that challenges North Americans to use our spiritual power to put an end to the Department of Energy’s destructivity: “This is the scene of the greatest violence on Earth. It should be the place of the greatest greatest acts of nonviolence on the Earth.”

The Lenten Desert Experience was my first experience of witnessing for peace with the very diverse groups who make up the peace movement. We were chanting with monks, keening with Quakers and dancing with Shoshones, none of whom we had ever really rubbed shoulders with. I began to form my rationale for sitting in holding tanks with people who might give Jesus a bad name if you met them without handcuffs. I based my thinking by stretching a saying from Jesus in Mark 9:

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.

What Jesus is actually saying is that “People who are with me, John, might not be part of your group.” That is always a good thing for divided-up Christians to remember. He didn’t mean to say, “People who do good things aren’t against me enough to overlook their lack of allegiance.”

But I like the generosity of the latter interpretation, too. When it comes to the peace movement and many other social action movements, I make “unholy” alliances with people who are on my general wavelength, even though I might need to hold their spiritual direction at arm’s length. I let them know I am coming in the name of Jesus and sometimes that makes them hold my spiritual direction at arm’s length. But then we can get down to the business of sticking our cocktail swords into the belly of the beast together. They can meet Jesus on their own time schedule. For the time being, there is a monster to confront.

soa 2010The Circle of Peacemakers core team was discussing this the other day, since we are committed to providing a list of the comrades and acquaintances we have developed over the years. We want to give twentysomethings, in particular, a chance to do something before they crystallize into non-activist adults like most of the population. We would like to give parents options for interesting vacations with the kids! In the past, we have sent people to the SOA vigil at Fort Benning, GA (pic above), to the Migrant Trail protest in the Sonora Desert, to Christian Peacemaker Teams actions and a lot more (check out the new website). Sometimes the participants spend more time wondering about the other participants than they do focusing on the action! It might be the first time they ever rubbed shoulders with the likes of these radicals! Sometimes they understand where the unbelievers in the crowd are coming from better than they understand the Christians. Even with local allies like Heeding God’s Call and the Brandywine Peace Community, who are faith-based, you have to wonder how to walk with Jesus and them at the same time, especially when you run in to the little power squabbles of little groups of activists. Our team was worried about recommending faith-damaging relationships!

I go back to my interpretation of Jesus’ teaching. I think we can risk walking in love with people whether we agree with them or even understand them. If they are not against the cause of peace and the dismantling of the economy of violence, they are for us.  It is very tempting to begin with judgment instead of keeping our eyes on the goal. If we waited to sort out every potential bad influence from among the myriad or people and organizations we meet, it would be a full-time occupation! And for many of us, our faith is just that full-time occupation – we are judgers by nature, not peacemakers. That’s not right. I think being a proactive peacemaker, just like the Prince of Peace, will strengthen your faith much more than  avoiding potential bad influences will.

If we gave too much attention to judging the validity of our peacemaking allies, our suspicion and reticence could allow the U.S. government to make the traditional Shoshone nation in Nevada the most bombed place on the planet and make us overlook the Pentagon supplying excess war-making material to village police in Missouri!  We don’t have time for that. I don’t think Jesus wanted his disciples to become the judges of people trying to get it right. He did not want them to have a lack of discernment and miss following His heart, either! But the main focus of the Lord’s mission has a generous, reconciling mentality. We don’t know the exact right way to go on our journey through this desert, but we certainly have to keep going and we definitely need to love our fellow travelers.

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Worship is PDA in the first degree

So did we learn anything last night? (or whenever you were worshiping in public with the body of Christ)?

One of the things that is sticking with me about why we have public meetings that include worship is the Greek word proskuneo. In the Greek New Testament a version of that word is used sixty times. It was used by the ancient Greeks to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before a person and kissing their feet, the hem of their garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks rembrandt-adoration-wisemen-detail354x261before a divinity or something holy. By the time of the New Testament proskuneo denotes a kneeling or prostration to do homage to a person or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication. The wise men did it before the baby Jesus.

To a great degree proskuneo is something that is done on the “inside”—in our spirit—defined by Jesus in John 4:23-24: “…the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Jesus unleashes a new relationship with God. Everyone can be true worshipers from our hearts. It is about love. Worshiping in our spirit is prostrating and bowing down our inner person before the Lord. It’s asking nothing of Him, but losing ourselves in adoration, reverence and homage.

This is good, and Jesus calls us to have that private, personal sense of reverence for God, to experience that adoration and union. I think we can get one-sided about that, however. Individualistic, Eurocentric thinkers love that element of our spirituality. It pretty much fits our DIY sense of the world. But they often miss something very important: what God is doing when we worship. They often just get us to think about what we ought to be doing — we need to “get right with God.” For instance, the interpreters of John 4 often fail to note that Jesus is having this conversation about worship in spirit and truth in public. He doesn’t ask the woman for obeisance; he asks her for a drink, for connection. She not only makes the connection herself, she ends up connecting her whole village with their Lord.

While I think it would do every one of us a world of good to stop reading this right now and get down on our knees and touch our foreheads to the floor in a deep sense of being in the presence of our holy God, there might be more to proskuneo than that. (Really, before you go on, do it. Have you ever done that? Try prostration for a minute. Your heart lives in a body). One of the Lord’s teachings that is rarely applied to worship should be applied. It is this amazing paragraph from the parable of the prodigal son:

Prodigal-SonI will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:18-21).

The son had it in his mind that he would stop being a rebel; he would end the sin addiction. It came to his mind that he could go home and kiss the hem of his father’s garment in humility. Though he was unworthy, he could appeal to his father’s mercy and perhaps be treated as well as one of his slaves. To his surprise — and this is the endlessly-wonderful surprise of the Lord’s story and of the Lord’s work — the Father was looking for his child to come home and ran down the road to meet him. Right when the child was going to fall at his feet, the father lifted him up and embraced him, he kissed him. It was in that embrace that the son cried out his great fear, despair and hope “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your child.”

Many teachers encourage us to recover our sense of proskuneo and kiss the dirt. That is a good thing. But I think we should make sure not to miss the message of Jesus as he shows us God’s part of the worship relationship. God also “kisses the dirt,” so to speak, when he kisses us prodigals! Worship is a drama of reconnection. Our public meetings are, among many things, a public support group for people who need to learn how to be in love with God in public, to claim their identity as God’s child, no matter where they came from. Among the many things we are learning about worship, I am focused on the kiss. When we worship, it is a lot like kissing God. When we have our Sunday meetings, it is PDA in the first degree.

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Mary Magdalene restored

mary magdaleneOne of the most maligned women in the Bible is actually a very interesting example of someone who dramatically overcame her past and pioneered a new direction for others to follow as she followed Jesus. I am talking about Mary of Magdala — Mary from a little town not far from Capernaum called Magdala, the Magdalene.

I approve of the new interpretation of Mary Magdalene seen in the picture on the left. I am happy for her to get reformed from all the nonsense that has been pasted on her over the years. Long about the 600s, the church in Europe went into a new phase of reinterpreting the Bible and women got a raw deal. This can especially be seen in the way two most famous Marys in the New Testament were developed. Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene end up on the opposite ends of the stereotype of women: Mary as an untouchable, perpetually virgin saint and Mary Magdalene as the all-too-touched, perpetually repentant sinner. Instead of the saved people Jesus and Paul so obviously saw women to be, they end up stereotyped and back in oppression.  I find that painful.

Mary Magdalene even ends up with a derogatory word attached to her stereotype: maudlin. You may have never used that word, but if you read English novels, you may have run into it. It means affectionate or sentimental in an effusive, tearful or foolish manner (especially when you’re drunk and self-pitying). It is a very British word. The ways Brits pronounce Magdalene is “maudlin.” So her name means weepy.

mary magdalene maudlinIn church art, Mary has almost always been pictured as a loose women who is weeping, since her main scene in the Bible is one in which she is weeping: “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying” (John 20:11). For some reason the church kept her weeping, even though in just a few more lines of John she is going to recognize the risen Jesus and become the apostle to the apostles.

We know just a little from the Bible about Mary Magdalene, although she is mentioned much more than most of the twelve disciples. Here is one of the places we get some details: “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means” (Luke 8:1-3).

Seven demons is having an extreme problem! But nobody knows what kind of life Mary Magdalene had been living before she met Jesus. When Luke says women followed along with Jesus who “had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities” he could be talking about a variety of things we regularly see: a person who is sick physically, relationally, mentally, or certainly spiritually.  Later in church history, the legend of Mary Magdalene was used to discredit sex in general and to disempower women, so her “demons” were characterized as the torments that accompany someone who is promiscuous. She was tagged as a prostitute, for which there is no shred of evidence in the Bible or even in the extra-Biblical books from the early years in which she is mentioned. Regardless, she had been consumed by something horrible and Jesus freed her. His grace made her thankful and devoted. That we know. Just last week one of us told me they felt a spirit leave them when they gave up a sin. So we understand what Mary felt like and why she was so tied to Jesus.

She was not only tied to Jesus, she was important to Jesus. During the time of her life recorded in the Bible, Mary Magdalene’s name is one of the most frequently found. In Matthew, Mark and Luke the women who were with Jesus are listed. Each time, Mary Magdalene’s name appears first. In Luke the three main disciples are listed and Peter is listed first.  I argue, with many, that Mary Magdalene must have held a very central position among the followers of Jesus. She could have been the lead woman like Peter was the lead man.

At the time of the crucifixion and resurrection Mary Magdalene comes to the fore. Uniquely among the followers of Jesus, she is specified by name as a witness to three key events: Jesus’ crucifixion, his burial, and the discovery that his tomb was empty. In Mark, Matthew, and John, Mary Magdalene is first witness to the resurrection. She is the one to tell the disciples about the resurrection and to give them a message from the Lord. So Mary Magdalene was the “Apostle to the Apostles.” After her first report to the other disciples that Jesus was risen, Mary Magdalene disappears from the New Testament. She is not mentioned by name in the Acts of the Apostles, although she may be one of the women mentioned in Acts 1:14. Her next acts are undocumented.

In the time of Jesus himself, there is every reason to believe that, according to his teaching and who was in his circle, women were unusually empowered as fully equal. In the early church, when the norms and assumptions of the Jesus community were being written down, the equality of women is reflected in the letters of St. Paul (c. 50-60), who names women as full partners—his partners—in the Christian movement. In the Gospel accounts that were written later, evidence of Jesus’ own attitudes can be seen and women are highlighted as people who had courage and fidelity that stood in marked contrast to the men’s cowardice.

As the church was co-opted into the state and then when the church of Rome became the state after the Roman empire fell apart, Jesus’ rejection of the prevailing male dominance was eroded in the Christian community. In the books of the New Testament, the argument among Christians over the place of women in the community is already a regular feature. Mary Magdalene became the poster child for the argument as time went on. I say she was a leader, an apostle to the apostles. She became a weepy prostitute repenting of her sins.

Gregory I dictating a chant

Gregory I dictating a chant

Here’s an example of how her deformation happened. In the late 500s Pope Pelagius the II died of plague and one of the most influential popes ever succeeded him, Pope Gregory I (c. 540-604).  When the disciplined and brilliant Gregory was elected pope he at once emphasized penitential forms of worship as a way of warding off plague, among other things. His reign was marked by the codification of spiritual disciplines and thought; it was a time of reform and invention. But it all occurred against the backdrop of the plague, a doom-laden circumstance in which the abjectly repentant Mary Magdalene, warding off the spiritual plague of damnation, was created. With Gregory’s help, she was transformed from leader among women to maudlin prostitute.

In about 591 Pope Gregory I gave a series of sermons that rewrote Mary’s history. He took a few of those Marys in the Bible, squashed them together and made them into a composite Mary Magdalene. He said that Mary’s seven demons were the seven deadly sins, heavy on the lust. He said that she was the same woman who poured ointment on Jesus — repurposed ointment that used to make her a nice-smelling sex partner. She was the one who washed Jesus’s feet with tears and dried them with her wantonly uncovered hair. He said,”She turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance.”

Thus Mary of Magdala, who began as a powerful woman at Jesus’ side became the redeemed prostitute and Christianity’s model of repentance — a manageable, controllable figure, and an effective weapon and instrument of propaganda against her own gender. What most drove the anti-sexual sexualizing of Mary Magdalene was the male need to dominate women. In the Roman Catholic Church, as elsewhere, that need is still being met.

The church did her wrong. It may have done you wrong and may do you wrong again. But I pray that you maintain your own sense of how Jesus freed you and let you touch him and made you his messenger, even if someone tries to steal that from you.  Mary Magdalene is a cautionary tale about how the story of redemption can be warped. But she is also an example of how the truth retold has a remarkable capacity to shake off the corrosion of the misguided. People overcome what loads them down and stride into their fullness when they follow Jesus.

 

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The lack of difference between private and public

My recent work on my dissertation has taken me into unexpected territories. Last week it was a conundrum about what is private and what is public. The psychotherapists I am studying are, in some ways, at the cross roads of many of the confusing recent advances in communication technology. They wonder if they can keep the boundaries they are used to keeping. I think we are all wondering whether the cherished privileges of privacy that United States laws started codifying in the 1970’s make sense any more.

Some therapists I have met report that their clients (more than one!) have asked whether their sessions can be filmed as part of the reality TV show they are on! They have to decide whether to have a Facebook page and let their clients spy on them. They have to navigate how to work with confidentiality when divorce lawyers want evidence from their sessions. It is a new world.

People want more privacy at the same time that the society is allowing for less of it. We can hardly walk out of our homes without being documented by some unknown camera! As I personally found out this year, newspapers no longer research the truth of what they print; any letter to the editor will be printed as factual and added to the Google’s eternal repository of items that mention my name. What is private and what is public? Does anything need to stay private any more until it qualifies to be public?

As Jesus-followers, we have some interesting things to consider when we think about the public vs. private divide. When the PM Team Leaders were discussing Sunday meeting plans last Saturday we got off on an important tangent about “spirituality” versus “religion.” For many people these days, personal spirituality doesn’t have a lot to do with religion. “Religious” people still attend “rituals” of the institution that used to have the corner on the spirituality market: the church. But these days people feel more righteous having a private set of beliefs that don’t include public expression. During the meeting, I noted that the government has successfully sold people the “freedom” from every institution but itself, including church, family and tribe — but that’s another discussion.

When people worship, they are in a conundrum of sorts. Many feel that only their private experience is valid. The public add-on we perform kind of seems superfluous. They feel like they should attend the meeting out of some honor to their spiritual ancestors, but it feels kind of awkward and they avoid telling people they do it. I think they feel like they are kind of out-of-date when they worship, an uncool throwback, like a hippy or a Civil War re-enactor who is a little too into their hobby.

share_hat_03

Like so many contributions of the modern era that are coming to their logical extreme these days,  the arbitrary dichotomy between private and public is another one of those things we need to deal with for some reason, like whether we are labeled black or white, gay or straight, single or married or some other this or that which probably wouldn’t make much difference it we weren’t labeled by the nation, legalized and crammed into a niche market.

We might be better off if we let go of the technology of singularity altogether. A thought made the rounds of Facebook last week that talked about how much longer it takes restaurant patrons to eat dinner because they spend so much time alone on their phones together not paying attention to who they are with or to their waiter! When we come to worship we struggle to find a way to be together when we are so condemned to being alone. We know a little bit about private worship and our own sense of spirituality, but it doesn’t always seem to fit in to what we are doing together. We spend more time comparing and contrasting our private sense with our public experience than we do having the public experience!

I think I have more practical things to say about this. But I just wanted to offer one generality today. How about giving up the strict sense of private vs. public as an either/or and return to what most people in world history have already done and see it as a both/and?  Circle of Hope has a proverb that reflects this sense of both/and: Life in Christ is one whole cloth. As we participate in and love “the world,” we bring redemption from the Kingdom of God to our society. Jesus is Lord of all, so we have repented of separating “sacred” and “secular.” Other modern dichotomies do not make much sense to us either, like private (which is where “sacred usually lives) and public (which is dominated by the secular). We are one person in relationship with the one true God. We are in that same relationship whether we are at home or at work, on the beach or on the bus. We don’t change our ways because of our context because our context is the Kingdom of God. So whether worship is private or public is not a big deal. The worship may be different in character, which is nice, but the relationship with God and his people is the same. The public is part of the private and the private is part of the public. I am with you, in Christ, when I am alone, too.

Last Saturday we had a great example of how private faith lives in public and public faith feeds the private. At our love feast we had people revealing personal, private stories about their relationships with God that led them to their communal, public baptism or their public entry into their out-of-the-closet commitment to the body of Christ formed as Circle of Hope. In an age when people long for community so much, in which they are so alone, one would think everyone would be piling in to the togetherness of covenant love. But as we heard, there were many obstacles in the way of our friends’ commitment. Like my therapist friends, we will probably face more challenges that make us wonder what is private and what is public and whether the distinctions matter. Maybe a reality show will be asking to commodify our covenant relationships when they are done with all the other stuff they broadcast (Extreme Religious Makeover?). More likely, there is going to be some habit of the heart that needs to change so we can stay out of merely private and appreciate the public, too, like when we are having dinner together, maybe.

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Six reasons why we can’t care about Palestine

Why can’t we care about much of anything beyond getting through this week?

I suppose a few of us feel some crushing guilt when we hear such a question. A few of us effectively screened out questions like “Why don’t you care?” a long time ago; we exempted ourselves, because we don’t want to feel guilt anymore. It crushes us.

Ideally, we think of ourselves as caring people. If we are Jesus followers there is quite a bit of pressure to care about others. I think most of us think we are doing OK at meeting the standards. We are probably more caring than other people — especially Israelis who are creating an apartheid system in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinians like Hamas who would sacrifice their whole people for their ideology.

college gilr

You probably are more caring than they are, and I like to think I am too. But let’s face it. When it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian tragedy the vast majority of us have just barely heard about what is going on. That’s true even though our own church people have been talking about it regularly for over two years.  We didn’t read a blog post, we didn’t go to the movie, we didn’t read a newspaper or listen to a broadcast. What’s more, we did not pray about it; we did not figure out how to give money to help suffering people; we did not support others who care more than we do; we did not protest to our elected officials who fund the whole thing; we did not demand an end to weapons production and distribution, etc. If we care at all, why don’t we do something?

I think there are a lot more reasons for not caring about Palestine than we are just wicked, guilt-resistant, pseudo-Christians.

I think we may be dramatically underestimating just how powerful and demanding the powers that be really are and way underestimating just how damaging it is to buy the philosophy of self-reliance and “freedom” capitalism keeps selling.

Here are some good reasons you don’t care, or at least don’t do much to show that you do:

1) You’ve got student loan debt that must be paid off. It is the all-purpose excuse for millions of people for tunneling in to their careers and keeping whatever job they have at all costs, working whatever hours are required to do so.

2) You either have high rent or you are stuck with a high mortgage. Nationally, 50% all renters are now spending more than 30% of their income on housing, according to a comprehensive Harvard study, up from 38% of renters in 2000. In PA the average renter needs to bring in about $17.21 an hour to make the average rent for a two-bedroom. The stats show that the phenomenon of twentysomethings living at mom and dad’s home is proven by more than anecdotal evidence; the few who have ventured into their own homes spend all their hours making money to make the payments.

3) You need to pay for private school for your kids because people do not want to pay taxes or sensibly elevate standards for public education. The average private school tuition in the U.S. for a non-sectarian elementary school is $15,945 a year, and $27,302 a year for secondary school. Catholic elementary school will run you on average $4,944 for elementary school and $7,826 for secondary school; other religious schools average $6,576 for elementary and $10,493 for secondary. Everywhere we turn, some giant institution is costing a lot!

4) You have to master the insurance system and might need to pay exorbitant rates because people do not want to share in each other’s well-being. In PA the average monthly health insurance cost for a single person is $271 but could be as high as $1200. If you actually go to the doctor, be prepared to take the day off as the system tries to frustrate any use of it.

motherboard

5) You have to master technology that is too complex to master in order to participate in the society. Plus, you have to pay a fee to do so at every step: internet, phone, TV, security systems. And those are just the systems we can see. Behind every institution from law to transit the complexity is increasing exponentially. Many of us would love to respond to injustice if we could get our computer to work.

6) You have to master consumer capitalism. We did a kitchen in our home a few years back. We already replaced the dishwasher. Last week we paid $350 to fix the fridge. Our beloved repairman told us there were no better machines available. They all have the same problems and they are all junk because people have learned to expect them to fail and to change them like they are fashion, not utilities. It is a business strategy. To stay on the treadmill takes economic staying power. Which means a lot of time on the treadmill, which does not leave a lot of time for Palestinians.

I sometimes ask my favorite twentysomethings why they are not more rebellious. A lot of them gave it a whirl with the Occupy movement — and some are still engaged in the aftermath of that. Some are implementing beautiful responses to the traps the culture has set for them. But most of them are just too busy and tired to do anything. I feel their plight. It is hard to be an agent of transformation when the powers that be are so damnably well-outfitted. For instance, whatever they might try to do just might be filmed.  That alone could make you want to hunker down with a good video game. If anyone is choked by the cares of the world, they are. If they complain, they are told that they have the freedom to make any changes they want, “Just DIY. You’re special and your country is exceptional.” Honestly! It takes a lot of energy to be special when you’re not feeling it.

I hope my honesty about what it is like for many people also sounds like sympathy. We want to care about Palestine and much more. But a lot of us are pretty busy just trying to get through this week. Even saying “Jesus will give you strength,” just sounds like there will be another duty to perform if he does! But Jesus is the master of overcoming gigantic powers. If you are doomed to some kind of slavery, He’s your savior.

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