Here are some thoughts connecting political, religious conviction and prospects for peace:
We must remember that our Christian faith arises from the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish history. Underneath our beautiful Nativity are the trials and triumphs of Chanukah, that moment of Jewish liberation from pagan powers and consecration of the Temple in 164 B.C.
Just over 2500 years ago, a remnant of Judah rebuilt a modest Temple and here the Lord promises to send the Desire of Nations (Haggai). This moment in 516 fully ended the 70 years of exile for a people that had built Jerusalem as their capital in 1000 B.C.
In 1917, one century ago, the Balfour Declaration supported a Jewish homeland in their ancient geography…and in 2017, the USA declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Peace will only ultimately come when our Lord returns. But as peacemakers, we are called to welcome the future reign of God into the present. Here are the keys to Middle East stability:
- If they want a sovereign state, Palestinian leaders must affirm Israel as the home of the Jewish people and recognize her national integrity within defensible borders. This will require courage and good personal security!
- Israel must protect all religious rights and be open to an East Jerusalem capital of a new Palestinian state.
- A new Palestine must renounce terror and agree to diplomatic and economic exchange.
- A handful of Arab nations must agree that a secure Israel and a new Palestine at peace will help resist the hegemony of Iran and her terrorist agencies.
- The best brokers of this are Christians from both the Middle East and the West.
The Bible enjoins us to pray for the shalom of Jerusalem. May our leaders find courage and wisdom and may we never give in to hatred.
I am very concerned with the triumph of emotivism in academic/intellectual circles. Critical thinking is not confined to a culture, gender or race. Critical thinking needs new attention so our dialogues move us toward truth, and, where possible, principled compromise on policies. Please friends, let’s be unafraid listen with humility and observe with objectivity.
In our polarized world, there two things that offer hope:
- shared encounters in community worship; and
- shared engagement in God’s work that renews our communities. God’s presence expands our hearts in holy love and practical work expresses our unity in service.
For centuries, human beings have sought meaning. In our century, we are debating the meaning of being human. Grateful for the Biblical story that offers identity and hope, humility and purpose.
Lord, please heal us.
Heal our hearts: touch our deepest wounds as use us as emissaries of compassion.
Heal our heads: liberate our minds from captivity to crowds and release fresh thinking.
Heal our hands: deliver us from selfish motives and methods and unleash innovation and integrity for the common good.
Lord, heal our land, one prayer, one kind word, one sacrificial act at a time.
While Washington dithers and much of the world wanders, we can decide that 2013 will be a fruitful and meaningful year for ourselves, our families, our communities and – by extension – even our state and nation.
My new book is now out and it contains insights that help thoughtful women and men integrate faith, work and economics into their personal and spiritual growth and help local churches and communities flourish. 2013 is the year that we
- Stop separating social justice and wealth creation, recognizing that they are partners in human prosperity at all levels.
- End our disintegrated lives and choose integration of our callings, careers, community life and creative inspirations (special thanks to Brett and Lyn Johnson and their book, Convergence for this quartet of completeness).
- Seek out friends new and old and encourage one another’s dreams and visions that contains the seeds of future flourishing.
- Help thoughtful Democrats and Republicans cease labeling and libeling each other and begin partnering for balanced budgets, new efficiencies and wise stewardship of resources so that the poor and vulnerable are cared for and our children’s futures are secure.
- Attend funerals for nostalgia and utopianism and celebration events for first/founding principles and substantive hope rooted in timeless truths and timely observations.
I remain unapologetically hopeful. I posses no fantasies of the days of yore or Star Trek solutions. I believe that God is working through loving and prayerful people willing to be answers to their own petitions.
The link here provides the information on my new work – an effort that arises from collaboration with so many great men and women. The Acton Institute (www.acton.org) is leading the charge for integration and I am honored by the appointment as a senior advisor. Yes, my name is on the cover; however, my deepest desires are the glory of God and the good of others. www.acton.org