By: Bader Mansour
Everyone who grew up Southern Baptist knows Lottie Moon. A missionary to China in the 1800s, she personified the missionary spirit of Southern Baptists. But do you know the story of George Laty?
By: Yohanna Katanacho
In modern times just like at Jesus' birth, the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem came with consequences and questions - political, legal and theological. Which road will you take to Bethlehem?
By: Mike Kuhn
Mission funding is a powerful force flooding the Middle East like a sudden storm in an arid desert. It changes the entire environment - sometimes doing great good, but with the potential to do great harm.
By: Martin Accad
Many people see the world as divided between Muslims and "the rest." How will the church repudiate this stereotyping driven by fear and return to God's hopeful mission?
By: EthicsDaily Staff
The United Nations' Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic has determined that the Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidi people.
By: Brian Kaylor
Southern Baptists at their annual meeting adopted a pro-Israel resolution deemed by some Arab Baptist leaders as unbiblical and harmful to their peacemaking efforts.
By: Wissam al-Saliby
Western collusion aids the increasing human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa, ranging from political support at the U.N. Security Council to the provision of weapons and police equipment.
By: Wissam al-Saliby
The Middle East and North Africa region is seeing increased oppression and human rights violations, even arresting activists and journalists over Facebook posts. How are Western governments involved?
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Christian schools in Israel "are at risk of collapsing financially." After the schools ended a strike last September, the government agreed to pay $12.7 million to the schools but has not done so yet.
By: Bader Mansour
As a gentile who lived and worked among Jews for many years, many people were a light along my way. You can choose to be a blessing, lighting the path of others, or you can be a curse.
By: Hailey Brenden
Bethlehem Bible College in Jerusalem prepares Christian leaders to serve Arab churches and society despite difficult circumstances and a dwindling Christian population.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
The House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution declaring actions by IS against religious minorities in the Mideast to be genocide.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
How often you attend church and your religious tradition influence whether you sympathize with Israelis or Palestinians in the Middle East conflict, a Gallup poll discovered.
By: Daniel Trusiewicz
The Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, working with the European Baptist Federation, is involved in starting two new churches in the West Bank.
By: Alex Awad
U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle keep decrying that Israel has the right to defend its citizens but neglect to mention the needs, rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.
By: EBF News
In a letter to Jordan's King Abdullah II, European Baptist Federation's Tony Peck praised the Jordanian government and royal family for promoting religious tolerance in the Middle East.
By: Nabil Costa
For people living in the Middle East and North Africa, life is incredibly hard. This Christmas season, here are four gifts that would help children and families escape their daily burdens.
By: Martin Accad
With the church in the Middle East on life support, the solution is not to fan fears of Islam and Muslims and develop strategies of war against them. Rather, the transformation must start from within.
By: Martin Accad
The church of the Middle East is on life support, and fingers regularly point at Islam as the cause of its demise. Under such circumstances, how do you prepare future leaders for the Arab church?
By: Suzie Lahoud
The idolatry of shaping God in our own image has been the root of much evil in the world. Those who believe the church's hands are clean are guilty of one of the most dangerous sins - apathy.
By: Suzie Lahoud
When we attempt to make sense of the world by ordering the mind of God, we are inevitably fashioning him in our own image because the human mind is never free of prejudice. This is idolatry.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Ending a strike by Christian schools that began on Sept. 1, leaders of the Israeli government and the nation's Christian schools reached an agreement enabling students to return to classes.
By: Blake Hart
Fear causes us to take our trust away from Jesus and to place it in lesser things. We may not pray to golden calves, but we place a lot of confidence in border fences, armies, guns, bombs and predator drones.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
While the state of Israel fully funds state-run public and Orthodox Jewish schools, it provides only 29 percent for Christian schools, leading them to strike.
By: Yohanna Katanacho
Nearly 50 church schools in Arab towns and villages in Israel educate more than 30,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinian Israeli Arabs. Yet Israel has been imposing increasing pressure on these schools.
By: Mike Kuhn
ISIS leaders are not religiously inspired but are using the power of religion to mobilize fighters, a report says. If true, will some Christians continue to castigate Islam as the culprit for this senseless perversion?
By: James Gordon
In his book, "I Shall Not Hate," Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish reflects on his experiences following the Israel's incursion into Gaza in 2009 that claimed the lives of his three daughters and a niece.
By: Azar Ajaj
While the church in Israel is doing a good job on the spiritual level by presenting the gospel, little has occurred on the social level and almost nothing on the political level. It's time to be a prophetic voice.
By: Azar Ajaj
The events of the Israeli election are a wake-up call to the church in Israel, a challenge to become more effective in its mission. How can churches better serve Arab Israelis as well as the Israeli community?
By: Jesse Wheeler
Misinformation abounds when it comes to the Middle East. Certain misperceptions have proven to have profound socio-cultural consequences and destructive policy ramifications.
By: Wissam al-Saliby
The International Criminal Court is investigating alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories since last June. In the interest of international justice, Christians should support the ICC.
By: Martin Accad
Middle East churches can be part of the solution to ISIS. That solution will require working with many people of different faiths, who love God and value love and peace toward their neighbors.
By: Rupen Das
Syria occupied Lebanon for 20 years. The memory still burns in many Lebanese families. But when Syrian refugees cascaded into Lebanon to flee their nation's civil unrest, Lebanese churches had to make a choice.
By: Jonathan Langley
Most religious people in the Middle East – Muslims, Jews, Christians and others – make up a "silent majority" who are tired of fanaticism, says Martin Accad, speaking at Catalyst Live 2014.
By: Elie Haddad
Middle East Christians are facing terrible tragedies on many fronts, but they're discovering how to be agents of hope to those around them with no hope. They may be powerless, but they're not weak.
By: Martin Accad
Conferences focusing on the plight of Christians in the Middle East are helpful, but what's needed is a summit that would provoke a paradigm shift. Here are three elements for that summit's success.
By: Martin Accad
While U.S. conferences aimed at protecting Christian minorities in the Middle East, like the recent "In Defense of Christians" conference, can be helpful, they also pose problems. Here are four.
By: Brian Kaylor
When GOP Sen. Ted Cruz left the stage amid a chorus of boos during a conference, it vividly demonstrated a religious and political divide between many Christians in the U.S. and the Middle East.
By: Leroy Seat
As part of the International Day of Prayer and Peace on Sept. 21, churches and people of faith are being encouraged to support a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Will your church join?
By: Robert Parham
Evangelical leaders in the Middle East have issued a "state of emergency," warning that the Christian presence there could be annihilated.
By: Brian Kaylor
Baptists and other Christians responded in varying ways to President Barack Obama's prime-time speech about proposals to confront a growing terrorist threat in the Middle East.
By: William L. Sachs, Imad Damaj and Joshua Ralston
The new divide between moderates and extremists raises familiar and nagging questions: What can the moderate majority in every religion do to combat extremism? When and how will moderates stand up?
By: Chris Hall
Instead of offering Christians in the Middle East visas to escape violence, European and Western governments should be lobbying for them to return to their homes in peace, a Baptist leader says.
By: Vinoth Ramachandra
If the U.S. and its European allies can't be pressured to defend Palestinian civilians, to whom should we turn? Some churches have divested from Western businesses that supply Israel's military machine.
By: Azar Ajaj
This carnage in the Middle East, is it anything but madness and evil? We must dare to pray courageously for a just settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a durable peace.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Even in the Israel-Palestine conflict, political and religious affiliations often define responses. The partisanship shows the need for the faithful to pray for peace.
By: Brian Kaylor
Baptists from Israel, Syria and Iraq explained at a BWA forum how they live as a minority group in their nations and shared their efforts to build bridges with their non-Christian neighbors.
By: Chris Hall
Churches in the Middle East and North Africa may be facing hard times as they struggle with the rise of armed fundamentalist militias, government crackdowns and civil war, but that's only half the story.
By: Massimo Aprile
One hundred years after the start of World War I, religious and peace groups from more than 60 nations met to share memories and make concrete peace proposals for the future.
But let’s go back to that fateful night when the Risen Christ appears to his frightened disciples in the upper room. There is rejoicing then as well, but a different kind of joy... a joy that comes more in the form of relief, like when it appears that all is lost and suddenly the Cavalry comes to the rescue. It wasn’t with the force of a wind that would knock them off their feet, but with a soft puff of the cheek that Jesus breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus wanted the disciples to know neither his enemies nor death would have the final word in his life. God would, and that word would be a good one. That tomb would not hold him because God would raise him from the dead, just as God will give abundant and eternal life to all who are faithful in the pursuit of justice and peace as Jesus was. Furthermore, Jesus wanted the disciples to know sin would not have the final word in their relationship. Grace and mercy would, because Jesus loved them unconditionally.
Why did Jesus appear to the disciples the same day God raised him from the dead? He loved them too much to let them wander hopelessly through the cemetery of broken dreams. He was as anxious to turn their grief to joy as he had done for Mary earlier that day.[ ]Jesus also wanted his followers to know he cared for them even though they had abandoned him the night he was arrested and the next day when he was crucified. The resurrected Jesus was still their Good Shepherd, something they needed to know before they tried to sleep another night.
By: Jesse Wheeler
Theology encompasses our very core beliefs as to how the universe functions and how we function within it. While good theology brings life, bad theology kills. Here's how to tell the difference.
[O]n that first Easter morning, Mary was awaken to a faith in the resurrected Christ when Jesus called out her name, “Mary!” The Eternal Word spoke a personal word that finally aroused Mary from the darkness of her night and brought her into the light of a new morning. It was a new world in which sin, pain, suffering and death could no longer contain the Son of God in a tomb of their making. Yes, on Friday afternoon, those powers of darkness seemingly gained an upper hand, but on that third day, when a new morning was dawning, God opened up the tomb and called out, “Good Morning, Jesus!”
By: Brian Kaylor
The Christ at the Checkpoint conference examined biblical teachings in today's Israeli-Palestinian context.
By: Robert Parham
Syrian refugees present humanitarian, economic challenges to Lebanon. The challenge presented to Lebanese churches is unrecognized.
By: David Kerrigan
The third Christ at the Checkpoint conference explores how the teachings of Jesus contribute to the task of achieving peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.
It feels like a church service when brothers get together and remember what their parents taught them, and this, I think, is Jesus’ hope: that when we get together as brothers and sisters and remember what he taught us it will feel like a church service, and when we are what he taught us to be.[ ]It will feel like family.
By: Terence Ascott
When the Arab Spring began three years ago, many in the Arab world had high expectations for new freedoms and prosperity. Fast forward to today, the disappointment and frustration are palpable.
In our world torn by war and dysfunction and stress, peace seems to be an elusive prize. Jesus offers a peace to us that can't be shaken by storms or enemies or crisis or even death.
The Old Testament longs for the day of peace, the day of the Messiah. And Zacharias and the angels declare with the coming of the Christ child, “peace has arrived.” What do we know about peace?
In our world, as good as it is to have “a place of peace” in a comfy chair or in a bubble bath, it is just not enough. For what we truly long for is not just a “private peace” for ourselves while the rest of the world wages war. What we desire is not an “escapist peace” for ourselves while millions of others are left behind to suffer.[...]What we truly need is “Emmanuel,” the dwelling of God being with us. That is the place of peace, of shalom, of wholeness and completeness that we humans and the whole cosmos long for.
So what came first, the chicken or the egg? Was Ahab weak because of Jezebel’s strong, overbearing personality, or did she have to take up the mantle of strength because he was so weak?
Many evangelical Christians are politically obsessed with Israel, arguing that Israel is "the apple of God's eye" and, therefore, should be free to act in any way current leaders choose.
During a gathering focused on the challenges facing Israel today, one speaker said the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be peace without justice. Is he right?
[Y]ou do have only one life to live, and you have to make a choice between what matters, and what matters most. There you are, standing on the station platform, and there’s Jesus, holding out his hand and begging you, “Come with me!” He’s creating a crisis; he is forcing a decision; the moment is as sharp as a sword. Will you reach for his hand, or will you stay where you are?
As the dynamics shift in Syria, new priorities are being set in the politics of the Middle East and North Africa region. The emerging environment poses three opportunities for the church.
On his trip to Israel, President Obama spoke against anti-Semitism, prejudice and intolerance. He could have taken steps to speak against injustice toward everyone, but didn't.
A Middle East conference in Lebanon will examine the Christian and Islamic perspectives on human rights and responsibilities, says Martin Accad in a new EthicsDaily.com Skype interview.
An evangelical Christian whose family has lived in Palestine for hundreds of years struggles to understand Christian Zionists who blindly support Israel at all costs.
As a girl, Rachel Corrie dreamed of helping people. Her dream ended when she was killed in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home.
The greatest gifts of all come from God – the giver of all good things. And the two good gifts today are joy, which no one can take away from you, and peace despite tribulation, because He has overcome the world.
We don’t conjure up our own peace. It is a by-product of a vital relationship with this babe from Bethlehem who is uniquely qualified to give us security when life is falling apart at the seams.
Realities are changing so dramatically in the Mideast that we could see a surprising game-changing opportunity for achieving human rights and common security for both Palestine and Israel.
When religion or politics focus on fear and exclusion, they provide a kind of false peace. Jesus wants to dismantle that false peace and show us a new way forward.
A peacemaker can even dry God’s tears and ease God’s troubled heart over the behavior of His children. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
The coming Peace Child wants to make fractured people whole. The coming Peace Child wants to save us from our enemies, even when the enemy is ourselves.
The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth encourages us to bring our fears to the feet of the One who is born into our midst this season, and leave them there. It is then that we will be rescued from the hands of our enemies and will be free to serve the Lord.
When Western allies kill civilians during war, it's collateral damage. When our adversaries do it, we label it a war crime. Either way, innocent people are dead.
When Western Christians support Israel without reserve, they run the risk of perpetuating the oppression of Palestinian Christians. They value real estate more than people.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems more intractable than ever. Both sides live in fear and will continue to do so until a peaceful resolution provides justice for all.
A Baptist father of five was among the casualties when Israel bombed the Gaza Strip. A former Gaza Baptist Church pastor says "40 percent" of Gaza's casualties have been children.
In a 2009 speech in Cairo, President Obama addressed seven thorny issues of U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Will those issues see progress in his second term?
Palestinian Christian leaders signed a letter urging the United Nations to grant observer-state status to the PLO, calling it a step in the right direction to peace.
When churches feel besieged and when they're anguished and uncertain about their future, they can find comfort in knowing that God is always present with them.
In the wake of a bomb blast on Oct. 19 that killed a top security official and others, Lebanese Baptists are appealing to Baptists worldwide to pray for the country.
Whenever we seek an explanation for what's wrong with our society, we're very good at blaming those at the margins and not as good at examining our own faults.
Love is the first sign. What’s Your Sign? When people see us, do they see love?
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary trains its students to serve in churches as effective leaders, who are able to respond to the pressing social issues of the day.
The Muslim world has vast diversity and isn't limited to the images seen on cable TV news, says an American who lived in Egypt for the past two years.
An amateurish film that offended many Muslims triggered violent reactions around the globe, revealing the deep gap between the Muslim and secular worlds. How do Christians help bridge the gap?
As Lebanon's poor and marginalized are endangered by a fractured social safety net, will churches step up to be true advocates for those most at risk?
As the Arab Spring advances, which side should the Church take? Our moral stance should be driven by a concern for human life and should support those who seek peace.
As Syria deteriorates, faithfulness to the Gospel requires caring for the thousands of displaced refugees rather than taking a political side, one Baptist tells EthicsDaily.com.
A warehouse in Jordan was the site for a U.S.-funded "weapons fair." Imagine the differences if we had offered agriculture resources instead of shilling weapons of war.
How do Christians in the Middle East relate to Muslims? It's crucial to establish loving relationships without marginalizing problems created by a radical Islamic authority, European Baptists said.
Two girls – one Jewish, the other Muslim – from a school in Israel set off a chain of events that led to a Texas Baptist church's involvement in peacekeeping in the Holy Land.
With numerous hot spots in the Middle East, Baptists should continue to pray for the region, according to an official with the Baptist World Alliance and the European Baptist Federation.
To participate in an investment campaign in and for Palestine without standing against Israel's subjection of the Palestinians sides with the oppressors and opposes the oppressed.
Interfaith dialogue typically involves an organized program in which both sides share their views before an audience. Instead of a stuffy meeting, what if we held a picnic?
Raised as a Christian Zionist, Porter Speakman Jr., producer and director of a documentary, "With God on Our Side," had his eyes opened after living in the Middle East.
The United States and Western Europe are strong advocates of human rights in Africa and the Middle East – as long as it doesn't block their economic and political interests.
As the nation of Israel celebrates its 64th anniversary, it's hard not to sympathize with its citizens' desire for a homeland and with Palestinian Arabs. Will they ever coexist peacefully?
Many Christians are willing to live out their faith "up to a point," pastor and author Tony Campolo told British Baptists. It's time to meet the needs of the poor and stand up for justice.
We're going to have to learn to live with less healthcare. That's the reality. Will we learn to live in peace under this new paradigm or will we face it with ingratitude?
Thank goodness for Thomas and his need for experiential proof. Poor guy, he has gotten a bad rap for a long time and really, his demand for proof provides us just what we need to explore our own doubts, our questions, and it exposes the disciples very human fear.
Language and cultural barriers may separate us. However, as we become willing to help and health each other, we travel the road to civility and peace.
In a speech given 45 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. called the U.S. to account for its military adventurism, materialism and racism. We have a long way to go, but his words are still true.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, European Baptist Federation leaders said Baptist churches in the Middle East face great uncertainty, but there were open doors to spread the Christian message.
Seeking to counter the militaristic approach of Christian Zionism, a conference to raise awareness about injustices to Palestinian people drew more than 600 participants.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe in World War II. Yet he made some excellent statements about peace as our 34th president.
Palestinian Christians live in constant fear in a tense and perplexing situation. Building intentional relationships with Jewish and Orthodox Christian faith leaders is a first step to negotiate for justice.
The saber-rattling in this presidential election year has replaced Iraq with Iran as the global villain. As politicians in the U.S. and Israel escalate fear of Iran, will they create a self-fulfilling prophecy?
JERUSALEM (RNS) Every year, thousands of Americans travel abroad for less-expensive fertility treatments, hip replacements and other medical procedures.
In Oklahoma, peace activists on a street corner spoke out against U.S. involvement in a possible war between Israel and Iran. And motorists continually honked their approval.
Some sort of military strike by Israel to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon seems to be growing. Will a peaceful solution be a priority for our leaders?
Turning a blind eye to injustices in the Middle East, much of the U.S. public, including many of its church leaders, are profoundly ignorant of Middle East history.
Vandals spray-painted threats to Arabs and Christians on a school and a monastery in Jerusalem. For the school, which has Arab and Jewish students, it was an opportunity to draw closer together.
JERUSALEM (RNS/ENInews) Christians have the lowest growth rate among the Israeli population, according to a recent report.
Since 1968, the Catholic Church has designated the first day of every year as "World Day of Peace," but not everyone likes the Church's message of seeking peace through justice.
Advent and Christmas must have been created for the sake of the artists. Poets, painters, writers, composers, sculptors and every other artist has seemingly been moved to create art in order to capture the beauty of the story of the birth of Jesus.
LUEBECK, Germany (RNS) After years of celebrating behind drawn curtains, Paliy went to Luebeck’s historic synagogue and lit the candles in freedom for the first time.
The only evangelical church in one of the most fiercely Muslim areas of the world is under severe pressure and may close its doors without support from Western Christians, the founder of Open Doors said.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (RNS) President Obama told a crowd of Reform Jews that no other administration “has done more in support of Israel’s security.”
WASHINGTON (RNS) Rabbi Richard Jacobs understands why so many Jews avoid synagogues.
While many of us don't have the ability to influence peace on a global scale, we can still do our part to seek peacemaking opportunities that are closer to home.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Newt Gingrich ignited an audience of Republican Jewish activists by promising to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Kolben Dance Company’s studio faces a busy downtown plaza, but few passers-by have ever glimpsed one of the troupe’s rehearsals inside.
GALILEE, Israel (RNS) Perched on Tel Kinrot, a hill above the Sea of Galilee, Winston Mah turned his face toward the warm sun.
While we’ve been diligent witnesses, we’ve not been faithful in helping people understand that faith must be a lived experience shaped by the values of Jesus, not just some spiritual truth that is internalized in the heart.
The United States has cut funding to several Palestinian Christian groups, apparently as a response to Palestine's recent bid for statehood, says a British charity organization.
METAIRIE, La. (RNS) Until recently, two remarkable stories surrounded the beautiful hand-lettered Torah scroll at Congregation Beth Israel
What is robbing you of joy and peace today?
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel’s chief rabbis are among the Jews in Israel and abroad who have strongly condemned an arson attack on a mosque in northern Israel.
I guess, when it comes to the commandments of God, it all depends on how great you want to be in the kingdom. Or, perhaps we should think of how chosen we would like to be. Either way, it sounds like grace to me.
While many have tried to live true to Jesus' straightforward call to nonviolence, many Christians have found this command unsettling, and perhaps even ridiculous.
A cross-section of influential faith leaders in Iraq have come together to call for peace through dialogue rather than military strength. One leader said they have a duty to initiate a "moral generation."
History reveals sufficient evidence to condemn all three Abrahamic faiths for resorting to violence. Despite these shortcomings, all three share a common hope for peace.
(RNS) A Presbyterian Church (USA) committee will recommend that the church add heavy equipment giant Caterpillar to its divestment list.
Following their end-of-the-world beliefs, Christian Zionists in the U.S. misuse the Bible to theologically justify displacing and oppressing Palestinians, thwarting efforts for Middle East peace.
Times are changing in the Arab world as more Christian women assume positions of leadership. But, as two women point out, more women need the courage to step out of their comfort zones.
As Libya illustrates, the world is still not so safe that it can do without a powerful and effective military alliance. And Christians must more deeply engage questions of peace, war and the appropriate use of force.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Two Muslim congressmen and other prominent Muslims have urged Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Love. Blessing. Peace. These are the signs that Paul calls us to show, if not with our hands, then through our lives.
Whether between nations or within a church, steps to resolve conflicts are similar. A BWA-supported initiative and former Prime Minister Tony Blair both offer ways to achieve peace.
LONDON (RNS/ENInews) The annual peace service at Westminster Cathedral acquired fresh significance as Londoners gathered to pray for their city.
When leaders whip their constituents into a frenzy, they do a grave disservice to the common good. As long as we fail to listen to each other, we will not resolve our conflicts.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Dalai Lama celebrated his 76th birthday by speaking before throngs of well-wishers at an 11-day peace event in the U.S. capital.
Focusing on forgiveness and conflict resolution that occurred in the aftermath of civil war in Sierra Leone, a documentary illustrates the courage and grace of ordinary people.
(RNS) Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican praised the controversial wartime Pope Pius XII for his “actions to save the Jews” during the Holocaust.
Violence is a vicious cycle. We have fought for so long against each other that warfare has become our natural state. But Jesus' call to nonviolent resistance to evil shows us the path to genuine humanity.
Nothing continues to threaten the prospect of peace in the Middle East like religious extremism, but what is an authentic Christian response to the Middle East question?
Palestinians who seek a safe homeland in the Mideast have been lied to and mistreated repeatedly, but that doesn't mean they can rewrite history by denying that there was ever a Hebrew nation in Palestine.
TEL AVIV, Israel (RNS) This year’s annual gay pride festival included a parade float representing the country’s religious gay and lesbian communities.
After giving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 24 standing ovations during his 50-minute speech before Congress, maybe it's time for our national politicians to revise their pledge of allegiance.
Baptists in Israel are mainly Arab, an evangelical minority within a Christian minority. That they have survived 100 years in good heart is a cause for deep gratitude and rejoicing.
Israeli Baptists celebrated their 100-year anniversary in the Middle East, which began with the return on Shukri Musa to his homeland from Illinois, where he was baptized and commissioned as a pastor.
Jewish, Christian and Muslim American religious organizations affirmed President Barack Obama's speech last week aimed at pushing Israelis and Palestinians to pursue peace. Other faith leaders were more critical.
West Bank (RNS/ENInews) Pilgrims are flowing back to the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism on the Jordan River.
A visit to Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust memorial, is at times strangely peaceful – not the peace of beauty or harmony, but the peace that says this horror is now over, but please don't ever forget it.
NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Dalai Lama says peace in the world begins with peace in oneself. Some of his fellow Nobel laureates, however, aren’t convinced.
NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Dalai Lama has a message for Newark: Peace does not come easily, but the strategy for attaining it is simple.
A Pakistani IT consultant tweeted "there goes the neighborhood" as he described Osama bin Laden's assassination in real time. The phrase reminds us that out global neighborhood needs new rules to survive. Here are three.
If we refuse to examine issues from our enemy's point of view, we limit our ability to create the conditions for peaceful coexistence. Jesus told us to love our enemy. Will we listen?
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether American passports issued to children born in Jerusalem should include the word “Israel.”
WASHINGTON (RNS) American Jews and evangelicals need a formal mechanism to discuss their differences and similarities on support for Israel.
(RNS) A Jewish organization is celebrating Passover two weeks early, proclaiming freedom from Glenn Beck’s television show.
(RNS) Facebook shut down a “Third Palestinian Intifada” page and similar groups this week, prompted by complaints from Jewish groups.
(RNS/ENInews) Christian leaders are calling on the Obama administration to renew diplomatic efforts to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The success of protest movements in the Middle East and North Africa could provide "incredible opportunities" for the regions' Christians, who are in the minority and often face persecution.
NEW YORK (RNS) When Anam Chaudhry sang the national anthem she wore a Muslim headscarf, and around her shoulders, another garment: the American flag.
JERUSALEM (RNS/ENInews) Israel has declined to renew a residency permit for Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem.
How do we understand the extraordinary events of the Middle East, including the tottering regime of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya? God does not care very much about political calculations, but he does care about justice.
IRVINE, Calif. (RNS) “Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”
Tyrants hang on to power for as long as possible. If the Arab world adheres to Gandhi-style civil disobedience, then this historic movement, which began in Tunisia, will depose the tyrants of the Arab world.
JERUSALEM (RNS) American rabbis have signed a letter demanding that the conversions they perform outside Israel be recognized.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israeli officials have installed an $11 million pipe to ease a weekly water shortage on Fridays.
Deep uncertainty has enveloped the Middle East. Tunisia and Egypt have been transformed. Yemen and Jordan are experiencing discontent. Even Lebanon is asking fresh questions about democratic freedoms.
(RNS) Jewish organizations are aiming to send more North American teens and young adults than ever to Israel this year.
With the population of Arab countries growing, Arab Christians have the opportunity to influence the communities in which God has called them to serve.
Christmas trees are in the news all over the world. They were banned in a Nazareth suburb. Another one was lit by a Sunni Muslim official in Beirut. And Egyptians purchased a half-million Christmas trees.
An international coalition of development, human rights and peace-building organizations says conditions in Gaza grow dire and that Israel has not followed through on its commitment to ease the blockade.
The angels' celestial anthem over the skies of Bethlehem reminds us that God yearns for peace on earth, but he also longs for the peace of Palestine and of Israel – for serenity in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
A delegation of American Baptist leaders spent almost two weeks in the Middle East, engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and encouraging Arab Christians.
JERUSALEM (RNS) American Jews and evangelical Christians are taking a central role in rebuilding the Carmel region in northern Israel.
Pope Paul VI said it plainly, “ If you want peace, work for justice.” We’re meant to be witnesses for a day that’s yet to dawn! May we yearn to live differently by believing less in the wild kingdom than in the peaceable kingdom God wants to bring about with our help.
Peace is a dominant theme in Isaiah and each time a new king was crowned, the writers prayed, above all else, he would be a peacemaker. They never envisioned a world that would be free of tension or conflicting interests, but rather a world in which leaders and all people would resolve their conflicts without bloodshed.
The next time you see somebody at an intersection with a sign that says, Will work for food, or the next time you see a parody of the sign, think of this instead: Will work for peace. Let us commit ourselves to being a part of the will of God that wants peace upon the earth.
What are you hoping for this season? Perhaps responding to an invitation will help. No, not an invitation to yet another party. An invitation offered you by the prophet Isaiah. He says to you and me, “Come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Palestinian government has pulled a report stating that Jews have no historic connection to the Western Wall.
PRINCETON, N.J. (RNS) Princeton University’s great hummus war is going to the polls this week.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Western Wall is actually a Muslim shrine, according to an official report.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Experiencing the warmest, driest November on record, residents of the Holy Land are calling on a higher power to bring rain.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Netanyahu told American Jewish leaders that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
The attack of a Catholic church in Baghdad, resulting in the loss of dozens of innocent lives, has focused attention once more on the plight of the Christian population in Iraq as well as the Middle East.
JERUSALEM (RNS) For the first time in its 62-year history, Israel will soon allow a limited number of couples to marry in civil ceremonies.
Society is so saturated and prone toward violence that people find it hard to believe in anything else, but only nonviolence can break the cycle of violence and open a door for peace.
Followers of Christian Zionism, which sees the nation of Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, objected to a Baptist magazine's guest editorial. What the Middle East needs is less ideologues and more peacemakers.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political issue and should be worked out using political and diplomatic resources, not theological debate. Religion, in this case, has contributed more to the problem rather than the solution.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) A special Vatican meeting on the Middle East ended with a flare-up in Catholic-Jewish tensions.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for 17 years.
She had no plan or organizational backing, but nearly 30 years after her death, Peace Pilgrim, who walked across America for 28 years for peace, continues to inspire others.
If you have the courage to look back and trace the journey of your life, I think that for the most part your testimony would be that your life is not only good but it is better for the way you’ve done it. In fact, had your life turned out the way you planned it, chances are it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it really is.
(RNS) President Obama’s approval rating among U.S. Jews has dropped in the past year.
The director of a Christian organization in the Middle East urged British Baptists to learn more about the plight of Christians in Palestine. While they try to live peacefully amid the conflict, many constantly feel weak.
JERUSALEM (RNS) A huge sycamore tree that some believe was climbed by Zacchaeus is the centerpiece of a new tourism campaign.
An Orthodox Christian leader comes under fire from Muslims when he raises an inquiry about verses in the Quran. The incident points to the great need for peacemakers to help Muslim-Christian relations.
(RNS) A broad coalition of U.S. Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders has backed the administration’s efforts to broker peace.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Ultra-Orthodox leaders removed barriers separating men and women after Israel’s High Court ruled that the tall screens were illegal.
Jesus' command to practice peacemaking requires nonviolent responses to evil. Why do many Christians find this instruction to turn from violence unsettling? Because it requires forgiveness.
In the midst of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, 29 U.S. Christian leaders believe that religion can be a force for peace. It is a moral imperative too often rejected by other U.S. Christian leaders.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The government’s decision to end daylight saving time early has set off an angry debate.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday (Sept. 2).
JERUSALEM (RNS) Jewish authorities hope to replace the existing partition that separates the men’s and women’s prayer areas.
JERUSALEM (RNS) More than 100 modern-Orthodox rabbis and others have signed a document that urges respect for homosexuals.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Catholic Church’s highest official in the Holy Land sharply criticized Israeli authorities for permitting a gay pride parade.
If we will indeed walk with the one true God, without our usual excuses, our steps will take us there. And when our journey is complete, and our final steps taken, we will know that the stumbling and the wobbling and the falling – not to mention the getting back up – is all worth it.
Hosea and Gomer were to be object lessons to Israel about the moral and spiritual condition of that society's relationship to God. Just as Gomer was scandalously unfaithful to Hosea, Israel was scandalously unfaithful to God.
The situation in the Gaza Strip polarizes opinions. One extreme believes the blockade should be unconditionally lifted; the other believes Gaza deserves all it gets. What will it take to begin reconciliation?
George Edwards, a New Testament professor at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and author of "Jesus and the Politics of Violence," died June 2 at 90. He invested his life in a bigger dream for the world.
The Israeli commando attack on a pro-Palestinian flotilla 80 miles from Israel's coast that resulted in at least nine civilian deaths and 30 wounded has drawn a moral critique from global Baptists.
After leaving the White House, President Jimmy Carter decided to put his faith and his political visibility to work in the cause of justice, promoting democracy in places no one dreamed democracy was even possible.
Jimmy Carter made being "born again" a campaign issue in 1976, vowing that his faith would help him govern. In the aftermath of Watergate, the American people were looking for someone they could trust.
Good Baptist historians stick their necks out for the common good and offer a relevant moral witness when it counts. They're more interested in strengthening the prophetic voice than offering soothing sermons.
A neo-conservative think tank has labeled a Turkish Islamic scholar as an "ultraconservative," but the label is a gross distortion. In the eyes of intolerant secularists, all religious people appear to be ultraconservative.
Among the earliest to champion individual rights and civil society, Quakers have a long history of involvement in Russia. While their numbers are few, they're still active in Russia today.
Why do so many Christians support violence when our Savior seems to have done otherwise? Do we support war in order to forget that we were once victims?
Rep. Michele Bachmann argues that the United States should base its foreign policy in the Middle East on one particular way of reading a verse from Genesis. Her rationale has several flaws.
Amid all the cries of joy and jubilation at the Christmas season, will we finally hear the cries of those in the Middle East who await the coming of the God of justice and peace?
A London Baptist church was the focus of protests after hosting a carol concert organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A minister at the church stood by the program, but one critic said it politicized Christmas.
We can’t do much about alliances and peace treaties. But all of us face sisters who fight over mama’s money, brothers who haven’t spoken for so many years that they can’t even remember why, children who won’t come home and parents who don’t want them at home. In each of these situations there is something we can do. The peace of Christmas can break out in my relationships if I would but learn these things.
Many churches will mark the beginning of Advent on Sunday, a month-long reflection on the meaning of Jesus' birth. It's far more significant than simply encouraging retail outlets to say "Merry Christmas."
The message that the false prophets of end-times theology have is that the world is ending, so let's hurry things along. Let's forget about seeking good in the world, making peace in the world and improving our world.
When you read about conflict in the Mid-East, if the Prince of Peace could somehow be present in the hearts of more people, could that be a positive thing? When these are places where people are starving and places where refugees are displaced, could any of these things be helped if there were more people in those places who knew about Christ? If the answer to that is no, then why do we even bother being here? If the answer is yes, then let us just continue with the faith that is recognized by others, the faith that is not done working yet.
Jesus' call for peacemaking requires nonviolent responses to evil. However, Christians often have found his command to turn from violence unsettling and even ridiculous.
Churches from three denominations in Great Britain are being urged to observe Sunday, Sept. 20, as Peacemaking Sunday, the day before the United Nations' International Day of Peace.
More than 50 religious leaders, including Baptists from the United States, signed a letter sent to President Obama, calling for a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
When a well-respected rabbi advocates the killing of civilians and the destruction of holy sites in time of war, one must ask what makes him different from Muslim extremists. Further, what do we say in response to this?
President Obama's trip to predominantly Muslim nations in the Middle East holds historic promise. Every Christian can only pray that Obama's trip sows seeds that will bear fruit of a hundred-fold for peace.
With their roots stretching back to 1911, the Baptist community in Israel numbers 3,000 people making up 20 churches in Galilee and central Israel. They are a minority group in a multifaith, multicultural society.
Far right commentators often rely on fear to fuel their political agendas. History, however, has shown that this path leads to isolationism and hate-filled violence. Faith in God can defeat the manipulative power of fear.
Baptists and other Christians in Gaza lived side by side with their Muslim neighbors in love and respect until six years ago. Today, they are caught between the Israeli attacks on Gaza and attacks from militant Muslims.
The Baptist movement in Lebanon began more than a century ago when a Lebanese photographer visited a Baptist church in St. Louis. Today, its ministries include a seminary, publishing house, school and a community-relief organization.
Sixty years ago, Christians constituted more than 25 percent of the overall Palestinian population in the Holy Land. Today, those numbers have dwindled alarmingly, due largely to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We ask Jesus to come to us and show us his wounds, to prove to us that he is alive and is willing to invest himself in who we are and what we do. We want to know for certain that Jesus will walk with us and encourage us in our faith and in the journey of life. We ask for Jesus to do this, and because he is One who loves us beyond all human abilities to measure, he walks up to us, shows us the wounds in his hands, reveals to us the gash in his side, and in his woundedness he says to us, “Follow me.”
Our faith is the cross of Jesus Christ and all the ways we have come to understand it, all the ways that scripture describes it. It is what makes us whole with God, what gives us our peace and where our forgiveness is found. That is what makes us Christians.
Popular author and preacher Tony Campolo urged Baptists to help care for the needs of others by making systemic changes to American society and churches, during the final session of the Baptist Border Crossing.
Who needs your help right now? Who needs you to be courageous and compassionate? Whose heart is as troubled as Jesus’ was in this text and needs you to walk with them along their journey? What could you do that might change the way they live the rest of their life?
The lasting effect of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, signed 30 years ago, makes it the most successful modern effort toward Middle East peace.
While prayer and financial support are important keys to resolving the conflict in the Middle East, they are not the only keys. Our own silence and complacency must end if justice and peace are to prevail.
News that even in these straitened times international donors have responded so generously to the needs of Gaza is very welcome.
PASADENA, Calif. -- While applauding President Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by 2011, a longtime peace activist cautioned that Afghanistan may be the next U.S. military quagmire.
Listening to the voices of the marginalised, opposing discrimination of women and noting the impact of climate change were among the commitments made by Baptists around the world in Rome as part of the 'urgent Gospel task of being justice seekers and peacemakers'.
I want to go to Iraq. Not today, or tomorrow. Probably not for several years, and certainly not as a soldier -- but I want to go to Iraq. I want to go as a tourist, a student, a pilgrim of sorts.
One of the most disturbing wars in history began with British protectorate rule over Palestine. Begun in the 1920s, the "Holy Land" war continues between Arabs and Jews to this day. With such tremendous hatred for one another, will a solution ever be found?
In January 2008 I received an e-mail from a distraught former student informing me that Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid, a Christmas gift she had given her grandfather, was dismissed as a misguided treatise and unfair criticism of Israel.
The purpose of this essay is not to air a laundry list of serious errors in judgment infracted by some over the years. Rather, it is intended to help shed light on and perhaps assist in sweeping away some of the cobwebs and pre-conceived notions most Americans have about Palestinians.
To combat deep-rooted hatred and rejectionism, a profound spiritual movement is needed, and far from being a cause of divisiveness - as it is perceived in this country - religion is the only power which has a language of the necessary depth and subtlety.
Raouf Halaby sometimes asks his students, as he’s breaking the ice about his background, how big they think the Jordan River is.
Baptists around the world have been showing support for the beleaguered civilians caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hamas.
The recent events in Gaza are a horrific example of democracy at work, according to Raouf Halaby. But the implementation of democracy in this case grates against the American ideal like fingernails on a chalkboard.
More than anything else, it appears the American populace may simply be too disinterested or too distracted to engage in believable change on this issue, despite its obvious far-reaching importance not just in the region but across the globe.
With family living in Israel and two cousins in the Israeli army, I have been watching the Gaza situation carefully. It is heartbreaking. It is tragic. Innocent people on both sides are suffering. But now is not the time for inflammatory remarks. Now is not the time to callously throw around words like "genocide." Now is not the time to point fingers at only one side, without taking a critical look at what both sides are doing. American politicians have been arguing that if America were hit by Katyushas from Mexico or Canada, we would attack these countries just as Israel has been hitting Gaza. The question is, if Americans had been squeezed into a hermetically sealed Florida and denied food, medicine, fuel and freedom of movement, would we not hit the perpetrator with missiles?
Like me you’ve no doubt been following the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas. How much do you know about the situation? I’d like to offer a few bits of information as you seek to make sense of what’s happening there.
Serious times call for serious people, and it's hard to imagine more serious times than these. War in Afghanistan is going badly (read the history books, and you will realise that the only non-Afghan who could not have written that sentence was Alexander the Great).
A Jan. 5 Baptist Press article on the conflict in Gaza included several misleading claims and untrustworthy sources. The BP story quickly spread and was picked up by other news sites, including the Baptist Standard, Florida Baptist Witness, Townhall, Crosswalk.
Like many in this part of the world and around the globe my heart aches when I read and see pictures of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, and likewise when I see Israelis killed or injured by Qassam rockets.
A Baptist pastor—the pastor of the only Protestant church in the Gaza Strip—has spoken about the plight of Palestinian Christians and others in the wake of the recent attacks.
Maybe it was the timing of New Year’s with all the resolutions and stuff, but I too am intrigued by Chopra’s simple yet bold request to our President-elect to reframe our national direction from warring to peace with nine basic steps.
Violence is the byproduct of religion plus politics, not religion alone. Even if one could imagine a world without religion, one can hardly imagine a world without politics. The striving for power surely deserves as much credit for the recent riots in Jos, Nigeria, as does the dogma of competing faith groups. Yet, all too often, news reports explain violence in terms of faith clashes.
There's been lots of bad news this past week. Hurricane Ike ran ashore over Galveston, Texas, and folks as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky felt its force. The collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was quickly followed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the eventual bailout of American International Group (AIG). All the while, our country is tossed into turmoil of a different sort.
"Ain't Gonna Study War No More" is one of those old songs we don't hear sung much these days. It comes from some of the very insightful and meaningful verses in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (The first four books of the New Testament Bible.)
Former Democratic vice presidential candidate turned Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman is listed as a headline speaker at an upcoming event sponsored by John Hagee, a preacher from San Antonio, Texas, whose controversial views recently caused Republican presidential candidate John McCain to reject his endorsement.
As a child I wasn't aware that Memorial Day observances were intended for those felled on the battlefield. I thought of it as a day of family remembrance, honoring relatives gone before us--veterans and non-veterans alike--something akin to a low-church All Saints Day--but with flowers; lots of flowers.
A British Baptist leader joined a reported 15,000 people last Saturday in a march in central London showing solidarity with Palestinians.
Most of us would love to see more democracy in the nations of the world. Just suppose the Middle East had a fledging democracy 50-plus years ago. Iran did have a thriving and growing democracy, until August 1953.
At the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus makes nine statements that would be enough to offer us a guide to living the way God would have us live even if they were the only extant words of Jesus we had. Each statement promises blessings if we live according to what is demanded by Jesus. Unfortunately, his demands are not easy, as he tells us that to find blessings we must be poor, be mournful, be meek, hunger for righteousness, be merciful, and endure persecution in the name of Jesus.
United States embassies have reported an upsurge in anti-Semitism over the last decade, according to a recent government report.
Humans are caught "in an inextricable network of mutuality" that requires nations to overcome differences to work together for peace, Baptist ethicist Paul Dekar said Thursday at a special-interest session on peacemaking at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta.
Erick Prince, founder of Blackwater, testified last fall before the House Oversight and Government reform committee concerning his company's activities in Iraq. Steeped in conservative Christian traditions, the Prince dynasty has deep Republican roots whose fortunes were freely spent to support religious causes like James Dobson's Focus on the Family or provide seed money for the Family Research Council, ran by former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.
On May 14, 1948, the modern State of Israel declared its sovereignty as an independent state and a home for the Jewish people. That action opened a floodgate of violence that continues to this day, and it created a human catastrophe as nearly a million Palestinians were forced from their homes and became refugees--a number that, according to the United Nations, has increased exponentially.
Christians, Muslims and Jews around the world prayed for this week's Mideast peace talks in Annapolis, Md.--some for their success and others for them to fail.
"Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel" begins with Abraham and takes the reader through a tremendous graphic representation of what is called "Israel's world view."
Lebanese Baptists questioned a proposed U.N. resolution drafted by the United States and France seeking a truce in fighting between Israel and Hezbollah that has lasted more than three weeks.
BEIRUT, Lebanon--A European Baptist Federation delegation held rare meetings with two of Lebanon's most powerful political leaders.