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Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-America, Pro-Peace, and Pro-Jesus

Filed under: God's movement,Palestine / Israel — 2:54 pm

written on The Wall in Bethlehem

The most profound (and terrifying) realization from my two trips to Israel and Palestine was:  this is what happens when “either/or” and “us vs. them” thinking gets taken to the farthest extent.  Once you’ve demonized “the other”, you no longer have to listen to them.  And when we stop listening, the other side loses their humanity, and things can get really ugly.

We see this in politics all the time.  And if I’m honest, I can do the same thing in my own life.

But there are people who believe – and are living out – a different way.  And two of my favorites will be sharing their stories at Willow Creek on Friday, September 21st, 7-9pm.

(1) Lynne Hybels.  You’ve heard me talk many times about my mother-in-law Lynne.  (Those thoughts here).  She has been leading a grassroots Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-America, Pro-Peace, Pro-Jesus movement in the Chicagoland area for the last couple years, and there are few people I respect more.

(2) Sami Awad.    Sami is a Palestinian Christian who has given his life to peacemaking.  His non-profit organization, Holy Land Trust, works with the Palestinian community at both the grassroots and leadership levels in developing nonviolent approaches which aim to end the Israeli occupation and build a future that is founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence.  Lynne calls him ” the MLK Jr of Palestine”.

On September 21st, following a short time of prayer and worship together (lead by myself and a few others), Lynne will share her story about becoming a peacemaker in this tumultuous region, and then interview Sami.  I really believe it’s going to be a stunning, beautifully powerful night.

So whether you are an expert in international affairs, or brand new to this conversation, please join us for this free learning community!  Let us all become peacemakers together…

If you’re interested in learning more between now and then, may I recommend two resources?
(1) “Blood Brothers” by Elias Chacour
(2) This short film created by our friends and Kensington Church


  1. Shalom Aaron,

    Sadly, there is no balance here as the Israeli/Jewish narrative has no equal voice at the gathering. Willow should do better with such a controversial issue.


    Comment by Jordan Goodman — September 4, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  2. Jordan,

    I hear your concern that we don’t have an official Jewish presenter, but that absolutely doesn’t mean we won’t present the Israeli/Jewish narrative. We will honor both sides! In fact, without a clear and compassionate telling of the Israeli/Jewish narrative, we would fail at our goal of pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-American peacemaking.

    So please come! I trust that even though you might disagree at moments, you’ll really connect with the both/and spirit.


    Comment by aaronieq — September 4, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  3. Shalom Aaron,

    I have no doubt that Lynne and Dr. Awad will try to present both sides. Without questioning their sincerity or integrity, Dr. Awad speaks from his decidedly pro Palestinian perspective born of his personal experience and Lynne seems to tilt toward that narrative as well. This is evident from the materials that were recommended for further study by Lynne on her website last year after the GLS. Your book recommendation and video above continue that trend/bias rather than pursuing having an even-handed approach to the competing narratives.

    So, without a flesh and blood representative of the Israeli/Jewish/Zionist narrative, the gathering will be perceived by me (I’ll try to come), and folks like me as not balanced. Although your meeting takes place on Friday evening (the Jewish Sabbath) if you need the name of such a person (not Rabbi Brant) to provide balance, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

    Be well Aaron,

    Many blessings,

    Comment by Jordan Goodman — September 5, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  4. Aaron:

    I’ve watched the first few minutes of the video you’ve posted (and will watch the rest). There is an egregious factual error at about two and a half minutes into the video. It describes the Six Day War (omitting a lot of relevant facts) and then states that after the war a resistance movement called the Palestine Liberation Movement “then came along.”

    In fact, the PLO was founded in 1964, three years before the Six Day War took place. The PLO was not formed in response to the occupation, but out of a desire to achieve the liberation of Palestine, which means Israel’s destruction.

    Comment by Dexter Van Zile — September 5, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  5. Dexter, thanks for the comment. Of course, there is no way to cover every nuance of such a complicated conflict in a 20 minute film. But honestly, this film really reflects what I’ve seen firsthand in the West Bank…and more importantly, what I’ve been learning from people who have been involved there for years. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, but this film captures profound truth, and I’m excited for people to see and wrestle with it.

    So thank you for your desire to check all the facts and make sure everything is true. We may not see eye to eye on all the details, but I share your desire to tell the whole story. And more than just tell the story, to do whatever we can to be a voice of understanding, respect, justice, and Shalom.

    Blessings to you.

    Comment by aaronieq — September 6, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  6. Shalom Aaron,

    And the whole story needs a factual basis to provide the necessary historical context. Because there are two competing narratives, facts and historical context differ. All the more reason that a flesh and blood representative
    of the Jewish/Israeli/Zionist narrative is necessary.

    I know that you, Lynne and Mr. Awad, don’t want your gathering to be about which narrative is right and true, and in the name of Justice I don’t see how it can be avoided. The situation on the ground did not happen in a vacuum.
    There are facts and thus there is an historical context that needs to be considered when looking for solutions.


    Comment by Jordan Goodman — September 6, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

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  9. Jordan and Dexter, I thank you both for raising the deep concerns I have had with the dialogue and perspective of this group. Sadly, it’s the reason I withdrew my membership with Kensington Community Church.

    Comment by Laura Shannon — February 1, 2015 @ 3:50 pm

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