Thinking Out Loud

April 29, 2013

What if What Happened in Boston Was a Weekly Occurance?

Filed under: current events, media — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:07 am

Noah Beck writes at The Christian Post:

I genuinely empathize with the victims of the Boston bombing. They were killed, maimed, injured, and/or forever traumatized only because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As they gathered to compete in or watch the marathon underway, they were – like all terrorism victims – the epitome of innocent.

But imagine if this happened again next week, at a pizzeria, killing 15 diners. And again, a week later, on a bus, killing 19 passengers. Then, at a discotheque, killing 21 teens. Then, at a church, killing 11 worshipers. And so on, with a new bombing terrorizing us almost every week.

Israelis don’t have to imagine. They just have to remember. Between 1995 and 2005, each year saw an average of 14 suicide bombings, murdering 66 victims. 2002 was the worst year, with 47 bombings that slaughtered 238 people. That’s almost one Boston bombing every week. Adjusted for population differences, Israel’s victims in 2002 amounted to the equivalent of three 9/11s in one year. And these bombing statistics don’t include all of the shootings, stabbings, and other violent attacks by Palestinian extremists during those years.

Most Americans (and Europeans), who enjoy lives of far greater security, can barely recall such attacks because they usually received only scant and perfunctory media coverage, if they were mentioned at all. A few particularly gruesome attacks (like the Netanya Passover bombing that killed 30 and injured 140) were prominently reported but most attacks were barely and inconspicuously noted, and many smaller but horrific attacks went entirely unreported…

Continue reading here

The article concludes:

With so many constant threats, it’s a miracle that Israelis can maintain any semblance of everyday sanity, much less win Nobel prizes and get more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country after the USA and China. How do they do it? If you talk to Israelis, their approach seems to be a proud and stubborn refusal to let terrorism change their lives…

October 28, 2010

Shane Claiborne: Speaking of Love in a Time of War

Since the first day, I’ve been hooked on CNN’s Belief Blog; a mixture of news reports and guest columns related to various aspects of religion.   A number of Evangelical authors do guest columns, including Shane Claiborne, who was featured today.

Speaking of the middle east situation in general and his travels in particular.  Here are some random notes and quotes:

  • We met with Jewish folks committed to stopping the home demolitions of Palestinians, and we met with Israeli soldiers who refused orders they deemed unjust.
  • …[T]he central message of the cross is grace, love, and reconciliation. It is about God’s love being so big he died, even for his enemies, and now we are to join this revolution that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free of hatred and discrimination.
  • …[T]hese are urgent times when we need the Church to be the Church – and to remember that we are people of reconciliation and peace in a world infected with violence and prejudice.
  • …[I]f Jesus had tried to make his walk from Bethany to Jerusalem today, he wouldn’t be able to make it through the checkpoints.
  • One of the promises of Jesus in the Gospels is that the gates of hell will not prevail. I don’t think he was saying there is no hell but I do believe he was saying that there are hells today that hold people hostage. We should be storming the gates to rescue them.

Looking for more?  Check out the whole article here.

Shane Claiborne is an author and activist and one of the architects of a community in Philadelphia called The Simple Way. Shane worked in India alongside Mother Teresa and spent time in Iraq with the Christian Peacemaker Team during the recent war. His books include Jesus for President, Follow Me to Freedom, and the best-selling Irresistible Revolution. Check out more at: www.thesimpleway.org.

Here are some previous appearances on this blog by Shane:  from earlier this month, one on U.S. gun violence;  from the summer one one education;  and going much further back, a Spring 2008 review of Jesus for President.

July 2, 2010

Why I Haven’t Been To Israel and Why You Should Go

If I were to meet you in Toronto, I could show you the hospital I was born in, the houses that I lived in, the church I was dedicated in, and the school I attended.    They’re all still standing, though I’m a bit fuzzy on the second house I lived in, because I know it as number 21, but the municipality switched to four-digit house numbers on that street for reasons I can’t begin to fathom.

My kids situation is quite different, despite their obviously younger age.   They were born in different cities; one hospital was completely razed to make room for a new one, while the other was renovated into a seniors’ complex.  The school my oldest attended for kindergarten was torn down last summer and a new school, with a new name, was built at the other end of the property.

Sometimes you can go back, and sometimes you can’t.

There was a time many years back when it seemed like everyone I knew was taking a trip to the Holy Land.   There is no end of ministry organizations willing to take you there — including some whose ministry would seem to have little interest in Biblical history — and if you miss one trip, there’s usually another one leaving a few weeks later.

At the time, I came to the conclusion that it was becoming the Evangelical equivalent of taking a pilgrimage to Mecca; something that you must do before you die.

Don’t get me wrong:  I want to learn the backstory to those Biblical passages.   I’m a huge fan of Ray VanderLaan and his “Faith Lessons” series, and in fact have taken many of his “virtual” trips to Israel via DVD.    I just don’t want to see it “added” to the things that as a Christian you “must” do.

On the other hand, thinking out loud about my kids and their birthplaces, there is a value in these five little words:

“This is the spot where…”

Now I know they may not have it exact.   It may not be the precise piece of geography where Jesus turned water into wine, or preached the Sermon on the Mount.   But it’s the idea; the concept that our scriptures are not just a book of stories, but that all these things actually happened.   You can go back and look and say, “It happened here.”

Maybe you don’t look at the maps in the back of your Bible, and maybe — like me several years ago — you suppress a yawn as people share their Holy Land tour pictures.  Maybe — also like me — history, political science and current events weren’t your longsuit growing up.   Perhaps you still struggle with news stories — or even shut them out — when you hear words like Palestine, Jerusalem, West Bank, or even Middle East. Your frame of reference may be that’s all just heat and sand and men wearing tunics.

But it’s good to know your roots.   It’s good to know you have roots.

As the book of Acts reminds us (26:26), all these things didn’t take place “in a corner,” or “a long time ago in a galaxy far away.”

Compared to eternity, it all happened yesterday. Shalom.

October 19, 2009

Monday Lynx

Here’s some fresh lynx links to start the week:

  • Stuff Fundies LikeSo far we’ve linked to Stuff Christians Like, Stuff White Christians Like and Stuff Christian Culture Likes (see blogroll at side) but this week we’re most definitely adding a link to Stuff Fundies Like.   You may be a huge Jon Acuff fan, but let’s face it, Jon goes to Andy Stanley’s church, which puts SCL in a world that most bloggers can relate to.   Stuff Fundies Like goes directly to the heart of conservative Christianity (i.e. Fundamentalists) and the author, who goes only by Darrell, definitely nails it.   (Warning #1:  Unlike SCL, SWCL and SCCL, the people portrayed in this one don’t always have a sense of humor.)  (Warning #2:  Allow at least a half hour becuase you’re going to want to read the ENTIRE thing.) (Warning #3:  Be prepared to do more than leave a comment; you can also sign up for a forum!)    Here’s that link one more time.
  • Know someone who is 60 but has the ministry outlook of a 30-year-old?   Or how about someone who is 25 but seems to be going on 55 when it comes to their outlook on church and culture?   You might be dealing with someone who has a different MINISTRY AGE.   Now, thanks to Leadership Magazine, you can find out yours just by taking a simple survey.   (The scoring becomes rather obvious, but that just makes the whole thing more informative.)   Even if you’re not in vocational ministry, but serve on a board or teach a class:  Take the survey!  You may find that you’re a younger leader, pragmatic leader, or traditional leader.   Just 25 questions linked here.
  • As far as I know, this isn’t a Christian book per se, but I was mailed a link to Start Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer (Hachette, 2009) which begins with an interesting teaser:  “How is it that Israel– a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?”  Click here for more details. [UPDATE: See new link in comments section.]
  • Jonathan Brink shares a link to a TED Talk by Karen Armstrong prolific author of over 30 books on religion including The Case for God (Knopf Publishing, September 2009).   Here she speaks on the history of “belief.”   This is heady stuff, but it’s worth viewing if you have 21:27 to spare.   Watch the video and read Jonathan’s comments here at the blog Misseo Dei.
  • As Christians, we tend to focus on events which are close to us or familiar to us; so we usually pick up on events that take place in the White House that are more Christian-friendly.   So it’s interesting to see U.S. President Barack Obama giving an inter-faith, inclusive message on the occasion of Diwali (2:02) and lighting the Diwali lamp (1:00) in the White House.

lynxWatch for the links lynx to appear any day any time !!  (Reminder to children:  Do NOT pet the lynx.)  Link suggestions are always welcomed.  Just call our link-tips hotline.

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