Below are excerpts from an interview I shared about my recent trip to Israel and Palestine. My travels opened me to understanding my ministry better – a justice oriented ministry of solidarity, bridge building, and restoration, a ministry that stands with and learns from those struggling for justice across the globe and in my own community.
Why I went – I went to bear witness to what was happening, to learn about the destructive power of walls to separate peoples, cultures and communities, and to learn forms of resistance from a community that is enduring occupation, apartheid and genocide.
What I witnessed – a strong, resilient people fighting passionately for their rights for freedom, dignity, justice and to hold oppressive governments responsible for the crimes they commit. I met a people of resistance, who have much to teach about resisting powers that seek to suppress thinking, control behavior, and colonize identity.
What matters most for us to think about based on your experience – the ways in which occupation, oppression and colonization continue to wreck havoc in the US, perpetuating and recreating ways in which people are separated, isolated and treated as second-class citizens. A few examples:
- entitlement, privilege and taker mentality – the ways in which materialism, consumerism, and the constant drive for more isolate us from one another, distract us from what’s going on around us and separate us from God’s vision for a beloved community that includes everyone at the expense of no one
- the role of propaganda in silencing discussion and education of ways in which society criminalizes and dehumanizes others based on race, class, religion and nationality
- identity creating – the need for alternative understandings of meaning and purpose in life – especially for our youth – but in reality for all of us caught up in a society that seeks to divide and create hierarchies of humanity
The most striking thing I noticed or experienced – the vibrancy of life in the overwhelming face of oppression – the power of community to inspire hope: to galvanize, unite, create meaning and strengthen the resistance, despite the overwhelming external pressure to surrender, give up, turn to violence and hate – the strength and courage of those who resist and the wisdom of the community in strategizing together for a better future.
Praying for peace and working for justice,