Yes, I’m speaking at a theological conference in Bethlehem in March. Yes, I’m the token non-expert speaker. Yes, I’m in over my head. But I would do anything to support the vision and passion of this conference—“Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice.”
In the last eighteen months I’ve traveled to the Middle East four times and I have three more Middle East trips scheduled in the next ten months. This is an unexpected direction in my life. Since 2003 my global focus had been sub-Saharan Africa. Then wham. I received an invitation to attend a conference in Jordan taught by Arab Christians and I knew I was supposed to go. God used those brothers and sisters from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Israel/Palestine to break my heart, to renew my mind, and to call me to a more determined and—yes!—radical pursuit of Jesus, justice and peace.
Nearly every time I’ve mentioned the new Arab Christian friends I’ve made in the Middle East, people in the US have said things like: What? You mean there are Arab Christians? Iraqi Christians? Palestinian Christians? Oh, we Americans know so little about the people of the Middle East, let alone the problems and the politics. But “Christ at the Checkpoint” offers a unique opportunity to learn. If you sense the slightest little internal nudge to learn more about peace and justice in the Holy Land, please check out this conference ASAP!