Lynne Hybels

Friday, March 19, 2010

Committed to Peace and Justice in the Holy Land

I arrived in Bethlehem last Sunday evening to speak at a conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice.” I’m not a theologian or an expert in anything. In fact, it’s likely that I was invited to speak here mainly to fill the “token woman” slot on the list of speakers. So be it. I’m grateful for whatever underlying story allowed me to be here this week. I wish I had a video of every tender, heartfelt, Jesus-focused conversation I’ve had this week so I could post it on this website and say, “Here. Watch this. This is a Christian Palestinian woman. This is a Christian Palestinian man. This is a Christian Israeli woman. This is a Christian Israeli man. These are people committed to peace and justice for all people in the Holy Land.” I don’t know what Americans are hearing on the news about current events in Jerusalem. Whatever you’re hearing, I hope you’re praying for protection for innocent people on all sides of this conflict, for the silencing of people on both sides who are encouraging violence, for wisdom for elected officials everywhere who have the power to impact events in Israel-Palestine, for our Christian brothers and sisters throughout this region—as well as Muslims and Jews, and for the women and children who always fare the worst when violence invades a community. I hope you’re praying for peace in the Holy Land.


  1. Dear Lynne,
    I attended the Christ at the Checkpoint conference. You were hardly a "token." Your talk was profoundly moving and the attendees responded with one of the few standing ovations given to a keynote speaker. I have a video of your talk and plan to make many copies of it and distribute it as widely as I am able. If there is any way I can be of support to you, in addition to praying for you, as you work for peace in the Middle East I would like to know.
    Grateful for your sacrifice of time, energy, prayer and emotion for this important issue,
    Marilyn Overton

  2. Dear Lynne,
    It is good to pray for peace in the Middle East!! I guess the difficult bit is in the details. For example, while your conference was happening in Bethlehem, the PA under President Abbas dedicated a square near Ramallah in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who killed 37 Israeli and American civilians. I saw a video of Gary Burge protesting against the Israeli wall, but none of any protests by conference members in Ramallah against the glorifying of a murderer. I remembered asking a Christian Palestinian friend in Jerusalem once, during a wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, why don’t you march in East Jerusalem with a sign; “Yes to Palestine, no to terror”. “Dont be stupid”, he replied, “I would be killed”. I guess it is a lot safer protesting against the Israelis.
    Lynne, don’t think that a majority of Palestinians, along with a few Israelis who oppose their government, = those who want peace. Historically, every peace plan since 1936 has been accepted by the Israelis and rejected with war by the Palestinians. Had they allowed Jewish refugees fleeing Europe to enter in the 30s, or in the aftermath of the Holocaust, there would be no Palestinian refugees today.
    Even in the past 10 years, they have twice rejected Israeli offers of 95% of the West bank, 100% of Gaza and shared control of the holy places. Their reply was suicide bombers and drive by shootings. The separation wall was started because the PA refused point blank to stop Palestinian gunmen shooting into the suburb of Gilo in Jerusalem. The wall meant the children there could sleep at night. A young Israeli friend told me recently that she loves the wall, it means she can go to a shopping center without fearing she will be killed. It was the checkpoints your conference was named after, plus the wall which defeated the Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians. Statistically, everywhere the wall has gone, there has been a drop of about 98% in the number of suicide bombings. Yes, Palestinians who live near the wall are inconvenienced, but which is the higher priority, Palestinian inconvenience, or Israeli lives?
    Lynne, the majority of speakers at your conference have made a name for themselves as opponents of the state of Israel. During the conference one leading speaker placed on his personal blog a photo of an Israeli soldier with the caption “Herod’s soldiers occupying Bethlehem today” over it. Dont allow their view to be the only one you hear. Its old, but “The Israelis, founders and sons” by Amos Elon is excellent, and if you like blogs, is great, but do start at least 2 years ago, and just read through.
    May God bless you Lynne,
    PS, if you have ben able to read my earlier comment on your first blog about the bethlehem conference, I would be interested in any thoughts you had concerning it.

  3. Dear Lynne,
    I was puzzled by your twitter about being grieved by your friends being arrested for breaking the anti-terrorist laws. As noted, that checkpoint and wall was put there to protect Israeli civilians after over 1,000 had been killed by Palestinian terrorists. This was the Palestinian response to the Camp David peace proposals. Now, if Palestinian terrorism erected them, the place to demolish them is in Ramallah. Encourage your friends at the Holy Land Trust to march against glorifying mass murderers there, to burn the cards Palestinian children collect of suicide bombers etc, but how does breaking anti-terror laws help? It is like taking capsicum spray away from victims of rape - what is the point? How is it moral?

    Given the recent Palestinian riots in Jerusalem because Israel declared the Temple mount to be a place of cultural significance, and calls by Hamas etc for days of rage against Israel, given that 125 terror attacks were recorded in March in comparison to 53 in February, and a major increase was recorded in Jerusalem, the Israelis continue to have good reason for their checkpoints. To quote another Christian on this incident; "So let me get this straight...a mob pushes their way through a security checkpoint, causing the Israelis to tie down security more tightly and that's Israel's fault, as though those checkpoints just exist to inconvenience people and not serve a deadly serious purpose."

    Lynne, for over 1,000 years Christmas and Easter were the two worst times for Jews in Europe, Christian mobs would come out of their churches and go and bash and kill Jews. Now people like the Holy Land Trust are re-packaging that anti-Semitism for the ingathered Jews of Israel. At Christmas, the nativity sets with a wall keeping the wise men from Bethlehem, and at Easter, this palm Sunday march one example, the foul charge "Israelis are crucifying the Palestinians" another. Please dont buy in to this - it is truly evil. To quote again; [there is] ... “nothing like using biblical imagery to bash Jews for defending themselves ... If you have a political issue with the modern Jewish State, try engaging on the issues and try leaving the biblical Christian imagery and all its ugly history, out."

  4. Lynne, I was at that remarkable Bethlehem conference, too, and want to thank you for your compassionate, well-thought-out presentation. Of all the pages in my travel journal, the ones with notes from your lecture are the most dog-eared. I keep looking at the list of "Things We Can Do" that you suggested, and am attempting to act on three or four. Thank you for your interest in our Palestinian brothers and sisters.
    The peace of the Lord,
    Donna Oliva
    P.S. Marilyn, we met you at St. Andrews Guest House in Jerusalem after the conference. Thank you for your comments here.

  5. Lynne, Please do not let the many inaccuracies of people such as Naomi/Colin discourage you. Please keep up your important work for peace and for support of our Christian brothers and sisters.
    P.S. Donna, thanks for your note!

  6. Proverbs 18:17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. (Pro 18:17 NIV)
    Hi Marilyn,
    I hope I was not trying to discourage Lynne from peacemaking! I just dont see peacemaking as requiring you to accept totally one side of the divide. Lynne said she wanted to discuss and debate and yes, even learn from others, and I am happy to join in that discussion, and to also learn. Saying I write "many inacuracies" really does not help that dialogue, as, without examples, there is nothing to discuss, merely an accusation.
    I should add that my name is Colin, it is just that I am using my daughter's computer, (not sure how that works).
    God bless,