Volume 26 Issue 25

Challenging Holy Land stereotypes

An Israeli soldier and Palestinian girls in Bethlehem. (Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Bible College)

A woman runs past graffiti on the wall that divides Bethlehem from Israel. (Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Bible College)

Bethlehem on the right, the state of Israel on the left. (Photo by Michael Hostetler)

Artwork in a narrow alley of the Aida Camp in Bethlehem. (Photo by Byron and Melita Rempel-Burkholder)

Munther Isaac recently published a book that confronts a longstanding problem in Christian attitudes toward the Holy Land—ignorance, indifference and even hostility to the Palestinian church. Isaac is an Oxford-educated, Palestinian Lutheran pastor who serves as academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College.

Vernon Ratzlaff in Eqypt

(Photo: Linda Herr, MCC photo collection)

Vern Ratzlaff, centre, worked much of his life within Mennonite institutions in western Canada and internationally, serving as a church pastor, Bible school teacher and radio preacher. From 1982 to 1987, Vern and his wife Helen served as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) country representatives in Egypt.

Christmas delight?

(Photo by Mariana B./Unsplash)

Christmas is a difficult season for many people, myself included. As a Christian, I “should” be celebrating the birth of Jesus. The angels sing of “great joy” as the lowly and the mighty come to bend the knee at the crude bedside of the baby. The Incarnation is what makes Christianity profoundly different from all other religions.

Soil lover

(Photo by Glen Carrie/Unsplash)

As I read through the accounts of the kings in the Bible, Uzziah’s story doesn’t strike me as being overly unique. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, at least for a while. Eventually, his own power and pride did him in. He overstepped, and it cost him.

Mennonites address domestic violence

This image­—entitled “Before Grace”—and the one opposite—entitled “Endless Cycle”—tell of artist Lynda Toews’ experience growing up in a violent home. They were part of the exhibit, ‘Breaking the Silence on Domestic Abuse,’ at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery a year ago. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

(Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

Research shows that rates of domestic abuse are just as prevalent in religious communities, and even higher in more conservative forms of religion, says Val Peters Hiebert, assistant coordinator of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba’s Abuse Response and Prevention Program, which helps congregations navigate disclosures of abuse and cases of sexual misconduct by clergy.

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