Tony Deik experienced a dramatic return to faith when he was studying at Birzeit University in the Israeli-occupied territory of the West Bank. Raised Roman Catholic in Bethlehem, he had mostly abandoned that faith as he experimented with secular and New Age ideas instead.
Tear gas containers litter the gardens near the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians know that every Friday they can expect tear gas to be lobbed into the refugee camps outside of Bethlehem. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)
The separation wall in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)
‘How you experience holy is different than you expect it to be.’ -Rev. Carrie Ballenger Smith
After a year of travel, seeking faith and justice on four continents, there are lessons that I am still unpacking. Between the busy schedules of church, master’s thesis work, travel and work with the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), it takes a moment of pause to catch up with my experiences. And so, I pause. I look back to remember.
I got a warm welcome when I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, but, of course, nothing like the unprecedented welcome that Stephen Harper received! He was here with about 145 parliament, news and support people. Some will worked on economic and trade matters that are important to the present government. I hope that they also sought to understand the political realities and that they will work towards peace in this land.
Recently I was talking to a taxi driver. The conversation went like this:
PB: Were you born here in Bethlehem?