Most lands us in trouble. The word most gets us in trouble, not most people. When we want to lay claim to the popular position or opinion we use most; even if we know it runs into the wall of fallacies.
Sweeping generalization or not, Jimmy Doyle’s conversation with Israelis and Palestinians led him to conclude most want peace.
Not Always Convinced
Like those of us who grew up in conservative Evangelical churches, Jimmy embraced the all or nothing commitment to Israel as a Christian. He grew up knowing the prevailing U.S. policy included a commitment to defend Israel even if standing alone. The story was always narrated, and in many places still is, that the conflict is one-sided. Never the aggressor, Israel deserves arms and money.
Then one day in college he met a Palestinian Christian. On this side of the world, one narrative dominates. Talking to someone from that part of the world introduced another way of seeing.
We all are given a way to see the world. Stay close to home, don’t venture beyond the scope of your homogenous surroundings and it will be easy to think there is only one way to see the world, the one you were given.
Jimmy ventured out too many times.
Travel Not Tour
Scan the Facebook and you will be provided a tour of all thing a given person wants you to see. If you are on the Facebook you will do the same. You will post what you think is interesting, might garner lots of shares or stir a raging debate. Have you ever posted a mundane video where you are rolling your poly cart full of trash to the curb? No, who would Share a video like that?!
Growing up my pastor took many groups to the Holy Land. Travel Agents target pastors, who most often cannot afford such a trip, to sign up a group to tour Israel. If they sign up enough they will be given a ticket maybe two.
I admit it. One day I want to go to Israel.
After talking to Jimmy though, I don’t want to go on a Tour, I want to travel. There is a difference in the experience you will have.
Those of us who are familiar with Southern Hospitality have a fair grasp on how to welcome and entertain guests. After listening to Jimmy, and confirmed by other friends who have traveled and not toured, those in the Middle East tend to take hospitality to another level.
In our first conversation that ended up on the cutting floor, Jimmy shared the story from one of his trips to the Middle East. He and his friend got in late. They were staying at an Airbnb. Hungry and in hopes of food late they queried the host. One problem. It was Passover. When Jimmy asked if there were any Muslim restaurants open, the answer came back, “Everything is closed.”
Rather than stop there, the host went on to say, “You can come share Passover with me and my family.” It was a bit of a shock. They shared Passover with a family that was thoroughly secular, Atheist Jews if you will. Yet, they enjoyed the culture of hospitality that exceeds what we tend to find when looking for Southern Hospitality.
Tacking the subject of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict may be more difficult than Nik Wallenda at Niagra Falls. One of the greatest tightrope feats would be to find a footing between the accusation of anti-Semitism or Zionism. Jimmy hopes to continue to learn a way forward as he has found friends among Palestinian Christians, Muslims, and Israelis who all want peace.
Jimmy suggested several more books:
Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians.
Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology
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