Following the Palestinian Kitchen

Greenbelt … For the last 20 years, we’ve been making an annual pilgrimage to the Greenbelt Festival of Arts, Faith and Activism each August Bank Holiday. Sadly, it’s not happening this year, but there is an online mix of what Greenbelt has to offer in this year’s ‘Wild At Home.’

Craftivism … I love it when someone brings activism together with their other passions – as in Craftivism, described by Sarah Corbett, its founder as ‘Gentle protest to provoke reflection and respectful conversation instead of aggression and division’


Cooking … Another example of this is Phoebe Rison’s Palestinian Kitchen – Personal, Political, Palestinian & Delicious. I watched her cooking this week on one of the latest Greenbelt ‘Wild At Home’ online events. ‘m currently trying to cook a few Palestinian dishes, so this video was perfect for me.


Personal … What is even more exciting than the cooking, is the commentary from Phoebe and her mum Nadia. They talk clearly and powerfully telling their own personal stories. Sadly, a large part of that story is one of great hurt to the Palestinian people. You’ll have to look elsewhere to find out more, I’m not an authority on this subject, but what I do know is that the impact of Israeli land grabbing has caused much injustice.

Water … One of the issues that I wasn’t aware of until this week was the vital importance of water supply. In the UK, we take our water for granted, but I’m guessing that for a majority of the world’s population that is not the case. A major issue in the Jordan valley is access to water. What Palestinian farmers have to contend with is not only the increasing occupation by Israel, but Israel’s control of water. On the Youtube video above, Amost Trust director Chris Rose talks more about this – 34:40 into the video.

BDS … So to action. BDS stands for Boycotting, Divestment and Sanctions. Boycotting means not buying goods and services from any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Divestment is all about not investing in thse companies – so for someone like me that means writing to e.g. Government, Churches etc to lobby them to stop investing. Sanctions again means lobbying our government to put economic pressure on Israel.

Please … Have a think about all of this. Look at the Amost Trust website for example to see how a relatively small charity is making an impact for good on the day to lives of ordinary people.

Grace and peace.

Bible · faith · Political

Conflict With The Ruling Powers

This is an aside/reflection to my general notes.  I’m just getting into this frame of thinking – where Mark’s Gospel is the framework for these next two months, and situations of conflict/oppression are the context for today.

I’m remembering also that Mark’s Gospel could well have been written for the early Christian community in  Rome – a community that knew something about being in conflict with the ruling powers.  So it seems entirely appropriate that I write my thoughts on Mark’s Gospel whilst being attentive to what is happening in places like Israel Palestine.
Bible · faith · Political

The (Kairos) Time Has Come

Mark 1:14-15

The world tells the time with clocks and appointment diaries.  We like to control our time.  But in these verses, Jesus says the time (kairos) has come.
Kairos time is God’s time.  Like good comedians, God has a sense of timing.  In the context of Jesus, Kairos is the time for God to do something unique, never to be repeated.  Everything that God has ever done finds its centre, its heart in the presence of Jesus in the world.  Everything has been leading up to this time, and everything leads from this time. The western world has acknowledged this in dating our calendar from God’s kairos time.
(Although the world probably no longer accepts or realises what it really means to date time from the coming of Jesus into the world).
I was hearing about the experiences of a South African woman yesterday.  She grew up under the apartheid regime, and never expected it to end in her lifetime.  South Africa still has its particular problems, and no doubt some of them are as a result of years of apartheid, but there is no doubt that things are different now.  The kairos time came for that inhuman regime to end.  
And what about Israel Palestine ?  It seems – well not hopeless because there are cracks of hope – but certainly not hopeful as far as a lasting, just solution is concerned.  But if it could happen in South Africa, where there was also little hope at times, then it could happen in Israel Palestine.
There are people, both Palestinian and Israeli, who are doing good work.  There are those on the outside who have influence.  What we need is a combination of the two, so that there will be a kairos time for change.
For more on this see:
Bible · faith · Political

Angels Were There For Him

Mark 1:12-14

The Spirit, the Desert, Satan, Wild Beasts and Angels!
We live in a more or less hostile environment. There is much in the world to pull us down.  Whether it is the physical situation, or loneliness, or temptations, or danger.
What we need is angels.  God provides Jesus with the help he needs.  Neither does God forget us in our need.  We are all children of God!
Angels waited on him.  Angels attended him.  Angels ministered to him.  It means they were there for him.  That was their purpose.  It still is.
Back to Palestine/Israel.  There’s an organisation called Ecumenical Accompaniment Progamme in Palestine Israel (EAPPI).  EAPPI is a work of the  World Council of Churches, set up in response to pleas from Christians in Israel for the church to do something about the conflict in Palestine Israel.
EAPPI provides groups of individuals who go for three months to be a peaceful presence in the region.  They stand at checkpoints to support Palestinians, they may report human rights violations, and are a vital part of the efforts to bring peace with justice to the region.  See http://www.eappi.org/ for more.
These EAPPI volunteers are among the angels who attend the Palestinian people.
Bible · faith · Political · World Affairs

You Are My Beloved Son

Mark 1:9-11

The first chapter of Mark’s Gospel has the Greek word meaning ‘immediately’ 11 times.  (It’s not always apparent in the English translations, because the translators use different words).  Here is the first use of the word – ‘And just (Greek – immediately) as he was coming up out of the water …’ 
As soon as Jesus enters the story, things take off.  There’s an urgency about the Mission.  But, before the mission  can begin, Jesus is baptised and affirmed as God’s son.
To know who we are can take a lifetime.  The journey of self understanding can be a tortuous one for many.  The most important part of our identity is our place in relation to God.  God’s child.  Everyone should be able to know this, and be afforded this dignity by others.
I have just been watching the documentary film ‘Occupation 101’ about Israel/Palestine.  Palestinians are treated by many Israelis as second class citizens.  The are treated by the Israeli state as people with no rights.
They have to stand in line to cross checkpoints to get to work, or school, or hospital.  There is a recent documented incident of a Palestinian woman dying in childbirth because she was not able to get to hospital.  (Her new born  child also died)
I could say much more about this, and probably will.  The trauma of living in a war zone in conditions of poverty, and oppression has had devastating effects on the Palestinian people.
The children of Gaza will need an army of psychiatrists to help them if they are ever to live anything like a normal life.
The wall that separates Israeli from Palestinian is called the wall of separation.  In South Africa there was no wall, but Apartheid (which means separation) meant that black South Africans were treated as less than human in the same way that Palestinians are treated by Israel.
One small thing that we can do is to treat everyone with the same respect.  We all need to know our identity as a child of God