Author Archives: Stephen Sizer

Peacemaker 2020 Challenge

Peacemaker 2020 Challenge

As we look to the year ahead, we praise God that through friends and supporters, 80% of the 2020 budget is already pledged or funded.

However, we need to raise a further £6,000 ($7,500) to respond to the requests already received or anticipated in the year ahead. Thee include projects in Palestine, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, USA and with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

Please stand with us and make a one-off gift or regular monthly donation before Christmas. If you wish to give regularly, you may download a standing order form and return to your bank. You may also donate by making a cash or cheque deposit or transfer directly into our Peacemaker Trust Metro Bank account using our bank account number 19949718 and sort code 23-05-80.

Read the Peacemaker 2020 Challenge here

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Kairos Palestine 10th Anniversary Conference Call to the Churches

يسيرون ولا يكلون”  “They will run and not grow weary”

November 29, 2019

Meeting in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, we are over 350 persons— women and men, young and old, lay and clergy, Palestinians and friends from all over the world—reaching out to the Church on the Tenth Anniversary of Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth.

Since the launch of A Moment of Truth ten years ago, life in Palestine has rapidly deteriorated under the illegal occupation by the State of Israel.  The oppression is more aggressive and brutal.  Our imprisoned and besieged sisters and brothers in Gaza, non-violently gathering in the March of Return, were the targets of a bloody and deadly response.  Settlements continue to expand.  Threats of annexation of the Jordan Valley and the settlements themselves grow without a word of condemnation from the major powers.  We are experiencing the continued dispossession of our land, our freedom and our human rights. 

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Christian Zionism: Seven Biblical Answers

It is not an understatement to say that what is at stake is our understanding of the gospel, the centrality of the cross, the role of the church, and the nature of our missionary mandate, not least, to the beloved Jewish people. If we don’t see Jesus at the heart of the Hebrew scriptures, and the continuity between his Old Testament and New Testament saints in the one inclusive Church, we’re not reading them correctly. The key question is this “Was the coming of Jesus and the birth of the Church the fulfilment or the postponement of the promises God made to Abraham?” Christian Zionists see the promises of identity, land and destiny as part of an ongoing covenant God has with the Jewish people. In the following resources I answer this question and show that Christian Zionism is a recent manifestation of a heresy refuted by the Old and New Testaments.

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Jesus the Peacemaker

“Treacherous colleagues, competitive friends, bloody-minded commuters – it’s a war out there. And according to Robert Greene, it’s a conflict we’re ill-equipped to deal with. After analyzing the moves of history’s great military leaders, he’s written a rulebook to achieving victory in life’s daily battles.” [1]

Spanning world civilizations, synthesizing dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts and thousands of years of violent conflict, The 33 Strategies of Waris a comprehensive guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the most ingenious and effective military principles in war. Abundantly illustrated with examples from history, including the folly and genius of everyone from Napoleon Bonaparte to Margaret Thatcher, from Shaka the Zulu to Lord Nelson, and from Hannibal to Ulysses S. Grant, each of the thirty-three chapters outlines a strategy that will help you win life’s wars. Learn the offensive strategies that require you to maintain the initiative and negotiate from a position of strength, or the defensive strategies designed to help you respond to dangerous situations and avoid unwinnable wars. [2]

According to Penguin the publishers, this is “An indispensable book…  The great warriors of battlefields and drawing rooms alike demonstrate prudence, agility, balance, and calm, and a keen understanding that the rational, resourceful, and intuitive always defeat the panicked, the uncreative, and the stupid… The 33 Strategies of War provides all the psychological ammunition you need to overcome patterns of failure and forever gain the upper hand.” [3]

This morning  we are going to learn about Jesus’ strategy for peace. As we compare his strategywith the strategy of the Pharisees, we are going to discover that love can sometimes make enemies.

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:16, 23-24)

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Kairos Palestine: Developments within the Evangelical Movement in relation to Palestine

Donald Trump has probably accomplished more for Israel in his short time in office than any other US President since Harry Truman unilaterally recognised the State of Israel in May 1948. President Truman did so, going against the advice of his State Department, US Mission to the United Nations and ambassadors in the Middle East.

President Trump seems to have continued that unilateral, idiosyncratic tradition but with gusto. In December 2017, for example, reversing decades of US foreign policy, President Trump announced the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel andordered the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  On 14 May 2018 – the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding – the US officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Also, in May 2018, President Trump announced that he was unilaterally withdrawing the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Iran nuclear deal. 

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Frozen: A Story to Melt Your Heart

Disney’s animated film Frozen, is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the Snow Queen. The story set in a northern paradise called Arendelle, an idyllic village on the shores of what looks like a Norwegian fjord.  Princess Elsa has the power to turn everything to ice by a simple touch but cannot control her ability. She has a young sister, Princess Anna, and they are very close. But one night, while they are playing, there is an accident. A wound to the head leaves Anna with a streak of white hair. A wound to the heart however would, we are told, be fatal.  As a result of the accident, their parents decide to separate the sisters.

When Elsa becomes the teenage Queen, at her coronation she loses control and freezes the whole village. In desperation Elsa runs away to a mountain in isolation. Anna is as outgoing and fearless as Elsa is afraid and reserved. She is determined to find her sister and unfreeze her village. But that is just the beginning of the adventure. While Walt Disney may not have intended it to be, the Christian message is more clearly explained in Frozen than in any other Disney fairy-tale. Christian principles and presuppositions are implicit throughout the movie. Let me highlight three:

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Living Stones of the Holy Land: Who is My Neighbour?

Did you realise that once broadcast, TV signals begin an endless journey outward into the cosmos at the speed of light?  That means our earliest TV broadcasts are probably travelling through star systems more than 400 trillion miles from earth. Do you realise that our neighbours living 60 light years away are watching the first episodes of the Lone Ranger in black and white. 50 light years away they are now watching Bonanza. 40 light years away they have moved on to the original Star Trek series. 30 light years away they are able to watch the Dukes of Hazzard. Just 20 light years away it’s the Sopranos. Those only 10 light years away are being blessed by countless episodes of Lost. Scientists tell us that the further away your neighbours live, the more likely they are to hold outdated, inaccurate and stereotypical views of you.

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2020 Olive Tree Calendar

The Calendar includes stories and reflections of farmers, sponsors, campaign’ partners, picking and planting programs’ participants; Updates on the Israeli occupation measures against Palestinian land, farmers and olive trees; Palestinian and international memorials and feasts, as well as the JAI’ upcoming events and programs.

You may order your desired desk/table hard copy/copies, from the JAI, at: info@jai-pal.org to be posted to you. Please state your postal address, telephone number, and desired number of copies, in your order. Calendar copies are Free as gifts to JAI’ partners, friends, campaign’ supporters and promoters. Any contribution though to help cover the costs of production and postage is very much appreciated.

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The Religious Implications of the Deal of the Century on Christians

Jared Kushner’s long awaited “Deal of the Century” aspires to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians through $28 billion of investment in the Palestinian economy. Previous international initiatives have proposed exchanging land for peace. This US initiative, appropriately called “Peace to Prosperity”, unashamedly proposes trading land for money. In this regard, Kushner’s “deal” actually has strong biblical precedent. In Genesis 25 we read of how Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright for a bowl of stew.

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The advantages of not excusing ourselves

It takes great humility 
to find oneself unjustly condemned
and to be silent,
and to do this is to imitate our Lord.
The truly humble person
will have a genuine desire
to be thought little of, and persecuted,
and condemned unjustly,
even in serious matters.
 
You know that I deprecate
excessive penances;
here, however,
there is no cause for fear
that your health will suffer.
The interior virtues
do not weaken the body,
but strengthen the soul.
 
Remember how the Lord
took the Magdalen’s part
in the Pharisee’s house, 
and when her sister blamed her.
On the cross, He had only a thief 
to defend Him.
Be glad when you are blamed,
and you will see
what profit you experience in your souls.
 
In this way you will begin
to gain freedom.
It is difficult at first,
but with the Lord’s help,
the gradual attainment of this freedom,
and of renunciation and self-detachment,
is quite possible.

The Way of Perfection, chapter 15
Saint Teresa of Avila

Modern English Version translated and abridged by John Venard OCD

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