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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yesterday's Peace Rally

The New York Times covered yesterday's rally on 42nd Street, in the vicinity of the United Nations. "There was some talk of peace in the Middle East, but not a whole lot. Peace is never much more than an illusory concept to begin with in that troubled region. Yesterday, it barely received even lip service." Unfortunately, the article seems to be available online only to Times Select subscribers, but if you happen to be one, the link is here.

As the Times reports, the speakers--both Democratic and Republican--focused on ending Hamas and Hezbollah. Some Lebanese were sympathetic. "It seems that the world has lost its peacemakers," lamented Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir. He was addressing Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn.

Concludes the article, "Shalom in Hebrew, salaam in Arabic--either way, it means peace. In the Middle East, no word is more overworked or underrealized."

Jews for Jesus publishes a conversation-starter type pamphlet on The Only Hope for Peace. "True peace," it says, "is not just the absence of what's wrong but the presence of what's right." That's a pretty good summation of the biblical meaning of "shalom." You can click the image to get a download (usually folded in thirds, but you'll be able to figure it out).

Here's a couple of relevant links. Remember the old billboards that would say, "Jesus is the answer," prompting someone to ask, "What was the question"? (Billboard sightings probably more common in the midwest than in Manhattan.) So...

The question:

Have a look at Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin by Cornelius Plantinga. It's quite a lively book, so whether you believe in sin or not, it's worth checking out. As I remember, it also includes a discussion of the biblical idea of "shalom." Definitely does a good job of describing why the world isn't "the way it's supposed to be," a feeling to which Israelis, Lebanese and all of us can relate.

The answer:*

Forbidden Peace, which is a DVD about Israelis and Palestinians and "how, despite fierce opposition, they have chosen to follow Jesus and how He has brought about reconciliation in every sense of the word."

*"That is the question--where is the answer?" wrote Elton John and Bernie Taupin in This Is My House. Definitely not where the song said it was: "inside my house."

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