This morning while drinking coffee and reading Facebook posts…yes, I’m still there….I ran into yet another boiled down, simplified video of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict. The poster? A friend….must we agree? No. However, as broken hearted as I am over this ongoing life of conflict in the Middle East my heart churns, a new every time the Western Christian culture supports another simplified version of Israeli support!
Had I married the man I loved 12 years ago I would be living this conflict. Its depths and meanings would hold personal weight in my life….I would have skin in the game….it would be my children who screamed in fear…..my home invaded….my rights taken. It would be my husbands life I feared for every day he went to work.
These are not the things I was going to process and write about today….I was not going to enter Into the fray…I was going to continue to keep quiet….as I do at family gatherings….church encounters and the endless other places where I do not conveniently fit into the prescribed ‘christian’ culture.
Today I live a life of freedom….I have the luxury of making a choice to engage or not. Today I reach out and lovingly hold my blissfully ignorant children and my deepest fear when Mike leaves the house for work is that he may cut himself badly enough to need stitches.
Amidst the angry talking heads, simplified videos and ignorant catch phrases can we try to remember that this ‘conflict’ (it’s really war) affects families, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents! The people of Gaza have no place to go! A million and a half people who can’t run and hide. They are fish in a barrel. Try as we might to understand, we are ignorant….our freedom and our rights are a blessing but they also keep us ignorant of the vary real hardships that others live day in and day out.
So when we (outsiders) ‘hold a view’ or ‘pick a side’ it is always from a half understanding when placed next to those who live it. There are countless ways out for us! I keep silent when I should speak, some put their heads in the sand, while others choose to listen to the loudest argument or pick up whatever their church / religious group or politician tells them to believe.
My heart breaks and I continue to sit on my hands and clamp my mouth shut…if I’ve learned anything it’s this….waving fists and pointing fingers…screaming insults….they all land dead on arrival. We argue about root issues and ‘rights’….how easy it is for an American to point a finger and give and answer. I hear the same arguments over and over…Israel uses it’s weapons to protect people while Hamas uses people to protect weapons…how simple? How clear…I wish someone had thought of that before…we could have saved so many if only we had known sooner.
This world is a sad and dark place. With all of its beauty and joy there are unspeakable pains and suffering that, as an American, I will never understand….never come face to face with….never pay for with my own body or that of a family members….
The shame that I will own is that the taxes I pay contribute to wars and deaths and things that I can not control. The ‘church’ I desperately love, often turns a blind eye and at worst supports this conflict for some obscure belief that we can control when Christ will return to earth. While children scream and the outside world rages…where is the church? Where is our love for the down trodden….for the broken? And, please, what does that even look like?
Let us be wise and loving. Oh, that we would see more clearly and speak more kindly…that we would pray for and love those who hate us and those we love. Take a moment….listen to those on the ‘other side’…hear the fear in their voices when they share their story…choose not to allow your interactions on such topics to speak only in general….only a regurgitation of what you have heard. This world is full of people just like you….just like me. So when we choose to boil down a topic to address only the points we believe are relevant we miss the life, we miss the hurt, we miss the people.