Tag: Telos (page 1 of 2)

Lessons From Non-Conformist Women in the Bible, Part 1

“’Do not conform’ is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.” Martin Luther King Jr.

HOLY BUCKETS it’s a minefield out there isn’t it? More and more we are forced to face what it means to interact with both grace and truth in a vitriolic society, what it means to not be conformed to our culture, but live out the way of Jesus.

It seems like people are just looking for a reason to be offended. We pray for discernment and we ask questions like:

  • If I speak out on this issue will it mean that a whole segment of the population won’t listen to me about anything anymore?
  • Is this the most important issue to take a stand on?
  • Is social media the best place to have this discussion?
  • What exactly is it that I hope to accomplish if I take a public stand on this issue?

“Both secularism and devout faith are growing. What’s going away is the mushy middle of religiosity.” Tim Keller

Recently I was reading two accounts in the Bible where three women modeled different approaches to conflict and evil that we might learn from. I thought I’d unpack one today and two tomorrow giving possible contemporary parallels for us.

Continue reading

How You Can Bring World Peace with Three Words

I’m driving to lunch, and talking to Mom on my cell phone. “I’m going to meet an Imam!” (I say excitedly)

Mom: You’re going to meet a New Mom??! (she says just as excitedly)

Me: No, but that’s ok, I had to Google the difference between an “Imam” and a “Sheik” this morning. I’m a newbie.

All I know is we’re not meeting at “Porkbellys” as Mom calls it.

I’ve always been globally aware, but I blame my friends Lynne and Todd for encouraging this newer socially awkward 5-year-old me who anxiously says, “Will you be my friend?” to people of different colors, faiths, political orientations…Even Vegans, for Pete’s sake.

I’m convinced that World Peace may start with the three words, “Let’s Do Lunch”. 

We need to get up close and personal with those different from us, but it takes some effort when Jews are the most different-from-me folks in my neighborhood.

We need to be “neighboring” rather than “othering”, and for someone to become a “neighbor” rather than an “other” requires a conversation…the beginning of a relationship.

Anyway, John is meeting with this Imam and I feel like a toddler begging, “Let me come too! I wanna be friends too!”

I have QUESTIONS! I really want to understand those who are different from me – especially Muslims who have been so “otherized” by the media.

As I walk into Ciao Bella I wonder if our Imam will look askance at me wearing jeans and Converse sneakers.

We sit down together and fortunately, Asad is extremely gracious and patient as I pepper him with stuff like, “Will it offend you if I have bacon in my salad?” (No, those are my dietary laws, not yours.” Smile.)


Asad orders fish for lunch, has a wife but no kids, and lives in the suburbs.

He says information and statistics aren’t as important as plain old proximity. He says if you have a pediatrician or a car mechanic who is a Muslim, it goes a long way to put a check in your spirit when the media paints them all as terrorists.

Still, Asad does give us some facts:

  • Part of being a Muslim means loving and following Jesus.
  • Mary, the mother of Jesus is mentioned more times in the Koran than in the Bible.
  • Only 20% of Muslims are Arabs, but our stereotypes of Islam come exclusively from the Arab world.
  • Muslims and Christians together make up 50% of the world. By 2040 they will make up 2/3 of the world population. If Muslims and Christians can’t get along then World Peace doesn’t stand a chance.

Why am I being painfully vulnerable, sharing my faltering attempts to make new friends? 

I believe World Peace can start with a step as small as lunch. We can do this! (We could start a new peace-making service called “It’s Just Lunchif it wasn’t already taken!) We can de-Trumpize rhetoric, but it needs to begin with us.

“We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country.” David Brooks

John, Asad, and I leave lunch with a plan to gather 75 people from our church to attend a dinner at Asad’s mosque during Ramadan. We’ll go, we’ll listen, we’ll make friends.

The start of world peace.

Who can you invite to lunch this week?


The Secret I Learned From a Farmer in the Middle East

I’m still in Israel and Palestine as I write this…

where there are modern dividing walls, and an ancient wailing wall, biblical ruins,  refugee camps, olive trees, and ubiquitous tour buses, with sheep and shepherds liberally sprinkled throughout the countryside.


It’s a place where it’s easy to see why David described God as his Shepherd.

The 23rd Psalm might be the most famous go-to Psalm, but I’m wondering how many people really experience verse 5“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies”.

That’s the line that keeps running through my head as we meet with Daoud Nassar at his farm on a hill outside Bethlehem that is ringed by Israeli settlements.

He is a Palestinian Christian who says “We refuse to be enemies” Continue reading

Lessons from Hurting People

Who’s that person or group of people who hurt you deeply?  What are those words you can’t forget? That betrayal? The rejection, dismissal, even persecution you’ve endured that left a wound?

Maybe it was long, long ago. Or yesterday.

After time, you may even be able to insulate yourself and forget it for an hour, or a day, or even a week.

But then someone says something. Or does something. Or you see something out of the corner of your eye.

That wounded place gets bumped and it hurts, and you realize you need to forgive again. And again.

Because hurting people hurt people. Continue reading

How Can We “Live in the Tension” with Love?

Tomorrow I leave on another trip to Israel/Palestine with Telos, an organization that is pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace.

The picture for me is completed when I add “Pro-Jesus”.

In case you were wondering, this is not an easy gig.

Loving people we don’t agree with is safe when it’s just a theory. Bob Goff

Some of you may already be angry with me, but one of the values of our church is a commitment to “live in the tension”. This doesn’t just apply to politics, but so many other social issues also.

Sometimes there are problems that can be solved, but often there are tensions must be managed.

Most of us love black and white, right and wrong, winners and losers, who’s in and who’s out.

We love boundary markers.

We want to major on love but not at the expense of truth, and that can be tricky.

Living in the tension is a hard one that can be misunderstood, but what it means is: Continue reading

You Do You

A few weeks ago a friend asked me to be on a panel of women peace-makers at a conference for peacemakers. These are courageous women who are all in. They are PEACE-MAKERS.

I’m more of a peace-wanter.

My exact text response was “Are you freaking KIDDING me??!” I felt I was totally unqualified to be on the platform with women who are on the front lines in Israel, Palestine, Fergusson…

And I was, but they wanted me anyway and the reason I eventually said “yes” was because I think I’m like many of you who need a little encouragement that we all have a part to play.

We’re the “small things” people , the cheerleaders and the story-tellers and that’s ok, at least for a start.


When I got home, I was listening to a podcast message by Clay Scroggins and heard a phrase that was new to me. It’s really stuck in regard to my role in WORLD PEACE. Continue reading

Soul Food in Small Bites

If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know my delight with Zechariah 4:10 that cautions  “do not  despise the day of small things.” so this week I thought I’d share some “small things” that have inspired or delighted me.

Twice in the past two weeks we’ve spent time in D.C. and every time I’m here I’m distressed by the many homeless people on the street. I bring a supply of McDonald’s gift cards to give to those in need, but it’s such a small thing for such a big problem.

  1. I was inspired to see this story about someone else doing a small act of kindness that is so thoughtful.


2. Can you tell what this is?


It may sound crazy but it is the trail of a worm who made it from one end of a clay tennis court to the other. I absolutely marveled at the courage and resolve of this little guy.  

Did he get lonely? Discouraged? Scared? Did he consider that his efforts might end in failure or death? I know, I know…it’s a worm. But still!

This small picture of bravery made me think of small, but powerful efforts to resist violence in the Middle East.

This week John and I have been privileged to attend a leadership gathering hosted by The Telos Group, a remarkable organization committed to being pro Israeli, pro Palestinian, and pro peace. They have drawn together many of my heroes.

  • Robi Damelin, and Israeli mom who lost her son to a Palestinian sniper, working side by side with Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian whose 10-year-old daughter was gunned down by an Israeli soldier.
  • Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian farmer surrounded by Israeli settlements and subjected to repeated persecution whose message is “We refuse to be enemies” and continues to respond to oppression with love.
  • Roni Keidar, a British Israeli living on the border to the Gaza strip, building bridges between people of all different faiths and political leanings.

Might you take a minute to pray for these hidden heroes who are doing small but courageous acts of love in hard places?

3. I’ve been reading a book with a small word for a title. 

Mark Batterson wrote IF to unpack Romans 8, the chapter about God’s unshakeable love, verse by verse.  I’ve been reading this devotionally, one chapter a day. Mark is inspiring and challenging as always. This is a book about possibilities!


4. A small dessert – Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes, a recipe I pinned from Cooking Classy. Check it out!


How Do You Picture Choosing Life?

As I’ve been traveling I’ve not been able to post very consistently and I’ve really dropped the ball on our One Word Fridays.  Sorry about that.

Like I wrote the other day, it’s been a week of living back into real life.  And part of that has been letting my heart and mind catch up with the rest of me.  Doing a kind of  Examen.  Celebrating places of Life, and mourning places of Death.

The main thing that drives me to write this blog is the conviction that we don’t just drift into becoming more like Jesus.  We have to pay attention.  When we do, maybe we end up saying with Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

So…today I’m paying attention to the “patches of God-light” or instances from the past two months that shouted, “This is what it looks like to choose LIFE!”.  Here are 6 of them:

1.  Hospitality  We had the delightful privilege of staying at the guest cottage belonging to some friends in Charlotte NC while we met with some mentors.  We had dinner with our friends and some different topics of interest came up in our conversation.  The next morning (one when rain was predicted), here’s what our hostess left outside our door.  The books are about the topics we had discussed the night before.

Choosing life = paying attention to the way I can serve others.


2. Relationships  A week in one of my favorite cities, reconnecting with friends in ministry at National Community Church and spending time with daughter Katy!

Choosing life = learning from everyone everywhere.




3. Travel in Israel/Palestine, Telos Conversations and at the International Justice Mission Global Prayer Gathering

Choosing life = partnering with God in His work of bringing justice around the world.




4. Creation Life emerging from death, even in Minnesota!

Choosing life = noticing the smallest gifts.


 5. Words

Choosing life = choosing to share life-giving words that build up rather than tear down.

Bob Goff (@bobgoff)
God doesn’t look for typos in our lives; He’s a creator, not an editor. We’re all rough drafts of who we’re becoming.

6. Random Acts of Kindness Twice in the past two months – once here and once in Florida, people have surprised us, paying for our dinner!

Choosing Life = looking for opportunities to delight others.

photo-102What are some places you’ve experienced Life over the past two months?


Learning the Language of Peace

Ok, so here’s the thing.  Two years ago when I traveled back to the Holy Land, I didn’t know where the West Bank was.  West Bank of what?   And if the West Bank is so important, what’s up with the East Bank?  Anything?


I didn’t know what, where, or why the settlements were so controversial.  The Nakba? Is that a type of falafel?  It was all Greek, (or, more accurately, Hebrew) to me.

I didn’t know the mean things Muslims had done to Christians, or Christians had done to Jews, or Israelis had done to Palestinians.  Or what everyone had done to everyone else. Continue reading

Changing the Conversation

Last night most of America was watching the Oscars...the red carpet beautiful people who seem to be as good at dodging questions as a politician running for office.  Many questions the press hurls at them are inappropriately personal or just stupid.  Who wouldn’t want to avoid some of that?  But there are other times when changing the conversation is positive, and important to growth.

This afternoon I’m leaving on a trip to Israel/Palestine.  I’m traveling with a few people from our church, led by Telos, an organization we’ve been partnering with that desires to engage evangelicals in conversations with Israelis and Palestinians pursuing peace.

This is hard stuff.  Complicated and intense and emotional, and personal for so many.  Frankly, I might prefer it if Jesus invited me to follow Him into, say…Hawaii maybe. Continue reading

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