My posts have pretty much been fluff lately. I know that. I won't argue. The thing is... I really don't have an excuse. I haven't been terribly busy.
My job as the temporary secretary at my church (The pastor has taken to calling me "Mr. Secretary", which sounds supremely important. Ha!) is winding down. The personnel committee hired a new guy that will serve both as the music director/organist AND secretary. Both positions were open and the committee feels that his qualifications make him suitable for both jobs. I am thrilled that a new person is coming on board.
Now I can get back to focusing on my own business, which has pretty much stalled during the last few weeks. I've been doing some work here and there, in fact this job for the big downtown church has blossomed into a real opportunity, but I haven't done anything as far as generating new business. I still haven't made up my mailer cards, but in my procrastination I have learned a few things about my own mail-opening habits as the church secretary. I've noticed a few things about what kind of "junk" mail I throw away immediately, versus the mail I at least linger on before throwing away. It's given me a few ideas about how to increase my visibility at that critical moment.
I recently finished a book I had been meaning to read since I was in Egypt called Blood Brothers, the real-life story of Elias Chacour, a Christian Palestinian who was a young boy at the time of Israel's occupation. It is a must-read book that will help you understand the situation from a new point of view.
Here in the west, we get an incomplete view of the Israel/Palestine dilemma and this helps fill the gap. Chacour details the trials and tribulations he and his people went though in those early days, but instead of responding with vitriol and violence, he speaks from a place of peace and justice. He doesn't hesitate at all in telling us the horrible things that have happened to the Palestinian people, but talks of bridging cultures and healing before the book is over.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this book is how the European Jews (as opposed to the Palestinian Jews that lived there long before the occupation) came into Palestine then deceived and murdered Palestinian Muslims and Christians in order to remove them from the land. They themselves had just gone through similar deception and murder in Europe. If any group in the word understood these grievous crimes, it would be the European Jews, right? Why, then, did they perpetrate the same crimes? Better yet, why did we, the rest of the world allow it to happen and then collectively sweep the situation under the rug?
The answer comes in one word: guilt. Western nations felt guilty for what happened to the Jews in Europe. So what did we do? We "gave" them land to form their own country. We gave them free reign to do whatever they want there, including displacing thousands of people through deception and murder. The situation from there has spiraled out of control with so much anger, hatred and confusion, that it seems unlikely that there will ever be peace. Elias Chacour has a different take though and for that, you need to read the book.
Now, the one interesting thing I left out until now is that I got to hear Chacour speak in Egypt. He went on a speaking tour and I was at one of his presentations. You can see my picture of him on this page. Seventh photo down.
Tomorrow is Pentecost and I have been recruited to read a bible passage in Arabic. Every year at this time my church has always done some sort of service where people read aloud in different languages, representing the part of the bible where God humbled his little people by giving them different languages. I will be reading John 14:15-17 from my Van Dyke Arabic bible. I'm not very good about proper pronunciations, but that's okay, because I found this great website with audio recordings of a native speaker reading the bible in Arabic. It's been essential to learning these verses.