News from Andy & Cari

Make Hummus Not Walls

We're back home in Seattle! What a full, tense, rich, and fruitful visit to the Middle East. Cari and I were able to base out of Bethlehem for 12 weeks. We witnessed tense days, and incredible hospitality in spite of what was going on around us. We experienced first hand much of the angst associated with (check out the links to learn more) the US embassy move to Jerusalem, the March of return in Gaza, 70 years of Nakba (catastrophe), and Jerusalem Day (when 60 thousand Jewish youth marched on the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem). We also were able to visit several Syrian families in Amman Jordan who are awaiting asylum in other countries. I was graciously invited to co-lead two multi-narrative tours of the Holy Land as bookends to our time in the Holy Land and also taught a course on peacemaking for North Park Theological Seminary. What an honor! Students actually traveled from Chicago to Bethlehem to study and experience the important Christ at the Checkpoint Conference and build relationships with students at Bethlehem Bible College. Now I actually have to pretend like I know my stuff and grade student papers. And now for my summer project--finish our sequel movie for a fall release date (see below). Needless to say, our hearts are full with many tender moments as we connected with new and old friends and tried to capture the many stories of efforts in peacemaking in the Holy Land. Thanks for following our journey and praying for us.

Thomas Friedman wrote an important article several years ago talking about conflict in the Middle East. He characterized two types of people, including public figures and politicians. He found some playing the role of the arsonist. These are people who add fuel to the fires embedded in a conflict and exacerbating the tension already there. Others are firefighters. These are those who run around trying to decelerate conflicts, and tap down the natural, inherent tensions. 

I personally think we need a 3rd type that is proactive. We need peacemakers, people who do more than address a conflict when it flares up. Jesus makes "peacemaking" an essential piece of Christian discipleship. The question before us in the Middle East, but really in the entire world, is which way will modern history turn? And what are we prepared to do personally? Do we heed Christ's call to peacemaking?

Henri Nouwen wrote prophetically about the need for the “vocation of peacemaking” in our time. He wrote a little volume called Peacework near the turn of the century where he said the following: "against the background of a world poised for self-destruction, a world in which the choice no longer is between peace and war, but between peace and the end of history. In such a world, the age-old call to prayer, resistance, and community truly becomes a new call.” 

We believe the invitation expressed on the wall in Bethlehem, "make hummus, not walls," is really a first step toward listening to each other, gathering around a table, and beginning to build the relational capital between those on opposite sides of a conflict for true peacemaking. 
Click for over 200 pictures from our trip!
Click for more pictures.
Coming Soon: Sequel to Blessed Are the Peacemakers.
Release date: Fall 2018

Andy takes pictures to make peace. He loves to find hidden stories of common people and to listen to their hearts. His photography has appeared in the National Geographic, Christianity Today, Prism magazine and several other publications. His work has also been featured in several galleries. He has been interviewed on radio and television about his peacemaking work and recently produced a film on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He is currently working on a NEW short documentary sequel that goes behind the headlines on his recent trip. He also is producing an important STUDY GUIDE (check here for an outline) to accompany both of his movies, challenging audiences with his own reluctance to acknowledge what was happening, examining his own Biblical naivete about the land, and his shallow ethical understanding of justice and peace. The tone is confessional and education and will be filled with important learning experiences. You can follow his journey as he walks the streets of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the shores of the Galilee helping audiences discover Jesus' teaching on peacemaking. The sequel will feature stories from his recent trip and the events of these tumultuous times, including a very important perspective from a Jewish activist. The study guide will help groups go deeper with important questions, historical perspectives, and input from the people working for peace on the ground. 
Release date:  October 10, 2018.

Raising Support Continues--I'm at 79% 

I'm making progress on support raising but am still nearly 20% short. I need to reach 100% before my housing allowance and other ministry expenses are covered. I'm looking for individuals and churches who'd love to join my support team. Click here to join important initiatives in peacemaking that God keeps putting in front of us, in North America & the Middle East. Thanks!
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