Resurrecting the Soul in a Secular Age

How do we nurture our souls in a secular world? Historically, Christians have responded in two very contrasting ways:

Nurturing the Soul Through Asceticism
The first approach, popular among some early Christians, was to retreat to the desert thinking they could escape temptation and find holiness through asceticism. By the fourth century CE many Christians were living as hermits and monks in monasteries out in the desert. A fifth century monk, Simeon, took this to extremes. To get away from the hordes of disciples and onlookers who came to visit him, attracted by his already extreme self-denying lifestyle, he climbed a pillar and lived there. He once survived 40 days without eating or drinking anything, which made him even more popular. He spent the rest of his life on a succession of ever higher pillars, to try and get away from the crowds who continued to visit him. Food and water were delivered by village boys climbing up his pillar. After he died, scores of others tried to imitate Simeon, and became known as Stylites from the Greek word for pillar, “style”. The problem is that we can never escape from temptation and sin, least of all retreating from the world into the desert. Jesus was himself tempted by Satan in the desert.

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Waging Peace

A short article published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs based on a presentation given at the Jerusalem Fund, Washington DC, in November 2018.

Waging Peace

Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer gave a powerful talk on the historical roots of Christian Zionism, its theological basis and political agenda at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC on Oct. 24. Jerusalem Fund’s executive director Mohamed Mohamed introduced Sizer as the founder of Peacemaker Trust for Persecuted Minorities based in the U.K. and the author of Christian Zionism: Road Map to Armageddon?

With around 100 million devotees, Sizer argues that Christian Zionism is the most dominant and destructive expression of Zionism today, Mohamed said, adding, An indication of Sizer’s effectiveness as an advocate for justice is how severely he’s been maligned by supporters of and apologists for Israeli apartheid.”

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Feeding Sudanese Refugees in Cairo

IMG_5033Every Sunday after church, Sudanese refugees in Cairo receive a simple meal.  They get one or two sandwiches. We serve 6 churches from different denominations.  In total about 850 people each week. Half of those are children. We do this because these people are refugees in Cairo and get very little help.  It is also a small token of our love for them.  And it encourages the community life of the churches. Continue reading

Christ at the Checkpoint USA

44151681_2176889802526392_5243558128091398144_oIt has been a delight to participate in the first Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the USA. Hosted by churches in Oklahoma City, the conference was attended by about 150 participants from the USA, Canada, Israel, Palestine and Europe.

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The theme of the conference was “Exploring Holy Land Realities and our Response”. Subjects discussed through plenaries and breakout sessions included Palestinian Christianity in the Midst of the Conflict; Jewish and Christian Attitudes to the Conflict; Christian Zionism; Strategies of Nonviolent Resistance; and Promoting Peace. Continue reading