ARTICLES

A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON CHANGE: PERSONAL AND SOCIETAL TRANSFORMATION

Change takes place over long periods of time and after substantial effort. Nonetheless, change is not impossible. It can and does happen. Once a group or community has progressed upon the pathway to long-term change, the attributes, behaviors, thoughts, and perspective of the desired change must become deeply integrated into the culture of the community.

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JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION

A justice which includes reconciliation can only be achieved through embrace. “The clenched fist hinders perception of the justice of others and thereby reinforces injustice; the open arms help detect justice behind the rough front of seeming injustice and thereby reinforce justice.

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THEOLOGY OF RECONCILIATION

The message of Jesus’ teaching is one that has meaning for us today, especially for those of us who live in a conflict setting. Our identities based on gender, ethnicity, language, culture or belief must give way to a more inclusive identity in the Messiah.

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Justice from a Biblical Perspective

When speaking about reconciliation, justice is very important. We have discussed a number of different issues up to this point, such as forgiveness and power, but they are all to be understood in the context of justice. To speak of justice implies that injustice exists, and injustice hints at conflict, so essentially justice is crucial to conflict, conflict resolution and reconciliation.

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Dealing with Discouragement

Discouragement is a part of the journey of reconciliation. The process is not easy, and often the emotional toll it takes on participants is high. Involvement in reconciliation, opening up and expressing your opinion, hearing challenging teachings, sometimes having your presuppositions challenged—these all require emotional commitment and emotional engagement from participants.

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The Importance of Remembering

The proper goal of the memory of wrongs suffered—its appropriate end—is the formation of the communion of love between all people, including victims and perpetrators.

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The Lonely Events of Easter

During this Easter and Passover season, people from around the world will be flocking to Jerusalem. This year will be especially crowded as Easter for both church calendars in the Western and Eastern traditions falls on the same day.

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Returning to Identity

As discussed in our previous article on identity, our identity is formed through a process of exclusion and inclusion, differentiation and identification. But in conflicts, the differences tend to become sharp, demarcated lines that exclude the other from walking alongside us.

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Theology and Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine

As followers of Christ, we are called to live at peace with all people, regardless of their customs or beliefs. We are all brothers and sisters because we are all made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27), and we are called to be peacemakers, to bless our enemies, even when they persecute us.

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Dealing with Trauma

The Bible is full of stories of humans interacting with God. Among these interactions, we see hurting people turning to God: asking why, asking for healing or mercy, and pouring out their hearts to God in their confusion and pain.

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Remembering Rightly

Intractable conflicts are marked by pain and loss, and when we meet for the purposes of reconciliation, we must examine how we remember the pain and loss we have suffered without allowing the emotions that accompany them—anger, resentment, bitterness, hurt—divide us.

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Forgiveness

“Forgiveness means to release from liability to suffer punishment or penalty; to let go; release or remit; to cancel a debt in full. To cancel a debt means that you absorb the liability someone else deserves to pay (i.e. liability to punishment). Forgiveness also means to bestow favor freely or unconditionally that is undeserved and cannot be earned.”

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Power

In this article we examine power and try to define it, looking at different kinds of power and how they appear in our lives. Different sources of power are also discussed, and we explore how power relates to people in conflict with each other, especially concerning the imbalance of power.

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Obstacles to Reconciliation

This article will discuss some of the obstacles to reconciliation, including physical, emotional, psychological and ideological obstacles. The information provided is by no means comprehensive, and will primarily focus on the obstacles we find most common in our work.

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History and Narrative

When we look at the dynamics of conflict, there are a number of important factors which can contribute to the continuation of a conflict, but can also contribute to its resolution and reconciliation between the two sides.

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An Act that Changed the Course of History

Over the past several months we have been working to update some of the chapters in our curriculum of reconciliation Some of the issues we have been researching further are the meeting of justice and reconciliation (there can be no reconciliation without justice, and not justice without reconciliation), and how forgiveness relates tot eh public and political spehres. I have been going through Donald Shriver, Jr.’s bookAn Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics.

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Discernment and Reconciliation amidst the Fog of War

The current conflict between the Israeli military and the Hizbollah has been escalating in the past weeks, seen not only in the growing number of casualties, but in the displacement of many Israelis and Lebanese and in the destruction of infrastructure.

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Is It Worthwhile? Are There Results?

“Does it really work?” This is the first question that people ask when they hear about Musalaha. It is difficult to imagine what kind of impact “Desert Encounters” and Conferences can have in a situation where pain is great, emotion runs high and no political solution is in sight.

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Musalaha, Ministry of Reconciliation

Reconciliation is not an easy path. Believers in the Messiah find it a challenging process. The mandate for reconciliation is very clear in the Scriptures, yet the challenge lies in how we apply the Biblical teaching in our daily life.

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The Harvest is Plenty

Musalaha recently conducted a research project for the Palestinian Bible Society, the purpose of which was to identify organizations in Jerusalem involved in reconciliation and peacebuilding. We looked at over 120 organizations which we evaluated by their target groups and type of work.

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The Urgency of Reconciliation

As Israeli and Palestinian believers, we usually focus on our theological differences, but we are unaware of the greater political and societal differences. Recently, I was speaking with one of my colleagues from the Hebrew University, a professor who has done a lot of work on bringing Israelis and Palestinians together.

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