God is in the Crowd (& Goliath is in the Wings): A Review of Tal Keinan’s New Book

When you go to the Holy Land and discuss the current realities of Israelis and Palestinians, you’ll often hear about two biblical characters—David and Goliath.  Palestinians will point out how they have been consigned to two small patches of their former homeland—Gaza and the West Bank, how Israeli settlements and security encroach on these, and […]

When Angels First Trod the Earth: A Review of Philip Jenkins’ Crucible of Faith

It was 113 degrees when I was at Qumran a few weeks ago.  Set up on a ridge near the Dead Sea, the site is unforgiving—no escape from the sun, salt flats and barren wilderness in every direction, a claustrophobic gift shop and lunch room packed with tourists who never seem to make it to […]

What You Can Learn from 3 Hilltops: West Bank Edition

Flagpole in Sebastia Sebastia On the highest point in Sebastia, where a Roman Temple, the Northern Kingdom’s palace, and innumerable pagan holy sites once stood, there is a ramshackle wooden flagpole sporting a small Palestinian flag.  Or at least there was last week when I visited.  Locals report that the flagpole is the frequent target […]

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: Yossi Klein Halevi’s Call Across the Wall

I don’t talk much on this blog about Palestine and Israel, even though you’ll see a link here to my 2014 book, A Space for Peace in the Holy Land: Listening to Modern Israel and Palestine.  That’s partly due to the fact that the commitment of this site is to understanding rural life and ministry, […]

Considering Our Hearts (& the Future of the UMC): A Review of The Anatomy of Peace

Let’s get this out of the way first: If Dan Brown wrote a book about conflict resolution it would come out looking something like The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.  If that sounds like an endorsement to you, you’ll love this book.  If, like me, you threw The DaVinci Code across the […]