Webinar: Challenges Facing Palestinian Christians

More info about the upcoming Face to Face webinar premiere “Challenges Facing Palestinian Christians in Israel and Palestine”, on Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 5pm GMT (12pm CST, 7pm CET).

While it is true that many Christians in the West (US especially) believe and generously promote that it is our Christian obligation to stand with Israel, very seldom one hears a call to embrace Palestinian Christians. Consequently, many of our Palestinian brothers and sisters feel abandoned by the international Christian family.

Only a few days ago I had a privilege to record a webinar session with five young Palestinian Christians, all of them leaders in peace building, reconciliation, education, and advocates for human rights and social justice. They talked about some of the most persistent internal and external challenges Palestinian Christians are facing in Israel and Palestine. 

They talked also about the harmful nature of the attitudes and behavior, ideologically driven, and shared by many Christians in the West. They talked also about their involvement in peace building and reconciliation, and about the impact of some regional, current events upon their community. 

Our five panelists/presenters are:

Areej Murad was born and raised in Bethlehem. She works as the Development and Coordinator at Bethlehem Bible College. Areej is also a project research consultant on Palestinian matters with Northumbria University, UK.

Shadia Qubti comes from Nazareth. Shadia worked as an influential peacemaker associated with Musalaha, a well-known Middle East peace building ministry. Shadia is also the Editor of the Women Behind the Wall podcast.

Yousef Alkhouri was born in Gaza. He lives with his family in Bethlehem and serves as a lecturer at the Bethlehem Bible College. He is also a member of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, and a member of the Academic Alliance for Interfaith Dialogue in Palestine.

Lamma Mansour is an Oxford student and a youth leader in her church in Nazareth. She is also a member of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.

Jack Munayer lives in Jerusalem, where he works with the World Council of Churches. He is also the Coordinator of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.

Our panelists are open to your questions and further conversation.

The webinar premiere will take place this Thursday, August 6th, 2020, at 5.00pm GMT, on: 

YouTube https://youtu.be/LzJZ0P7G6jY 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weshallseefacetoface/

Vimeo:

This is a kind of webinar that ought not to be missed. Make plans to watch it and share the link with your friends.

YouTube Premiere:

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Challenges Facing Palestinian Christians in Israel and Palestine

Upcoming Face to Face Webinar Premiere – Challenges Facing Palestinian Christians in Israel and Palestine. Thursday, August 6, 2020., 5.00pm GMT. Many Christians in the West, the US especially, believe that it is their Christian obligation to stand with Israel. Very seldom does one hear a call to empathize and embrace Palestinian Christians. Five young Palestinian Christians will help us understand the challenges Palestinian Christians are facing in Israel and Palestine, from within and from without. Plan to be with us for this unique YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo premiere on Thursday, 6th August, 2020, starting 5pm GMT.

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Webinar: Speaking Truth to Power and Each Other

A Brief introduction to our panel discussion today:

We are living in the days of radical upheavals, in the US, UK, everywhere. Increasingly, it seems good is called evil, and evil good. Christians are either resigning themselves to passivity from any social or political engagement, or they are vocally polarized, speaking and acting from the most opposing and incompatible value platforms, often voicing a cognitive dissonance rather than seeking to follow Jesus consistently and with deliberation. 

This dissonance of attitudes is easily seen in the ways diverse groups of Christians relate to Covid-19 pandemic, nationalism, racism, treatment of immigrants, refugees, homeless, minorities. Instead of brining healing and sanity to our conversations, and offer some reasonable solutions to social challenges, we Christians have contribute to growing social and political confusion. 

So, we must ask: “Should we, followers of Jesus, speak truth to power at all in our post-truth days? For example, are we Christians supposed to join the protests against injustice, racism, social abuse? Should we, Christians, stand up for refugees and immigrants? Should we, and how, express our concerns through media, especially social media? Should we lift our voices against inhumanity, injustice, other social deviations at all?  Or, should we pray only and be quiet, neutral, conveniently safe? Can we afford to remain the stance of neutrality in the face of growing evil? Or should we be involved, active, act responsibly? If we should, how?

These are some of the questions our panelists are trying to address today.  They are in the order of speaking: Camilla Bocaniala, the co-founder of Polylogos, a community bridge-building association in Romania, and social activist in peace-building and reconciliation; Liviu Bocaniala, President of Polylogos Association and artist; Heather Staff, a political advisor on refugee, asylum and migration policy for a member of the UK Parliament; Hermund Haaland, cofounder and International Director for Tanskmien Skaperkraft in Norway, and a Production Manager of a recently published book “Is God a Populist”; Edlira Cepani, human rights activist and community organizer in Albania; and, Zdravko Plantak, Professor of Ethical Studies at the Loma Linda University, USA, and the author of the book “The Silent Church”. I am Tihomir Kukolja, the editor and producer of Face to Face Forum

Objective of our conversation today is to encourage a very much needed conversation on the relevant theme of how to speak the truth to power and to each other in our post-truth era from a Christian perspective. Since our conversation is only starting today, we would welcome your comments, questions. Our panelists are ready to face your questions and comments, and respond to them in one of our future Face to Face Conversations, soon. You are more than welcome to email us your questions. Also, you may share your questions and comments on the social media platforms that are making this conversation available to you. Let us hear from you soon. 

And now, take time and watch our conversation.

Available also on Face to Face, Facebook.

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Webinar Conversation: Speaking Truth to Power and to Each Other in the Post-Truth Era, Christian Perspective

An international group of six leaders from different walks of life and professions are sharing their understanding and experience, as followers of Jesus, on “Speaking Truth to Power and Each Other in the Post-Truth Era.”

Today we are surrounded by confusing voices as to what constitutes evil and what constitutes good. Consequently, any Christians are are either resigning themselves to passivity from any social or political engagement, or they are acting selectively, preferentially in their choices of engagement. Or, they are vocally polarized as they speak and act from very much opposing and incompatible platforms of “truth”, often voicing cognitive dissonance rather that pursuing Jesus consistently and with deliberation. We, Christians, have to admit that we too have often contributed to growing social and political confusion.

Our panelists are addressing questions such as: Should we, Christians, followers of Jesus, stand publicly and actively for social justice, including standing for immigrants, refugees, homeless, minorities, and against systematic racism, racial supremacism, nationalism, and other forms of inhumanity and social deviations? Or, should we pray only, and remain quiet, neutral, safe?

Our panelists are Camilla Bocaniala, the co-founder of Polylogos, a community bridge-building association in Romania, and social activist in peace-building and reconciliation; Liviu Bocaniala, President of Polylogos Association and artist; Heather Staff, a political advisor on refugee, asylum and migration policy for a member of the UK Parliament; Hermund Haaland, cofounder and International Director for Tanskmien Skaperkraft in Norway, and a Production Manager of a recently published book “Is God a Populist”; Edlira Cepani, human rights activist and community organizer in Albania; and, Zdravko Plantak, Professor of Ethical Studies at the Loma Linda University, USA, and the author of the book “The silent Church”.

Join us for the coming Youtube and Facebook premiere, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 5.00pm GMT.

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Face to Face with John Masuku

John Masuku

This Friday, July 3, 2020, 5pm GMT, Face to Face media initiative is starting a season of zoom conversations, interviews, messages and other video features with a premiere of the first part of my interview with John Masuku, a leading Zimbabwean radio producer, broadcaster, journalist and communicator. 

I met John Masuku for the first time in the autumn of 1989, 30 years ago in London, UK at the BBC radio training course for radio producers and managers in London, and since then we have been very good friends. John Masuku’s professional service in radio broadcasting and journalism extended from the closing days of a colonial Rhodesia, birth of Zimbabwe as a sovereign nation, and for many years since until today. When he retired from serving with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, he joined a private radio station Voice of the People. 

He knows from his own experience what it looks like when your radio facilities are bombed, and what it means to be in prison because you stand for freedom of truthful information. “Things are better today”, he says, “but there remains a lots of space for improvement”. 

I invited John to share his life story and experience as a journalist, broadcaster, producer, mentor, educator, friend, and a man of faith and follower of Jesus. This is the first part of our current Face to Face conversation. #Premiere Friday, July 4, 5pm GMT. The second part will follow shortly.

Watch and invite friends! Premiere, Friday, July 3, 5.00pm GMT. Face to Face Moment with John Masuku, part 1

Clarification: In my introduction and closing statement I referred to the Radio Voice of the People as if it were a pirate radio station. VOP was not a pirate radio station but a private radio station to which a cynical opposition occasionally referred as if it were a pirate radio station. For many years VOP was one of a very few soruces of trutful and balanced news in Zimbabwe.”  

Face to Face Moment with John Masuku – part two, Youtube and Facebook premiere, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 5.00pm GMT (7pm CET). John Masuku is a leading radio producer, broadcaster, journalist and communicator in Zimbabwe. In the final part of this conversation John Masuku talks with Tihomir Kukolja about the reasons he joined the Radio Voice of the People, one of the very few sources of truthful and balanced news in Zimbabwe for many years, having previously worked for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. He talks also about journalism with integrity, speaking truth to power, his experience with the Renewing Our Minds (ROM) ministry in Europe, and his faith in Jesus. Time: 38:05 min.

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Zoom Conversation: Losing Jesus in the Conspiracy Jungle?

Zoom conversation, held on Friday, May 8, 2020: Do conspiracies exist? Are too many Christians getting lost in the conspiracy jungle? How does indulgence in conspiracy theories affect the quality of our faith in Jesus and our witness? These are some of the questions we cannot avoid in the days when numerous conspiracy narratives are spreading like wildfire. Listen to Tihomir Kukolja (Renewing Our Minds Director, 2001-2019), Julia Bicknell (former BBC journalist), and Heather Nicola Staff (emerging UK politician) as they discuss these questions.

A few starting thoughts: Not everything that is labeled a conspiracy theory/narrative is a lie. Murders, plots, scheming, coverups are happening daily, and have been happening since the beginning of our human history until now. But most of the conspiracy narratives are fake, consisting of a deliberate blend of lies and some truth. And most of them are not new but recycled narratives that have been around for a long time. At this time they have a covid-19 spin in them.

What are we talking about? In the words of Joe Forrest, “by conspiracy theory I mean, ‘a well-organized effort initiated by an elite group of powerful men and women secretly working toward a singular goal or vision that often involves collaboration between government agencies and the media.” In other words, we are talking about deliberate acts of deception distributed, received and spread by many as the only truth to be trusted. They are a modern day gnosticism, or a false gospel about a possession of a special truth given only to a “discerning” group. Moreover, conspiracy narratives are about deliberate plotting, with manipulative intention, designed to delegitimize and bring harm, and spread fear and confusion by creating and spreading false, misleading and discrediting accounts about people, organizations, events. Often there is some truth in them, but there is always a twist.

It is a sad fact that too many Christians, a vocal and aggressive minority to be clear, seem to be the most zealous distributors of all kinds of conspiracy narratives. When Christians join the choruses of conspiracy-narrative advocates they are becoming (many of them with the most sincere intentions) false witnesses, active contributors to spreading of deception, idolatry and a populist form of gnosticism, and by doing so they are discrediting Christ and the Christian faith. Time 1:22:06 min.

Losing Jesus in the Conspiracy Jungle?

 

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Busting Your Spiritual Immunity in the Times of Crisis

For your encouragement and spiritual refreshment:  Let me share with a few points that might help us at this time of crisis fight the virus of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, confusion. As I walked the other day in a local park (keeping distance from other people) I thought and prayed about the things that matter to me at this time of crisis. These are the main points of this message: 1) Be deliberately anchored in Christ, 2) Be deliberate about your time with God and His Word, 3) Trust in God’s promises, 4) Recognize the signs of the times, but do not fall for conspiracy deceptions, and 5) Do what is required. Listen. Tell friends about this channel. I hope you will find this message refreshing. His Kingdom First 2020 #7: Busting Your Spiritual Immunity in the Times of Crisis against the virus of fear, anxiety, confusion. Time: 18:40 min. 

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Journal of Hope, Promise of Peace

Friends, at this time of growing crisis and uncertainty, as often as we are able we are going to share with you a message of hope and encouragement. Listen to our Journal of Hope. Today we are focusing on Jesus’, promise of peace. Followers of Jesus fear too, but Jesus offers powerful words of promise and encouragement: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let you hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27. NIV. Watch, listen and tell your friends. Time 3:35. 

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You of Little Faith

Today Tihomir Kukolja is inviting us to take Jesus’ call to trust Him to our hearts. He shares his story of God’s protection in the days of his visit to a war afflicted city of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993. “I run away from sniper fire, I saw several funerals taking place at the same time on a small improvised graveyard, and I visited with seriously wounded people, crippled by bombs, in the Kosevo Hospital in Sarajevo. I had my dose of experience of what the real war looked like”, said Tihomir, “but I left Sarajevo four weeks later with a stronger faith and sense of trust in the Lord.” God’s promises of love and care are given to us, the people “of little faith”, who are daily facing numerous small and big challenges, who are fight fear and anxiety. Listen, watch, and see some interesting illustrations enhancing Tihomir’s story. Time: 13:21 min.

If you would like to read more about my Sarajevo 1993 experience read God Has Not Forgotten Sarajevo and God Has not Forgotten Sarajevo 

His Kingdom First 2020 #2

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Moving Forward with a Clear Focus: His Kingdom First

Throughout the months of November and December 2019 I turned my morning walking hours into the times of reflection and prayer. My thoughts were focused on the coming year (2020), its challenges, and my own journey with the Lord in the coming year and beyond. There was one theme that was always coming to the forefront of my reflection times – His Kingdom First. We live in a spiritually and morally confused and confusing world; the world increasingly cynical about the Gospel of Christ, and ignorant about what the Kingdom of God is all about. Even worse, we Christians in the West seem to be increasingly uncertain about how does the Gospel of Christ make sense in the world of conflicting voices and overturned values?  It is for those reasons and more that I have decided to be committed in 2020 to seeking “His kingdom first” and ahead of all other priorities and challenges of the day. Should you wish to do so I would welcome you, my friends who truly desire to seek the Kingdom of Christ as the value of your uttermost importance, to journey together with me. So, let’s reason together in the presence of an audience of one.

His Kingdom First
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