Archive for February 5th, 2018

Lenten Study Guide

Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by .


 Lenten Study Guide:
What Would They Say Now? Encounters with People of the Bible

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This Lenten study booklet, based on Biblical narratives, is designed to facilitate reflection, sharing, and action. The six chapters offer resources for historical and devotional Bible study. These chapters, appropriate for congregational or individual use, are accessible to all, including those with minimal exposure to Palestine justice issues. Suggestions are provided for justice advocacy. The booklet is available in two formats: as a PDF document, downloadable here, and as a printed, spiral-bound booklet. To order your free copy, send an email to

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Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by .


The Trump administration has asked Congress for nearly $18 billion to build more than 700 miles of border wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. Alejandro Dávila, press secretary at Earthjustice, explains how the construction of a border wall imposes environmental costs and natural disaster, threatens border communities, harms native wildlife and wastes taxpayer dollars.

Construction of a wall is likely to create roadblocks in the migration paths of several threatened and endangered species and will also hinder the natural flow of waterways. In August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver that exempts construction efforts near San Diego from environmental and other regulations. Read an interview with environmental lawyer Dinah Bear on the impact of the decision on the environment and coming legal challenges to the wall.

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Urge Lawmakers to Work Together for an Immediate Solution for Dreamers

Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by .

The fate of nearly 1.8 million Dreamers remains uncertain as Congress has yet to reach a bipartisan deal to protect these youth. On January 22nd, Congress passed a short-term spending bill that will fund the government through February 8th, ending the government shutdown. The bill did not include protections for Dreamers, however, parties have agreed to continue negotiations and work towards a fix.

Unfortunately, every day that passes without a solution is a day where DACA youth fall out of status and lose their ability to go to school, serve in the military, and work legally.

We ask Catholics and others of goodwill to stand in solidarity with Dreamers by urging your lawmakers to work towards a bipartisan solution for these young people. You can do so below by sending the following message:

Dear Senators and Representative: 

As a person of faith, I believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, particularly that of children. I write to urge you to work with all deliberate speed to find a bipartisan solution for Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship. The approximately 1.8 million Dreamers living in our country were brought to the United States as young people. They worship with us in our churches and synagogues, serve in our military, contribute to our economy, and add their many talents to American society. 
As you work towards this goal, I ask you to ensure that any border security measures included in such legislation are balanced, proportional, and humane. While Catholic social teaching on migration recognizes and respects the sovereignty of each nation to regulate its borders, this right must be balanced with the right of vulnerable migrants to access protection. In addition, I ask you to recognize the sanctity of families and vulnerability of unaccompanied immigrant children. As such, I urge you to reject any proposals that threaten family-based immigration or seek to undermine protections for unaccompanied children. 
A solution for Dreamers is long overdue. As my elected official in Congress, I call on you to help ensure that a fair and just solution is found before February 8th.

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Mike Pence’s faith drives his support for Israel. Does it drive Mideast policy?

Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by .


from –

When Mike Pence moved to Washington earlier this year, he and his wife took with them a framed phrase they had for years hung over their fireplace in their Indiana home, and then over the fireplace in the governor’s mansion in that state.

Now it hangs over the mantle at the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. The words, from the Book of Jeremiah, read: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope, and a future.”

The “you” is the people of Israel, and Pence, an evangelical Christian, makes that clear when he addresses pro-Israel audiences. “They’re words to which my family has repaired to as generations of Americans have done so throughout our history, and the people of Israel through all their storied history have clung,” Pence said last August at the annual conference of Christians United for Israel.

Pence took that message to Israel this week on a trip ostensibly aimed in part at reviving the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. He is seen as a key Trump administration figure when it comes to Israel policy and reportedly helped nudge the president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Pence’s first visit to Israel as vice president led some to ask to what degree are his views — and the administration’s policies — shaped by the brand of evangelical Christianity that invests his faith?

Pence, a convert to evangelical Christianity from Roman Catholicism, has spooked some liberals with his insistence on rooting his pro-Israel bona fides in faith as much as realpolitik considerations of the United States’ national security. Their fear is that a messianic outlook might run riot over one of the most delicate dilemmas facing successive U.S. governments, namely stability in the Middle East.

“Trump has handed Israel policy to Evangelicals,” The Forward’s Jane Eisner wrote last week in an editorial as Pence headed to Israel. “That’s terrifying.” Like many liberals, she worries that policy will be driven by evangelical beliefs that certain conditions — like Jewish control over the West Bank and sovereignty in Jerusalem — fulfill biblical prophecies.

Republicans and conservatives say that it is reductive to believe that Pence shapes his views solely according to the tenets of his faith.

“They always highlight the fact that he’s an evangelical, as if that’s a pejorative when in fact [Pence and other evangelicals] are motivated first and foremost by shared values with Israel,” said Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who has known Pence for years. “And not just by the shared values, but the important efforts of collectively standing up to threats of Iran, pushing back on ISIS, and on radical Islam, or whether it’s being a critical democratic foundation in a very dangerous place. There are so many places where U.S. and Israel’s interests intersect.”

Pence began his speech to the Knesset by outlining the shared values Brooks described.

“We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight,” he said. “We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”

But he quickly pivoted to depict support of Israel as both biblical (Deuteronomy 30:4, to be exact) and rooted in an American strain of Christianity.

“Down through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish people’s aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers, to claim your own new birth of freedom in your beloved homeland,” he said to applause. “The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that ‘even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,’ from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed.”

Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, described a natural trajectory for evangelical supporters of Israel from biblical belief to the more practical modern reasons for supporting the state.

“The promises of the Hebrew Bible are the foundation of Christian Zionism, but our motivations for supporting Israel do not end there,” he told JTA in an email. “We see in Israel a democracy that shares Western values and is a force for stability in the Middle East. While standing with Israel is a Biblical mandate, it is also a moral imperative and in the national security interests of the US. I am confident that all three of these considerations inform the Vice President’s approach to the Middle East and I believe that is perfectly appropriate.”

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What Is My Real Work, With a Capital “W”?

Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by .

What is MY real work? This is a question that we may (and should) find ourselves asking not just at the end of high school or college when we are entering the work world, but many times over our lives and careers. Indeed, our real work may evolve over time as we do and as our culture does. As we and the times change, we are called to live into our gifts more specifically and with greater impact. We are invited to “transform work with a small ‘w’ to Work with a capital ‘W’”, (Bernard Amadei, Engineers Without Borders co-founder). In this way, we live into the Priesthood of All Workers.
During the protestant reformation, Martin Luther transformed traditional understanding of the priesthood to “the priesthood of all believers.” This “did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. A major issue at the time was the prohibition of marriage for people in the religious orders. The Reformers looked at Scripture and insisted that marriage is ordained by God and that the family, far from being something less spiritual than the life of a hermit or anchorite, is the arena for some of the most important spiritual work. A father and a mother are “priests” to their children, not only taking care of their physical needs, but nourishing them in the faith. Every kind of work, including what had heretofore been looked down upon—the work of peasants and craftsmen—was an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one’s neighbor”. Michael Poore
Matthew Fox expands upon the nature of priesthood, “For me, the notion of priesthood is far too useful to be restricted to ecclesial offices and clerical strivings. It deserves to go public, to assist the needed move from the secularization of our work worlds and professions to a re-sacralizing of them. I raised the question in my book The Reinvention of Work about whether it is time to talk about the priesthood of all workers. If a priest is a “midwife of grace,” is it not true that whether one works as therapist or artist, business person or activist, educator or nurse, doctor or mechanic, one can be a midwife of grace? And if so, our work is a priestly work, a work that goes deeper than just bringing a paycheck home or paying our household bills? Is our work not a Sacrament connecting us to the “Great Work” of the universe?Matthew Fox
David Chernikoff, MDiv., Insight Meditation Instructor, explored the connection of right livelihood, service, and work in a recent teaching, “We see in the right livelihood teachings of the Buddhist tradition as well as in other wisdom traditions the concept of relating to work as a form of service. For a lot of people who work, whether on a paid basis or as a volunteer, the joy of service is one of the greatest rewards. I think about the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore who said it this way: ‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.’ READ MORE

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