Olive trees have been cultivated for over 4,000 years and are known as an international symbol of peace. The olive tree and the prickly pear cactus are also traditional symbols of the Palestinian people and their connection to their homeland. This connection has remained strong despite occupation and long years of exile and displacement.Read more
My maternal grandfather was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was only twenty when World War I broke out and soon, as a musician with a young wife and a year old baby, he found himself in the uniform of the Austro-Hungarian army on the Galician (Eastern) front, sitting in a fox hole, clutching not his beloved violin but a loaded gun and waiting for the next attack of the gargantuan Russian Imperial Forces.
I benefit from my dialogues with Muslim friends here in Turkey because of the insight I gain into myself, my own culture, and my own Christian tradition. One Muslim friend recently set me thinking about the Last Supper. We were wondering together about the psychology of that event as the last meal of Jesus with his disciples. If you knew that a certain meal with someone special in your life was to be your last one together, what would be in your mind? How would you behave?Read more
The Gypsies are considered problematic here, as in every European country. When I first arrived I wasn’t sure how my initial encounter with a Gypsy, a Roma, might go.
Pets. Now there’s a safe subject. But why can’t Budapest be clean and fresh (and renewed) like Vienna. Well, because of pets.Read more
Children are precious. Hungarian children especially so! Partly because the most recent government began providing tax cuts for parents per child, with three children per marriage the goal,(and the past Prime Minister and his wife set a good example by having five), but also to counter the common use of abortion as birth control in a nation frightened by its declining birthrate.Read more
Anniversaries are times to recall and appreciate history and relationships. It is a time to review where we have been and where we are going. Mission is an enterprise of going out of the doors of our churches and witnessing to the love of God through Jesus Christ among those we come into contact with. Sometimes that mission takes us next door. Sometimes that mission takes us to distant lands. Sometimes God calls us to places where another religion may be in the majority. In the case of the Middle East, mission was to the birthplace of Christianity itself. The Christians,Read more
Lebanon, the home of the Near East School of Theology, has seen some earth shattering events during the course of 2005. Assassinations of prominent Muslim and Christian leaders alike have shaken the reality of many Lebanese people. Dr Mary Mikhael describes these events very poignantly by saying, “Somehow as sad as all of these events were they have shown a certain high maturity among the Lebanese people of all religious communities. It seems all have learned a lesson the hard way. All seemed convinced that violence solves no problems. All have been persuaded that violence must be rejected at all times and by all people. Despite the disruption to lives, the recent events are something to be observed with a depth of thought. Liberty, independence and the sovereignty of a people are values to be protected by all and enjoyed by all.”
Hungarian students are usually diligent, committing to memory immense amounts of information which they can spew out in oral exams, using short-term memory skills. However, they sometimes expect a break from the rigor. In a land filled with hot thermal medicinal baths, their attempt at respite comes from an unusual source.Read more