|Pr. and Mrs. Lueking|
Along the way one encounters 250 people--nurses, chaplains, pastors, teachers, laity, other ministers--from 32 countries on five continents. So the reader travels from Palestine to Papua New Guinea, through Africa, eastern and western Europe, Central and South America, India, and Australia. Each of the nine parts of the book begins with a introductory chapter on that part of the world. Included in each of these introductory sections is a very helpful, simple map of the particular region that is uncovered.
Last fall I referred to the book's narrative on Japan. Today I'd like to highlight another story, one that centers on Bethlehem in Palestine. I was reminded of this story because Pr. Lueking's CC reflections on the lectionary for Sunday, January 23, also refer to this troubled turf.
Dr. Lueking comments on their plight: "[Adel] and his family have learned to live from Sunday to Sunday as doers of the Word that feeds their souls and motivates them to return evil with good. Christ's death and resurrection has broken down the worst of all walls, Adel said, the one that separates them from God. They see examples of grace at work in the lives of others at Christmas Lutheran Church whom they know and admire, helping them to stave off the inertia of self-pity that only makes bad situations worst. It is from his spiritual roots in the Gospel, well nourished in his congregation, that he has found what it takes to rebuild his life and livelihood after losing everything as a refugee a quarter century earlier. That same source makes him an example to his children to whom he has passed on the faith and vision of overcoming evil with good as a way of life in Bethlehem" (p. 4).
Through Pr. Lueking's description of this non-violent Palestinian family, we gain insight into the larger context that includes the five Lutheran congregations (3,000 Lutheran Christians) and the 150,000 other Christians within the 2.2 million Palestinian population within the West Bank. Despite the deep frustration that Pr. Raheb, the Khaders, and other Bethlehemites experience, they continue to act with faith, hope, and love. They have built a cultural center, a medical clinic, schools, a college (the first Christian institution of higher ed started in the Middle East in decades), and have instituted programs aimed at educating and cultivating individuals who might otherwise succumb to the blight of helplessness and hopelessness.
For similar reflections on Bethlehem's Christians, see Dr. Lueking's CC reflections in the Jan 11 issue of the Christian Century, p. 21.
I know that Pastor Lueking would like to connect young Christian people in the United States with Christian counterparts elsewhere in the world. If you are interested in participating in that kind of "e-exchange," contact Pastor Lueking through http://www.deanlueking.com/ or his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/F-Dean-Lueking/122888817731170
To order your copy of Through Their Eyes, visit http://www.tyrabookschicago.com/ or the above web addresses of Pr. Lueking.
In coming weeks I hope to highlight other chapters from this eye-opening book. I'm also thinking that I will use it in my introductory course on Lutheranism Past and Present.