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I just read a Christian ministry fundraising letter that boldly stated a pro-Israel view alongside a subtle anti-Arab view. The letter hoped to raise funds for a preaching program by suggesting to readers this ministry “stood with Israel” against all its enemies.

Clearly this letter is also pro-Jew, basing some of its outlook on the scriptural command to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” But it goes beyond this. The letter seamlessly blends biblical teachings about Jewish people generally and Jerusalem specifically with current Middle East political tensions, the state of Israel’s actions, and end-time prophecies.

One problem with this approach is that it offers a confusing and debatable eschatology (end-times doctrine) and a questionable, at best, mix of religion and politics.

Another problem with this approach is that it spiritualizes Israel the nation-state, thus sanctifying everything the current government does.

Now let me pause here. I've written on the subject before in a piece called "Jews Versus Arabs Or Jews And Arabs." The point is, why can't I be pro-Jew and pro-Arab?

I am certainly not anti-Jew, nor am I in any way suggesting Christians should not care about, pray for, or otherwise support Jewish people. I am not suggesting Jews or Israel have no enemies; of course they do. I am not “siding with” anti-Israel commentary, much less some political and religious leaders who regularly make threatening hate-statements about Israel.

I am saying that some Christian, and some conservative and some Republican, leaders are so eager to proclaim a perceived stature within the ranks that they make over-the-top rah-rah statements of “defense of Israel” at the cost of sounding, if not being, anti-Arab. These statements are designed to establish their credentials in terms of fidelity to the cause. “I’m for the defense of Israel, so I must be real," as a truly spiritual Christian, a truly staunch conservative, or a truly pure Republican.

As I noted above, I’m not anti-Israel. But to be supportive of and care about the Jewish people must I also believe that every move the nation of Israel makes is indeed, by definition, a correct one? Must I support the current government uncritically, blindly?

I love my own country. I am glad and grateful to be an American. But I do not believe every act of the USA or a given government is always the correct, good, or moral one. And I say so or vote so. I offer critique because I love my country, not because I do not.

I do not believe in “My country right or wrong but right or wrong my country.” This is an irrational and potentially dangerous hyper-patriotism, not responsible patriotism.

And why must I, if I love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, suddenly become anti-Arab? Do all Arabs hate Jews? Of course they do not. Are all Arabs “bad” by virtue of their ethnicity? Of course they are not—if you believe so, you have succumbed to racism. Are all Jews “good” by virtue of their ethnicity or religion? Of course they are not, nor are Americans.

And for that matter, not just Arabs but Persians: are all Persians (Iranians) “bad,” enemies of America and Israel, because they are Persians? Of course not. Do all Iranian citizens agree with their leaders? No they do not. Then why lump them together? Why demonize an entire people group because of a given regime?

Much more concerning: why should Christians necessarily adopt anti-Arab or anti-Persian views simply because they care about Jews? Where in Scripture does it say we should despise or work against the Gentile?

So I think the Christian ministry that mailed the fundraising letter I read is not only wrong but irresponsible. I think that in its zeal to be biblical it misinterprets the Bible.

To be pro-Jew does not require one to be—unthinkingly—pro-Israel, even if you wish to support or defend Israel’s right to exist. To be pro-Jew in no way requires one to be anti-Arab, anti-Persian, anti-Turk, or anti-anyone. In fact, adopting a position that is categorically against any people group is a form of racial prejudice and is, therefore, non-Christian or, if you prefer, un-Christian.

The summary of the matter is that Jesus’s redemption and the life-giving Christian faith are for everyone, for Jew, Arab, Persian, Turk, for Gentile, for red and yellow, black and white, for male and female, for great and small, for one and all.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

After spending a week in the Middle East (MENA for Middle East and North Africa) here are a few of the things I’ve learned, confirmed, or reaffirmed:

*The MENA social and political turmoil the West calls “revolutions” can more accurately be described as “evolutions.

*"Arab Spring” is a misnomer in that the social unrest in various countries in the region are not just Arab and not characterized by much that fits a metaphor like spring.

 *Some protestors may want religious rule, but most want personal freedoms, economic opportunity, justice, and liberation from corrupt regimes.

 *Much of MENA government-aided or generated turmoil the West assigns to religious influence is actually rooted in the classic triumvirate of power, politics, and greed.

 *“Regional culture” exists but not generally to the level people in the West believe—the political and social culture of each MENA nation is different from other nations.

*The dominant religions of MENA are not impregnable socially or spiritually, meaning followers may turn and are turning to other faiths.

*The Christian Church exists in MENA as a minority religion, but while suppressed, oppressed, and in some countries persecuted, the Church is also resilient, strong, and unbowed.

*People are becoming followers of Christ in every MENA country and the Church is growing faster in Iran and Algeria than most other countries of the world.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


A while back my SAT-7 colleagues in the UK developed a new website called It features issues, news, views, developments, and challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In particular, Wazala keeps an eye on Christians, Christianity, and the Church in the region. Wazala is a derivative of the Arabic word "wasala," meaning to connect, to join, to reach out.

Who can deny that MENA is a strategic region? Virtually every night, in some way, the region is featured in stories on international news channels. If you know much about biblical prophecy you know the region plays a prominent if not predominant role in the End Times. Add to this oil and other economic considerations, the volatile position of the “island” of Israel, and the fact that three wars continue to plague the region—depending upon whether you believe Afghanistan is part of the ME, depending upon how you evaluate fighting in Iraq, and depending upon whether you believe the Libyan Revolution is a “war,” at least in terms of Western involvement. In any event, MENA is strategic by about any definition of the term. references things political, but it is not given to political prescription. Rather, Wazala attempts to apply a Christian perspective to developments in MENA. In this the site provides the rest of us a service. The West, and especially America, needs to learn more about MENA. We need to learn how cultures function where there is essentially no separation of Church and State. We need to understand not simply news-network-theology but the deeper, theologically complex, layered nuances of the region’s dominant religion. The more we learn the more, hopefully, we understand. The more we understand the more we will be able to give an answer of the hope that lies within our Christian faith.

I highly and without reservation recommend to you It’s good to learn the Lord is at work in MENA. Indeed, “He is there and he is not silent.”


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at



Awakened every morning by a local rooster. Guy owns the town and let us know.

In the area we stayed up the mountain Lebanon apparentlly has a lot of tree frogs. We heard a bunch at two different outdoor restaurants earlier this week and I've heard them periodically throughout the evening via my room balcony door.

Lebanese food is very, very good, especially the meat and fruit, but dinners often go late, as in return-from-dinner-at-11:00 pm. Two fellows from Jordan, who of course speak Arabic, went shopping. Said things are cheaper in Lebanon than at home in Jordan. I saw them just now. Came back carrying stuffed plastic bags.

I've learned to enjoy watching little Lebanese children whenever I've had the chance. The wee little ones, like any wee little ones anywhere, are especially cute. Here, though, they're real eye-catchers because of their usually big dark eyes and lots of curly black hair. Beautiful kids.

Beirut climbs the mountain or high hills if you prefer, which makes for fantastic views over the city and sea. People on the hills and back into the mountains often live on property owned by their families for several generations. And, like anywhere, it’s cooler at higher altitudes.

People in Lebanon tend to live in religiously-defined areas, including in Beirut where you can see or drive through both Christian in “East Beirut” and Muslim in “West Beirut” areas or neighborhoods. The level of social interaction between these areas varies with circumstances at different times. Commercial interaction pretty much exists except in the most tense of times.

Parliament Square and blocks around it were shattered by the war in the 1980s, but the buildings in this downtown district have been beautifully and meticulously rebuilt. Government buildings and shops like Starbucks, ice cream, and souvenir stores line adjacent streets. Police are everywhere in evidence. A “mall” populated by high-end stores is located along three or four streets a couple of blocks away.

Martyr’s Square monument is rather interesting to say the least. The statue was erected in 1937 to memormialize the Lebanese who suffered under a blockade by the Allies in WWI. The people endured famine, starvation, plaque, and the hanging of nationalists on May 6, 1916. The statue, amazingly, survived the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and is now riddled with bullet holes. It is a poignant and important symbol, a salute to the resolve and resilience of the Lebanese people.

The Lebanese people I have met are friendly, capable, and interesting. They are well educated, multi-lingual, and generally involved in the pursuit of some profession. They’re very much into family over multiple generations and they think globally, in part because they have so many Lebanese relatives living in diaspora worldwide.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Beirut is a city by the Mediterranean Sea facing West. Huge, multi-million residents. Mountains just behind or East, somewhat like LA or San Francisco but much closer and higher mountains with the city climbing the sides.

Our hotel is in a community up the mountain about 30 minutes from the city proper. Long way from the sea but can see it and the city clearly whenever we travel down hill. Sunsets spectacular. Birds everywhere, first wildlife I saw: pigeons.

City features few Western-style skyscrapers of glass and steel, instead, thousands of all off-white stone, cement, or manufactured stone-surfaced highrises maybe 20-30 stories at most with smaller windows and less glass than Western buildings, probably due to the constant sun. Many residential buildings have huge canopy-like curtains hanging from the top of the balcony to shield the sun and heat.

The Lebanon flag is a distinctive one: a red band on the top and bottom covering about one-third of the flag with a wide, white band in the middle two-thirds. In the middle of the white is a green Cedar of Lebanon. Red, white, and green. Beautiful.

Boiled eggs and goat cheese for breakfast, along with Nescafe coffee brewed in my cup at the table, served like tea with hot water and makings, very strong, which I like. Also black olives with every meal, salty and not bad but not my favorite.

English-language CNN available on the tube and maybe one other English station, the rest Arabic of course, along with some French. Lebanon has a French colonial history, so people here speak Arabic, French, and maybe English. My cab-driver spoke no English, but we got to "J'mapelle Joe" and Rex.

People at the hotel call me "Mr. Rex." I thought this was because they had confused my last name until I heard them address others in a similar way. The hotel key is attached to a bolt-shaped piece of gold metal that weighs a good pound or more. Probably won't forget it's in my pocket.

Went to another Lebanese restaurant tonight at 7:30 pm, ordered meal about 8:20 and it came a half hour later. Long mealtimes. Left the restaurant at almost 11:00 pm. Restaurant was a huge outdoor patio on the side of a mountain over-looking a deep valley. Patio covered by various canopies, lots of flowers, seating areas part couches with cushions, part straight-back chairs. Interesting place. Ate raw liver, chicken wings, sausages, a sort of hush puppie with beef inside, salads, and more. Dessert here is about 10-12 kinds of fruits placed on the table in bowls. Cantaloupe and watermelon fantastic.

For those who wish, meals end with a small cup of Turkish Coffee. Strong enough to kill a moose, probably why I didn't sleep much at all last night--either that or the jetlag. Restaurants we've been to both had pools of water with frogs in them that made an incredible racket. Few or no bugs. Balmy, pleasant to sit outdoors into late evening.

Full moon out tonight over the mountains populated by thousands of lights in the dark. Looks like San Francisco.

Saw Martha Stewart on a TV channel called "Fatafeat." Found out this word means "Crums," their version of the Food Channel.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Since New Year’s Eve several countries in the Middle East and North Africa have experienced a wave of unprecedented social unrest played out in street demonstrations, many of them ending in violence. The countries involved include Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and more. The goal for most protesters, as far as can be discerned, is to replace long-time autocratic regimes with some version of democracy, or at least a more open society.

Among the more than 500 million people in the region many are fed up. They want to share in the freedoms, opportunities, and material wellbeing they’ve seen in the West or elsewhere in the world. They do not generally want to transpose Western values and practices upon their cultures but rather develop their own versions of open societies that respect human dignity, life, and liberty.

Christians can and should support all efforts to achieve human freedom. To do this, Christians do not necessarily need to “take sides” in the political processes at work in the region, although this may at times be warranted too. They can support change by presenting moral structures and providing principles based upon a Christian worldview.

The Word of God is not a political manual, yet it speaks to politics. Our task is to ever seek to apply unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at