I have just returned from the Middle East
Lissa  Caldwell
September 1, 2006
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Dear Friends,
My busy season starts next week and I must somehow pull myself together.  My first church to visit is in Charlotte.  
To be honest I have been somewhat of a recluse since I got back from this last trip to Palestine a few weeks ago.  It has been very difficult for me to get back in the groove of American life.  For almost 3 weeks, day after day, hour by hour we watched the destruction of Lebanese and Gazan homes, towns and infrastructure, the mangled and burned bodies of mostly women and children being pulled from the rubble and the ungodly suffering of hundreds of thousands of people.  We felt with keen sensitivity the overwhelming tide of anger and anti-American sentiment growing day by day among the people we love so dearly.  I vacillated between horror and shame - the shame of being associated with such wanton inhumanity and brutality.  What so many Americans seem to forget is that each of the bombs dropped so carelessly on innocent civilians in both Lebanon and Gaza has "Made in the USA" engraved on it.   I know - I've been on the receiving end of some of those bombs and shells.  I've run for cover in the middle of the night.  I know the terror of hearing F-16s coming in low and deafeningly loud to drop their payloads.  I've walked streets covered in glass, shell casings and blown apart buildings.  I've heard the screams of the injured and dying.  I've physically felt the brutality of the Israeli Army.  My adrenaline starts running just thinking of it.   For me this is not something that happened far away and has no bearing on my life.   
I too felt the anger when we watched scenes of Israeli children writing "greetings" on the shells about to be fired into Lebanese towns and villages or listened to the ramblings of Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, as he called the IDF "the most moral army in the world."  Can it be that, "They know not what they do"?  I am horrified that there are people here - actually some right in our own church - who call themselves Christians and agree with all this.  Will someone please tell me where in the "New" Testament (after all, we are supposed to be New Testament people) or in the sayings of Jesus Christ does it says to kill, torture, destroy and steal from your neighbor?  There is such apathy here in the States as to what is going on in the Middle East.  Much of it I know is due to lack of knowledge but still......  Are we not called to be peacemakers? -  to stand up for justice and the oppressed??  Are we not called to do onto others as we would have others do unto us?
Until I can somehow come to terms with all this I'm afraid I won't be very good company and most likely will not be at circle this next week.  
Grace and peace,