Friday, 6 August 2010

Friends of Israel AND of Palestine!

Dear friend - of Prayer for Israel organisation

I have picked up my wife's copy of your latest 'Prayer Bulletin' on this Christmas Day (2008) afternoon and read some of it.

It does seem to be more about saving native-born Israelis for an eternity in heaven, rather than working for a more heavenly holy land, in the hear and now, where justice is done and seen to be done for the impoverished Palestinians, as well as the paranoid Jews. Do you, in fact, see any part of your discipleship as being about opposing Israeli government policy when it comes to allowing further homes forJews by forcing out Palestinians and turning a blind eye to further settlements in the West Bank? The new Great Wall or fence is encroaching into great swathes of the West Bank to leave the suffering Palestinians in an even more desperate plight. They are being constricted into enclaves controlled by the IDF and seem to be treated like prisoners in poorly run, open prisons where all movement is determined by the Israelis. Is this the way for your friends in Israel - born again believers and devout Jews - to be conducting themselves? Do you think that this turning of the screw ever further on the oppressed Palestinians is the best way to win friends and influence people? Or do you feel it perpetuates the hatred for Israel - a wealthy and very powerful nation that has so much when the Palestinians have so little, in comparison? Even their lands and livelihoods and olive trees are taken away from them. Yet, Israel is a modern, Western, highly materialistic, regional super-power that is heavily armed and possesses WMD - funded by the West. Even then you write, "Israelis can't take for granted their right to exist"! You could not get a bigger contrast with the plight of the 'imprisoned' Palestinians who,with every attack by Israel, get wiped out in far bigger numbers than the Israelis. And, in true hypocritical style, Israel is always pointing the finger at Hamas and Hezbullah for wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map. In fact, Israel justs get on with it without any of the talk. Israel is all action; the Palestinian groups are all talk, it seems to me!

I think an even more shocking contrast is the evangelicals supporting this rich and powerful nation when their Lord and Saviour is the despised and rejected of men and the friend of tax collectors and sinners. The Lord rejected the temptation to rule over the world which the Christian West has been doing for many centuries with its European empires and, now, with the Anglo-American-Israeli hegemony! I am horrified by my Messianic Christian family - and others at church - assenting to all this. I am sure it just washes over you, fails to impinge and you just get on with the more serious business of saving souls for eternity! Saved for an eternity in heaven but extra judicial assassinations and pre-emptive attacks (always in the name of defence, of course!) on Palestinian fighters - as well as even invading the weak and defenceless nation of Lebanon - is all perfectly acceptable for the disciples of the Lord in this small but violent nation. And, it got the blessing of our God-fearing, UK Prime Minister in July/August 2006 War on Lebanon!

You wrote, "There are more believers in the IDF than at any other time in her history." Do you not think there is something deeply contradictory in followers of the Way of Yeshua giving their first and only allegiance not to the King of Love, the Prince of Peace and the Creator/Ruler of theUniverse but to the very fallible and sinful, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel and his Cabinet? You publish a piece from HKACM, with pride and approval that even more true Christian and Messianic believers are engaged in illegal attacks and invasions on their neighbours, as members of the armed forces. Armed forces that kill many times more of their neighbours than the Palestinians kill of them! All this when they are called to love God and love their neighbour as themselves!

This shocking record by Christian believers and Jews has gone on for sixty years in a constant war of attrition between Palestinian fighters and the IDF. I think you should be teaching your young Christians and Messianic Jews to have nothing to do with the illegality and aggression of the Israeli state. If they cannot be excused from conscription, they should suffer the consequences of total Christian discipleship and go to prison for the Lord - a privilege and a joy in such circumstances!

Could you please explain if PFI can be described as Christian Zionist? Who or what is a Christian Zionist? It is Scriptural for us to "pray (enquire about) for the peace of Jerusalem". However, should this not also include praying for the peace of Arab and Palestinian refugee camps, villages and towns? And, does not praying for peace mean being loving, peaceful and fair in all our dealings rather than being warlike and indulging in crimes of aggression? In the 34 day attack on Lebanon, 158 Israelis were killed of whom the very large majority were service people but, the IDF killed over 1000 Lebanese andPalestinians of whom most were civilians. It does seem to me that if you can't live at peace and in justice with your neighbours - and, as a minimum, refuse to vote for the war parties at elections and refuse to be conscripted - you cannot possibly have made peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. "Judgement (and repentance) begins in the house of the Lord".

60th b'day w/e - Jan 2008

I had a fabulous celebratory w/e with six close family members at a 4 star cottage 6 miles E of Devil's Bridge in mid-Wales. The weather was great onboth days and I had a superb 8 hour walk with my own two great children andthe guy who had better become my son in law - or else! Linda then did agreat meal in the evening and a discussion over future prospects forhumanity before the Will Hay film, 'Oh Mr Porter'!
On the big walk, Jon hugged a wind turbine - quite gigantic - we found aweather station that looked like a space craft just landed on planet earth;five footbridges over crystal clear rushing water; and even a 10 minutesjog downhill on a good track in beautiful countryside that was new to me.We even went to 2,000 feet and, at the summit, found a good stone shelterwith a sweeping, curving entrance that was better than anything I have seenanywhere else - really surprising! Unfortunately, it ended with a veryfine, character building, six mile road walk in the dark, when we couldn'tget a signal to summon a car! Only then did the youngsters outpace the oldman of 60! When he arrived back at the cottage, Tim got his car out, withJon, to pick me up. However, I was not that far behind so I wanted tocomplete the whole thing on foot - that Tim and Jon understood.

The Sunday morning was a leisurely walk on good paths and steps, a chainbridge and spectacular water features in Coed Hafod (Hafod Wood), nearby.

I'm longing to get back to Scotland next month to start on the Corbetts(2,500-3,000 ft) in earnest, with Ben Loyal. Meanwhile, I've had threeconsecutive Saturdays doing a 6, 8 and, yesterday, 5.5 hr walks.Yesterday's walk, was over Aran Fawddwy (905m), over snow and ice butthrough cloud and gale force winds. I had five thick layers on and I was,then, warm and cosy. It was exhilarating and I never had to bother with map, compass or, even torch!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

"You should know better at your age!"

April 2010 near An Teallach. My last full day to visit three Corbett summits after my fourth night of bivying out under the stars - well, the stars on one bitterly cold night, anyway! It was 7 am and I was on the move. No stream to wash in but I was able to leave the rucsac for my return to travel light for the first Corbett. A steep band of snow meant I went off to the left and got onto steep but snow-free ground. I got away with it and on the descent took the safer route on the other side of the snow. I found the rucsac but then had a long walk in to the next pair of Corbetts. Near to the base of the mountain I met two men walking through the mountains from Poolewe. They were taking a low level route and were staying in the two bothies, the second of which they were almost at. I, however, was heading off to do the next two summits.

The map seemed to show a route that I could take that would mean I could climb round the rampart of crags above. It worked in March but this time I was getting onto ever steeper ground that led me up onto a rocky ridge. I made some hesitant progress but when it seemed never ending and ever more hairy, I thought I should make a careful retreat down a very steep, mainly grass gully. My North Face mountain approach shoes with their studded soles held me to the mountain side and I clambered down safely. I found myself in a bowl or cwm having lost considerable height but, at least, there was now a clearer way up. From the ridge, the left hand summit did look higher but labouring up to the ridge, I began to doubt my judgement. I went off the right hand one first where I saw the true high point was indeed the one I had veered away from. That meant I lost more time doing an unnecessary summit.

I next had a difficult decision whether to play safe and return without completing the final Corbett or to risk all and go for it. I had no rucsac, torch, sleeping bag or even bivy bag. My bumbag held waterproofs, phone and a little food. It was the last full day, the final Corbett of the holiday, the weather was holding - so I went for it. I got to it in fine style, even phoned Linda from the summit and then had to very carefully check the map for the quickest and safest route off to find my rucsac and utlimate safety. Thankfully, I chose the correct side to descend off the ridge, kept the lochan to my left when the other side might have been a little quicker and then ended up half running and half walking to find my rucsac before darkness overtook me. In such situations, I always think the rucsac is on to top of the boulder sooner than the actual boulder is found! However, I found the correct boulder with half an hour before the light faded completely. It was 2030 hrs and I had been out and on the move - and with a dodgy Achilles tendon - for 13.5 hrs. I think a record for me!

In the morning, I walked over to the bothy. The two men were still there and they confirmed the conclusion I had already come to - there is only one safe route up and down "the mini An Teallach", as one called it. And it was certainly not the route I had foolishly chosen to get up!

August 2010 in Dumfries and Galloway. I had a superb cycle ride from Castle Douglas to Newton Stewart after Linda and Mike dropped me off on their way to the Glasgow Girls exhbition of painings in Kirkcudbright. The ride took nearly five hours instead of three when I foolishly thought I could get along a 1.7 Km footpath between a forest road and a country lane. I ended up carrying the bike much of the way through bracken and tussocky grass. And, I could have had a nice downhill section on smooth tarmac on a road! Its only redeeming feature was that it was downhill and it taught me never again to introduce myself to the daunting venture of cyclo-cross at my age of 62! At one point, I was ensnared amongst low lying branches, a stream and bracken on a steep section. I took a step or two to return from whence I came, only to find a wooden footbridge that I had missed amongst all the undergrowth. I climbed up to it and thought I'd continue, after all. By a cottage, on the lane where I came out I told my story to a father and son who were in their front garden. The old man laughed and the son was horrified at what I had done.