Saturday, August 18, 2007

All of us are stained.

Since travelling to a place of war and little hope it has been a big encouragement to reflect on how far my own little country of Northern Ireland has come in recent years. We have seen things happen that we never thought we would see. I was chatting to some of the guys about an experience I had when I was 16. We were walking home from doing a GCSE when we saw 2 IRA men shoot two policemen in the head from about 3 feet. I wrote this poem quite a few years back about the experience. Lurgan and N.I. has become a better place since I wrote it.

This is the land of black and white,
Whose God is a province and might is right.
Where babies get born in orange and green.
Red hair, left foot.
Yeah you know what I mean.
This story's found in Lurgan Town,
Where all of us are stained.

Enniskillen, Omagh, Shankill, Roselawn.
All of these days had a dawn.
On this day's dawn we lay uncovered,
Quiet and undiscovered.
But it came around in Lurgan Town,
All all of us were stained.

Sixteen years old and the futures bright,
Another milestone the world to light.
When to the left a thunder call,
Red cloud, staccato fall.
In Lurgan Town the two fell down.
And all of us are stained.

Growing up in a bubble shelter
I reached the bottom of the Helter Skelter.
Saw my innocence erode,
As I watched his head explode.
Lurgan Town will wear a frown,
And all of us are stained.

This is the land of black and white
Whose God is a province and might is right.
Over oceans and seas in many guises,
Cowboys and Indians and no surprises.
The world is found in Lurgan Town,
And all of us are stained.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


(more pics on flickr)

So the adventure has come to an end. i've been wanting to write some concluding thoughts and then give the blogging a rest for a while.

But how do you come to any conclusion? For a part of the world that has never seen peace. The birthplace of our Messiah has been a land of oppression and bloodshed. A meeting place, a melting pot, the centre for the clash of culture, politics and religion.

Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Islam, Britain, Jordan, Israel, Hamas.......occupation and war.

I feel God brought me there and now I'm trying to work out why. It was perfect because I wanted to see both sides and the Israel team just happened to finish the day that a group were going out to Palestine. There are not many teams that do the practical stuff and meet people like we were able to in Israel. There are literally no other groups of foreigners who are able to go to the places and meet the people that we met in Palestine (thanks to Elias).

And so I feel privileged to have been immeresed briefly in both sides and I'm seeking guidance on how to follow-up and develop in my life. I don't want the experience to drift gradually into photoalbums and memories.

I visited places of extreme beauty and extreme pain. On both sides I met hurting, inspiring, hopeful and hopeless people. I lived with human beings without freedom. I experienced the best and the worst of religion.

For now I'll leave the theology of Zionism to the hundreds of book writers who have never set foot in half of the land. The facts are that right now Israel exists as do the Occupied Palestinian Territorys...
.....and when their people are considered simply as human beings, they are not equal.

It's so complicated and there are few answers but there is one thing I'm sure about...... It could never be God's will for one people group to prosper as a direct result of the oppresion and suffering of another.

If only Jews, Muslims and Christians could see their purpose in life like Jesus saw his....

'The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.'