Author: Mae Cannon

Persistent Hope: Pray for Peace, Advocate for Justice

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

“Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he would help perpetrate it.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The great military war hero and president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower once said: “peace and justice are the opposite sides of the same coin.” Often in advocacy work calling for the end of the occupation of the Palestinian people and in promoting human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), we hear the expression “no peace without justice.” We also hear that peace is viewed with suspicion and distrust for Palestinians; while Israelis have a similar perception of the word justice. For many Palestinians, the word peace, and even more so security, often seems to be an excuse or a justification of the ongoing continuation of policies that limit their right to movement, justify military presence and occupation, control and limit access to resources, and other painful daily realities of living under occupation. For many Israelis, they fear the pursuit of justice condones a violent and militant response in Palestinian resistance. Read more

Persistent Hope: Living in the Midst of Tension

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

This past week I was spending some times with a church ministry team focused on pursuing peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. In our strategy discussions, we talked about the many tensions in our work. How do we speak truth prophetically, while also having a pragmatic approach to influencing policies and advocating for human rights? Our goal is to not only minister, educate, and work with those who already agree with our policies and positions; but to grow the movement of those committed to holistic engagement and a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Needless to say, there are many tensions! Read more

Persistent Hope: Entering into Suffering

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:6-7)

This week, I had the privilege of hosting a podcast with Oxfam America about the current civil war in Yemen. The effects of the conflict are severe, but Yemen does not often reach the front page of the news. The United Nations identified realities in Yemen as the “greatest humanitarian crisis of our day.” With more than two million displaced persons, more than 80 percent of Yemenis live below the poverty line. Since 2016, Yemen experienced the worst cholera outbreak in history. The conflict has caused poverty, food insecurity, a health crisis, and more than 17,000 deaths since 2015. There is great suffering in Yemen. Read more

Ash Wednesday Devotion: Disappointment with God and Persistent Hope

By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

What does it mean to have Persistent Hope in the midst of disappointment and despair? Over the next 40 days of Lent, this is the theme we will be wrestling with, praying through, and seeking to understand as we wait together and long for Easter morning. This is our question and prayer as we seek peace and work toward justice in the Middle East.

Looking toward the Middle East, there are many realities that bring disappointment. An independent and viable State of Palestine does not seem to be a reality that will come to fruition anytime soon. The occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza continues and will soon enter into its 52nd year. The United States continues to manifest hubris and abuse its power by intervening in unconstructive ways, at best. None of the parties involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have any faith the Trump Peace plan will break the decades long status quo and make any constructive strides toward peace. Beyond Palestine, the United States’ continual support of Saudi Arabia and Coalition forces intervening in Yemen’s civil war constitute only one additional example of harmful U.S. interventions. The list could go on. Read more

Despite Suspension, Jerusalem Tax Leads to Christian Crisis in the Holy Land

In the weeks between Holy Week and Pentecost Sunday, the Christian church around the world continues to reflect upon the significance of Jerusalem. Since the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, Jerusalem – the city of peace – has been esteemed as the holiest city of the Christian faith. Despite centuries of changing political landscape and war, the Christian community in the Holy Land has remained a small, but constant presence in this historic and holy city. Smaller in numbers, but mighty in witness to God.

Yet, on Sunday, February 25, 2018, the Jerusalem Church Authorities closed the doors at what is often considered the holiest site in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This closure was in protest to churches being caught in the middle of the latest conflict coming out of Jerusalem: a political battle between the Mayor and his opponents in the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Read more