Guest Blog by Greg Barrett: Day 1 from Bethlehem

From Greg Barrett, photo by Shane Claiborne:
Right or wrong, this is what I took away from Day 1 in troubled Bethlehem:
Palestinian Muslims and Christians are way weary of talking about a justice that never materializes. They tolerate us North American Christian pilgrims because we help buoy a difficult economy, but Palestinians do not bank on Tourist Christians for peace or significant change. They don’t take us seriously. Why should they? They are tired of us and our elected officials who look the other way while an oppressed people is bullied, robbed and mocked. For too long the Tourist Christian has come to Bethlehem to see the birthplace of Christ and to trace the first steps of His life, but we’ve failed to follow His teachings.
Seeing the infamous Wall built by Israel to imprison the Palestinians, I was reminded of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals. In it, Alinsky writes about “the rules pertaining to the ethics of means and ends.” First among them is the belief that a person’s concern with the ethics of a social action correspond to one’s distance from the consequences of action or inaction.
Alinsky quotes seventeenth-century French philosopher La Rochefoucauld, who concluded, “We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.”