Journey through the Storm
Lessons from Musalaha - Ministry of Reconciliation
From wars and ethnic strife to religious tensions and cultural misunderstandings, conflict is an ongoing reality in our world. Yet complacency and acceptance are not options for Christians called to forgiveness, transformation, and the holy work of loving our neighbors. Rather, we must choose the radical, demanding, and difficult work of reconciliation.
Journey through the Storm unpacks Musalaha’s thirty years of practical experience building bridges, healing division, and following Christ in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Composed of essays, curriculum excerpts, interviews, and real-life testimonies, this collection offers insight into the theory, theology, and application of Musalaha’s six stages of reconciliation. It is a powerful, hopeful, and deeply realistic look at the demands and rewards of transforming the “other” into a neighbor and an enemy into a friend.
In a world of division, hostility, anger, and violence, we wonder about and ache for hope. What might hope look like? What would it require? Who are the people who might be hope’s agents? What must they do or not do? Why?
For decades now, Dr. Salim Munayer, Founder and Executive Director of Musalaha, has lived, breathed, and enacted responses to such questions. Not only that, he and those who have joined him have done so in the context of one of most intensely divided and hostile regions in the world. In Palestine, religious, political, social, and economic conflicts are rife and the mood is either hot or hotter.
This collection of essays about reconciliation couldn’t be more important. They are expressions of sobering hope. These writers’ voices and angles of wisdom arise from living into the fierce intersection of layered, protracted conflict, and doing so as ministers of reconciliation.
I urge you to absorb these essays, to pray that you will think carefully and critically about them, and that you will let your life and actions become manifestations of such justice, reconciliation, and hope.
Mark Labberton, PhD
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA
This book is essential for any person who is interested in reconciliation, peace-building, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The experience, insight, and reflection of Musalaha is relevant to any context. The concept of “stages of reconciliation,” which I have used in my teaching and in my personal life, is particularly helpful. Moreover, this book truly challenges us to view the “other” in a different way, encouraging us to question our identity construction in relation to those around us. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a positive change to situations of conflict, be that in the Holy Land or elsewhere.
Shireen Awwad Hilal
Director of Community and Development Outreach,
Bethlehem Bible College, Palestine
The stages of reconciliation addressed in the book have been profoundly transformative in my life. From the initial exhilaration of finding brothers and sisters from “the other side,” to the frustration and despair of confronting disparate narratives, the experience has been deepening and enriching, while providing a healthy dose of humility. Moreover, I have found a treasure of friends and confidants with whom I share the challenges of living within the tension of “both/and” rather than “either/or.” I will go so far as to say that this journey may provide hope for our shared futures. This book is highly recommended.
Rittie Katz, MEd
Life Coach and Author
Teacher, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance
Journey through the Storm is a must-read for all who work for reconciliation in our troubled world. Being in the ministry of reconciliation for decades in one of the most critical areas on earth – Israel and Palestine – is a reason in itself to account for God´s blessing. The model which Musalaha developed through the years has proven to be both successful and challenging at the same time. And the experience of Musalaha generates hope at all checkpoints of conflict and war throughout the world. I hope the book will be read by many.
Johannes Reimer, DTh
Director of Peace and Reconciliation Network,
World Evangelical Alliance
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Musalaha: A Conversation (Salim J. Munayer and Evan Thomas)
- An Interview with Salim J. Munayer
- The Stages of Reconciliation (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Stage One: Beginning Relationships
- Conflict (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- The Voice of Vision (By Salim J. Munayer)
- The Transformative Power of Conflict (By Joshua Korn)
- Listening (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Women’s Narrative: The Art of Listening (By Louise Thomsen)
- Stage Two: Opening Up
- Identity in Conflict and Reconciliation (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Mixing Oil and Water: A Messianic Jewish Perspective (By a Musalaha participant)
- History and Narrative (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Fellowship: Breaking the Taboo (By Salim J. Munayer)
- Obstacles to Reconciliation (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Stage Three: Withdrawal
- Forgiveness (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Teaching Israelis and Palestinians Forgiveness (By Salim J. Munayer)
- Fighting the Fear: What Are We So Afraid Of? (By Louise Thomsen)
- Vengeance Is Mine? Breaking the Cycle of Violence (By Salim J. Munayer)
- Healing Brokenness (By Louise Thomsen)
- Stage Four: Reclaiming Identity
- Returning to Identity (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Imposing, Expressing, and Enlarging Identity (By Salim J. Munayer)
- Remembering Rightly (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Stage Five: Committing and Returning
- Dealing with Discouragement (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Patient Hope for Reconciliation (By Hadassa, Musalaha Participant)
- Justice from a Biblical Perspective (From Musalaha’s A Curriculum of Reconciliation)
- Stage Six: Taking Steps
- Christian Perspectives on Change: Personal and Societal Change (By Mae Elise Cannon)
- From Arm-Wrestling to Shaking Hands (By Salim J. Munayer)
- The Cross and Reconciliation (By Salim J. Munayer)
- Blessing and Cursing (By Salim J. Munayer)