2014 Best Books of Christian Global Concern, Runner Up, from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore From the heart of Bethlehem, from the heart of occupied land, comes a theology to shake the worlda theology of hope, peace and justice. Legendary singer-songwriter Garth Hewitt has traveled the globe, hearing the echoes of God on the margins of society and in the cracks of the world's empires. Along with his justice-seeking organization the Amos Trust, he has seen the plight of the street children of South Africa, the Dalit community in India, the underprivileged in Nicaragua and Palestinians in the heart of international conflict in the Holy Land. Here he collects those echoes into a unified voice, calling for the Prince of Peace to reign from Bethlehem to the ends of the earth. Laying out a "Bethlehem theology" for justice and reconciliation that emerges out of the story of Jesus' prophesied birth, Occupied Territories demonstrates itself in action in the present. Recounting stories from a network of community projects around the world, Hewitt raises awareness of and provides support for those working toward liberation, addressing the root causes of injustice and poverty. A lifestyle of justice is an integral part of the Bible message, as Christians seek to stand up to skewed power systems, racial tensions and our own biases. As Christ-followers in the Kingdom of God, we are to stand with confidence on issues of human rights and justicewe are people of hope because there is a gospel of hope. Let us model what a community of justice may look like as we face the forces of domination with the light and lifestyle of this gospel.
Troubadour, gospel singer and protest singer Garth Hewitt has released nearly forty albums in his storied forty-year music career while championing social justice worldwide through his human rights organization, the Amos Trust. The author of ten books on spirituality, social justice and the arts, Garth passionately believes that it is time for people of all faiths to speak up and call for justice, especially for communities in developing or volatile nations. In 1985, Garth founded the Amos Trust, which promotes justice and hope for forgotten communities by partnering with local projects around the world to provide support, raise awareness and lobby for change. These projects include work with street children in South Africa, promotion of human rights and sustainable communities for Dalits in rural India, community development and education provision in Nicaragua and working toward peace and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel. In addition to touring for his musical career and his international advocacy for the underprivileged, for over 25 years Garth served on the board of directors for the Greenbelt Festival, a British arts festival with a commitment to social justice that is now attended annually by over 25,000 people. He is a Canon of St Georges Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, and Associate Priest of St Clements Eastcheap in London. He is also a Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2's
"I have long been a fan of Garth Hewitt's music, a bracing folk-rock sounddelivered with a passionate, gritty voiceand uncompromising lyrics that challenge many of our comfortable notions about what really matters most. He brings this same road-tested passion to Occupied Territories as he calls Christians to rethink their priorities and embrace God's call to work for justice as an outpouring of love. I think you'll be as inspired and challenged as I was."
"Laying out a Bethlehem theology for justice and reconciliation that emerges out of the story of Jesus' prophesied birth, Occupied Territories demonstrates itself in action in the present. Recounting stories from a network of community projects around the world, Hewitt raises awareness of and provides support for those working toward liberation, addressing the root causes of injustice and poverty. A lifestyle of justice is an integral part of the Bible message, as Christians seek to stand up to skewed power systems, racial tensions and our own biases."
"There are very few people who, when you think of them, you know are thinking of Bethlehem at exactly the same moment. This is the level of commitment that I have seen in Garth Hewitt over the years, even when he was a lonely (and many times marginalized) voice in a desert of theologies that had no tolerance to even hear the Palestinian cry. In this book, Garth is not only continuing his journey of giving voice to the voiceless, but as the apostles did many years ago he is challenging the world to go beyond simply listening and is calling for us to live out the message of peace, justice and love for Bethlehem and its people today."
"Garth Hewitt has been aptly named a 'folk theologian,' and perhaps this book is a perfect illustration of it. After years of looking at the conflict in Israel-Palestine, Garth provides a personal, passionate and honest examination of the way forward that Christians need to understand. Here you will meet many of the leading Christian voices within this struggle as well as the most important Palestinian Christian cryKairos Palestinewhich expresses the same appeal we heard in South Africa in the 1980s. Well done, Garth. If both sides had voices like yours, this conflict would have ended long ago."
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