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Reform Magazine | September 24, 2018

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Chapter & verse: 1 John 4:7-12

Chapter & verse: 1 John 4:7-12

All you need is love (and some peace and quiet) says Helen Garton

After a long overnight meeting of my church’s mission committee, I was feeling pretty smug for booking myself into the quiet carriage of the train – a reward for taking the minutes. But the next few minutes spoilt my peace and quiet for the rest of the journey home.

Comfy seat, coffee in hand, I opened my book – Mitri Raheb’s I Am a Palestinian Christian. The theory is probably right that noise carries more in the quiet carriage than it does throughout the rest of the train, where noises cancel each other out. And so it was that across the aisle, a couple of women were engaged in a somewhat heated discussion. I was – how shall I put it – pretty fed up!

Taking note of the attire of my two companions, I figured that the situation required careful handling. So I turned to Mrs Mutton-dressed-as-lamb and ever-so-politely pointed out that this was the quiet carriage. The touch paper was lit. Mrs Mutton uttered forth with a litany of abuse, ending with ‘… and you call yourself a Christian!’

I retreated into the seat with my nose firmly in the book, pretending to read and hoping that Mrs M would not proceed to address me with her fists. What made her accuse me of being a Christian? Was it the book I was reading? If so, why not accuse me of being Palestinian?..

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the September 2018 edition of  Reform

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