Shofar, so good?

Christians United for Israel ended the school year with a bang, or rather “a fire hose” in the words of Pastor Lyndon Allen, the special guest speaker at “A Night to Honor Israel.”

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(From left to right) Jennie Harris, Jonathan Graves, Pastor Lyndon Allen, and Madison Curtis pose for a photo at the Israel Banquet.

After live music and dinner, Pastor Allen stirred the audience to attention with clear, powerful tones blown from a shofar. This is an instrument predominantly from ancient Israel made from the curled horn of a ram. He explained that the blowing of this horn represented God’s powerful presence in this place.

Overall the presentation could have been perceived in two lights: either stirring passion towards supporting the cause or uncomfortably turned off by the seemingly radical statements made.

One bold student chose to share her comments regarding the latter attitude. Sara Johnson, a junior Christian Studies student said, “It was nice. It was very fancy. It was offsetting. I did not agree with a lot of it.”

Sarah noted that this was mainly due to Pastor Allen’s mention of issues regarding politics, prolife, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana. To her, the way he spoke about these things was “very black and white, not very loving, not a lot of grace.”

Despite the speaker’s material consisting of humble personal history and evident displays of affection for his wife and children, the bits concerning the real issues seemed to spread as yeast to bread.

The foundations of the speaker’s arguments were firm, and yet the branches seemed to extend too far.  Johnson stated, “I am not anti-Israel; I just have some different views on it. He focused on petty issues. I understand it and I am pro-Israel, but I am pro-everyone else as well. It is not that big of a deal. We should not get caught up in little issues.” Some students viewed the material in a very different light.

Andrew Petersen History major with a Biology minor agreed that the speaker was fairly extreme, but he did present factual information.

“When the majority of people agree with each other there is no sense of urgency. That is the issue CUFI and Students for Life are running into. Conflict breeds passion. If people were more aware of how dire the situation is in Israel, then they would know that neutrality is not an option. You have to pick a side. Are you going to support Israel, or are you going to support the Palestinians? It is easy to side with Israel. They were there first. The Jews do have a claim on the holy land.”

Some students noted that Israel is not blameless as far as violence goes in reference to the Mossad. A junior crime and justice major who wished to remain anonymous said about CUFI, “They too blindly support everything Israel does.”

Petersen supports a rounded view of the country, “You can fairly say that Israel can be brutal at times. But Israel cannot afford the luxury of playing nicely. They literally are about the size of Rhode Island. A single nuclear weapon could potentially wipe out an entire nation.  Almost every nation that surrounds them has sworn to destroy them.” Living in peaceful times inhibits Americans from seeing things from Israel’s perspective.

Petersen said, “I am not very fond of people from afar who question the decisions of people whose lives are on the line. We are surrounded by the peace loving Canada and Mexico. We have not had people invade our lands since 1812. They have rockets launched into their land every single day.”

Overall, it is safe to say that this “Night to Honor Israel” was a well- articulated summary of what CUFI stands for. However, it was very passionate with potential to scare people off. In Petersen’s words, “It was certainly memorable, whatever you think of that…”

Senior, Accounting Major Sylvain Alacron felt differently about the Night to Honor Israel than some of the other opinionated students. “Whether it was spiritual or not, you felt moved by it; you felt stirred.”

“As far as political things go, Christians like to stay in their own little bubble and hide away from society where they are not influencing anybody. We cannot do anything about it if we do not get involved. That mentality is weak and it is a cop-out and it is lame. We have lost that sense of honor of the ones who came before us,” Alacron added.

– Bethany Kuhn, Reporter

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