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Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.
My parents didn't believe in luck. They believed in hard work and in preparing me to take advantage of opportunity. Like many parents, they taught me to be generous but never to depend on the generosity of others.
We Protestants automatically assume that the Pharisees are the Catholics. They are the self-righteous people who have made Christianity a form of legalistic religion, thereby destroying the free grace of the Gospel. We Protestants are the tax collectors, knowing that we are sinners and that our lives depend upon God's free grace.
The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual - for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.
A peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will likely depend to a great extent on the economic development of a future Palestinian state. As I have argued before, private sector investment - especially in the West Bank - is going to prove crucial in creating the right political and social context for peace.