A new book under the title "Looking from the Precipice" by Botrus Mansour from Nazareth is to be published by Paraclete Press and released in mid January 2021. You can pre-order it in Amazon and in the Paraclete press web site.
It is a book that includes 55 reflections and we will publish parts from it in the coming weeks. It compiles multi faced matters of the Christian life. It tackles the inner life through devotional Christian pieces as well as church life ones and general community areas. It is practical and authentic and based on experience …
It comes from a Christian from Nazareth living among a minority of Muslims in a Jewish country with the complexities of that.
Botrus Mansour is one of the founders and co-editors of this website. In addition he is a Lawyer, school administrator, writer and church leader
As a lawyer, Botrus represented clients all around the country and from different back-ground and nationalities. Today he leads the only k-12 Evangelical school recognized in Israel while co-founding and serving as an elder with pastoral roles in a Baptist Church in Nazareth. Botrus has been involved in Christian ministries including heading the Convention for Evangelical Churches in Israel, Co-founding Nazareth village and membership in the Executive Committee of the Secretariat Christian schools in Israel to name a few as well as involvement in other local and international ministries. Botrus has also been writing and giving lectures in Arabic, Hebrew and English all around the world on matters of faith and life in the Middle East including in Christianity Today, Haaretz, and others as well as published few books including “When Your Neighbor is the Savior” (Hope Publishing house 2011).
Hereby is part of what the author wrote in the preface:
The mount of Precipitation (Precipice) in Nazareth’s southern end today is one of my favorite spots. It is a place where people come to pray, contemplate and meditate away from the buzz of the town of Nazareth as well as look over the vast scene, especially to the south and sideways.
However, it is the place where the people of my home town Nazareth took Jesus 2000 years ago in order to throw Him from its cliff. According to tradition Jesus not only “walked right through the crowd and went on his way” (as the Bible states), but even jumped from the cliff and landed safely in the Jezreel valley below. Recently a folk feast of the precipice mountain is celebrated during lent. Either way- the Precipitation is a place of rejection.
The angry people of Nazareth could not accept that in His speech in the synagogue, Jesus noted two gentiles from the Old Testament as heroes of faith. They could not accept that His grace is available to every nation. Therefore, Precipitation is also a place of exclusivity.
Isn’t the heart of the human race a Mount of precipitation of its own?
Today I am not just a citizen of Nazareth but the Lord has placed me in a distinct position and location: I belong to a tiny minority in Israel. I am an Arab, a Palestinian, a Christian, an Evangelical, and a citizen of Israel. These sub-identities have the potential to contradict one another.
I was raised as a son of the first Arab Palestinian Christian journalist in Israel who worked in an Israeli Hebrew newspaper. My dad was a Greek Melkite Catholic and my mom a Greek Orthodox. In different times of my life I attended Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Jewish schools and Universities with Arab Muslim and Christian, British, and Jewish children. Later I worked and served among Arabs, Jews and internationals.
Through the years I have mastered the skill of navigation between my sub-identities in interacting with these different people and in forming views on numerous loaded issues.
God tells us that we are all His handiwork (Eph. 2: 10) and he has made us kings and priests (Rev. 1: 6). Belonging to God is our ultimate trump card. It is the identity that ab-sorbs all other sub-identities. Our identity in God should surely rule over our other identities but not to rule them out.
Nazareth’s location geographically in the middle of the narrow strip of Israel provides a prime location for viewing the surroundings. Standing on the top of the Precipice Mountain top one can see Mt. Carmel in the west, the Gilboa Mountains in the east-south, the Jezreel Valley beneath the mountain to the south, Megiddo (Armageddon site…) to the south-west, Mt. Tabor (transfiguration) to the south east too, the Jordan Valley to the east, the town of Nazareth to the north and other Biblical sites.
Metaphorically I aim to stand on the Precipice today and humbly try from my position to reverse the spirit of rejection by a spirit of grace and inclusiveness by aiming to look at the world and tackling different issues. May God help me with that. I pray that my stand on a cliff of the Precipice is not a stand on an ivory tower but a position ingrained in the daily life of the people in each of my sub identities but certainly under the lordship of Christ.