I travel to the Middle East at least once each year, often visiting
multiple countries. I belong to an evangelical-Muslim discussion group
which meets annually, and the participants include pious, brilliant,
generous Muslim scholars whom I count as my friends. When a topic like
"Islamophobic America" comes up, I share intense personal e-mails with
them. But I came away from my trip to the Middle East this past summer with some new concerns.
My encounters with Arab Christians in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine have changed the way I look at both the New Testament and the mission of the church. My richest experiences have been in Palestine, because my career has brought me back to the Holy Land again and again. Each time I entered this world, I made new friends among Palestinian Christians, who have shaped me in many ways.