Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kairos Palestine

Following the model of the Kairos Document, a statement published in 1985 by black South African theologians decrying apartheid, Arab Christian leaders in Palestine, representing all the major confessions, have drafted their own document calling for a Christian response to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It was apparently drafted with the participation of Archbishop Atallah Hanna, the only Arab on the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and was signed by Patriarch Theophilos III.

The document itself can be downloaded in PDF here and the supporting website can be found here. I encourage everyone to take a look.


オテモヤン said...
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Apophatically Speaking said...

I shudder at such brazen politicization of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Anyways, let's hope that the call for non-violence will be heeded. By all sides. Action speaks louder than words.

I find this statement too biased to be able get widespread traction, to elicit sympathy or to "build bridges".

Oh, and God doesn't side with the poor and the oppressed. He sides with the humble and repentant.

The Byzantine Rambler said...

I also noted this important document. Holy Land Christians Issue their own Manhattan Document

Samn! said...

"God doesn't side with the poor and oppressed"

I find that statement horribly disturbing and unbiblical.

Apophatically Speaking said...

Perhaps, Samn!

To be sure, I am not making a case for rich oppressors, but rather for some critical thinking. Does God take sides? If He does, does He always de facto side with the poor as the poor? with the oppressed as oppressed? Would there be no exceptions to this? Is it possible that one could be both oppressed and the oppressor? If so, whose side does God take then? Is it self evident that we can speak in this context of such clear categorizations (i.e. the poor, the oppressed)?
If it were but this simple. The devil's in the details as they say.

Samn! said...

Well of course, things are always complicated, one might say. But, I think we are safe to say that the entire weight of the Bible and the teachings of the Church weigh on the side of God's tendency to show favor to the poor and to bring down the mighty.

And, in the context of the topic of this post, the Declaration I think is trying to point out the perversity of Christian Zionism as often nothing more than half-assed theological justification of honoring the powerful over the weak---- Christian Zionism and the prosperity gospel are born of the same assumptions.

Priest George said...

Dear Samn,

I have been arguing for some time that Palestinian communication regarding their situation needs to be radically changed if they expect any progress regarding the popular American understanding of their plight. For example, the term 'occupation' to an American sounds like a positive advancement for the Palestinians. That is because the American experience of 'occupations' means the 'occupiers' pour lots of money into the region to 'stabilize' it much as the US did in Japan and Europe after WW2. You see a similar effort in Iraq. The word has no effect on the American psyche, and yet they continue to use it. I would love to find someone in the Palestinian community to discuss this with, but I have hit brick walls thus far.

Samn! said...

Well, I'm not actually all that convinced that the Palestinians really hold out that much hope of convincing Americans of anything in the short or medium term. The winnable political prize at the moment is the EU, where 'occupation', I'm quite certain, does not have positive connotations. I'm not entirely sure if the bulk of Americans see the term positively, either, though I'm not sure.

The problem of getting the Palestinian message across is kind of intractable at the moment, especially given the power of Hamas, who, frankly, are as bad as the Israelis....

Apophatically Speaking said...

"Hamas, who, frankly, are as bad as the Israelis..."

Hence the easy categorizations, to which I referred in an early comment, fly out the window.

A critical assessment is required here, and it was disappointing (but not surprising) not to see that in this document.

Then again, do these type of declarations ever offer such? Does the Manhattan declaration? I think not. It's a nice sermon to the choir.

a Palestinian Christian from Palestine said...

It bet that "Apophatically Speaking" does not live in occupied Palestine. He wants "critical assessment" ! he doesn't like that God is on the side of the oppressed, and the Kairos document "too biased". Come and experience our life, our daily humiliation, and then lecture us about "being critical" !

Apophatically Speaking said...

I merely question the exclusive claim to victimhood, poverty, God's favor.

Consider the oppressed and poor Israelis, the mothers and children blown up in cafes and buses ..... by Palestinians.

The hands stained with blood can be found on both sides of the wall.