Praying for Palestinian Justice

The Wave of Prayer ministry enables local and international friends of Sabeel to pray over regional concerns on a weekly basis. Sent to Sabeel’s network of supporters, the prayer is used in services around the world and during Sabeel’s Thursday Communion service; as each community in its respective time zone lifts these concerns in prayer at noon every Thursday, this ‘wave of prayer’ washes over the world.
 
Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 31st May 2018
During the ninth consecutive week of the ‘Great March of Return’ more than 100 Palestinians, including seven children were wounded by Israeli snipers along the border in Gaza. There is a desperate shortage of drugs and medication for the treatment of the wounded in Gaza as a result of the ten year Israeli blockade.
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Lord, we continue to pray for the safety of the Palestinian protesters and their commitment to non-violence. Dear God, we pray that those who have been injured in the protest may soon recover and that the families who are grieving for their loved ones may find solace.
Lord in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.
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The Israeli Knesset has proposed a new bill which would make it a criminal act to film or photograph an Israeli soldier on active duty. The bill is supported by the right-wing Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and if passed, those found in violation of the law could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Palestinian journalists view the law as an attempt by the Israeli government to ‘escape punishment and international justice’.
Lord, we pray for the safety of all people who risk their lives to document the human rights violations of the powerful. We pray that journalists may still be able to report the truth of all they witness in the occupied territories.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Friday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition from six human rights groups to declare that ‘the Israeli military’s regulations that allow soldiers to open fire at unarmed civilians is unlawful’.
Lord, we continue to depend on your mercy and justice as Israel validates the use of violence against Palestinians through legislative means. We pray for the protection of those who exercise their right to protest against the occupation.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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On Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Defence Minister, said in a statement that he plans to seek approval for the construction of 2,500 Israeli settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
Lord, the Israeli government continues to demolish the homes of Palestinians and ruin their crops as well as appropriating their land to build illegal settlements for Israelis. We pray that the international community would undertake to hold the Israeli government to account for flouting international law. We ask that due process would be brought to bear on any attempts to colonize the West Bank.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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Last Sunday, May 20th, the Palestinian residents of the village of al-Aqaba received demolition orders from the Israeli forces. They were informed that twenty homes would be demolished within a period of sixty days as they were alleged to have been built without the requisite Israeli construction permits.
Over the weekend, Israeli settlers raided Palestinian vineyards in the Hebron area and used electric saws to cut down over 1700 vines. The settlers also spray-painted threats on the walls around the vineyards.
Lord, Palestinians continue to fall victim to the policies of the Israeli army and politicians. We pray for the safety of Palestinian villages and for renewed strength for the farmers who have lost their vines just months before the grape-harvest. Have mercy on the Palestinian people Lord, as they grow weary.
Lord in you mercy . . .
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Three toddlers were found dead in the Palestinian town of Bethany east of Jerusalem. Initial investigation by the police shows that the three children, two sisters and a friend, trapped themselves in an abandoned car while playing and died as a result of suffocation during a heat wave.
Lord, we pray for the families of Youssef, Raneem and Rahaf as they mourn the deaths of their beloved children and ask that they would find comfort in their grief.
Lord in your mercy . . .
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A Palestinian teenager died on Wednesday after succumbing to wounds sustained during protests in Ramallah.  Adi Abu Khalil was only fifteen years old when shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier last week.
Lord, the Israeli occupation continues to target Palestinian children and teenagers. We pray for your spirit to comfort the family of Adi as they grieve for their loss. We pray that soldiers firing live ammunition at children would, one day, be held accountable for their action.
Lord in your mercy . . .

He Gave Them…..

A brief quote from a brilliant piece by Stanley Hauerwas a few years ago here:

Jesus was crucified because he embodied a politics that threatened all worldly regimes based on the fear of death. And so Easter has profound political consequences.

“Jesus was crucified because he embodied a politics that threatened all worldly regimes based on the fear of death. And so Easter has profound political consequences…

…He gave them a new way to deal with offenders – by forgiving them.

He gave them a new way to deal with violence – by suffering.

He gave them a new way to deal with money – by sharing it.

He gave them a new way to deal with problems of leadership – by drawing on the gift of every member, even the most humble.

He gave them a new way to deal with a corrupt society – by building a new order, not making the old.

He gave them a new pattern of relationships between man and woman, between parent and child, between master and slave, in which was made concrete a radical new vision of what it means to be a human person.

He gave them a new attitude toward the state and toward the “enemy nation.”

Stanley Hauerwas is among the several great speakers at the 2018 BMS Catalyst Live day events in Bristol and Birmingham:

 

2018 CONTRIBUTORS

David Bebbington – Professor of History at Stirling University and Visiting Professor at Baylor University; creator of the ‘Bebbington quadrilateral’, his definition of evangelicalism

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge – Member of the House of Lords, with a wide range of interests including international freedom of religion and belief

Ron Choong – Theologian of science and biblical archaeologist; Founder and Executive Director of the Academy for Christian Thought in New York

Ruth Gledhill – Editor of ‘Christian Today’, author and commentator; previously religious affairs correspondent for The Times

Paula Gooder – Director for Mission Learning and Development in the Diocese of Birmingham; previously Theologian in Residence at the Bible Society

Rosie Harper – Vicar, Chair of the Oxford Nandyal Education Foundation, writer and activist on issues of justice and equality within and beyond the church.

Stanley Hauerwas – Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke Divinity School

Harry & Chris – Harry Baker is a world poetry slam champion, and his childhood friend Chris Read is a jazz musician; together, they are the wonderful Harry & Chris

Rula Khoury Mansour – Lecturer at Nazareth Evangelical College; specialist in conflict resolution

Amy Orr-Ewing – Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics; Amy will be speaking on her doctoral research on the work of Dorothy L Sayers

Adrian Snell –  Musician; Adrian’s music is renowned worldwide, with albums including ‘Alpha and Omega’ and ‘Song of an Exile’. Adrian will be speaking on his amazing work as a music therapist, as well as playing live

Anne Wafula Strike MBE – Anne was the first wheelchair racer to represent Kenya, where she was born; she has since become a Paralympian with Team GB, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours and is an author and sporting ambassador

And finally, Catalyst Live 2018 is hosted by Mark Woods – consulting editor of the Methodist recorder, author, commentator and very good friend of BMS!

 

A Palestinian’s Plea to the British Prime Minister

A Palestinian’s Plea to the British Prime Minister

Palestinian theologian and pastor the Rev Alex Awad has been mentioned on this blog before.  I met him once a few years ago and he signed a book for me he had written that recounted the terrible events of the 1948 al-nakba through the lens of his own family…the book is a fantastic resource for a way in to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian ‘conflict’.

Alex has written an open letter to the British Prime Minister Theresa May and I am taking the liberty to post it here:

The Honorable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom:
 
I am a Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem in 1946 during the British Mandate over Palestine. During the first Arab-Israeli war in May 1948 I was two years old. My father, a civilian, was shot and killed in crossfire between the Zionist Haganah militias and the Jordanian army, leaving my mother to care for seven children. The oldest of my siblings was eleven and the youngest six months old. Soon after the death of my father, our neighborhood was taken over by the Israelis and we fled, becoming refugees. As I grew up, I began to ask questions about why my father was killed, what caused the Israel/Palestine conflict and what triggered all the suffering of millions of Palestinians and Jews in the last 100 years.
 
In time, I learned about the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate over Palestine. I discovered that in 1917, the British Foreign Secretary sent a letter, later called the Balfour Declaration, to Lord Rothschild and Zionist leaders, promising to support the creation of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. After WWI, against the objections of my people, the British government colonized Palestine and made it possible for the Zionist movement to take over our homeland.
 
Your Honor, there is no way that your country can undo the tragic history of the last 100 years. All the wealth of Great Britain can’t compensate me and my fellow compatriots for the death, injury, loss of land and enormous suffering that came upon us and continue to bring pain to us due to the Balfour Declaration and other oppressive policies of your predecessors. I look back to the past only to remind you of the grave injustices that my people and I have endured, due partly to the United Kingdom’s past policies. I seek no apologies and no compensations. And as a Palestinian Christian, I offer you and the British people total pardon.
 
As I look to the future, I believe that your government can help to end to the Israel/Palestine conflict and bury the memory of the Balfour Declaration, and I call on you to have the courage and determination to do so.
 
Britain was among the first in creating this tragic conflict but shouldn’t be the last in taking positive steps to resolve it.
 
This year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, your government can help Israelis and Palestinians begin to find the path to a just and genuine reconciliation.
Let 2017 be the year that Britain conducts its policy for Israel and Palestine independently of the influence and dictates of the United States.
 
A first step would be for Britain to recognize an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Once your government takes this courageous act, many reluctant European countries would be encouraged to follow suit. Already 138 countries including the Holy See recognize Palestinian statehood.
 
Your contribution to ending the Israel/Palestine conflict would not only save Israeli and Palestinian lives but could also usher in an era of peace and help to end bloody conflicts and acts of violence elsewhere in the Middle East and throughout the world.
 
Prime Minister, let Great Britain lead the way to peace under your brave and wise guidance.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rev. Dr. Alex Awad
Author, pastor, and retired missionary of the United Methodist Church
 
Alex Awad was born in Palestine and served there for decades as a missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Awad was the pastor of an international congregation at East Jerusalem Baptist Church, served as Professor, Dean of Students and Director of the Shepherd Society at Bethlehem Bible College, and is the author of two books: Palestinian Memories: The Story of a Palestinian Mother and Her People and Through the Eyes of the Victims: The Story of The Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Boris and Saudi

There is something perverse about the headline BBC News at Six tonight.

Sensational – sure.  Alarming – yes.  Silly – certainly.

British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, brought in by Teresa May because it is better to have enemies and loose canons closer than friends, has said “words” above and beyond his political station.

boris-johnson-2“You got the Saudis, Iran, everybody moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars, and it’s a… it’s a tragedy to watch it.”

Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secretary

First understated alarmist word from the BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg following this statement, “Awkward…”

Yes, it’s awkward.  Because Boris is stating in plain language what the problem is.  The problem is, is that plain language is not the international diplomatic language we are used to (i.e. brainwashed in).  Oh dear!  Let’s use tough but understandable diplomatic guff-language that perpetuates the entrenched problems we face, and, more importantly, keeps my alarmist journalistic profile high in the international current affairs circu(s)it….

Will someone tell me the truth?  But only if it is in vague, political, deferring and the usual bland rhetoric.  Anything beyond this, Laura, journalists call it “awkward”!  It’s not awkward, it’s the reality in a game-show of unreality called “News”.  It’s like playing Monopoly to the rules of anti-Monopoly…and we all think we’re participating in democracy.

57cd4806c3618851618b46f4His “Boss”, Laura, is the Prime Minister!  Would that you would love Boris toe the line.  Only then to scapegoat him on the altar of some foreign god-slash-policy.

“The Foreign Secretary’s views are not the Government’s position on … Saudi Arabia and its role in the region.”

Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman or whatever

If you wanna dance with the devil you’d better be wearing damn good shoes.

Of course this is the government’s position….PRIVATELY.

Teresa May is engaged in Hot-Climate-Culture-Dimplomacy whilst being a Cold-Climate-Culture-Politician.  Of course she’s right to slap Boris down.  But of course Boris is right to slap Saudi down…Hot v Cold – Same old.

Dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire (so I’ve read somewhere).

Prime Minister May, I do respect you (although I vote Labour – soz), but if you want to dance, don’t be too alarmed if (and I say this advisedly), someone points out where the bed is (i.e. dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire)…it’s a mixed metaphor admittedly but well  worth thinking about, culturally speaking!

Thames

Ps.  Cultural studies teach us quite a lot.  A short skirted red dress is wonderful in the liberal and free democratic West, but seriously, what are your advisors telling you?  I offer myself, in all humility, at your service, to teach cultural basics……

They Never Will Care

They Never Will Care

PeterTForsythA student (of Forsyth) was sent to preach in a comfortable suburban chapel, and whose route. . . . took him through one of the worst slums in London.

“The sight of barefoot children in sordid alleyways, and all the other signs of deprivation, incensed him to an anger which he could not contain as he faced his furred and feathered congregation from the pulpit.

Waxing eloquent on social justice he recalled to his hearers what he had seen, and being met with a sea of complacent faces he blurted out:  ‘You don’t care, do you?  Damn you!’

Next morning, he found himself . . . . in Principal Forsyth’s study.  Forsyth was holding in his hand a letter of complaint from the church officers, and for several minutes the student was subjected to a stern lecture on proper pulpit behaviour.

Eventually dismissed, the hapless young prophet was just going through the door when Forsyth called out to him:  ‘Oh, just one word more, Mr …..  They never will care, you know – damn them!'”

Keith Clements, P. T. Forsyth: A Political Theologian? in Justice and the Only Mercy, Trevor Hart, pg. 146-7

PTForsyth.jpg

The Myth of the Myth of Palestine

Israel_Palestine_Flag[1]It is, if I may be frank, quite pathetic that the spurious charge of a myth should so perpetuate itself.  In fact, it is nothing other than Girardian scapegoating on an industrial scale.  If you can convince a person or group that another person or group is somehow less than deserving, less human, less, just less….less…..less….in whatever way is chosen, it stands to reason you can do anything to them.

ANYTHING!

The founder of the WZO (World Zionist Organisation in 1897), Theodore Herzl, had the primary objective of seeking a homeland.  The irony for this German Jew, was that he loved the German civilization, he didn’t even like the Hebrew religion, and nor did he consider himself scattered or disparate – he loved European culture, as did many of his bourgeois compatriots!  He was also a failed playwright, and even in writing his book Der Judenstat (An attempt at a modern solution to the Jewish question), his primary motivation was, as Goldberg percieves, to establish his credentials as the “sober, judicious Doctor of Law rather than the author of drawing room comedies.”

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Christ and the World

This is stunning…..

Subversive Preaching in a Postmodern World – A Targum based on Colossians 1:15-20 by Brian J Walsh

In an image-saturated world,

a world of ubiquitous corporate logos

permeating your consciousness,

a world of dehydrated and captive imaginations

in which we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted,

to be able to dream of life otherwise.

A world in which the empire of global economic affluence

has achieved the monopoloy of our imaginations;

in this world,

Christ is the image of the invisible God.

In this world,

driven by images with a vengeance,

Christ is the image par excellence;

the image above all other images,

the image that is not a facade,

the image that is not trying to sell you anything,

the image that refuses to co-opt you.

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