Friday, 26 February 2010

Kairos - getting personal

There's a good article by Michael Marten on Ekklesia about making the Kairos document personal. Here's an extract:

Yusuf Daher, one of the people involved in the Kairos Palestine Document, spoke at a meeting in Jerusalem recently about the process of writing it. The Document took over 18 months to write and was, he said, written for two groups. Firstly, it was for Palestinian Christians like himself – Daher is a Melkite Catholic. He noted that all Palestinian Christian communities have adopted it without exception (though whether individual members of congregations are aware of it is, of course, another matter). It is being taken forward and there are plans to develop it into a substantial programme of action.

Secondly, the Kairos Palestine Document was written for the international Christian community, as both "a word of gratitude for the solidarity you have shown toward us in word, deed and presence among us", but also as "a call to repentance; to revisit fundamentalist theological positions that support ... unjust political options." It is, the authors say, "a call to stand alongside the oppressed and preserve the word of God as good news for all rather than to turn it into a weapon with which to slay the oppressed" (6.1).

In the next section, the Document explains how to understand the reality of the Palestinians: "Come and see." If only more churches would do this. Walking with Palestinians, experiencing their pain, seeing their loss – human rights organisations can write reports, UN departments can release endless statistics, and lobbying organisations can pick up on individual issues, but going to see the reality and walking even just for a short time with Palestinians is a different issue altogether.

Since attending the Bern Promised Land consultation in 2008 I've become more convinced that informing and changing hearts and minds in the churches on this issue is an important theological task of our time. In parish ministry month after month we would pray for peace in the land we sometimes call "Holy"- at times of open prayer even in our tiny Reformed congregation, the political and theological divisions would become clear with some praying for the "people of Israel" and others praying for the Palestinians. How can we hold justice and peace together, work for a sustainable future for all people in the area and also challenge our own deeply held and sometimes unacknowledged theological views? The challenge of and need for an ecumenical approach on this question are clearly what is needed within many local churches.
Many of the more conservative evangelical churches have strong mission to countries in Africa, South America and Asia and sometimes export a very one-sided approach on the issue, so it's important to work on mission, education and advocacy together. The Kairos Palestine document is part of that approach.

You can find the full text in English and Arabic of the Kairos Palestine document here. Translations into other languages are available at
You can also find out more about the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum here.


オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thank you Jane!!!