Questions to Guide Discussion of Session #4: The Day I Became a Real Peacemaker

These questions are coupled with video #4, and the previous blog post focused on Andy’s journal and a deeper reflection on the conflict. Before exploring the questions below consider this quote. “Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Watch Session #4 Video before exploring these Questions:
1) Have you ever rethought your position on an issue ethically or theologically after an experience caused you to reexamine your original beliefs or thoughts? Explain.
2) If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, what is your thinking about peace and justice as it relates to your Christian faith? Has it changed at all over the years of your Christian journey and if so why? If you claim another source for your convictions and personal worldview, please answer the same questions from your own perspective.
3) Why has the church been absent, or at best very weak, in speaking out against what is happening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What are some of the different factors that may have caused this to be so?
4) Do you believe you can criticize the Israeli occupation, while also identifying with the fears of Jewish people, without being anti-Semitic? What might be important to consider in this conversation, especially considering the rise of hate crimes in general, but also the uptick in anti-Semitism?
5) Can one be truly “pro-Israel,” “pro-Palestine,” but also “pro-peace?” Read the “Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto” listed below as a source for further theological reflection after the group has grappled with the above questions (this can be left with participants to take home to reflect on if time is short during the group study).

The Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto: A Helpful Touch-point for Peacemaking in Israel/Palestine

For more see Andy’s blog post from this conference in 2012: http://worldlyholiness.com/christ-at-the-checkpoint-a-historic-conference/

1. The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
2. Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.
3. Racial ethnicity alone does not guarantee the benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant.
4. The Church in the land of the Holy One, has born witness to Christ since the days of Pentecost. It must be empowered to continue to be light and salt in the region, if there is to be hope in the midst of conflict.
5. Any exclusive claim to land of the Bible in the name of God is not in line with the teaching of Scripture.
6. All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally.
7. Palestinian Christians must not lose the capacity to self-criticism if they wish to remain prophetic.
8. There are real injustices taking place in the Palestinian territories and the suffering of the Palestinian people can no longer be ignored. Any solution must respect the equity and rights of Israel and Palestinian communities.
9. For Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict.
10. Any challenge of the injustices taking place in the Holy Land must be done in Christian love. Criticism of Israel and the occupation cannot be confused with anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.
11. Respectful dialogue between Palestinian and Messianic believers must continue. Though we may disagree on secondary matters of theology, the Gospel of Jesus and his ethical teaching take precedence.
12. Christians must understand the global context for the rise of extremist Islam. We challenge stereotyping of all faith forms that betray God’s commandment to love our neighbors and enemies.

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