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Sabeel Jerusalem 2006 Conference: Bishop Cragg's talk

Sabeel Jerusalem 2006 Conference: Bishop Cragg's talk
"People, place, past: This triad of identify belongs to ALL people.  If that's an argument for the Return, it is no less an argument for those who were already here."

"God seeking our consent to be who He is.
Is that why we must repeat and repeat
Ala akbar [gd is great...] over and over ?

"Reality of Gd forever waiting for the human confession..."

- Bishop Kenneth Cragg, Jerusalem, November, 2006

In November, 2006, I attended a Sabeel Conference in Jerusalem, whose theme was "The Forgotten Faithful".  The program was intended to introduce internationals to the indigenous Christian community in the area, a community that goes back to the first century, but which is fast disappearing as its members emigrate.  

Bishop Cragg was one of the speakers who educated us on Islamic-Christian issues.  He made a deep impression on me, because of his deep knowledge and compassion.  After participating in the opening lectures at the Pontifical Institute of Notre Dame in Jerusalem, he boarded the bus to travel with us into the West Bank to visit surviving Christian communities there.  At the age of at 92 years, none of this could have been easy.

Below are notes I took as I listened to his opening night lecture.

Bishop Kenneth Cragg
Introduced by Edwin Makue:  General  Secretary, South African Council of Churches.      "God is love"
Bishop Cragg is foremost Christian scholar of Muslim-Christian dialogue. Lectures at Oxford.
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem for 45 years
    Books: Call of the Minaret
              Koran and the West (2006)

Cragg: [He appears very old]
Acknowledging Makue's introduction, Cragg agrees there are parallels between peacemaking in South Africa and this situation.
Acknowledges England's responsibility for 1917 Balfour Declaration.
What is nature and location of Jewish state?  Imperial power (England) allows a deliberate ambiguity
    Balfour spoke of a  "national home in"
    When he meant:  "national state of"
    Chaim Weizmann comment on this:  "We didn't want to disturb the Ottomans."

"Facts on the ground" are possible when this ambiguity exists.

There are 2 areas of Christian faith and witness: reconciliation at home, witness abroad
    International community agenda must be always kept in mind by resistance movement.

Balbour: He had a sentimental interest in Jewish story.  Chaim Weisman- Balfour was fascinated by him....
    The power of the aura of their biblical roots
    This sort of fascination takes on a deeper and more tragic development in growth of Christian Zionism

Spiritual vocation of Christian Palestinians
    Christian consciousness toward state of Israel
 Refers to Amos 1:9
 9 This is what the LORD says:
       "For three sins of Tyre,
       even for four, I will not turn back my wrath .
       Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom,
       disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,

 10 I will send fire upon the walls of Tyre
       that will consume her fortresses."

 11 This is what the LORD says:
       "For three sins of Edom,
       even for four, I will not turn back my wrath .
       Because he pursued his brother with a sword,
       stifling all compassion, [f]
       because his anger raged continually
       and his fury flamed unchecked,

and Jeremiah 5-31....

Ancient land love
Wide dispersion

Recovery of fear of God

Creation:  The OTHER, indeed, and a [misconception that] truth is NOT the other.

Judaism:  land, people, memory
               Or, said another way
              People, place, past
              Territory, time

This triad of identify belongs to ALL people.

Bible, Koran:  look at how they treat CREATION

Christianity:  consecrate ALL human identity.
                   Lord has only chosen peoples

John Donne:  "I am involved in Mankind..."

"This has to be at the heart of the spiritual vocation in this territory"

The meaning of Creation:  Cragg quotes an English poet, his love of southern England.

If that's an argument for the Return, it is no less an argument for those who were already here.

This is the truth of us.  Our liability under Gd.
A common tradition in Abrahamic faith:
Sura 7: 1,7,2
A las tu abr bi kum

God seeking our consent to be who he is.
Is that why we must repeat and repeat
Ala akbar  [gd is great ]over and over?

Reality of Gd forever waiting for the human confession....

Doctrine of Redemption:  significance of Creation.
Creation, Creaturehood, prophethood

Islam tries to provide a safe structure of this creation.

William Temple:  "dreadful astonishment of God"
To 9/11 hijackers:  WHAT are you doing!
Temptation of ownership puts one against the sovereignty of Gd.

An "intendedness" behind all things entrusted to mankind.

Koran:  "I did not create as if [it were] a joke"

There is a seriousness here.  Particularity must find its place within this framework.

Underscores the bitterness and pain of exile.
A difficult hurtle for Jewish mind to make.

Once, at the rim of the Pacific, Walt Whitman wrote:

"All this is rolling in for me".

Deep particularity does not isolate him from his neighbor, who has same ocean rolling in for him.

20th century Jewish experience resulted in: A vote of non-confidence in humanity of humankind.
Hertzl:  "The Enlightenment wooed us out of the Ghetto and then rejected us as we began to circulate."
He saw only two choices:  assimilation or pogroms, holocaust, elimination...

Pain is so deep.....

"We can only be saved in our own land...."
And we need to wean our brothers from this mentality, toward trust...

Shakespeare:  Shylock's speech.
    I am a Jew...
    Does not a Jew have hands, organs....
    Revenge.  I will better you in that!

    In THAT [ie revenge] he rejoins mankind.

Menachen Begin:  "There is no guarantee that can guarantee an international guarantee."
This is the traditional form of Zionist concern.

What are we asking of them, then?
    Identity will always have its place, historically, history doesn't undo the enormous legacy it creates.

But healing requires a consent to belong to mankind, and with the Palestinian presence.

What we experience as exceptional, has to be internalized.  Internalizing the mystery means that you don't choose to disqualify others' experience.

Land love, people love, time love, in both our solidarity and our particularity.

Palestianian Christian vocation with respect to Muslim majority

    Response will be cooperation with Islam.
    Yes, an asperity in the Medina experience, after the servanthood of the Mecca origins.

I'm reading this in Arabic in deference to Muslim sensitivity- they don't like translation.

Recinding by Jesus of law of retaliation:  This is the major Christian message to Islam.

"dark incursions of Ottoman's into the Balkans"

Nothing benign about limiting the law of retaliation)

Witness:  abolition of law of retaliation
    Ephesians:  "Let not the sun do down on your wrath."
    Lincoln:  "with malice toward none"

    This sentiment Not in the Koran

Role of policing....

We are all deeply indebted to the vicissitudes of history.
Resist evil, as a correction to it, without becoming vindictive.  This is the great lesson of WWI and WWII

"Let not the sun go down on your wrath."

"We need world policing", as my friend, Charlie Malik(Lebanon), used to say,  [Malik: author of the Declaration of Human Rights.]

The time is almost gone.
That vocation:  energy from theme of Gd in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, gives energy and authority of which its mission yearns.

Theology of HOPE
"We're only defeated when we think we are" (Zionist saying)

Keep high hope as in Lamb of Gd.

COM Pati bility

Root:  pathos        fellow feeling

we suffer each other
we "allow" each other
we "allow" the Other

When you do so, you suffer
You do not get your own back
But if you win your neighbor,
You save your own.

Koran (same sentiment expressed by Jewish Rabbis)
Who ever killed a single soul...it shall be as if he slew all mankind.
And if he saves a single soul, it is as if he saved all mankind.

Our solidarity
Has to be our Life's desire
The steady mission
Of our particularity.

  Left: Children's Chorus, from Jerusalem YMCA

Right: Several of the Patriarchs who attending the opening sessions of Sabeel's 6th International Conference: "The Forgotten Faithful

Below: Bishop Cragg is center 

              -Jerusalem, November, 2006




Creation date: Oct 5, 2007 4:09 pm     Last modified date: Oct 5, 2007 9:44 pm   Last visit date: Oct 21, 2016 1:52 pm
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