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Abu Daoud Palestinian Sojourn Christ at Checkpoint 2012

Abu Daoud Palestinian Sojourn Christ at Checkpoint 2012

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Published by Abu Daoud
The author presents his review of this important conference in Bethlehem in 2012, including both what he sees as the strengths and weaknesses of the conference.
The author presents his review of this important conference in Bethlehem in 2012, including both what he sees as the strengths and weaknesses of the conference.

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Abu Daoud on Apr 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/22/2012

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St Francis Magazine Vol 8, No 2 | April 2012
R
EFLECTIONS
 
ON
 
A
P
ALESTINIAN
S
OJOURN
:
C
HRIST 
 
 AT 
 
THE
C
HECKPOINT 
2012,B
ETHLEHEM
, W
EST
B
ANK 
By Abu Daoud
1. Introduction
So who thought about ending this on a Friday? Ihad to leave early because the last bus from al-Qudsto my destination left rather early. I got on the 21 bus,which goes from Bethlehem to the Damascus Gate,aka the Gate of the Pillar (in Arabic) or the ShechemGate (in Hebrew). Yes, that is how messed up Jerusalem is.So after the conference, I arrived two hours earlyat the bus station because the checkpoint actually wasvery efficient, so I’m here drinking an espresso onPurim, waiting, writing, and reflecting on Christ at theCheckpoint. While I have some concerns, which I willlist shortly, they do not compromise the very real factthat this was a victory for a small and weakcommunity of believers, who tried to situatethemselves on God’s side, rather than quoting this orthat verse an insisting that God was on their side.
151
Abu Daoud, who is from the West originally, has been serving inthe Arab world for multiple years now. He has published a numberof articles in
St Francis Magazine
and blogs atislamdom.blogspot.com. He can be contacted through that blog.
305
 
St Francis Magazine Vol 8, No 2 | April 2012
2. Some Concerns
But first, some concerns: I was not sure who theaudience was. There were a good number of locals—Israeli Palestinians, West Bank Palestinians, JordanianPalestinians, and if there were any Gazan Palestiniansthere I did not see them. There were also a fairnumber of experienced foreign professionals, fromvarious NGOs, churches, and educational institutions. They added a lot, and several of them were speakers. Then there was a cohort of what one scholar called“young Americans” (Bowie 1975). I was not sure whythey were there. Were they just curious? Were theystudying the conflict? This all goes back to the purposeof the conference—was it to spread knowledge aboutthe occupation, or was it actually to find a wayforward? Was it to try the falafel?Anyway, the girls were pretty, so I’ll let it pass. Andalso—maybe they will go back to Amrika and raise thevisibility of this issue in their churches, and this wouldbe a contribution. All this is to say, this was anunresolved issue for me and not so much an objection.But on to a more serious issue: this was anevangelical meeting. I only met one Roman Catholic—a Hebrew Roman Catholic, considering entering thepriesthood no less!—and since this was an evangelicalaffair, there was no shortage of evangelicaltheologizing. Which is to say, theology by catchphrase. This was not the norm, but it happened enough that I,and others, noticed it. Some of the slogans werecatchy and helpful, I guess, like when Stephen Sizer
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St Francis Magazine Vol 8, No 2 | April 2012
said, “When Jesus comes back, I want to be on theWelcoming Committee, not the Planning Committee.”Here he is objecting to American evangelicals, like John Hagee, America’s most famous adulterer-Zionist,who act like they are moving around chess pieces onthe international level to secure the return of theirLord ASAP. Knight to E4: Temple rebuilt. Rook to F6:droves of atheist Russians realize that Grandpa wasburied in a Jewish cemetery, get religion, and makeAaliya
. And so on.But most of the slogans were unhelpful, like, “Idon’t believe in evangelizing Jews, I don’t believe inevangelizing Muslims; I believe in sharing the love of  Jesus with sinners.” Yawn. So Israel-Palestine is 2%Christian. Who are the sinners then? A mission to theDruze, perhaps? Or maybe evangelizing the remaininghandful of Catholics and Orthodox? Yeah, that tiredstrategy inherited from your uncreative American andEuropean missionaries has been working great. Andthere were other slogans too. Like the edgy, relevant,earthy talk by Shane Claiborne, which was one prolixstring of slogans. (Note to non-Americans: “relevant” isAmerican evangelicalese for “rambling and vacuous”.)And then there was the oft-repeated statement,“We have been here since Pentecost,” which is areference to Luke’s list of nations in Acts 2, whichincludes Arabs. But what did Luke mean by Arabs?Nomads? In that case they are not Arabs becausenomadic life is gone these days. Did he mean non-
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Hebrew for
ascent 
, it refers to Jews immigrating to Israel-Palestine and receiving Israeli citizenship.
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