Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ELCA response to Kairos Palestine now online

The Kairos Palestine document, "A Moment of Truth," is now available on the ELCA's Peace Not Walls website - http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Peace-Not-Walls/Palestine-Kairos-Document-Initiative.aspx

The statement is a word of hope to Palestinian Christians and a challenge for churches to work toward an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and to re-examine theologies that support the Israeli occupation.

The Palestine Kairos website is here - http://www.kairospalestine.ps/

The Rev. Mark Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, issued this response:

"Today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has received with somber, yet hopeful hearts this authentic word from our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Christian community.

" Their perspective on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians warrants our respect and attentiveness. This appeal, from a broadly ecumenical group of theologians and church leaders, is directed above all to members of their own churches. It is primarily a word of hope in a time of overwhelming pessimism in the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict, a pessimism that could lead to despair.

"These Christian leaders’ words seek to clearly communicate both the depth of their disillusionment with current political realities and the resoluteness of their faith in God. We join with these Christians in expressing our hope that in this conflict and throughout the world, peace with justice may be realized.

"Recalling earlier Kairos documents, we join these leaders in their search for signs of hope and positive responses in the midst of a dire and seemingly intractable situation. Their hope, their affirmation of love for every person, and their nonviolent resistance to the occupation inspire us to continue to do what we can to stand with our companions and partners seeking a lasting and just peace for all in the region.

"In this Advent season, as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promised justice and peace, we join our Christian sisters and brothers in Palestine in this hope." (Dec. 11, 2009)

Go to this link for the full text of Bishop Hanson's response: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Presiding-Bishop/Messages-and-Statements/091217.aspx


Don't know what Kairos means? You are not alone. Wikapedia explains: "Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens. (...)
The term "kairos" is used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time. In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved." In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts (e.g. Mark 1.15, the kairos is fulfilled)."


The Rev. Robert Smith, ELCA Europe and Middle East Desk Director, made a comments at the Kairos launch in Bethlehem. Here is an excerpt from what he said,

"We are called to revisit and challenge our theologies because theology matters. While Christians in the West often cannot see the effects of their theology in civil society and culture, this document comes from an ecumenical Christian perspective confident that their word will contribute directly to the lives of their people and the surrounding realities, unlike many western churches who sometimes seem to have lost their nerve. These Palestinian Christians are confident in their word and in God’s word to inspire hope, and to foster hopeful resistance. Many Christians in the West have become less aware of the power of Christian hope to change political realities. As a result, those political realities supported by theological systems—the baptizing of western settler/colonial imperialism and the perpetuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land perpetrated by many forms of Christian Zionism, for example—are less likely to draw a theological or church-based response. We have too often been unaware of these theologies and ignorant of how they are exported to other contexts in order to support conflict and political division."

See Smith's full statement at this link: http://www.elca.org/~/media/Files/Our%20Faith%20in%20Action/Justice/Peace%20Not%20Walls/2009%2012%2013%20%20%20Smith%20Comment%20on%20Kairos%20Doc.doc


Here are some links to news reports:

Badil Resource Center -

Bishop David Thomson's blog (Anglican, Huntington) - http://bpdt.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/launch-of-historic-palestine-kairos-document/

Electronic Intifada - http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10943.shtml

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