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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Christians, Jews and Muslims...Oh My!!

Coming toward us is a "Provocation Visit" to the
site of the Dome of the Rock.  Led by police and
followed by soldiers these visitors are there
to make a political statement and to cause tension.
This week in my program at Tantur is a constant mixing and matching of the three great traditions that call this land holy.   I have been at the Western wall amidst devout and praying Jews and at Al Aqsa mosque and inside the Dome of the Rock amidst devout and praying Muslims.  Tomorrow I'll spend time at a Refugee camp breaking the daily fast of Ramadan with a Muslim family and Friday I'll be celebrating Shabbat at a local Orthodox synagogue.  Meanwhile we meet as a Christian ecumenical group and struggle with issues of land, Biblical interpretation and authority and how we walk together in this land called Holy.  And of course this is not just a question for here in the Holy Land but how do we walk together in lands called America, or United Kingdom, or Singapore?
the ever popular selfie
at Al Aqsa compound.

Today we studied a document from the year 2000 entitled "Speaking the Truth."  It was prepared by a group of Jewish leaders as a point of discussion with the Christian world.  It offers 8 brief statements about Christian and Jewish conversation.  The 6th statement is this:

"The humanly irreconcilable differences between Jews and Christians will not be settled until God redeems the entire world as promised in Scripture.  Christians know and serve God through Jesus Christ and the Christian tradition.  Jews know and serve God through Torah and the Jewish tradition.  That difference will not be settled by one community insisting that it has interpreted Scripture more accurately than the other, nor by exercising political power over the other.  Jews can respect Christians' faithfulness to their revelation just as we expect Christians to respect our faithfulness to our revelation.  Neither Jew nor Christian should be pressed into affirming the teaching of the other community."
Inside the Dome of the Rock.  A real privilege during

There is much to think about in this little statement; but what intrigues me is this idea of being able to respect each others  faithfulness without having to affirm the teaching of each other.   It sounds so simple.  And yet it seems lately in the United States we can't even give to our neighbors on either side of the aisle respect with affirming their position.  Instead we are taught to hate, to challenge, to dismiss anyone who thinks differently or who holds faithfully to a different set of ideals and principals.  

Can we ever reach a point when it's OK to respect the other, even while not affirming their particular position.   One would hope so!  
We came in through the northeast gate, not
the Tourist ramp you usually take.

Grounds as you approach the Dome of the Rock on
this northeast side.

Visited the delightful Muslim
museum on the site


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