Talk by Rev Dr Mitri Raheb

Mitri Raheb is a Palestinian Christian, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Betlehem, and leading figure and board member of Kairos Palestine. He is an acclaimed Palestinian theologian with an impressive international reputation and has published multiple books on the subjects of justice, theology and Palestinian rights.

 

He spoke at the 5th Anniversary conference of Kairos Palestine in Dec 2014 on the subject of the Role of the Church. Here are his 7 key points, in 7 minutes:

 

1. Prayer

 

Prayer can serve to not only to keep Palestinians going, but to remind us that praying for Palestine means we care. We can also develop our messaging through our prayers.

 

2. Pilgrimage 

 

The most important thing about pilgrimage is the message that goes with it. Pilgrimage is not just the coming, it’s the going back and the telling of stories that follows.

 

3. Political Advocacy

 

We are often not clear in our political messages. We talk too much without a clear focus.

Israel has become more focussed, and does this well politically. For example, the Gaza war depicted as ‘their right to protect themselves’

Our messages need to be creative, but concise. The amount is not important – less can be more.

 

4. Palestinian Narrative

 

We need to develop a Palestinian narrative and theology without the drama.

We need to tell the story without relying on or responding to Christian Zionism. Our story is powerful and compelling without this!

 

5. Projects

 

We need to create our own facts on the ground. Counting violations is good, but can’t be the only thing.

It’s imperative that we build our Palestinian state now, and don’t wait for a political settlement.

We can distinguish between creative and compromising investments. Compromising ones blur the issue. Creative ones aid resistance.

 

6. Prepare the next generation of Church leaders

 

Who will be the people to take the Church to the next level? The Israel lobby is trying to regain places that Palestinian support has taken.

We can’t take for granted that people will always give us support. We have to work to put leaders in place, and support them to stay there.

 

7. Protect our brothers and sisters

 

Israel has developed a policy of singling us out. Over the year theologians and leaders have had their careers systematically destroyed by Israel.

We need an Iron Dome for our Churches and our leaders!

Now is the time for costly solidarity. We need to catch the attacks, protect leaders from Israel, and help people to thrive despite of that threat.

 

To find out more about Mitri, please visit www.mitriraheb.org.

Photo courtesy of mitriraheb.org.

 

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