There’s a story I tell every chance I get. I would like everybody on the mailing list to know the origin of the thirty-five (35) words in the following paragraph. I discovered them myself … my claim to fame … back in the early 1980’s … buried (if I remember right) on page 16 of my Church’s monthly national magazine: Episcopal Life. The words were included in a letter written by the Rt. Rev. Edmond Browning to the Women of the Church in the Holy Land. I was the Vicar at St. Elizabeth’s Church, San Diego at the time. Bishop Browning was TEC’s Presiding Bishop with an office in New York City. His wife, Patti, read the letter at a meeting because the PB’s schedule had not permitted him to accompany her that trip. Usually they traveled together. Have you noticed? Sometimes it takes a prolonged incubation period before truly prophetic words can take traction.
“As we Christians make our rightful claim to Jerusalem, we acknowledge that Muslims and Jews also have rightful claims to Jerusalem from their perspectives. It is useless to argue about sovereignty in the Holy City.”
Peers, I bid your prayers for the Peace of Jerusalem. My personal prayer is that Muslims and Jews will be led to stretch and motivated to grow and eventually to make parallel claims and acknowledgements … parallel, i.e., to the Christian claim and acknowledgements … for God’s sake. From my perspective, these few words summarize the most reasonable systematic plan for justice and world peace. Does anybody have a better idea? If so, please share.
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
If it’s happening in Bethlehem again then it may catch on! 😉
Bethlehem Awaiting a Uniquely Joyful Christmas
Palestinians Rejoicing at UN Recognition as Non-Member State
JERUSALEM, DEC. 19, 2012 (Zenit.org…) – An auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem says this Christmas in the town where Jesus was born will be particularly joyful.
Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem told the charity Aid to the Church in Need that Bethlehem will enjoy a uniquely festive Christmas because Palestinians welcomed as a “victory” the recent UN recognition of Palestine as a non-member state.
Bishop Shomali suggested that the morale of Palestinians – both Christians and Muslims – was boosted by last month’s “status upgrade.”
“For Christians in and around Bethlehem,” the bishop told ACN, “Christmas this year will be joyful because of the UN recognition of the Palestinian state.
“This has given people a lot of morale and indeed is seen by many as a victory.”
But Bishop Shomali said the festive spirit was tempered by many overseas tourists scrapping Christmas pilgrimages to the Holy Land in response to last month’s Israel-Gaza conflict.
“There will certainly be fewer pilgrims and other visitors from overseas,” he said. “Many have cancelled their trips here but we will still have many people coming from Galilee and elsewhere as well as many Christians from Bethlehem.”
Bishop Shomali also told ACN that the conflict in Syria is of grave concern to Christians in the Holy Land.
“What is happening in Syria casts a dark shadow. It impacts on us very greatly. We are not happy with what is happening in Syria. We are anxious and sad about the situation there.”
“There are good and bad feelings this Christmas,” he concluded, “but if we consider that Christmas is above all a spiritual feast, I believe it will be a very good celebration.”
Father Roy writes: Armageddon is suddenly being waged on numerous fronts simultaneously. And a badly-needed international debate has been precipitated locally, in the UK. The post pasted below will explain. Let those of us who have eyes… see.
Please study the website of the Rev’d Dr. Stephen Sizer. Stephen has allies in the USA: Challenging Christian Zionism and Apocalyptic Rapture Teachings. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the theological mindset of Christian Zionists: Jesus Camp ”Highlights” (10:38). Let’s make time for some serious Christian theological education, for “Theology” is the “Study of God”.
Jewish groups in the UK have targeted Stephen in a test case of sorts. They claim that they can no longer afford to remain “quiet”. Well, we Christians can no longer afford to remain silent. Christians who live in the Holy Land are Palestinians. Christians and Muslims suffer together under Israel’s occupation. It will be interesting to observe what action Stephen’s Bishop — the Rt. Rev’d Christopher Hill, the Bishop of Guildford — decides to take in this matter. It will be interesting to follow subsequent developments in the Church of England, as well. Please read on.
WEDNESDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2012
Board of Deputies issue disciplinary complaint against Anglican Priest
In a move believed to be without precedent in modern times, the Board of Deputies has lodged a formal complaint against Revd Stephen Sizer under the Church of England’s disciplinary process – an Act of Parliament known as the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003.
The complaint is based on statements made by Revd Sizer that the Board regards as antisemitic and a series of instances where Revd Sizer has posted internet links to articles on racist and antisemitic websites.
The complaint must first be considered by Bishop Christopher Hill, the Bishop of Guildford, as Revd Sizer’s church in Virginia Water, Surrey, comes under his jurisdiction.
Board President Vivian Wineman said, “Making such a complaint about a Church of England minister is not a step the Board has taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration. This action sends a clear, strong message from our community that we will not remain quiet in the face of actions and remarks capable of being seen as antisemitic even where they are disguised as anti-Zionist attacks on Israel.”
Submitting the complaint on behalf of the Board of Deputies, Vice President Jonathan Arkush said, “The evidence disclosed indicates that Rev Sizer spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet. Revd Sizer re-publishes items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same time introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material.”
Board of Deputies / John Arkish blog – Wednesday 31st October 2012
One Sizer doesn’t fit all
by Jonathan Arkush
posted in Defence
Revd Stephen Sizer is the Vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey. He is now the subject of a complaint by the Board of Deputies to the Church of England, for making statements that the Board and most of the Jewish community find utterly offensive, to the point of crossing the line into antisemitism, even if this is neither his motivation nor intention. This is not all, as we also complain of Revd Sizer posting links from his website to articles on racist and antisemitic websites where scurrilous views against Jews and others are published. When this happens, the Jewish community has to act.
Under Church law the Board’s complaint has to be brought under an Act of Parliament, the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. The complaint is therefore for misconduct consisting of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.
The complaint, which can be found here: includes detailed supporting evidence , an appendix of the offending material and a statement made earlier this year by the Bishop of Manchester > , the Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews, in which Revd Sizer’s delay in removing a link to an antisemitic website and the content he linked to was described as “disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote”.On the subject of Revd Sizer posting links to racist websites, the complaint says this:
The matters complained of disclose a clear and consistent pattern of activity on the part of Rev Sizer. The evidence indicates that he spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material. As the evidence demonstrates, there are five instances of this over the 11 month period from July 2011 to June 2012.
Thankfully for relations between British Jews and Christians, Revd Sizer is very much the exception.He displays an obsession with Israel and opposes its identity as a Jewish state. The Jewish people’s belief in national self-determination, or Zionism, is shared with most of the world’s nations – but Revd Sizer displays a deep hostility to Zionism, which he writes about as if it was a term of abuse. It is not difficult to come across his views, as he is an enthusiastic self-publicist who proclaims his preoccupation with Israel on his website, blog, Facebook and flickr pages.
Considering his position as a Church of England vicar, Revd Sizer keeps some strange company. He has shared a platform with and quoted from Holocaust deniers, goes on trips to Iran as the guest of the NEDA Institute which contributes to global efforts to deny the Holocaust and gave an interview with Qods News Agency, a Holocaust denying website. Sizer is also a speaker at the provocatively named Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which features a theology called supersessionism which has antisemitic overtones. It seems that Revd Sizer has few qualms about keeping company with anyone who shares his hostility to Israel, however dubious.
We need to be clear about what it is we complain of.
We make no complaint about Rev Sizer’s anti-Israel views, nor of his trips to Iran or his supersessionist theology. While we view all of these with concern and distaste, Revd Sizer is entitled to his views and may travel where he wants. But we draw the line at making statements that we regard as antisemitic and advertising the content of racist and antisemitic websites. It is a matter of great regret that we are driven to make this complaint, but the Jewish community should not have to stomach material that we see as crossing the line into antisemitism.
To anyone who asks what it is that we seek from the complaint, my answer is simple. If it is upheld, it will be a matter for the Church of England what action to take to address Revd Sizer’s conduct. But I can say that we are not seeking to have him stopped from his ministry or dismissed from his job. We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that we find to be not merely offensive, but antisemitic.
We don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Father Roy writes:
Talk, talk, talk. Talk can cause mass hysteria. The article pasted below was published today in an Israeli newspaper. Glance at the headline. Let us ask: “Who is David Rothkopf?” (highlighted). Let us wonder why claims like his (being an “expert”) are made so readily … and believed so quickly … in a culture like Israel’s … which thrives on fear. Is it not obvious? Benjamin Netanyahu (and those who share his mindset) are determined to divert the world’s attention away from the crisis in the Holy Land … which is the central problem facing the world today … by directing everybody’s attention onto Iran.
Here’s a worrisome development: On Sunday Israel launched air strikes on Gaza. Let us ask whether Rothkopf is telling the truth about the US “considering” a “surgical strike” on Iran which is a country entitled to a nuclear program (but not to nuclear weapons). There’s a Fatwa in Iran prohibiting nuclear weapons. Also, Iran is a signatory to the NPT. Let us ask who is the unnamed “source” that Rothkopf quotes as being close to the US-Israeli discussions.
Let us carefully (full of care) re-consider the warning America received from Wes Clark (08:13) in October of 2007. (This short video is once again making the rounds on the Internet.) Notice what General Clark has to say about the project for a new american century – AOL Search Results. Listen to PNAC’s “experts” on FOX News. Notice how seductive and sophisticated warmongering can be. Peace, Roy
U.S., Israel considering joint ‘surgical strike’ on Iran’s nuclear facilities
Former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf writes in Foreign Policy that attack, which he says could not be carried out by Israel alone, would only take a few hours and would neutralize Republican criticism.
The United States and Israel are considering the possibility of a joint “surgical strike” against Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a Foreign Policy report by David Rothkopf published Monday.
While Israel and the U.S. still don’t entirely agree on the “red line” which would trigger a military response, the report said that the Israelis are now suggesting a more limited attack than was previously debated.
Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and international relations expert, quoted a source said to be close to the discussions, which claimed that a small-scale attack is currently viewed as the most likely military option. Such strike, the source said, is likely to only take a few hours and would be conducted by air, using bombers and supported by drones.
In order to send the Iranian nuclear program back many years, such an attack could be carried out in a joint U.S.-Israeli operation, or by the U.S. alone. The report claims Israel would not be able to carry out this kind of attack on its own.
Rothkopf argues that the threat of a limited strike would seem more credible than a full-scale attack, and so it has “a real chance of deterring the mullahs.” This threat, the report said, may also increase the chances that diplomacy would work.
The source said the possibility is also aimed at having a regional effect: “Saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”
According to the report, another consideration for a limited strike is a political one. Bringing up the possibility of a limited, aerial assault, could defuse Romney’s criticism, since the likelihood of such an attack of being carried out is higher
The following declaration was made by the assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land. It comes as a response to the burning of the Cistercian (Trappist) monastery in Latroun. The Bishops ask, “What is going on in Israeli society today that permits Christians to be scapegoat and targeted by these acts of violence?”
This statement has been published on the official website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Declaration of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land
Why are Christians again the target?
The Christian community awoke this morning, Tuesday, September 4, 2012, to discover with horror that once again it is the target of forces of hatred within Israeli society. In the early hours of the morning, the door of the Cistercian (Trappist) monastery in Latroun was burnt and anti-Christian graffiti was sprayed on the walls.
The monks of Latroun have dedicated their lives to prayer and hard work. The monastery is visited by hundreds of Jewish Israelis each week and they are received with love and warmth by the monks. A number of the monks have learnt Hebrew and promote mutual understanding and reconciliation between Jews and Christians, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Sadly, what happened in Latroun is only another in a long series of attacks against Christians and their places of worship. What is going on in Israeli society today that permits Christians to be scapegoated and targeted by these acts of violence? Those who sprayed their hateful slogans, expressed their anger at the dismantlement of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But why do they vent this anger against Christians and Christian places of worship? What kind of “teaching of contempt” for Christians is being communicated in their schools and in their homes? And why are the culprits not found and brought to justice?
This morning, the Christians in Israel are asking many questions as they grieve and seek consolation and assurances. The time has come for the authorities to act to put an end to this senseless violence and to ensure a “teaching of respect” in schools for all those who call this land home.
Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it