Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lebanese Christians help their neighbors

From Christianity Today. The article focuses on evangelicals and other Protestants. No mention made of Maronites or other Catholic or Orthodox groups. I find it hard to believe that CT couldn't find any of these Christians for their story, but I guess their readership is evangelical. Anyway, it's still a powerful story of witness and hope in a very troubled part of the world.
Costa recounted a story involving a Baptist youth minister who met the father of a 17-year-old Shiite youth killed in an Israeli air strike on a southern Beirut suburb. During the burial ceremony, Israeli jets attacked the funeral procession and sent mourners scurrying to safety.

Later, the father asked the youth minister, "Why are Christians helping Muslims?"

The minister shared the story of the Good Samaritan and asked, "Who was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The father responded, "The one who had mercy on him."

The youth minister then recited the words of Jesus in Matthew 5: "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

Touched, the father of the deceased boy said, "We have many Christian friends. But we never knew that you have these teachings."
That last line really struck me. I guess there's always a tendency of well-established Christian Churches to lose their evangelical edge (and, at an extreme, to reduce to a form of cultural Christianity). I can certainly say that is to some extent true of my experience in India, for instance. And in the US too, for that matter. There's also this:
But Kassis and other Lebanese evangelicals expressed concern that their very witness as Christians in the Middle East may be undermined by perceived Western, particularly American, evangelical support of Israel and its military actions against Hezbollah and Hamas.

"We evangelical Christians are working for peace and reconciliation in our land—also for understanding and tolerance. This war has shaken us to pieces. I was shocked to see some of our American brothers and sisters supporting Israel's disproportionate response," Kassis said.

"The father of one of our students, a 10-year-old Shiite girl, was shredded into pieces by a bomb that exploded at a mosque. How can I say to that girl that many evangelicals in the U.S. support what Israel is doing?" he said. "We are in a very hard position because of the killing of so many civilians."

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments: