Friday February 13th marked the rebooting of our monthly curriculum lectures. This series of lectures is not only meant to provide a platform to discuss topics related to reconciliation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a joint setting, but also to deal with a problem our young adults face. Many young adults have expressed that they have many questions that are going unanswered in the current theological framework that exists in their communities. The lack of dialogue and space to discuss these questions has caused incredible frustration, yet some young adults have taken a positive approach and stepped forward to join initiatives such as our lectures, in order to fulfill this need.
The initiative spans over six months and will cover subjects such as: Theology of Reconciliation, Islam, Judaism and contemporary political trends in Israeli and Palestinian societies. The lectures will be presented by a variety of speakers from different backgrounds and faiths, and aim to provide plenty of different perspectives and discussion. The structure of this group is quite unique, as it is a combination of Musalaha staff, board and young adults. This dynamic allows a rich variety of opinions, as both people who are more experienced in reconciliation initiatives and young adults who are upcoming leaders as “the next generation” in the believing body. One participant remarked on this dynamic stating, “It gives me hope for the future when we speak about upcoming leaders and their attitude towards reconciliation.”
To kick off our lecture series, we decided to start with the very appropriate subject Theology of Reconciliation. We felt it would be important to begin by discussing how and why we are to engage with each other. Lisa Loden and Salim Munayer presented this subject to us based off of their recent publication “Through My Enemy’s Eyes” where they suggest a theology around the subject of reconciliation.
The lecture started off by presenting Messianic Jewish and Palestinian Christian theologies concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their strengths and weaknesses. The lecture then transitioned into a theology of reconciliation, which is meant to deal with some of the weaknesses presented by suggesting a theology that includes “the other.” One participant felt that the lecture addressed “many unanswered questions I had about this subject.”
Another participant was interested to learn about the dual nature of reconciliation. We discussed how reconciliation begins at the cross, with the vertical reconciliation being between God and man, and the horizontal being between man and man.
The unique characteristic of Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross is that true reconciliation takes place in both these directions. In other words, we must not only reconcile ourselves to God, but also to each other.
With this approach in mind, we hope to not only tackle these subjects on an intellectual level, but approach these subjects with the horizontal call for reconciliation at the heart of it. We want to study and discuss these subjects and benefit from what each side has to offer, using this information to influence our communities around us.
By Jack Munayer