I care about where mission money in the PC (U.S.A.) goes. Just this last year my Church had two wonderful speakers who were involved in mission to the Roma. And I am very aware that there are many good mission projects in our denomination. But still I worry. And my concerns are heightened when I see messages like this sent out from mission partners that we support.
Douglas Dicks, who is currently based in Amman Jordan, and is a Mission co-worker for the PC (U.S.A.), an advisor to the Israel/Palestine Mission Network as well as an advisor to the Presbyterian Middle East Study Committee, sends out messages to his subscribers as part of his job and this last one is political in the extreme.
Dicks forwarded an article written by James M. Wall which is posted on Wall’s blog. Both Dicks and Wall, who is a contributing editor for Christian Century, appear to have anti-Semitic leanings. I am going to point out some of the thoughts in the article which is entitled, “Do Not Call It a Military Conflict; It’s The Occupation, Stupid.”
Even in the beginnings of Israel, according to Wall, the Jewish people were given too much land. He writes, “American Middle East policy has been weighted in favor of Israel ever since President Harry Truman rejected the advice of Secretary of State George C. Marshall and pushed through a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly giving most of Palestine to the Jews, who were then a minority of the population.” (That would have been the 1947 borders.)
Wall refers to the Holocaust as a “horrific by-product of World War.” Well, at least he calls it horrific. But by-product, it was Hitler’s grand plan. And then there is this:
“To really appreciate the manner in which the Israeli narrative has been peddled–a campaign which will be studied in Harvard Business School propaganda classes for generations to come–we need to look closely at Christian travelers who are the targets of this campaign.
Think of these Christians as existing in two flavors.
The first flavor is that church leader who longs to cultivate the magic of “interfaith” dialogue (the mainstream church flavor, cool and sweet). Speak to this flavor group about their church divesting from companies that support the Occupation, and they respond: Can’t do that; have to protect our fragile interfaith dialogue.
The second flavor is spicy, giving off that feeling of absolutism with a bite. This flavor is the fundamentalist Christian flavor, church folk who love Israel as the rightful recipients of a “promise” Yahweh made eons ago.”
Some of those Wall is referring to are those who send money to the Presbyterian Church to support missions. And all are also brothers and sisters in the Lord. And both Wall and Dicks seem to have little care for them as people. They are just someone to caricature and deride.
And then Wall gets to the political part. He writes about Senator Chuck Schumer. This is one of the oldest ways of perpetrating anti-Semitism , accusing a Jewish person of being un-American or disloyal. Wall writes:
“Schumer’s screed gets to the edge of sounding as if he is more a Senator working in the Knesset than working in the United States Senate. This is the 2nd time I know of that Schumer has publicly crossed the line when it came to zealously blaming his own government and colleagues in delicate matters of US-Israel-Palestine policy.”
So why is this Mission work? How can the messages that Dick sends be an important way to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Neither the Jew nor the Muslim will come to Christ because of this article. And the Palestinians, who need care and a State of their own, as well as the Jewish people who need a safe place to be Jewish people are not helped by such rhetoric. In fact, the article is bound to make some Jewish people in the United States feel unsafe. I am wondering is this what missional means? It just can’t be.