COPY of pre-blog email (see About):
News just in from Canon Andrew White will interest those concerned over the murderous persecution of believers in Iraq. Please see his email below (unable to copy to blog) and my introductory notes if you’re unfamiliar with his mission.
Although having MS, he’s one of a tiny handful of people trusted by virtually every side of the complex Middle East, Andrew’s been deeply involved in the rebuilding of Iraq.
His first-hand experience with Al-Qua’ida, however, shows they’re
“…impossible to engage with at any level…because they are set only on killing and maiming in the name of god”!
After having watched Andrew’s interview on dvd Finger of God, Nina and I read his most absorbing The Vicar of Baghdad. Reading his involvement with the 39-day siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ‘coincidentally’ fitted well with the start of our home fellowship’s study of the Book of Ruth, as it’s based in that famous town.
About 10 yrs ago Andrew White his personal contacts with Yasser Arafat and Israeli PM Ariel Sharon bore fruit in their joint approval to the wording of a draft declaration against violence in the name of religion. This was then put to religious leaders of all three Holy Land faiths and through exhausting discussions agrement was reached, with difficulties coming from Christians(!!), who “often feel they have to be even more Palestinian that the Muslims, to show how committed they are to the cause” (RB’s emphasis) on top of “rivalries and tensions between different denominations”!!
The outcome in Jan 2002 was The Alexandria Declaration, out of which a large number of other initiatives have arisen despite continual violence. He writes, “The sticking points were not theological but political”.
Elsewhere, on Iraq he writes,
“…but then unexpectedly the hope of Resurrection breaks though… The Spirit and the glory of God are here…and are filling the atmosphere with the presence of the Lord. He is working in our world and I believe that the Middle East is the centre of his purposes. The more I have worked in this region, the more I have come to see that it is God who is in control (my emphasis)…I have come to realize that what is happening in the physical realm is often just a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual realm.”
A marvellous story, so you may wish to join in praying for our persecuted brethren…