Signs of the Times: Empire on the Rise
The most outstanding sign of our times is the suffering and cries of living beings and the destruction of creation. At the beginning of the 21st century, all living beings are threatened with death and destruction. "The powers and principalities of this world" - with a comprehensive destructiveness in the form of the global empire are causing "all of creation to groan"-Romans 8:18-39,
The brutal atrocities committed in Iraq, Gaza and Lebanon have revealed the true nature of the global empire: arbitrary, unilateral military actions against innocent civilians. The global empire's obvious purpose is to expand its territorial borders in pursuit of regional hegemony and control of oil as an economic resource. These wars are also a new form of religious crusade, justified through religious language and theological claims. Bush see's evil out there, but fails to reflect on the demon within.
"The "war on terror" has led to a series of draconian laws and legally sanctioned repressive measures within the United States and in many other countries that effectively condone torture, arbitrary detention and deprivation of liberty, summary deportations, extraordinary rendition and violations of a wide range of other political and civil rights. This has effectively undermined both practice and principles of the human rights regime and the rule of law. One visible impact of empire has been the inviolability of human rights."- An Ecumenical Faith Stance Against Global Empire
The rise in religious fundamentalism within Christianity, is based on fear of the other and the empire uses religion to justify and provide the ideology of war. The very term "Islamofacist" is a racist remark and a demonization of Islam. Imagine the outcry if one were to label the current USA administration as "Christianfacists." I imagine that one would be tarred and feathered!
Western Christianity has been closely related to empire ever since the glory day's of the Roman Empire. The final chapter in the New Testament, The Revelation of John, written by an exile/refugee has for centuries been understood by theologians to be a critique of empire. The bottom line in John's vision/poem, is that the empire of Rome would be replaced by the kingdom of God: when The Prince of Peace, The Lamb of God will lie down with the lion and men will make war no more.
"Today's Globalized Christendom and the "crusades" it embarks upon are symbiotically intertwined with global capital and the power of the global empire....The global empire, with its unprecedented reach, represents a massive threat to life. In the face of this pervasive and death-dealing reality of worldwide hegemony, we are inspired and empowered by Jesus of Galilee to resist empire and to renew communities of life. This new reality has economic, political, social, cultural, religious and spiritual dimensions. It presents life and death challenges for Christians, as the empire uses religion to justify its domination and violence, and makes claims that belong to God alone."- An Ecumenical Faith Stance Against Global Empire
The Peace of the world truly does begins in Jerusalem, and for three days in August 2006, ninety ecumenical social justice peace seeking progressive American Christians gathered in Portland, Oregon in solidarity with the rapidly growing international grass roots community committed to justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation, reconciliation and love for all living beings and creation, guided by the leadership of an Anglican from Jerusalem.
In 1989, a 1948 refugee, former Canon of St. George Cathedral, Rev. Naim Ateek founded Sabeel, which is Arabic for "The Way."
Sabeel articulates a theology of liberation, in a situation where the roots of terrorism are deep and where justice has been neglected: Palestine.
By learning from Jesus and his life under occupation and his response to injustice, this theology hopes and strives to connect the true meaning of the Christian faith: standing up for the poor, oppressed, widow, orphan, refugee and prisoner, and seeks peace by pursuing justice; which will lead to security for all people.
Since 9/11, membership in Sabeel has grown from 800 to over 6,000. This November, Internationals will be gathering in Jerusalem for Sabeel's 6th reality tour through the West Bank.
Learn more: http://sabeel.org and join us in seeking peace by pursing justice.