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Christian-Jewish dialog;Is this Monological?

Carlos Benson|Friday, August 21, 2009

Recent published document like  “A time for Recommitment: Building the new Relationship Between Jews and Christians (July 6 2009-written by International Council of Christian and Jews), and recent exposé of Cardinal Dziwisz at  Krakow Poland on  March 6 ,2009 are the signs that this dialog is a live and conducted between the interested parties. Is it going to bear the visible fruits for the interested, that an other question. For the outsider this dialog looks not only interesting, but up to certain point peculiar. Fallowing the writings about the e subject, different opinions apparent advances and setbacks, somebody wonders what can be improved, added explained for advancement of this crucial dialog. Just for the sake of the arguments let’s look closely to these two mentioned a while ago documents.

Recent published document like  “A time for Recommitment: Building the new Relationship Between Jews and Christians (July 6 2009-written by International Council of Christian and Jews), and recent exposé of Cardinal Dziwisz at  Krakow Poland on  March 6 ,2009 are the signs that this dialog is a live and conducted between the interested parties. Is it going to bear the visible fruits for the interested, that an other question. For the outsider this dialog looks not only interesting, but up to certain point peculiar. Fallowing the writings about the e subject, different opinions apparent advances and setbacks, somebody wonders what can be improved, added explained for advancement of this crucial dialog. Just for the sake of the arguments let’s look closely to these two mentioned a while ago documents.
 
  CHILDEREN OF ONE FATHER
 
   Cardinal Dziwisz is talking about being “the children of one Father”. There is no mention about this approach in the rather detailed document presented by the International Council of Christians and Jews.
   Later Dziwisz is talking about similarities of Christians and Jews in the history. The Recommitment, on many pages is developing these thoughts, but underlining rather the differences than the similarities.

   COMMON History
  In each human encounter the identities are not only important, but essential to understand each other. Recommitment, where Jews and Christians commit for dialog, they avoid this subject of identity, instead are talking about “moments of graciousness and mutual recognition from which we can take inspiration”. Cardinal Dziwisz wanted to integrate national identity in to polish history by saying “This open and magnanimous vision of the Polish identity does not only allow to be a country where Polish Jews feel fully at home, but also enables the history of Polish Jews to be seen as an integral part of the history of Poland to which Jews contributed fro centuries”. Recommitment presented by the Council is talking about””always to respect the other and to accept each other’s differences a dignity”. And suggest “enhancing interreligious and d intercultural education, to promote interreligious friedenship and cooperation as well as social justice in the global society to enhance dialogue with political and economic bodies to network with all those whose work responds to the demands of environmental stewardship”.
 
  IDENTITY
 
   In appreciation of Christian efforts for dialogue , especially since 1947  Council suggests that Jews should  “to acknowledge the efforts of many Christian Communities in the late 20th century to reform their attitudes towards Jews: as well as “”to re-examine Jewish texts and liturgy in the light of these Christian reforms,, to differentiate between fair minded criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, an d’ to offer encouragement to the State of Israel as it works to fulfill the ideals in its founding documents, a task shares with many nations of the world”.
 
  SOAH
 
   Next question is “immeasurable evil” as Cardinal putted and Recommitment: expressed it in the Shoah, and fallowed with the statement “The Shoah opens the door for powerful reflection on a number of central issues challenging the society.
 
     For people of faith, understanding how God relates to the well-being of humanity emerges as a central question. If God is imagined  as all-powerful and deeply involved in the humanity, the Shoah can leave us with the image of an uncaring God who did not use divine power to save those with whom God was in covenantal relationship”.. so challenging is to refine the relationship between the God  and human community in a way that sees them as a convent partners with co-responsibility for the future of all creation”. This powerful statement indicates on one side the Jewish” image of God, on the other the task given by him to the people in convent relation with him. Meaning that the convent is now and actual, and uninterrupted. Contrary to the Council, Cardinal Dziwisz spoke only about National Socialism personalized by Nazis blaming Communism to misrepresenting the Jewish suffering. 

 Remembering the  Holocaust according to Cardinal’s statement  “ in order to built  the relations between the Jews and Christians” as stated by bishops This same land , which from centuries was common fatherland of Poles and Jews, of blood spilled together in ,the sea of horrific suffering and of injuries shared, should not divide us but unite us”.  To look for this his kind of thought in Council’s document is in vain enterprise.
 
  A NEW NAME FOR DIALOGUE
 
    Cardinal is talking in new moral terms about dialogue and gives a new meaning to the dialogue: love.  This subject by the Council is expressed in the terms of justice citing the Matt 5.17 “do not think that I have come to abolish the Law, or Prophets: have come not to abolish but to fulfill”.
 
  BROTHERS IN FAITH
 
    Dziwisz , in his approach is extending the hand to Jews as brothers “who found each other after  a long time “.so “ we know too little about each other, we trust each other too little. We do not always feel like being together, a should be befitting for brothers”. This kind of thoughts is met by Council’s approach rather with calm and rigidity suggesting “sword being refashioned into a plowshare. The history of these two people has been marked largely by rivalry and conflict”. To safeguarding the good is rather absent in the Council approach is a general statement ““in northern Europe Jews and Christians generally lived together peacefully and productively”. There relations may be characterized as “ambivalent”.
 
  A NEW ERA AND ROAD AHEAD
 
   For the future of dialogue, the optimism is shown by Dziwisz, who underlines the role of the recent Popes in particular John Paul II citing his own words””Church will do everything possible to ensure that this is not jus t dream but reality: This houpfull expressesion is somewhat desched by Ehud Barak statement” The wounds of time will not be healed in a day, but the path which brought you here leads to a new horizon”. Council is giving even more sober assessment talking about “; many people living amid reshuffling populations have struggled with the problem of multiple identities, a they have tried to balance national, religious, gender and age related issues at any given time. In these environments, interreligious dialogue is more necessary and more difficult. Yet dialogue empowers people to explore their experiences of grappling with competing identities”. Those reasons and” The rapid shifts in population, technologies and societies that characterize today challenge Christians and Jews, as they do all people and raise new insecurities. Thus the new need is unprecedented for interreligious dialogue, understanding and cooperating that keeps pace with our changing world, helping us face its challenges together”.
 
  These two documents were chosen, not by accident, but to show the complexity o f the dialogue. Not to say the congruence of the Recommitment with the catholic faith and tradition. Are there irreconcilable differences despite apparent convergences and omission of the contentious subjects?
 
   First of all the meaning of the language of these two documents is totally different.  The Cardinal was talking in terms of Theology, Morality and Eschatology; The Council used mostly socio-political terms, except a few biblical expressions. Further, when you read the documents, striking difference appear. Between others; the concept of:

 Tanakh and Old Testament
 
   The Jews understanding and interpretation of Tanakah is so different than these of Christians. The Image of God, who for the First one is mostly a Judge, for other is rather a Father, for first one is intervening directly in our lives for others (Christians), is not so obvious.
 
   Concept of Convent:
 
   Jews and Christians totally different.
 
   Christians, in Old Testament see the Convent   established... interrupted, tried to be “renegotiated”. For Jews: Convent is continued and stabile and to be fulfilled physically in establishing “Hearetz” Israel.  This view is different depending from the different branches of Judaism: rabbinical, biblical, and reformed.
 
   The concept of “Chosen” people is so different

 Christian approach is a spiritual and eschatological with inclusivity. According to the Jews, they remain in covenantal   relationship with God. The Christian churches’ “new covenant” did not terminate Israel’s convental with God lived through the Torah. “There exists a divine willed ongoing relationship between Judaism and Christianity, a relationship that is unique among the world religions. Judaism has its own distinctive purpose in the divine plan that goes beyond the preparation for Christianity...
 
   Jewish is a very physical, placed in real time, exclusive only for certain very defined people. In the dialogue usually the mutual partnership is forsaken. Christians must learn to understand and affirm Jewish self-understanding of their own religious experience. This includes respect for Jewish attachment to Eretz Yisreal-the Land of Israel.
 
  Question of Proselytism
 
  The Christian Approach seems to be we came long way and we are now together for the Journey. We are on the way marching.
 
  Jews are not interested at all in marching they are already there at the end... so we don’t need the new conversions. Let us leave alone. Neither convert one nor do we want to convert you.
 
   As a “practical” matter we are going to be saved physically and we have in possession our land in God gave us.
 
  IDENTITY
 
     Despite different environments, cultural conditions, traditions, philosophical systems, the distinct Jewish Identity was preserved true the ages.
 
  POWER AND CONTROL 

 Create own power centers and to be associated only with the other political and military powers centers. Different concept of power and control. Christians are satisfy with moral and spiritual control, Jews must have physical and military (This idea of placing the nuclear war heads against the capitals of Europe is an extreme)
 
   Monologist
 
   Theoretically and practically they don’t admit other very strong power centers. Pluralism is tolerated when can serve to the monologist. Pluralism can be only accidental and controlled by Jews and their power centers.
 
  Wealth
 
    Is rather understood in the physical sense not a spiritual one. We have so many thinkers in the different fields, but physical wealth was rather always important.
 
  ABSOLUT KNOWELDGE OF YOUR ‘ADVERSARIES’
 
  THE desire to know your “adversary,
 
  “Or somebody else that you are is deeply seeded in our minds, but the Jewish approach is a different one   more specific.
 
   Spying? In Dialogue
 
  Since ancient times the espionage was so common. The spies and informants were always the source of in formations. There is no surprise that the present gathering information is the best in Israel is this important in the dialogue.  This is common knowledge... more you know about your adversary more you can understand him... more you can negotiate for your advantage.
 
  When the situation is in reverse, the Jewish interlocutors are totally different.  They transfer themselves in to your enemies. When they realize that you know their positions , their arguments, their narratives, they try to trash you at any price , by any means  and marginalize you as good as they can due to the abundant access to the different  means of information  from personal  gouging, innuendos, unfounded impressions, despises jokes up to changing you way of thinking and presented as yours , up to using the powers to remove you from the job , or  occupied  job function. 

RECIPROCITY
 
   In the reciprocity, it’s necessary to express a mutual goodwill acquaintance of the partners as well as you show the respect for the identity of the disputants.  Unfortunately, from the Jewish site usually they present and repeat their demands. When some demands are met there are new ones on the horizon.
 
   Unfortunately “playing: the victim; always is a main approach to their conversation in the monolithic dialog.
 
  Avoiding the contentious subject and promulgating their narratives.
 
    Unfortunately, there are many different subjects off  limit for the dialogue, that it’s frustrating to admit the validity many of them.    
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