Being Christian in an Arab-Islamic World

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The Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan was founded in 1989. The purpose of the Jesuit Center would be to help the Arab Christians of Jordan within the traditional churches (Roman, Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox) to mirror about their faith and to deepen their life with God. The current political climates show how there’s still a great requirement for both this reflection and deepening.

In general these two areas could be described as theological and spiritual. In the Arab-Islamic religious culture, there is little change depth with regards to reflection and interiority. This cultural characteristic describes the Christians around the Muslims. We have often asked ourselves the way we should enter this culture and try to expand or deepen it. The key reason we believe we have something to give here’s that with no developed reflection and interiority the Arab world is not able and will not have the ability to cope with the onslaught of the modern world especially the Western world upon its culture.

To be considered a Christian in an Arab-Islamic world particularly in the Middle East is both a challenge as well as an opportunity. It is a challenge because Christians try to live their beliefs, values and convictions which sometimes may not fit fully using their societies. Unfortunately, political disagreements, renewing regimes, the rising of Salafis are new events both Christians and moderate Muslims have to address seriously within the coming future.

Christian values such as love, forgiveness and loving ones neighbor are in stake. Just how can Christians love those who hate them? Just how can they accept people who deny their to live? As things get worse those questions will arise and be questioned more and more. On the other hand, to be a Christian within this chaotic atmosphere is an opportunity. High is a lack of love and stability, the need for getting those values back becomes urgent. There’s a famous Arabian saying: “Only in the darkest night would you discover the importance of the full moon.” I think the role in our Center is to bring the light of Jesus to those who’re still living their darkest nights. Spiritual nights, intellectual nights, financial crisis nights; they need to be illumined through the touch of God and that we, in the Jesuit Center, can be the tool of God’s touch.

Christians in Jordan have been in an energetic relationship using their Muslims counterparts. This interaction leads into dialogue on different levels: Everyday life dialogue, Beliefs Dialogue and Human dialogue. Within our workshops we try to address those three levels. Exactly what does it mean to be a human?

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