The Words of the Wilson Family
December 7, 2003
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Remember the conference call tonight at 10:00
We expect Rev. Jenkins to take part!!
10 Suggested strategies for contacting and talking with Jewish leaders:
1. Whenever possible, work through friendly Christian ministers and imams to reach out to their interfaith contacts. Rabbis involved in interfaith have a natural base to understand our activities, and their existing friendships with our clergy friends will provide a natural opening.
2. Emphasize that our purpose is to work for peace, and that we are NOT interested in converting anyone. Describe our view that God is the source of all religion, and that in God's family all religions are worthy of respect for the noble traditions they embody and the foundations of faith and sacrifice laid by their founders.
3. Always show God's unconditional love to the rabbi, which means showing absolute respect for his religion, love for Israel, and humility before the wisdom of the "elder brother." The theme of this peace rally is "Heart to Heart," so we should model it in our witnessing here.
4. Don't have the concept that you need a Jewish member to witness to a rabbi. In fact, often a non-jewish member can do better. All too often, when a Jewish member meets a rabbi, he is viewed as an apostate, and this makes the rabbi more interested in trying to "reconvert" the member back to Judaism than in discussing our purpose for the visit.
5. We recommend that you show the 21-minute video, the one that shows the Christian ministers taking down their crosses and the Jews and Christians embracing at the time of the Jerusalem Declaration in May. This can be extremely moving to Jews--to see Christians willing to make such a strong condition of humility for the sake of redressing centuries of anti-Semitism. Do not show the shorter versions of the video, which lack the taking down the cross theme and are so overwhelmingly Christian that they don't connect to the heart of Jews.
6. Describe the event as a building grass-roots movement, with many co-sponsors within Israel from all over the political spectrum. Unificationists have no intention of dominating the event; we see are roles as servants for peace, lifting up the spirit of peace for all Israelis and Palestinians to take ownership. Put to rest his fear that he is coming to a "Moonie event."
7. Stress that our event is not political in nature, but rooted in our understanding that an internal change, from the heart, is needed to create a better atmosphere for politicians to move forward to take courageous steps for peace. Also mention that we are working with equal intensity on both sides, with Palestinians as well as with Israelis, to build a consensus for peace.
8. Do not have a concept that pigeonholes Judaism within Christian categories (it has evolved greatly in the 2000 years since the Old Testament age), or that denigrates its teachings as in any way inferior to Christianity. In fact, all of Jesus' ethical teachings--including love your enemy--can be found in Judaism. A Jew's relationship to God can be much deeper than a "master-servant relationship" as described in some Unification didactic texts. Be surprised at how deep many Jews are.
9. Do not initiate a discussion about Jesus. If the rabbi brings it up, because he has some concept about what Unification theology teaches about Jesus or about Rev. Moon's position as the Messiah, it is probably better to deflect his questions at the first meeting, until you get to know him much better. Emphasize that our view of the Messiah is not the same as the traditional Christian view, because Rev. Moon teaches that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic mission to build the Kingdom of God on earth (this is somehow close to the Jewish view of Messiah). Say that the focus of Rev. Moon's work is to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth today, a mission which is consistent with the missions of all messiahs and prophets. Bring the discussion back to peace in the middle east, saying that peacemaking is a way that we all can shoulder a "messianic task." (Many Jews understand the messianic concept as one that is shared broadly, and not as only the work of one individual)
10. If the Jewish leader has any further questions, encourage him to contact Rabbi Ben-Ami, who is graciously willing to speak to him.
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