This report originally was posted at MondoWeiss.
From March 5 – 9, 2012 the Bethlehem Bible College will be hosting it’s second “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bethlehem. The conference will bring Christians from around the world to Bethlehem to connect with Palestinian Christians and to better understand the daily situation they are living under and how certain Christian theological stances help to perpetuate those conditions.
Many times Evangelical Christians, especially those from the United States never get off the “tourist trail” and have the opportunity to meet with Palestinians and to hear their stories. Daily trips to places like the Bethlehem Checkpoint, Hebron, and the Tent of Nations will give participants the opportunity to see areas most affected by the occupation.
The aim of “Christ at the Checkpoint” is to provide an opportunity for evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation. Some of the conference goals are stated as:
1. Empower and encourage the Palestinian church.
2. Expose the realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories and create awareness of the obstacles to reconciliation and peace.
3. Create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.
4. Motivate participants to become advocates for the reconciliation work of the church in Palestine/Israel and its ramifications for the Middle East and the world.
Speakers include Tony Campolo of Eastern University, Shane Claiborne of “The Simple Way”, Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Church, Sami Awad of Holy Land Trust journalist Ben White and many local pastors and leaders from the Bethlehem community. A full list of speakers can be found here.
This conference has already received a lot of attention from Christian and Jewish Zionist groups trying to cast it as “delegitimizing Israel”. Charges not often throw at Evangelical Christians.
More information on the conference can be found at their website www.christatthecheckpoint.com