Journalists, reporters, and political analysts specializing in the Middle East affairs have incessantly been writing articles questioning the future of the Middle East Christians in the wake of the prevailing turbulent situations, chaos, and confusion that has ripped through the region, while wreaking irreversible damage that brings about a bad omen. They have been leaving no stone unturned in looking for acceptable solutions to the bleak situation precipitating in the region.
The question relevant to the future of Middle East Christians is a maze of obscurity. The prevailing adversary conditions which include poverty, unemployment, and lack of security which leave no room for the alleviation of suffering particularly in the 21st century where a new chapter is to be turned over characterized by people pooling sincere efforts to ensure a prosperous and safe future for the generations to come.
A document titled, “Christians in the Middle East: Towards Renewed Theological, Social, and Political Choices” has recently been released. The document, released during an official presentation organized in the conference room of the church of Sant’Elia, in Antelias, Lebanon, is the result of the long work carried out by an ecumenical team of specialists in theology, social studies and geopolitical issues , “Men and women, ordained and lay ministers wanted to confront themselves with frankness and freedom “on issues that some may consider inappropriate for a public debate”.
The team, which has taken as its initials a formula that echoes a verse from Deuteronomy “We have chosen life in abundance”, included– among others–Professor Souraya Bechealany, former secretary general of the Council on the Churches of the Middle East, and Maronite priest Rouphael Zgheib, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Lebanon.
On the one hand, this document acknowledges that Christians in the Middle East face enormous emergencies and provocations where the gradual fading of Christian presence and witness makes it imperative to undertake an in-depth examination of the situation, drawing on a calm critical reading.
On the other hand, the rapidly diminishing and alarming hemorrhage of the Middle East Christian is attributed in the first place to the absence of security which eliminates the chances for a prosperous and promising future in addition to economic difficulties, which lead to unemployment and to poverty.
The dwindling number of Middle East Christians will definitely eliminate a key factor of diversity as well as inflict serious and irreparable damage due to the fact that they are an essential component of history and culture. This is attributed to their indispensable contribution to the advancement of societies particularly in the fields of education, health, science, industry, and engineering which directly impacts the economy in general.
It is the duty of the world leaders and various humanitarian organizations to lance the boil and immediately undertake tangible steps that ensure the safety and security of Middle East Christians while launching projects that fight unemployment and consequently help create a better future. The wheel of the economy needs to be lubricated and be concomitant with guarantees for a stable and prosperous future which preserves the Christians’ presence in the land of their ancestors.
Lord Jesus Christ addressed his disciples saying, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Taking serious and practical steps is exigent before too late as this is needed to stop the hemorrhage of Middle East Christians and to maintain the “Salt of the Earth” free from corruption so as to ensure the beauty of the regional beauty characterized by common living which helps ensure a bright future.