It Can Be Prudent to Just Remain Silent

Today marks day 15 in the current episode of this decades-long conflict, but this time it feels different. The last two weeks have been a never-ending doom-scroll of subtle racisms and misplaced nationalisms. Suddenly, it feels like everyone is an expert on Middle East history and politics. Even my most reserved friends have voiced passionately strong opinions on the conflict.

Maybe this heightened desire for certainty stems from the disorienting and chaotic nature of our current era in world history. This would explain why this present episode has been so globally divisive and also why people feel they need to conform to the ways of the world which demand arbitrary lines of morality be drawn in the sand.

It’s particularly unsettling to observe this most prominently within Christian communities. Ignorance reinforces xenophobia. Social media algorithms add to the binary, one-sided thinking. It feels like a Rorschach test where the events reveal more about ourselves than we dare think.

A few people have asked me for guidance and encouraged me to speak up. Honestly, I’m weary and discouraged, finding myself meditating on Amos 5:13,

“‭‭Those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time.”

In a world of disinformation and echo chambers, the prophet Amos offers much to ponder. This passage teaches that when there is so much propaganda hurled into the court of public opinion, it can be prudent to just remain silent.

Such is the evil in our time. Sometimes prayerful silence requires a level of prophetic restraint.

For me, at least, I am concentrating on lament, humility, and intercession. Women and children face unimaginable suffering at the hands of self-righteous men and their weapons. One day God will right all wrongs. Until then, only Christ-centered interventions can break the endless cycle of revenge in this intractable conflict. Against the power imbalance of sin and empire, our Lord went to the cross in non-violent, sacrificial love. We stand with him in the resurrected irony of victorious death: pro-peace, pro-justice, and especially pro-Jesus. Ultimately, he answers everything and everyone must answer to him.

This post first appeared as “A Prophetic Non-Statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” which was posted on the Circumpolar blog on October 22, 2023.

About Warrick Farah

Dr. Warrick Farah serves with One Collective as a missiologist and theological educator. He is editor of Motus Dei: The Movement of God to Disciple the Nations (2021) as well as co-editor of Margins of Islam: Ministry in Diverse Muslim Contexts (2018). His research interests include Muslim Studies, Frontier Missiology, Integral Mission, and Church Planting Movements. He has published in journals such as EMQ, Missiology, IJFM, Global Missiology, and the Great Commission Research Journal. Warrick is the founder and a facilitator of the Motus Dei Network (https://MotusDei.Network) and is a researcher at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.