When the voice of wisdom and logic resounds

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, abouna.org

In Kafranja, Jordan’s city of culture for 2019, the Shafa Cultural Community has held a conference at the Young Women’s Association of Kafranja on “the role of tribal customs and traditions in conflict resolution and in the attainment of community peace.” A number of elders of the Jordanian tribes, known for their influential and effective role in society, took part in the conference. We listened to their addresses in which they identified the role they play in enhancing security, stability, and social peace in cooperation with the security apparatuses.

When I was asked to address this important forum, I spoke as one of the children of the dear Ajloun Governorate, as well as a clergyman working in public affairs through media. I said that the conference makes us proud by encouraging cultural and intellectual gatherings outside the capital, Amman. I added that that there is a similarity between the roles played by clergymen and the elders of tribes where both seek to attain reconciliation and to disseminate an atmosphere of tolerance among people, without elimination of justice in its capacity as the core issue.

In the Holy Church, the apostles were called elders with each holding a priestly responsibility. This title is dear for being mentioned in the Bible. If the Church nowadays wants to create a bishop or archbishop, or an elder according to the old nomenclature, he must have three noble qualities: to be pious, to be a teacher, and to be wise. I have to admit that when I was asked to address the noble elders of the tribes, I remembered these three qualities, because of the similarity of the two missions:

First: The elders should be pious where piety is deep-rooted in faith, maintain perseverance to pray, ensure respect for other religions, and consider religions as a factor for the attainment of peace rather than disputes. Our Arab land and the world have been imbued with blood shed in recent years by terrorism, which is sometimes based on mentally-retarded people who wanted to manipulate religion for their criminal whims. Their failure has been proved. The role of the mosque and church elders, as is the case with the elders of tribes, is to show piety and indicate that religion serves peace rather than conflicts. We all have a responsibility to continue dialogue and cooperation between Christians and Muslims, because religious and sectarian differences disappear at the moment of considering a common need for peacekeeping in the society.

Second: The elder should be a teacher where education is not confined to certificates. It is physiognomy and the knowledge of life. In Jordan, we have a school that has sublime education, reflecting culture and the nobility of ethics. It is the school of the righteous Hashemites. It is the school of altruism, the school of humanitarian feelings, and charity. It is the school of tolerance, good intentions and work for the attainment of peace. One cannot be a teacher if one is neither educated nor a brilliant student.

The elders must be sagacious as we badly need sagacity nowadays. The wise need not be silent, because those who brush aside justice represent a devilish act. We badly need the wisdom of the “sagacious people” more than ever. With the innate alertness of the elders of our tribes—as they are the soldiers in the service of the leader and the nation, we can join them in reviving hope in young people, maintain positive attitude in life, keep fear of God in mind–because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom—as well as serve God, the homeland and the King, including our ability to do good, and spread serenity everywhere, in addition to attain peace among people. In this way we can uphold genuine peace, and take pride in the achievements of the homeland.