Love Your Enemies

Palestinian_refugees_1948Palestinian Christian Bible Scholar, Yohanna Katanacho, spoke at Catalyst Live, Reading, UK 2013.

Today is the 1948 anniversary of Israeli independence and the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe).

Loving enemies is still the best way to make friends.  Pray for Israelis and the Palestinians.

Source: Love Your Enemies

Yohanna Katanacho Catalyst Live Reading 2013 BMS

Advertisements
Concerning God’s Promises

Concerning God’s Promises

 

J. John interviewing the brilliant Tom Wright, asks a question from the audience (the Youtube video can be viewed at the end of the post):

[Warning:  Long sentence alert]!

Question: 

“How do you understand the specific scriptures concerning God’s promises to the Jewish people today and also concerning the actual land of Israel?”

Tom Wright:

Continue reading

The Myth of the Myth of Palestine

Israel_Palestine_Flag[1]It is, if I may be frank, quite pathetic that the spurious charge of a myth should so perpetuate itself.  In fact, it is nothing other than Girardian scapegoating on an industrial scale.  If you can convince a person or group that another person or group is somehow less than deserving, less human, less, just less….less…..less….in whatever way is chosen, it stands to reason you can do anything to them.

ANYTHING!

The founder of the WZO (World Zionist Organisation in 1897), Theodore Herzl, had the primary objective of seeking a homeland.  The irony for this German Jew, was that he loved the German civilization, he didn’t even like the Hebrew religion, and nor did he consider himself scattered or disparate – he loved European culture, as did many of his bourgeois compatriots!  He was also a failed playwright, and even in writing his book Der Judenstat (An attempt at a modern solution to the Jewish question), his primary motivation was, as Goldberg percieves, to establish his credentials as the “sober, judicious Doctor of Law rather than the author of drawing room comedies.”

Continue reading

England and Wales: Al-Nakba re-imagined

walesenglandHow would you feel if:

  • You were Welsh,
  • and you lived in Wales,
  • and the English built a wall between England and Wales?

And if:

  • the English built a wall actually into Wales, dividing up villages and farms,
  • and stopped you from going to England, even to a nearby hospital?

And then:

  • built English towns inside Wales,
  • and joined their towns with roads that only they could use?

And then:

  • made it almost impossible for you to build houses in your country, and destroyed houses already there that they said were illegal?

 

Suppose the English did all this and forced it on you by military force, what would you feel then?

You would feel

Angry

Depressed

Full of despair

The whole idea is ridiculous.

It would be so unjust.

So how do you think the Palestinians feel?

This scenario is suggested by Friends of Sabeel UK, and describes the situation using England/Wales instead of Israel/Palestine.  The feelings expressed here are a natural consequence of colonization and occupation.  This describes a present Palestinian reality, and it can be traced back to the 19th century political ideology and aspiration of European, secular Jews, that found expression in the events of May 15th 1948.

In a ‘meeting of ministers’ just before the British general election, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, answered my question about this intractible problem.  Although he answered very well and showed knoweldge and integrity, he did admit to me that this one issue is the single biggest problem he faces.

This is the Day Israel celebrates as Independence, and the Palestinian Muslims and Christians as ‘Al-Nakba’ or catastrophe.  The whole world needs to turn this event from a catastrophe to a eucatastrophe, and in this regard, the Church, with her Resurrected Lord, must be at the forefront of this, instead of the eschatological horror show that is Christian Zionism.

free-palestine-end-occupation

Heretical Eschatology

“The Anglo-American Protestant tradition of Judeo-centric prophecy interpretation was from its inception a political theology.

The tradition openly constructed friends (Jews) as well as enemies (Muslims and Roman Catholics), while cultivating occidentocentric discources that discounted Eastern Christians.  rahebcover

These constructions are manifested in contemporary discourses surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which cast Jews within eschatological dramas while demonizing Muslims and casting aspersions on Christians who are Palestinian or sympathetic to the Palestinian national cause.

The tradition’s most visible and direct impulses are manifested in Anglo-American Christian Zionism, which I define as political action, informed by specifically Christian commitments, to promote or preserve Jewish control over the geographic area now containing Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Robert O. Smith, Interpreting the Bible, Interpreting the World: Anglo-American Christian Zionism and Palestinian Christian Concerns, in The Biblical Text in the Context of Occupation – Towards a New Hermeneutic of Liberation,(Ed. Mitri Raheb), p.156

So writes Robert Smith, pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in his brilliant chapter of the book.  Constructions are just what they are, politcal, religious and ideological constructions of the latest (19th century) theological system that has basically become the Western paradigm.  How can this be? Continue reading

Zionism Unsettled

Zionism UnsettledZionism Unsettled produced by Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (website here), released one year ago in January 2014, is a great resource for Churches working towards a more healthy and hopeful  understanding of the terrible situation between Israelis and Palestinians.  PDF flyer here.

One blogger, a Rabbi no less, Brant Rosen, calls this production an “exciting guide…..smart, gutsy and important.”

James M. Wall, over at Wallwritings defends the publication in the face of an inevitable outcry of antisemitism, poor history, a guide that is “neither false nor misguided.”

The video production links are given below, and in the space given to each video, approximately twenty minutes each, they really are a succint and helpful introduction, something I would commend to followers of Jesus in the Churches everywhere.

In many ways, the criticism, whilst treading a very tired and frankly, predictable path, is a cheap shot given the people who have commended the work.  Of note is the great Old Testament Scholar Walter Breuggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary,

“The urgency of the Palestinian plight in the face of Israeli intransigence indicates that intentional, concrete, and sustained public action is necessary to respond credibly to the crisis. Zionism Unsettled…will prove an effective vehicle for helping to mobilize public opinion so that both attitudes and policies can be transformed in the face of an imperious and exploitative ideology.”

Similarly, Ilan Pappe, Israeli Professor of History at Exeter University, England, is a contributor on one of the productions.  Pappe has contributed to a critique of the Zionist ideology through many articles and books over many years, and has paid a high price for his convictions.

And conviction is the reason I am posting this.  In a paper unconnected to Zionism Unsettled, in a critique of Christian Zionism inTruth Speaking the Truth – Zionism, Israel and Occupation (ed. Michael Prior), Peter J. Miano, Executive Director of the Society for Biblical Studies, writes in his chapter ‘Mainstream Christian Zionism’ that in

“Reconsidering Christian Zionism in its mainstream form leads inevitably to vexing moral conflicts.  It requires re-examination of widely held assumptions about ethnic identity and nationhood and the moral implications of these.”

He adds,

“It raises issues that are considered taboo in the Church and takes us into perilous academic ‘no-fly zones’.  But intellectual honesty requires no less” (emphasis mine) p.145.

I myself have firsthand experience of this taboo in the Church, from people I do not know and people I do.  It is always a heart-sinking moment when the letter you’ve just opened is not so much a robust converstaion but a ‘no-fly zone’ hidden behind language masquerading as informed whilst reinforcing the unspoken taboo – “Don’t criticise Israel – anything but that!”

Well, I love Jewish people, secular or religious.  I love the ancient biblical land of Israel/Palestine.  I love Palestinians, Muslim or Christian.  I do not love or like Zionism, an experimental ideology that has been weighed and found wanting, and in the process, ruined generations of lives.  It is not just intellectual honesty that requires this terrible system of oppression and de-humanising be confronted, but it is moral courage in the face of occupation and conquest that must also drive forward this conflict to peaceful conclusions.

 

Click here to go to the Vimeo video production links…

 

 

…or individually below:

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90020873

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90025253

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90035526

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90695342

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90698337

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90700383

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/90703150

http://vimeo.com/channels/zuepisodes/91430944

Jesus says…. V’s Christian Zionism says….

Rainbow

Christian Zionism says “This is my land, we’re staying put!”

Jesus says, “Go in all the world and make disciples.”

Christian Zionism says “Abraham is our father!”

Jesus says “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did.”

Christian Zionism says “We must help rebuild the Temple.”

Jesus says, “My body is the Temple.”

Christian Zionism says “Palestinian ethnic cleansing doesn’t really matter – it’s all part of the Plan.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Christian Zionism says, “This land is ours by divine right.”

Jesus says “But I say to you, love your enemies.”

Christian Zionism says “To criticise the Jews/Israelis is anti-semitic.”

Jesus says “Take the plank out of your own eye first.”

wall

Continue reading