Sabeel 2014
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  • 1. The Prophets and the Gospels: Christian Responsibility for Palestinian Justice
  • 2. slides will be available: www.brianmclaren.net Follow on Facebook and Twitter.
  • 3. My journey ...
  • 4. John Nelson Darby
  • 5. Plymouth Brethren Dispensationalism
  • 6. Jesus Movement -
  • 7. Jesus Movement - Charismatic Dispensationalism
  • 8. Neo-Calvinism “the elect”
  • 9. “Israel - one nation in the
  • 10. questioning: ecclesiology - men/women - science - biblical authority - hell - gospel - violence - atonement ...
  • 11. My journey ...
  • 12. My journey ...
  • 13. At Greenbelt Festival ... a meeting waiting for a bus
  • 14. A visit ... (thanks, Jeff & Janet Wright)
  • 15. My feelings ...
  • 16. My questions ...
  • 17. My commitment ...
  • 18. The Prophets and the Gospels: Christian Responsibility for Current Palestinian In- Justice
  • 19. “Texts of Terror”
  • 20. deuteronomy 7 When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you—the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you— 2and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. 3Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.
  • 21. Leviticus 25: Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.
  • 22. 1 Samuel 15 Samuel said to Saul, „The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” ‟
  • 23. Revelation 19:11 ff Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped in* blood, and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule* them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, „King of kings and Lord of lords‟. ... And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
  • 24. First, Christians turned the texts of terror upon the Jews. A brief history of Christian anti-semitism
  • 25. c. 240 Origen of Alexandria writes that the Jews "have committed the most abominable of crimes" in conspiring against Christ, and for that reason "the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election" 248 St. Cyprian writes that the Jews have fallen under the heavy wrath of God, because they have departed from the Lord, and have followed idols 306 The Council of Elvira decrees that Christians and Jews cannot intermarry, have sexual intercourse, or eat together
  • 26. 325 Conversation and fellowship with Jews is forbidden to the clergy by the Council of Nicaea 4th century Christian emperors of Rome decree that Christians converting to Judaism, and Jews obstructing the conversion of other Jews to Christianity, will incur the death penalty; Jews can not marry Christians, or hold public office, or own slaves c. 380 St. Gregory of Nyssa refers to the Jews as "murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels and detesters of God,... companions of the devil, race of vipers, informers, calumniators, darkeners of the mind, pharisaic leaven, Sanhedrin of demons, accursed, detested,... enemies of all that is beautiful" c. 380 St. Ambrose calls the synagogue "a place of unbelief, a home of impiety, a refuge of insanity, damned by God Himself" 388 A mob of Christians, at the instigation of their bishop, looted and burned the synagogue in Callinicum, a town on the Euphrates. The Emperor Theodosius wants those responsible punished and the synagogue rebuilt at the expense of the bishop, but St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, pressures him to relent and condone the action
  • 27. 325 Conversation and fellowship with Jews is forbidden to the clergy by the Council of Nicaea 4th century Christian emperors of Rome decree that Christians converting to Judaism, and Jews obstructing the 400 St. Augustine writes: "the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament is not taken away... the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive in it the grace of Christ" c. 400 Calling the synagogue "brothel and theater" and "a cave of pirates and the lair of wild beasts," St. John Chrysostom writes that "the Jews behave no better than hogs and goats in their lewd grossness and the excesses of their gluttony"
  • 28. 413 A group of monks sweep through Palestine, destroying synagogues and massacring Jews at the Western Wall 414 St. Cyril of Alexandria expels Jews from his city 425 Jews are required by law to observe Christian feasts and fasts and to listen to sermons designed to persuade them to convert 442 The synagogue in Constantinople is turned into a church 529-553 The Code of the emperor Justinian decrees that in Christian Byzantine society Jews cannot read their sacred books in Hebrew in their synagogues, and the Mishnah and other rabbinic interpretations are banned 538 The Third Synod of Orléans decrees that Jews cannot show themselves in the streets during Passover Week 591 Pope St. Gregory the Great decrees that Jews are not to be forced into baptism "lest they return to their former superstition and die the worse for having been born again" 600 Pope St. Gregory the Great decrees that Jews should not have excessive freedom, but also "in no way should they suffer a violation of their rights"
  • 29. 681 The Synod of Toledo orders the burning of the Talmud and other books 768 Pope Stephen IV decries ownership of hereditary estates by "the Jewish people, ever rebellious against God and derogatory of our rites" c. 830 Agobard, Archbishop of Lyons, writes anti-Jewish pamphlets in which he refers to Jews as "sons of darkness" c. 937 Pope Leo VII encourages his newly appointed archbishop of Mainz to expel all Jews who refuse to be baptized c. 1010-1020 In Rouen, Orléans, Limoges, Mainz, and probably also in Rome, Jews are converted by force, massacred, or expelled 1050 The Synod of Narbonne decrees that Christians are not permitted to live in Jewish homes c. 1070 Pope Alexander II warns the bishops of Spain to prevent violence against the Jews because, unlike the Saracens, they "are prepared to live in servitude" 1078 The Synod of Gerona decrees that Jews must pay the same taxes as Christians to support the church 1081 Pope Gregory VII writes to King Alphonso of Spain telling him that if he allows Jews to be lords over Christians, he is oppressing the Church and exalting "the Synagogue of Satan"
  • 30. 1096 Massacres of Jews takes place in the First Crusade, destroying entire Jewish communities in Mainz, Speyer, Worms, Cologne and other cities. The Jewish chronicler reports: "The enemies stripped them naked and dragged them off, granting quarter to none, save those few who accepted baptism. The number of the slain was eight hundred in these two days." The chronicler Guibert de Nogent reports that the Rouen Crusaders said: "We desire to go and fight God's enemies in the East; but we have before our eyes certain Jews, a race more inimical to God than any other" 1182 Jews are expelled from France, all their property is confiscated, and Christians' debts to them are cancelled with the payment of one-fifth of their value to the treasury 1190 The Third Crusade, led by Richard the Lion-Heart, stirs anti-Jewish fervor and results in the mass suicide of the York Jews in Clifford's Tower on March 16 1198 Jews are allowed to return to France 1199 Pope Innocent III decrees that Jews are to be allowed to worship in their synagogues, they are not to be coerced into baptism, and that Jewish cemeteries are not to be mutilated 1215 The Fourth Lateran Council decrees that Jews are to wear distinctive clothing, and on the three days before Easter they are not to go out in public 1222 The Council of Oxford prohibits the construction of new synagogues
  • 31. 1227 The Council of Narbonne orders Jews to wear a round patch 1230 Jews in France are forbidden to lend money on interest 1234 The Council of Arles orders Jews to wear a round patch 1235 Thirty-four Jews are burned to death in Fulda on a blood-libel charge 1246 The Council of Béziers orders Jews to wear a round patch 1247 Pope Innocent IV defends the Jews: "they are wrongly accused of partaking of the heart of a murdered child at the Passover... Whenever a corpse is found somewhere, it is to the Jews that the murder is wickedly imputed. They are persecuted on the pretext of such fables... they are deprived of trial and of regular judgment; in mockery of all justice, they are stripped of their belongings, starved, imprisoned and tortured" 1254 The Council of Albi orders Jews to wear a round patch 1260 The Council of Arles orders Jews to wear a round patch, but not when traveling 1267 The Synod of Vienna decrees that Christians cannot attend Jewish ceremonies, and Jews cannot dispute with simple Christian people about the Catholic religion
  • 32. 1267 The Synod of Breslau decrees compulsory ghettos for Jews 1267 Pope Clement IV instructs the Franciscans and Dominicans to deal with the "new Christians" who had reverted to Judaism c. 1270 St. Thomas Aquinas writes that the Jews sin more in their unbelief than do pagans because they have abandoned the way of justice "after knowing it in some way" 1272 Pope Gregory X defends the Jews: "It happens sometimes that Christians lose their children and that the enemies of the Jews accuse them of having kidnaped and killed these children in order to offer sacrifices with their heart and blood, and it also happens that the parents themselves, or other Christians who are enemies to the Jews, hide the children and attack the Jews, demanding of them, as ransom, a certain sum of money, on the entirely false pretext that these children had been kidnaped and killed by the Jews" 1275 Jews in England are forbidden to lend money on interest 1279 The Synod of Ofen decrees that Christians cannot sell or rent real estate to Jews 1283 Jews in France are forbidden to live in the countryside 1284 The Council of Nîmes orders Jews to wear a round patch
  • 33. 1289 The Council of Vienna orders Jews to wear a round patch 1290 Jews are expelled from England and southern Italy 1294 Jews in France are restricted to special quarters of the cities 1294 Jews are expelled from Bern 1298 The Jews of Röttingen, charged with profaning the Host, are massacred and burned down to the last one 1320 The "Shepherds' Crusade." A Christian chronicler records: "The shepherds laid siege to all the Jews who had come from all sides to take refuge... the Jews defended themselves heroically... but their resistance served no purpose, for the shepherds slaughtered a great number of the besieged Jews by smoke and by fire... The Jews, realizing that they would not escape alive, preferred to kill themselves... They chose one of their number (and) this man put some five hundred of them to death, with their consent. He then descended from the castle tower with the few Jewish children who still remained alive... They killed him by quartering. They spared the children, whom they made Catholics by baptism"
  • 34. 1326 The Council of Avignon orders Jews to wear a round patch, but not when traveling 1345 King John authorizes his subjects in Liegnitz and Breslau to destroy the Jewish cemeteries in order to use the tombstones to repair the city walls 1347-1350 During the Black Death, Jews are accused of poisoning wells in order to overthrow Christendom, and many thousands of Jews are killed. Pope Clement VI defends the Jews against these charges
  • 35. 1350 Jews are expelled from many parts of Germany 1367 Jews are expelled from Hungary 1368 The Council of Vabres orders Jews to wear a round patch 1381 Jews are expelled from Strasbourg 1394 The expulsion of Jews from France, begun in 1306, is completed with an edict promulgated on the Jewish Day of Atonement 1420 Jews are expelled from Mainz by the archbishop 1421 Jews are expelled from Austria 1424 Jews are expelled from Fribourg and Zurich c. 1425 Pope Martin V denounces anti-Jewish preaching and forbids the forced baptism of Jewish children under the age of twelve
  • 36. 1426 Jews are expelled from Cologne 1432 Jews are expelled from Saxony 1434 The Council of Basel decrees that Jews cannot obtain academic degrees 1435 King Alfonso orders the Jews of Sicily to attach a round patch to their clothing and over their shops 1438 Jews are expelled from Mainz by the town councilors 1439 Jews are expelled from Augsburg 1453 Jews are expelled from Wurzburg 1454 Jews are expelled from Breslau 1456 Pope Callistus III bans all social communication between Christians and Jews 1462 Jews are expelled from Mainz following a conflict between two candidates for the archepiscopal seat 1467 Jews are expelled from Tlemcen 1471 Jews are expelled from Mainz by the archbishop
  • 37. Martin Luther, “The Jews and Their Lies” (1543) I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the god of the world, and wherever God's word is absent he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen. * * * He did not call them Abraham's children, but a "brood of vipers" [Matt. 3:7]. Oh, that was too insulting for the noble blood and race of Israel, and they declared, "He has a demon' [Matt 11:18]. Our Lord also calls them a "brood of vipers"; furthermore in John 8 [:39,44] he states: "If you were Abraham's children ye would do what Abraham did.... You are of your father the devil. It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham's but the devil's children, nor can they bear to hear this today.
  • 38. First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly - and I myself was unaware of it - will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know. Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God. Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)
  • 39. Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: "what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord." Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], "You are Peter," etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach. Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (...remainder omitted). Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God's blessing in a good and worthy cause.
  • 40. Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.
  • 41. First, Christians turned the texts of terror upon the Jews.
  • 42. Then our ancestors applied the texts of terror elsewhere: Africa
  • 43. Texts of Terror: South America
  • 44. Texts of Terror: North America
  • 45. Land theft, occupation, genocide, trails of tears, concentration camps, disappearance from history
  • 46. Slavery
  • 47. Nellie Norton: or, Southern Slavery and the Bible: A Scriptural Refutation of the Principal Arguments Upon Which the Abolitionists Rely: A Vindication of Southern Slavery From the Old and New Testaments, (1864) by Ebenezer Willis Warren, an obscure 44-year old Protestant clergyman from Macon, GA. Last major defense of slavery in the U.S.
  • 48. Nellie Norton: “… the Bible is a pro-slavery Bible, and God is a pro-slavery God,” “… the North must give up the Bible and religion, or adopt our views of slavery.”
  • 49. 51 Texts of Terror: still in use today
  • 50. “Texts of Terror”
  • 51. A well-known American Christian pastor recently said: In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship ... a guy I can beat up.
  • 52. From Left Behind: “The Glorious Appearing”: [When Jesus spoke] ”… bodies ripped open, blood pooling in great masses … Men and women and soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood." [Jesus walked through the battlefield] “… the hem of his robe turning red in the blood of the enemy."
  • 53. Last fall, the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin spoke at the WallBuilders' Pro-Family Legislators Conference where he declared that when Jesus comes back, he'll do so carrying an AR- 15 assault rifle. As Boykin explained once before, Jesus was a tough guy and real "man's man," and that is because he is a warrior who will come back covered in the blood of his enemies and carrying an assault rifle ... which is why every Bible believing Christian must own one as well: - See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bo ykin-when-jesus-comes-back-hell-be- carrying-ar-15-assault- rifle#sthash.E5gl5jrr.dpuf
  • 54. The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 is says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A might warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe ... I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies 'cause he's coming back as a warrior carrying a sword. And I believe now - I've checked this out - I believe that sword he'll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15. Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? ... From the Founding Fathers, it's in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus when he said to his disciples 'now, if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.' I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! He was saying in building my kingdom, you're going to have to fight at times. You won't build my kingdom with a sword, but you're going to have to defend yourself. And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that's where the whole thing came from. I can't prove that historically and David [Barton] will counsel me when this is over, but I know that's where it came from. And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don't have one, go get one. You're supposed to have one. It's biblical. - Jeremy Boykin
  • 55. From 2nd Lesson, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Good News Club, present in 3200 US public schools in Fall 2012: "You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left." "That was pretty clear, wasn't it?" "The Amalekites had heard about Israel's true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment." "If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, 'I did it!'?" "If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!" "How did King Saul only partly obey God when he attacked the Amalekites? (He did not completely destroy as God had commanded, he kept the king and some of the animals alive.)" (from The Guardian, 30 May 2012)
  • 56. Through its appropriation of “texts of terror,” and especially through its application of those texts to the Jews, the Christian religion created the conditions for the oppression of Palestinians.
  • 57. Through its appropriation of “texts of terror,” and especially through its application of those texts to the Jews, the Christian religion created the conditions for the oppression of Palestinians.
  • 58. Through its appropriation of “texts of terror,” and especially through its application of those texts to the Jews, the Christian religion created the conditions for the oppression of Palestinians.
  • 59. The Prophets and the Gospels: Christian Responsibility for Palestinian Justice How do we respond?
  • 60. I believe we have a systemic problem with the overarching story of modern/Western/colonia l Christianity ... The pre-critical framing story we bring to the biblical text ...
  • 61. Hell Salvation Fallen History/ Fallen world Fall HeavenEden
  • 62. Hades Philosophic enlightenment Aristotelian Real Fall Into Aristotelian Real Platonic IdealPlatonic Ideal
  • 63. Destruction, defeat Civilization, development, colonialism assimilationBarbarian/ pagan world Rebellion into barbarism Pax RomanaPax Romana
  • 64. Destruction, defeat Civilization, development, colonialism assimilationBarbarian/ pagan world Rebellion into barbarism Pax RomanaPax Romana
  • 65. Who is God in this storyline? “If your vision of God if flawed, the more devoted you are, the worse off you will be.”
  • 66. Is there an alternative/subversiv e understanding of the biblical narrative?
  • 67. the danger of a single story chimamanda adichie
  • 68. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is "nkali." It's a noun that loosely translates to "to be greater than another."
  • 69. Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they're told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, "secondly."
  • 70. 73 Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story.
  • 71. sdrawkcab gnidaer Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Charles Finney, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, Paul, Jesus reading forwards Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Moses, David, Isaiah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus ----- >
  • 72. Exodus: Liberation & Formation
  • 73. Exodus: Liberation & Formation Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
  • 74. Exodus: Liberation & Formation Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy
  • 75. Not a single “totalizing metanarrative” - an us-them story that legitimates domination and purification (scapegoating). But a “multi-narrative” that creates a story-space (not a story-line) in which many stories can emerge and interact.
  • 76. Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy c r e a t i o n
  • 77. Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy DESTRUCTION VIOLENCE DOMINATION c r e a t i o n
  • 78. Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy New Creation Reconciliation Liberation c r e a t i o n
  • 79. “There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of „Heaven‟ ridiculous by saying they do not want „to spend eternity playing harps‟. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown- ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible... People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.” - C.S. Lewis
  • 80. “There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of „Heaven‟ ridiculous by saying they do not want „to spend eternity playing harps‟. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown- ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible... People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.” - C.S. Lewis
  • 81. 6 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 „The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord‟s favour.‟
  • 82. 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, „Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.‟
  • 83. 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, „Is not this Joseph‟s son?‟ 23He said to them, „Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ‟
  • 84. 24And he said, „Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet‟s home town. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers* in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.‟
  • 85. Jesus, in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets, refused to limit the scope of God‟s care to an elite or elect “us.” So must we.
  • 86. The Prophets and the Gospels: Christian Responsibility for Palestinian Justice We might say it is time for the Christian faith to be born again.
  • 87. It is time to acknowledge our past. It is time for a radical rethinking of our whole understanding of the Biblical story, the gospel, and what it means to be Christians. It is time to join with Jews, Muslims, and others who seek peace, justice, and the common good.
  • 88. It is time to reclaim the Bible as “a book for grown-ups.”
  • 89. It is time to create safe spaces where new ways of seeing, speaking, and being Christian can be practiced.
  • 90. We cannot be naive about the possible subconscious motivations for maintaining the status quo: - Doctrinal statements and job security - the biblical inerrancy/authority/violence/domination package - Economic bullying - remember World Vision - Fundraising via fear (Religious Broadcasting Industry) - Shame over the Holocaust & historic anti-Semitism - Innocence by association with a victim - Incorporation/assimilation (and subtle elimination) of the other - Legitimization for a new scapegoat: Islam - Perpetuation of the idea of an “elect” elite - American/Israeli exceptionalism. - Military proxy in the oil-rich Middle East
  • 91. We must trust the power of a better story (good news) to bring a better day.
  • 92. The costs may be high, and we may suffer ... but the costs of inaction are higher still.
  • 93. Thank you, Sabeel, for your courageous leadership in this journey.
  • 94. Thanks to each of you, advocates for justice, compassion, and peace.
  • 95. The Prophets and the Gospels: Christian Responsibility for Palestinian Justice