Recovering Evangelicalism – Seeking a Justice-based peace in the Middle East –

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Walking the walk – Only the Brave?

http://meec.org.uk/walking-the-walk-only-the-brave/

My new post on website blog

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Zionism is antiSemitic

(Edited from Original post of September 2016)

My Objection to Zionism has nothing to do with Jews as a people group.  It isn’t Jews I have a problem with but the ideology that some Jews, (and sadly, some Christians) hold. I have to oppose Zionism because it is racist, exceptionalist and militarist. These should not be attractive characterstics for evangelical Christians, (like me), although they will be if you have an affinity with e.g. KKK, BNP, Frances FN or any other ethnic supremacist party, (whether white, black or other).

Zionism claims that it is simply about the rights of Jews to live in a land of their own, which sounds reasonable until we examine what that means in practice. The fact is that the land most Jews in Israel-Palestine now live on and the land they are taking away daily by building settlements is land where another people, Palestinians, live and have lived for many generations.

The Zionist arguments in justification are exceptionalist – the Jews are special (that, by the way, is not the same as the ‘chosen people’ argument. Most of the early Zionists were secular socialists).  Zionists believe that Arabs are inferior, not just different. It is only necessary to listen to their descriptions, ‘snakes’, ‘rats’, ‘dirty’, etc. That is racism.

Thus, to defend Zionism is to give comfort to a system that denies the inherent equality of humankind —  contradicting both creational monotheism (Hebrew) and the Christian Gospel — and demands special treatment for one people group, Jews, over all others, especially Palestinians. Defending Zionism is to support an ideology that achieves its aim of occupying all the land through overwhelming military force – the ‘Iron Wall’ and retains control by militaristic, economic and political oppression. It is to praise a system that allows democracy only when Jews are in a substantial majority.  Militarist, racist, exceptionalist, it is utterly at odds with true Judaism and as far as can possibly be from the Sermon on the Mount. (Mt 5-7) and the commssion Jesus gave his followers.

The claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic reverses logic. The real anti-Semitism is the claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. Put it simply; because in its inherent nature it defines all Jews as racist, militaristic and exceptionalist it is Zionism that is anti-Semitic.

We Didn’t Know …

… is what they said; is what they’ll say –

and I wonder ‘Why?’  How come I, a mere pew-Christian know of the  crimes against the Palestinian people this Eastertide of 2018?    And Christian Leaders stay silent (with the noble exception of Christian Aid).

Don’t they know? How can they not know? Of what, of whom are they afraid? Doesn’t the Word tell us, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you” So what is holding you back from speaking out?

War: a Lament

Getting rid of stuff, a book fell open at random, at this:

War: a Lament

Not of its glory! leave that song to others,
Who have no risks to run, no lives at stake,
Who are not wives forlorn, are not mothers,
Let them with warlike songs the echoes wake.
The song I sing is one of grief and tears,
Of blighted homes through all life’s bitter years.

The grievousness of war! – awhile ‘tis hidden
By flashing swords, or lost ‘mid cannon’s roar,
While hate is hot, justice is overridden,
And universal brotherhood’s no more.
But let me bring the ‘afterword’ to thought:
Can glory fill the blank that war has brought?

Oh, how can hate to be overcome by hating?
Or how can blood and slaughter bring us peace?
When shall love’s morning end the night of waiting?
When shall love rule, and wars and bloodshed cease?
Not while ambition, love of power and pride
Master men’s hearts, and God is shut outside.

See how the fires of hatred Hell is heating!
See the grim weapons dealing death abroad!
See the peace-angel shudd’ringly retreating!
See how a nation sinks, bereft of God!
See the mad thirst that only blood can slake!
See and bewail! for human hearts must break!

The grievous loss of war outweighs its glory,
The woe and sorrow long outlive the gain;
The desolation lingers – when its story
Has faded from the busy people’s brain.
Oh, God have mercy, bid our warfare cease,
Teach us to choose Christ’s way of winning peace.
Ruth Tracy
from ‘The Salvationist Reciter’ published circa 1960’s

NB. Published on 11th on http://www.meec.org.uk

Balfour ‘celebration’ reflection

Last evening, Nov. 7th 2017,  people gathered at London’s Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the Balfour Declaration of 2nd Nov. 1917, as ‘Partners in this great Enterprise’. Christians and Jews together celebrating the creation of modern Israel and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population. Maybe some of my readers will be upset by that description but if we are honest it is difficult to put any other interpretation of the facts.

Gathering inside, a mighty congregation; well, actually not so mighty. One member of ‘Raised Voices’ commented that there didn’t seem to be many people going in. I’d calculate no more than 2000 including performers, (a 600 member choir from Denmark?), in a venue that can hold over 5,000.

Outside? A very mixed bunch. Handing our leaflets was difficult, especially when RAH security backed by a massive police presence insisted we could not hand out leaflets on private property. When I was able, most people refused, were not interested in a Palestinian Christian viewpoint. Some, did take leaflets and some, a very few, seemed genuinely interested in a different perspective; they were mostly younger people.

There were pro-Israel demonstrators outside as well, including the couple from Ireland who’d ‘entertained’ us on Saturday, (not sure whether they’re sectionable, but probably harmless). One woman and her friend became quite aggressivly verbally angry when she read the banner I was carrying. The text ran as follows: ‘Biblical Christians reject imperialist, exceptionalist, Zionism. Exceptionalism is racism, “There is no distinction …” If God will not, we must not.’

What infuriated her, I believe, is that I was, ‘standing on her ground’ – ‘Bible-believing’ Christians take all God’s word seriously, and that means Zionism, the rest of us must be ‘liberals’ who don’t really believe anything and can’t really be Christian. So when I say I am a bible-believing Christian she refuses to believe it, I must really be a ‘toy’ of the ‘Muslim extremists’ who were chantinf ‘Free Palestine’ just a few metres away. More to say maybe, later, but now it’s time for a little relaxation and a coffee.

Little Town of Bethlehem

“How can we sing the songs of the kingdom as strangers in our own land?” The Israelites in exile refused to sing the songs of Zion, they should be sung in Zion’s land. Half a millennium later Zion’s Messiah told his ambassadors to sing the song of the kingdom throughout the world and when they came to Europe we were glad.

We too sing the songs of the kingdom. But the people of the place from which that song came, sing their songs of joy and praise tinged with sadness and hopeless hopefulness.

The ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’ is surrounded by barbed wire, concrete and guns. From Incarnation to Incarceration, the place of Jesus’ birth a prison, the shepherds fields cut of by ‘the Wall’. Venture there and you too may be ‘cut off’.

What will you sing this Christmas time? How will you sing of Bethlehem? Will we be mindless of the pain of those who live there, or, shall we sing with a heartfelt commitment to justice for the persecuted, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew or other? Will we honour the incarnation; Jesus among us; through living the kingdom, challenging power, speaking truth, demanding justice and peace?

Or shall we just sing —  of shepherds, angels, lambs, and a baby —  of father Xmas, reindeer and presents —  but nothing of the greater gift:  of crucifixion, of resurrection, of rejection of earthly empires, of the kingdom of God ‘on earth as in heaven’.

Our choice:  no-one is watching …

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