Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: Walter Brueggemann. Chosen? Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Walter Brueggemann. Chosen?

In preparation for my participation on the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program's 'Mosaic of Peace' study tour to Israel and Palestine this April, we have been provided with a reading list. Brueggemann's small book is at the top of the list. With all his experience as a teacher in the church and with his vast expertise as a student of the Bible, Brueggemann helps me to name something that is crucially important. This point is crucially important for our general and overall understanding of the Bible. This point is specifically vital when we ponder the complex issues of the Middle East. Simply put, we cannot and should not make a direct, unquestioned link between then and now. We must respect the interpretive distance. We cannot simply transfer and connect convictions about the biblical Israel with the modern state of Israel. Doing so is a misuse of the Bible.

In Brueggemann's words:

"It will not do for Christian readers of the Bible to reduce the Bible to an ideological prop for the state of Israel, as though support for Israel were a final outcome of biblical testimony." 

And also . . .

"It is my hope that the Christian community in the United States will cease to appeal to the Bible as a direct support for the state of Israel and will have the courage to deal with the political realities without being cowed by accusations of anti-Semitism."   

I look forward to visiting the Holy Land for the first time. I seek to travel with an open heart, an open mind and a deep commitment to prayer.