The Imperative of a Two-State Solution: A Path To Peace for Israel/ Palestine

Column by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz on 23 November 2023 0 Comments

What deeply concerns me about Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza is "what's it all going to look like/ feel like on the other side"--when the violence has stopped?

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How is Christianity being affected by the Fundamentalist attitude towards belief?


Dear Reader,

This question is timely and so relevant given the many headlines in our media that could suggest fundamentalist Christian perspectives to speak for all of Christianity.  In general, fundamentalism offers one answer and a concrete way of thinking.  In an uncertain world, having an answer to hold might offer reassurance, but it usually also means less tolerance toward complexity, diversity, or doubt.  Within a fundamentalist view of Christianity, a strong emphasis is placed on the cross -- that because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, our missteps are forgiven.  But what about all that Jesus did before he died?  Jesus’s death hardly absolves us from ignoring his instructions to embrace everyone, especially the outcasts; to reject any marketplace that allows a few to get rich by enslaving others; and to be in relationship with all that lives, celebrating the divinity in all beings.

And then there is the Bible.  In short, biblical education is important and best not left to the ones trying to win an election.  Christian Nationalism, we know, uses sections of the Bible to speak for all of the Bible, as though there were “one” biblical worldview, which is completely untrue.  Written over hundreds of years by many authors, each responding to social concerns and political power moves of that moment, the Bible is exclusive in one spot and inclusive in the next.  It is not possible to believe everything in the Bible – but the parts we do believe say a lot about the kind of Christianity we practice.

When a fundamentalist interpretation promotes hate, causes and perpetuates harm, or allows a political system to rise in authoritarianism, we are living again in the Roman Empire (guess what?).  Jesus calls us to dismantle such accumulations of power and to do so humanely, with creativity.  He used stories to teach and to liberate.  His parables encourage self-reflection.  His opposition toward those misusing power was incredibly effective!  And he modeled ways, always, to make otherwise empty religious practices come alive with relevance and meaning because he prioritized relationship and creativity.

Centering liberation, justice, and radical love for all beings, the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) offer a glimpse at how Jesus walked in the world and give us operating instructions to which we can all aspire.  Within the Beatitudes, we find a list of ways to live with ourselves and others that both beg introspection and call us toward meaningful, visible action.  May this be the Christian community’s roadmap away from any inaccurate interpretations of Jesus’s embodied invitation for us all.

~ Rev. Lauren Van Ham




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