A Space for Peace in the Holy Land: Listening to Modern Israel and Palestine
Ebook: Englewood Review of Books, 2014.
Buy now: [ Kindle ]
“In A Space for Peace in the Holy Land, Alex challenges Christians to bear witness to the space that God has opened in the world by the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, to pray and to work for the reconciliation of Palestinians and Jews in the Middle East, and to support those persons, institutions, and policies that will make for peace in this most contested place in the world. The vision that he presents does not allow us to succumb to frustration or ideological posturing, but challenges us to serve the work of reconciliation that God has entrusted to us through Jesus Christ.”
-Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, United Methodist Church
“A Space for Peace in the Holy Land is a particularly helpful resource that sheds light on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This little book is essential reading for any Christian who desires to understand and to be engaged in this conflict.”
– C. Christopher Smith, co-author SLOW CHURCH: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
Read the book’s introduction below…
ALSO, I have a few FREE copies of this book for people who would review it on their blog or another website or publication.
CONTACT ME if you would be able to review it.
“So we are ambassadors who represent Christ…”
–2 Corinthians 5:20
Christians, Jews, and Muslims think of it as the Holy Land, a place of pilgrimage and wonder filled with sites that populate the scriptures of all three faiths. It is not the sacredness of the region that captures headlines, however, but the struggles. More than six decades after the founding of the modern State of Israel, and forty-five years after the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, Palestinians and Israelis still find themselves locked in an on-going conflict, which regularly spills into violence and bloodshed.
For Christians, the holiness of the land comes down to an open space. Christian pilgrims come to see the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, to walk the lakeside hills where he taught, and to touch the Rock of the Mount where he was crucified, but also to peer into a borrowed tomb that contains no body. The place of that tomb may be disputed, but the importance of that open space is not. Christians have hope for a redeemed and reconciled world and for peace because of the resurrection to which that space bears witness.
So how do Christians hold this space, in the midst of deep divisions and ongoing conflict? How do we, like Jesus, stand in solidarity with the suffering people of the land? And how can we be witnesses for peace when there is so much confusion about what is going on and how to address it?
Many of us also have strong relationships with Palestinian and other Arab Christian churches. The Catholic and Orthodox presence in this land is an ancient one. The Protestant presence in the region is more recent, dating from the early 19th century, when churches sent missionaries to evangelize. Strong and enduring relationships were built up between these churches and the Palestinian Christians, and Protestant missionaries continue to serve in Israel and Palestine.
This book is intended to be a resource for Christian churches seeking to make a faithful response to the suffering experienced by the people of the Holy Land – Christians, Jews, and Muslims. By looking back at the modern history of the region, we can see the sources of the conflict, dispel some of the myths, and appreciate the complexities of the situation. This book also offers some theological resources for grounding our responses in something deeper than what is generally offered in the intertwining, overlapping, and competing claims.
It is easy to join the shouting, to choose sides, and to allow political stances, religious ideologies, or even the simple reality of the evident pain to determine our actions. But it is my conviction that our role is not to fill the space with more noise and unhelpful actions, but to hold the space prayerfully and to listen to the history and the narratives of all of the peoples in this land. There is no unwounded participant in this conflict and avoiding further harm is a primary gospel priority. We are ambassadors for the reconciling work of God, proclaiming peace until it can be claimed by all. This book is a call to that distinctively Christian way of being in the world.
Download your copy of A Space for Peace in the Holy Land now!