Monday, August 4, 2008


The term contrapuntal translates from latin to english as counter-point. I have been reading somewhat on the Israel-Palestine epidemic from the Palestinian Christian perspective and have been exposed to the other side of the "state of Israel" dilemma. The events that lead up to a firmament of the specific geographic residence for ethnic Jews has been somewhat startling. Given, i haven't spent much time studying this specific area I was initially intrigued by a book written from the Palestinian Christian perspective with an ends to a Palestinian liberation theology. The author, Ateek, and his complete family and city had been displaced from homes, businesses, schools and other areas of community during the Jewish Zionist expansion in the late 40's. They were left with nothing but refugee camps and a daunting question of, "what next?"

I begin with "contrapuntal" because of its answer to a problematic stance that comes with a biased majority. For instance, I hadn't given much thought to the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue/tension while I am well aware of the U.S. support of Israel in their endeavors. When we think of ethnic Jews and the state of Israel i hadn't usually thought of military, violence, Zionism, and oppression...until now. Without going into all the details, which would constitute a large set of books, there is a need for Palestinian liberation and Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation. The Palestinian people who were violently displaced, stripped of cultural respect and marginalized are in need of replenishment. Palestinian Christians who have been condemned by fundamentalist right winged Old Testament literalists deserve to freed from such assumptions. Does God care about land more than people? Is God more concerned with war than peace? Are we disconnecting God of the Old Testament from God of the New Testament? Is it our job to set up the New Jerusalem or should it be in the hands of God?

Quickly let me say, all that we understand about God in the Old Testament is primitive understanding unless we connect it with Jesus Christ in the New Testament. If we see Jesus Christ we see God. There are not two different Gods acting in different Testaments, it is a growing understanding of who God is. For example, we can see the greatness of God by his longing to be involved in all aspects of life; from the way we eat to the clothes we wear. How great is God who is present and active in our lives?

my final comment is this: I know that there have been wrongs on both sides of the Jewish Palestinian relations, but the point is that there are 2 sides to the story and probably even more. The Palestinian liberation message is about Justice with Mercy. It is reconciliation. It is acknowledging the wrongs that have been done and to move into a place of community of sharing which was intact pre-Jewish Nationalism.

"For many centuries Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Druze, and more recently, Palestinian Baha'is have lived side by side. They belonged to different religious faiths, but they were all Palestinians."

Get involved in contrapuntal reading. Look at issues from all sides so that no voice is silenced, no person looked over, no group marginalized. In order to make right decisions that include God we must look at all perspectives so that we can come to a communal decisions that is fair and inclusive. Anything else is oppressive and destructive by nature which is not the heart of God.

inspired by:
Justice and only Justice by Naim Stifan Ateek

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