I have frequently criticized On Being, Krista Tippett’s popular religion show on National Public Radio for avoiding the Zionism question and settling down in the featherbed of Israel support. (Here, here.)
Well, on Sunday Tippett interviewed Brian McLaren, a progressive evangelical Christian involved in the “emerging” Christian movement for what she termed a “provocative” conversation. McLaren spoke of being excommunicated from the evangelical community because of his stand in favor of gay marriage. And then 3/4ths of the way into the conversation, this slipped out (transcript here):
McLaren: It really gets interesting– I got a phone call seven or eight years ago, I was still a pastor– from a rabbi. He said, I represent a group of several dozen rabbis, who’ve read all your books. Which really impressed me. I thought, my wife hasn’t read all of my books.
They said we’d like to meet with you. So I met with some of these rabbis. And they’re having the same problem–
McLaren: If you’re a Jew who really thinks that’s what’s being done to Palestinians is wrong in the name of your religion, it’s very very hard to be a Jew who’s faithful to the prophetic tradition. And so we’re all struggling with this. I know Muslims are struggling with this too. And that’s why I think a lot of people are joining the nones. I don’t want any of those labels, I’ll just be a none.
I then discovered that that McLaren has been a bold leader on the Israel Palestine issue. For instance, he endorses the Kairos document and shows Palestinian solidarity, speaking of house demolitions as brutal and urging folks to go to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and bear witness.
We can all serve as witnesses, to tell the truth about what is going on, to refuse to remain silent and complacent when innocent people are mistreated … please join me in praying for peace with justice in Palestine, and please stay alert.
Tippett didn’t follow up on McLaren’s point. But she really ought to have Marc Ellis on to talk about the prophetic tradition of Judaism in an era of Israeli militarism.
P.S. McLaren also praised his Florida neighbors, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers who pick the tomatoes that we all eat in the winter. He’s seen “what they’ve suffered.” And their spiritual understanding goes way beyond a seminary class.