Thanks be to the Scriptural God who spoke long ago—once and for all time—in the Syrian wilderness, long before the occupying powers of the modern world. Once again, when he spoke, he did not speak English. This point is well worth repeating at this very moment in history since this God spoke biblical Semitic specifically “to prick, sting, incite, and goad” those who are glorious upon the earth. To be fair, at the time he spoke, no one spoke English, so technically, he was not making fun of English. English didn’t matter to him. Nor did French or German. Now, that is a fact, and facts are useful.
At that time, the same God taught our forefathers, who were not faithful, that the matter at hand—his dabar—is not complex. We need only hear and follow his voice. Following his voice is not a sensitive matter because, in his story of the generations of the heavens and the earth, the human being is of less importance to him than the fish in the sea. More than that, in all the wonder of God’s creation, the human being is only a small insignificant part.
“There is a deep sentiment in the Middle East and [among] Arabs,” Bassem Yousef explained recently, “that the West [does]not look at us as equal[s].”
Yousef asked Chat GPT a simple question:
“Do Israelis deserve to be free?”
The machine replied, “Yes.”
He then rephrased the question, “Do Palestinians deserve to be free?”
The machine, created by human hands, a theology of human artistry fashioned after the image of English-speaking settler colonials, replied:
Beloved in Christ, it is neither complex nor sensitive. For those who hear the voice of the Shepherd—the voice of one crying out in the wilderness—the answer to both questions is simple and straightforward:
The answer is NO.
No one “deserves” to be free because all of us treat each other like shit. There is only one God. He alone is our King, our provider, and the possessor of the land.
“See now that I, I am he, and there is no god besides me; It is I who put to death and I who give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)
“For there is none like you, [O God] nor is there any God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Chronicles 17:20)
To God be the victory. In the God of Scripture, I place all my hope against hope for the sake of the poor.
Because, like you, Bassem, my dad came here from Egypt. I know that look in your eyes when you are trying to reason with stupid. I recognize the frustration that will eventually turn into dismay and, God forbid, pain. Believe me, brother, no matter how much sense you make or how hard you argue logically and intelligently for peace, it ain’t gonna work.
Pierce and his ilk are for war, and they don’t even see it.
Richard and I discuss Luke 5:2-3. (Episode 506)
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