Will the “Holy Land” ever become a holy land? The Israeli-Hamas War that started in September of 2023 has turned it into a “hell on earth.” Who is to blame? And who needs to step up to the plate to make Palestine a country of peace, and how will they do it? These are the issues faced by the book.
Many forces and actors have created this tragedy. The Leadership of Israel and Hamas in the author’s view are mainly to blame because each one wants Palestine all for themselves to be ruled by themselves. This will only result in bloodshed and chaos for decades to come.
Adding to this refusal to share, the leadership of the US and many Christians have Israel as their favorite of the two nations. The us favors Israel because of the military base it provides, because it assuages US guilt over its poor response to the Holocaust, and because many citizens believe it is promised forever to belong to the Jewish people by God.
The author rejects using the Bible to justify selfish and destructive behavior. He reviews how Scripture was used to demonize the Jews through the centuries building up to the Holocaust; how it was used to justify stealing of Native American lands and the genocide of its people, as well as enslave, impoverish and hang Black Persons. Is it any different when an Old Testament prophecy is used to justify the destruction of Palestinian homes, businesses, families, and build settlements on Palestinian land?
The author reviews how Christ and the Apostles do not give directions for people to restore the Holy Land to its original condition, to restore original borders, or to work for political sovereignty. Instead, they ask Christians to “stir each other up to do good works,” and to love the other as we want them to love us (the Golden Rule). Also, they guide Christians to look for an “inheritance stored in heaven,” not in Palestine.
In a nutshell, peace will be created when all three major religions of Palestine (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), plus all of us, the US, Arab, and European Nations step up to the plate and push the Golden Rule as the solution. Imagine Israel and the Palestinian caring for each other the way they want the other nation to care for themselves. Imagine if the word “share” was the political policy from the river to the sea! It would make for great headlines…and peace!
The author states that it took him 83 years to write this Israeli-Palestinian Conflict book. The "stuff" of those years shaped him for this project. Besides excellent teachers, pastors, professors, and workshop leaders, he was influenced greatly by growing up on a farm in central Missouri, near Slater, Mo. He was the "baby" of the family, the "after thought" With four brothers and one sister, as the youngest he lost out doing the real "manly" jobs (helping animals give birth, castrating pigs, etc.). Instead he helped clean the house! and feed the turkeys! His unrest about this was increased by his mother introducing him as "This is Alfred, the baby of the family." (He thinks this may be why he goes by "Al" not Alfred.) He also was bothered by farmers being on the low end of the totem pole. Farmers did not set the prices for their products but were at the mercy of the buyer and the weather. A farmer had to take what was offered, no bargaining. If he refused, his crops would rot. He had to sell. He reacted to all these experiences by thinking he was inferior.
The positive part of this "stuff" was that it nudged him to help those who felt overlooked, inferior, and sensing they were not important. It moved him to support "the little ones in life." Thirty nine years of ministry of the LCMS, and 5 in an independent Lutheran Church followed as well as becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. With his wife they provided a foster home for 28 years and adopted four children. It also opened his eyes to the pain occurring in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and led to this book on the Conflict.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Book with a Powerful Impact.
I’ve just read this book and I loved it. The author compares the state of Israel’s diminishment of the Palestinians to America’s treatment of African Americans and indigenous peoples. He reminds the reader that much of slavery was justified by appeals to sacred scripture. A similar unholy interpretation of the end times is happening from a wing of the evangelical movement in the U.S.
Some evangelicals believe that the second coming of Jesus will only occur when the promised land’s original borders are restored with Jerusalem as its capital. In order to urge along the second coming, these evangelicals heavily support the government of Israel . The Palestinians whose family roots in the land go back several millennia become, to some of these Christians, a kind of collateral damage.
The author urges the reader to consider the kingdom of God as a kingdom that exists now in human hearts. It’s real and without borders. It does not require the conquest of the Palestinians. Thanks, Reverend Peuster for reminding us that the kingdom of God is not here or there but within us (Lk 17:20-21).Gerald Watt
This book offers a unique look into the Israeli-Palestinian issue and how the misuse of scriptures has led to atrocities not only in Palestine but also against the Jews, Native Americans, and People of Color…Pastor Peuster has conducted extensive research…and his background lends credibility in his assessment of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the frequently negative impact of the evangelical interpretation of scripture in our treatment of fellow human beings.Lutheran Laypersons and Foreign and Domestic Activists Wayne and Wanita Blumhorst
In his book, Reverend Al’s riveting powerful style of writing and his careful, extensive research clearly points out the misinterpretations of scripture that have been used to support the slavery and the inhumane treatment of African and Native American peoples. As an avid reader of Christian books, I was not able to put his book down because of his bold shocks and assertions that are supported as well as those of a winning lawyer. He makes you think, sends you to your Bible, and questions your own knowledge and understanding of God’s word. I strongly urge you to read his book.Retired College Professor Don Wire, Ed.D.