Review by Brian Grantz
“With new understanding we can reject both despair and old patterns that merely choose sides.” This is both the central thesis and an honest plea from Alex Joyner in A Space for Peace in the Holy Land. Joyner’s concise book explores how Christians might distinctively and effectively engage the deep divisions and conflicts that characterize relations between Israel and Palestine.
|A Space for Peace in the Holy Land
Listening to Modern Israel and Palestine
By Alex Joyner. Englewood Review of Books.
Pp. 157. $4.99 (Kindle)
In the light of Christ crucified, Christians may identify — as Jesus did — with all who suffer under the weight of sin, sorrow, and brokenness, and strive to create open spaces where God’s healing and reconciling love may do their work. Such sin, sorrow, and brokenness are not the exclusive purchase of either side, Joyner asserts, supporting his position by deftly juxtaposing the separate narratives of both Israel and Palestine from the establishment of modern Israel following World War II through current times. The project brings into clear relief the entrenchment over time of prevailing political and social climates, mired in deep mistrust and fear.
Joyner offers “interludes” that tell of people striving for healing and reconciliation through various initiatives. These stories present a handhold for hope in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation by demonstrating what can happen when people are treated with genuine dignity and respect.
A Space for Peace in the Holy Land provides a helpful, broadstrokes, historical survey of the development of modern Israel and Palestine for those interested in more than passing knowledge. More importantly, it challenges Christians to work for peace “not as the world gives” but according to the mind and spirit of the crucified Christ.
The Very Rev. Brian Grantz is dean of the Cathedral of St. James, South Bend, Indiana.