A (non-reader?) writes: I exhort Brian McLaren to repent of his anti-Christian Zionism

A (non-reader?) writes:

I exhort Brian McLaren to repent of his anti-Christian Zionism which is an affront to God! The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people as given to them as an everlasting covenant made between God and Abraham and his descendents forever!

A response:
Thanks for the encouragement to repent (i.e. to prayerfully self-examine and rethink), something I try to remain perpetually willing to do. Hardness of heart and stiffness of neck are bad for the soul, and in that light, your exclamation points are perfectly fitting!
I just heard that bombs were flying in Israel again last night, reminders that the vicious, violent cycles of offense and revenge, counter-revenge and counter-offense continue spinning in the precious land of Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. Today is a sad yet fitting day to respond to your post.
First, I’m curious about how you decided “anti-Christian Zionist” applies to me and what you mean by it. There is actually a sense in which I could be called a Christian Zionist. I want all people of every ethnicity and religion to live in peace, with justice, and enjoy true prosperity and security wherever they live. I want Jewish people to have this freedom everywhere on earth, and especially in their ancestral homeland. As a Christian, I feel a special concern for the Jewish people because of the terrible atrocities committed against them for nearly two thousand years in the name of Christianity. (Sadly, our religious heritage has been complicit in many atrocities, so our compassion must be stretched multi directionally.)
That’s why I always pray, seek, and speak for solutions in the Middle East that are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace, and pro-justice. How could God desire justice and peace for some precious people and in so doing heartlessly cause injustice and despair for others? That would make God an unjust and uncompassionate “respecter of persons,” something Scripture repeatedly says isn’t true.
Perhaps you’re defining “Christian Zionist” in your following sentence: “The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people as given to them as an everlasting covenant made between God and Abraham and his descendents forever!” If that’s how you define the term, then I’m not “anti-” it, but I’m concerned about it in light of Scriptures like these:
The Law in Deuteronomy 10 says:

17For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Then, in Deuteronomy 28 (frightening to read), the Lord promises the people will be defeated in battle and evicted from their land if they don’t obey his commands, including, presumably, Deuteronomy 10:19.
Similarly, the Law says in Leviticus 19:

33“ ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

And similarly, in Leviticus 26, terrifying consequences follow if the people don’t obey the Lord’s commands, including, presumably, Leviticus 19:33.
So, if you are going to take the Bible literally and as a timeless, non-contextual legal constitution (an approach I understand and respect, even though it is not how I read the Bible), you would have to conclude the following:

The same God who promised the descendants of Abraham the land of Israel also promised that they would not enjoy that inheritance if they mistreat the aliens, strangers, foreigners and others among them. One promise can’t be taken to the exclusion of the other.

For that reason, someone like yourself who takes Scripture so seriously should be at the forefront of urging the nation of Israel to treat their Palestinian neighbors as they would want to be treated.
We Christians must, I think, only enter this conversation with great humility. Sadly, many if not most of our Christian ancestors treated the Jews in ways that should sicken and disgust us all today. And tragically, the way anti-Semitic Christians treated Jews, colonizing Christians treated Native Americans, and Christian conquistadores treated the indigenous people of Latin America, and apartheid/segregation-defending racist Christians treated people of color in South Africa and the US. It is not fitting for people of a religion with our history to quickly take a position of moral superiority.
In that sense, all of us Christians must (to use your word) repent. We must realize that, as Dr. King said, we can’t cure injustice with injustice, violence with violence, prejudice with prejudice, insult with injury. Rather, we must seek solutions in the Middle East and elsewhere that reveal our belief that God desires justice for the oppressed, all the oppressed … and that God desires peace and security for all, which is why, according to Micah, God tells humanity what is most important:
to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
There is good news for everyone: Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, South Africans, citizens of Rwanda and the Central African Republic, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, the nonreligious, everyone …we can face our old hatreds and fears and put them behind us, repent, reconcile, and learn to wholeheartedly love God and neighbor, including the stranger, alien, other, and even enemy. In so doing, we can enjoy this precious promise:

that if we seek first God’s kingdom and justice, every other good thing we seek (security, prosperity, justice, equality) will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).

In this, of course, I often fail, and so must be compassionate with others who fail. But it is my sincere aspiration all the more when I fail.
As you know, it is risky to even address this issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if various blogs and websites will in the coming days take snippets out of what I’ve written here and use them to malign and misrepresent. But because I love my neighbors – Jewish and Christian and Muslim and secular, in Israel, in Palestine, and elsewhere (including you!), I try to speak out honestly when I can, even though doing so is fraught with difficulties, all intensified by my own imperfections.
By the way, you might be aware that there has been a recent resurgence of interest in whether Christian Zionism (however you define it) is truly Christian, and truly in the interests of the people of Israel. This article by a rabbi expresses my feelings as well as anything I’ve ever read:
I hope you’ll read his whole post carefully, including this:

For many of us, these are the critical – and too often ignored – questions for interfaith dialogue: what will we do with those aspects of our religious traditions that value entitlement over humility? Do we believe that this land was promised by God to one particular group of people, or will we affirm a theology that promises the land to all who dwell upon it? Will we lift up the fusing of religion with state power and empire or will we advocate a religious vision that preaches solidarity with the powerless, the disenfranchised and the downtrodden?

Several other Jewish voices have influenced me strongly on these issues. Although they differ in some ways, they share a concern for a more holistic and integrated appeal to Scripture on behalf of both Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the region.
I highly recommend Mark Braverman’s new book, Fatal Embrace.
Marc Ellis’ Judaism Does Not Equal Israel is a sobering and instructive read.
Rabbi Michael Lerner addresses issues with his characteristic wisdom and balance in Embracing Israel/Palestine.
I’d also highly recommend this blog by a Jewish writer and activist in the UK, Micah’s Paradigm Shift.
In addition, Gary Burge is an Evangelical Christian who powerfully and insightfully addresses the deeper issues of Christian Zionism in
Jesus and the Land.
And if you’ve never heard the voice and heart of a Palestinian Christian, Elias Chacour’s Blood Brothers is a good place to start.
And all this, of course, only scratches the surface. But your note to me is probably a good place for us all to start … calling for a willingness to open closed minds and give assumptions a second thought, to be open that we’ve been wrong or ignorant and have more to learn, which is what repent means.
Late note: Just after posting this, I realized that today is the last day of an important conference among Evangelical Christians, hosted in Bethlehem and involving many of my good friends. I would have been there myself if my schedule allowed it. This article gives a sense of the intensity and importance of this subject, as difficult as it is to address.