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Monday, August 3, 2015


Jerusalem. City of shalom--sacred to Jew, Muslim, Christian who say they worship the same God--Yahweh, Allah, Abba of Moses, Jesus, Mohammed.

I listened to an interview today of Yossi Klein Halavi--born in Brooklyn, settled in Israel, journalist, contributor to the New Republic, participator in inter-religious dialogue, bright, moderate, educated.  I understand why there is no progress for peace. He knows that fact is always interpreted and interpretation shapes facts. Yet he is so fixed in his interpretation. It is one thing to have identity situated in tradition; and yes historical interpretation--and to appreciate, assert, affirm that identity. But it is another to absolutize that interpretation--as I feel he does without critical challenge. If he cannot get past his interpretation, how can the orthodox, the keepers of the fundamentals?

He hopes for the transcendent--an event that changes minds and hearts. He thinks that now that there is a widening nonreligious or secular space, the religions will have to come together just to defend the religious over against the secular. But whose interpretation?  Yes, shame on Jews, Christians, Muslims who war for their God as they interpret Him against their God under someone else's interpretation. I think Yossi is a sign of the problem--the liberal religious who subjects the polis, the City, to a religious interpretation.

Jerusalem will only be sacred when it is ruled by no man's interpretation--when it is an open city, a place for sharing opinions which no one holds absolutely.

And so will New York, Istanbul, Detroit, Cairo, Rome, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Beijung, and all cities, towns, and villages. The secular is the place of the sacred. Secularize bravely!

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