The Future Is Here

EP. 18 : The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict w/ Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla & Eli Bonilla

May 26, 2021 Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla & Eli Bonilla Jr. Season 2 Episode 18
The Future Is Here
EP. 18 : The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict w/ Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla & Eli Bonilla
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The Future Is Here
EP. 18 : The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict w/ Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla & Eli Bonilla
May 26, 2021 Season 2 Episode 18
Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla & Eli Bonilla Jr.


The Israel-Palestine conflict has persisted through history for what seems like forever now, and with its ceaseless nature and the amount of information out there because of how long it has lasted, this issue is becoming an increasingly sensitive subject to approach, but for good reason. It must be approached with nuance and consideration of lenses, and that’s what we’re here to do today for you on the latest episode of The Future Is Here Podcast titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” ft. Eli Bonilla Jr. and his wife Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla, a second-generation Palestinian American. Hear our guests chop it up about the current events in Gaza, with a nuanced approach to this complex conflict that explores the way of Christ in the midst of the suffering being experienced right now.

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript


The Israel-Palestine conflict has persisted through history for what seems like forever now, and with its ceaseless nature and the amount of information out there because of how long it has lasted, this issue is becoming an increasingly sensitive subject to approach, but for good reason. It must be approached with nuance and consideration of lenses, and that’s what we’re here to do today for you on the latest episode of The Future Is Here Podcast titled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” ft. Eli Bonilla Jr. and his wife Alexis Qumsieh Bonilla, a second-generation Palestinian American. Hear our guests chop it up about the current events in Gaza, with a nuanced approach to this complex conflict that explores the way of Christ in the midst of the suffering being experienced right now.

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Are you listening? Hey fan , welcome to the features here , podcast. This is for the leaders, the dreamers provocateurs misfits, the frustrated frontline leaders who are charging in the kingdom. If you're tired of reactive church, it's time to build the church we dream of. Now the future is here. So don't get left behind. Are you listening? Let's get into it. What's up . Welcome to another episode of the futures here, podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Nixon. I'm the CEO of UI WWI , urban youth workers Institute. Um, and we're here with another episode of the futures here, podcast. Thanks to all of you guys who have been downloading and , and catching up with us. We just had an episode with sho Baraka, which was amazing talking about black evangelicalism. And so you haven't checked that out, go check it out. Um , today though, we want to wait into a conversation that , um, that is current right now, and we thought it was going to be , um, really important to engage for so many reasons. But we want to talk about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Now, just to set this up for you guys , um, I did just read in the news today. I know this, this podcast can come out later, but , um, today that there's a, there's a possible ceasefire. There's some things going back and forth. Um, but so far we have, there's already been 252. Um, people killed , uh , 65 of those kids in Gaza. Uh, you also have 12 people that have been killed in Israel. And so it's something that , um, as Christ followers that I think we need to really press into and we need to think critically about and that , and that there's a , there's a space here for us as peacemakers and friends, we were called to be peacemakers. It's, it's a , it's a vocation for us . Like God has called us into that, the ministry of reconciliation that we need to take these kinds of things seriously. And we need to recognize the humanity and image of God , um, for everyone involved. And so I want to give you a little bit as I, as I press into , um, what we're going to be talking about today. And then I introduce our guests, which I'm excited to have on, but I want to just give you , uh , a moment of, of what this tension looks like. And so if you are listening to this and you already have your mind made up, it's , you know what I mean? You're, you're pro Israel and that's it. And those are God's chosen people and they can do whatever they want and the rest of humanity or to , to Palestinians. Um, I , I hope you stick around and listen, if you're , if you're automatic, that Israel is the devil and , um, they're just oppressors. Um, I want you to , to hang in and I want you to actually step into the tension as well, but I want to give you guys a story. I was , um, number of years ago, I was , um, I was in a refugee camp. That's been there for 60 years , um , and called Ida and I'm there and I'm at a, I'm at a youth center and it feels very much like the youth centers that I run and started and been a part of. And we go into this youth center and all around the youth center. There's, there's bullet holes in the, in glass, which feels very familiar to me. We've experienced that, but on the ground, there's all these , um, canisters. And I asked, what are these canisters? What , what is this stuff? And they're tear gas. And there are tear gas candidates , canisters that had just happened recently there. And we go in and we're sitting there and there's posters of a young guy on the wall guys , about 15 years old. And I go, you know, we're eating and listening to what they're doing in this center for the youth. And the guy says to me, I go, Hey , who is this on the wall, this poster? And he goes, oh, he's a martyr. And I go, well, what's the story? And he says, well, you know, when, when , when you first landed that we got the earlier that week and that bus exploded in Jerusalem, I go, yeah, they go that with him. And at that moment, I tripped out a little bit because I go, okay, so, so, and I thought to myself in one sense where I'm sitting, right ? And in some people's view, I'm sitting , um, we're celebrating a terrorist , um, or in , you know , uh, who blew up this bus , um, with other people that would probably know known as terrorists. And I sat at the end, then they shared the story about this kid and they go, he wasn't radicalized. He, he , uh , uh, you know, a few weeks before he was walking with his cousin and the IDF , um , Israeli soldiers , uh , sniper killed his cousin right in front of him. And, and he was so distraught about that. And then we couldn't find them for a number of weeks. And we, we looked everywhere. We asked him where it just like I would go after a kid. And the next thing we heard is he had, he had, you know , got in with some folks, got radicalized and he blew up this bus and he was the, he was the only one that actually died from that. And, and when you heard the story of that kid and it broke my heart, cause I know kids like that, that those are our kids, the ones that we work with. Right. And I thought about that and , and here's what got crazy I'm sitting with. And there were some leaders of color with us, but there are also a lot of white folks with us. And they were from the Midwest and the white folks from the Midwest where I'm from , um , Minneapolis at the time. And , uh, and there was a young man that had just been murdered by the police there. His name was Jomar and , and, and I found it very weird because these, these women's heart , they went out to this kid, like they could connect empathy, empathize, even with all that we're sitting in there and I'm sitting between them and some African-American leaders. And am my mind is I couldn't. I was like in cognitive dissonance, I couldn't figure out like, where do I land on this? Where, where do I, because, because they could feel empathy for this kid from across the world, right. Who once they heard his story then could empathize with what, you know, why would he do something like that, but still the horror of what he did, but, but were they standing up for this kid that were in their own community that were killed by the police? This is kind of, this blew my mind, as I thought about that. That's the tension we're asking you to walk into with this, because there are a lot of different people involved in this. It's a , it's a conflict that's been going on for a long time , um, since the forties and , um, since 45 . And, and, and so we want to weight into that. And so our guest today is I've asked , uh, Ellie and Lex Binya to , to jump on with us today. And we had Ellie on , uh, the other day when we were talking about Latino leaders. Now you're probably like, why are you going to get Ellie Bonia to weigh in on the Israeli Palestinian? Right. So here's , let's be real honest friends. Welcome. So welcome to the show, man. Glad to have you guys. We're the reason we have Ellie here is cause we just wanted to get to his wife. Um, so,

Speaker 2:

And you'll do a good job.

Speaker 1:

So here we are. So Lex , um, and , uh , you are Palestinian American. Yes, I am. And so, but, and you also though, both you and Ellie, you live in this evangelical Christian world right here in the United States and you guys love Jesus. You've given your lives to him . Um, you know, you're , you're , this is what you do, you work in and for the kingdom of God. And so as a , as a Palestinian American, this stuff pops off again, you know, violence erupts again , um, uh, you know, kinda like, like tell us a little bit about what's that like for you as a Palestinian American and, and what is it what's going through your mind as all these things start coming up?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Well, this instance is really unique in the sense that this time, the Palestinian perspective got picked up by the mainstream media, in a sense , um, mostly credited to social media. Um, but you know, this has been going on my whole life and long before it, you know, so , um, growing up there, you know, you have this huge tension internally, not only am I Palestinian, but I'm also mixed, I'm half white. And so , um, you know, there's that whole mixed kid dilemma of like, what am I, cause I'm not anything fully, but then on top of that being Palestinian and being Christian, because truthfully my family is one of the largest Christian families in Palestine. Like, you know, people ask me all the time. They're like, what was it like when you converted? And you had to tell your dad, and I'm like, what my dad is Christian. My grandma is a holy spirit praying, like filled woman , um, watches, TV, jigs with her breakfast, you know, so, yeah. And , um, you know, there's that, that, that tension of, you know, this is my faith and this is , um , you know, not only are there so few Palestinians, then you divide us between three Abrahamic religions. And so there's this confusion of like, you know, what, what perspective do I hold as a kid, like being told, just tell people that your dad's from Jerusalem, or just tell people that your dad's from Israel, because they're not gonna understand or , um , having people tell me you're not Palestinian because Palestine doesn't exist or, you know, a lot of different things that I've kind of been told my whole life and feeling confusion. And so as I grew up and , um, I went to a predominantly white evangelical university , um, finding out that there are people that are super anti Palestine, you know, it was kind of something that , um, I told Ellie at the beginning of the fighting, it was like, I feel the way I feel suffocated by , um, by the tension that surrounds me and the ignorance that surrounds me. And I don't mean that in a negative sense because there's a lot of people that maybe have never had to confront what's happening in the middle east, but like to be on the side that does not typically , um, you know, agree with, with what pastors are preaching in the pulpit. Like that was really, really confusing for me. And I had to develop like, God, like, why do, why do people hate us? You know, like I, I grew up hearing the stories from my dad and him seeing cousins killed in front of him and him almost being killed himself and his really soldiers breaking into their house for no reason, you know, hearing these stories. And then I grew up and I got to , to university and for our school, we were required to take a cross-cultural trip. And I was like, I'm going by myself. I need to develop my own opinion, have my own experiences. I need to go through Israel and Palestine. I need to know for myself and with my own eyes, you know, what's happening. And so I took that trip and for me it was incredibly difficult and we can probably dive more into that. But even as an American, I'm the first generation that was born here in the United States, even with an American passport and no Palestinian ID, it's still hard for me to get through. And so all of that to say, when this popped off, I could not believe it. Like when I tell you, I seeing people that I know post about Palestine and what was happening or about Israel, I expected the Israeli, like the pro Israel posts, but I did not expect people to acknowledge what was happening in Palestine. And so , um, it's kind of like you live your whole life with the heaviness of knowing what's going on, not being able to talk about it because you know, my dad has always been one of you don't just don't make enemies. You know, it is what it is. That's what I've always heard. It is what it is. The Bible says it's going to happen. And I'm like, dad, the Bible is saying it's going to happen. Doesn't make it. Okay. It doesn't make it justifiable. And so, but to him, you know, he got here, he built a better life for himself, and that was just what he lived with and what he wanted us to live with. But as a Christian in the United States and, you know, being in the places that we've been, I feel a responsibility in a way and a heaviness for the Palestinian people. Um, especially my family and the Palestinian Christians there to shed light on the humanity of the situation. And so for me, that was a huge burden, but , um, I guess I, I really had to get in my prayer closet about Lord. Like how do I do this without bitterness, frustration and anger, and actually like show and extend the love of Jesus and the fullness of the gospel through this.

Speaker 1:

That's so good. I mean, a couple of things I just want to pull out of there if it, if it's okay. I one , for those of you guys listening , um, you know, this story about like, oh, when did you convert? Yeah. Um, can you share where your dad's from?

Speaker 3:

Yeah . He's from Bethlehem. Palestine. Yeah. Have you guys ever heard of Bethlehem?

Speaker 1:

The birthplace of CRA like this? Okay. So, and there are generations of generations , like these are the OJI Christians like this, this is what, like, Christians looked like, they came from this space and I've been there and I've, you know, and you walk these spaces and you, and you , you get a sense of the smell and the people and the, it was just like, this is where God chose to come down in the flesh. Right. Um, and so th that's one, and I just, I think that's important because kind of what you were saying, like , so it's like, you know, the humanity, like these are people made in the image of God and yet kind of through your store and you shared some things with me earlier , um, you know, this idea of like Palestinians, not, not being human in some sense, you know what I mean? Or not like to be stripped of your identity to be , um, looked at less than, or, or to even, even your dad having to, and we get this because we have, if you have parents who are people of color or minorities that like, there's a large sense of that. Like, Hey, let's just, let's just fit in. I , you know, stop speaking Spanish. Right. Let's or whatever the language, right. The like, let's, Hey, it's fine. You know what I mean? But , um, and then to create a theology around it, and that's what I find really interesting. Cause your dad was like, even like, Hey, listen, like it says, it's going to happen in the Bible. And I want to pick up on that because you brought it up. So it's kind of like saying, it's kind of like saying, well, Jesus said that there's always going to be poor people. Yeah. Yeah. He did say that. And then there's a lot of other verses that say, have compassion, like do something about this. Like, so , so to just easily, like kind of wipe it and just be like, Hey, listen, like there's all these promises to Israel, screw anybody else that , uh, infringes upon that, I just have a hard time going, is this what Jesus would like? What's his shin to this. So, I mean , share a little bit about that as you've wrestled with that. And what would you want people to kind of take away from that? Yeah,

Speaker 4:

Truthfully, like it, it's always kind of bothered me, especially since I actually went on my trip and I actually got to stay with my family and meet the people. You know , I'd always been close to the culture, but obviously I hadn't been there. You know, I didn't get to go until I was 20 because for me and my dad were going through separate airports in separate countries, you know, can't even go through the same airport, you know, segregated in that way. Um, but going there, it was like, you know, I asked my dad, I was like, dad, what is going on? You know, it, it was so disturbing to me that thousands and thousands and thousands of people in America have just accepted this theology without asking any questions. Like, you know, to me, it's almost like we've developed this theology, that villainize is and dehumanizes a group of people. Um, and we've just accepted that as okay. And, you know, I think, you know,

Speaker 3:

Obviously we have nine 11 that created stigmas and stereotypes. We have a lot of things like that that I think have made it easier for people to accept it. But , um, you know, the fact that , uh , there's a biblical prophecy around this happening. I don't think that that justifies what's going on in , in the middle east. I don't think that, you know, God is like, you know, I love Israel kill all the Palestinian people. I hate them because I'm like, if that was the case, I'm still Palestinian. My kids are Palestinian. My grandmother, who's living there as a Palestinian Christian. And there are countless stories where , um, she's praying to God and the holy spirit has told her , um, you know, look out the window. And there's like, she told us this story where she saw an Israeli soldier on a roof, because over there the rooms are flat. Like it's easy to just be on them. And you know, you've seen them , she there's an Israeli soldier, but it's nighttime. And my dad is outside and the holy spirit tells her, like, you need to call him in, you need to call him inside. And , um, and she only sees the Israeli soldier by the smoke of his cigarette before he shoots my dad shoots at my dad and she called my dad at the exact moment. Um, she, he, she called him. He turns his head when he turns his head, the bullet grazes between him and his cousin. And that's that that moment saved his life. And so I think that that element is missed in the sense that like the holy spirit is with these people, you know, God loves these people. God loves the Palestinian people the same way, you know, that he loves any of us that are believers. And so to exempt people from, you know, to exempt people from the promises and the love of God that, that does have that theology just doesn't make sense to me. And I think that that's something that is widely happening and has widely been accepted for a long time here in the United States.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. So I'm curious to just, so how do you deal with, and maybe you've gone down this road or maybe not, I don't know. What do you do with, with these promises of God for, for the , the nation of Israel, the people of Israel? Like, how do you, how do you read all that? How's that, you know what I mean, from your perspective and your , you know, and especially it's interesting because growing up evangelical and then the spaces that you're in and , um, you know, how have you been able to kind of weave in and in, and through that?

Speaker 3:

Well, truthfully, this is something I really think that I'm still navigating, but I do think that this is a call for all of us to further evaluate our theology. Like to give you an example. I asked my cousins this about five, four or five years ago when I was there. And , um , I asked them, I was like, you know, how do you navigate this? I ask almost the same question. And one of my cousins said, you know, Alexis , I love God. I believe Jesus died for my sins, but I cannot get myself to read the Bible because for you in America, a lot of this is metaphorical. A lot of this is , um, you know, you don't have to read it through the same eyes that I have to read it when I'm watching the war that has resulted from this every single day. And you know, for me, I mean, obviously I'm American. I was born here. I haven't witnessed and been through the same hardships that they've been through. Um, but for me, I've really had to question like, you know, I've, I've had to question things that I don't think I've had to question before. Like , um, when it says pray for the peace of Jerusalem, like I'm praying for the peace of Jerusalem, that's that the song says , um, and you know, theologically, I think I'm still developing a lot about , um, you know, Genesis and his promises to Jacob and , um, all of that. But I think when it comes down to it, I really just have to look at Jesus and I have to look at the way Jesus lived his life. And , um, the thing Jesus said about, you know, Jesus said, there's no Jew or Gentile. Like Jesus said that we are all one in the body of Christ. And if we truly believe that as believers, we're all one in the body of Christ, we have to pray for our brothers and sisters. We have to love our brothers and sisters, and we can't keep calling to violence in the of Israel. That's just, that's just how I feel and how I've navigated it. Because, you know, for me, I don't even, despite all of this, despite the family that I've lost despite , um, the things that could have and probably should have and would have happened to my dad or my uncles or whatever. Like I don't hate the Jews. I don't hate Israel. I think that, honestly, I've seen a lot of Jews in Israel advocating on behalf of the Palestinian and the freedom of the Palestinians. Um, I think there's just a lot more depth to the situation than a lot of us realize. I think it's tried to, we've tried to make it a polarized issue in the United States. Um, but my theology, I'm just going with Jesus. I'm believing that, you know, if Jesus loved me, Jesus loves them. Um, we're all sinners. And, you know, in the end we know we know what the Bible says about God's people. And so I'm really working through it, but , uh, to give you a high level overview . Yeah,

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I mean, and that's what I, you know, that's what I was just wondering, like, you know, cause that's, that's part of it and friends, if you're listening to this, one of the things I want to encourage us all and into is, you know, let's get away from the mean theology. You know what I mean? Like soundbite theology, like allow it to bother you enough to go and look up the scripture yourself, go study, go, you know, go take a trip, go, go talk to somebody, you know? And that's why, you know, we're so thankful, you know , for you guys listen to the sacredness of your story , um, because it's just important to get a perspective of it. Now, just to give you guys listening a perspective, one of the things that tripped me out when I've gone to Israel, I'm like, I'm going to the holy land. It's like, this is the land of Jesus and Abraham and Mo like all this stuff. Right. Um , and then I was like, I don't know why, but I was shocked. Israel is a secular state. Like it's friends, it's not, it's, it's not this like this like Jewish in the sense of religion, like Judaic. Like we, we follow a Torah . We, you know what I mean? Now there are, there are , um, there are people that are like that. And , um, those are actually love that a lot of people that are pretty hardcore , um, you know, even like a lot of the Hasidic Jews that came from Europe and came back home , um, they're the , the people that are settlers because they're, they're , we've never used this term, but they use a term for people from Islam. Um, but they're fanatical and these are the people that they use to take over land to continue to settlements. And if you don't know anything about that, look it up. That's really what kicked it, kicked this whole conflict off and these true Islam. And so when you look at that, you know, it's, it's a secular state. And so it's, it's weird me. And I think this is where it comes to this like connection with the American nationalism, because there's a weird place where we use theology and people have done this for centuries. They've used religion and gods and whatever to , and scripture for whatever it's coming from , um, you know, for political power and gain and control and all that. But I find this really interesting theologically because I just go. So because God asks us to, to care for Jerusalem and for Israel and that his promises are going to come, why, why do we turn that into kind of like carte blanche for the Israeli government that we know is fallen . And, and we, we do the same thing with our government, you know? Um , and, and so there's a weird theology there that , that I would, I would want to challenge and I, friends, I can live in the space of going , uh, Jesus loves Palestinians. Jesus loves the Israelis. Um, and, and he wants to see peace come. He wants to see his kingdom. So the kingdom of God is wherever God wants to happen. It's happening. And I can tell you right now, what happens on a daily basis in the west bank? Uh, what happens when rockets get shot from Gaza or wherever Jordan, wherever , um, God doesn't want any of that. And then we've been charged with being peacemakers and reconciled . Like you said, I've met a lot of people, Israelis who are so for Palestinians. Um, it's and that's another thing that tripped me out. I met Jewish peacemakers. I met , um, Palestinian peacemakers. I met religious leaders from both sides that there's so many people working on this. Um, and I think it's so easy for us. And I think, I feel as like an American trait, I don't know , maybe it's just a human trait, so easy to make everything so black and white, who's the enemy so that we can go kill them. But we did that with the war on drugs. We did that with the war on poverty. We did that with we , we love war in the United States and we find ourselves in the space , if you like, what you're hearing, keep listening, but also make sure to check out our newest leadership resource, the leadership journey by hitting up our website , uh , UI wwi.org . No for you guys. How have you guys, how has, how has even thinking about this conflict on a really personal level? And I don't want to take away from that personal spot for Lex Elliot, Elliot Lex , for you guys. What, how has this continued to shape your understanding of the kingdom of God, of Christianity, of, of the church here in the United States? Or how has it challenged you? I mean, we've talked a little bit about it, but, and Ellie too . I mean, feel free to share brother. You're not , you're not just here for eye candy brother . You know what I mean? So

Speaker 2:

I'm here, I'm here to hold the baby know you

Speaker 1:

Are , man. If you guys hear it, here's some coughing or Le it's , what's your son's name? ZQ oh, ZQ come on prophet . So Zeke , yo man. He's so he's so cute, man. It's beautiful to have him here with us. So anyway, I kind of hand that to you guys. Well , I mean, how has this shaped your theology? What's your wrestling with here in the United States?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think this is a question, you know, personally, and in a lot of ways that I've been asking for a long time is like, you know , and I don't really have an answer, but I guess I can just pose the question of like who, who is the Israel that we're all talking about? You know, because I saw this , uh , great explanation that kind of gave me some language, but you know, there's ethnic Israel, there's political Israel, and there's the new Israel that revelation is telling us of . And so , um, the, the confusion for me is that the Bible for me and the Bible for my family is not just metaphorical in that sense. It's, you know, in a lot of ways it's very literal. And so , um, the biggest struggle that I had when all of this came out was, you know, that this, this was immediately polarized. It was immediately right and left, you know, red and blue, you know, whatever. And so the fact of the matter is in , in this thinking is just that it's, it's not that way. There's no right or wrong. That's well-defined. And like you said, it's like, we love, we love to make it that way. Um, and I told Ellie when this, when this was going on, when this was first starting, it's like, I feel a responsibility to point people up because it's like, they're making two directions when there's three and we have to look up to God. And so , um, you know, and also in praying about this, it was like, what , what is my responsibility? Because I could add to the noise, I could add to the facts of the matter of, you know, how Israel was attained and what's going on in Gaza and people being removed from their homes. It just, all of those things I can add to that. And I know I, I expect people to do the research when we have so much information out there, but , um, you know, th the reality is, is that Christianity in America, it does influence so much in the political sphere. And so if we can just challenge our theology, if we can challenge our views , um, I think eventually that can have a ripple effect to what is happening over there, and we can get some language and we can get , um, some vision for how we can attain peace. But right now the polarization is not helping anything like as the body of Christ. I think we have come together and look at this as a unique, the unique situation that it is. Um, and I'll let Ellie add a little bit to that because , you know, this is something we've had quite a few conversations about , um, to say the least, but I'll let you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, uh, I'll start by saying that , uh, unity is not a strategy. It's a spirit. And I think that , uh, that's something that I've had to take into this conversation because it's, so it's just so complex and the more complex it gets, the more I've kind of pressed into the supernatural aspects of all of this. Uh , the more I've pressed into my intimacy with the spirit, to be honest , um, you know , uh, obviously doing a lot of my due diligence and , uh, just my studies of , uh, ethnos, right. The ethnicities and , uh, really what , uh , the upper room fix that Babel messed up. You know what I mean? Like , uh , there's this curse that, that falls on the peoples , scattered them all over the world. Um , they get to develop all these cultures and , uh , then redemption comes and, and here's the right , the verse that a lot of people like to quote, whenever they're trying to protect Israel is , uh , Genesis 12. And I believe it's like verse three or four where it says, and I will curse anybody that cruises you I'll bless anyone that blesses you, right. When he's talking to Abraham and make you a great nation and do all nations will be blessed. Um, but the fulfillment of all of that we see , uh, through Jesus's life, then the upper room. And then we see , uh, these beautiful statements in , uh, in Ephesians and in Hebrews, where as children of faith , um, God allows us to keep our ethnic identity and be one family. And , uh , uh, and I think that for everyone that's listening to this podcast , um, you have to start with a standard. What is the standard of unity? That's revelation seven, nine, that before the throne room of God was every nation, tribe and tongue before him. And they were all saying, one thing salvation is that of the Lord. And, you know, what's so interesting to me, there are only a couple of things that you get to keep going into Aternity and they're listed right there. Like you people think it's just like this metaphysical, like you're only a soul. No , you get your body back and guess, well , yeah , get your color back. You get, it says, you get your ethnicity back, you get your language back, you get like what tri became from. And, and the commonality is they were all dressed in white. They were all dressed in righteousness. And so , um, yeah, I just believe that , uh , if we look to a different standard , um , maybe it'll allow us to see the humanity in everyone. Yeah ,

Speaker 1:

That's so good, man. And I , uh , my , uh , a friend of mine, Dr. Chao Romero talks about that, and we did a podcast on it. He has a book called brown church friends. If you want to check that out, he talks about that, that piece in revelation. And it's beautiful. Um, you know, for, for me, as I, as I think about this and what should shape our theology, as we think through this friends, I think you can, you know, I can be critical of the church because I love the church and I am part of the church and I think that's good. You know what I mean? I think we should be like the Bereans that go, like, listen to somebody, let's go back to the scripture. Let's, let's study it together. Let's figure it out. But, but it feels like there's just this, like, I just need to know what camp you're in, you know what I mean? Just, and, and by the words you use and listen, I'm about Jesus. These guys are about Jesus and I want to move to that. And I think we can live in a world and I think we need to live in a world where , um, it's not, am I for Israel? Or am I antisemitic ? Right . Um , you can't put me in those boxes, right. Are you for terrorism or are you for Palestinians? What kind of like, dude, I reject those false dichotomies. Um, and, and I can go, do I care about Israel? I believe God's promises for Israel. And yet , um, because I care, I can also call on them to , uh, to behave in the way that I believe God asks us to behave and that's through scripture. And , and so they don't negate each other scripture does not work against itself. So, because as you talked about in Genesis, like, because, you know, God says, he'll curse. Those who curse you. Right. Um, but then there's the Abrahamic covenant. And we're included in that. So I'm not talking about replacement theology for those of you guys know about that. Um , but what I am saying is, you know, just be because he elevates this group of people, it did not mean that he devalues everyone else. Israel is supposed to be an example so that others may come to know the God of Israel. Absolutely. So, so just so you guys understand that where we're coming from, but one of the things that I would press two , and you guys would love to hear what you guys think about this is that, you know, and I think Lex, your journey through that, I mean, or your personal journey through that. Um, and then my, my time there, and then Ellie, the things that we've been talking about and, and the hood, and all of you guys are listening to this that, you know, you're in areas of suffering is how our theology , um, doesn't necessarily it can change, but it gets deeper when you answer the call to compassion and compassion means to suffer with. And when I've sat with mothers who have, who have lost , um , husbands and sons and daughters to , um, IDF soldiers, when, when you talked to , uh, Israeli , um , moms who have lost sons to, to rockets or to , to , um, from fighters, from Hamas or from a terrorist attack, or like it , when , when I sit there in the midst of someone and they share their story, the sacredness of that, that brings a depth to the understanding of it. And so like for me, there's a call for us as Christians to suffer with, as Jesus says, he had compassion on the crowds and were to be like Christ. And I feel like that's the place that I feel so burdened that our brothers and sisters in the United States seem to have a really hard time having compassion for others that, where they don't share their ethnicity or their experience. Like , I mean, do you guys connect with that at all? Like actually speak on that. Yeah,

Speaker 3:

No, I, I think one of the biggest things that , um, kind of lended itself to my position and what I've kind of shared on social media so far, both quiet and both when I was talking, but , um, is how quickly we are to be desensitized to what's happening in the world. And so it's like, you know, I can share the realities of what I've seen. Like I can share the fact that, you know, my dad's best friend was killed on his street. And as far as he could walk was my dad's yard and laid and died, and the family just came and got him. Like, I can share all these stories that are, you know, horrific. And then I can even share my own experiences, which , um, you know, as a young American girl, like being escorted by Israeli soldiers on an airplane until the plane takes off and being taken under the runway for interrogation, like I can share all those things, but how quickly do we become desensitized and just want another fight to fight? Like you said, we love war in the United States and something that I was, I was trying to teach or treat this like delicately, because how quickly do we make another hashtag? And you know, how fast does that run out of trend and does the conversation become old? And it's just, how do we preserve a conversation? And you know, me and Ellie talked about this in the beginning, he was like, how many people have reached out to you? I was like, nobody, like, you know, nobody had for quite a few days until I had posted a video of, you know, just how I, you know , a talk that I had done about four years ago. And that was when people started to reach out like, Hey, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. And I'm like, all y'all know, I'm the only Palestinian that you knew .

Speaker 2:

There's not many out there .

Speaker 3:

I'm the only one, plenty

Speaker 2:

Of Latinos out there, Indians out there. Yeah . Like

Speaker 3:

A lot of people have either made their position that they're confused or they don't care because, you know, it's just the fact of the matter. I'm like how many friends do I have that have been to Israel on these awesome trips and their GoPros and all this stuff and, you know, whatever, but they don't take the time to go see the wall or the other side of it. Like, they don't know that these refugee camps are people that are being refugees in their own countries. Like , like I asked my cousin, I was like, whose , you know, whose refugee camp are they Syrians? Like, are they Iranians? No, they're Palestinians. I'm like, we're in Palestine. These people have been removed from their homes and become refugees in their own country. But to us in America, you know, it's that desensitization the dehumanization and the villainization that, that quickly lend itself to us not caring or , um, us not understanding how to care. It's like people can't process what's happening. And so even in the Christian community, the community that's supposed to have the most compassion. Um, it's almost like, oh, another one, you know, that's the attitude that I felt like was presented until a few days where it was kind of mainstream. And so, you know, it's like , how do you make people care? I'm not going to send, you know, I ask my cousins to send me some videos of what's happening and, you know, cause I wanted to know, I was like, I, I , and my cousins, they said, please share, please share. And you know, it's these completely, like, it's extremely graphic things of these like children that have been , um , shot and all these horror , horrific images. I'm like, I could never share because how quickly would somebody shut off? You know, like to them, it's like, this is what we're going through. Like, this is the reality. Please tell people. And I'm like, how do I tell them that that's exactly what will make people turn the other cheek. That's still confusing to me. So it's like, how do you create this compassion except with the message of Jesus and the conviction of the holy spirit. You can't.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And , and I mean, I , I mean, Ellie, this is, we've talked about this, right? I mean, this is what, as, as things change here in the United States and you see kind of like the demographics change and you see power shifts change and you see, you know, I'm on this show. The reason why it's called the futures here is because by 2045, the majority of the country becomes minority. But that happened for those who are 18 and under last year. So we're already living in a multi-ethnic reality, but, but who holds the power and you have this like real struggle for the evangelical heart and church where it's like, no, we want it to go back to how it used to be. Um , and there's this pull even on, for those of us who are younger, I'm not, that's not me, but maybe you guys, but you know, Progressive's that are like, no, and they're progressing their way where at rat out of Jesus, you know, and on the other end of that , um, they're so conservative that there , that it gets, there's some syncretism that happens with America and , and nationalism and , and , and I go like, and , and the reason why all these young people are leaving, because they're looking at that and going, that's your Christianity. No, thanks. Right. And so I we're impressing on people like, listen, I think we can live in the, both and here. Right . And it's a hard space to live. And that's, there's a narrow road here, friends we're called to suffer with. It changes things. Um, I've, I've heard how people talk about gang members, how people talk about minorities and people of color, how they talk about young people and how they talk about , um , people who are addicted. Right. Um, and you know, to, to substances, you know, substance abuse, but I've walked with all those people. And I go, Hey, there's , uh , there's, it's a lot deeper and there's a lot more nuance intention than then do well. They just need to stop doing drugs. Well , there's a whole system that, that supported that. Can we talk about that? And no one cared about that in , in the eighties when it was just like, you know, when there's a crack epidemic in the hood, now we have an opioid epidemic, but it's in the suburbs now, it's now it's a national crisis. Um , our response when it was in black and brown neighborhoods was it's a war on drugs. Right . And just say, no , uh , and now that's in the suburbs and, and hitting people that, that they know and realize, okay, now let's do something about it. So I that's a whole nother podcast, but

Speaker 4:

Right. People they know, right. There's , there's like a component of Jesus had to go through some areas , right. The story of the Samaritan woman, it says that Jesus had to go, he didn't have to go. Right. The tradition was to go around. Like that was just the custom people just knew that. Um, but he was compelled by the spirit to go through. And I think on both ends of the spectrum, like, like you were saying for the hardcore evangelical, that psych , we need to return back to the way that it was the good old days and all of that to the really far left, progressive that shifts completely running, running away from once a dog . See , because they find no true justice there . Um, both have to Wade back into some area where, what , what is, what was the tension of the Samaritans it's that they were half-blood that's right . That's what they're like .

Speaker 1:

They're like all three of us on this call. Exactly. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

Sorry. Homeboy, my son chopped and screwed man. Like she has all the mixes inside of them . And I just feel that , um, you know, the reason and the level of my wife said, she's like, that's why we need the full gospel and the conviction, the holy spirit, because I'm tired of us trying to convince people that this is right . The it's the spirit Jesus. When he went into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days and said that the holy spirit guided him into that tension into that moment. And I do feel like

Speaker 2:

In order for a believer to Wade , into what is required to live in this tension, it's the holy Spirit's conviction. You can just get convinced to love people. Uh, you can't, you can't because then I can convince you to not the whole intellectual thing. It's a heart transformation thing. And so I think that there is that spiritual component there. Yeah . Everything that's happening. Yeah. I mean, because how can you keep up? I can't keep up with the hashtags. I can't like I was even, you know, in, in a way I was called every woken name in the book coming out of 2020 with, with my posts . But even then I couldn't keep up with the articles, educate yourself in this book and that book in this. And I'm just like,

Speaker 3:

We all have to be encyclopedias .

Speaker 2:

And how could you, how could my son study up on all of the history that is within his blood in order to refute, defend, come against what other people are going to say? It , it just , um, I , I do think that the, the flesh wanting to seize power and make things simple , um, makes it so that we can just paint it enemy really quick.

Speaker 4:

And then

Speaker 2:

I elevate who we need to so that we can get what we need to. Um, and at the end of the day, that is just the flesh. That's rebellion. That's the sin of the enemy. That's the cornerstone sin. And we need a holy spirit overhaul the heart. And , um, maybe that's where we can ultimately land on the conversation for me, trying to even try to come and wrestle with. I like, I, dude , I don't know who

Speaker 1:

Yeah. All that man. I think it's, it's just, it's heavy. And that's why, you know , I encourage people, man, like, you know , uh, I have a mentor, her name's Alexia Salvatierra and she's , uh , she's incredible, bro, if you don't know not to plug the pickup podcast again, I did have her on, but she's dope. But she always goes and, and who of all the people out there are called to go to like who , who is in there in the depth of their faith is this call to go out right. And to go to, to suffer. Like she's like it's believers. And so, and so one of the things I think that's killing us , um, my sister said this to me is comfort. It's killing the American church because your hashtags made me uncomfortable. Your video makes me uncomfortable. I've I've already. Yeah . You know , um, what's the least I can do to, to have to deal with this. Oh, you gave me a really clear reason. I like you and I like the meme you put up. So yeah. Pro whatever. And instead God's calling us into this depth of, of dependence on him to go, God, this is really hard. Like I'm sitting in that youth center, my mind's blown and I just go, God, I don't, I don't even know how to wrap my head around this. And he's like, I know I'm here. Just come be with me. Right. And that's where you get that and you get the fruit of the spirit and then you can live that out. It's beautiful. Yeah. So

Speaker 3:

It's like everybody in Christianity right now wants to push that call to go deeper, but I've never had to go as deep with God as I had to go as when I went to Israel and Palestine and I asked God, I'm like, God, why did you make me this way? Like I was. So I think I was angry with God for years. I mean, like, I really wrestled with him after that. And you know, the conclusion that I came to is who has the best opportunity to present the gospel to somebody it's when you have, you've never had to love, like you've had to love until you're in the face of an oppressor. Right? And so when you're in the face of oppression , um , like you have the greatest opportunity to extend the fullness of the gospel to the other person. And so we keep trying to create enemies. We keep trying to create , um, bipartisan issues and, you know, black and white and red and blue and right. And left and up and down, you know, whatever we try to create. But the truth is, is that Jesus was controversial. And, you know, until we acknowledge the controversy, that is the gospel. I don't think it , we want to go deeper with God. Like, you know, we want to sing these songs and put these POWs and you know, whatever else it is, you know, we want to be flashy. And, you know, like Ellie said, like, we want to reduce issues to a caption or a hashtag, you know, the , the true gospel was controversial. It was a conflict , it does conflict with our flesh. And I think as soon as people get that tension or that , um, that discomfort that comes with reflecting on who Jesus was and why he said, you know, we just shut down and we turn away and we'd go to the next mainstream scripture that we can put on our Instagram story. Like, it just is what it is. And that's unfortunate right now. And I think, you know, with the ministry that you do and you know, the things that we're talking about here, it's like these things are, these things are here and these things are real for our kids. And for , um , the next generation they're confronting it. Right. Whether we decide to or not. So at this point we have, I mean, we have to, for the sake of the gospel and its integrity.

Speaker 1:

Amen. Well guys, I've so appreciate that. I mean, I'm not going to add to that leg, so it was beautiful. So Matt , Ellie , Lex Binya thank you guys so much. ZQ thanks, homeboy. I'll be able to get over there . Yeah. See that's what my preaching does when I start talking people just, you know what I mean? But Hey guys, thank you guys so much. And guys, thanks for joining us on another episode of the features here podcast, man, bless you guys. As you continue to Wade into the tension of this , uh, we'll see you guys next time. If you enjoy what you heard today, we don't want to leave you empty handed series , a couple of resources to help you shape the future. Get access to our latest leadership resource by visiting U Y wwi.org and join our email list.