Now, being smack dab in the middle of it all in this recent visit to Israel, I have to say that Israelis seem to have a weight on Them. There is a heaviness here that seems equal to the weight of the world. But, I don’t believe it’s a burden only current Jewish People carry. Through the Jewish advance through the ages, they haven’t just been prophetic at times. Or even only had to be a prophetic generation. The Jews have always been the Prophetic Civilization. This has marked them out as powerful people, but also as a People Persecutable.
Down through the millennia, as empires began to take shape with mutually-beneficial motivations, each civilization has offered different values to the world. The Roman Empire offered stability. The British Empire profit. American leadership has recently ushered comfort and ease into the world if you want to think of it as an advancement. But, the Jewish people have always done more than add. Their additions have more often been proddings. They bring morality. And that’s never an easy thing to shoehorn into the world.
Of course, we should give Israelis the A-grade they have earned for making the world a better place. Pound-for-pound, there’s likely no People that’s offered more to the world in advancements: they are second-to-none in irrigation technologies, their medical improvements are near-impossible to count, genetic engineering is just one in a long list of stuff that’s been on their to-do list, and they invented the world’s smallest camera—-to creepers-the-world-arounds’ delight. They’ve given all of us Einstein’s theoretical physics and even jeans and lipstick! They gave the world the atomic and thermonuclear bombs. My 4 kids have forever been changed by their flexistraw and every suburbanite in America uses appliances in stainless steal because of them. (There’s so much more, of course.) For goodness’ sake, over 20% of the Nobel Prizes awarded through the decades have been given to Jewish people—who only comprise 0.2% of the world’s population! These are not just above-average students. The Jewish People have always formed the Top of the Class in changing the world.
But, here’s the thing . . . all these advancements were mere handmaidens to the King they have most meaningfully revealed to us all. They haven’t just given Humanity monotheism, they have given us God. God! Not, mind you, a cheap version of a ‘god’ that a hack Comparative Religions course professor might foist upon us. Not a thin-sliced book telling us how superstitions have evolved “deities” into religions through the millennia. (Come on. Let’s grow up and get serious. The same “experts” also tell us that love is just synapses firing in the brain when all of us know it’s a thing deep in the soul and so much more than an evolutionary mechanism.) No.
The Jewish People have given every one of us the Living God. But, what a weight that must be. When you’d rather hold your tongue and mind your own business, the Jewish People have always had a Moses or a Deborah who realized they must say what needed to be said. They’ve been the Prophetic Civilization.
Christianity for our part has taken up from our Older Brother . . . a bit. Honestly, though, like a religious version of the Roman Empire, Christianity has almost always reflexively preferred to syncretize just to keep things stable. But, we’d do well to recognize that—like the Hebrew experience—we are a rebellion to the world . . . not a superstructure. We’re terrible as bureaucrats paving a second coat of asphalt on the highway of the World’s spirituality. We’re better at and offer so much more real value when we’re being prophetic to a World that desperately needs the wisdom our Older Brother passed on to us so long ago.
That said . . . the prophets often get stoned.
But it would be better to be stoned adding God to the world than be stone cold to the Human Condition and add only comfort and currency to one’s own bank account before the last synapse fires and we don’t get to take any of it into the next life.
We have brothers to bring into Eternity with us. Just like our Older Brother taught us.