“The prophet was an individual who said No to his society, condemning its habits and assumptions, its complacency, waywardness, and syncretism… His images must not shine, they must burn . . . wrenching one’s conscience from the state of suspended animation…”
Rabbi Abraham Heschel
The prophetic always moves.
The spirit blows where it wills John 3:8
The ruah, the divine wind, seldom appears in hidebound institutions which have sadly made their accommodation with power and culture which strangle or mute it.
The turbocapitalism we live under almost makes it impossible for the prophetic to emerge.
But it does. It shows up in the most unlikely of places as it always has. Scripture in both testaments, point the way, where to look—In the poor, the neglected, the forgotten, the humiliated, This is the meaning of Exodus,the lives of the neviim (the Hebrew prophets) and the meaning of the Exodus-Jew the faithful crucified one from Nazareth who self-identified with anawim (the bent and broken).
Most people enmeshed in received wisdom, highly conventional and structured lives, state power, privilege and affluence, propagandized and comfortable have difficulty hearing the liberating word.
History shows that it is not impossible to break through. Educated people of colour who could have lived privileged and safe lives but heard a deeper call—Frederick Douglas, MLK, Gandhi, Mandela. The prophetic is also beyond colour. Serious Jews and Christians, Nonbelievers donned the mantle-Edward Said, Rabbis Heschel and Slonim, Berrigans Dan and Phil,Dietrich Bonhoeffer,Franz Jaggerstatter, Sophie Scholl, Elizabeth Mcallister, Fannie Lou Hamer, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Joan Chittister —the list is endless and inspiring.
In terms of Israel/Palestine contemporary prophet Chris Hedges writes:
The Palestinians are poor. They are powerless. They have no voice or influence in the halls of power. They are demonized. They do not have well-heeled lobbyists doling out campaign contributions and pushing through pro-Palestinian legislation. No presidential candidate is appealing to donors—as Hillary Clinton did when she sent a letter to media mogul Haim Saban denouncing critics of Israel—by promising to advance the interests of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, like poor people of color in the United States, are expendable.
Justice for Palestine will never come from the traditional governmental institutions or political parties that administer power. These institutions have surrendered to moneyed interests.
Israel’s most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists are slandered and censored in their own country, just as American critics such as Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal and Noam Chomsky are in the United States.
Once again the prophetic appears , this time in an amazing 19 year old Israeli who speaks with profound understanding about the broken society she lives in:
Maya Bernad-Feigenbaum was in the military prison for seven days for refusing to enlist in the military. Just before she went to the Induction Center to declare her refusal (25/7), she was interviewed on social television and told her motives for refusing the reactions of people around her, and the effectiveness of the refusal action. Maya hopes she will inspire young men and women before recruitment