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|Title: The First Advent in Palestine: Reversals, Resistance, and the Ongoing Complexity of Hope
By: Kelley Nikondeha
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Broadleaf Books
Publication Date: 2022
|Dimensions: 8.75 X 5.75 (inches)
Weight: 14 ounces
Stock No: WW474795
When we picture the first Advent, we see Mary and Joseph huddled by a manger. We picture Gabriel, magi, and shepherds tending their flocks. A shining star against a midnight sky. But this harmonized version has lifted the Advent story out of its context--those who experienced the first Advent had to travel through great darkness to reach the hope that shining star announced. Trusted scholar and community organizer Kelley Nikondeha takes us back, to where the landscape of Palestine is once again the geographic, socioeconomic, and political backdrop for the Advent story.
Reading the Advent narratives of Luke and Matthew anew, in their original context, changes so much about how we see the true story of resistance, abusive rulers and systems of oppression, and God coming to earth. In Luke, Rome and Caesar loom, and young Mary's strength and resolve shine brightly as we begin to truly understand what it meant for her to live in the tumultuous Galilee region. In Matthew, through Joseph's point of view, we see the brutality of Herod's rule and how the complexities of empire weighed heavily on the Holy Family. We bear witness to the economic hardship of Nazareth, Bethlehem, and the many villages in between--concerns about daily bread, crushing debt, land loss, and dispossession that ring a familiar echo to our modern ears. Throughout her explorations, Nikondeha features the stories of modern-day Palestinians, centering their voices to help us meet an Advent recognizable for today. This thought-provoking examination invites us into a season of discovery, one that is realistic and honest, and that still wonders at the goodness of God's grace.
Kelley Nikondeha is a writer, liberation theologian, and community development practitioner. She combines biblical texts and various cultural contexts to discover insights for embodied justice, community engagement, and living faith. She is the author of Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom and Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World, and is known for highlighting Palestinian voices and rights. She travels between the southwest US and Burundi in East Africa.
"Nikondeha's exegesis is invigorating and inspired, as is her application of the New Testament's lessons to the present day. The result is an illuminating take on what the Gospels can teach modern Christians about conflict in contemporary Palestine." --Publishers Weekly
"Kelley Nikondeha eloquently weaves together the first Advent story and the present-day stories of Palestinians, creating invigorating insights for present-day Christians. Palestine then and now, its people, and the politics of the land are a common thread throughout the book, bringing us to a place to genuinely grapple with the meanings of deliverance, peace, justice, and hope. Through her personal encounters, Kelley makes the Palestinian experience visible in a world that has made them invisible. If you are looking for an Advent read that dives into new and raw paths, then The First Advent in Palestine is for you." --Shadia Qubti, Palestinian Christian peacemaker and co-producer of Women Behind the Wall podcast
"If you are wearied by or bored with the sentimentality and careless religious nostalgia of American Advent and Christmas, this is the book for you. Kelley Nikondeha takes a deep, alert dive into the natal poetry of the Gospels that has become for us too trite and jaded in its familiarity. She reads this poetry differently because she has, at the same time, made a deep investment in the contemporary life of real people in the actual circumstances of Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, people who happen to be Palestinians who continue to be outsiders to imperial power. The outcome of her bold reading is to see that these Gospel texts initiated a peace movement into the world that defies and subverts the phony peace of every imperialism. This rich, suggestive book permits us to reappropriate in knowing ways the good news of Advent-Christmas, news that destabilizes and emancipates." --Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"This powerful and poetic book has enriched my faith and deepened my understanding of the first Advent. Kelley Nikondeha gets under the skin of the biblical narrative and breathes new life into itseeing its drama play out through the lens of contemporary Palestinian reality." --James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute and author of Arab Voices
"Kelley Nikondeha writes with the textual insight of Walter Brueggemann, the historical understanding of Borg and Crossan, and the prose-poetry writing style of Barbara Brown Taylor. She brings her own unique perspective as a Christian with a mixture of Catholic, Evangelical, US, African, and post-colonial experiences. The result is a reading of the Advent stories that will illuminate the Middle Eastern world of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus--and our world today as well, so full of agony, anxiety, and pregnancy." --Brian McLaren, author of Faith After Doubt (St. Martin's, January 2021), among many others
"After On the Incarnation by Athanasius, The First Advent in Palestine by Kelley Nikondeha is the best book I've read on the incarnation, peace, and hope. Buy it, read it, and embody it in your community!" --Peter Heltzel, author of Resurrection City: A Theology of Improvisation
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