Trump card

August 14, 2008

I had such a good time tonight. Open mike night at the Bier Stube. The best part, I made a Jews for Jesus comment. Whoops…The guy across the table was one. I said welcome to teh club, I’m a gay Republican.

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11 Responses to “Trump card”

  1. kate Says:

    What was the comment?

  2. superdave524 Says:

    I’m pretty sure Paul and all of J.C.’s original followers would have been in that club. Big debate in the early Church about whether you had to be fully Jewish in order to be among “The Brothers” (Gary Wills in “What Paul Meant” observes that, though the apostle Paul has been accused of anti-semitism, he never used the term “Christian” and always considered himself Jewish). It appears that both Judaism and Christianity have changed a lot in 2,000 years (well, Christianity has, anyway), so “Jews for Jesus” can easily sound like a punch-line, but the early Church would’ve been fine with it (Wills, even though he’s also written a book called, “Why I’m a Catholic”, also opines in “What Jesus Meant” that Jesus had a big problem with pretty much all organized religion- his own, Judaism, included- at least to the extent it created divisions instead of love, and would probably run the money-changers out of today’s Christian churches, same as he did the Temple back in the day).

  3. John in IL Says:

    That’s a very good question, Kate. Unfortunately,I don’t have the answer (she drinks, you know).

    And now I know what to say to my new friend if I see him again. Thanks, Dave.

  4. kate Says:

    One cannot possibly be Jewish and Christian at the same time. It’s a farce, an evangelical movement to convert Jews to Christianity by making it a more comfortable transition. But it’s still so silly I can’t even stand it.

    Saul was a self-hating Jew. Period. He is the one, not Jesus, who decided that practicing Judaism was no longer necessary. All you had to do was believe. And that’s the heart of the difference between these two faiths. Not belief or non-belief in Jesus.

    Christians focus on belief. Jews focus on behavior.

    Christians focus on prayer. Jews focus on study.

    It’s simply a question of emphasis. We (Jewish people) are called to action. Catholicism is the only denomination of Christianity that says behavior is a *part* of the path toward salvation. The rest say your belief will save you. That was part of the Protestant Reformation after all. (And Martin Luther HATED the Jews.)

    So let’s call Jews for Jesus or Messianic Judaism what it is – evangelical Christianity. Anything else is insulting.

    And as a side note, it’s not hard to wonder why people flocked to something that requires no action in order to be saved. (It might encourage but does not require. You still get to “heaven” without doing a thing.)

    I suppose we can ignore how ridiculous it all is.

  5. Richard Says:

    Dear Kate,

    I hope you’ll get a chance to read this.

    The breadth of you lack of knowledge on the subject of what faith in Y’shua (Jesus) is is breathtaking. Why don’t you read the Scriptures, in order to find out. Why don’t you read the words of Paul (Read Romans Chapters 9 to 11, for instance) to see how Paul really felt about his Jewish people.

    Furthermore, faith has always been the basis of a relationship with God, even in the Hebrew Scriptures. To act rightly for the wrong reason is no more acceptable to God than to act wrongly. Just read what God said to our Jewish people through the prophets. Read the first chapters on Isaiah, for instance, or Amos 5:21-27.

    Christian faith is not easy beliefism. It is a faith that demands action – but out of love of God, not out of duty. It is a faith of action in response to God’s grace, not as a way to God’s grace. By our own actions we will never attain to God. It is God who has come to bring us to Him – He is the only one with the power to fix the severed relationship we as human being have with him because of our rebeliousness.

    And yes, I am an evangelical Christian. But that does not make me any less Jewish. If Y’shua is the Messiah of Israel (as I obviously believe he is) then faith in him is the biblical Jewish faith.

    You don’t have to believe me. It is all in the Scriptures and is understandable. Why not pray to God and ask him to show you His Truth. That’s the one that counts yes?

    I also ask that before you make assumptions about peoples beliefs – you get your information from reliable sources – like from real believers in Jesus – about what our faith is about.

    Blessings to all!
    Richard

  6. superdave524 Says:

    Kate, you may well be right about the agenda and constitution of the “Jews for Jesus” movement. Also, you have a huge advantage in understanding the difference, as practiced, between Jews and Christians, since you’ve been both. My live-in girlfriend for a year and a half in lawschool was (and I presume, still is), Jewish. We didn’t discuss this stuff much, but I thought about and studied it a lot. Probably not more than you have, but a lot.

    Though my path to understanding my place in the universe is one of the Episcopal Church brands of Christianity, I’m totally convinced that there is no way any of us can understand enough of Ultimate reality to confidently suggest to any other soul that their way is the best way to find God (or “God” or “the Gods” or the gods). Clearly, Luther was clearly an anti-Semite. Frankly, I’ve never been a big fan of Paul, either. Garry Wills has written books on a lot of different things. One of his books on Paul suggests that he has been greatly misunderstood. There is no denying that Paul said some things that certainly look mean-spirited. “Self-hating Jew” is a pretty common description of him. Wills argues, I think pretty convincingly, that Luther, Kierkegaard and scores of other people have misread Paul. As currently practiced, you are, of course, quite right: Judaism and Christianity are different ends of the monotheistic spectrum. And a long, awful history of Christian persecution of Jews would have to make anyone suspicious of a Christian movement to discuss Jesus with Jews; however, the history of the early church included the dialogue of whether and to what extent individuals must be observant Jews before they could be “brothers” and proper followers of Jesus’ teachings and life. Things evolve, Kate. At bottom every religion is ridulous. I know that the theological meaning of “works” is observing rules (maybe dietary laws for Jews, maybe going to mass for Christian Catholics) You want salvation by works? Have you really tried to live Leviticus and Numbers? Really? When is the last time you sacrificed a goat? Do you stone adulterers to death? You’re supposed to, you know. To the extent you’re talking about helping other people as “works” Jesus clearly called on us to do that. You know, “whoever fed, clothed, visited in jail the least of my people did it for me. Whoever failed to do it for the least of my people rejected me”).

    Tell you what, Kate: If you’ll read What Jesus Meant, I’ll read any book you want. Not to convince, but to understand. I think Judaism is an excellent “fit” for you. You’d make a lousy Baptist (so would I, for that matter). It’s just that anytime I hear an intelligent, caring person say, “That’s that”, I think we’re all diminished a little.

  7. kate Says:

    Richard – Ya know, much love, but I’ve read the Torah, New Testament, parts of the Talmud and about a dozen other relgious books. The suggest they are the written word of God is silly. The “scriptures” say children who don’t observe the Sabbath are to be killed. If God is timeless, then are we to believe slavery is acceptable as the Bible suggests it is? Look, I’m not going to get too deep into this. I decided a long time ago that the Bible is simply a collection of stories. I’m not going to go through and pick the ones that make sense and call them God’s word while ignoring the other stories that make me sick. Instead, I believe we can learn something from all the stories but I don’t believe they come from anyone other than a bunch of old men written a long time ago.

    I do not believe Jesus is the Messiah. I do not believe in a Messiah. I sometimes don’t even believe in God. And I think religion, when practiced moderately, can help a great many people find meaning in life. I like the rituals, people, and philosophy of reform or conservative Judaism. I think the fundamentals in any religion are beyond ridiculous. I believe they are harmful, ignorant, supersticious, and appalling.

    I’ll repeat that Judaism and Christianity are too different to be combined. And the few tenets that are beautiful about both would be lost if they were. So let’s not. (I jokingly refer to myself as a JewBu because Buddhism is a great fit for Judaism. They are complimentary and not at all opposite ends of the spectrum.)

    Dave – I agree that there is truth in almost every religion. No one way can possibly be it for the whole world. I’m a shopping cart Jew, picking and choosing the rituals and traditions that *make sense* and applying them to my life. All while barely believing in God. Somehow it works for me. I have had such negative experiences with fundies that I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I equate that side with ignorance, intolerance, and cruelty. No thanks.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m open to any and all conversations about the Ultimate. So I’ll read What Jesus Meant and get back to you.

    As for you reading any book I want – how bout you start with the one I sent you over a month ago? It won’t solve the mysteries of the universe, but it might just make you laugh.

    And that is that.

  8. John in IL Says:

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Here I tried to make a funny and I get this. This Episcopalian nonbeliever likes it. And here’s a joke I heard recently (thanks Kevin):

    Question: What’s the great thing about being an Episcopalian?

    Answer: Being an Episcopalian never interferes with your religion.

  9. superdave524 Says:

    I like that we’re allowed to drink. Where ever you find four Episcopalians, you’re sure to find a fifth.

  10. superdave524 Says:

    …and Kate, I read most of Hot for Teacher, and have enjoyed it very much. Laughter is always good.

  11. John in IL Says:

    The other joke from Kevin:

    Q: What’s the difference between a Baptist and a Episcopalian?
    A: The Episcopalian will say “hello” when he sees you in the liquor store.


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