Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Encouraging Conversations

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of talking with someone who lives in Israel, and they offered the following real conversation witnessed between a believer and a Jewish friend:

believer: so, let me get this straight ... If his mother is Jewish ...
friend: then he is Jewish.
believer: Ok, so ... let's look at a few hypothetical cases ...
friend: Ok.

And let's also start with some tasty watermelon ...

believer: Case 1 ... Both of his parents are Jewish ... to avoid any argument there.
friend: Ok.
believer: But he is an avowed athiest ... he has told the Rabbi that there is no G-d, and that all of that stuff in the Torah was just made up. He says, "There is no G-d." Is he Jewish?
friend: Yes. He is still Jewish because of his lineage.

Let's take a break with this random frog our kids found outside our home ...

believer: Case 2 ... Different fellow, but again, both parents are Jewish.
friend: Ok.
believer: But he has been living in India for quite some time, and he is convinced of some Hindu god's worthiness, and worships those and other god's and refuses to acknowledge the G-d of Abraham. Is he Jewish?
friend: Yes. He is still Jewish for the same reason.

Ok, this better be good, because we are getting bored ...

believer: Case 3 ... Yet another fellow ... both parents are Jewish.
friend: Ok.
believer: But this last fellow has the biggest problem of all, because he actually believes the stories his parents told him. He believes that the Torah was given to them by Moses, and that the G-d of Abraham deserves his love. He also believes what Moses said about the prophets, and he believes that the prophets were inspired by the same G-d as Moses. He also comes to believe that the Messiah has come already, and will come again. And he believes that the Jewish Messiah is the Jesus of Nazareth mentioned in the bible. Is he Jewish?
friend: Well ... I cannot tell you what Jewishness is, but I can tell you what it is not. If it involves a belief in Jesus, then it's not Jewish.

My previous entry on this subject basically stated that Jesus defines Judaism today. I have been uncomfortable with this idea ever since that post. But, the fellow conveying the above example also made it clear that this train of thought is common between believers and non-believing Jews in Israel. This conversation was encouraging because now it's clear that I'm not the only one who sees that Jesus is the necessary beginning to the definition of a Jew today.

Let's close with this picture of last night's sunset here at our home ... click to enlarge and enjoy

Praise Jesus ... He is Moshiach ... and He loves the Jews first. Blessed be the children of Abraham!

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