Monday, April 21, 2008

If I Say I Love Jesus, Will You Stop Emailing Me?

So back in the day, 2004 to be exact, I wrote a post about being approached by Jews for Jesus: Here Not the most interesting post in the world, but just written on the day from my frustration with the whole evangelization thing and my ongoing mystification about trying to be simultaneously Jewish and seeing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Apparently someone somewhere linked to it on a Jews for Jesus site, and I am now the lucky recipient of comments and tons of emails from people either pissed off at me or, sometimes in the same paragraph, praying for me that I might come to Jesus and be saved. But not to worry--I'll still be a Jew when it's all over.

The tone of the email campaign is precisely what I was annoyed about in the original post, which is all the assurances that I can be both Jewish AND "saved," no matter what any other source (including my own head and heart) tells me to be true. In short, there is a definition of Judaism. Having a Messiah ain't in the definition. But beyond that, it's the notion that it is the place of anyone anywhere to get someone to leave their own religion and join another, by virtue of metro station lit drops or email campaigns or whatever. It's a notion that, in and of itself, has almost no parallel in Judaism. We don't proselytize, unless you count toward other Jews. Between and among ourselves we argue constantly about who/what denomination is better, blah blah blah. But for everyone else? You do your thing, we'll do ours.

So what's my point (again)? To invert Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck If...:" If you find yourself with an opportunity to proselytize--and you take it, you might not be Jewish. Or, if you feel like you can't get off your computer before sending an email to encourage someone to find salvation via Jesus, you might not be Jewish.

Again, I love me my Christians. Heck y'all, I've even got some of ya in my family! Bambina's baby naming was a who's who of beloved Christianity in our house; potentially the most mixed event in history since the wedding of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel. If you know me, you know this is not about dissing Jesus or his followers. I've made my thoughts on Madonna-style pseudo-kabbalah equally clear. In this case, it's about respecting another's religion. Enough to not pretend it's your own, and enough to not get all email-y when they take exception to it.


Ken said...

We had the same problem with Ron Paul supporters.

Anonymous said...

Is Billy Joel Jewish? I had no idea!! Or Christie...oh, wait, she has "Christ" in her name...

(Are there any Jews named Christie or derivations thereof? Just curious.)