yesterday the awareness was moving beyond dawning and breaking into broad daylight.
I was seeing something in American Jewry that I hadn't noticed before, but when
it became apparent it seemed like the fulfillment of a lifelong predilection.
Until now, I had seen isolated instances of Jewish religiosity that seemed genuine
and biblically based, but they still seemed timid or at least tentative. On the
liberal side there has been, already for generations, no shortage of Jewish writers,
editorialists, columnists, commentators, professors, and humorists who've been
all too ready to tell the rest of us how to think and react to the human predicament.
And just as often we've been inclined to say, "yes, you have a point there."
But many of those public opinion leaders were more likely to pretend no religious
leanings at all or if admitting a smidgen of Jewish presuppositions, they were
generally a very liberal brand of Judaism more comfortable with Marx and Freud
(professing atheists) than prophets, priests, or rabbinical teachers.
here, in the space of three days, had emerged four articles out on websites, some
of them read by large followings, where the whole world could read them and forward
them to their friends or enemies. All four of them argued biblical ethical approaches
to current social issues. Though I'm always grateful for any support for any ethical
position I favor, my gratitude here went farther, seeming more like something
akin to a homecoming. Yes, I felt and thought, the people of the Old Testament
have a contemporary presence in the Western Hemisphere; west of the Mediterranean,
west even of the Atlantic Ocean. It's not just "ethnicity" any longer.
I have a lot of things in common with these people! And as one who was reared
in Old Testament stories at my mother's knee, that seemed right and good.
Monday I introduced the first of these four horsemen of this minor Jewish apocalypse:
Samuel Silver's Some
of My Best Friends Are Gay, subtitled, "A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage
From the Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual," in which Mr. Silver is referring
to the Bible as "the Manufacturer's Instruction Manual" (what we Christians
refer to as only part of the Bible, the Old Testament, but still, this is an unabashed
exposition of biblical theological understanding in a public forum from a Jewish
perspective). Hallelujah! (which, by the way, is a Hebrew word).
other three articles surfaced in my Monday and Tuesday quest for articles to link
to my Christian News and Media News Portal website (Xnmp). All three of them struck
me as brilliant arguments, but the most spot-on of these, one that I might borrow
from freely if I were still preaching sermons, is Dennis
Prager's latest column which, in discussing the (thus far attempted) murder
of Terri Schiavo gets into exegeting the Old Testament doctrines regarding death
and dying (and more to the point, life and living) in ways I found fascinating
and mind boggling.
Both of the others also treat the Terri
Schiavo case. Nat Hentoff, a regular writer for the Village Voice, New
York's ultra liberal weekly paper, has long been the most consistent defender
of life (as in pre-born babies' right to life) on the left, so it's not entirely
surprising to find him also defending Terri Schiavo's rights: "The fundamental
issue in Terri's case is disability rights — not the right to die." he wrote
Monday in the Jewish
World Review. "Throughout all the extensive media coverage of the
case, there has been only slight mention — usually none at all — that nearly every
major disability rights organization has filed legal briefs to prevent what they
and I regard as judicial murder. The protests are not only from pro-lifers and
the Christian Right."
Finally, but also top-notch thinking
and writing, is David Klinghoffer's column
in Tuesday's National Review Online, "Liberal Jews & Terri Schiavo."
He, also, goes into Jewish theology to argue for biblical defense of life in general
and for Terri Shiavo in particular.
Altogether, these articles,
along with increasingly frequent appearances on news channel debate and current
events forums by some media-savvy rabbis, give encouragement to all those of us
who believe the real issues of life flow from the heart and are best understood
in terms of how God interacts with His world and people.
A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005