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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, March 30 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Jewish renaissance?

By 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.

But 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.

On 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).

The 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.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Parenting 101

My father would say things that made no sense at all, like, "If I were the last person on earth, some moron would turn left in front of me."

— Louie Anderson

Thought for today

Christian one-liners
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

Sent by Carl Essex  

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