Thursday, May 24, 2012

#56- On Judaism 2

I got deployed to the Middle East after 9/11.  I didn't give Judaism and Jews much thought during that time per se.

Actual picture of my old Sunday School class
Around the time I was meeting all these Jewish teachers I was getting acclimated with the Christian version of the stories in the Bible.  I was a Christian at the time and basically the Christians made unsubstantiated claims against the Jews that were always irrational to me.  They said the Jews rejected Jesus because he was not what they expected.

That prompted several questions in my mind.  The most important of which were:

1.  What did they expect?
2.  Where did they get these expectations from?
3.  How in the world can outsiders (Christians) know the affairs of Jews better than Jews?

In order to get the answers to these questions I asked the head pastor at my church, Pastor Joseph.  He happened to walk into my Sunday School class one morning.  I hurriedly approached him and asked my "why DID the Jews reject Jesus"?  He answered dismissively "because they are sinners".  The gravity of this moment in my life can not be understated.  HOW DARE HE JUST BRUSH ME OFF!!!!

His credulity and arrogance came out of him at once.  He didn't know but this was no small matter to me.  I had taken the time to read the Bible.  I was sent to war based on religion.  People were willing to kill for God.  If I was going to choose Jesus I needed the FULL story.  I thought that the head pastor of one of the largest Haitian Protestant church would offer more than the words that escaped his throat.  I wanted to grab that old man and shake him for disrespecting me like that.  I had come close to dying at war and I was hell bent on learning the ways of religion so I can spread peace because it was the right thing to do.  I couldn't spread peace if I didn't get the full picture of these old beefs.

It was during this time that I decide to seek out Jews for my self and bring up the white elephant in the room, JESUS CHRIST.  South Florida is full of Jews.  Truth be told I found them weird.  I would see their boys at the mall with their strings hanging from their pants and wanted to pull on them instinctively.  They kept to themselves and were almost clandestine.  Here we are raving about how they missed out on Jesus and they couldn't care less.  I wanted to know why so I sought them out.

My first move was to go online.  I didn't know how to approach a Jew and talk about Jesus even though we were constantly pestered to share the gospels with strangers.  I found and was able to talk to one of their organizers.  She was able to answer my questions and just as I expected Christians and Jews were in totally different planets when talking about Jesus.  Jews barely talked about him.  They keep to themselves after centuries of being harassed by Christians.

When Christians tried to reason with them they had very satisfying answers but I wager that 99% of Christians don't know of the things I learned from Jews For Judaism.  This is what happens when people don't communicate.

I took my new knowledge to church thinking that they were interested in what I learned.  They were not.  New Vision Emmanuel Baptist Church was not a place for freedom of speech and proliferation of ideas.  It is a vacuum of thought.  It is a swamp of "Yes" people whose minds are fettered in a quagmire of politics and bronze age superstition.  All of it is preserved in the glossy wrapping of Haitian tradition and backwards mores.  Needless to say I was exasperated.  More shingles of lies fell from my eyes.

I freed myself from the old fears of exploring the different.  I have since visited at least two synagogues: Temple Solel and and Young Israel in Hollywood, Florida.  Those experience deserve posts all by themselves.  But I will say that the Jewish people I met were just as disinterested in religion and the Bible as the Haitians I need.  People just go through the motions and hand-waving to fit in and keep up pretenses for family and friends.  Of course there are always the crazies but that is religion for you.

I was impressed by the sense of unity and organization that the Jews seem to have.  I want that for Haitian people.

During my Jewish exploration I read David Klinghoffer's "Why Do Jews Reject Jesus" and exchanged emails with Rabbis from where I learned all manner of things that Christians don't know and won't teach.

I've also ran into Black Hebrew Israelites.  But I will get into that later.
People who want to feel special

The bottom line is that Jews have their own spectrum of thought on religion.  There are all types of Jews from the cool to the scary.  There are Zionists, scumbags, teachers, perverts, politicians, and at least one rapper.

Jews are just regular people.

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