My friend Ed (real name) is a committed Christian and a true Conservative. We have little in common other than our age and occupation. And yet, I proudly call him my friend. We tend to catch lunch once or twice a year. Most of our interaction takes place through Facebook and emails. He made one respectful inquiry about my connection to Judaism during a lunch we had after my little health adventure a couple of years ago. I understood his interest. He honored my answer. And that was that.
On Palm Sunday Ed posted a scholarly dissertation on Facebook from Dr. Jerry Newcombe entitled What Was The “Crime” That Got Jesus Crucified?” The post was there for anyone to read or ignore. My chicken soup was boiling in the other room and I had a couple of minutes to add to my knowledge of someone else’s faith. I’m glad that I did. Reading the article wasn’t supposed to change anything, and it didn’t. Facebook is best when we use it to better understand each other while respecting our differences.
Respect is the key. Ed isn’t trying to convert me to Christianity and I have no interest in having him become either Jewish or a Democrat. That means that I don’t send him an email every time Donald Trump does something that might shame us, his wife, or himself. Ed can read the paper. He doesn’t need to justify his votes or positions to me.
And that brings us to Roger. My first encounter with Roger (name changed) was detailed in October 2014’s Coffee with Roger. Roger wanted me to determine whether the story of the Resurrection was fact or a hoax, as if those were the only choices, or more importantly, whether I actually cared. The whole thing ended with each of us returning to our own corners.
I hadn’t talked to Roger in almost four years until last week. I bumped into him at a meeting. It only took him a couple of minutes before he started to pitch me. A breakfast, a leadership prayer breakfast, was coming up. He thought I might be interested. A police detective, an atheist skeptic, set out to disprove Christianity. Guess what happened! Golly, who would have seen that coming? I made it clear that I had no desire to come to his breakfast. This went on for another couple of minutes. I must admit that I was so ticked by the time I returned to my seat that I had to share what had just happened with everyone at my table.
There must be some Christians who think that “convert a Jew” is one of the blocks on their get into heaven bingo cards.
This email came Saturday night:
Nice to see you the other day.
Here is the link to the event I mentioned. How about if you come and sit at my table, then we get together a week or 2 after and you tell me what was not true?
I am no match for you, so it would be fun for you.
I’ve not included the invitation link.
This Friday and Saturday evening Jews around the world will celebrate our exodus from Egypt at Passover Seders. I intend to share the invitation and my response to Roger with my children and guests. We were required, 3,000+ years ago, to take action to earn our freedom from bondage. It would appear that it is up to every generation to affirm our choice to be Jewish.
It is also up to every generation to say “NO” and mean it.
Pictures – Bookshelf and The Bread of Affliction – both David L Cunix