Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke

Friday, December 18, 2009

WHY I WOULD BE JEWISH?

Born and raised a Christian, I was the child of a Methodist minister and I was the child of a devoted Christian mother. I had strong Christian Presbyterian as well as Methodist grandparents. All of these strong people taught me from example. I do not remember one of them preaching to me. Not even my preacher father. If I did something wrong I was corrected because I was wrong and not because Jesus wouldn't like it.

I would ask Dad a question and instead of giving me an answer that he thought was right, he would give me a list of references and I could read them and perhaps find my answer there. That was the same way he preached his sermons basically. He gave some clues and you had to solve the puzzle yourself.

My paternal grandmother would sing in her kitchen about Jesus. Her voice was a precious sound I loved. She was always busy and she was almost always doing something for someone else. And, of course, she and grandpa were always taking us to church.

Working in Tulsa,OK in my adult years lead me to a community in The Bible Belt that is a place like I have never seen. Surrounded by evangelical universities and, at the same time, harboring a very large Jewish community, I saw and met interesting people of both faiths on a daily basis.

As a Christian, it was hard for me to deal with the Christians of that area. Strangers would ask me if I was "saved" or if I was "born again". You could not disagree with them on anything because they were doing God's will. One person wanted us to cash a personal out-of-state check and I explained we would have to place a 10 day hold on the check until it cleared the bank it was drawn on. This person raged and announced it was money from God. I responded that it would have to go further and probably should even have a longer hold on it then. He did not think that was as funny as I did.

Oh but my customers and dear friends among the Jewish community. They came into the bank to deal as customers of the bank and not in search of converts to Judaism. I knew of people from this community who anonymously gave to causes throughout our part of the state and city and did not brandish their gifts as badges of greatness. I made friends in this group of people and we never discussed our religious differences but we tried to live examples of our faith.

We are all odd ducks and every religious community has its kooks but lump me with the ones who want to search their faith and not have it crammed down their throats. Let me set an example by being a good person and not believing I'm a perfect person.

I see so much more of Jesus' Jewish heritage in his teaching as he walks humbly living his faith by example. Thankfully many of us Christians have learned to follow the path without storming the gates but we can easily be lost in the crowd. My one greatest hope is that I am leaving my grandchildren a good example.

I must add this tidbit I just heard at Olive's: Maya Angelou says when people say to her, "I'm a Christian." She responds, "Already? How have you managed that?"

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for a great post Annie, I'm sure you are giving your grandchildren a fine example to set them up for life.
    Take care.

    Yvonne.

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  2. That was a great post. I grew up with parents who didn't push religion or church on us. I've been to a Catholic church, Protestant, Methodist, Fundamental Baptish, Lutheran. I think probably every kind except a Jewish Synagogue, but I did have Jewish friends so I knew about their religion. So I agree about being hounded by "Christians" when I moved to the south. It was so hard on me that I didn't even try to find a church for fear that my phone would ring off the hook or someone would be banging my door off the hinges. I've been in Florida for 32 years now and I just now have found a church I am comfortable with. No phones ringing or doors knocking. The pastor teaches a lesson each week and hopefully you learn from it and there are always lesson sheets to take home with you so you can look into the lesson more. I beleive you are leaving your grandchildren a great example.

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  3. Religion and belief in a higher being or even higher beings or higher power is tremendously personal and takes a lot of patience to come to terms with it inside oneself. You are so correct that, like love, ideas and beliefs cannot be forced on people.

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  4. Yeah, when someone tries to convert me, it turns me off really, really fast. I like my denomination and have no intention of changing it.

    I have yet to meet a Jewish person tell me that his or her religion is better than mine. So thumbs up. :)

    By the way, I really like what Tabor said.

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  5. Excellent post! Being brought up Lutheran and having Jewish roots, it's especially interesting to me. You make a lot of good points here. I think many people forget about being the "shining light" - and instead turn on tractor beams.

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  6. I am a practicing Catholic and I 'love' the people who on learning that, tell me that they are a Christian. While I want to scream, I silently ask Jesus to give me strength and say, "That's nice." I want to know who kicked Catholics out of Christianity. My Jewish friends have more respect for my faith a lot of the so-called Christians. I have friends of all religions and I would never question their beliefs.

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  7. Great quote by Angelou. Funny how you write about this today when I'm questioning many things about religion.

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  8. I had a house guest from Israel once and she made a comment that always stuck with me. It was, "I always thought Christianity should be Judaism plus." Makes sense to me.

    Those misguided souls that proselytize drive me crazy. I think they do more harm than good and I am always suspicious of the ones who are so self righteous that they think their way is the only way.

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  9. Jesus was a devout Jew and practiced his religion. He wanted to bring religion to all people, of all backgrounds. He went against the common teachings of the day and brought religion to the working class and poor. He sat and broke bread with anyone that was hungry. His life was humble by comparison to other religious teachers of the day. He preached to the masses out in the open, on mountain tops, in streets, homes... He invited people to come and talk, listen, walk with Him for a while. Jesus did not condemn, instead he showed Love and Compassion to all. He led by example. He walked His talk.
    I see too many people Talk a talk, (talk about how "saved" they are, how they go to church so many times a week day etc..) yet these same people They do not walk their talk. They judge people by who goes to their church and who doesn't.
    I also see people who stop to help someone in need, bring food to the hungry, talk to the homeless, carry on discussions with people who are different from them... sowing Love wherever they go. I see these people lead by example. They are "Christ-like" in their actions by being Love, Being Compassion.. not just talking about it.
    If someone yells at something all you hear is the yelling. When someone speaks gently and shows you, people listen, hear and follow.
    You are setting a good example for your children and grandchildren. It's kind of like the saying be the change you want in the world today. Be the Religious person you want to see in the world today... Wonderful, thought provoking post. Love and Light, Nina P

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  10. Wow. Your commentary was like a cool glass of water on a hot August day. My grandparents lead by example, too. I am certain you will leave the same memories. Nice job!

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  11. Yvonne -- Thank you. We can only hope that we leave a good impression for future generations.

    Bonnie -- I never searched outside the boundaries of the Methodist denomination but I love to read about other religions such as Hindu and Buddhism, etc. What you can never read about or find interesting is persons who have absolutely no faith or belief in a higher power.

    Tabor -- Excellent little sermon yourself! Thanks.

    Riot Kitty -- you are so funny. Yep I've seen that tractor beam coming at me many a time. Look out!

    Kay -- Our family is very diverse in religious affiliations. We have Jewish family members and Protestants, Catholic and Agnostic. I have never questioned the Christianity of our Catholic relatives.

    lly -- Yes isn't that quote wonderful. It must have been especially for you if you are struggling with your faith. Who doesn't struggle daily to better understand their faith. If people don't ask questions they will never get answers, right?

    Darlene -- I too could never understand those who proselytize. Sometimes it seems they come straight out of the woodwork.

    Nina P -- Love and light to you as well. Very nicely and thoughtfully said!

    Ev -- Thank you and Hello:) I am honored by your visit and your kind remarks.

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  12. I loved what Nina P said! Very well put indeed.

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  13. Hi Annie!

    Remember me?? :-) It's been so long since I've been able to visit you, but I'm glad to be back here and I'm glad to read this great post!

    I'm Jewish and one thing I do love about Judaism is that we do not proselytize. That is simply not a part of our religion. All that matters is that we are all trying to be closer to God, no matter what our religion. It is more important to us that people use their lives to help others and to do work that leaves the world a better place, not that they hold the same beliefs.

    Great post! I hope you and your family are doing well!

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  14. Rachel -- I loved what Nina P said also.

    Sammy -- Of course I remember you and have truly missed you and the updates on Khai. Thank you for this great comment.

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  15. I agree that by example is far stronger than empty words.

    I have trouble with the tv ministers who live in big houses with fancy suits and cars. Just a big scam.

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  16. Example is always the best way to learn...I agree with Nina also...

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