16
Jul
09

Drive-by Scripture, Jeremiah 31:33

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

This is the passage that was sitting before me when I randomly opened my Bible today. (OK, it was the second thing, if I’m to be honest. The first time I opened it to get my Drive-by Scripture for today, it opened to the concordance [sort of like an index] at the back of the Bible.)

I find this passage interesting in being the one I turned to given the recent discussions between me and Tit for Tat on how arrogant Christianity and other religions are that want to convert people (which, let’s be honest, really amounts to: “We’d like you to join. Will you?” which is a pretty common thing for groups to do).

Somehow, though, Judaism seemed to be off the hook under that logic in the discussion because they don’t very actively seek converts.

But let’s look at that passage from Jeremiah, which pretty much focuses on the Hebrews alone being God’s people and the ones for whom the law will be written on their hearts. No, it’s just the Christians and the radical Muslims who are “arrogant” among the major religions.

Why should Judaism not be considered arrogant, because they don’t seek to let people in (under Tit for Tat’s argument), and they consider themselves the Chosen People…yet Christianity is arrogant because it seeks to embrace everyone and preaches that God looks to include all people under his plans?

To robyn and other readers who are Jewish: This is not a slam on Judaism, because I don’t believe Judaism is inherently arrogant. I’m actually rather fond of Jews, given that half of my Bible (more than half, actually) is based on their scriptures and because they still have a key place in God’s heart and in God’s plans. Also because I’m fond of folks in general, including some Muslims, pagans and others who don’t subscribe to my faith. It’s just that it’s interesting how Christianity is picked almost 100% of the time as the most arrogant religion around, even though every religion can be picked apart to be made to look arrogant. But nobody really does that very often, except with regard to Christians…Oh, and politically wing-nutty Muslims who somehow got the idea that killing folks and/or conquering them will get them in good with Allah and get them a bunch of virgins in the afterlife.

Yeah….

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10 Responses to “Drive-by Scripture, Jeremiah 31:33”


  1. July 16, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Deac

    You have to get out more. The arrogant religion is the one that is in power in the area where you live. Trust me on that. So, Jewish folks get picked on in particular areas, Muslims in other areas, and every other religion. Folks in America pick on Christianity, because that’s what they know.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    July 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    LOL…I get out enough.

    I do get your point, and I suspect it’s probably pretty true. Religions that aren’t as dominant in region or nation are “novel” and thus interesting and don’t strike people as arrogant. Lord knows I’ve seen a few evangelistic pagans in my time and people love to hear THEM out…because, you know, at least they aren’t Bible thumpers.
    😉

  3. 3 LightWorker
    July 17, 2009 at 3:26 am

    “Craving for the Holy Temple

    “Wouldn’t it be grand if there was a temple of worship where all were invited? No one had to convert to nothing. No proselytizing, just warm welcomes. Wouldn’t it be grand if our prayers were assured to be answered at such a place?

    “There was such a place long ago. The Holy Temple.

    “Let’s have it again.”

    I’ve quoted from a blogger whose blog I frequent, and enjoy. She’s a Jewess, and I’m sure she won’t mind me quoting her here anonymously, or I wouldn’t do it at all.

    Her craving is my craving, but I’d like to go a step further and say: Wouldn’t it be grand if, at some future date, religion, all religions, become passé, no longer needed, no longer required as a intermediary between us and God?

    Wouldn’t it be grand if we could discard all Holy Writ, all Holy Text, all Scripture?

    Wouldn’t it be grand if we could suspend proselytizing, the continual task of bringing someone we believe need saving, to Jesus, to God, or to whomever.

    I’d like to think that there was a time when souls didn’t need saving; a time when we didn’t need a savior, or a temple, or a house of worship, where we might pray to, praise, or otherwise kneel before a God by whatever name we wish to call Him.

    Here’s my vision: Rather than seeing our Creator as someone who needs our praise, who needs our devotion, or our worship, He would just be our Best Friend. A Friend to whom we could go, and He would listen intently to our questions, our plights, and answer us directly.

    Yeah, directly! Fresh off the presses, so to speak. In a voice we know and understand. With an attention so rapt, that we believe that we’re the only person on the earth. With a Love so complete that we could ask anything, and anything would be answered.

    Here’s my vision: Rather than relating to a Creator that condemns and punishes, we see Her as one who understands our weaknesses, looks past our flaws, and is always ready and willing to help us grow, improve, and evolve, without faultfinding and retribution for our failures.

    Here’s my vision: Rather than seeking to please a Creator that we can never please because of our sins, or that we’re fallen, or have requirements that are too unrealistic, too onerous, too demanding, she offers us nothing but Unconditional Love, Unconditional Forgiveness, and Unconditional Acceptance.

    If it was that way long ago, I say, along with my blogger friend: “Let’s have it again.” And if such a time has never existed, I say: “Why not?”

    What’s to stop it from being just the way I have envisioned it, except a lack of vision, or a vision that has grown old, and weary with what it has seen for so long–believing the view, or the viewpoint, will not, cannot, change, and if it changes, it will take time, over time, and for a time.

    Yet, the time is now…”I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    July 17, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Interesting insights/thoughts.

    The thing is, I don’t see God as someone who demands that I worship Him. Or that I cower before him. He is my father, not just symbolically but in truth.

    But, to be honest, before I became born again, I had no ability to relate to Him in that way. I couldn’t love and respect Him in that way nor understand how He loved me as a child.

  5. July 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Deac

    I think that God does demand that his followers worship him.

  6. 6 LightWorker
    July 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    @Big Man: “I think that God does demand that his followers worship him.”

    Would you care to expound? I have no desire to make you wrong, or to challenge, or to dispute. I suspect that many people believe as you do.

  7. 7 Deacon Blue
    July 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    No, I don’t think He “demands” it. No more than He demands anything from us.

    I think to a certain extent God “expects” to be worshipped. That is, if you believe in Him and respect Him, you will also reverence Him. You will be thankful. You will sing His praises, literally and figuratively.

    But under the new convenant, that comes out of love and recognition of His pre-eminence.

    Under the old convenant, it was a “I am your LORD and GOD, and you are my SERVANTS and SUBJECTS” The relationship became much more familial under the new convenant.

    That’s more the distinction that I failed to convey. We don’t sacrifice to Him and follow a huge and complex set of rules and set up our temples in a specific way and have the priests do things in a set ritual and we don’t all grovel before God.

    It’s a much more complex relationship now, and deeper I believe.

    And it’s not about saying, “Get down on your knees and pray to me or else.”

    That, in essence, is what was going through my mind when I wrote that line.

  8. July 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I’m going to have to come back to this with some more thoughts.

    But, I will say that I don’t think God demands this of everyone, but just the ones that say they are his children. Let me think on it and find some scripture to bring back one of these days.

  9. July 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

    i’m just going to turn around, face west, and greet Shabbat. we are his people, he is our friend.

    “we will do and we will hear.”

    Midrash: when god asked the peoples of the earth to accept his [or hers, or its] doctrine, all the other peoples replied: what is this doctrine? what do we have to do? what will it cost us?
    the hebrews, who were not yet the hebrews, but perhaps cave dwelling basic agricults replied: you are the eternal. we will do and we will hear” they, we accepted on faith, before the cost/benefit analysis was laid out. we continue to accept that the Moshiach is coming.

    and when he/she gets to zion, the cab driver will say, so, you’re the moshiach? um… tell me, is this your FIRST visit to Israel or your SECOND? just asking.

    no cost/benefit analysis: only time a jew ever said, take it, don’t worry about the bottom line! i swear, more of us are accountants and lawyers per capita than any other religion.

    conversion: judaism is one of the hardest religions to convert to and if you convert to conservative, reform or reconstructionist judaism, you might not be recognized as jewish by other sects [ie the orthodox in israel ONLY recognize orthodox conversions] even my rabbis, reform and reconstructionist, think the process has to be gentler and we have to be open to converts. considering that the intermarriage rate is 60% or more, if we do not become more inclusive, the only jews left in 3-4 generations will be the crazy Satmars who hate everyone, don’t get them started about the subgroups within their own sect. the Lubavitch,on the other hand, are quite charming, you want to have a good time, get yourself invited to a Lubavitch Shabbat dinner and be prepared to party down for Baruch HaShem. i’m more confortable in a Lubavitch temple than in a conservative.

    irony: i’m observant. i attend services, i observe even the ‘minor’ holy days, fast, light candles,been bat mitzvahed, i’ve even kept kosher at times. and yet…
    i’ve never had a serious relationship with a co-religionist. ex-boyfriends, ex-spouse, current, all catholics, lutherans, methodists, hindus, congregationalists…
    el corazon no se manda

  10. 10 Deacon Blue
    July 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

    robyn, I’ve never been to a Shabbat service, and there are previous few synagogues (or Jews for that matter) where I currently live, but I’ll keep that advice in mind.

    I did, however, enjoy Seder with some Jewish friends and their parents some years back in their parent’s home. Very nice time, that. Except for the horribly sweet dessert wine we had.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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