So Christianity Today has picked up the 50 Shekel story, and couldn’t help but seize on the opportunity to exhibit the very worst of Jewish reactionaryism: A quote from a Jewschool reader who wrote, “Kill him. These Jews for Jesus give me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t even describe the sheer and utter disgust and contempt I feel for these heretic mamzers.”
So much for interfaith dialogue.
Look, this guy doesn’t speak for everyone, and his words were damn harsh. He obviously has — in the words of Hunter S. Thompson — “no faith in the inherent decency of the white man’s culture.” But at least try to understand where he’s coming from. If I may be as so bold as to speak on behalf of the Jewish people for just a minute (for the obvious irony of the fact that no one has the right to):
Dear Christians,
It’s not that we think you’re terrible people or anything. It’s just the Jesus thing really. Well, that and the persecution.
Just stop trying to redeem us! That’s the problem with Messiahs, and why we kept rejecting them — including yours. Messianism always tends to take the yoke of personal responsibility off the individual and places it upon some lofty mythical figure who’ll descend from the heavens and make everything all right.
Look, we pray for Moshiach, but considering he’s merely alluded to in one of the later volumes of prophetic writings, the role of a saviour isn’t exactly one central to our theology, Chabadniks aside. Despite the addition of messianic prophecy to Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith, our religion is most directly concerned with taking practical steps towards insuring the existence of a just society, which is incumbent on being a just and righteous people. Our system ain’t perfect, but when it works, it works miracles. In that sense, The Kingdom of Heaven is just a lofty metaphor for seeing that rather daunting feat manifest. We pray for redemption — but only the foolhearty think it’s really gonna come (even if, “on paper,” we have to). We’re more focused on redeeming ourselves, with the practice of Judaism.
All this ultraserious nonesense about “missing the bus” and whatnot — really, it’s a moot point. I could care less if the countdown to extinction is ticking away. What does accepting Jesus into my heart have to do with the price of tea in China? Is it so relevant that you’ll posthumously baptize deceased Holocaust victims, solicit souls in the subways, or send covert ops on birthright israel trips? I mean, give me a friggin’ break here!
What bearing does believing in Jesus have on putting food on your table, being good parents, taking care of the disadvantaged, and so forth? Couldn’t Jesus have just been a rabbi teaching these values without having to fulfill some bunk prophecy so abstracted and overwraught with exegesis that there are entire libraries filled with examination of the utter minutae of a slice of text that doesn’t even discuss an obligation that God commanded you to fulfill?!
All the time you spend arguing text to us — the people who invented arguing over text — you could be organizing Food Not Bombs kitchens and doing direct action to feed the homeless! Rather, you elect war profiteers to crusade towards Armageddon (which, by the way, ain’t in our books)! You should be saving the environment and standing up for civil rights, not enthroning their destroyers! After all, what would Jesus do? Bash queers and clearcut old growth forests? He defended the humanity of a hooker to an angry mob for Christ’s sake! He was a fuckin’ granola eater! Eat the granola! The planet is dying and taking us with it!
Face it, under historical scrutiny, it’s obvious that Christianity as it exists is just a perpetration by the Roman establishment which was losing its grip due to its own corruption. They needed a new myth, and coopted the greatest story ever told — ours. That story includes early Christianity, which was a Jewish sect none too different from some which exist today. (And on that note, all disciples think their Rebbe is Moshiach. It’s “The Law.” Sanhedrin 98b to be exact.) But our version of events sure ain’t the same as yours.
Which isn’t to say that Christianity isn’t chockfull of nuggets of wisdom and good moral lessons. It is. But so were all the myths and customs of the indigenous tribes Christianity wiped off the face of the Earth in its conquest to fulfill some bullshit prophecy, or to make a buck in the name thereof. No matter how kick-ass Southern gospel music is, I can’t tell you how I shudder when I see black missionaries in the subway reeking of Stockholm Syndrome. It’s why I have a soft spot for The 5% Nation of Islam. To quote the Flannery O’Connor character Hazel Motes, in the most brutal of terms and with the same voracious honesty, “Jesus is a trick on niggers.” Thankfully we have five millenia of teaching to keep us from falling for it.
Look, if Christianity helps you be a good person, kol hakavod, more power to ya. But when you start hanging it over our heads like you’ve got the hot shit we’re sleeping on, you can save it. Stop taking advantage of hapless kids like 50 Shek. What he needs is a hug, not Jesus.
Oh, and please stop making friends with the religious right in Israel. These people are trying to spark a holy war which really isn’t going to end up being very pleasant for anyone involved.
Really, if you’re committed to the service of God, and you’re truly devoted, you’re better off dropping the whole “Christ” baggage. It ain’t worth the hassle. We got the good shit you’re looking for, and we’ve got it on lockdown. Just ask Madonna. (And she doesn’t even have a clue! It’s a strange time when Kabbalah becomes the surface and Torah is the depth.)
Besides, I know some very important people who would be more than happy to have you join the tribe…
Love and kisses,
The Youngin’s of Zion