Thursday, December 13, 2007

Advent Reflection

Last night, a friend of mine querried me about the meaning of some of the parables of the Kingdom, which Christ used to describe how one should approach the kingdom in an all-embracing way. The treasure hidden in the field is one example...Calling us to waste no time to get off our current life-mill to "invite the will" of God in our lives. Sadly, I cannot use the word "Torah" with my Christian friends, the Law being a enormously loaded term (a stumbling block to the gentiles?), but it was curious to me how I noticed how central Torah is to Jesus' message and how unavoidable it is to comprehension of the Kingdom Parables. I'm used to using cicumlocutions for "Torah" with Christians, but here my words faltered. Confronted with the Kingdom Parables of Jesus, at last, Torah (as the enterprise of the Jews) simply cannot be hidden, redressed or decorated.

Pondering the message of hope and light this advent, part of me is getting sick of the games of circumlocution in my church. Part of me wants to finally lay down the dark riddle to finally stammer to all my Christian friends that being born-again means being alive to the Torah of God...But I'm already averting my face from their blank stares. Curious this...Christian theology. I sadly can't avoid seeing a twinge of truth all throughout Harold Bloom's Jesus and Yahweh remarking of this irony of ironies. Myself a "Jesus Quester" (as Bloom calls me), I take great exceptions to most of what he says though I cannot remember reading a book with so much truth on the subject. I cannot help but to see his point that Christianity has so completely conquered, it has conquered Jesus. I must say I envy Bloom's Jewish childhood, and cannot but be jealous of his first exposure to Jesus in Yiddish (as a child, Bloom read a copy of the New Testament in Yiddish, which a missionary left on his doorstep). For the immediacy of Jesus' message is not averted in the language of Judaism, in Bloom's case provided via the Yiddish armature. It is only in that Synagoguic reality where Jesus demonstrates his naked genius. Indeed, Bloom writes,

"Father John P. Meier, the author of three magisterial volumes under the somewhat misleading tile A Marginal Jew (with a much-needed fourth volume to come), accurately terms Jesus 'a Jewish genius.' One can go further: Jesus was the greatest of Jewish geniuses. It is as though the Yahwist or J Writer somehow was fused with King David, with the Prophets from Amos through Malachi, with the Wisdom authors of Job and Koheleth (Ecclesiastes), with the sages from Hillel through Akiba, and with the long sequence that goes from Maimonides through Spinoza on to Freud and Kafka. Jesus is the Jewish Socrates, and surpasses Plato's mentor as the supreme master of dark wisdom." different our worlds are, Harold Bloom. Though you trust no covenant, belated or otherwise, in the darkness where you beat your chest I bask in its light.

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