Friday, November 2, 2012
To Be Jewish
Once again I find I want to post the thoughts of Dr. David Yeagley, a Comanche Indian and fellow Christian. Dr. Yeagley is the great-great-grandson of Comanche leader Bad Eagle. He created BadEagle.com, the sole voice of conservative thought among American Indian intellectuals. I've shared some of his thoughts before, such as this statement ... "The rise and fall of nations is something God tends to. Nations are on probation."
This time, he has been thinking about the Jewish race ... and says that out of all the variety of races in the world, God chose this one race to be His people. Why? He continues with ...
"And then comes the idea of the right race, the superior race, the race to be. This thought naturally occurs. Of the ethnicities of the world, which one is the right one? Which one is the best, the superior, the most desirable?
Those of us mad in our ambitions, those of us whose unbridled spirits are so insane as to seek God, the supreme Being, must have a sense of superiority ... if but in thought. Our very language demands it: good, better, best. We are prone forever to the superlative. It is the nature of human consciousness.
I will admit that I have found the Jewish identity, the Jewish race and all its accoutrements, the quintessence of consciousness. Of course, I am not Jewish. I am Indian (Comanche) and white (German and English), so that my quest was jaded from the start. As I have aged, I have realized how difficult it is for me even to acknowledge my plight. A Supreme Being requires a supreme race. To believe in one is to face the other.
To me, it seems that if God revealed Himself, or otherwise identified Himself with a particular race or ethnicity, that people have a mark of phenomenological superiority. No other race can claim that same distinction. In this distinction, chosen of God, and all that implies, is found the untouchable, immutable superiority. Never mind the character of the individual Jew. This 'chosenness' is a transcendent distinction that neither I nor he can alter. Nor are either of us to be faulted for these circumstances and conditions."
Let me pause here with my own thoughts. I've never been accused of being too smart, so I better keep it simple if I'm going to understand it myself. In my own words, what I think Dr. Yeagley is saying or perhaps asking is ...
If God chooses a race of people, is it because they are superior? Has God placed His stamp of approval on them in a special way? Is it not true that the Nation of Israel has had this distinction of being chosen alone? Does a Supreme Being require a supreme race?
He goes on to say, if so ... "Such distinction is something only to be desired, never possessed."
In the past Dr. Yeagley has talked about race often because he is a Comanche. He says any race or nationality can come to the United States and become an American, but they can never become a Comanche. You have to be born Comanche to be a Comanche. God made the different races to be different with their own identities. If the different races were a good thing in God's eyes in the beginning, shouldn't race still be a good thing today?
So, hold on to this thought from Dr. Yeagley. "I desire God. I desire that which I am not."
Okay ... now we are getting to the point he is making. If being a part of the Jewish race is best, then he wants to pursue being Jewish. But he will never become Jewish. But a young Jewish woman explains to him ... well, read the following as he continues his pursuit.
"Sara Eisner, offered me something that I could never have hoped to find, though searching earnestly. I met Sara in Caesarea, Israel, in 1998. I never expected that the most precious thought I could ever think would come from a Jewish woman, or that it would come 14 years later.
Sara, a nice Jewish girl from Bialystok (Poland), like many Eastern European women, has a very intense personality, thinks and talks ninety-miles a minute, and Sara knows a dozen languages fluently, she has been everywhere in the world it seems, and she is generally liable to say anything ... in great humor, to boot. It is an extraordinary experience to talk with her, but, I should say, always a pleasant ordeal. She sees to that.
Sara knows all about my preoccupations with religion, Bible, art, and ethnicity. She’s well aware of the Jesus story, and my peculiar writhings therewith and therein. We speak freely. Recently, in a bout of profundity, she said, as a matter of course ... 'David, you don’t have to be Jewish. Jesus was Jewish for you.'
My soul was silenced.
After a life of sermons and intense study, a Yale Divinity degree, four other degrees in arts and letters, I believe I finally heard what my soul needed to hear. And I heard it from the right person.
Just a simple word, from a Jewish girl, a Jewish woman. Can it be? Is eternity on the tongue of a Jewish woman?
Had it been any other person, would I have heard?
If there is virtue in human concourse, in the exchange between one human being with another, I have now owned it. My soul has been watered, exquisitely.
Ah, the depth of desire, how wondrously the right words find it! How incidental, the gates of Heaven. How easily opened. How nonchalant the entrance therein. Thus appears the earthly peace, in any case.
Jesus is many things, but, Jewish, for me, is the gold of Ophir. This is the reward of a life of searching. Jesus, Jewish for me, is the theological triumph of my long and arduous journey ... and it was handed to me, freely, without cost, by the simple words of a lovely, and surely beloved Jewish girl from Bialystok.
Ain’t life great? We all have a multitude of needs, but there are moments when at least some of those needs are indeed met. A bit of a surprise, yes, but, perhaps that is the charm of truth in itself. I just wonder how many other heathen out there could be relieved, would be blessed, by Sara’s words. This isn’t about humility, pride, or character. It is about naked desire. It is about being honest in that desire. I fear most of us have never faced clearly what we desire. We perhaps don’t even understand it, or know it. I know I did not. Sara told me.
I desire the superlative, the best, the ultimate. I desire God. I desire that which I am not. Her words bespoke a deeper understanding of Christ than I have ever heard in my entire life of religious pursuits.
She knew what I wanted. She knew me.
Sara Eisner, nice Jewish girl from Bialystok. Do angels come from Poland? Just to meet Comanches in Israel?"
Reprinted by permission.