An Accidental Jew?


After a thoroughly mind expanding weekend, I topped it off with getting a tattoo on Sunday with my daughter and one of my “nieces”. 

 Back in my early days, I met a girl, Nancy, and it was instant friendship. We have been continuously connected no matter where we have lived and no matter what our lives were tossing at us.  She has three beautiful children, 2 girls and 1 son and I have one beautiful birth daughter, Dana.  The four of these kids grew up together and are as blood related as anyone can get.

Add to the mix another friend, Jennifer, also found and kept at the same time as Nancy, and you have six women from this group.  Sitting around one night a couple of weeks ago, we decided we would create a tattoo with connected puzzle pieces and each of us would get a piece. Inside the piece would be the Sanskrit word for ‘family”.  Together we make the whole puzzle, separately we are each an individual piece. 

On Sunday I gathered my courage (after all if I could fire-walk on Saturday, I could tattoo on Sunday) and one of Nancy’s daughters Hallie, and my daughter Dana, took the plunge and went and got our tattoos.  We have yet to decide who gets what puzzle piece so we did not get the puzzle piece yet but we got the Sanskrit word for family.    

It’s a lovely word encompassing any and all who are linked through blood, love, passion …humanity

 Family in Sanscrit

Today I was at my friends glass shop and showing off my “tat” and my friend the shop owner, another Nancy, (I think I am attracting Nancy’s so we can take over the world) said I wouldn’t get in to heaven with my tattoo.  The shop had other friends in it at the time so I wasn’t alone for this discussion.

Needless to say, her comment stopped me in my tracks.  She said if I am Jewish, I won’t get in to heaven.  She has a similar sense of humor as I but I know deep down she doesn’t like tattoos.  She thinks they are ugly.  I, of course, could have cared less if she liked my tattoo but I found her circuitous logic fascinating. I couldn’t really pass this one up.

She made her statement and went on to say the Bible says this to be true. Now I would worry about her worrying about me if I believed for a moment she was serious.  But, remember I wasn’t passing this up.  I told her I wasn’t Jewish, which she knew already, but her response was “You could be and just don’t know it” at which point the daughter of another friend said I could be an “Accidental Jew”!

An accidental Jew…  I think I believe most religion is accidental, that you choose your religion purely by accident.  One day you may get up every day believing the sky is always blue, then a rain storm comes and the sky is gray.  One day you are sure you have believe in the color red, then you see a beautiful landscape and your belief turns green.  As we journey through life, our circumstances change, bend, completely flip-flop and with these life-altering events, religion bends and twists to meet the needs of a personal moment.  Religion, which I believe is different than faith, accidently fits the lives of those making these choices.

Now this doesn’t mean that if you are a Christian one day that the next you are not.  To me it means that one day page 125 of the Bible fits your life and the next day it may be page 680; it’s never a whole picture.  People tend to pick and choose the parts of their religion that accidently fits their life.

A Christian may say “homosexuality” is a sin and rail against it as a choice perpetrated by the gay person.  They spew hateful, hurtful words about being gay, hold up signs denigrating gay people, because it fits their current morality code; no matter how unchristian such words and actions are.  Then their own child comes “out” and all of a sudden it is “everyone is a sinner and the diatribe calms to an “I love them because God says to love thy brother….  Society seems to accidently pick their religious choices to fit their own sense of right and wrong.  I believe in this, so I am a Jew, I am a Christian, I am a Muslim.  You get the idea here.  Never does it seem someone believes in the tenets of a religion and then lives the principle.  How many people study all religions and then make an informed choice based on how they believe they should live their life?

After years of touting the Christian doctrine to any and all, you find out they have cheated on their spouse with their neighbor’s wife.

 A Baha’i says our faith includes everyone…except gay people because being gay is against the tenets of our faith. 

 A Jew says Jesus is not the son of God, unless of course you are a “Jew for Jesus”. 

 The Koran says live the life of peace, unless of course you are engaged in a jihad.

 All so randomly accidental.

 And really, let’s not forget the Bible says I can sell my daughter…

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Larry Yates
    Aug 25, 2009 @ 15:24:50

    Most followers of religions have the one their parents had, or a slight variation on it. Also, most countries have the religion of their most recent conqueror. This suggests that the choice of religion has as much to do with the power others have over us as anything else.

    Faith, as you suggest, is very different. Coming up inchoate from the interior, for most of us it hardly has a name. Only the tiny elite that is allowed a choice of religion gets to match their religion to their faith — and even they don’t often succeed.

    The conversation about gays and religion has to be in your piece, just because others have put it there in the last few years. But intolerance towards sexual minorities is hardly universal, historically, among even the Abrahamic religions. It certainly has NEVER been a major precept of any religion.

    But we have come full circle back to power. Some people, mostly men, feel threatened bigtime by any questioning of their gender and sexual ideas — and there has never been more such questioning. So they are finding pockets of homophobia in their religions, and blowing them up into huge blimps of cruelty. In the process, they are squeezing out faith, including their own faith. Hot air cannot replace G*d.

    Reply

  2. blinkeredinva
    Aug 26, 2009 @ 11:38:30

    Insightful post Larry, thanks for commenting.

    Reply

  3. sassyviv
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 22:42:29

    Blinkeredinva,

    Had to tell you that I got my 1st tattoo last week (in honor of my 40th).

    It’s a beautiful script ‘M’ with a tiny ‘3’ in front of it, worked into the scroll — it stands for the 3M’s in my life — it’s above my heart.

    It is one of the best things I have ever done in my life!

    Keep up the beautiful writing you create here; you have a wonderful way with words!

    Reply

    • blinkeredinva
      Oct 07, 2009 @ 23:18:31

      Good for you! You have now joined those of us who will cause a logjam at heaven’s gate!

      Thanks for the compliment.

      Reply

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