I hadn't seen my buddy L in some time despite the fact that she lives about a 3 wood away. Then again, she stays pretty busy lawyering. And well, I do not. So when she texted me out of the blue offering to come over to share a bottle of wine she had gotten for her birthday, I said, "Come on down!"
When she arrived I warmed up some soup. She asked me what was new with me. I told her that there wasn't much new with me worth telling. I opened the wine. I cut up some bread.
"What's new with you?" I asked.
"Well, still busy at work. Elton and I are still seeing each other."
"And oh! I converted to Judaism."
"You did what?"
We went into the living room to eat.
"OK," I said. "I'm sorry but I need to hear all about conversion thing. I don't think I've ever known a convert."
" Well," she said. "It has been a long process for me. But the older I got the less I became convinced that God would create a human, much less his own Son, with the full knowledge that his Son would be executed in such a cruel fashion as crucifixion in order to gain salvation for the race He created in the first place. Why would God require a blood sacrifice? The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed from a literal perspective."
"The concept of blood atonement has been the cause of much human suffering, even to this day," I said. " There's no doubt about that. And I have have often wondered why the Scriptures didn't just have God say ' OK. I forgive you.' What kind of God would require the blood sacrifice of his only Son? What kind of human would require such a horrible thing for that matter?"
" I have thought of that as well. Either way, the concept strikes me as literally ridiculous."
"So why believe in God?"
She grew pensive. She took a sip of her wine.
" I believe in God," she said softly. " I am a moral person. I believe in acting justly. I believe in a higher purpose and in caring for others. Judaism and the Torah speaks to me in a way that fulfills my needs without depending on....oh I don't know...."
"Reliance on the supernatural?" I asked.
"Yes. I suppose that's right. At least not overly so. Judaism is rooted in the here and now. I liked that."
She took another sip. She arched her eyebrows mischievously. I knew what was coming.
"So," she said. "You sound a lot like me. Why do you go back? You've never struck me as the sort of guy that believes in myths."
"I don't strike girls," I said.
"You're being evasive," she replied. "You do that you know. You're a funny man. You use humor to deflect. I know this about you. I want you to answer my question."
"I don't believe in myths so much as I have faith in them." I said. " Does that make sense? Not to go all Joseph Campbell on you but there's damn near more truth in Biblical myths than there is too Biblical 'facts.' Besides, I enjoy spreading my doubts among the Methodists, the Episcopalians and the Baptists nowadays. The discourse comforts me on occasion."
"I believe you actually told me the truth," she said.
I shrugged my shoulders.
"An FBI agent friend of mine refers to it as 'leakage.' You interrogate somebody long enough and eventually some truth leaks out."
I've never been to the Temple before. Well, I sang in a wedding over there once. But I was in a room off to the side. That doesn't count. I would like to go with my Jewish friend L some time.
But for right now, I will go to church today. I will hear the Liturgy, observe the symbols and ponder the sermon.
You never know. Maybe this will be the day that some truth leaks out.