The leap of faith & and the narrative of the other at Christmas

Cross-posted from

As I near Christmas, I am reminded of attending of Jewish elementary School where Christmas was not a day off. There were no school buses, so our parents drove us to school instead. At NCSY, an orthodox Jewish youth group, we read Permission to Receive, which outlined why Judaism is the only credible religion and everyone else's narrative is utterly unbelievable. Even after shedding layers of my education, this layer is left behind.

I recently read Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner, a book I was immediately attracted to. Here was a woman who so totally managed to get away from the Jewish religious narrative superiority that she actually converted to Christianity. Winner was born to a non-Jewish mother, raised in the Reform movement, converts to Orthodox Judaism in college, and soon after converts to Anglican Christianity. She travels through life about a decade before me - she inhabits the New York Orthodox Jewish world with which I am intimately familiar. She prayed in places I prayed. The author and I both left these spiritual places - I for egalitarian Judaism and she for Anglican Christianity. However, the most profound disagreement between us has nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with whether religious truth is literal truth. For me, the thought that God can author a book is outside the realm of possibility, for her it is the first belief.

She writes, explaining her conversion to Orthodox Judaism:

"Either these laws were true or they were not true. Either God revealed all this stuff to Moses on Mount Sinai or He didn't. If He did, then we're bound by all of it, every last word, every last syllable, every letter."

She writes, explaining her conversion to the Anglican Church.

"First He shrunk himself when He revealed the Torah at Mount Sinai. He shrunk himself into tiny Hebrew letters, man's finite language, so that we might get to Him that way. Then He shrunk Himself again, down to the size of a baby, down into manger finiteness."

Winner believes that the Torah was The Word in scroll form and then Jesus was The Word in person form. I have often wondered about the enormous leap of faith Christianity seems to require. Winner's spiritual journey from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity has closed that enormous leap for me. Surely, the belief in God parenting a child, is no greater leap then the belief in God authoring a book.


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