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I agree with Brian. It is our day-to-day witness of Christ that will plant seeds in others which can result in their accepting and following Christ.

In re-reading the questions as posed by Dan it seems to me that he may not be properly separating the issue of witnessing to (or even dealing with) Jews and from the issue of the politics of Israel. There is no doubt that Christians living in the country of Israel are treated like second-class citizens. One can oppose the politics of Israel while also respecting their freedom to adhere to Judiasm. Most writers seem to use the term �Jews� when speaking about people who follow the Jewish faith and �Israelis� when speaking of the politics of the country of Israel. Perhaps the impreciseness of Dan�s posts and the responses made to them (without an understanding his real intention) have all contributed to the heatedness of this thread?

Dan, can you think this through and offer clarification regarding the direction you wished this thread to take?

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Dear Jennifer,

Well said, Counselor!

Alex

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Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Charles,

Could we also be judged for leading people astray by trying them to receive the truth before they are ready for it?

Alex
Alex, I don't recall the Gospels saying anywhere that we should wait to proclaim those truths until the world is ready. It will never be ready, because the Gospels can both lead to salvation, and be a condemnation to those who reject what they teach. What I am most concerned about is the current trend to equate being charitable with being "touchy-feely." They are not the same and, in fact, have little or nothing in common.

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Frankly, I thought all three questions were loaded. They seemed to offer only extreme answers with no nuances. Some answers seemed to be stereotype right-wing answers, others stereotype left-wing answers. But it seems that serious thinking about real-world situations would suggest "other" responses. As the Administrator has pointed out, they were not asked in any context.

Without a context, I am reminded of Hitler's determination to solve the "Jewish problem." I don't think that is the intent of the poll, but what is? What is the point of these questions? What does their author expect to prove or disprove by the responses? And note that the pool of responses is quite small. I, for one, choose to abstain.

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I think that both Alex and ByzTN make valid points. We are certainly to proclaim the Gospel at all times. Yet our presentation of the Gospel can be so flawed that it turns people away from Christ rather than attracts them to Him. True charity does not demand that one be either �touchy-feely� or �politically correct�. It means speaking with kindness and respect, even to those you don�t like.

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Dear Charles,

Actually, I think that the issue of "readiness" is something that the Church has had to struggle with throughout its history.

This has to do with the way the Gospel is presented, as the Administrator has so astutely commented.

Missionaries have always tried to make the Gospel "culturally relevant" to peoples to whom they bring the Gospel message.

For example, St Paul himself related the Gospel message at Athens to the altar of the "unknown God."

If he came around preaching the Old Testament to the Greeks, I don't think he would have gotten very far.

Sts Cyril and Methodius, brilliantly, made Christianity culturally open to the Slavs, as you know.

Missionaries in Asia and elsewhere first try to understand the culture in which they are working and then see how Christ can be presented in as meaningful (to the people) way as possible.

Fr. Thomas Merton said that Christ is already present to the world's religions and that Christians are called only to point out Him Who is already present among them.

That is one missionary approach.

But ultimately it is we who are called to witness to Christ (even to the point of using words, if we have to) and it is God Who will draw all people to Himself by means of His Holy Spirit.

Let us remember that there were many Jews who obtained Catholic baptismal certificates during WWII to save themselves.

Many more obtained them AFTER the war, including the chief Rabbi of Rome, Eugenio Zolli, having been inspired by the heroism of many Catholics, including Pius XII, who helped save them from the Nazis.

(Zolli actually took the baptismal name of the Pope, Eugene, fyi).

What is often missing from Christian zeal is respect for other religions and the fact that we believe that other religions contain many elements of truth and that their adherents may, in a number known to God, be saved as well.

I've had the opportunity to share my faith with people of other faiths.

I've told them what I believe simply, humbly and without holding anything back.

I've listened to what they believe without being argumentative or disrespectful - but genuinely interested while seeing the similarities etc.

If we can get people to like us as Christians and feel comfortable with us - then that's a great first step!

Which is why I try to be so likeable most of the time . . . smile

I like to think you and the Administrator (and, I daresay Jennifer) think so too! smile

Alex

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Originally posted by Brian:
There is nothing "to be done" about Judaism. Rather, we as Catholics and Orthodox should learn more about our Judaic heritage from our Jewish brothers and sisters. Conversion comes from the heart not from proselytizing.
I like.

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I would rather wait and see how you all work these questions out but our Administrator has asked me to give more context to my questions. So I will give it a shot.

First, I voted to �Support Israel as the Jews only place of refuge� and �Seek to convert as many Jews as possible to Christianity�. I did not vote for other because I�m not sure how I would phrase another option. In fact, I can�t think of another option. Nor did I vote for the first option, namely, to ignore Israel when it behaves badly toward others. This option exists because those of us who support Israel�s right to exist are often accused of ignoring Israel�s bad behavior. I wanted to see if anyone actually thought we should ignore Israel�s bad behavior. I�m not surprised that no one voted that way. I would have been surprised if anyone had voted for this option. Yet, there are those who think we consistently give Israel a free pass.

Let�s be honest, Israel has behaved badly especially towards Palestinian Christians. We ought to object to every action.

Nor did I or would I vote for withdrawing support from Israel while continuing to support Arab nations. That four people have voted for this option doesn�t surprise me but it does alarm me. I�d like to read why Arab bad behavior is good and Israeli bad behavior is bad. I�d rather see America and Western Europe isolate the entire region and give no more support to anyone. Let them fight it out and the winner takes the spoils has more appeal than to abandon Israel and support Wahabbists.

I do believe that Israel is the only practical place of refuge for Jews. Let�s look at some of the options that some posters have offered over just the last few months.

It has been suggested in the past on this forum that the Jews could go anywhere why did they crowd in on the Palestinians? I don�t believe this. For over 2,000 years Jews have been kicked around by Christian nations, by Muslim nations, and even by secular nations. Why would it be any different now? Say we took a couple of states out of the USA and made it into a Jewish nation. How long would it be before the rest of the country or at least others in this country started beating war drums against the Jewish state of Indianois or Alassippi? Why should the Jews wish to move into the ghetto we or someone else would prepare for them? Ellie Wiessel asks the haunting question: �Have the Jews come to Israel to offer a new vision of ethics or religion to the world or is this the end of the road?� How might Israel be supported? I think the only real answer is the Libertarian answer, though it too makes me uneasy, Some Libertarians argue that the rest of the world should back away and let the Israelis and the Arabs fight it out.

Second, I believe God has made a covenant with people and has renewed it from time to time. I don�t believe God has several different covenants. That is to say, I believe the Covenant with Abraham is essentially the same covenant that we have through Jesus Christ. I also believe all of us have several conversions in life as we move along. I don�t believe in forced conversions. In fact I don�t believe that when we are forced to do something that we are really converted. How does conversion take place? We share what we�ve been given. People choose what they will. We are free to do that. Do we really believe that any of us are at the place we will be if we stay on the path of Theosis? I certainly don�t believe so. As we offer the Good News to others with respect especially with respect toward the covenant God has with Jewish people and we listen to their witness we both will find conversions.

It is interesting that even with all of the objections to this poll most of you voted the same way I did.

Dan L

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Originally posted by Administrator:
I think that both Alex and ByzTN make valid points. We are certainly to proclaim the Gospel at all times. Yet our presentation of the Gospel can be so flawed that it turns people away from Christ rather than attracts them to Him. True charity does not demand that one be either �touchy-feely� or �politically correct�. It means speaking with kindness and respect, even to those you don�t like.
My points were valid too.

And Administrator, I'm sure you're familiar with the old saying, charity begins at home. You've been neither kind nor respectful to me.

I agree with Pentha that "what do about Judaism" reminds me too much of discussions of the "Jewish problem" and therefore makes me feel very uncomfortable which was why I abstained from voting.

However, on the other hand, I think we still have an obligation to 'prosletize' Jewish people. As I wrote on Iconophile's thread about the Orthodox, respect IMHO doesn't mean agreement. I think we can "respect" Judaism and still prosletize. Although part of respect is being aware of Christianity's historical interactions with Judaism. We can't pretend that the pogroms never happened. We have to remember the forced conversions and the kidnapped children (children who were baptized were forcibly taken from their Jewish parents).

The Holy Father, IMHO, gives an exellent example of how to "respect" the Jews. His apology was historic and based on my Jewish friends' reactions seems to have really meant something to the Jewish people.

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Dear Jennifer,

But what form can such proselytism towards Judaism take without making one's respect for Judaism a matter of pretence only?

I've heard this on this forum before and disagree with it wholeheartedly.

Christians should be able to relate to people of other faiths without at the same time trying to have an agenda of conversion - which is how I see it.

At this point in such discussions, the more evangelically-oriented come forward with scripture quotes etc.

For me, the Jews themselves are a type of Christ as they have been crucified time and again (often by Christians) throughout history.

They are the ones who often witness Christ to me.

Alex

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Dan,

Thank you for your clarifications. They do help to understand the intent of your post.

-----------------------------
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Jennifer wrote:
My points were valid too.
Jennifer,

I cannot reply to every post. My not responding to your post is neither uncharitable nor disrespectful. Also, considering the content of some of your posts, I have gone far more then the extra mile in being charitable and respectful towards you.

Since you seem to be requesting feedback, I have none to give on your post at 12:26 PM today. In that post you offered nothing to respond to. You merely stated that the question �implies that we can do something about Judaism and further want to do something about Judaism� and that you found it �both to be highly offensive in light of Christianity's historical encounters with Judaism.� Given that Dan had already stated that �it is necessary to treat our Jewish friends with the greatest respect�, and I had already stated that I believe that we must use the witness of our lives to convert the whole world to Christ (including Jews), it was not possible for me to determine exactly how you were offended. I chose to look at the question as poorly constructed and then interpreted it along the lines I have indicated. You chose to be offended by it and offer no allowances for something more positive. There is nothing there I can respond to.

In your post at 3:33 PM today you express yourself much more clearly. I can agree with several of the points you make in that post. I can again suggest that you express yourself this clearly in all of your posts.

Admin

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Dear Administrator,

I believe that we are to reflect Christ in everything we do and that the way in which His Grace allows us to do that determines the relevance of the Gospel we are called to communicate to the world.

I also believe that the observant Jews that I know personally also reflect Christ to me without, of course, knowing it.

My Jewish friends know what I believe, as I've had opportunity to share with them, and also because they have studied Christianity in university and can, themselves, write an essay on several Catholic beliefs.

But they are followers of Judaism and they are my friends.

They accept me for who I am as I accept them. We respect each other and understand each other.

If that isn't Christian praxis, from our point of view, I don't know what is.

Shalom!

Alex

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Originally posted by Administrator:
I agree with Brian. It is our day-to-day witness of Christ that will plant seeds in others which can result in their accepting and following Christ.
There would be no need for sermons, if our lives were shining; there would be no need for words, if we bore witness with our deeds. There would be no pagans, if we were true Christians.
St. John Chrysostom

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Looks to me as if we are all pretty much on the same page, especially given he votes in the poll. I wonder if some of the posters could focus upon the Islamic poll. That is the truly crucial one for the future of all of us.

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About 12 years ago, while at the Taste Of Chicago in Grant Park, I happened to have a conversation with the Jews For Jesus. No doubt a few people here will have an unfavorable opionion of this group, since they've been accused of proselytizing by a number of Catholic bishops. In all fairness though, despite disagreeing with their views on the Middle East, I must applaud them for not mincing words when it comes to salvation. They make it quite clear that apart from Christ, there is no salvation for anyone, Jew or Gentile.

The most disrespectful thing we can do to anyone (not to mention God) is to avoid proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to them for fear they will be offended by it. All invitations to the Lamb's Supper are SPECIAL.

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