Chicken Soup with Chopsticks (Excerpts from Chapter One)Written by Jack Botwinik
Does God care if I marry a gentile?
Even as I started dating a Chinese girl, I knew I was embarking on a remarkable adventure. I just had no idea where and how far adventure would take me. The more events unfolded, more I realized that my view of world and how I lived in it were being profoundly and permanently altered...
If problem with marrying a gentile was that my religion prohibited intermarriage, why should that bother me? Perhaps not everything in Judaism made sense, and as an intelligent and thinking individual I could take from my heritage what I felt was meaningful and disregard rest...
The possibility that God Himself does not want a Jew to marry a gentile is not something I recall being taught explicitly. This may be because, even though I believed in God in my own nebulous way, I didn’t take seriously proposition that God authored Torah. For one thing, I considered many claims in Torah absurd: that world is less than 6,000 years old, that Noah lived more than 900 years and built an ark to house planet’s animals, and that a sea parted miraculously to enable Hebrews to escape their Egyptian pursuers. As far as I was concerned, these were stories with possible moral messages but not actual facts. If Bible were true, then theory of evolution, and much of science, must be wrong. In a world where humans went to moon, performed brain surgery, and saw and talked to people on other side of planet, I had far more trust in what modern science presumed than in what Bible stated...
Quest for a Life Partner
I was expected to marry one of my people. Not to do so would be a shocking betrayal of my family. The prohibition against intermarriage was so ingrained that it was hardly an appropriate subject to bring up for a family discussion...
Whereas my siblings sought only Jewish spouses, I kept my options open. I was not convinced of necessity to restrict my search for a mate to those of my religion, especially as we constituted a tiny minority (a fraction of one percent) of human population. Moreover, I encountered females, from various religions and backgrounds, who were extremely nice, good-natured, and attractive. My motto about intermarriage, as in other areas of life, was “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
In summer of 1994, three years after I left my parents’ home in Montreal and was living on my own in Toronto, I met Belinda. I was twenty-nine; she was twenty-five. We quickly became friends.
“Would you like to see my snake?” Belinda asked, as I dropped her off in front of her building.
My heart pounded and raced.
“Okay,” I heard myself saying. I knew that sooner or later she would show me her pet. I hadn’t reckoned it would be so soon.
Belinda ran inside and returned shortly with a tiny corn snake tucked into her sleeve. Once in car, she let me hold it. It was first time I had held a snake. Instinctively, I applied my peripheral vision to clammy, slender creature in my palm, imagining it was some inanimate object.
Belinda reached for my other hand. “What do you think about our relationship?” she asked.
The heavenly visionWritten by Adeolu Oluade
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THE HEAVENLY VISION
Acts 26:19(King James Version)
"Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto heavenly vision:"
In every generation,there have been people who have caught and pursued differents kinds of visions; and some of these people have been celebrated in various history books. But there is a type of vision that brings glory to God,and salvation to mankind-'the heavenly vision'. It is a divine package that delivers complete solution to any human problem. It is summation of all that God has called mankind to be,to do,and to have. It involves God's use of human agents for it to be fulfilled. It is bigger than anyone, and it is multifaceted in nature.It is God's will that no one is 'disobedient unto heavenly vision'.
To understand how any one can be 'obedient unto heavenly vision',we shall examine book of Nehemiah in Bible.
Nehemiah 1:1(King James Version) "The words of Nehemiah son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in month Chisleu, in twentieth year, as I was in Shushan palace,"
Nehemiah is an example of a person that was 'obedient unto heavenly vision'. The heavenly vision on this occasion was rebuilding of walls of Jerusalem. He became 'burdened' with the heavenly vision; and this 'burden' led him into earnest and fervent prayer unto God 'the vision giver' (Neh. 1 : 4-11). Thereafter he sought to fulfill vision by using opportunities available to him to access resources needed (Neh. 2 : 1-8).
Nehemiah 2:16-18(King James Version) "And rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to Jews, nor to priests, nor to nobles, nor to rulers, nor to rest that did work" "Then said I unto them, Ye see distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach." "Then I told them of hand of my God which was good upon me; as also king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work."
Nehemiah displayed leadership skills to mobilise and motivate others to catch heavenly vision and use their different gifts and talents to pursue it .
Nehemiah 2:10,19(King James Version) "When Sanballat Horonite, and Tobiah servant, Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek welfare of children of Israel." "But when Sanballat Horonite, and Tobiah servant, Ammonite, and Geshem Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against king?"