My beloved and dear friend and mentor shared Jesus with me tonight. I am truly blessed to have such a loving woman in my life, and if what she showed was even a 10th of the love that g-d has for me, then... I almost have no words.
The Emperor was baffled by my peaceful response to her evangelism. But I know why she shared this with me, I know why she is praying for me to be Saved. She loves me. She believes in me. She wants to share with me that which she loves more than anything else in the entire universe. And I am grateful to her, and to that whom she calls g-d for having that depth of love and sharing it with me. I may not have been able to hear it before, but this time g-d has stilled my mind and allowed me to see love for love.
But, I am still a Jew. I will always be a Jew, and I will continue to live the life that my ancestors lived, l'dor vador (from one generation to the next), standing beside people who want me to pray to their g-d and saying "I love you too, thank you for praying for me, but I will stick with my g-d, thanks very much." That's how my people have always lived, and we continue to exist, continue to have a relationship with g-d, (contrary to popular belief by certain sects of people, the Jews are not cut off from g-d, in fact, I think Adonai still speaks to Jews on a fairly regular basis), and we succeed in life and live the way g-d wants.
Now, there may only be one way, I won't dispute that. I won't even dispute the divinity of Jesus; I see great value in his teachings and am grateful for his having lived. If there is only one way, then so be it. People are going to continue to argue about it, continue to tell each other that this or that other person is wrong, or that this or that other person is going to hell. Except, my people don't believe in hell. That's a Christian concept too. For that matter, our concept of Heaven is different too. But it's all the same g-d. Adonai is One.
When you genuinely have faith in something, that faith will be challenged. It was challenged for Moses; it was challenged for the Jews in ancient Greece who refused to change gods and started a damn war over it (that's the story of Hanukkah, if you don't know); it was challenged for our dear friend Esther whose holiday is coming up this weekend. Each time there was a challenge, the Jew stood up and said "no, I am a Jew".
And I am. I always have been. G-d placed me here as a Jew. There's no question. Just as my beloved friend has no question about her faith, I have no question about mine. And since the conversation began as a means of encouraging me to grow my relationship with g-d, I will say it was a successful venture, because I feel closer to g-d than ever. I could be snarky and sarcastic about it, (in the past I would have been), but there's no reason for that. And just as I feel absolutely no need to justify myself to atheists who think I'm stupid to believe that there is a g-d, I don't feel the need to justify myself to my friend who just wants me to have a good life (and that's really all that is when you break it down it its roots).
I am not hiding, and neither is g-d. We have met, we are close. And I won't even say that I don't need Jesus, it's just that I am a Jew. I mean, I also believe that there are other gods aside from the One whom I honor and pray to, but I don't pray to those gods. I don't ask those gods to help me out, but I wouldn't say that I don't need them, and I would never condemn or ridicule those who do need those gods. But, telling me that I won't go to Heaven if I don't accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior is kind of like telling me I will never ascend to Valhalla if I don't honor Odin and fight and die in his name. Maybe that sounds blasphemous to the Christians out there, but my place is not in Valhalla any more than it is in the Christian Heaven. I know that, and I'm not making it up.
I love my Christian friends dearly. I also love my Pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, atheist, and agnostic friends. There may only be one way to get to where you are going, Traveler, but perhaps I am not going to the same place. However, I love your map, it is beautiful; and I love you for sharing it with me.