Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday's Child

Linda Chaikin, a Christian romance novelist, has a surname that would suggest Jewish ancestry or a Jewish husband. Her website gives no indication of this, however. But Monday's Child, published by Harvest House Publishers in 1999, clearly has both romance and Jewish conversion on its mind.

One of several Jewish characters in this book is Jorden Keller, an Israeli Mossad agent (who grew up in Texas). Another is Stella Cohen (who goes by the pseudonym of Ava St. John, supposedly an actress), who is an American Jew and a former Mossad agent. Other Israelis in this book (all Mossad agents) include Ziv, Meir, and Avi Hirschel. The Israeli agents are looking for a Nazi war criminal. Stella Cohen is looking for a family heirloom and a secret Swiss bank account lost in the Holocaust. The main character of the book, Krista von Buren, is a devout Christian who discovers that her mother was born a Jew and then was adopted by Christians when her parents (Krista's grandparents) were sent to Auschwitz.

Krista "considered the Jews beloved for the Father's sake. Why should one loathe the family from which Jesus had been born? But many did, accusing them of the crucifixion of Christ. In blindness, the Jewish religious rulers had rejected Him, but it was the Romans who had executed Him." (p. 42).

Paul states [regarding Jewish inquiries into money deposited into Swiss banks during World War II], "The Jews come here demanding! Demanding! They're offensive!" [Krista] smiled stiffly. "It is your manner that is offensive." (p. 67).

Paul is Krista's boyfriend? Wandering Jude thinks he knows where this is heading....

"The stars [in a ring] could also pass for the Christian cross. [Jorden] knew why a Christian cross might be arranged in the center of the star of King David. There were friends who were trying to prove to him that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah. He had to admit that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to Jesus' fulfillment. Since he hadn't been raised Orthodox, considering Jesus as the Messiah didn't disturb him as it apparently did many religious Jews. Also, his mother was a Gentile and about as Texan as one could get." (p. 111).

Sounds like Jorden is almost a Christian already. Wandering Jude predicts that it won't take much for him to convert.

Krista's boyfriend Paul says to her: "I wish you wouldn't go off on a crusade for the Jews every time he mentions them." "I didn't. I just don't feel comfortable when the family makes anti-Semitic remarks..." "That's absurd. No one is against the Jews. You look for such remarks. One would think that you were one." (p. 151).

Oh, Paul. What are you going to do when you discover the truth about your girlfriend, whose secret (and as yet unknown even by her) ancestry will reveal her to be a Jewess? Wandering Jude hopes to high heaven that Krista will drop Paul before this anti-Semite finds out the truth. (But will Krista change her very non-Jewish name?).

Jorden thinks to himself of the "Throne of Judgment": "What of me?... The words of the Christian Jewish group who had been witnessing to him in Dallas came to mind suddenly: Yeshua is our Passover Lamb." (p. 183).

Wandering Jude must interject here to point out various non sequitors here. For instance, the whole concept of Passover Lamb is kind of strange. Anyone who reads the story of Passover in the book of Exodus or in any Passover Haggadah will notice that the Passover lamb plays a very tiny role in the story. And another thing. The Passover lamb as a symbol for forgiveness seems to be a mixed metaphor. In the original Passover story, the lamb's blood protected the Hebrews in Egypt from the Angel of Death that passed through the land. But the metaphor of Jesus as the Passover Lamb is focused on the concept of forgiveness, which seems to be more of a "Day of Atonement" idea than a Passover concept. Think about it.

Jorden's "soul found a new path of thought, one he had not asked for, nor explored to its inevitable end. The Old Testament scriptures the Jewish Christian group in Dallas had patiently pointed out to him came to mind as they often did in the silence of the night, when he least expected to be thinking about them: Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. He had memorized them as a boy in Synagogue school. The rabbi said that it spoke of Israel as the suffering servant of Yahweh, but Jorden knew this did not fit. Israel was not the righteous suffering servant. Israel had rebelled and was in need of a great Day of Atonement for its national sins. The servant Isaiah wrote about was a person. A person rejected by his own and horribly abused, yet cherished by the God of Abraham.... The Jewish group insisted the prophecies spoke of Yeshua -- Jesus. ... Who else could Isaiah and David have been writing about except Jesus? ... Why don't you ask Yahweh? Why don't you read the New Testament the Jewish Christians gave to you? Why do you keep it close in your bag, but never open it? What are you afraid of?" (p. 201-202).

Wandering Jude thinks this paragraph is so....fertile. First of all, what Jewish kid memorizes Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22? Nope, not going to happen. Second of all, the question of "who else could Isaiah and David have been writing about?" is ludicrous. Both passages are poetry, for one thing, written several hundred years before Jesus was born. And a simple reading of the text clearly leaves a lot of room for ambiguity in terms of the subject of these poems. One would hope that Jorden, a reasonably intelligent and educated person, would consult some scholarly sources like Jewish commentaries (or liberal Christian commentaries, for that matter) before basing his conversion to a different religion on the word of some religious fanatics back in Dallas.

Jorden says to Krista (about a friend of his): "The lady is a Gentile friend of Israel. Throughout her life she's worked for Jewish causes at personal risk. She was married to a Jewish doctor who survived Birkenau. She led him into Christianity and later he went to theology school and became a missionary to Jews in Switzerland." (p. 286).

And this proves...exactly what?

Krista asks Jorden, "The CIA isn't accusing me of selling jewelry from Holocaust victims, are they?" "No. They're not into Jewish justice," he stated flatly. That's left to Israel and her unrelenting secret police." (p. 302).

Krista and Jorden begin to fall in love, but Krista is hesitant. She says to him: "You don't share my faith." "I believe in God and the Old Testament Scriptures. Doesn't that count?" "Yes. Oh, Jorden, don't you see?" "No," he stated quietly.... "What if we fell in love?" He smiled. [Krista says] "No matter how honorable and courageous you are, or how much I care ... how would we resolve the issue of marriage, of children, of everything? Would you let me send our children to a Christian Sunday School?" (p. 344). Later Krista prays: "Please Lord, help Jorden come to know you as Messiah, Israel's Redeemer whom the Old Testament Scriptures foretold." (p. 345).

Ah, the dilemma of the Gentile Christian woman who falls in love with the brave, handsome Israeli Jew. Interfaith marriage was never so romanticized!

Discussing Wilhelm's suicide, Krista says: "Horrible, isn't it? I hate to think where he is now -- having rejected God's provision for forgiveness." Stella [Cohen] looked offended. "Do you think it even matters after what he did? Are you trying to tell me that a just God could forgive a man like Wilhelm? A Gestapo agent? A murderer of thousands?" Krista knew she must be careful in her answer. "I like to remember what Isaiah wrote before predicting the sufferings of Christ: 'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...'" "But the prophet wrote that to Israel. And since then many Jews have suffered. What do the sufferings of Christ have to do with forgiving wicked men like Wilhelm?" "Because ultimately, all sin is against God. He is the only one who can forgive it. And you are right, because God is just, He can't just dismiss it. That is where the suffering Messiah comes in. Only the Creator of all men was great enough to make possible the forgiveness of all men's sins." Stella toyed with her glass. "It sounds like you're saying Jesus is like the Passover Lamb. I'll need to think about that. I've heard Jorden say much the same thing." (p. 355).

Again with this Passover Lamb business. Wandering Jude is getting annoyed with Stella the Israeli Mossad agent. The only way she could come up with the ferkakta idea of the Passover Lamb is through the puppetmaster writer of this dreck. When John the Baptist in the New Testament says "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," methinks he was not alluding to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But maybe that's just me.

Krista discovers that her mother was Jewish, that she and Stella are second cousins, and that her grandparents had died at Auschwitz. "All these years she had been hotly against anything hinting of anti-Semitism, but she had done so as a Gentile. Now she was suddenly Jewish." (p. 357).

OK, that explains a lot! Wandering Jude is suddenly relieved. But won't you change your name, Krista?

"It's not the genocide alone that grieves me, but the grizzly, diabolical ways in which the Nazis went about killing us. Satan hates the Jews because God used them as a depository for His truth. He used them to write the Scriptures and to fulfill His promise to send the Messiah through the tribe of Judah." (p. 360).

Not grieved by genocide?? Um.....OK. If that's the way you want it. But Wandering Jude thinks genocide by itself is a pretty nasty business.

Franz says to Krista (about Jorden): "We had a long discussion in the car tonight on the way back from the safehouse. I feel he's very close to believing in Christ as the promised Messiah. You must be patient. Don't push him, but pray. Let the Spirit of God do the convicting. Jorden already knows the Scriptures. I was amazed at how much." Krista also lowered her voice: "There's been a Christian lady who has been praying for him for five years." "He's close to a decision. Rest the matter with the Lord." (p. 370).

He's close.... he's close. Don't push him. (Wandering Jude might even suggest reverse psychology. Why not play the devil's advocate and suddenly begin to argue against Christianity? That might really bring Jorden's conversion about much more quickly!)

Jorden says to Krista: "Isn't there a verse in Hebrews that says, "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts?"" "Yes. So you've been reading the New Testament?" I've worked my way through it once and am now reading Matthew for the second time." (p. 371-372).

Oh, Jorden. Wandering Jude had such high hopes for you. After all, it's not many Texas Jewboys who end up in the Mossad.

Jorden is thinking to himself about how bad Eichmann was, but then he hears a silent voice say to him: "What about your sins?" Mine!? "In the sight of a holy God you too are guilty of breaking the Mosaic Law. Have you kept all Ten Commandments perfectly, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, year in and year out?" No. "Then you let me take care of men like Eichmann. You make certain of your own soul, otherwise you too will stand before the throne and be judged by what is written in the books. But if you turn to Me, and accept My substitutionary death for you on the cross, I will wash away your sins. Like Jacob, your name will be changed to a prince with God. You will be a true son of Israel, and I, your true Father." ... My conscience, he thought. He knew it was more than that. What had Saul of Tarsus said on the Damacus Road on his route to persecute Christians? "Who are you, Lord?" Jorden already knew his name; it was Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew. He had just called Jesus "Lord." He knew enough about the Scriptures to realize that to own Jesus as Lord meant that he also acknowledged Jesus as the true Passover Lamb, the one true offering to atone for sin. Why else would Jesus have died on the cross at Passover time?" ... Savior and Lord, Lamb of God, King of Israel, Head of the true Church made up of both Jews and Gentiles. What else had Saul said on the Damascus road? "Lord, what will You have me to do?" (p. 380-381).

People obsess about Eichmann a lot in this book. Wandering Jude thinks it might be better to obsess about Mengele or another Nazi who escaped justice. After all, Eichmann was hanged in Jerusalem. He got his just reward.

And the Passover Lamb again rears his ugly head.

"Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ that should come into the world. ... If Jesus Christ was alive at the right hand of God, if Jesus had conquered sin, the grave, and hell, if He had a future for Israel and a plan for the world, then all was not lost. Jorden felt no tidal wave of emotion, only conviction. He must act on the truth. "Lord Jesus, I believe You are the promised Messiah, and I accept you as my Savior and King." Peace filled his mind and spirit, along with a joy he had not previously known. Peace with the holy God -- through His beloved Son! Peace with God -- at last!" (p. 382).

Peace at last. Wandering Jude is happy that Jorden is finally at peace with himself. Just don't try to justify it with a theological mishmash.

When Krista learns of Jorden's new beliefs, she gives me the choice of a celebratory meal of sandwiches made with either "sausage and egg or cheese and bacon." (p. 386).

And what's wrong with a good pastrami on rye with mustard?

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