This post is part of a Series entitled Discussions with Dale.
We all have activities which we seem born to do – where we lose track of time, and just don’t seem to tire of them. For me, one of those is discussions about ideas and ideology.
Finding a Home with Argumentative Jews
The first time I recognized this was when I was in my late 20’s, when I found my Dad after years of estrangement since my parents’ divorce when I was a small child. The first day I spent with my Dad, his brother, and their families, who are all very typical New York Jews, I realized that this part of me had never found a home.
You see, my Mom’s side of the family is not Jewish. And whether or not you like stereoptypes, let me tell you something wonderful I discovered – my delight in argument is almost certainly a central Jewish trait. Like most of us, I had always felt like an odd duck, and sometimes even in my own family. And that day, after arguing politics and religion forcefully and joyously for 90 minutes, my Uncle leaned over to me and remarked, “you may not have been raised Jewish, but you certainly were born Jewish.”
He confirmed what I was feeling – “Finally,” I thought, “I am around people like ME!” Of course, I have a lot in common with my ‘gentile’ side too, but this missing element was a revelation to me, one that I have reveled in since. Literally.
So Who’s Dale?
Fast forward a few years to about 1992. I went on a short term missions trip with YWAM, and met my friend Dale (and his lovely wife, but this story is about Dale). Dale is in some ways very peculiar – a creative surfer dude with a highly developed intellectual side, to the point of geekiness. Every day in missionary school, he would open up some secret journal of his and write some profound quote or aphorism up on the board. “Who the heck is this guy?” I asked myself.
Over time, Dale and I became friends, and he remains one to this day – you know, one of those ‘lifetime’ friends – someone you keep in touch with over a long time, and can pick up with any time even if a span of time has intervened. Now that we live within a few hours of one another, I visit Dale a couple times a year, and we engage in one of my favorite activities – discussion of the reality (or unreality) of God, the Bible, and the problems of the life of faith and faithlessness.
Dale and I have both seriously questioned our faith, and to a large extent, we still do. We talk about the challenges to faith that most Christians are probably afraid to think about – but being interested in personal integrity and truth, we regularly walk through various challenges to faith – not just as an intellectual exercise, but as one way we wrestle with being genuine people.
After this past weekend of discussion, I realized that I would love to document our discussions. For you. Ok, for me, but for you too :D. Enjoy this sporadic series.