Love and the End of ReaÃÂoning: ConverÃÂion aÃÂ an Act of TruÃÂt and Loyalty
The author recountÃÂ the unÃÂettling faith journey of her converÃÂion to JudaiÃÂm after ÃÂhe had become an eÃÂtabliÃÂhed, profeÃÂÃÂional ChriÃÂtian theologian. ÃÂ truggling to diÃÂcern the call of God, ÃÂhe intellectually probeÃÂ a ÃÂerieÃÂ of queÃÂtionÃÂ about ChriÃÂtianity that diÃÂturb her, including her underÃÂtanding of JeÃÂuÃÂ. At the end of reaÃÂoning ÃÂhe diÃÂcoverÃÂ that converting iÃÂ not a matter of intellect but of heart. It iÃÂ not diÃÂÃÂatiÃÂfaction with or criticiÃÂm of ChriÃÂtianity that propelÃÂ her toward JudaiÃÂm, but love-of both traditionÃÂ. The queÃÂtion iÃÂ not, Which iÃÂ better, ChriÃÂtianity or JudaiÃÂm? But, which community'ÃÂ revelatory lenÃÂ doeÃÂ one ÃÂhare?
In my late thirtieÃÂ I found myÃÂelf in the diÃÂturbing poÃÂition of being on the brink of converting to JudaiÃÂm. I had been raiÃÂed in the Dutch immigrant evangelical community of the ChriÃÂtian Reformed Church, a ÃÂtrict ÃÂ abbath-obÃÂerving denomination which defined itÃÂelf againÃÂt the culture (no dancing, no card-playing, no unneceÃÂÃÂary mixing with thoÃÂe outÃÂide the community) and which did not ordain women.
In my twentieÃÂ I joined a more liberal CalviniÃÂt denomination, the United PreÃÂbyterian Church, hoping to purÃÂue ordination. At the ÃÂame time I earned a Ph. D. in ChriÃÂtian Theology at the Divinity ÃÂ chool of the UniverÃÂity of Chicago, which launched me into a vocation of preparing ÃÂtudentÃÂ for ChriÃÂtian miniÃÂtry. For twelve yearÃÂ I reveled in my life of learning about the complexity and variety of ChriÃÂtianity and in my vocation aÃÂ a profeÃÂÃÂor, teaching hiÃÂtorical, conÃÂtructive, and feminiÃÂt theology in variouÃÂ ChriÃÂtian ÃÂeminarieÃÂ acroÃÂÃÂ the country. After decadeÃÂ of having felt uncomfortable in ChriÃÂtianity, I had finally made a home for myÃÂelf there.
Or ÃÂo I thought. In ÃÂpite of being a tenured full profeÃÂÃÂor, preaching regularly in churcheÃÂ,