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Windows and Doors

A response to Norwegian Shooter who commented on yesterday’s post as follows:

When I returned to your blog to see if you responded to my comment on the previous post, I was quite surprised to see you posted your comment to Shoshanna (the hypocritical one) as its own entry. So I feel the need to ask again, do you think your post on Harris and Kilinghoffer treated them with as much love and respect as possible?
I must say that I checked out some other posts and believe you seem to practice your what you preach in general. However, your criticism of Jimmy Carter and Steven Waldman was based on misunderstanding, as was yesterday’s post. To respect their views, you have to understand them.
Carter was not “equating his own understanding of religion with the will of” major religious figures. He said the practice of some current religious groups violates the teachings of these major figures. Do you disagree with that?
Waldman’s quip against the Rabbis was in support of the separation of church and state, which is more obvious in his second Cronkite post, not the authenticity of their faith. Then you weirdly take a few words Waldman used in describing good journalism and say the Rabbinate would use the same words to defend their church and state as one position. Yeah, so?

Norwegian Shooter,
I generally don’t debate commenters, especially when they make accusations about hypocrisy or use personal attack. I responded to Shoshanna simply to head off a fight which I have no intention of joining. There are already too many fights in the world, don’t you think?
I will however suggest that you may be confusing understanding with agreement. You insist that I don’t understand simly because we disagree. And my guess is that those post about which you say nice things, are ones with which you share my beliefs.
I happen to think I do understand the words upon which I comment and the fact that we disagree about their meaning, does not mean that I do not. For me, big issues can be properly understood by different people reaching very different conclusions.
That is exactly what people like Jimmy Carter fail to understand. People lile Moses, Paul, Jesus and Muhammad said many things and they can be interpreted in many ways. In fact the durability (inspired queality, if one is a believer) of their teaching lies in its ability to invite ongoing interpretation, including ones which you, Jimmy Carter or I may not like.
As to Steven’s post about Cronkite, do you find it odd that you criticize my failing to respond to a second post that had not been written when I commented on the first? Not to mention that my oposition is to virtually all absolute cliams about intelletual and spiritual authenticity — they do so much more harm than good.
Again, and I am only guessing here, you are probably a fan of Cronkite’s and not Israel’s chief rabbinate. Could this be another one of those agreement/understanding moments?
On Tisha B’av, a day when Jews recall tragedies, many of which were caused by how people comminicated with each other, I hope these are questions we all take a moment to think about.

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