Monday, November 19, 2007


After a wonderful 3 day trip to San Fran, we're back in dreary Michigan. What a wonderful place to spend a few fleeting November days--though during our brief stay, a Korean tanker unloaded it's oil in the Bay. It was the talk of the town. We didn't see the damage, though when we were out visiting Alcatraz, we were prohibited from taking the lower walkway due to the oil spill. But our time wasn't all pure vacation. The reason for our trip was a research assignment for me. I've been commissioned to write an article for a Festschrift for Moishe Rosen, founder and long-time director of Jews for Jesus. We stayed at the JFJ hospitality house and each day we jumped a bus, and with one transfer we were dropped off near his home. Moishe is getting up in years and his health is not good, but we had some good times together, and I gleaned some good information for my article, which will be a historical overview, placing Moishe in the context of Christian leaders from biblical times to the present. Here is the tentative title, and the opening quote:

Lonely Prophets:
Eccentricity and the Call of God through the Ages

A genuine first-hand religious experience . . .
is bound to be a heterodoxy to its witnesses,
the prophet appearing as a mere lonely madman.
If his doctrine prove contagious enough to spread to any others,
it becomes a definite and labeled heresy.
But if it then still prove contagious enough to triumph over persecution,
it becomes itself an orthodoxy;
and when a religion has become an orthodoxy,
its day of inwardness is over:
the spring is dry; the faithful live at second hand exclusively
and stone the prophets in their turn.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience