Marcia wrote, inter alia:

"PS:  Having known each other so long, Tom, I must say I would have expected you to take some account of my conversation on the list and wonder if I really would call for conformity of thought or language."


It is precisely because I know that calling "for conformity of thought or language" is not where you are coming from that I thought it might be effective to illustrate how it might appear that you were doing so here.  It was, is, and will ever be my intention to make whatever points I make respectfully, both as a matter of courtesy toward people in general and toward you in particular.

I apologize, again, for having wrongly assigned the word "offense" or "offensive" to you, when you did not use it.  Its absence changes much of what I had to say.

I will try to deal briefly with what I think remains.  The supercessionist point is the essence of the dispute between you and Will, I think.  (That, and the usages that flow from it.)  I hold to my view that it is perhaps impolite, but otherwise unremarkable, for a believing Christian to adopt a supercessionist view, and to employ language consistent with that viewpoint.  (I do not go so far as to say it is necessary for a believing Christian to do so; that is another subject altogether.)

If I were Will, I wouldn't have phrased myself the way he did.  You would be fully justified in pointing out that his phrasing incorporates assumptions about Judaism that are not only not shared by, but may be deeply offensive to, many Jews.  (I don't mean to return to the point about "offensive" -- I concede you did not say this, and merely note that it would have been a perfectly valid thing to say and, based on my experience, would be completely true and, indeed, understated.)

At the end of the day, Will could come back and say "OK, I should have said 'from the Christian perspective' this or that is such as concerns Judaism."  But I continue to believe that, if he instead says, for example, "Everything I say is from the Christian perspective, and I reject any phrasing that does not take that for granted" -- the horseradish/fly scenario I alluded to -- I think he is guilty of, at worst, insensitivity and, perhaps, is "guilty" of nothing other than speaking in the voice that is natural and comfortable to him.

I do not think you or anyone else should be expected to agree with all of Will's (or anyone's) assumptions, or to refrain from criticizing his expression when it treats assumptions as facts.  But that doesn't mean he must, or even, necessarily, should change.

To me, this whole string illustrates how principled people, with nothing but good will (I believe), can get into unnecessary and unproductive arguments over religion.  An example of a similar event on a more public stage is reported here:

Now I know why my mother told me not to discuss religion or politics at dinner (with company at least).

However, the answer surely is not to refrain from these discussions, since the passion that religion can inspire is a tribute to its importance as well as a sign of its danger.

In any event, since it seems I may have expressed myself in a way that seemed disrespectul to you, I apologize.  Best wishes,

Tom K