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Author Topic: Joel Kovel accepts Christianity  (Read 728 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 06, 2012, 07:30:25 PM »

The following is the first of a two part interview.
The Conversion of Joel Kovel (Part 1)

At the annual July 4 weekend picnic held in the Catskills by Michael Ratner and Karen Ranucci this year, Joel Kovel gave me stunning news at the beer table: he said that he had been baptized on Easter, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem.

[Kovel is standing behind the priest, before his baptism]

I can definitely say that there were two major things that happened in college, both interior, and temporary, and I didn’t know what to do with them. I felt there was something in me that I hadn’t had any sense of at all...

Then the second thing, my sophomore year in college, there was a rainy evening, and there was an arts movie theater I went to sometimes. I’d pay my 50 cents and watch a movie. That night it was Diary of a Country Priest [1951], by Robert Bresson. I’d just heard of it. Someone had told me it was worth seeing. Although at first I hated it. It was very dreary, nothing was happening. This priest was getting nowhere, stuck in rural France, scuffling here and there, general misery, and I thought, I should leave. But I stayed. And then I stayed and I started getting gripped by it. And then it turns out he has cancer and he’s going to die, and for the last half of the film, I sat there weeping. I thought, I don’t know why I’m weeping. Why am I weeping? He said at the end, “All is grace.”And it struck me dumb. What does that mean? It was Jesus of course, rejected and despised. But that never occurred to me.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:33:03 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 07:47:28 PM »


Does Episcopalian count?

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and urgent strife sheds blood.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 07:49:44 PM »

He is an author.


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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 12:01:21 AM »

Sorry if this comes out wrong, but what's the big deal? 

I got nothing.
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 12:16:57 AM »

Is outrage! Kovel is in the canonical territory of the UOC-MP!

How dare he go Episcopalian?
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 12:07:05 PM »

To continue, Part 2 describes that for him the main point was his experience seeing the poor in Latin America:
So I’m wandering around, wandering into meetings, seeing priests. Like Uriel Molina, Argentinian by way of Spain, in the liberation church. I still remember the mural behind him, there was Jesus as a campesino and people were singing, And my Spanish wasn’t good, but I didn’t need to know the language, the language of the spirit was coming to me, I was moved. So now it’s coming together. The stuff that happened to me in college, a calling of some sort, and now Jesus, who didn’t articulate with my life in any way. But now it was articulating with my life.
Next he explains how it helped him overcome his fears:
I realize the thing that was drawing me to them was the spirit. But it was also something I was led to compare to my secular leftist friends... And we’re talking now 30 years on and I’ve had a thousand experiences since then, and I can tell you that it’s the same again and again, and there are reasons for it. These religious people-- they were smiling and happy all the time. Not simpleminded, because they were dealing with the worst sorts of things. But if you read Matthew 25, that encounter with Christ, we do this for the least of you-- The whole thing always grabs me. [Kovel tears up]  I start crying. There are endless passages like that. You see how I feel it. Well as soon as you get that feeling, you’re there. The other thing is, every one of us that’s a leftist, with very few exceptions--we’re fearful. We’re afraid of the cops, afraid of the corporations, the authorities. Well, a common admonition in the New Testament is, Be not afraid, because I am with you. So you have that presence with you, and you’re not afraid.

Then he explains why for him it was not enough inside to have politics devoted to helping the poor:
Again, I thought the revolutionaries I knew were missing something. And if you read the Gospels, they are a revolutionary document. Jesus, whatever he was, I thought, I need to contend with that, because he was the first person to articulate a communist vision within class society. I was incredibly moved that way. And also incredibly frustrated in Nicaragua. Worn down,  it was brutally hot, and seeing a lot of misery. And finally I said, I can’t convert. Why can’t I convert?
I found his story resonated with me too! Certainly I feel afraid alot of times about outside forces like he says, and my faith and hope helps me overcome it.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 12:15:46 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 09:12:02 AM »

In 1936, Kovel was born in Brooklyn, New York to "an immigrant Ukrainian-Jewish family." From Wikipedia.

This is interesting a lot of Jew's are coming to faith in the Lord and accepting as the Messiah, finally. Thanks be to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tags: Kovel  conversion  judaism 
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