Thursday, August 16, 2007

'Funny,' The Forward says, 'Brad Greenberg Doesn't Look Christian'

I've been looking forward to this afternoon, for the moment when I would join the fold of recent Q&As on The Forward's Web site. I didn't get the Luke Ford treatment (not that I deserved it), but The Forward has posted that Q&A/profile with yours truly.

It's pretty odd to be on the opposite side of the looking glass. I was certain I would say something that would culminate with me packing my desk -- my wife is in PR, but I've had little media-training, except, of course, being a member of the MSM . But I think I survived.

Here's the article's lede, followed by three portions of the Q&A:
It’s not surprising that a major Jewish newspaper would have its own “God Blog.” One might be surprised, however, upon learning that a Jewish newspaper’s “God blogger” is a church-going Christian. And one certainly wouldn’t expect said Christian to have a last name that starts with “Green” and ends with “berg.”


You describe yourself on your blog as a “God-fearing Christian.” What does that mean?

To me that means that I’m somebody who believes in the Bible as the word of God and somebody who believes specifically in the divinity of Jesus and that Jesus was the Christ. It’s something I am upfront about because I don’t want it to be some kind of secret that comes out in forms of rumor or innuendo. I put it out there because I think it’s important that people know that this is what I believe, and that it’s no something that affects me as a journalist.

Has your background posed any unique challenges for you in covering the Jewish community?

I know that on it’s face it makes parts of the community queasy. If my name were “Mitch Hennigan,” it wouldn’t really be an issue. But everybody assumes that if my name’s “Greenberg” and I’m Christian, I must have converted out, which isn’t the case. When I started this job, everybody I talked to was like, “So, are you a Jew for Jesus?” And I was very clear: No, I’m not involved in Jews for Jesus. No, they have not slipped a mole into the Jewish Journal. I don’t have a special calling to baptize all of “those pagan Jews.” I think when people understand who I am, when they see the sensitivity of my reporting, and the fact that I am just a really curious journalist who does care about this community and is interested in the stories that are affecting it, I think it breaks down those walls.

You’re halachically Jewish. When Jews find out that you’re a practicing Christian, do they ever try to bring you “back to the fold”?

I think that may be subtly going on. It hasn’t been anything that overt. I’m sure that a lot of people think that because I’m at the Jewish Journal, I think there is a perception that I’m here because I want to return to the community. And in ways I want to be able to identify with the community. I’m kind of struggling with how that can be done, how I can be Jewish while not adhering to the religion. But this is a thousands-year-old problem, the question of who is a Jew. I don’t anticipate being the answer.

Read the rest here.

3 comments: said...

Mazal tov!

-- Dennis Wilen

Anonymous said...

Brad I am really glad to have had the privelege of getting to know you through a few articles you wrote about my life. I am also very glad to hear of your bold stand for Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." Rom. 10:1 and again, "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written." "For this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." BN

Brad A. Greenberg said...

Thanks, Bruce. I appreciate the kind words.

For those who don't know, I wrote about Bruce Nelson when I was the religion reporter at The Sun. Bruce had traveled to India as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Rialto, but when he returned home with a debilitating illness, the church let him go after a few months and left him to grapple with mounting legal bills and religious doubt.

I later worked on a book about Bruce's journey of faith, but couldn't find a publisher for it. It was a pleasure, however, digging deeper into his personal story.

Here is the first story I wrote about Bruce for The Sun: "A Test of Faith"