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The Jewish Samurai
A Test of Faith
 There once was a powerful Japanese emperor who needed a new chief
 samurai. So he sent out a declaration throughout the entire known
 world that he was searching for a chief.
 A year passed, and only three people applied for the very demanding
 position: a Japanese samurai, a Chinese samurai, and a Jewish
 The emperor asked the Japanese samurai to come in and demonstrate why
 he should be the chief samurai. The Japanese samurai opened a
 matchbox, and out popped a bumblebee. Whoosh! went his sword. The
 bumblebee dropped dead, chopped in half.
 The emperor exclaimed, "That is very
 impressive!"The emperor then issued the same challenge to the Chinese
 samurai, to come in and demonstrate why he should be chosen. The
 Chinese samurai also opened a matchbox and out buzzed a fly. Whoosh,
 whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! The fly dropped dead, chopped into four small
 The emperor exclaimed, "That is very impressive!"
 Now the emperor turned to the Jewish samurai, and asked him to
 demonstrate why he should be the chief samurai. The Jewish Samurai
 opened a matchbox, and out flew a gnat. His flashing sword went
 Whoosh! But the gnat was still alive and flying around.
 The emperor, obviously disappointed, said, "Very ambitious, but why
 is that gnat not dead?"
 The Jewish Samurai just smiled and said, "Circumcision is not meant
 to kill."

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.