Sharing the Birthday Boy’s Chair

boys-fightingSupersessionism is when a Theology attempts to push Jews out of their seat. Inclusionist Messianic Judaism (i.e. One Law) says that Jews remain Jews and remain obligated to the Sinaitic Covenant. Thus, it can’t be considered supersessionist–because Jews keep their seat. They remain the older brother–and that means being a role model and also teaching the younger, adopted brother (Gentiles) how to understand and practice Torah.

-Commentary from a Hebrew Roots blog post

OK, I’ll bite. I know I shouldn’t, but I will. Like the politically correct pundits and visionaries popular in the mainstream media, the term “inclusionist” seems all nice and cozy, but it doesn’t always fit well when translated into other venues.

Do I believe in “inclusionism?” First, we need a definition of “inclusion.”

  1. The act of including or the state of being included.
  2. Something included.

There were also entries for how inclusion is used in Geology, Biology, Computer Science, and Mathematics, but they didn’t seem particularly relevant to the conversation.

Of course, I support inclusion as applied to equal access to resources in society such as education, jobs, housing, and the “pursuit of happiness,” but that has to be filtered through a few things such as “citizenship.” If you’re a citizen in this country, you have rights, such as the right to vote, for example. If you aren’t a citizen, your rights aren’t the same and sometimes you don’t have access to the identical resources in society as do citizens.

With that in mind, let’s return to the specifics of the subject at hand.

Bob (Craig T. Nelson): You need an invitation?
Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson): I’d like one, yes.

-from the film The Incredibles (2004)

I’ve written about supersessionism or replacement theology many, many times before, including in a four-part series in Messiah Journal last year. As a Christian husband married to a Jewish wife, I am very sensitive (some might say, “overly sensitive”) to the basic tenet that has been supported in the majority of the history of the church that Christianity has replaced Judaism in all of the covenant promises God made to Israel. In essence, the church is supposed to be the “New Israel” and Judaism and the Jewish people are now “has beens” relegated by God to the backwaters of eternity.

However, according to the person I quoted above, supersessionism is “solved” when Christians don’t try to push Jews “out of their seat” but rather, try to crowd into the same seat with them. Does that work? I don’t think so.

I’ve blogged and blogged about how this doesn’t work in so many different ways that you’d think one of them would “stick” by now, but as Rabbi Dr. Michael Schiffman recently said, maybe the person commenting or I or both of us are “addicted to negativity.” I hope not, but there’s something about misinformation and disinformation that gets under my skin.

Let’s accept the existing metaphor used by my source, that supersessionism is the pushing of Jews (presumably by Christians) out of their seat, or their accepted identity and role as defined by the Bible and God. What does it do to push the Jews out of their seat and to sit in it instead as usurpers?

Usurp, as a transitive verb is:

    1. to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right (usurp a throne)
    2. to take or make use of without right (usurped the rights to her life story)
  1. to take the place of by or as if by force : supplant (must not let stock responses based on inherited prejudice usurp careful judgment)

Used as an intransitive verb:

  1. to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully

Boiling it all down, it would be as if I lead a political coup in a nation, kicked the King off the throne and replaced the King as ruler of the nation.

OK, I get that and I agree. I have no right to replace the King. The metaphor seems to hold up pretty well when compared to what we understand about supersessionism.

But what about sharing the throne? What if I lead a political coup and demand that the King share the throne with me? I’m not kicking him out of his chair, so to speak, but I’m demanding that he share the throne with me, insisting that I have rights to sit in his chair, too. Do I really have a right to do that? Not if I don’t have legitimate claim to royal authority. If I do, then either I’m the rightful King and the person now on the throne is a pretender, or I am in line for the throne once it becomes available.

boys-birthday-partyNeither of those metaphors works very well when we apply them to the covenant relationship Judaism enjoys relative to God. In fact, as Gentiles “grafted in” to the Jewish olive tree, we don’t suddenly become Jewish and thus have rights to “share the throne” in the manner of those who were born as “Princes.” If Christians aren’t Jews, then no matter how much we share access to God and to salvation and a place in the world to come, we don’t actually become Jewish and thus, hold an identity and responsibilities exactly equal to those who originally came to be a light to the world.

Let’s change the picture a little bit. There’s a children’s birthday party. Naturally the “birthday boy” gets the seat at the head of the table and is served a double portion of ice cream and cake because, after all, he’s the birthday boy, this is his home, and it’s his special time.

Now let’s say that one of the other kids gets jealous. Maybe his birthday has come and gone and he didn’t get such a nice party or maybe he just sees all the attention the birthday boy is getting and he wants it, too. He can push the birthday boy out of his chair and try to take the double portion of ice cream and cake, but as we see from our above metaphors, we know it’s wrong to do so. Let’s say the jealous birthday boy knows it’s wrong, too.

But, hey! What if we “share?”

So the jealous boy goes to sit in the same chair as the birthday boy, “shoehorning” himself into a very limited space meant to be occupied only by one person. He brings his own spoon and insists that the birthday boy share his seat, his cake, his ice cream, and his presents.

Does that seem right to you?

No, of course not. Only the birthday boy is the birthday boy. Even if the jealous boy was born on the same day (and he probably wasn’t), it’s still not his party, his cake, his ice cream, or his presents. He gets his own seat, his own cake, and his own ice cream because he’s an invited guest. Maybe he’s even a special guest because he’s the birthday boy’s best friend (think David and Jonathan). Maybe after the party is over, the birthday boy will share all his gifts and play with him. All the jealous boy has to do is accept who he is, where he’s seated, and be kind and patient. All the jealous boy has to do is realize that it’s the birthday boy’s day, not his own.

That’s what happens at most birthday parties for children. We teach children who is the special person who is having the birthday and who are the guests. We teach them that only special friends and relatives are invited to be guests at the banquet. There are other kids who don’t know the birthday boy who don’t get invited and don’t get ice cream, cake, and a door prize.

If the jealous boy realizes all that, then he realizes that even though he’s not the birthday boy, he’s special too, and he has no reason at all to be jealous. By being rude and trying to “share” something that clearly doesn’t belong to him, he risks losing everything. By understanding that he is special and a friend and a guest, he will someday gain everything.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:7-11 (ESV)

Now, was that so hard to understand? Even a little child can get it.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Sharing the Birthday Boy’s Chair”

  1. Now James, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were actively searching for these “identity” debates, so you could weigh in on them. 😉

    All humor aside, I’m wondering if a big part of our confusion in these discussions comes from the words that we use, and a need to clarify whether we’re speaking according to the modern usage of terms, or according to their historic usage (and if historic, what historical period?).

    Case in point. You said:

    // …as Gentiles “grafted in” to the Jewish olive tree, we don’t suddenly become Jewish and thus have rights to “share the throne” in the manner of those who were born as “Princes.” If Christians aren’t Jews, then no matter how much we share access to God and to salvation and a place in the world to come, we don’t actually become Jewish and thus, hold an identity and responsibilities exactly equal to those who originally came to be a light to the world. //

    By referring to the Olive Tree (I presume of Romans 11), do you think its anachronistic to apply a term like “Jewish” to the tree? After all, I’m not aware of any precedent in the Tanakh for doing this. And Paul doesn’t make the claim that it’s a “Jewish Olive Tree” either. See why this might get messy if we don’t clarify these terms?

    Based on my research, the Olive Tree metaphor as its used in the Tanakh, primarily refers to Israel. If that’s the case, isn’t calling it a “Jewish olive tree” jumping the gun, since Judaism and Jewish identity didn’t come to be solidified (at least not in the terms we understand it today) until during the inter-testamental period?

    Plus, the metaphor of “The Cultivated Olive Tree of Israel” doesn’t really touch on the issue of who’s Jewish vs. who’s not. This topic seems to be taken up more in Paul’s letters, and the fact that he didn’t force his gentile-congregations to undergo official proselyte circumcision — though in the first century we do see a lot of people become “official” proselytes to Judaism via this ritual.

    It seems to me, if one wants to understand the nature of our identity in Yeshua — as “Jewish” and “non-Jewish” believers — this would be the place to start. And seeing as the academic world is in an uproar right now on exactly this topic (NPP, 4QMMT, and all that), something tells me we’re going to be grappling with the implications of these identity debates for quite some time.

  2. Hi Rob,

    Y’know, every time I write one of these, I’m not actually thinking about you. While there’s a general tendency to lump all “One Law” folks into one pile, there actually seems to be a spectrum of approaches and attitudes involved. While I don’t agree that all Gentiles possess an obligation to comply with the 613 mitzvot in the manner of Jewish people, I actually am not trying to micromanage everyone’s religious observance.

    But more often than I’d like, I experience certain “attitudes” on the web that seem to have this feeling that they’re doing the Jewish people a favor by entering their house, raiding their fridge, and otherwise making themselves at home uninvited. I quoted a couple of lines of dialog from the film “The Incredibles” (2004) to illustrate my point.

    I actually expand on my point of view in tomorrow’s “meditation” when I address interfaith marriages such as my own and how that impacts my viewpoint on Christianity and Judaism living under one roof (which in my case is literal).

    As I’ve said before, I don’t think your perspective and mine are all that different. You seem to take on additional of the mitzvot but you put your own thumbprint on it, so to speak, and don’t appear to go out of your way to either “look Jewish” or otherwise run roughshod over Jewish people and Judaism. From my perspective, a Gentile believer davening at the set times of prayer, keeping a form of kosher, and even setting aside a day of rest on Shabbos isn’t a problem. My real issue is with folks who feel that it’s their “God-given right” to “claim” all that is Jewish in the name of their faith in Messiah. That’s not sharing or inclusion, it’s claim jumping and hopping into bed with someone who doesn’t want you under their covers, so to speak.

    The whole point of today’s “extra meditation” was to illustrate how, contrary to how some may see it, that it’s possible for a One Law lifestyle to not be “inclusive” but “supersessionary,” particularly in the sense that Jewish covenant uniqueness is considered as now belonging to a certain sect of Gentile believers who want to be “unique” in a “Jewish” way, too.

  3. However, according to the person I quoted above, supersessionism is “solved” when Christians don’t try to push Jews “out of their seat” but rather, try to crowd into the same seat with them. Does that work? I don’t think so.

    Its not really up to us, we will be seeing even more of this, and is a doing of God. Paul saw this and wrote about it in Romans 10 and 11, a prophecy that is found in Deut 32:21. Do you know why God is doing this, we don’t have to speculate, He tell us? It is to provoke Israel to Jealousy and to make them angry, just as they did to Him. With that said, I don’t go around trying to offend Jews, quite the opposite, I have many Jewish friends who I love dearly, and at the same time, obviously I do not have the power in myself to accomplish God’s prophecies, because it isn’t up to me, it is His choice and doing, thus if gentiles taking part in God and all He has to offer, because He opened the door and is making it happen, then it has nothing to do with what I personally want, its God’s doing, I am drawn because of God and in the process this makes some Jews jealous just like your analogy describes, and according to prophecy, that is supposed to happen, but it is bigger than gentiles who simply want to keep Torah, it is a prophecy coming forth that has never happened before. Gentiles reaping the blessings that were not for them, not a people, not a unique calling… I would be a little stirred if was the natural son… 😛

    I’ve blogged and blogged about how this doesn’t work in so many different ways that you’d think one of them would “stick” by now…

    Your points ‘concerning these identity arguments’, from my own opinion, are practically irrelevant, they ignore scriptures at times and they are built on more of your own opinion anyways, or how something effects your wife (by the way, I am not bashing, what effects my wife is very important as well). Many OL’ers have already pointed this out, you don’t actually see many people take up the details of what it means for a gentile to now be part of Israel’s covenant, this is foundational to these discussions, and many scriptures that people in the One Law camp use to support their claims, usually from your side of the camp, they are simply brushed over, or allegorized to have no literal meaning.

    I have watched Rob Roy, time and time again, point out that we are grafted in, part of the commonwealth of Israel, gentiles have been brought into Israel’s covenant and I watch the detractors make vague statements such as “well it does not mean this”, but they never state what it actually means, they never address it, it must be to dangerous of a text to address or they simply do not know.

    My point is, if you are really wondering what you can say that would effect or influence perspectives, address the main points, skipping around them or trying to find another verse that sounds like it is saying the opposite, does not fix the issues, or as stated above, simply stating what something is not, is not an answer in and of itself. Just saying… 😀

  4. “My real issue is with folks who feel that it’s their “God-given right” to “claim” all that is Jewish in the name of their faith in Messiah.”

    Wrong, James. And it shows your bias. None of the OL people claim “God given right” to Rabbinic Judaism, which people from your side of the fence claim now. Remember, not all Italians are Mafia.

  5. Zion said: Do you know why God is doing this, we don’t have to speculate, He tell us? It is to provoke Israel to Jealousy and to make them angry, just as they did to Him.

    Somehow I’m not sensing that Jews are getting jealous of Gentiles who “keep the Torah” but rather kind of annoyed. That said, I think we’re supposed to provoke zealousness (no, that’s not a typo) in a different manner, not by entering into some sort of competition with observant Jews, but by supporting their observance of Torah rather than insisting on our own.

    Your points ‘concerning these identity arguments’, from my own opinion, are practically irrelevant, they ignore scriptures at times

    I wouldn’t go that far, Zion.

    and they are built on more of your own opinion anyways…

    I consider my situation somewhat unique and certainly I’m not going to ignore the influence of my family simply because my concern for them and who they are interferes with someone else’s interpretation of certain portions of the Bible. If that’s a mistake on my part, then I’ll accept God’s judgment against me. So far, the only ones criticizing me are people.

    My point is, if you are really wondering what you can say that would effect or influence perspectives, address the main points, skipping around them or trying to find another verse that sounds like it is saying the opposite, does not fix the issues, or as stated above, simply stating what something is not, is not an answer in and of itself.

    Actually, in Provoking Zealousness and many other blog posts, I have defined a Gentile Christians role in the covenant. Maybe not in terms of the “mechanics” of “put this on,” “take this off,” “pray at this time of day,” and “don’t eat that,” but in terms of our relationship with the Jewish people, particularly believing Jews. I’ve also defined our role in ways that Hebrew Roots proponents don’t seem to want to hear and almost never blog about themselves, such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and the prisoner, and comforting the grieving (I don’t think I have to look those scriptures up for you and, in any event, I’ve already quoted them in my blogs repeatedly). I can’t see into anyone’s life, I can only see into your blogs and blog comments, so I have no idea if the part of observing Torah that actually helps people and pleases God is important to you, too (for the sake of argument, I’ll assume it is…after all, I want to be fair). But with the exception of Judah Himango, who really does demonstrate a heart for the “weightier matters of Torah” on his blog, I don’t actually see that expressed in the “One Law” argument online.

    If I had to choose a mitzvah to keep and I could only choose one, which one do you think would be the most important to me? As for me defending Jewish identity in part because I’m defending and supporting my spouse, I’m sorry you don’t think that’s a valid thing for me to do. However, the alternative would be for me to return to a lifestyle that I left behind in part, because I found it to be dishonoring to my spouse. Again, if that’s somehow bad or wrong of me, then I’ll accept God’s judgment on the matter.

  6. Dan, I’ve approved your comment but remind you that due to your short fuse, you’re on a short leash. On other blogs, your comments would be summarily deleted. Keep in mind, that’s always an option if you aren’t able to have your say in a civil manner. Zion and I disagree but he doesn’t go out of his way to provoke a fight just because he can. Please keep that in mind before your next comment. Thanks.

  7. James,

    I thought that my comment was a lot more civilized then Zion’s. But then, what do I know….It just shows that you cannot deal with the truth…Zion agrees with me.

    So now, every time that I bring a point you cannot answer to, I am going to be accused…OH, well…..

  8. James Wrote: Somehow I’m not sensing that Jews are getting jealous of Gentiles who “keep the Torah” but rather kind of annoyed. That said, I think we’re supposed to provoke zealousness (no, that’s not a typo) in a different manner, not by entering into some sort of competition with observant Jews, but by supporting their observance of Torah rather than insisting on our own.

    Taken from a definition online:

    Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust.

    Your suggestion of provocation to ‘zealousness’ is not what the scriptures say, it specifically says “Jealousy and Anger”, I will post the scripture below for you, with that said, you are more than welcome to believe whatever you like, but I have to stick with Deuteronomy and Paul on this one.

    And I will quote it for you just for future reference:

    They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

    God does not just want to make Israel jealous, but also angry as a result. And His tool is the gentiles who are coming to faith. Paul makes this equation in Romans 10 and 11.

    In Romans 11, Paul magnifies his ministry to Gentiles, for a purpose, and he tells us that purpose, it is to move his fellow Jews to jealousy in correlation to Deut 32.

    I wouldn’t go that far, Zion.

    More specifically, I meant in reference to One Law arguments, that being the points I mentioned in the example of Rob Roy in my original post.

    I briefly skimmed over your post concerning “Zealousness”, but I never saw any references to Deut 32, where Paul spent two chapters addressing this, don’t you think that is missing in your equation? Paul magnified his ministry specifically to Gentiles, in order to hope to see that scripture come to fruition…

  9. Your suggestion of provocation to ‘zealousness’ is not what the scriptures say…

    Read Jordan Levy’s entire article and then consider that it might be. Besides, are you so sure that Gentiles putting on tallitot and praying in Hebrew is what we’re supposed to do to make the Jews jealous? I can make someone angry in a lot of ways that doesn’t involve making them jealous. If some Jews are annoyed with One Law, is it because Gentile Hebrew Roots practitioners are making them jealous relative to Paul or is it because Jews simply don’t like being mocked? Your connection between Deuteronomy 32:21-23, Romans 10:19 and the specific mechanics of Hebrew Roots is tenuous at best and non-existent at worst. If God is using the Gentiles to provoke the Jews, that could be accomplished by the Gentiles having access to the Messiah through Christianity. Gentiles mimicing Jewish ritual behaviors isn’t actually required. This time you’re reading into scripture what you want it to mean, but the obligation of Gentiles to the full 613 commandments isn’t presupposed in those verses.

    Besides, setting Paul aside for the moment, the traditional Jewish interpretation of the same passage doesn’t presuppose Christians at all and involves God allowing the Israelites to be defeated by foreigners, which has occurred repeatedly over the long centuries. Non-Messianic Jews aren’t going to jump to the conclusion that Deuteronomy 32 has anything to do with Christianity in general or Hebrew Roots in specific.

    Being generous, your viewpoint is one possible interpretation but it’s hardly the only one or even the most likely one.

  10. Read Jordan Levy’s entire article and then consider that it might be.

    Where can I read Jordan Levy’s article and what does that have to do with Deut 32, Romans 10 and Romans 11?

    Besides, are you so sure that Gentiles putting on tallitot and praying in Hebrew is what we’re supposed to do to make the Jews jealous?

    I don’t remember ever saying this, so how can I be so sure about it?

    If God is using the Gentiles to provoke the Jews, that could be accomplished by the Gentiles having access to the Messiah through Christianity.

    We have 2000 years of that, can you tell me how effective it has been?

    Gentiles mimicing Jewish ritual behaviors isn’t actually required.

    I don’t remember ever saying exactly what it is supposed to look like, simply that gentiles are the provoker, this is simply what scriptures say. Christianity hasn’t fulfilled this role, so maybe you have a better idea? If this is too personal, please ignore, has being zealous changed your wife, has it provoked her to jealousy?

    This time you’re reading into scripture what you want it to mean, but the obligation of Gentiles to the full 613 commandments isn’t presupposed in those verses.

    Do you have an idea of what will provoke to jealousy? Gentiles have believed in Messiah for over 2000 years, and the Jewish people simply do not care, far from jealousy. I would argue specifically since the verse is in the Torah and it is referencing God taking a people who are not a people and taking them in, that we see covenant blessings coming upon gentiles, that result in something relevant. But being anti-Law in many ways will not succeed in bringing about any blessings or jealousy. Hopefully since you do not agree with my perspective, you have something better to offer?

  11. “If some Jews are annoyed with One Law, is it because Gentile Hebrew Roots practitioners are making them jealous relative to Paul or is it because Jews simply don’t like being mocked?”

    Right James, all the Gentiles need is one stroke of the knife and the Jews will not feel they are being mocked…..OY….

  12. @Zion: Rather than going line by line through your comments and mine, let’s boil it down. One Law, at its core, believes that Christians, that is any non-Jew who comes to faith in Yeshua as Messiah, is obligated to the full 613 commandments in precisely the same manner as the Jewish people and that they (we) have been grafted in and are now full citizens in Israel with the Jews. Right so far?

    How does that make Jews jealous as opposed to the Christian church? I don’t see Jews being jealous of either population. What could the church possibly do to make Jews jealous. But then again, what can a group of One Law Christians do to make Jews jealous?

    I mentioned certain specific details above (wearing tallitot, keeping “kosher”) as examples of what I see One Law Christians defending in the blogosphere. That you didn’t mention those details doesn’t mean they’re not part of the One Law “platform.” But they still don’t have the effect you suggest they should.

    How abou this? I know you ignored it before. Almost all One Law commentators ignore this suggestion even though it is heavily rooted in Torah and in the teachings of Messiah and One Law supporters should feel as obligated to this Torah as the rest of the Christian church.

    Here it comes. Want to make someone jealous of your Torah observance?

    Excel at feeding the hungry. Excel at visiting the sick and the prisoner. Excel at sending medical teams and people to build housing to Haiti and to other disaster areas (yes, people are still having problems in Haiti…a missionary visiting at my church spoke of this last Sunday).

    These are all parts of the Torah that many churches excel at. It’s Torah observance at its finest. Anyone who claims to be “Torah observant,” whether Jew or Gentile, should be jealous if they see others doing such deeds of kindness. Like I said, I have no idea about your personal walk, but I do read some of the One Law pundits on the web. With the exception of Judah Himango, no One Law supporter ever talks about performing the weightier matters of the Torah.

    If making Jews “jealous” (or zealous for that matter) is your goal, that’s my suggestion.

    @Dan: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  13. James wrote: Rather than going line by line through your comments and mine, let’s boil it down. One Law, at its core, believes that Christians, that is any non-Jew who comes to faith in Yeshua as Messiah, is obligated to the full 613 commandments in precisely the same manner as the Jewish people and that they (we) have been grafted in and are now full citizens in Israel with the Jews. Right so far?

    No, Gentiles who are in covenant do not have the exact same laws, there are a few distinctions, the biggest being that a gentile cannot own land, there are other laws, relating to services and relating to slaves, privileges concerning tithes and gleanings…etc, etc. With that said they are not entirely the exact same…

    How does that make Jews jealous as opposed to the Christian church? I don’t see Jews being jealous of either population. What could the church possibly do to make Jews jealous. But then again, what can a group of One Law Christians do to make Jews jealous?

    That was the question I asked you, and you don’t have an answer, and that is ok, but at the same time, you can’t say “well its not this”. I pointed out the failed “well its not this” mentality in a previous post. I have been put in many situations with Jewish friends to Jews I have never met since I was just a little kid, I even lived in Israel for a while and part of my family are reform Jews.

    I can tell you, that it was not until my Torah Observant life style, that any of the Jews that I had known, cared about what I was doing, and proudly being gentile is just part of the deal. I wrote about this more at one point on Judah’s blog and I won’t go into great details here, but trust me, it makes a difference, at least from my own experiences.

    I mentioned certain specific details above (wearing tallitot, keeping “kosher”) as examples of what I see One Law Christians defending in the blogosphere. That you didn’t mention those details doesn’t mean they’re not part of the One Law “platform.” But they still don’t have the effect you suggest they should.

    James, the way you write about One Law, and I am guessing your previous experience in One Law, is it safe to say, your previous congregation was a bunch of people who mocked Jews and were God forsaken, lacking all goodness? Or are you just playing with sensationalism?

    How abou this? I know you ignored it before. Almost all One Law commentators ignore this suggestion even though it is heavily rooted in Torah and in the teachings of Messiah and One Law supporters should feel as obligated to this Torah as the rest of the Christian church.

    James if I ignore something, it is usually because it is either divergent of the subject at hand, or some logical fallacy… in this case, you are appealing to emotions. My family runs one of the biggest food banks in town, where do go from here and how does this address the questions?

    Let me give an example, if you would stop spending so much time writing blogs, you could actually be doing what scriptures says and helping people… sounds nice, but its wrong in its approach, whats to say you are not helping people doing this, or whats to say you have time while not blogging to do that, its just a waste of time and emotional grabs to either divert the subject or build a strawman.

    But since we are playing this game, I know of two other Hebrew Roots groups in town, one specifically specializes in outreach to Central America and to the local Jewish community and another which is specific to the local Jewish community.

    Here it comes. Want to make someone jealous of your Torah observance?

    Excel at feeding the hungry. Excel at visiting the sick and the prisoner. Excel at sending medical teams and people to build housing to Haiti and to other disaster areas (yes, people are still having problems in Haiti…a missionary visiting at my church spoke of this last Sunday).

    I believe Christianity has been the most successful of all groups on the planet, among religious and non-religious groups in this category for a long time, yet it has not produced the jealousy and anger that is prophesied to happen.

  14. No, Gentiles who are in covenant do not have the exact same laws, there are a few distinctions, the biggest being that a gentile cannot own land, there are other laws, relating to services and relating to slaves, privileges concerning tithes and gleanings…etc, etc. With that said they are not entirely the exact same…

    Part of what this illustrates is that there is no one voice in One Law, anymore than there is in the larger Christian or Jewish communities. There are many OL Gentiles who believe that except for circumcision, they are identical to Jews (minus Talmud).

    The question of making Jews jealous has been a mystery for a very long time. If I don’t have a definitive answer, I don’t believe you do either. You have a theory that matches your chosen theology and doctrine.

    James, the way you write about One Law, and I am guessing your previous experience in One Law, is it safe to say, your previous congregation was a bunch of people who mocked Jews and were God forsaken, lacking all goodness?

    Quite the opposite in fact. This is how I experience One Law on the web and how I experienced the many One Law people who would sometimes visit our congregation and presented their viewpoints on their “rights” and “obligations.”

    But since we are playing this game, I know of two other Hebrew Roots groups in town, one specifically specializes in outreach to Central America and to the local Jewish community and another which is specific to the local Jewish community.

    Fabulous. It’s too bad that never comes across in the blogosphere. Maybe you or someone like you should blog about all the actual good that Hebrew Roots congregations are doing. I think the people who are actually doing the Hebrew Roots blogging, such as it individual who I quoted up at the top, give an extremely skewed view of what Hebrew Roots is like. And in my book, doing good for others is no game. It’s the point.

    I believe Christianity has been the most successful of all groups on the planet, among religious and non-religious groups in this category for a long time, yet it has not produced the jealousy and anger that is prophesied to happen.

    Jews and Christians should be identical in observing the Torah relative to serving the needy as we’ve already discussed. The differences should be in the actual identity markers, those things which differentiate the Jewish people from Christianity and the rest of the nations. So you plan to make Jews jealous by performing those identity markers. Let me know how that works out for you.

    Better yet, as I said before, actually start talking in the blogosphere about Hebrew Roots and the weightier matters of the Torah rather than what the Hebrew Roots blogosphere usually talks about. Believe me, I’ll be more impressed when that happens.

  15. Fabulous. It’s too bad that never comes across in the blogosphere. Maybe you or someone like you should blog about all the actual good that Hebrew Roots congregations are doing.

    For what purpose would this serve? Most people blogging, which is not very many to begin with, are dealing with ideals, theologies, and doctrines of an infant and growing movement.

    I think the people who are actually doing the Hebrew Roots blogging, such as it individual who I quoted up at the top, give an extremely skewed view of what Hebrew Roots is like. And in my book, doing good for others is no game. It’s the point.

    No offense, but reading someones blog is not good discernment/judgement for how one lives their lives. Ever heard of the saying, don’t judge a book by a cover, well in the case of a human, it means much more. I don’t know you James, the few things that I read about on your blog, tell me very little about your daily life. I can’t say that reading your blog, “your this or that”. I simply do not have that information and neither could I gather that information from reading your blog. The only things I know about you are the theological points you state, which even then is probably limited to the scope of a page.

    Jews and Christians should be identical in observing the Torah relative to serving the needy as we’ve already discussed. The differences should be in the actual identity markers, those things which differentiate the Jewish people from Christianity and the rest of the nations. So you plan to make Jews jealous by performing those identity markers. Let me know how that works out for you.

    Since I can’t find what you call “identity markers” in scripture, it would be hard for me to relate to what you are saying. So whatever that means, my keeping of Torah has provoked and sparked conversation, but I don’t do it to provoke, it is simply an end result, I am simply wanted to follow God, as my responsibility to His covenant and show my obedience to Him, if that makes some people jealous or angry that I am somehow stealing what is rightfully theirs, I can’t do much about that, as God is my first priority.

    Better yet, as I said before, actually start talking in the blogosphere about Hebrew Roots and the weightier matters of the Torah rather than what the Hebrew Roots blogosphere usually talks about. Believe me, I’ll be more impressed when that happens.

    I am not so sure, anyone’s goal should be out to impress people, we are simply blogging for discussion, information, learning, growing, debating topics of interest usually revolving around theology, many people grew up in Christianity, so they are already on board with what you are stating, these other issues are new and complex. With that said, if you are so concerned that blogging should be about weightier matters, consider that actions speak louder than words, so don’t waste time blogging, just go do weightier matters.

  16. Actually, people tend to believe I’m more transparent about my personal life, thoughts, and feelings than most bloggers in the religious space, so I’m a little surprised you can’t tell much about me by what and how I write. That said, I have some right to a private life.

    For what purpose would this serve? Most people blogging, which is not very many to begin with, are dealing with ideals, theologies, and doctrines of an infant and growing movement.

    I find this tragic in the extreme and one of the problems with the Hebrew Roots movement and frankly Messianic Judaism, too. It’s all about mechanics and the “technology” of religious movements with almost no evidence of anything more substantial. It’s like the writers are more interested in the “widgets” of dogma than the lives and souls of human beings. How can you take that so casually when we know we cannot love God unless we are loving our neighbors as ourselves?

    I disagree that blogging isn’t relevant to who we are in the larger venue of our lives and the even larger expanse of our faith. All the world knows about us is our “fruit.” All they see is what we produce and show to the world around us. If you want to get a message out to a wide audience, the Internet is ideal for the task. Problem is, as you say, what we talk about is horribly skewed in one direction. What undecided people see when they surf in to our blogs is the bickering and the posturing over this theological issue or that. What they don’t see, what most of us don’t demonstrate, is the love, the compassion, the desire to draw closer to God that is supposed to be at the very core of who we are, regardless of which variant of Christianity or Judaism we claim as our own.

    If blogging is such an insignificant aspect of our ability to communicate, why do you spend so much time commenting on other people’s blogs. If actions speak louder than words, why don’t you either A) speak about the importance of those actions or B) step away from the keyboard and return to them.

    so don’t waste time blogging, just go do weightier matters.

    You have no idea what I do when I’m not writing. That said, I am a writer, not just casually but professionally. It’s what I do. It’s how I think. But part of why I returned to church is because church offers vast opportunities to perform the weightier matters of the law that both the blogosphere or most of Hebrew Roots lacks. It’s where I will find others who express Christianity as a service to others and not just a set of ritual behaviors.

    You judge me because I don’t agree with you. Fine. You don’t have a blog and write about religious topics unless you’re prepared to be judged. “Zion,” if you disagree with what I say, how I say it, and who I am, you are perfectly free to take your own advice, not participate on my blog, and to do as God wills in your live.

    Peace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.