While you say your new book is about respecting others, I notice in your blog posts, comments, and writings, the Hebrew Roots whom your organization once seved (sic) is referred to almost exclusively in the negative light. Your above comment is no exception.
If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few days, you’ve seen how my own recent Easter experience went as well as my own inability to make a connection to the observance. Nevertheless, I don’t think Easter is evil, wrong, bad, or pagan, whatever the origin of the name of the observance. I suppose my Pastor used terms such as “Resurrection Day” and “The Lord’s Day” last Sunday to get around that little problem, but since there were absolutely no bunnies or eggs present (well, eggs were probably served for brunch, but most likely they were scrambled), I didn’t see any obvious idolatry involved.
I didn’t want to write on the conflicts between some minority expressions of Hebrew Roots Christianity and the more traditional Christian churches, but when I read some of the comments on Toby’s blog post, including the one I quoted above, I couldn’t let it lie (and I didn’t want to start something again with Judah because I actually like the guy). My personal struggles are what they are, but I get a little tired of Hebrew Roots people playing the “superiority” card and saying that Christians in churches are terrible people because they won’t embrace some of the Hebrew Roots priorities. Frankly, such bigotry against Christians by these groups is ill-befitting of anyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ (or Messiah if that’s your preference).
I was just talking about this issue a couple of weeks ago when discussing the problem with religious people. If a religious person, particularly in a minority variant of Christianity which sees itself as above or superior to the majority of Christians, encounters other believers who hold different views, sooner or later, there’s going to be a “spitting match” in the blogosphere. I have tried avoiding blog posts such as this one because I didn’t want to participate in such a match, but where do I draw the line when I see unjust comments being made against believers by other believers?
I suppose I could have ignored this poorly considered jab against Christians who celebrate Easter and that would have ended it, at least from my point of view, but it was included in a collection of remarks that were direct responses to something I’d said on Toby’s blog. Yes, I still should have ignored it.
But I chose not to.
TOD addresses Easter, “Another area of difficulty involves the observance of Christian holidays. Some churches heartily embrace some of the pagan-derived aspects of Easter and Christmas. Understandably, this makes many Messianic Gentiles uncomfortable. The simple solution is not to go during that time of year. It should not have too significant an impact on your relationships there to miss church for one or two weeks; in fact, it’s quite common for people to be out of town during holidays.”
Late last year, I deliberately didn’t go to church for Christmas services for more or less the reasons Boaz stated, but to my way of thinking, Easter is the “higher” tradition as far as the church is concerned. The crucifixion and resurrection of the Master is at the center of all things and without these events, there would be no salvation for all of mankind. That the church should ignore something so vitally important seems ridiculous and while I believe the Passover Seder could have much meaning for Christians, it doesn’t always cover the full, expansive intent and glory of the risen King.
So I chose to attend Easter Sunday services at my church and did not consider such services optional. As I mentioned above, it wasn’t a spiritual “power surge” and I ended up feeling more disconnected from the community because of my lack of emotional attachment, but that has more to do with me than the importance of fellowship and the beauty of watching a new day dawning and knowing that the tomb is empty.
One of the other comments Boaz made addresses this point very well:
Actually, the consequence of Tent of David is not necessarily the celebration of Easter but rather a respect for those that do honor the resurrection of the Messiah. It is about learning to see the good in others, appreciating and valuing people’s attempts to connect with God. It is about learning to manage things Easter with love and care of the individual that is sincere in their intentions and efforts. It is about building relationships that will create bridges of dialog.
At the end of the day TOD is about respecting others, not assuming evil intentions, and a mission of transformation.
He said, It is about learning to see the good in others.” Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing?
Nevertheless, I’ll probably get “slam dunked” by my critics and my friends alike for how I’m wording all this, but what I’m writing at least has the benefit of sincerity and transparency. If you disagree with how different churches do things, then don’t go to those churches. If you have a problem with church in general, you don’t have to go to church. I don’t complain about where you go to worship. Why do you (whoever you are, since I’m addressing more than one disgruntled person at this point) have to complain about where I choose to worship?
I know Judah was complaining more to Boaz about TOD than he was to me, and I don’t think Judah intentionally disdains all people who go to church and call themselves “Christian” instead of “Messianic,” but the Boaz has a point. Even if we struggle with some of the practices in the church, we cannot dismiss her or her service to Christ. We must, since we also call ourselves disciples of Messiah, learn to see the best in others. After all, Christ died, even for those believers we may not like or don’t agree with. If Jesus thought his sacrifice, even for “those people,” was worth it, who are we to say he was wrong?