gagged

If I Can’t Talk About God…

How can I talk with anyone else about God when I can’t even talk about Him with my wife?

We were discussing this news story about how when Iran says “Death to America” it doesn’t really mean “Death to America”.

We were both equally outraged at such a sentiment, and I tried to express support for Israel and how when God came back…

Oops.

“Came back?” my wife queried.

I realized what I said and how she took it (and rightfully so) and tried to reorient the statement as best I could but the damage was done.

There are lots of reasons I don’t feel fit to occupy a space in the religious blogosphere, most of them having to do with my personal shortcomings, but some of them have to do with my apparent inability to talk with or about Messianic Jews and Messianic Judaism without stepping on some significant toes.

If I can’t talk about God and Israel in a positive, pro-Bible, pro-Israel, and pro-Judaism way with my wife without saying something stupid, how can I hope to talk with other Jews in Messianic Judaism without causing strife and offense?

I don’t enjoy getting emails saying that I said something wrong, objectionable, or whatever. I can’t live in the same home with a Jewish person without messing things up. How can I communicate with other Jewish people who don’t have that sort of emotional connection with me and get my point across without causing a mess?

This is my personal problem with being involved with Messianic Judaism. If I actually say what’s on my mind, even with the best intentions, it goes wrong. Some people might not care and just bulldoze their way through, but I don’t have that luxury, certainly not as a blogger, and definitely not as a husband and father.

I went out for coffee with my Christian friend last Sunday. He again strenuously encouraged me to join religious fellowship. I felt myself once again backed into a corner with no way out. If I go back to a church, I’ll be “sleeping with the enemy” as far as my wife is concerned. If I, even over the web, attempt to associate with some sort of Messianic community, sooner or later, I’m going to step all over someone’s priorities because either I have a mind of my own or because I make mistakes.

The problem is, just like in marriage, when you step on someone’s “sacred cow,” they take it personally.

That’s why I like writing about senior fitness. It may not have eternal consequences, but then again, no one gets bent all out of shape about my personal expressions on the topic either.

Yes, this is a rant.

This is why I believe my only option is to rely on Hashem alone. He’s got thousands of years of experience dealing with human stupidity. Fortunately, he doesn’t offended easily. If he did, I’d have been ashes ages ago.

If Hashem wants to take exception with me, He knows where to find me and if He choses to “consequence” me, it’s His privilege to do so, and I can’t say “boo” about it.

I realize now why so many people I know in the “Messianic” and “Hebrew Roots” space choose to be isolated in small family groups or home fellowships. A Messianic “luminary” once referred to these groups in an unflattering manner, but I think that at least some of them just don’t know who to trust, including whether or not to trust themselves.

We are supposed to trust in Hashem alone. That’s an answer that is not only appealing on a lot of levels, but one that may be the only remaining path for many of us. If we can’t trust God, we are undone anyway. If God is like people, then we have no hope.

The Torah states, “You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Lord, Your God” (Deuteronomy 18:13).

Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say, “The Torah obliges us to trust wholeheartedly in God … but not in man. A person must always be on the alert not to be cheated.”

The Chofetz Chaim devoted his life to spreading the principle of brotherly love, the prohibition against speaking against others, and the commandment to judge people favorably. Though he was not the least bit cynical, he was also not naive. He understood the world and human weaknesses.

In Mesichta Derech Eretz Rabba (chapter 5) it states that we should honor every person we meet as we would (the great sage) Rabbi Gamliel, but we should nevertheless be suspicious that he might be dishonest.

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
as quoted at Aish.com

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30 thoughts on “If I Can’t Talk About God…”

  1. “We are supposed to trust in Hashem alone. That’s an answer that is not only appealing on a lot of levels, but one that may be the only remaining path for many of us. If we can’t trust God, we are undone anyway. ”

    James, I was going to add a comment but I think the above quote says enough. It’s something we all need to learn.

  2. Fortunately, G-d is not made in our image, but we in His, and not just broken ourselves that we might dying die, but in live out that dying in a broken world shaped by everyone’s very broken choices.

    Still, we have to communicate with others or we are not doing our job either, which is to be a light to those who do not see Yeshua because Yeshua’s very existence is anathema to the Rabbi’s that teach and guide them. They do not have the Ruach haKodesh, nor the personal relationship with Abba, which makes speaking with anyone not at the least a believer in Yeshua however scant and pagan their view, painful.

    You have a completely different picture of what is to come in future than your wife does, and because you do not look to yourself and mankind to solve everything before Mashiach comes, you will offend your wife. It will happen, because she chooses to take offense at your very natural statement of messianic hope. It is the word ‘return’ that is the key. So long as you hope openly for Mashiach ben David, she can however take no offense, even if she suspects you are being mendacious. Speak of Yeshua’s return as Mashiach ben David, and you have offended unnecessarily.

    Yeshua said to be as wily as serpents, but as meek as doves, just as Shaul said that the gifts of the spirit can break no man’s law, but catching hold of the unruly member that causes most of our heartache…that little rudder that turns the whole ship, well, your words must be chosen carefully, and you must ask for the grace to speak carefully.

    Alas that does not make it easier to live in silence about the real hopes of your heart, that you want to share most deeply with your life partner.

    Joining a fellowship of anyone at all like you would be good, but there is no Messianic Jewish Synagogue nearby you, so your choice, as mine, is between Christians who have no idea of what kind of companionship and support you need, and Abba, who knows exactly what you need.

    I will continue in prayer for you both, that your tongue will not make mischief for you, and that your wife will no longer look daggers at you when you speak from your heart as the Messianic Gentile that you are.

  3. Your opening story here reminded me of an old aphorism that advises: “Shift brain into gear before opening mouth. Do not insert foot.” Now, I realize that it can be hard to remember this in the midst of an off-the-cuff conversation with an intimate such as one’s wife. Writing, as in a blog, affords much more opportunity to contemplate one’s words before sending them out into the field where they may well tread on a cow-pie or two. Nonetheless, as we’ve been admonished by experts: “The tongue is a raging fire that no man can tame (unless, perhaps, he succeeds in bringing his entire being under control)”.

    Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ve had ample time to analyze the words that flew out of your mouth unbidden, which included the phrase that your wife questioned. It is, of course, a pity that your shared feelings in support of Israel and the Jewish people should have been disrupted by a thoughtless element of controversy. Considering your experience in this field, it *is* just a bit surprising to me that you would have said such a thing as “when G-d came back”, with its implications that He has been away on sabbatical or something, as well as its overtly Christian doctrinal implications for which you know there exist alternative MJ interpretations. Of course, you might have invoked almost as much opprobrium if you had merely referred to the Messiah as returning, as in the old joke about the Israeli tourism ministry representative greeting the Messiah when he appears with the common question: “Is this your first visit to Israel?” Thus, MJs have had to school themselves, when mentioning the impending arrival of the Messiah, to focus on the event itself and not to invoke this question until the context allows a broader perspective of discussion.

    In any discussion where known controversies lurk in hidden corners, it is always well to emphasize the shared foundation consisting of elements of shared agreement before venturing gently and rationally, with careful deliberation, into sensitive areas of differing viewpoint. In a blog essay, on the other hand, it may be presumed that its regular readers are already aware of the common foundation, sometimes available also on a separate tab of background information; hence one may continue what is effectively an ongoing conversation by discussing controversial material. One must remain vigilant, however, not to carry these discussions directly into ordinary everyday conversations where the common foundation and shared assumptions are likely not already in place.

  4. Fortunately, she seems none worse for the wear and was joking and teasing with me later on that evening. Like I’ve said before, there are just certain things we can’t talk about. However, that also punctuates the point that, in my case, the only one I can speak candidly to is God.

  5. how peculiar – the fellowship (or rather lack of it) is where Husband and I find ourselves (again) ….. called out of the Christian Church yet with a hunger for some fellowship…. moving to a new area has brought this ‘hot’ topic bubbling right up again….

    “If I, even over the web, attempt to associate with some sort of Messianic community, sooner or later, I’m going to step all over someone’s priorities because either I have a mind of my own or because I make mistakes.”

    Yep me too….

  6. @Questor — I’m writing this response because this is the second time recently that I’ve seen the same sort of error in one of your posts. The error arises from a glib “us vs. them” perspective, and asserts falsehoods due to lack of sufficient experience. You wrote: “… because Yeshua’s very existence is anathema to the Rabbi’s that…” You also wrote: “They do not have the Ruach haKodesh…”. You paint with far too broad a brush, here. Even in Rav Yeshua’s time there were individuals like Netanael in whom there was no guile, and Nicodemus, and the man whom Rav Yeshua observed was not far from the kingdom of heaven. These people were not disciples of Rav Yeshua at the time of these observations. Such Jews exist in our own time as well, and they do exhibit HaShem’s Spirit operating within them, even if in some matters they are not fully aware. It is not Rav Yeshua’s existence that is anathema, but rather an association of him with centuries of Christian persecutions, and with idolatrous Christian views of him. One of the functions of the MJ perspective is to get beyond such erroneous views in order to address the substance of real issues about which he taught. For modern Jewish disciples, it may be somewhat easier to remember that we ourselves are part of the group often referred to as “they”, and “they” are also “us”. But even non-Jewish disciples must be careful to avoid such sweeping characterizations and ignorant generalizations. Such statements as you wrote are exactly like the error that James stated accidentally in his “when G-d returns” phrasing, whereby an old “canned” meta-belief surfaces from the subconscious without any of the restraints or challenges that more recent conscious thinking has apprehended and tried to correct.

  7. Join the fellowship of a church. Keep looking until you find one. Always follow your heart. It is God talking to you. Works for me/ MOM

  8. James: I don’t know if you read every comment you approve, trusting contributors to post prudently. But you might want to read this before you approve it.

    I have to be candid. This might come off as daring, but since you put this in a public arena I respectfully offer this: while I think peace-seeking is virtuous (which is your merit), you seem to really crucify yourself on it. I could probably never bring myself to go to church ever again, but if I did, I would expect that my wife would recognize that I am an adult and free to make my own decisions.

    Think about it: she gets a community to run to. How is it in any way fair for her to see you as barred from hers, yet simultaneously barred from finding your own path? How can that expectation seem reasonable to her? That’s not peace – it’s quarantine. “Sleeping with the enemy?” That’s what she’s doing right now, not what you *would be doing* in seeking! Making it about your adventures in churchland is unfair to you. Is she “allowed” to talk about Judaism with you?

    Where can I go on Sunday? What can I accidentally slip out in conversation? Trembling with guilt and fear about it all. Considering one’s spouse as barred from one’s own faith, yet co-dependently demanding said spouse abstain from all other spirituality. I read your blog because I enjoy it and you are authentic, but geez this is as painful to read as Ethan Frome. You consider her a holy, chosen fragment, speaking of her in the most soaring language. She considers something you carry as “the enemy,” and frowns on you seeking it on your own time because it reminds her of that implacable enemy. Egg shells only signify respect in one direction.

    Mussar is about finding the right amount of space to fill, not about deeming oneself and one’s needs to be worthless. The nature of this post seems less spiritual and more marital. I’m still a bachelor and say this all from zero experience, but I wouldn’t finally say it now if these endless, self-effacing beat-downs in someone’s shadow were not so suffuse throughout your blog.

    My prayer has suffered in recent years, but recently I have revived it to try and comfort friends during some health issues and the like. Maybe I should add you to the roll call.

    I had a daydream months ago where I was standing at Sinai with Moses. Moses had a flint in his hand and was ready to preside over my conversion. G-d asked me if I had anything to say in sort of a stern voice, and I wailed saying “How can I do this? What will you do for your servant James!”

    A gentile Cartaphilus.

    In my own personal dream space, you have literally transcended and become the archetype of the weeping and homeless ger, whose shadow agony is a bounty for the world, and for whom in – the name of all fairness – the Most High must surely have stored up merit, favor, identity, and thousands of attending boons. Congrats.

    James. Say: “I’m a holy soul, dammit!”

  9. Great reflection on real life! Keep being the you that Adonai wants you to be, in word, deed, whatever you do. People are encouraged, myself included when we read your blog. Push back always happens when we are swimming against the stream, its not bad, its just the way it is!
    Thanks for Being Real!
    Brandon

  10. James. Messianic Jews (ANY Jews, as well) often “correct” each other in community. I believe the key is to allow it, even treasure it. It’s not about one or the other being the person who is correct (although it is also not about there being no truth or correction).

  11. @Amanda: In my case, that would include stepping all over my wife’s priorities and perceptions.

    @PL: I’m not advocating that all people abandon communal worship and fellowship. It’s only in my case that it’s particularly problematic.

    @Mom: Thanks.

    @Drake: Actually, I did approve your comment before reading it because I trust you not to go off “half-cocked,” so to speak.

    Believe me, I could go to church tomorrow (or Sunday) and she wouldn’t say a word. She’s told me many times that she has no right to tell me where or with whom I can worship. However, knowing how she feels about Christianity and the Church’s relationship with Jews and Judaism historically, plus how she speaks of Christians sometimes (and certainly her dislike for the Apostle Paul), I can figure out just how my attendance of a church (which in her mind, would include a Messianic Jewish or Hebrew Roots congregation) affects her.

    She isn’t demanding anything of me. This is my interpretation of what she needs.

    @Brandon: Yes, life is real. You reminded me of the words of that great philosopher Dory (from “Finding Nemo”), “Keep on swimming.”

    @Marleen: Being “corrected” by one’s spouse isn’t the same as having a debate with a peer on some theological topic. I’ve been married to her for over 33 years. I know *that* tone of voice.

  12. @James — I can’t seem to figure out to what in my replies above you might have been responding with your comment about communal worship. Or could it be that your response was intended for someone else?

  13. I do appreciate your sentiment of not “bulldozing” through. I suppose it’s a little like your quote of a rabbi recently about there being a need not to be overwhelmed with guilt while the bigger problem or danger is not enough (recognition or admission of) guilt. And I obviously don’t know what kinds of emails you get. I don’t think I’ve ever emailed you, not even when you once emailed me (about once posting links without textual explanation)… because I don’t use email much.

    If you get emailed about theological points, well, I’m not sure why these people don’t just post. But, like I said, I don’t know. However, a matter of more dire consequence would be if others (especially, although not only, known personalities or groups of people) are mischaracterized — because that has to do with their reputation or with the effectiveness of their ability to teach what they want to teach and not be inadvertently countermanded or undermined.

  14. After posting my last post, it vaguely has come to me that I may have emailed you at some point, like a year ago, when you didn’t let something I posted through. That seems to be a past issue.

  15. PL, from a Gentile’s point of view, there are two only kinds of Rabbi’s…those Messianic Rabbi’s that teach Yeshua is Messiah, and those Pharisaical Rabbi’s that teach that Yeshua is not Messiah, not merely because they only see him as attached to the Catholic Church, or as pagan false god as presented by the Greco/Roman’s, but because Yeshua did not bring peace to the world, nor has he saved Judea from the Romans…yet. If there is a Rabbi out there without a definite viewpoint on the matter, I would be very surprised. If there are non-Messianic Rabbi’s out there that encourage Messianic/Pharisaic dialogue for the purpose of genuinely seeking G-d’s truth rather than to prove that Yeshua is not the Messiah, please, tell me where I can find them.

    As to the Ruach haKodesh indwelling Jews automatically because they are Jews, or have a personal relationship with G-d because they are Jews, why then was Shavuot, and the infilling of the Ruach ha Kodesh such a surprise to the Jews of that time? Why is it such a difference to a Jew when they understand and accept that Yeshua is their Messiah? If non-Messianic Jews right and left are infilled with a deposit of the Ruach haKodesh, or actually communicating daily with G-d, why do they not say so, and tell us what they are hearing and experiencing? If they are talking to G-d, they would be hearing about Yeshua directly from G-d, and we would not need to bring their own Scriptures back to them through the outreach of Messianic Jews.

    I have no doubt that all Rabbi’s are genuinely attempting to seek G-d, and to help their congregation do the same, but since non-Messianic Rabbi’s are so plainly against Yeshua, why can I not say so? And since Jews mostly want to be left separate, even in the Messianic movement, again why should it be ignored, and tiptoed around? I accept the need for Jews to stay separate within the Messianic Movement in order to hold onto their identity, and not be subsumed by Christian rhetoric, but that seperateness is there.

    You say that I paint too broadly about Jews in my writing…that may be true, but my mentioning a theirs versus ours mentality in my post above was not accidental…because it is what James is living with on a daily basis. His household is a theirs/us situation personified, and that is what makes it so uncomfortable for him.

  16. @Q — Once again, your brush is too broad. I said nothing about any automatic infilling or indwelling of the Ruach for Jews. I pointed out that HaShem’s Spirit was evident in some specific exemplars in Rav Yeshua’s time, and likewise nowadays. There was rather a fuss a few years ago when a revered Hasidic rabbi left a cryptic note citing the Messiah’s name as Yeshua. This is another example of HaShem’s Spirit at work; and there are even more such hidden ones. Peoples’ hearts are individual rather than collective; and it is not for you to presume their conditions, nor to reduce them to black-and-white inanities. If there is anything that will continue to keep Jews isolated from Rav Yeshua and from seeing him who he really is, it is just the sort of thoughtless over-generalizations that you’ve expressed. James’ situation is also really quite specific, and not entirely attributable to generalizations such as you’ve expressed. The reality is much more subtly nuanced.

  17. James, are there no friends that you could meet with on a regular basis for study? For prayer? You don’t have to be in a church gathering for fellowship. For a few years I was involved in a small group because I was not attending a congregation, and it was a beautiful time. Powerful prayer and inspiring insight in the Word.

  18. @PL: I think I was replying in relation to your reply to Questor, if that makes any sense.

    @Marleen: The comments people can see publicly are only a portion of the messages I get from people reacting to things I’ve written. Don’t worry. This has nothing to do with you.

    @Ro: This isn’t really about my lack of community. I know individual believers and have coffee with some from time to time.

  19. @Q — Just to address a bit more of your last post, putting rabbis into one of two collective boxes is really too dismissive by far. Life is not so simple, and trying to insist that it must be so merely forces people to choose not to fit into your boxes or to have anything to do with you, your boxes, or the things you advocate — most particularly including Rav Yeshua, who gets blamed falsely for inspiring such inadequate analysis.

    Regarding that special Shavuot some 20 centuries ago, what was unusual then was a phenomenological outpouring of energy and spiritual capabilities that reflected the description in Yoel’s prophecy that Kefa cited; and such outpourings were rarely repeated — though a few were apparently needed to convince the Jewish disciples that gentiles also could be cleansed sufficiently that they could experience similar phenomena. We must be careful in our days not to presume that modern “charismatic” ecstatic experiences are demonstrating the same sorts of phenomena, due to insufficient experience to recognize similarities to religious phenomena in other modern non-Judeo-Christian religious contexts or insufficient understanding of the actual phenomena that the apostolic writings were describing.

  20. Hello, James. I see you are having one great discussion here.
    Hey, um, I have a question. I have been studying Messianic Judaism for a bit though I might be the one who might have the least knowledge here. Nonetheless, it seems that more I study about the Jewish foundation and the roots, I feel as if the Law of the Cross is being died down and the Jewish Roots being more emphasized. It would be right if I am falling in love more with Yeshua as I dig deeper into this and I am still drawn to this, though it seems like I am venturing on my own in this dark woods as Korea is pretty much new to this line of movement.
    So, the question is, despite of the fact that I have a hunch back of my mind and I already have my own answer, this. Where is the Cross in the Torah? I think PL would be the great person to answer this as he is very knowledgeable in this matter, though I would not care if anyone else would teach so.

    Thanks in advance and may Hashem bless you all!

  21. I regret to say, “sagacio”, that I have absolutely no idea what you mean by “the Law of the Cross”. Let me point out that there is no mention of “the cross” in the Torah, though there is a very poignant depiction in Ps.22 of the agonies suffered by Rav Yeshua while fastened to and hanging from a wooden execution stake fashioned by soldiers of the Roman Empire. In the Torah, there is a curse upon one who is hung upon a tree for his crimes, but that tree was not necessarily in the form of any sort of cross. The ancient Persians, among others, would simply impale criminals on a sharpened pole, in order to display the seriousness with which they viewed such anti-social behavior. The Romans developed the use of a crossbeam to which the criminal’s arms would be fastened, either with ropes or with spike-nails (or both, if needed). The crossbeam could be placed atop a pole, in a “T”-shape, or onto a pegged platform on the pole that produced the more classic “cross” shape, whereby the top of the pole became available to mount a sign announcing the crimes for which the executed victim had been hung on that cross. Many thousands of Jews were executed by the Romans on such crosses, and their Christian successors in “the Holy Roman Empire” and afterward continued to use the cross as a symbol under which to persecute Jews. Therefore, Jewish messianists do not reference the evil means that was used to perpetrate Rav Yeshua’s martyrdom.

    The *method* of his martyrdom is by far less important than the *fact* of his martyrdom, and his resurrection overshadows them both. But even more important still is his teaching perspective and his approach to understanding and keeping Torah. Remember that he described his mission as being sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (i.e., to Jews). Hence his emphasis on Torah in Mt.5:17-20 is particularly central to his good news about the immediacy of the kingdom of heaven.

    Any emphasis on “Jewish Roots” is merely an incidental requirement to correct long-standing errors on the part of traditional Christianity that deny the particularism inherent in the fact that Rav Yeshua was an Israeli rabbi who taught his Jewish audience to embrace the fullest meanings of Torah. Wherever the surrounding Christian environment continues to insist on ignoring the Jewish origins of the faith to which they claim some allegiance, and on denying the continuing validity of Judaism and Jewish identity and the Jewish covenant that demands obedience to the Torah by Jews, then some emphasis on Jewish Roots is also required to correct such ignorance or enmity. But we should be clear about the proper meaning of the term “Jewish Roots”. The Tenakh and the apostolic writings have Jewish roots, because they were written by Jews and for Jews, primarily, though parts of the apostolic writings were written specifically to explain to gentile disciples of Rav Yeshua how to embrace certain Jewish values and perspectives. Jews have Jewish roots, that is to say, Jewish historical origins. Rav Yeshua, therefore, has Jewish roots, and the notion of Messiah is entirely Jewish. The faith that his gentile disciples seek to embrace has Jewish roots; but the gentile disciples themselves DO NOT have any Jewish roots. The tree of faith, onto which gentile disciples are grafted as wild olive branches, has Jewish roots; but the wild branches do not own those roots and cannot be said to have Jewish roots merely because of this metaphor. Hence gentiles should not feel compelled to become Jews nor to behave Jewishly by wearing tefillin or a tallit or a kippah to worship. In the apostolic writings there are some metaphorical references to crosses as symbols for being willing to suffer and even to die to uphold the values which Rav Yeshua represents; but such references as were used then are not any sort of requirement to continue using that specific symbol in modern contexts in which crosses have come to symbolize something else which is foreign to their original meaning.

  22. Yes, James, it seems that you have had very recent difficulty with some large amount* of emails (and maybe posts that don’t get posted). Many of those are probably mainly “static” from people who [are not but] want to think they are Jews because they believe in jesus/Yeshua (or that they are better than Jews because they do so believe, by whatever definition, or because they seek to excel at obeying Torah); we have seen many bits of that dynamic. And yet, as I think you’ve indicated and recognized openly, that’s not all of the incoming that you encounter (in whatever sense of heartfelt and sometimes necessary concern to convey to you as clarification, sharing of perspective, etc.). I was frustrated once that I couldn’t here put forth the experience of my children (along with myself in Messianic, not Roots, community) as part of who I am or what I may have to say. But that was long ago, probably even longer than the “year” at which I guessed as to when such a post didn’t make it through.

    *{And you, most recently of all, are noting trickery — not sure if it was in this meditation, haven’t read back today over this one, but in more than one thread that is up is the wisdom to judge all as positively as possible while knowing they can be thieves.}

    Proclaim Liberty, I appreciate your very well-written answer to our friend from Korea. Sometimes I wish that my composition habits or ability on a computer (rather than paper) were as good as yours. My contribution today is, at this point, to emphasize a shift (in the now for anyone with ears to hear) from thinking of “Jewish Roots” to internalizing more subtly and profoundly and meaningfully for history and the future and the people foundational at the apple of it… understanding as to the ongoing and current reality of Jewish roots (not a need to commodify Roots).

  23. @sagacio23: Like PL, I’m mystified by what you refer to as the “law of the cross.” If you mean where in the Torah do you find that Messiah must die on a cross to redeem Israel and thus the world, it doesn’t say that explicitly. PL rendered a more than adequate response to your question, but you might try reading The Death of the Tzaddik as well as Is the Cross Holy?.

  24. Keep it coming, friends. Thank you, James. I have read this blog out loud to my children as an example of my ‘sunday school’ on the internet. They agree with me that you don’t get this quality of study or comments at your typical ‘sunday school.’ Sigh, which is why some of us here don’t feel welcomed at ‘church’. How do we obey, …”forsake not the fellowship.” (paraphrased) Hebrews 10:25?

  25. I can relate quite well to your story. Would you believe my best friend and I married brothers? Roman Catholic. She joined and I didn’t. For awhile we were still friends. One day while visiting she shared with me an experience at Church. The Priest had dropped the wafer on the floor. She was wondering what he would do with it. He had blessed it therefore it was the body of Jesus, he surely couldn’t throw it away, but would he give it to someone after it had touched the floor? I flippantly answered, “He gave it to the church mouse.” She was not amused. Oops, I realized she was serious. We lost our closeness. 20+ years in the same family but rarely speaking. About a year ago we were talking on the phone, catching up on old times, when I related to her my lost feeling about not fitting-in in any church. She invited me to go to the Roman Catholic Church. I did it again. I said the first thing that came to my mind. “That’s a false priesthood.” I felt a cold chill come over the phone. I don’t know what to do about this tongue. It certainly is hard to bridle.

  26. There is one Catholic guy here at work and we’ve become good friends. We don’t seem to have trouble communicating. He asks questions about Jews and Judaism and tells me a few things (but not many) about his religion. Of course, it’s a work environment and you can’t talk too much about religion here (and anyway, the prevalent religious group is LDS).

  27. James, I wish to express my deep sorry over not reading your posts. They were and are such a great encouragement to me. May Hashem bless you and give you grace and peace. Consider posting again for those of us who are too far away from you to talk face to face.
    Question, woulf you suggest FFOZ Torah study or a Daily Dose of Torah as a course of reading? Since I want to buy one I’d like a trusted recommendation.
    Again thank you for your contribution to my growth.

  28. Thanks for your encouraging comments, Benjamin. I’ll be fine. As far as returning to blogging here, only time will tell.

    As far as which resource I’d recommend, that depends on what you want to study. FFOZ’s Torah Club is the better resource for the layperson who wants to understand the true nature of Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah and redeemer of the world. D. Thomas Lancaster (as far as I know) is the primary contributor and his exhaustive research is balanced by his very readable style of writing, bringing to life the relevancy of Messiah and Torah for both the Jewish and non-Jewish believer.

    Daily Dose of Torah is more erudite, intended for an Orthodox Jewish audience, and has sections on the Mishnah and Gemara that are very challenging. I know when reading it, I don’t get everything the material presents, especially since they include snippets of Hebrew, which I can’t read. Also, of course, this material, if it does mention Messiah, will not acknowledge Yeshua as being the Jewish King.

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