I thought about just adding this to the comments on my last blog post, but it seems to deserve a missive of its own.
I admit it. I’ve been listening to Christian radio on the commute home from work again. Specifically, there’s a fifteen minute radio show called The Gospel Changes Everything hosted by Pastor Josh Bales of a local church called The Well.
This week, he’s presenting a sermon series called The Life of God In the Soul of Man based on John 17:17-19.
First of all, I’m always dubious of a Pastor giving a week long sermon series based on two verses out of the Bible. Secondly, he tends to be one of those Pastors who puts a lot of emotion and emphasis in his voice, which always makes me wonder if my emotions are what’s being appealed to the most.
I won’t go into everything he said, but he did define the essence of Christianity as “Christ being formed in me.” What does that even mean? He paraphrased Rav Yeshua (Jesus), refactoring verse 19 to say, “Form me in their souls, Father.”
Did our Rav actually say that? Did he appeal to the God of Heaven asking that he, the individual Jesus, be “formed” in the souls of his disciples? Again, what does that even mean?
By the end of the fifteen minutes, Pastor Bales didn’t answer the question (actually, he lost me when he said verse 19 was Jesus addressing the “church”). Of course, he’s got Thursday and Friday to go, but I suspect he won’t ever answer that question, at least in a way that makes any sort of sense to me.
This is why I don’t go to a church…well, one of the numerous reasons anyway.
I’ve got enough of a headache just now and this just makes it worse.
I’ve been reading through Paul’s epistle to the Romans as part of my (ideally) daily Bible reading, using the NASB translation. Even though I like this version of the Bible better than most others, it still is horribly biased against the Torah, positioning Jewish devotion to the conditions of the covenants vs. grace.
I wish there were a Bible that really interpreted the apostolic scriptures in a manner more authentically honest to the real intent of the Apostles, particularly Paul since he is the number one club Christianity uses to beat up ancient and modern Judaism.
To be fair, I don’t doubt that Pastor Bales and most religious leaders like him really believe what they say and see their interpretation as totally benign and even beneficial, not only to Gentiles but to (converted) Jews.
I’ve had this conversation a nearly endless number of times with the head Pastor of a little Baptist church I attended for about two years. I finally decided to leave (Wow, has it been three years already?) when the Pastor specifically criticized my theology and doctrine from the pulpit. He didn’t mention my name of course, but I knew he was targeting me.
Again, I’m convinced it was not out of malice and that he was just trying to set me straight in the most convincing way possible since I wasn’t going along with the program in our private conversations.
But it also convinced me that I belong in a church about as much as a cat at a kangaroo convention. I just don’t fit in or, as they say on Sesame Street, “one of these things is not like the other.”
I was reading Psalm 93 from the Stone Edition Tanakh and it made a lot more sense to me:
Hashem has reigned, He has donned grandeur; Hashem has donned strength and girded Himself, even the world of men is firm, it shall not falter. Your throne is established from old; eternal are You. [Like] rivers they raised. Oh Hashem, [like] rivers they raised their voice; [like] rivers they shall raise their destructiveness. More than the roars of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, You are mighty on high, Hashem. Your testimonies about Your House, the Sacred Dwelling, are exceedingly trustworthy; O Hashem, may it be for lengthy days.
Since this is a Psalm about Messianic times and how God’s majesty and grandeur will be recognized by all the people of the world, I’m not hesitant to apply it even to me. God is mighty, He is eternal, His House is Sacred, and He is exceedingly trustworthy. This is so much more straightforward (at least to me) than the confusing pronouncements I keep listening to on Christian radio.
I have no idea what normative Christians hear when they listen to these programs. What do they get out of them? What do they understand? How do they apply phrases like “Christ formed in you” to their lives?
I wanted to ask Pastor Bales something like, “Christ formed in me. That sounds great. I’d really like that. Now what?”
He said it wasn’t what you did that made you a Christian but having Christ formed in your was the essential core of Christianity.
I wonder how that works?
For me, how a relationship with God works starts with continual teshuvah (repentance). Continual turning to God and away from sin. Continual prayer. Continual reading of the Bible. It’s easy to forget that and to put our religious lives on automatic pilot, just cruising through day by day.
Auto-pilot doesn’t bring you closer to God. At best it establishes a steady distance and at worse, that distance steadily increases until God either tries to snap you out of it, or He lets you go do your own thing, waiting until you screw up your life so badly, you call out to Him or abandon Him completely (for He will never abandon you, Jew or Gentile alike).
In the end, I can look to whatever resources I consider trustworthy to increase my understanding, but it still comes down to who I am and what I decide to do about my connection with God. Rav Yeshua is my only conduit since without devotion to my Rav, I have no hope and no promise. It is clear that only through God’s grace and mercy that non-Jews, through the merit of our Rav, are able to partake in the covenant blessings since we are not named members of the New or any other Covenant God has ever made.
Come nearer, God. Help my lack of faith. Heal me and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved for you are my praise.
36 thoughts on “Christianity Drives Me Crazy”
Have you ever considered looking into scholarly works addressing the issue of Paul and the incompatibility of his teachings with that of Yeshua? That is, Paul taught another “Jesus” and, as he put it referring to others, “another gospel” than that of the original disciples and Yeshua himself. I can give you some of the titles I have read if you are interested. Shalom
Either the Bible is internally consistent or it isn’t. Either it’s 100% the word of God or it isn’t. I’ve run across folks who read the Bible, love Jesus but think Paul’s writings should never have been canonized. My general conclusion is that we’re reading Paul all wrong. I think books such as the Nanos and Zetterholm volume Paul within Judaism: Restoring the First-Century Context to the Apostle go a long way in an attempt to restore the original context of Paul and interpret his writings within a Jewish rather than (anachronistically) in a “Christian” context.
Feel free to list the books you have in mind, though. You never know.
“I wish there were a Bible that really interpreted the apostolic scriptures in a manner more authentically honest to the real intent of the Apostles…”
I’m sure that you’ve come across David Stern’s CJB (and his Jewish New Testament Commentary). In my opinion, I find that his version, though not literally as accurate as the NASB, is more inclined to the goal you are desirous of. However, there will probably not be any one version that is all encompassing, other than the original. As Dr Stern said in the Introduction of the CJB, “…because readers differ, no one version can be best for all.”
P.S. Christianity sometimes drives me crazy, too.
I have read Stern’s Bible, but one of the things that bothers me is his injection of later Jewish terms (Yiddish, for instance) in his New Testament. I was thinking of something more in line of Delitzsch’s translation. FFOZ has published his Gospels, but the rest of the apostolic scriptures would be helpful.
Daniel Lancaster did a series on Romans that is quite good. Audio on their website. The Delitzsch Gospels are good and there is a Hebrew version online of the epistles.
I think I’ve heard the very first one on my iPhone whilst I was weeding some weeks ago. I wish I could download them for my drive to and from work.
I suppose the notion of having Rav Yeshua, or more precisely, his character, formed within his disciples, is not unlike writing the Torah on Jewish hearts. Of course, I doubt that this pastor has any clue that doing so would be placing a little Jew inside each gentile heart that seeks after him.
LOL. I like it. I think what I needed was a way to reframe the Christianese into something that made sense to me.
OBTW, the adoption of a few Yiddishisms and Aramaisms, and even a touch of Greek and Latin loanwords, is part & parcel of Jewish literature, particularly when translated into a foreign medium like English. So it’s not really something to resent in the CJB version. It actually contributes something important to the flavor of the text, even by use of technical anachronism.
Ah, but in your opinion, does the CJB actually present a better overall translation of the apostolic scriptures such that, for example, it renders Paul’s intent more accurately?
Have you tried the Tree of Life version? It is a Messianic Jewish Family Bible. My rabbi, Matthew Salathe, was involved in the translation.
I can’t listen to Christian radio anymore. There’s more talk than music. It jams my head. I do, however, enjoy Christian music, so opt for Pandora or the audio NASB or my own cds.
Nothing against you James but maybe you heard that show because that is what you should go study – Christ formed in you. Paul wrote about it. Yeshua said in His prayer to His Father: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one”.
Someone might read you the menu but its a buffet – we are supposed to grab a plate and go dig in. 🙂
I guess my argument is that so much of what I hear in Christian sermons is “menu” and so little is “buffet,” to use your metaphor. ProclaimLiberty previously commented by rewording the phrase so it makes more sense to how I understand the Bible. I think I just don’t speak “Christianese” very well.
Again I’m very sorry to detour, but what you said ties in perfectly with how I’ve criticized rickety equality claims in past threads. You just can’t help yourselves:
“It is clear that only through God’s grace and mercy that non-Jews, through the merit of our Rav, are able to partake in the covenant blessings since we are not named members of the New or any other Covenant God has ever made.”
You see, it’s thing sort of slipped admission that frustrates all the egalitarian, equal-seat-at-the-table declamations. If one draws from a robust identity and deep relationship and the other is a charity case by birth left licking up the leavings, how is that equality? If relationship to G-d is for Jews to lose and everyone else to obtain, there couldn’t be a more unequal lay in the place it counts the most!
Earth is stratified with Cohens, Davidic Kings, Israelites, Israelite slaves, goyim, and animals. Heaven is stratified with serpahim, ophanim, hayot and ceruvim. As above, so below. So in what reality beyond heaven or earth is anyone “equal heirs” anywhere? Perhaps this protean sort of equality abides only in the mind of G-d, but that shapeshifter ideal does not seem to alight in plight or circumstance to match the hippie rhetoric everyone lewdly bandies.
I have many failings for which to repent. But cross-examining claims and asking people to pick consistent ones isn’t one of them. And telling people a split narrative leads to dissonance. Now one can honestly maintain the trite equality narrative if one is a supersessionist, wherein nothing in the world is peculiar anymore. But once you jump that train, equality is forfeit. End of story.
Patronization is galling. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus puts lowly Mayella Ewell on the stand, calling her “Miss” and showing her more genteel respect than she’s ever received in her life. But in reality she is not southern aristocracy; she’s poor white trash and that’s exactly what she’ll return to when the trial is over. And the farce of it all rankles her raw until she lashes out at Atticus in the courtroom. It was her stinging “crown of thorns” to mock her station.
Yet unlike the prophetic crown of thorns wherein japery and jest one day become diktat, blandishing gentiles with equal-footing deliria in the present will not leave them equals in the Messianic Age. They will lick the dust of Israel’s sandals, pour their wealth to them, and submit to the judgment of a new world axis. And they were born to do so. The end. Telling them otherwise sticks them with crown of thorns that doesn’t get the Midas touch.
I want to drive a stake through all the patronization. Give it to me straight. Unvarnished. Tell me I’m born to be a foot in the Body and that I might always be in every age beyond. And tell it to the world.
As for your other point about Christian radio, I sometimes turn the dial to it for sarcastic amusement while I’m driving. It squashes a sort of winced and desperate laughter out of me. We both tune in for snark, James. The ties that bind. 🙂
I respect you all, and I hope you have a meaningful season of return.
Perhaps a little perspective is in order, Drake. Consider this:
This isn’t to say anything against the Children of Israel or modern day Jews, but God didn’t choose Israel because they were the best of the best, but because, at least in part, to illustrate that he could make even a stiff-necked people into a precious treasure.
Of course, we have the faithfulness of Abraham, but in every specific case, we see the patriarchs were not perfect people and did not merit being chosen because they were somehow flawless. They were and are every bit as human as anyone else.
Now let’s consider being beneficiaries of God’s mercy and grace:
Frankly, if I were in that woman’s place, I’d be exceedingly grateful that Rav Yeshua did such a thing and that my daughter was saved because I humbled myself to him.
We are equal in the sense that we all will have the resurrection. Jews won’t be any more resurrected in the world to come and we won’t be any less resurrected. The Bible also speaks of a full indwelling of the Holy Spirit were even the least of us will become prophets greater than John the Baptist.
And then there’s this:
Rav Yeshua was responding to the great faith displayed by the Roman Centurion, someone who had no reason to have faith in Hashem, God of Israel, and yet he did. This was a demonstration that it is our faith, Jew and Gentile alike, that grants us a place at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, so we have the hope that if we persevere in that faith, if will not be in vain.
“Frankly, if I were in that woman’s place, I’d be exceedingly grateful that Rav Yeshua did such a thing and that my daughter was saved because I humbled myself to him.”
The woman came into the conversation with a sick daughter, and by heavenly decree she left it with a healthy bitch’s whelp. It’s like admitting you’re a n**ger to receive medical attention, trading an immediate problem for an overarching one. If the Canaanite woman were a worldly person then elation at her daugher’s wellness might have been her only thought. But if she were a spiritual person, heaven’s view of her might strike her to the core for both her sake and that of her daughter’s.
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is ***least*** in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” That seems to concede that stratification exist in the age to come. Yes? It exists on earth, in heaven, and in the Messianic Age.
Again, I’m not saying to abandon faith. G-d is G-d, and he loves whom he will love, favors whom he will favor, chooses whom he will choose. And the pill is to see past all of that and praise G-d despite that. Like Judah pledging himself to save his golden-boy younger brother, knowing damn well he would never see kingship in his lifetime. That’s a hard pill.
The path of a gentile is hideously vague. That’s probably why the church you describe above looks the way it does. To date they seem the most honest expression of what gentiles were entrusted. But I suppose that was Avraham’s trek too from Ur, sundering your past identity and replacing it with nothing hoping G-d will one day fill it. He had no Torah for answers, and probably had to leverage as much acrobatics as the telepreacher you dial in to. Perhaps Avraham had his good days and bad days as well. It comforts me to think so. I’m still not convinced of a vaunted equality as it’s sold. I hear the word “calling” like a sentence handed down anymore.
But I stand by my claim. I think abandoning pretty delusions of G-d seeing no favorites is the first step to meaning and happiness in G-d. He can do what he wants and it does not have to conform to our sense of fair play.
Any mote of G-d’s love is saving and sufficient. But humans have favorites, and G-d is “personal.” Cap off the syllogism.
My dear sleepwalker — I’d like to recommend a bit of caution about taking the approach you seem to favor, for reasons such as the following:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And [Messiah] will shine upon you.” [i.e., enlighten you]
(which is deemed to be a paraphrase of:)
“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of HaShem has risen upon you.
So far, it doesn’t appear that you’ve quite apprehended that which *is* good, *as* good. Indeed, you seem to perceive light as darkness. C.S. Lewis offered an astute observation in his book “The Great Divorce”, where his “George MacDonald” character says that “…[pity] will not, at the cunning tears of Hell, impose on good the tyranny of evil. Every disease that submits to a cure shall be cured: but we will not call blue yellow to please those who insist on still having jaundice, nor make a midden of the world’s garden for the sake of some who cannot abide the smell of roses”. Describing HaShem’s choices as an unjust tyranny and favoritism to which one must grudgingly surrender is not only inaccurate, but blasphemous (and highly unlikely to win you any brownie points in heavenly places). Such a jaundiced outlook pretty much guarantees that the one who holds it will never perceive the blessings that actually are available in abundance.
I never said it was tyranny nor evil nor unjust. Rather, I said that equality does not characterize the kingdom, and perhaps democratizing it all has been our biggest mistake.
G-d could have immured Job (a gentile) under rocks and stricken him with throat cancer and it would have been good because G-d is the one who is doing it. The whole point of His encounter with Job is that He doesn’t owe Man anything, let alone an explanation. Besides, the easiest escape hatch out of the Euthyphro dilemma I can find is that whatever G-d chooses to do is good simply because it’s Him who did it. Good ultimately is not some local’s idea of it. Let alone mine or yours. It’s not perfectly satisfying, but it’s what I have.
Yosef was the favorite from parental birth, and Heaven co-signed it. Yaakov had a clear order of preference in wives. If I’m on the Leah end of things, perhaps that is meant to be a divine ego-smasher to chasten initiates into the Kingdom like me. I get it. G-d seems to use the irritant of inequality to catalyze His designs and get everyone where they need to be. Why would this age be any different?
Look: if G-d has the foresight to perceive the consequences of His actions, I assume He foreknew there would be a crush of confused and dejected goyim as the gospel spread – rent from their past and foisted into a made-up religion (Christianity) and that the ensuing dissonance and was perhaps part of a crucible of testing for Gentiles. Israel had to cobble mudbricks as a “no-people” too, you know, and Avraham had to wander as a stranger. Judah had to swallow the hard pill that he was not the right hand and never would be in his lifetime. Leah had to know she was second-fiddle no matter how many children she produced. Perhaps the chaos in the goyishe world is G-d’s way of saying “OK nations, now your turn to experience that baptism by fire if you want to join the supernal family.” Or whatever. I don’t know.
“…to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.” – Jeremiah
What I see in that verse is a crash and a terrific shockwave hitting billions as they realize their true poverty under heaven.
I imagined that if I ever confessed this emergent thought that someone would saunter along and threaten my eternal soul. Where do I cash my chips? But if this is the vista the Big Picture gives me, then hey, I can’t ignore it or just stop thinking about it and hope it goes away. It just means I have to recalibrate what I think about the Journey and take a more sober assessment of it all.
But yes. Being set up in the bible for a chastening experience does seem like one of the phases in redemption. May it be soon.
@James I speak fluent Christianese, and still get little value out of what is preached these days from all kinds of pulpits. It is not that I see much wrong in their message, unless they are ‘word of faith’ types, or into ecumenism…but those that sincerely wish to introduce people to Yeshua.
The difficulty I see in their preaching is that they are preaching only half a message. They speak of the grace of G-d, and salvation in Yeshua, but do not teach of the Kingdom that Yeshua taught, nor do they seem to tell anyone how to find that Kingdom, nor even know that it will be instituted on this earth, and not in the 3rd Heaven.
Until they become equally immersed in the Jewish side of the Nazarene Judaism we are attempting to walk in, they will not even see that what they say is hollow, like an eggshell with the meat not in it.
As for a Bible that has more of a grasp on the Hebraic idiom, The Scriptures are a recent translation by the Institute for Scripture Research, that seeks to be a literal rather than paraphrased translation, and working as much from the Peshitta as the many Greek records out there. And it’s able to be downloaded for free through E-Sword, so you can see if that will suit you a bit better.
Yes. Referencing one of Scot McKnight’s books, it’s what I call the “truncated Gospel.”
Yes, James, I, too, have been a target in a sermon to save me from my error. Hmmph, I have been treated unkindly by a preacher and his wife, as well. Sigh, I learned I am far from being a saint, as some view it, because my response was anger and an untamed tongue.
Sleepwalker, IMO, I think you are confusing the millennium and our eternal state of glory. Yes, in the millennium, Israel will be the head of the nations, separated to be Hashem’s Kingdom of priests to be a light unto the nations, the conduit of Hashem’s revelation and instructions. That is a heavy responsibility that should come with a special relationship. You used the word, ‘fair’. ‘Fair’ is a word that is usually our perception, and what is fair to one may not be fair to another. G-d is just. In our eternal reward, our glorified state, I believe will be our reward for the works we have done in this life. It won’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, some will shine brighter than others because G-d is just and He will reward them according to their works.
BTW, I really do like Rabbi Greg Hershberg in Macon, GA. I hope to visit his assembly some day.
Thank you for this blog, our ‘online’ fellowship. Shalom, friends.
I’m going to try and get this typed in on my small phone screen, as I’m in a place where I can’t get hooked up to wi-fi (with my kindle). Here’s what comes to mind after reading all the above:
You’re still young, that’s your fault.
You’re a woman, that’s your fault.
… your fault. Suffer, you deserve it.
Note that I realize I’m using Cat Stevens out of context.
Um, how are you applying your adaptation of Cat Stevens to the topic of this blog post, Marleen?
Here is the most Christianese sentence I can muster:
“Would you like to attend my fellowship ministry, Brother Dunaway?”
I can top that:
“I feel led to invite you to my fellowship ministry, Brother Dunaway.”
Oh, that’s a good one, Drake.
I came across this in my daily reading that I thought applied:
This certainly seems to say that Rav Yeshua is a servant to Israel on behalf on Hashem to confirm God’s promises to Israel and also for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy to them (us).
We Gentiles are called to praise God. The root of Jesse (Rav Yeshua) will rule over the Gentiles (us) and our hope will be in Him.
Here’s a few James,
A Marginal Jew – John P. Meier (this is a multi-volume text)
The Brother of Jesus – Jefferey J. Butz
Paul and Hellenism / The Myth Maker – Hyam Maccoby
Paul and Jesus – James D. Tabor
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians – Robert Eisenman
James the Brother of Jesus – Robert Eisenman
I’ve read a couple of Nanos’ writings, one being his explanation of Romans, which though thought-provoking, it ultimately ended up being a stretch that was too far away for me. I’ve also read some of the books from FFOZ (Lancaster’s being included) and, being desirous to retain and defend the writings attributed to Paul, soaked them up. But after reading the texts above, I was intellectually persuaded and convinced of their error concerning him.
Anyhow, may Yah bless your journey for truth as I pray He does for me and all who seek it. Shalom
Peace be to all and a good health.
Hello guys, an additional information on the religion of God in the Holy Scriptures (Holy Bible). And the central spiritual office is in heaven. And the name is the Kingdom of God in Heaven. And when God created the 1st man, God implemented the so called religion on the Kingdom of God which composes of rules and by laws and covenant and etc.. And at the later period was titled the Kingdom of God in earth. But Yeshua M. revealed this in Luke 17:21, that this Kingdom of God is within you (note: and this is if you were a covenantal person from Adam or Israelite linkages). Its because in the general Plan of God, it was 1st applied to Adam and seeds unto his kinship, that is unto Avraham and seeds and unto Moses in Egypt. And this Kingdom of God or the “truth faith to believe” is already the direct spiritual observance at that period. And lead by the head of the family (but not all of the member of the family followed). And this Kingdom of God can be only acquires by GIVEN AND REWARDED of Spiritual Knowledge of God by means of “direct contact to God and hearing the voice of God with Message Order to teach,” make miracles and etc.. And with all this Spiritual Qualification they were titled as Patriachal, Messiah, Seers of God, Messenger of God, Prophet of God and at the later period this title was changed into Annointed Kings like Saul, David and etc. (Note: the truth of the Kingdom of God is RIGHTEOUSNESS and RECTITUDE and if plant it produces blessings). So, back again to Moses in the wilderness, were in he was titled as Church of God or Chosen Call Out Prophet of God in the wilderness. And from here also begun the literal religion assembly of families and household believers, grouping together and observing to honor and glorifying the Kingdom of God already in the written scriptures and house it in the tabernacle of the temple of K. David and later on unto K. Solomon temple. And they call it Judaism religion as the last legal religion of God at OT Period. But was prophesies of its fallen or abolition upon the Covenant Transition. And was also prophesies by Amos 9:11 (read it). The fallen tabernacle (religion) will be rebuild and raise up as in the days of old.
So, when the New Covenant Plan of God or the NT gospel of Yeshua M. was fulfill, Yeshua M. proclaimed in Mt. 16:18-19 “upon this rock i will build my church.” But the gentile world and other Israelites think they were also ordered to establish their church or religion. But what Yeshua M. only meant was he will again to rebuild or raise the Kingdom of God observance will be like as in the days of old format, that is by also giving and rewarding of the truth knowledge to believe (you’ll see here its not easily acquire the truth faith to believe). And this is to those to be chosen call out Israelites as the Church of God or the Prophet of God as the lone recipient of the given and rewarding of the Written Spiritual Truth Knowledge of God. And their spiritual ritual observance is thru the Holy Scriptures of NT gospel and the Eternal Gospel at their own house or other houses (note: and to this proves that THEY DID NOT BUILD CHURCH BUILDING RELIGIONS and only those false religion do build their own church building religions). And at the later period comes to Yeshua Messiah”s followers the heavy persecution and they dispersed to different countries, to continue their faith observance and in hiding. And to this cause of no traces of them up to date! But to our knowledge there were still 7000 remaining alive but only scattered in different countries. And were all waiting to the call of the Holy Spirit at the Pariusia Period or the 2nd Advent. And to be caught by the cloud together
with the returnees that complies to the Will of God and be brought to heaven and meet the Lord there, 1Tes. 4:16-17.
So, were is the involvement of the religions here, when they themselves were not among to be caught by the cloud to enter in heaven!! Anyhow, thou could check this letter in Mt. 6:4-15, read it. This is really the complete and perfect prayer that could reach unto the central office of the religion of God in Heaven.
May our living lord God Bless us all.
LOVE : New Jerusalem – Holy City
To answer your question of me, James, I should be more clear. My previous post wasn’t a response to your opening meditation (while it can be taken as somewhat in response to the title alone). It’s something that came to mind after reading the comments. I see it as something for people to think about. Taking the one example (the one that is actually from Cat’s writing), to start, we would note that it is not only Christians who too often hold that attitude; I just wish that far more Christians did not act that way.
Now moving to both examples (and other examples that could be added), there are people who are more vulnerable and people who should have and display (in reality, not showiness) more responsibility (not actually always or usually because those with said responsibility are smarter or more moral, or better in any way other than having not died for a longer period of time or having been born male or stronger, not because of being more industrious or “more responsible” as to character rather than position).
And then, a result can be that the more vulnerable (not more sinful — and really possibly less so) learn lessons. These lessons can be for an eternal reason or reasons pertaining to a future age (and might be lessons the ostensibly more responsible don’t learn because their place in the situation doesn’t become a sympathetic experience). The more innocent can be, in a sense, the more chastised.
Gentiles cannot observe shabbat. They are committing a sin in so doing.
Chabad believes Zechariah’s Sukkot prophecy is non-literal, and PL thinks gentiles best keep Sukkot by repenting instead.
You post articles about how we have no right to be at Pesach (rightly so, I think).
Shavuot is for Israel’s theophany, in Acts 2 and Numbers 11 alike.
Many would see this sacramental ban on gentiles exist in this age and in the age to come. Yet whenever a text glimmers of gentiles touching a holy thing or partaking of a holy feast, or G-d telling them how to live in time or space, some on this blog are swift to dive in and head it off at the pass. “It really means this, gentiles don’t *really* get to…” Yet whenever they seek newer ways to bar Gentiles from anything written in the Bible – how they can’t observe feasts, light candles, can’t, can’t, can’t, leaving them to make up whatever – it cuts many to the quick.
In other religions, it takes a writ of excommunication to ban believers from sacraments. Whereas in the Bible before and after the New Covenant the status just seems assumed, leaving billions of gentiles to make up nearly everything.
So don’t tell me everything is dandy, or that we have “blessings.” Or we have the Holy Spirit. Or that we are made in the Image. Or to do charity. Or any other lofty generic vagary that was never meant to address these specific questions. Everyone seems to want to have things both ways, dubbing people “equal heirs” whilst insisting on a Jewish advantage in Romans. Everyone wants to proclaim that “Israel will be the head and not the tail,” yet strenuously deny that there are in fact anymore tails.
And as long as we’re talking about heads and feet and the like, I can muster a fitting parallel.
Joshua doles out allotments in the Promised Land based on the behavior of the tribes along the way there. A merit system. Under meritocracy, Jacob curses Shimon and Levi to receive little inheritance in the Land, but Levi partially redeems himself through zeal, etc. So in this instance, it’s DESIROUS to be a head and not a foot, because being a head meant you arrived by dint of either your deeds or G-d’s favor.
But then later Paul takes a different route. He insists that it DOES NOT MATTER if you are a head or foot at all, and that your lowly desserts are merely your “calling.”
One can probably reconcile the contradiction with the parable of the talents, where there’s a fortuitous allotment upon which later merit builds. But even then, the servants are not equals before their Master neither in assumed ability nor their Master’s trust.
So I extract two mixed messages.
Mixed message #1: You’re perpetually excommunicated from the sacraments as they are performed on earth, and yet gentiles will recline with the Patriarchs in the Messianic Age.
Cue someone to dive in and retort: “Now of course Yeshua did not mean that gentiles will literally dine with the Ushpizin. How could they? So what does this mean? This means that the spiritual repasts of kindness that delighted Our Fathers also shall delight the gentiles.”
And we’re back to the hyperspiritualizations of Christianity.
Mixed message #2: You should strive to be the head like Levi did. Headship is a reward for faithfulness and zeal and depicts G-d’s favor. But if you nations should find yourselves the foot, know it was actually your “calling” all along and don’t sweat it too much. We leap from paradigms of “would that all my people were prophets” to “hey, someone’s gotta clean the stables, but respect all around.”
Something about all this smacks of having cake and eating it too. Either gentiles are not spiritual peers and we democratized the Bible to our own palates, or none of the aforementioned makes any sense.
I’m so vigorously applying the screws on this point because I believe that this admission is already on the tip of so many tongues and I’m sick of the sentimental blandishments to some equal inheritance. The world needs the straight dope. And loving G-d in spite of it seems like the ultimate test of humility and piety, and I believe that’s why it has been imposed. It is the gentile cross.
If you want “the straight dope”, Drake, you will have to stop reading Talmudic discussions selectively or as if selected statements therefrom apply to all circumstances for all times. The application of Jewish viewpoints is much more complex and nuanced than that, particularly across the timescape. That’s what can turn a mere rabbi into a qualified “posek”, and what limits untrained individuals from meddling. Your mixed messages are a direct result of such mishandling of the literature. If you want to feel victimized, be my guest — but don’t blame Judaism or HaShem or Rav Shaul for it. On the other hand, those who “lift a finger” to “relieve burdens” are the ones who will be commended by HaShem and by His agent Rav Yeshua.
I don’t feel “victimized.” I want people to quit prevaricating and tell the truth.
When a young presenter made the statement that the goyim are the jewels in the breastplate as the Jewish people appear before G-d, that draws on a tiered relationship. No ifs, ands, ors, or buts about it. James added “pretty humbling, isn’t it?” (my paraphrasis).
I don’t feel victimized by the Bible. But if I did feel victimized, it would be by people insisting to me that I have something that I don’t. Or being told that the Bible is more than fire insurance and personal salvation when in-depth study reveals that for gentiles that’s pretty much the case. At least until the Messianic Age. I think there might be hope there. But it’s a lot for me to assimilate personally.
While biblical inequality is probably notional within academia, perhaps church and MJ leaders should work the Israelite caste system into doctrine over time. If it grates against modern sensibilities, then as people stream away from faith we might get a proper tally of those who truly love G-d vs. those who see G-d as a means to some reward.
We-are-the-body, eye-vs-foot arguments in the church have always fallen along the lines of rank and talent. That’s how people have taken the corpus christi framework for the past 2,000 years or so. I would be intrigued to see how the public fulminates when it faults along the lines of birth and ethnicity for the first time in two millennia.
And really, that’s how it has to occur if we’re supposed to get our kingdom. Am I right? Aren’t we prolonging the inevitable by insisting otherwise? Rather, it is our Aleinu to inform billions of people that they are all feet, were born feet, and might always be feet depending on what Messiah doles out. And then sit back and see if they have the fortitude to succumb to it.
A real eye o’ the needle, wouldn’t you say ol’ chum? No better time than the present…
I think I’ll have to watch it all through my fingers as the shockwave of realization hits and every codger in a mitre hat stares dumbfounded, their gobs all slack as they’re publicly defrocked to make way for the real priests of Zadok. Fell and forfending angels will order them to take their place with the rest of the masses.
It should be interesting to say the least.
I’m a little unclear on what this post was about en masse, but nonetheless, thanks for writing this, I always love hearing the thoughts of my Jewish brothers in Christ, and I’ll be sure to follow this blog to see future posts, and I would adore to have someone like you read anything I wrote! God bless!