Finding Out Who We Are and Vision for Tomorrow

visionThe discussion the past few weeks about Messianic Judaism, Jews and Gentiles, and the future, has been great. Obviously it would be fun to get together in a big room, those of us conversing here and also many others who care deeply about the same issues, and have a nice, family debate. There’s nothing like some good coffee, bagels, shouting, and the knowledge that only family fights and remains close like this.

I want to make a brief, brief statement about two excellent points brought up recently (there have been other excellent points too):

(1) Monique says she struggles with the possibility of intermarriage because of identity confusion for the children (which she herself experienced and she is not in-married instead of intermarried).

(2) no_tv says she is for conversion, but in Messianic Judaism she doesn’t see it because we do not seem to be a real Judaism and the lines are not clear in our muddied environment of anything goes.

My response is simple.

If we don’t make a Messianic Judaism that answers both of these objections, then we have failed.

So, we could give up. Let someone else do it. There must be vast quantities of people who care enough to make a great Messianic Judaism. Let them expend their energy and time. We’re too busy.

Not!!

So what do we do? It seems to me we support with out participation, our voice, and our involvement, the organizations that are making a difference.

I might mention the UMJC (umjc.net) and MJTI (mjti.com) and Hashivenu (hashivenu.org).

If we are not for ourselves, what are we? If not now, when? (paraphrasing Hillel).

Messianic Judaism has to build a place for intermarrieds. If we cannot create an environment for the Christian and Jewish spouse, then who can. We are the Judaism that shares the Jesus-faith of the Christian spouse. We ought to discuss how Messianic Judaism can help the children of intermarrieds have a clear identity. That identity can be rooted in the historic community from the early centuries of Jewish followers of Jesus.

Messianic Judaism has to be a place where Jews are at home and where the lines are clear and a blessing, not a curse. We have to be a place where conversion means covenantal obligation and Jewish life.

Can we achieve these things? I certainly think so. In fact, I have no doubt — even a sense of beshert [providence] — that we were called for such a time as this.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Christian, Gentiles, Interfaith, Intermarried, Judaism, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Finding Out Who We Are and Vision for Tomorrow

  1. peterygwendyta says:

    I am a non-Jew who attends a Christian Church, so my views may not be all that important in the whole scheme of things. The first point I would make is who is a Jew? Are they Jewish by birth or by faith. I am not going to even try to answer this as many people greater and better than me have failed to answer this. Even the Jewish state has been arguing about this since 1948 and the first case brought before the highest court in Israel was who is a Jew?

    One thing that keeps coming up in Christian circles is “being unequally yoked” basically a non christian married to Chirctian. This very rarely works and in most cases the christian ends up giving up on their faith. I myself don’t see a problem in a Jew marrying a Gentile as long as before hand they know what path they are going to take in their faith. Are they going to take the path of going into Messianic Judaism where the Gentile agrees whole heartedly are or you going to go the path of the Church where the Jew agrees whole heartedly. Otherwise there will be a lot of heartache and problems down the road especially when it comes to Children.

    The bottom line for me is whether both have a faith and belief in Yeshua/Jesus. If this is not the case then in my view it will be extremely difficult for both.

    I know my views may seem very simplistic to some of yous who are more involved with this than be but I thought that I would just throw out these ideas anyway.

    Peter

  2. “If we don’t make a Messianic Judaism that answers both of these objections, then we have failed.”

    I think the biggest obstacle of the Messianic Jewry going forward and building a better Messianic Judaism and better, and dare I say, “more Jewish” communities is fear. We have a fear of what the “church” will think, fear of offending those in our midst whose vision for Messianic Judaism is taking us in a wrong direction (which is the bulk of our movement, I am afraid), fear of seeing our finances dry up if we make radical changes to move past the current stalemate… I hope we can get over this fear and do it soon.

    Gene

    • I think you’re right that there’s quite a bit of fear of the financial consequences that keeps us from moving forward. But there’s also a legitimate sense of loyalty to those on whose shoulders we stand, and to those who have nurtured us over the years.

      We may feel boxed in by their expectations, but how is that unlike the apron-string relationship between young adults and their parents? We love our parents, and they drive us crazy at the same time.

      Ultimately, is it better to run off and start our own organizations, communities, and synagogues? Or keep digging our heels in within our present homes and dealing with exasperation? That’s our struggle.

  3. no_tv says:

    It’s a bit of a paradox- the individual Messianic Jews I meet are so committed to Judaism and reaching out to Jewish communities, the synagogues I’ve been to don’t seem to match who they are. It may be an arrogant statement. There seems to be a remnant of individuals who are pulling for real change in a setting created by a church majority.

    Gene, I’ve never thought of it a financial situation but you’re probably right.

    Monique, whose shoulders are you referring to in your statement about loyalty? Is it the church? Missionaries? Please explain some more. Thank you!

    • I’m not exactly sure whose shoulders I speak of. It’s good that you ask. I feel I’ve been nurtured by and learned from so many different people and institutions … and as I explained in my discussion on intermarriage, as I carve out an identity, I feel torn between all of them. I’m hesitant to kick dust in the faces of those at whose feet I’ve sat.

  4. Monique…

    “Ultimately, is it better to run off and start our own organizations, communities, and synagogues? Or keep digging our heels in within our present homes and dealing with exasperation? That’s our struggle.”

    I think that we may need a change as radical as when the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America changed its name to MJAA (in 1973). This and many other changes have resulted in first steps of moving away from Hebrew Christianity and toward strengthening of both the Jewish Messianic identity and Messianic Judaism. Predictably, much of the old Presbyterian / Baptist / Pentecostal / Anglican, etc. guard wasn’t at all happy about this development and many left in droves (and many of them continued to vehemently oppose Messianic Judaism ever since). We should probably expect a similar reaction to whatever changes we may need to make ourselves.

  5. Gene:

    The changes you are talking about are already happening and in an organized manner. I hope you can come to Hashivenu in L.A. next January. I can get you some information and an invitation.

    Derek

  6. Derek…

    Please do.

    Gene

  7. Pingback: Viziune si viitor | Insemnari.ro - by Andrei Basoc

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