Fulfillment?

Matthew 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished

I love the emphasis in this passage – Jesus seems ‘dead sure’. So sure – even ‘heaven and earth’ would pass away before the Law was finished. Wow. But what needed to be ‘accomplished’?

One could say Jesus is pointing to passages in Torah and Prophets that talk about the messiah. I think in his time – and in ours – many people would of agreed to such a premise for the messiah (proof please?). Rabbi Singer touches on a passage from Ezekiel 37 and what it says about the messiah “In this well known chapter, the prophet clearly teaches that we can recognize the coming of the messiah when: the resurrection of the dead, the building of the final Temple that will stand forever in Jerusalem, the universal knowledge of God and obedience to His Torah, the restoration of the lost tribes (Ephraim or the Kingdom of Israel whom Assyria carried off), and the complete restoration of the Jewish people to their land all take place.” (Outreach Judiasm – the Christian Messiah?)

One can also throw in the establishment of world peace and an end to the need for weapons from Isaiah…there is lot more but these will suffice for now.

Then we have Jesus’ proof’ – the Torah would never be let go of nor pass (which Singer alludes to in Ezekiel). But then why do Christians claim it is ‘finished’? Not all of these things have happened or been accomplished – early Christian communities knew this so well they invent a 2nd coming for the messiah to finish such things (there was no theology for a 2nd coming outside certain Christian sects – Judaism never taught any such idea). It was an admission in Christianity – not all is accomplished – but someday it will be.

So does this mean the Torah is ‘ok’? Does this mean Judaism is already converted to a correct way of thinking? Is Christianity wrong for putting the law ‘down’? I think if Christianity had its way – the law would be pronounced dead. But this never occured and never will…cause along with Jesus I am going to go out on a limb…the law will never pass away. Thank you Judaism for being true!

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29 thoughts on “Fulfillment?

  1. The Law is good, because it keeps us in check (sort of) and it shows us our need for God.

    “Jesus said repent and believe.”

    Repent of what? Of not being able to live according to the Law.

    Christianity needs the Law, too. Just not (here we go again)…for righteousness.

  2. “I think if Christianity had its way – the law would be pronounced dead.”

    i’d qualify that as “some sects of Christians” instead of using a blanket statement. because your messianics are WILD about the Law. the some more Fundies and Evangelicals see it as dead or only as proof of Jesus being something that popped up around 300 CE when Christianity went corporate.

    once again, you’re leaning Mennonite/Brethren 😉

    and there’s no doubt that Judaism is true… but so is Christianity.. and it spawns the question, can both be right without one or both being wrong?

  3. “and there’s no doubt that Judaism is true… but so is Christianity.. and it spawns the question, can both be right without one or both being wrong?” (Luke)

    Depends – since we are looking at scriptural ideas and discussing the essence if what is presented in there – and in some cases I find it hard to believe both can be ‘right’ with such varying viewpoints. They either find more commonality or one of them is inventing interpretation.

    In this case it seems to be a matter of the strength of the focus on an issue (ie: messiah) and what that means (ie: coming again). To me, this means little – except to point out that even Jesus himself seemed to point to the upholding of the Torah – unlike a Christian messiah – but exactly like a Jewish one.

    Why is any of this important? It points to the fact the Torah is not finished nor run it’s course (if it ever will)…yet this is not the attitude the majority of Christianity holds to. Hell, Jews for Jesus are trying to convert Jews – but at what point will they admit the Torah stands as is – not all the prophecies are fulfilled so maybe Judaism is closer to God than we are?

    Were just a bunch of stupid Gentiles, confused with history, lacking depth in interpretation, who started a new version of Judaism that failed – and sooner or later – we are going to be hating on the Jewish people yet again.

  4. “Repent of what? Of not being able to live according to the Law. Christianity needs the Law, too. Just not (here we go again)…for righteousness” (Steve)

    So do you think Jesus saved you from the law? Cause Paul, not Jesus, writes the law is there to ‘condemn’ – and his take on the law is very Gentile in nature compared to what a Jewish messiah said – the law will never die. Yet we see in Paul the removal of the law for Gentiles – which I think is all fine – we are not required to follow it anyways…we can choose to. But Christianity takes this a step over the line – says the law is useless and unneccesary (note – even Luther wanted to ignore the Tanakh like a few did during the Nicea councils).

    Then your righteousness is based on what Steve…faith? Who’s faith – Jesus’ or yours? And if by faith – what does it mean to be ‘faithful’ and to what set of ideals? At some point the convulted arguement Paul presents in his letters has to find ‘solid ground’ where faith meets ‘standards to follow’…well what standards do you use as part of your faith? Faith without any standards is a house built completely on sand by a windy beach during hurricane season.

    Whereas I can completely admit I follow the ideals of a ‘teacher’ – in this case Jesus – who I also hold as messiah sent from God. I admit freely those teachings are based on Torahnic ideals and passages – and can easily find them in the Tanakh. I think they are ideals that can be used as a ‘foundation’ for one’s life – and if that’s being ‘self righteous’…guilty right here. But in my defense, they are not my teachings but teachings that I believe came from ‘God’…if I want true ‘self righteousness’ – I’ll invent my own.

  5. “Were just a bunch of stupid Gentiles, confused with history, lacking depth in interpretation, who started a new version of Judaism that failed – and sooner or later – we are going to be hating on the Jewish people yet again.”

    i see you’re still very much in a dualistic stage… one doesn’t have to be wrong for another to be right… take the pharisees and the sadducees.. one believed in life after death and resurrection and the other didn’t. which was right? there are two varying belief systems and they’re both jewish.

    what you’re doing in a sense is cataloge’n one faith at the expense of another and it’s frustrating, juvenile, and short-sighted. there are multiple strains and interpretations in BOTH TRADITIONS! i don’t see the majority of christians i know waiting for the rapture, the 2nd coming or being all that supersessionist for that matter, although there are others that do. seems like you’re putting a blanket summary of ortho-Jewishness as good and ortho-Christianity as bad… but there is no ortho in either tradition… it is diverse as interpretation and Yael will agree with me on this that if you put 8 rabbis in a room, you’ll get 12 interpretations of a story… so enough with this nonsense.

    i get where you’re leading… you’re unasked question of “how Jewish should we be?” but how you’re getting there is inconsistent and insulting to me and my tradition and understanding of what christianity is and should be.

  6. “there are two varying belief systems and they’re both jewish” (Luke)

    In as much as I agree with their being varying traditions and belief systems between and within the faiths – this doesn’t always mean they are always ‘all right’.

    Maybe the Pharisee’s, the Sadducee’s, the Essenes, and the Ebionites could all co-exist within the same faith – holding varying viewpoints on the basic non-essentials…but what about the essentials…what if they disagree there? Why is it that Judaism cannot accept an idea God is 3 in One? One is still being used – so what’s the big deal right?

    Ok, you see varying traditions in Judaism – let’s look at Christianity. Can a Mormon and a Catholic Priest both be right? How about a Jehovah’s Witness and a Baptist? I am not pulling out a problem that doesn’t already exist within – and external – to Christianity. You know as well as I know – some things are just wrong and even you will step up to defend this scripturally. Jim Jones anyone? Timothy the supposed prophet from Bold Grace? Are how’s about the dude in Texas claiming to be the 2nd return of Christ? Anyone remember Charles Manson or David Koresh? We gonna co-exist there too?

    At some point we admit mistakes are made and look at the proofs thereof and try to rectify the situation – biblically or even just logically. I can co-exist there with any faith – but I doubt they will all line-up and co-exist theologically. So I raise some issues about it.

  7. “i get where you’re leading… you’re unasked question of “how Jewish should we be?” but how you’re getting there is inconsistent and insulting to me and my tradition and understanding of what christianity is and should be” (Luke)

    I don’t mean to insult anyone – I include myself as part of the problem with the Gentile mass using Torahnic passages for justification…and the errors made from past until now. I seek some rectification of the problem and go about the business of doing it. Why? Because history will repeat itself if we do not -and that my friend – I will not let be my fault.

    I cannot make up to anyone for the errors of the past – I admit that – but I also don’t blindly think that because I didnt committ them I have no responsibility in their effects (namely if the errors still exist until this day). I worry for Judaism – that maybe we haven’t moved forward enough in our respect to that faith to not allow some of these errors to perpetrate our arena’s of thought and influence our children. So I try to figure out a lot of that stuff too. Anyone remember the passion of the Christ and Mel Gibson? That was a Christian mainstay for a while.

    I am as blind as the next guy in this regards – the stupid Gentile in that sense – who is a Christian that knows I use Torah and Prophets for a basis for my messianic beliefs about Jesus. I fear this belief becomes super-sessionist again – or that I have this belief in me (and it needs to be weeded out). But what’s that matter – there’s a million more just like this who haven’t done any of this and pretty much see Judaism as a 2nd class faith as compared to Christianity. This all needs to be addressed and i cannot think of a better way to do that than within the scriptures themselves.

    Now maybe I went a little over the line by saying ‘who started a new version of Judaism that failed” – maybe this was not any of the original intentions of the early church. Maybe they wanted to seperate totally from Judaism and accept their own beliefs based on NT writings that find little basis in Torah – and move towards a more open faith that mixed Judaism/Greek/Roman together? I don’t really know to be honest. Maybe they wanted nothing to do with Judaism?

    Why this insults you is interesting to me – why does it exactly?

    Now Yael might agree with you about the 8 rabbi’s and several interpretations – I think that is true. But ask those same 8 rabbi’s how many Gods there is in One? Or what the atonement sacrifice of Jesus can mean? I put 8 rabbi’s in the room with those questions and I bet they all come out the same.

    It’s selective questioning Luke – and it all comes down to what question we pose these people. Just like if I ask 8 pastors do they believe in Jesus – they will all say yes. Or did Jesus resurrect – resounding yes. Ask them what the ‘gospel’ means – we might get 8 different answers.

    I am not asking how Jewish we need to be – I know the answer to that – zero percent. What I am asking is how can we claim to use Torah as proof texts for the messiah and then turn and tell someone Jewish they are interpreting ‘wrong’?

    Now I am not saying you do this Luke – but you can’t be so cloistered to not see the 100’s of 1000’s that do do that? Christians use Torah and Prophets (including myself) to make their points about Christianity – but does that make all their interpretations ‘right’?

  8. My problems begin and end with that simple reductive reasoning I see as a big issue – Christians use Torah for proof about their claims – then I must adhere to some experts on Torah – Judaism – and then cross compare the two to see if this all holds water.

    Not everything does Luke – that’s my personal admission from what I have studied in the past 3 years. Jesus did not fulfill messianic quota’s – as unfortunate as this is – he didn’t. Jesus cannot be God – not a requirement of being a messiah – nor is it even an option in Judaism. Jesus’ death may have lots of meaning – but using it as an atonement theory is not one of them – human sacrifice is just outlawed by God in Torah. Many of our core beliefs in Christianity rest on premises that hold little to no weight ever in Judaism.

    Fact is, Christian history reveals this bias over and over again – which is what started this all for me back in bible school. In one of the councils (not sure which one) the OT was almost scrapped as part of the canon (or maybe this was Athanasius’ leanings?). Luther felt the same way about it. For these people, easy solution…get rid of the ‘law’ altogether – no proofs required for Christ believers.

    So I struggle with the easiest of easy questions – why do Christians even use the Torah/Prophets if they have nothing to do with the legacy of the Christian faith? Or do they play a huge role? Maybe a secondary role? Maybe a back-stage role?

    In my talks with Christians from every spectrum I can re-call – the Torah and Prophets is used and plays a primary to secondary role – usually as a proof text and some instructional living. What gets me is the lack of study anyone does on the history of those texts as used by Judaism (and rabbi’s) – who have this as their main source for teaching about God.

    Then I notice the differences when I hear both sides and just have to say ‘who’s giving the best and most accurate interpretation?’. Only to find interpretation is one piece-meal of the bigger problem – we take their texts and teach on them about God – and not just about their version of that God – but a wholly newly invented version of that God who even changes His word and revealed to us a ‘secret’ meaning in the texts for this ‘time’ (using Paul’s wording there).

    How is it you don’t see the problem there? There’s no cognitive dissonance happening?

    Cognitive Dissonance (Wiki) “Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously”

    This is where I am at – and if that seems insulting – I am sorry but to avoid the ‘dissonance’ isn’t socially normative – and unhealthy to do…so I quest on. Will I find an asnwer? In many ways – I have.

  9. Luther never wanted to get rid of the Old Testament or the Law.

    Luther recognized the need for the Law to act as a fence around human sin that we might better live together, and also as a way to point to our sinfulness and need for a Savior.

    Christ is in the Old Testament, but He is more clearly and directed to specifically in the man Jesus in the New.

    So Luther concentrated on the New. And even there, he concentrated on the books where the gospel was clearly stated.

  10. “Christ is in the Old Testament” (Steve)

    Find me the word ‘messiah’ in the Tanakh? I know the ideology for this has existed for millenia – but is the word there?

    “Luther never wanted to get rid of the Old Testament or the Law” (Steve)

    You’re sure of this? I am talking about including it in the ‘canon’ of the bible…which I do believe he debated. But I could be wrong – so I will check into it…since to be perfectly honest – I don’t read much Luther. I heard this from the last book I read – ‘How Jesus Became a Christian’ – I’ll check into this…people make mistakes.

  11. Rejected by His own — Isaiah 53:3
    Sold for 30 pieces of silver — Zechariah 11:12
    Hated without a cause — Psalms 35:19
    Silent to accusations — Isaiah 53:7
    Spat upon and smitten — Isaiah 50:6
    Became the sacrificial lamb — Isaiah 53:5
    Given vinegar and gall — Psalms 69:21
    Soldiers gambled for His coat — Psalms 22:18
    Buried with the rich — Isaiah 53:9
    Accused by false witnesses — Psalms 35:11
    Crucified with criminals — Isaiah 53:12
    Pierced hands, feet and side — Zechariah 12:10
    No bones broken — Psalms 34:20
    Resurrected from the dead — Psalms 49:15

    There are more.

    I am sure Luther never wanted to get rid of the O.T. or the Law.

    Now (again) for righteousness sake, he knew the law to be of no consequence.

    But he knew full well the Law has it’s purposes.

  12. One verse that really stands out for me is Isaiah 7:14

    “…Behold a young woman shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”

    (No mention of the dad there)

  13. Jay,

    i’m struggle’n with your assumptions. you assume a Augustinian/Catholic understanding here, but you assume it’s universal. it is the most prevelent, but one i’m constantly working against.

    i think the real issue here is inclusion… how to invite our brothers and sisters in Judaism that we have been grafted onto back, or how to ask forgiveness for past wrongs and seek to avoid further harm… it’s something i’m working with.

    as for Luther wanting to throw out the TaNaK, are you kidding? seriously? he used it like the Catholics did and still do… as pointing to Christ. i don’t subscribe to this either. oldadam’s use of prooftexting shows how Matt and the other gospels echoed and proofed their accounts, but most of those don’t hold water upon close inspection… ESP> Isaiah 7:14 which the context is saying “by the time a young woman has a kid and that kid is on solids, this ruler won’t be in power anymore.” which is proof that “God is With Us”

    i’m gonna chew on this and come back to you…..

  14. “Find me the word ‘messiah’ in the Tanakh? I know the ideology for this has existed for millenia – but is the word there?”

    it’s all over the place.. it means “annointed”. so in that case, Saul, David, Solomon, Maccabees, Jeremiah, and many more were “annointed” and the term “messiah” is used. given this idea, Jesus could very well be a messiah… but the MESSIAH that comes to clean house and restore Israel, no. that’s a military/political ruler and Jesus overturns this view. but how he overturns it shows that maybe our expectations were misplaced as were what constitutes true power and grace in the world (hint: it’s not weapons, hate, and exclusion).

  15. but the MESSIAH that comes to clean house and restore Israel, no. that’s a military/political ruler and Jesus overturns this view. but how he overturns it shows that maybe our expectations were misplaced as were what constitutes true power and grace in the world (hint: it’s not weapons, hate, and exclusion).(Luke)

    But this is the problem. The Jews didnt intend for a “Christiain” idea of Messiah. So why use their writings to prove the concept for Christians? Is it laziness on a Christian to not write their own story of G-d? Or is it disdain for the original belief and a wish to get rid of it eventually?

  16. “The Jews didnt intend for a “Christiain” idea of Messiah”

    yet Jesus was Jewish… so we’re right back where we started which is a question of How Jewish should Christians be? Where is the TaNaK’s place and how is it used? is the 2,000 years of Christianity just borrowing an extra 3,000 years to give it credence or is there a deeper connection?

    Jason’s answer to this was “zero” but there’s no thought behind that answer… we see the question being raised time and time again from Acts on, and no good answer emerges even in those accounts…

  17. “All of Scripture points to Christ, the Old and the New.

    We (Christians) interpret the Old in light of the New.”

    not all white man… Christocentric readings are the majority, but it’s not universal.

  18. “Jason’s answer to this was “zero” but there’s no thought behind that answer… we see the question being raised time and time again from Acts on, and no good answer emerges even in those accounts…” (Luke)

    There’s a lot of thought behind that answer – it’s honest and true – and lines up with Paul’s take on this idea. I base mine solely on the idea that I am not required to be Jewish to follow God (nowhere is that neccesary) – since I am a Gentile and can follow the ‘Noahide Laws’. I tend to go one further and include Jesus as a ‘rabbi/teacher’ that I follow – his ideas on Torah and about God – which is still being included (since Jesus does not teach against the Noahide laws).

    Noahide Laws (Wiki): The seven laws listed by the Tosefta and the Talmud are:

    Prohibition of Idolatry: You shall not have any idols before God.

    Prohibition of Murder: You shall not murder. (Genesis 9:6)

    Prohibition of Theft: You shall not steal.

    Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: You shall not commit any of a series of sexual prohibitions, which include adultery, incest, bestiality and male homosexual intercourse.

    Prohibition of Blasphemy: You shall not blaspheme God’s name.

    Dietary Law: Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive. (Genesis 9:4)

    Requirement to have just Laws: You shall set up an effective judiciary to enforce the preceding six laws fairly.

    The 7th idea intrigues me the most – setting up of fair laws (which is country to country and culture to culture). Nonetheless, Paul seems to be on this same track without actually saying it in his letters. But we add in where we see fit – because the 7th one is about the use of ‘just laws’…and this is a quest even within Christianity (so we study the teachings to find out what is ‘just’ and ‘unjust’).

    And maybe this was Paul’s and the Acts 15 intention in the first place? Paul’s criticisms are about not becoming ‘Jewish’ to serve God – did not see that as a focal need…yet he bases a lot of his ‘morality teachings’ on Torah…which seems contradictory? But it isn’t. Paul recognizes this system of seperation – like the Noahide laws – and determines one does not need to convert to Judaism to serve God…as is the case with this Noahide system.

    I think Paul is interpreted all wrong – IMO. If we look at him from an angle such as the ‘Noahide Laws’ then it changes the whole scope of what he seems to be saying in his contentions about not being ‘circumcised’ and ‘the other gospel’. Paul is not anti-Jewish as much as he is anti-Gentiles becoming Jewish for really no other obligation than someone thinks this has to happen to be ‘in the kingdom’ or ‘saved’. Paul is not against Torah – but can be read that way for example.

    So IMO – Paul see’s a 2 tier system going on – one for the Jewish people and one for the included Gentiles. I think he saw both options as ‘A ok’!

    Which means – Luke and everyone else – as Gentiles we do not need to convert to Judaism to have a relationship with God (but it’s okay also to convert) – we are part of this 2 tier system in the Noahide inclusion…from Noah until now. We can believe in a messiah if we choose – but it cannot go against the laws of God either…to do so is to invent a ‘new religion’ (which I contend is what Christianity has done to those original scriptures – NT I mean in this case).

    Now where we will deviate with Judaism is on the messianic ideal – we think it’s Jesus – they don’t see it that way…but that’s neither here not there anyways – we serve God and that’s what is important (and respect also). I think Judaism deserves it’s just dues IMO – all nations will be blessed through Abraham – through Israel – and I can admit this is exactly the case with Christianity (if our roots are in Judaism)…my admission is they are our fore-runner and inspired us…and not vice versa.

    Now the real contentions happen on the finer details – and for good reason – because certain things cannot exist to follow those Noahide laws (as I suppose the Jerusalem Council supported Paul). The big one being idea #1 – no other gods or idolatry. We make the messiah to be equal to God and i am not sure this is the case scripturally…but it is the case in orthodox belief systems. This is one of the big one’s I debate regularily – and now you know the reasoning of some of it (it’s also just a betrayal of terms but that’s another thing).

    So is being like Noah being Judaic in beliefs – yes. But it’s also being Gentile and having your own culture that you love – like how they love their culture and God.

    No, this isn’t your normal theological stream of thought – but I think it lines up closely with many of the ideas presented in the works of James, John, Peter, Paul, and the gospels. Some of it won’t – I admit that – then again by about 100 AD Jesus as messiah had become equal to God in many Gentile minds…but not the Ebionites (check them out).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites

  19. Ebionites are interesting… and the big spilt happened around 60 to 100 CE between the Jews and the proto-Orthodox Christians, although many others were out and running before then… i see how Paul’s answer here makes sense and yes, the interp. is abused more often than not… but he also overstates his point sometimes too, and that’s just harmful (purposefully misstating cases, like in Galatians and his recasting the story of Jacob and Esau).

    but there’s still an uncertainity in Christianity as to how Jewish we should be, the answer was never fully settled between James (and the “super Apostles” as Paul stated) and Paul. Paul seemed happy to establish churches willie-nilly around the empire, without too much regard for training. James and his bunch were much slower and methodical. we see this unanswered question of inclusion today in different forms. it’s not just whether or not we should let jews/gentiles in, but whether we should serve, worship with, and talk to nonChristians, widowed, divorced, LGBTQ, different racial/ethic/socio-economic status’s…. to me, it’s still the same issue, unresolved for 2,000 years and attempted by many… like the reformers you don’t like 😉

  20. “but he also overstates his point sometimes too, and that’s just harmful (purposefully misstating cases, like in Galatians and his recasting the story of Jacob and Esau).” (Luke)

    Paul seems to follow a unique version of the Pardes interpretation system – mixing his allegory with his points making it tough to discern what he is intending (even with his exaggerations).

    PaRDeS (Wiki)

    The Pardes typology describes four different approaches to Biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (or – simpler – interpretation of text in Torah study). The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of these four approaches, which are:

    Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — “plain” (“simple”) or the direct meaning.

    Remez (רֶמֶז) — “hints” or the deep (allegoric) meaning beyond just the literal sense.

    Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”) — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.

    Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in gold) — “secret” (“mystery”) or the mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

    It would seem to me – if Paul followed something like this for interpretation (from rabbinic sources as he claims) – he falls along the lines of Remez (allegory) and Sod (secret/mystery) interpretation systems a lot in his works. Which may also explain a lot about his weird uses in Galatians and in various other places in his letters.

    Most people forget about such a system of interpretation or have never heard about it (as was the case with me prior to meeting Yael)…but it’s a rabbinic interpretive system. For example, Yael’s writings that we get to read (she probably writes a lot more we don’t) seem to fall more along the Derash (comparative) interpretation lineage. Not that this is all she writes – but many of the things seem comparative in nature (ie: the Abraham stories). We start to get a grasp of some of these things with more readings.

    I see Paul as exposing some secret hidden mystery via allegory and metaphor in his writings. It doesn’t help most people that interpret him know nothing of this interpretive history – so I can say for Paul – he’s ‘literally’ wrong on the Galatians passages but he see’s something more in them that seem to point to his version. Do I neccesarily agree with him – not really – but I can see where he is coming at this from.

  21. “but there’s still an uncertainity in Christianity as to how Jewish we should be, the answer was never fully settled between James (and the “super Apostles” as Paul stated) and Paul” (Luke)

    If Acts 15 never solved the question then why don’t we try? I don’t think we are asked to be Jewish culturally – but to support the Jewish viewpoint – as it is the branch we are growing/building from. To go against the ‘tree’ is to cut your own feet off so to speak…and in the process take a few other’s feet with the disregard. Like some of the reformers I don’t like all that much.

    I think the Noahide laws work well in this regard – showing us the structure Judaism has pulled from scripture that we can also follow as Gentiles – and it’s pretty fair. We retain out own seperate and unique cultures while they retain theirs. I can work from that beginning – as I am First Nations and I value that in myself and it’s something important to me.

    While in Christianity’s first contact with Indian people (First Nations) this was not the case – it was ‘evil’ to be First Nations – assimilation was the only ‘way’. This mindset is changing (slowly) but reveals the hard-headedness that came with many of the viewpoints of Christianity to the West. It wasn’t open to culture – saw no need for it…but maybe because they already chopped off their ‘feet’ anyways – whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    So in the Jewish viewpoint I see a more open stream of thought – way more open than most versions of current Christianity. Embracing our importance’s yet still applying liveable restrictions that are ‘good for the person’.

    “we see this unanswered question of inclusion today in different forms. it’s not just whether or not we should let jews/gentiles in, but whether we should serve, worship with, and talk to nonChristians, widowed, divorced, LGBTQ, different racial/ethic/socio-economic status’s…. to me, it’s still the same issue, unresolved for 2,000 years and attempted by many…” (Luke)

    To me it’s rather easy – if we have a set viewpoint to work from and not some jumbled viewpoint to build from (put together from a variety of places to mean a variety of things). I start with the Noahide laws and build outwards – into Jesus’ teachings (as a rabbi) – then weigh ‘justly’ what is right and wrong for me. It can be easier than Christianity lets on – which really has no methodology like that when dealing with our moral standards/paradigm…it’s really quite all over the place and can start anywhere (leaving many to their own devices).

    One just needs to seek ‘just laws’ for the lives of the people around them – or what is the ‘just’ way to treat someone different than you? I am taught to ‘love my enemies’ and ‘treat people equally’ by Jesus – and in the Noahide laws the idea of justice is for all – not just me…so if gay people want the same rights as me – then I see that as fair for them (cause I would want to be treated justly even if people disagreed with me).

    And yes, this is a battle for inclusion – one I see many people questioning these days concerning the open-ness (cause of the near deadness in some denoms) of Christianity. I am all for a bigger more wider inclusion and open-ness on many fronts in Christianity – including many of the categories you mention. But trying to get the church to move on this is very tough – many streams just will not. Why? Check their reasoning for clues.

    There is no answer to this part of it – because in the end – we will not change the church from a point of exclusion to inclusion – it thinks it’s right and defending God’s honor. Me and you Luke (and many others) will be marginalized by the bigger ‘machine’ for the sake of ‘orthodoxy’. As much is this not an issue of orthodox beliefs – it is a matter of biblical interpretation (which some see as orthodox) and that may not change…some of the things the reformers said centuries ago hasn’t changed – history may just get repetitive in this arena.

    But I look forward to the day when all people will be accepted in the church and we can just sit and be real with one another. But there is too much role playing going on in the church right now for me to put any confidence in that.

  22. “There is no answer to this part of it – because in the end – we will not change the church from a point of exclusion to inclusion – it thinks it’s right and defending God’s honor. Me and you Luke (and many others) will be marginalized by the bigger ‘machine’ for the sake of ‘orthodoxy’. ”

    and i will rage against the machine… i’m happy you’re at my side. but i wish you’d name the machine instead of inserting all of Christainty in there.. the emergent crowd and many others have long since resisted such evil measures as colonialism, slavery, sexist, and patriarchical theologies. liberation theology being a mainstay!

    help fight the good fight and please realize that there’s good ppl that aren’t under the umbrella of Augustinian crappy-theology.

  23. “help fight the good fight and please realize that there’s good ppl that aren’t under the umbrella of Augustinian crappy-theology.” (Luke)

    I am aware of that Luke – I rage against the most predominant forms of Christianity and theology – which is about change and the need for it in our faith. I know there are many facets to Christianty but I ‘generalize’ because that’s what the bible teaches me to do (lol)…

    But in all honesty, all of Christianity needs to awake and take responsibility for the past – liberals to conservatives. Just because we didn’t do those things in the past doesnt mean we walk scott free – if we wanna fly a Christian banner in our yard then we better damn well know what it is we just put up. And I think it’s nice for Christians to know the past so we do not repeat it – which is fairly commonplace in Christian circles.

    My biggest debate is always going to be with theology and interpretation – nothing worse than either of those being off-kilter to help make more trouble than is really neccesary.

    So I am raging against the machine – or as Frost would say – raging against the dying of the light.

  24. well dude, i refuse to believe that i’m polishing the brass on the Titanic. i’m more about affirming what works than decrying what doesn’t. history has shown us what doesn’t, so that will help inform us as to what we can embrace and try in our current context.

  25. “well dude, i refuse to believe that i’m polishing the brass on the Titanic” (Luke)

    You seem to take some of this a personal affront (maybe it’s just me seeing this)…but I don’t think your views are really all that problematic – so feel free to exclude yourself from any of the things I have said – I am not really directing them personally at you – just re-ittirating some things more or less as ‘dialogue’.

    Personally, my view of you is pretty high to be honest. One, you have universalist tendencies – which is a huge step outside of many Christian cirlces. I also value many of the things you say on your blog and about what you teach – one could say I am a fan. I don’t see you as causing any problems in Christianity as much as you wanna see them ‘changed’ for the betterment of communities (on that virtue I also stand). So don’t take me that personally – they are talking points nothing more and nothing less…because you don’t see me doing anything about any of this (maybe that makes me a hypocrite (lol))

  26. aaah.. there it is. i have been taking it personally.. cause I’m a Christian. so when you say “all christians…” i’m like “do i? do my friends? does jason even do that?…. HELL NO!” and get angry. i have problems with christianity as well, but i don’t think the answer is to lump and i feel like i was being lumped

    so thanks for being a fan, i am as well! love how you use Paul to prove your points and we always have a great discussion. keep writing and i’ll keep taking things personally and out of context. i guess that truly makes me christian then…. not so much as “love your neighbor as yourself” but “take exception to your neighbor as yourself” go figure 😉

  27. have problems with christianity as well, but i don’t think the answer is to lump and i feel like i was being lumped (Luke)

    Well I guess until you come up with some method to show what a “christian” is then you will get lumped. No title will mean you will be judged based on your actions. Title means you get other people’s shit too. I.E. Westboro Baptist church.

  28. “i have problems with christianity as well, but i don’t think the answer is to lump and i feel like i was being lumped” (Luke)

    I don’t mean to assume you are in the groups I mention – especialy when you are not…that’s not really the point of my writings – to each their own conclusion (as I also so with other people writings). Cause I don’t think you do take things out of context nor avoid issues (as is proof from this long dialogue).

    But John makes a vaild point – about why Christianity gets a generic titling from alomst everyone – including atheists…because it does little to differentiate itself from it’s surrounding counterparts within the same faith. Maybe it’s part the writer’s assumptions also that play out there too – but what else is a writer to think when someone Christian makes a claim in the name of the faith – how does that person know who is excluded?

    So, when I see claims by Christians that I think are a little wacked – I speak up and defend what I think is being taught within the context and then either blog on it or blog with some Christian who wrote it. I am in the same boat as you Luke – Christian and can’t help it. I used a new term called ‘aChristian’ which I liked but that’s not going to catch on anytime soon…so i’ll continue to be lumped with the rest – which gives me good wiggle room to speak on those same issues and be part of the changing process from within (but again I am all talk).

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