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Have you ever wanted your Christian walk to be more "jewish"?


bethben
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I was reading a book by a Jewish author who was outlining the reasons why he decided to become an Orthodox Jew. There is something about the rituals that really has been appealing to me. I know that doing things in a certain way will not gain us more favor with God, but there's something about being intentional with our faith that we really long for. We are evangelical Christians with a sudo non-demoninational church. I grew up Lutheran and the faith walk my family practiced for the most part was church going. Advent just meant more times at church. Holy week just meant more times at church. Without the church going, our life would have been just as normal during those holidays as everything else. There's just something about having Sabbath days mean something - having religious festivals mean something. Part of it is that dh and I are just burnt out with same old same old. We are just looking for "different" but are unsure of what that looks like and thus unsure about how to go about it. We don't want legalism and we don't want loosey goosey Christianity either. We've considered going to a Messianic congregation just to see what it's like, but it's an hour drive and we know we couldn't commit to that.

 

Maybe there's a part of it that wants to be a "thinker" about our faith. To discuss the questions and find the answers - not just listen to a sermon, go home, and not have any of it affect the day to day. Anybody deal with this?

 

Beth

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No. I have no desire to go back to what Christ freed us from.

 

I have, however, appreciated the liturgical year of the Catholic Church. It's a much fuller spiritual life than what I experienced in 30 years of being a Protestant/mostly Assemblies of God.

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No. I have no desire to go back to what Christ freed us from.

 

 

I'm certain you didn't mean this the way it sounds.

 

For what it's worth, as a not-ready-to-call-myself-a-Christian person, I totally get what Beth means. Over the years, I've often found myself drawn to the intentionality (if that's a word) and focus of what I understand to be the observant Jewish way of life. I find the idea of setting aside time away from the world for the purpose of deepening one's connection with God to be very meaningful and moving.

 

And, while I'm sure individuals and families can make the effort to create some of those traditions and habits for themselves, I imagine it must be comforting and and bonding to share them with your spiritual family, to know that your values and priorities are a reflection of something greater, historical, etc,

 

I'm going through a very lonely time, spiritually, these days. And I can actually get a little weepy when I really ponder all of this. I crave it in some really bone-deep way.

 

So, yes, I think I understand what Beth is saying.

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The Hebrew traditions are the history of God's people. The rituals and practices were His means of teaching human beings about Him and His will. There can be a lot gained from looking to these teachings and seeing how they interweave with Jesus' gift to us all. The first mention of Christ's coming occurs in Genesis at the time of the Fall and prophecies, promises and foreshadowing fill the OT. Christ freed us from the obligation to make amends through ritual, we can still enjoy the closeness to God that observing ancient practices may bring.

 

ETA: I don't do feast or ceremonies, but I do appreciate in-depth studies of OT topics.

 

This series is not based on OT, but I enjoyed Cythina Heald's "Becoming..." series of Bible studies for some deeper thinking.

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Good question! We did. In looking at the history of the church, the roots of the church, we were led to become Orthodox Christians. First we looked at Messianic Christianity, but then we realized that the early church didn't become Messianic in that sense; they didn't continue to celebrate the Jewish feasts, for example. You might be interested in the book Orthodox Worship: A Living Continuity With The Temple, The Synagogue and The Early Church by Harold Anstall. He shows how the early Church did continue some of the Jewish practices of the faith (centering the new practices on Christ as the Messiah), the very things we were longing for like a unified faith, a cycle of feasts/fasts, "the prayers" of the faith, and a sacramental faith. Instead of creating something new by interpreting the faith ourselves (and what we think it should look like), and tacking some Jewish practices onto our personal understanding of Christianity, we aligned ourselves with the ancient church that has always existed, from Pentecost. In it, we found everything we'd been looking for, and more. It has totally changed our daily lives -- our faith affects everything we do now, and we daily work at worshiping Christ. We are so amazed at the depth and meaningfulness of the faith. If you'd like more information, please PM me or check out Discover Orthodox Christianity. Another good resource is a church history timeline, like this one. Several of us here at WTM who are Orthodox Christians, or who are interested in learning about Orthodox Christianity, have a thread on this board if you're interested in asking any questions. Blessings to you in your journey!

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Yes. I haven't dug as deep as I'd like, but we're working on it. Jesus celebrated the different Feasts and held to many of the OT traditions. For me, going back to our Messianic roots isn't a salvation issue (I know I'm a blood bought daughter), it's a desire to respect and seek more knowledge.

 

We enjoy this book. http://heartofwisdom.com/biblicalholidays/

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Do you mean that you wish for a more liturgical, tradition-based faith within Christianity rather than a turn to the Jewish feasts/observances? If so, then I can understand as that is how I felt for most of the time I was Protestant/Evangelical. It all kept me yearning for more, and for me, I found it in the Catholic Church. There is so much richness and fullness to the traditions and practices.

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There are many answers to your questions, many ways to fulfill the call you have in your hearts.Observing the liturgical year might bring some of that depth and meaning into your life that you're yearning for. Switching churches might be the answer.

 

But then again it might not.

 

My advice would be to start where you are, and look at the things you do love in your current faith practice. Then, see if you can define what you feel is missing. You've very good at expressing that now, but the answers may change with the answers to my first proposed question. Understand that eventually the newness of different rituals will wear off and they will be just as tiring as the ones you currently have. What will you do then?

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I don't care how nondenominational you are--Passover still carries enormous significance to the Christian faith. Jesus was the ultimate Paschal Lamb. What could be more fundamental to the Christian faith than that? Jesus' death means nothing except in the context of a final Passover sacrifice.

 

What the OP seems to be missing is a home connection with Godly observance. That can be remedied in many forms. There is nothing particularly Jewish about a home emphasis--nothing specifically Catholic about it either, in fact. No church can bring that into a home. It must be sought out there. Whatever form of intentionality (whether cyclical, such as some form of a liturgical year, or simply a deliberate setting aside of devotional time for non-seasonal Bible study) has to come from within the family. Changing churches or denominations isn't going to make it happen.

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I don't care how nondenominational you are--Passover still carries enormous significance to the Christian faith. Jesus was the ultimate Paschal Lamb. What could be more fundamental to the Christian faith than that? Jesus' death means nothing except in the context of a final Passover sacrifice.

 

What the OP seems to be missing is a home connection with Godly observance. That can be remedied in many forms. There is nothing particularly Jewish about a home emphasis--nothing specifically Catholic about it either, in fact. No church can bring that into a home. It must be sought out there. Whatever form of intentionality (whether cyclical, such as some form of a liturgical year, or simply a deliberate setting aside of devotional time for non-seasonal Bible study) has to come from within the family. Changing churches or denominations isn't going to make it happen.

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I don't care how nondenominational you are--Passover still carries enormous significance to the Christian faith. Jesus was the ultimate Paschal Lamb. What could be more fundamental to the Christian faith than that? Jesus' death means nothing except in the context of a final Passover sacrifice.

 

What the OP seems to be missing is a home connection with Godly observance. That can be remedied in many forms. There is nothing particularly Jewish about a home emphasis--nothing specifically Catholic about it either, in fact. No church can bring that into a home. It must be sought out there. Whatever form of intentionality (whether cyclical, such as some form of a liturgical year, or simply a deliberate setting aside of devotional time for non-seasonal Bible study) has to come from within the family. Changing churches or denominations isn't going to make it happen.

 

I love this.

 

Since becoming a Protestant (after years of being a nominal Catholic) about 20 years ago I have periodically missed some of the rituals we used to have at church. Sometimes worship felt so plain if you know what I mean. Boring, even. So I started bringing more ritual into my life in the form of more formal prayer/reading time, using an Advent wreath and readings at home, stuff like that. Adding intentionality really helped.

 

BTW I've been to several Passover Seders at Protestant churches and am thinking about trying to put one together at our current church. It is an important time to remember!

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Some might try (recommending with caution) books by Lauren Winner, particularly Mudhouse Sabbath. I recommend this with caution, as I know she is controversial in some Christian circles (as well as being a professor, she's now an ordained - Methodist? - minister), but her experience with Judaism, though fairly brief, seems to have been authentic, and this book is a reflection on those disciplines within Judaism that she feels may still be relevant for today's Christians. There's a lot of personal writing in all her books, so not everybody enjoys them, but I did. :-)

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BTW I've been to several Passover Seders at Protestant churches and am thinking about trying to put one together at our current church. It is an important time to remember!

 

Just wanted to add... in general, Jews are uneasy with this, as many thoughtful Christian denominations have become.

 

Perhaps a Jewish leader could come in and teach your congregation about Passover and its observances? Because when Christians put together their own seder, it tends (naturally) to reflect their own Christian beliefs and a pretty inauthentic view of both historical and modern Judaism. The seder has changed significantly in the last 2000 years, so to take today's Jewish rituals and superimpose them on the lives of the early Christians is both anachronistic and disrespectful.

 

It would sort of be like Jews re-enacting critical Christian sacraments or observances, badly, while completely misunderstanding their meaning to Christians - like putting up a Christmas tree and saying it commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, for instance (of course it doesn't, but neither do the 3 matzahs on the seder plate represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which some Christians claim).

 

Far better (as some Jewish groups do) to invite in a real Christian to demonstrate and talk about what those sacraments mean to him/her.

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Ever since I first heard of Hebraic Christianity, I've found the idea of it very inspiring. However, the Hebraic Christians I've encountered all have Jewish heritages and for them, it's a way of maintaining their cultural heritage while accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I don't know how welcomed I'd feel as someone of Christian heritage interested in exploring the Hebraic roots of Christianity.

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This is where I think the book Orthodox Worship is good, showing how the early church developed the Christian faith with a natural Jewish influence, but not a Jewish mindset or focus. If one is a Christian, they'd want to follow what the Church did as it developed after Christ's life, rather than the aspects of the Jewish faith that are specific to them and their place in God's plan, you know? For example, the early church was very festal like the Jewish faith it came from, and while it doesn't celebrate the Passover anymore, since the Messiah has already come and we don't have to look TO it anymore, it does indeed commemorate Pascha -- Christ's resurrection -- every year instead. (If you've never been to a Pascha service in an Orthodox church, and are a Christian, you really owe it to yourself to attend at least one in your lifetime). The Holy Spirit developed a beautiful system of feasts through the early church; there are twelve plus Pascha. Each and every one is focused on the Christ who has already come, and His Mother. Our faith has deepened tremendously through participating in this festal cycle. We came to see that we didn't have to try and figure out what to do based on our own understanding, the Holy Spirit already gave the path to the church. It was this very thing that drew my husband to the faith -- he innately understood that God was a God of seasons and cycles and that there's something to a historical observance of Christ-centered feasts.

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Yes, so I became Catholic. :D

 

Dh and I seriously considered converting but I could never say that I didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah, so ... Catholic it is.

 

 

(Communion is the ultimate observance of the Pascal Lamb.

Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)

miserere nobis (have mercy on us), and then the last time says, dona nobis pacem (grant us peace).)

qui tolis peccata mundi, (who takes away the sins of the world)

 

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Since my first days as a Christian I have been drawn to liturgy, ritual, sacred forms of remembrance and petition...while at the same time needing a God that was approachable in my weakest and feeblest attempts. This has always been particularly important to me in my home life, but only in last few years did I come to the knowledge that it was doable in my public worship as well.

 

I have asked myself a few times why I did not simply become a Messianic/Hebraic Christian. My best friend through seminary was one, but for some reason I could not do it. The only way I can describe it is this. Judaisim is it's own beautiful faith and to cloteh it in Protestant Christianese seemed to somehow cheapen both. When I began to explore Eastern Orthodoxy, it was the first time I felt that I could have that inner and outer sacredness and ritual, the practices of lighting candles and praying with incense and memorized prayers. I was very fascinated by the early church's struggle with issue. What we do not realize is that because of the primarily Jewish upbringing they knew they were no longer jewish when the accepted Jesus as Messiah, instead a new service, liturgical year, prayers, traditions and rituals needed to be established. There are ancient echos in these traditions, but not in the same way that Messianic/Hebraic Christianity uses them.

 

I know my friend has a precious love for God, but we just see things differently. Please feel free to pm me if I can help you with any questions.

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I think it is important to remember that Judaism is much more than a religion. It is a cultural heritage. This is sort of like saying, "my heritage is boring, I want to follow the Native American traditions instead of my own."

 

 

:hurray: Yes, she gets it! :hurray:

 

Though of course, many Christians feel entitled because Jesus was Jewish and his early followers brought some Jewish views into Christianity. Not many - they did away with the ritual stuff pretty quickly (not to gloss over hundreds of years of history or anything... :laugh: .

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:hurray: Yes, she gets it! :hurray:

 

Though of course, many Christians feel entitled because Jesus was Jewish and his early followers brought some Jewish views into Christianity. Not many - they did away with the ritual stuff pretty quickly (not to gloss over hundreds of years of history or anything... :laugh: .

 

It is hard because the Christian religion does have historic roots in Judaism. A lot of Christians study Judaic beliefs (which, I think is a good thing) to inform them of information in the Old Testament. I know some Jewish people who don't even like that idea. But, for me, the line is drawn at co-opting Judaic celebrations or traditions.

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My dh says when he hears orthodox, he thinks Greek Orthodox and icons. One of my closest friends is Greek Orthodox and some of her beliefs are "extra-biblical". I just chalk it up to difference of belief because the main thing of Jesus as lord and savior is there. So, is there a difference between orthodox and Greek Orthodox? We just want a purposeful faith with meaning and passion.

 

Beth

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is there a difference between orthodox and Greek Orthodox? We just want a purposeful faith with meaning and passion.

 

 

Yes - many Orthodox Christians are Russian or Armenian. Dunno if there are others. Just responding as an Orthodox... um, Jew. ;-)

 

ETA - I believe all Orthodox (also known as Eastern) Christians do venerate icons, but I could be wrong about that. There were originally two Christian "popes" - a leader in Rome for the West and a leader in Constantinople for the East. Eastern (ie Orthodox) Christians still follow the Eastern Patriarch. Not sure who it is currently, but I do know their priests (and even the patriarch) are allowed to marry, unlike Western Catholic priests. Sorry if this is a great big fount o' ignorance!!! Hopefully somebody knowledgeable will step in here and swat me away...

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My dh says when he hears orthodox, he thinks Greek Orthodox and icons. One of my closest friends is Greek Orthodox and some of her beliefs are "extra-biblical". I just chalk it up to difference of belief because the main thing of Jesus as lord and savior is there. So, is there a difference between orthodox and Greek Orthodox? We just want a purposeful faith with meaning and passion.

 

Beth

 

"Orthodox" refers to the religion, as a whole ("religion" isn't the right word, but neither is "denomination"); "Greek" refers to the language used in the services. So, Greek Orthodox just means that the priests use Greek; Russian Orthodox would be Russian, and so on. The practices and doctrine and whatnot would be pretty much the same.

 

"Extra-biblical" is an interesting concept, as the Church existed for 300 years before there was a collection of writings christened "the Bible." Until then, Christians followed the oral tradition of their leaders, passed down from Jesus' teaching of his apostles.

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It is hard because the Christian religion does have historic roots in Judaism. A lot of Christians study Judaic beliefs (which, I think is a good thing) to inform them of information in the Old Testament. I know some Jewish people who don't even like that idea. But, for me, the line is drawn at co-opting Judaic celebrations or traditions.

 

 

I totally support this stance - learning about Biblical traditions, festivals, etc. I don't like the "Celebrating the Messiah in the Festivals" book (I have read the preview) because it's too much like a "Celebrating Muhammed in Christmas and Easter" book for Muslims would be - essentially, a guide that tells Christians that Jewish festivals are all about Jesus. :-(

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My dh says when he hears orthodox, he thinks Greek Orthodox and icons. One of my closest friends is Greek Orthodox and some of her beliefs are "extra-biblical". I just chalk it up to difference of belief because the main thing of Jesus as lord and savior is there. So, is there a difference between orthodox and Greek Orthodox? We just want a purposeful faith with meaning and passion.

 

Beth

 

Not really. The Eastern Orthodox churches can be known as by their jurisdictional areas. Only in immigrant based societies does it get confusing.

 

Just an FYI: the term "extra-biblical" can be little annoying (for lack of a better word) to many Christians. It is not as if the early church had the Bible and then suddenly decided to add all these extra practices. In fact it was the other way around. The same men who decided the canon were adamantly practicing and defending these "extra-biblical" practices. Many gave up their lives as Martyrs as a result. Just a little church history note, I am trying to come across as no offensive as possible ;)

 

Also, please know there was a point in time where I had not sat down and really thought through the timing of when these practices started and what that meant in regards to the canonization of scripture. I know there was not a negative intention behind the extra-biblical comment. You should talk to your friend about her faith and explore some of the books Milovany is recommending. They are quite wonderful!

 

 

On a totally different note: this thread reminded me that my boys broke my last lighter, before we went on vacation and now I cannot light my candles. ;(

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I totally get the idea, OP. I was raised Jewish (reform) but since my stepfather (who raised me since a toddler) was Jewish and my mother never fully converted, I am not Jewish. That was brought up to me a LOT as a kid like I never fully belonged. I've been struggling with my beliefs and I go back and forth between Judaism/Catholicism/EO as my interests, depending on the moment and I never feel as if I truly belong anywhere. I would hate to give up things like Passover and Chanukah that I have celebrated since I was a child if I did convert to Christianity. But I admit it does bug me sometimes when I see a cheaply done Chanukah/Passover/whatever by people who don't understand. Much like I'm sure Native Americans would laugh if I tried to do a rain dance (said as someone who has nominal NA blood from the Algonkian and Cherokee tribes).

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Yes - many Orthodox Christians are Russian or Armenian. Dunno if there are others. Just responding as an Orthodox... um, Jew. ;-)

 

ETA - I believe all Orthodox (also known as Eastern) Christians do venerate icons, but I could be wrong about that. There were originally two Christian "popes" - a leader in Rome for the West and a leader in Constantinople for the East. Eastern (ie Orthodox) Christians still follow the Eastern Patriarch. Not sure who it is currently, but I do know their priests (and even the patriarch) are allowed to marry, unlike Western Catholic priests. Sorry if this is a great big fount o' ignorance!!! Hopefully somebody knowledgeable will step in here and swat me away...

 

Close! There were originally 7 Christian patriarchs (the 7 churches in the book of Revelation) one of those Patriarchs (Jerusalem) had the position of First among Equals. For the infant church this would have been James. Eventually (and I am skipping a lot here) there was a disagreement over what "First among Equals" meant and we have the wound of the Great Schism.

 

The Eastern Orthodox churches do have a "First among Equals" (technically we have an "elect" right now as our Patriarch recently passed) Patriarch and 5 other Patriarchs as well, but it is a very different role that The Pope.

 

I really do not want to add more. The RC and EO tends to have an agree to disagree stance here while at the same time trying to focus on what we have in common. ;)

 

Note: I am probably a bit off in my numbers as things have changed over the centuries and there may be more than 6 EO patriarchs, but I am not completely sure.

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My dh says when he hears orthodox, he thinks Greek Orthodox and icons. One of my closest friends is Greek Orthodox and some of her beliefs are "extra-biblical". I just chalk it up to difference of belief because the main thing of Jesus as lord and savior is there. So, is there a difference between orthodox and Greek Orthodox? We just want a purposeful faith with meaning and passion.

 

Beth

 

Beth, Juniper answered the other comments well (that "Orthodox" refers to the Eastern Orthodox faith as a whole, Greek Orthodox is one of many regional/cultural Orthodox churches; by the way, all canonical "Orthodox" churches -- Russian, American, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, etc. -- are united in one faith and our services will be the same with some cultural/regional differences). I wanted to address your last comment. We found what you describe when we converted to the Eastern Orthodox church. We were baptized three years ago next month, and daily I still remain so thankful for the deep, rich, effective, meaningful and full faith that we now have. Everything, everything in our lives now is centred around our Christianity in a way I can't describe. We have morning prayers, evening prayers, the sacraments, history, festal and fasting seasons, thousands upon thousands of saints to learn about and honor, a priest and bishop to lead and guide us with tenderness and love, fellowship with others who all feel/live the same way, etc. I finally feel like, "This. This is what Church is supposed to be." As for the extra-biblical, the comments made by Juniper are worthy of consideration. The men who gave us the Scriptures were living this type of faith already -- certainly they wouldn't give us words and teachings that contradicted the faith handed to them from Christ and the apostles, right? (And if you think today's denominational and non-denominational churches don't have anything extra-Biblical in them, there's a lot to take a look at right there).

 

If you want to PM me about any of this, please do. I'm happy to answer any questions -- and I would guess your friend would be happy to talk about these things, too. Blessings to you on your journey.

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The only caveat I would add to what Juniper said is that the Catholics believe that the first Pope was Peter because he was given the keys to the kingdom in John 6.

 

But to extra biblical, yeah, there was a functioning church well before the Bible was written, and if you read the Didache (The Lord's Teaching through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations) you will see of the liturgical practices, even moreso if you read the Desert Fathers. Justin Martyr (First Apology, Chapters 65. 66, 67--they are paragraphs... 155-157 AD), Iraenus, and Polycarp were two biggies for me.

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I think it is important to remember that Judaism is much more than a religion. It is a cultural heritage. This is sort of like saying, "my heritage is boring, I want to follow the Native American traditions instead of my own."

 

 

I disagree- to my mind, it's more like an Irish-American wanting to explore the Celtic roots of Irish civilization. Christianity has its roots in Judaism, so it's not co-opting another culture so much as exploring the shared heritage.

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I disagree- to my mind, it's more like an Irish-American wanting to explore the Celtic roots of Irish civilization. Christianity has its roots in Judaism, so it's not co-opting another culture so much as exploring the shared heritage.

 

 

I disagree. A religious connection is not a blood heritage type of connection. I am a Christian. I am not a cultural Jew. You may still think the way you do, but having my heritage co-opted is something that happens all the time in the US, and I find it offensive. I don't want to do that to anyone else. Look at past threads about this where Eliana and others with actual Jewish heritage have posted. They find it offensive.

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And I *have* seen "Christian Seders" where the Trinity was referenced and things like that.

 

To me, it is like the people who set up tipis to "celebrate" the Native Americans who attended the first Thanksgiving. I find the latter shallow, ignorant (in the actual sense of the word) and offensive.

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This thread has actually helped me understand Orthodoxy a bit more... I do remember there was a thread a long time ago you might want to search for. I believe it was about converting to Orthodox Christianity.

 

I disagree- to my mind, it's more like an Irish-American wanting to explore the Celtic roots of Irish civilization. Christianity has its roots in Judaism, so it's not co-opting another culture so much as exploring the shared heritage.

 

I will jump in one LAST time - I promise! - to say... I don't think so. (and speaking of Irish: we're part-Irish, too, on my husband's side!)

 

It would be like deciding I am Irish and THEN wanting to explore my Celtic roots. Now, I don't mean to sound callow; I know many Christians feel very strongly about their religion and scripture's Jewish origins, but much of that "shared heritage" is lost and Christianity severed those connections (rather deliberately) long ago. We cannot reconstruct 1st-century Judaism, since Judaism itself has changed in many ways since that time (almost as much as Christianity has, I've heard).

 

Most Jewish rituals, as practiced today, would likely seem rather strange to a Jew of Jesus' day. Not completely wrong, I hope (indeed, I have based my life around that premise), but not exactly familiar. And any Christian who decides today that he/she wants to attach herself to those "Jewish roots" is attempting a rather tricky operation since the apples (modern Judaism and Christianity) have indeed fallen rather far from the tree.

 

There's a cartoon I want to attach here that I look at from time to time to remind myself that people on the Internet are allowed to have their views and I don't have to "fix" them all. I think we could all use a little humour to temper our own strongly-held views.

 

post-25599-0-99737200-1357008516_thumb.png

 

Happy New Year to those who are celebrating!!! :party:

(not us, but excited for those who are)

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Yes - many Orthodox Christians are Russian or Armenian. Dunno if there are others. Just responding as an Orthodox... um, Jew. ;-)

 

ETA - I believe all Orthodox (also known as Eastern) Christians do venerate icons, but I could be wrong about that. There were originally two Christian "popes" - a leader in Rome for the West and a leader in Constantinople for the East. Eastern (ie Orthodox) Christians still follow the Eastern Patriarch. Not sure who it is currently, but I do know their priests (and even the patriarch) are allowed to marry, unlike Western Catholic priests. Sorry if this is a great big fount o' ignorance!!! Hopefully somebody knowledgeable will step in here and swat me away...

Orthodox Christians (Eastern Orthodox) have various jurisdictions. Greek just happens to be one of the jurisdictions, Russian another, Armenian another, etc.

 

There were not originally two popes...there were several (six or seven, I believe). They were bishops. The "West" fell under the Roman bishop aka pope.

 

(noticing after the fact that Milovany already covered all of this...my apologies)

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Back when my parents moved from the Catholic church to a more Protestant/Evangelical church my father started attending the daily Messianic Bible study in the city run by Jews for Jesus. This had a profound effect on his Christian faith.

 

Its always been my understanding that Christianity is not a replacement for or freedom from Judaism. Christianity is an outgrowth of the Jewish faith and they should treasure their roots. Because of this I've always had a deep respect and love for the Jewish faith. We aren't Jews and don't pretend to be, but we don't co-opt Jewish culture by studying and occasionally re-enacting ritual which has direct meaning for the Christian faith (Seder would fit within this). It's for better understanding of our own faith. We share this background, Jews and Christians.

 

Because the Jewish faith and Jewish culture are so tied together, I can understand that some see this as a cultural co-opt, but it isn't. You can be a cultural Jew without having faith, and you can be a Judaic convert without culturally being a Jew. They can be separate.

 

We share these religious roots. You can't have Christianity without Judaism. They can't be completely separated without destroying what Christianity is. So attempts to guilt Christians into 'respecting' Judaism to the point where we pretend we have no interest in our religious history and shared religious culture is shortsighted.

 

Yeah, I'm not suggesting that non-Jewish Christians should start re-enacting all the rituals of the modern Judaic faith, but I think there would be a lot better understanding of our Christian faith, not to mention less weird Christian xenophobia and anti-semitism, if we celebrated and explored our connections.

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What's the deal with Messianic Judaism? That seems to be a big thing among fundamentalist Christians, they want to get back to the "pure" roots of where Jesus started. Is that what is offensive? I do find it somewhat ridiculous (I have a couple close friends who are really into this) but it's interesting to hear how Jewish people feel about it.

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Because the Jewish faith and Jewish culture are so tied together, I can understand that some see this as a cultural co-opt, but it isn't. You can be a cultural Jew without having faith, and you can be a Judaic convert without culturally being a Jew. They can be separate.

 

 

 

 

Indeed, I went to a Jewish school, with about 20% of the class Orthodox, and the majority of the rest politely explaining to me that they were "Jewish, but not a Jew". I was amused, after being raised in the ruralish midwest by the daughter of a strict anti-Semite, to find out our homelife was rather like the secular jews I met, and over the years I've had a disproportionally high level of Jewish friends.

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You might be interesting in David Stern's translation of the NT he also has a commentary on it, two separate books. You might also want to look into jewish mysticism... terms that are common place to christians like power, glory, kingdom, mercy, crown, holy spirit etc. all come from Jewish mysticism. Aryeh Kaplan (who died at age 48) wrote books on this topic (from a jewish, not christian or messianic perspective).

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We found what you describe when we converted to the Eastern Orthodox church. We were baptized three years ago next month, and daily I still remain so thankful for the deep, rich, effective, meaningful and full faith that we now have. Everything, everything in our lives now is centred around our Christianity in a way I can't describe. We have morning prayers, evening prayers, the sacraments, history, festal and fasting seasons, thousands upon thousands of saints to learn about and honor, a priest and bishop to lead and guide us with tenderness and love, fellowship with others who all feel/live the same way, etc. I finally feel like, "This. This is what Church is supposed to be."

 

And I feel the same way having returned to the Catholic Church after being away from it for 35 years. :-)

 

As for the extra-biblical, the comments made by Juniper are worthy of consideration. The men who gave us the Scriptures were living this type of faith already -- certainly they wouldn't give us words and teachings that contradicted the faith handed to them from Christ and the apostles, right? (And if you think today's denominational and non-denominational churches don't have anything extra-Biblical in them, there's a lot to take a look at right there).

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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We aren't Jews and don't pretend to be, but we don't co-opt Jewish culture by studying and occasionally re-enacting ritual which has direct meaning for the Christian faith (Seder would fit within this). It's for better understanding of our own faith. We share this background, Jews and Christians.

 

Just to clarify my point (and I am not sure you are disagreeing with me)-what you describe is not what I am talking about. I am taking about Fundamentalist Christians who re-translate the Seder so that it reflects a Christian belief (which is what I have often seen happen). I stated in my initial post that I think study of Judaic beliefs the is important to inform us about the Old Testament, especially.

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I am Lutheran, and the 'extra services' that you talk about are familiar to me.

I am not sure quite how to put this best, but I would encourage you to try them again--my suspician is that you will find meaning in them that you may not have realized was present in your childhood. That is very common in all liturgical churches, not only Lutheran ones--I have heard it from those with Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Episcopal backgrounds as well as Lutheran ones.

 

Just as a for instance...Holy Week means tremendously more to me now that it did when I was a kid. As a kid it was mostly a relief to be past the depressing Lenten music and misery. Now I find tremendous value in Lent and appreciate Holy Week more than ever.

 

One of the keys is that the observances and Bible readings remain more or less the same, so it is a return for me, with more depth this time.

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Just to clarify my point (and I am not sure you are disagreeing with me)-what you describe is not what I am talking about. I am taking about Fundamentalist Christians who re-translate the Seder so that it reflects a Christian belief (which is what I have often seen happen).

One could also say, though, that the early Church "re-translated" much of the Jewish prayer and liturgy of their time so that it reflected Christian belief. So while I don't agree with modern "Christianized seders" myself, that's because I believe that we already have one in the Eucharist. (Another issue is that Christians who get into this sort of thing often assume that present-day Orthodox Jewish practices are pretty much identical to those of the Second Temple era, when in fact there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then for both Christians and Jews -- as Jewish posters here have pointed out in the past.)

 

Anyway, I agree with previous posters who said that what the OP is asking about is already there in our ancient Christian traditions, in both East and West. Though I'd suggest that for those who are drawn to a more intellectual approach to understanding the faith, the West probably has the edge over the East in that area. Which is interesting, because from what I've read, it seems to have been the other way around in the early centuries, with the Greeks being reputed for their knowledge of pagan philosophy, and the Romans known for sticking closely to the traditional piety they inherited from Judaism. Church history can be funny at times. :)

 

Taylor Marshall and Brant Pitre are two scholars who have a special interest in the Jewish roots of Catholic worship. In addition to their books, they also have quite a bit of audio and video material available on their web sites.

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... I'd suggest that for those who are drawn to a more intellectual approach to understanding the faith, the West probably has the edge over the East in that area. Which is interesting, because from what I've read, it seems to have been the other way around in the early centuries, with the Greeks being reputed for their knowledge of pagan philosophy, and the Romans known for sticking closely to the traditional piety they inherited from Judaism.

 

This made me chuckle a little bit. My multi-year intellectual approach to faith wore me out spiritually, so I was more than a little pleased to discover the "unintellectual" (hee hee) East. I like "sticking closely to the traditional piety [we] inherited from Judaism." :D

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