Wednesday, December 27, 2006

how not to be like the Christians

My roommate was raised in a non-practicing Jewish family. Her journey has taken her into traditional evangelicalism and then she decided to explore her Jewish roots and became Messianic. She says that exploring her Jewish roots was the best thing she ever did for herself. I think it’s great having her as a roommate while I’m learning my Hebrew. One of these days I’ll do a Sabbath with her. Yeah! Another culture that does head coverings.

Last week she came home from a study she was doing with her Messianic group and said that a portion of the time was given to a discussion on, how not to be like the Christians. Although I guard myself against establishing a direction and a vision based on becoming that which the other is not—I was immediately interested in what a marginal Christian group’s critique was of the Christian mainstream. Below is the list of the not so Christian practices these Messianic Jews would fault Christians for engaging in.

Holidays—Christians celebrate every holiday anyone else would celebrate. In other words, even the pagan holidays are celebrated in the exact same way the pagans celebrate them. Christians don’t even bother redeeming the day or the celebration of it.

Immodesty—Christians clothe themselves in exactly the same ways as the non-Christian does. No thought is given to the messages that are perpetuated through clothing in our sex selling culture.

Honesty of speech—In Jewish culture it is a mitzvot (a good deed) to speak to a person with clear, frank honesty, whether you or the other finds the truth communicated, difficult. Conversely, Christians sway their speech to suit their purposes. They use flattery and they lie. It was even mentioned in this critique that it is also dishonest to lie with your non-verbals. It was specifically sited that flirting or leading someone on without intent for follow through was dishonest and un-christian behavior that Christians often partake in. Ouch.

Involve the elderly in one’s community—Social tradition to put the elderly into the nursing home once they cannot care for themselves, or be functionally independent. The Christians also do this. The elderly are put away in a place where they cannot contribute to our lives and to our communities. Our mind frames put them in a frame of needing care and comfort, whereas we should put them in a place of wisdom giving for our own needy lives. If they could be of use to us, they would not need to be comforted. Ouch.

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