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I am committed to a life provoking the invasion of The Coming Kingdom through: human service, ecstatic prayer, halakhic observation, community building, nurturing hope, and drawing down abiding faith...

Monday, October 11, 2010


Theology can be a dangerous enterprise, albeit an important one. The process of determining boundaries and central themes of belief and practice usually ends with one group of people cutting themselves off from another. With all this inner-communal divisiveness, it is no wonder that the world is largely saying "no" to religion.

Interestingly enough, this is even a theme within religious groups! Whether it is drawing a distinction between Yeshua faith and religion, or Torah from religion, most current revivals (I've heard in Jewish and Christian groups-though it is more pervasive in certain christian groups) are growing because of the distance their leaders place between themselves and "religion." There's a big problem with this, however.

I am reminded of a song introduction from Tom Lehrer in which he sarcastically said, "I know there are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that!" There is a similar dynamic going on among the "anti-religion" religious of our day. There is a pervasive lie in society that "most wars are caused by relgion." Those who buy into this lie miss the fact that most wars have actually been caused by governments, and those governments use religion to justify their endeavors. People in power tend to want more. You take your average frum yid who bakes challah (who wouldn't hurt a fly) and put him in a position of power with an army at his fingertips, and see what happens...It would certainly be missing the mark to target his frummness as the problem (any takers on the pressure of having an army at his fingertips having something to do with it?). What has happened is that the need for control has been equated with the word, "religion." Whole new theologies which are completely foreign to the world of the Bible, as well as those communities that preserved it for us, are read into Scripture.

Glorifying religious systems is not a good plan, but denegrating "religion" and pretending Yeshua faith or Torah lifestyles are independant of religion isn't going to help much either.

What is the goal, then? Even those of us who admit we are religious would agree it is not to glorify religious structures instead of God.

I offer for our consideration that the goal of our faith and practice be to make God and Messiah known in this world. This requires systems that operate with God at the center. This means growing relationships with others that bear resemblance to the love Yeshua commanded us to have with our fellows. This means NOT conforming our own minds to match misconceptions of who we are and redifining ourselves accordingly, but rather being conformed into the identity we have in Yeshua. This is a spritual AND religious endeavor. I pray we may all take it.

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