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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

Re-Judaizing "Jesus"

I try to stay away from TIME Magazine, along with every other mainstream publication. Blame it on my media studies background: I think mainstream publications don't project Main Street at all. So, if I really want to get a tap on the way people are thinking (as opposed to what they're being told to think) the last place I'm going to look is on a corporate conglomerate's bookshelf.

Via the Restoration Foundation's Hebraic Heritage Christian Center News I bring you the link to the TIME MAGAZINE article:

10 Ideas that are Changing the World: 10. Re-Judaizing Jesus [March 2008]

Interesting. Very interesting.

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posted by Shoshana @ 12:23 PM

Conversations with Christians on Barack Obama [Excerpts]

Background: A couple, married for a long time; he is going to be 80, she is probably in her late 50s. White, middle class. Educated professionals. No children. Very active in a rather large church (membership near 1,000-- 3 Sunday services, one Saturday night service, multiple Bible studies/groups meeting weekly) and with the children in the neighborhood where they live.

She: "So, your parents are probably voting for John McCain, aren't they?"

Me: "All of us are."

He: "All of you? You mean your parents."

Me: "All of us."

He: "Even you? Someone of your age is voting for John McCain?"

Me: "Yes."

He: "Why?" (He is clearly aghast.) Everyone your age is voting for Barack Obama!

Me: I don't trust him.

He: Why?

Me: I don't trust his background.

He: Because of all that Muslim stuff?

Me: Yes.

He: Oh, that's just.... (trails off without responding) I think he's an educated man. We need that!

Me: He's a very good speaker.

He: We need education! He wants everyone to get a free education; that's what the government should do. We need educated people!

Me: I agree. But before the government sponsors free education, we need to reform the system.

He: I think a lot of people are denied an education based on economic reasons that are really, (he leans forward) more racially based than anything else.

Me: So, you're talking about white males, like my brother, who are denied scholarships that are then given to African Americans solely based on their race, right?

He: (Blinks. No response.)

Friend 1 (White American male, mid-50s): That's right.

Friend 2 (Hispanic Immigrant, mid-40s): That's right. White American males get nothing.

He: What do you mean, "reform"?

Me: I taught white male students who walked out of classes on feminist film theory feeling guilty of being rapists, colonizers, and murderers-- just because they happened to be white males.

He: That's ridiculous! What are you talking about?

Me: Feminist film theory-- a branch of literary and cultural criticism.

He: What is that? That's just one teacher, not an entire school.

Me: It is an entire school of thought that is taught on every college campus in this country.

He: What do you mean "every campus"? What college was this?

Me: A public, state-funded university.

He: Well, where does this come from? What is this theory?

Me: Literary and cultural studies, a branch of study that teaches you how to interpret the world around you and the media being produced by and for that world. It came out of English departments in the 1930s and expanded further in the 60s and into today. It is the basis of Liberal Arts education.

He: (Says nothing. A while later in the conversation, he returns to the topic.) Government should educate the citizens!

Me: That's all well and good, but we need to reform the system before we begin giving free educations to students.

He: Well, why is that the government's responsibility?

Me: (Laughing to myself.) Well, if you want the government to send every student to school for free, but they send them to an institution that is so drastically biased in its teaching, what kind of citizens are you getting? You're getting more people into the same work force that says (Friend 1) can't get a small business loan because he happens to be a white American male. So what good is a free education?

He: (Says nothing for a moment.) Well, why is the reform the government's responsibility?

[Ed. Note: I love how liberals like the government to take care of everything except when it comes to correcting their own shortcomings and faux ideologies. Then, suddenly, the libs aren't responsible.]

Later, in the conversation:

She: Well, I couldn't vote for any candidate who wasn't pro-choice. My sister got pregnant when she was 15, and she had no choice back then-- she didn't want to give the baby up for adoption, so she married the guy and had a miserable life. She was an alcoholic for 32 years. It was terrible.

Me: (Sometimes, saying nothing is the best response.)

She: I think the right has been horribly abused, but still, women should have the choice.

Me: (Again, I say nothing. But, I think to myself: My mother had a miscarriage and a blood disease, and was told that one of her options when she got pregnant with me was to have an abortion because of her medical history. Hm. She had a choice, and in exercising that choice, she respected her unborn daughter's right to choose life as well.

Later, it occurs to me that this woman's sister had a choice, too. She could have put the baby up for adoption; she chose not to. She could have raised the baby alone; she chose not to. She could have sought out refuge in positive things; she chose not to. And because her sister has sympathy for her, her sister chooses not to sympathize with every other woman, born and unborn, and their choice. Ironic, isn't it?)

Still, later in the conversation:

He: Hey, can you take a joke?

Me: Sure.

He: You know why I don't want to vote for McCain?

Me: No, why?

He: Because I don't want another Bush in the White House!

Me: (Shuddering at the lame vulgarity of the double-entendre, I choke out a polite chuckle.)

She: Oh, that's terrible.

Me: (Trying to change the topic.) One of my friends goes to your church.

She: Oh, really? What's her name?

Me: (I give her the name.)

She: Does she do music? Is she in the youth group? Is she active in the leadership?

Me: Oh, I don't know.

She: Well, it's such a large church... there's over 900 people. They do three services on Sunday, you know. And they're doing Saturday night services now!

Me: Really? Wow.

She: Yeah, it's great. I'm not a morning person, so this will be perfect.

Me: (I nod and wonder at the mercy of G-d, fitting Himself so politely into her schedule.)

He: You know, everyone in the world loves Barack Obama.

Me: I don't really care what the world thinks.

He: Why not? We have to deal with these people!

Me: The last thing I'm worried about are the opinions of overly socialized governments that coalesce to Islam.

He: (Says nothing.)


And that is faith impacting someone's political viewpoint. Well, faith, or a lack thereof. You know, Christians really need to get their heads on straight when it comes to what it means to live out faith. I think they're starting to, in drips, drabs, leaps and bounds. It's tough to verbalize and communicate, though, because expressing a faith lifestyle requires the equivalent of speaking a foreign language for most Christians.

Christianity's vocabulary is so diluted with pagan thought-processes that it is very hard to create and come to terms with the idea of living a life totally defined by Messiah. My heart goes out to these people who are trying so hard to do the right thing in everyone else's eyes that they've lost the vision G-d has for them. It's frustratingly pathetic on one hand, but seriously sad on the other.

I tend to be extremely critical on this blog because I have been trained, through education and experience, to view situations with a critical eye. Sometimes I come off as glib, and other times I come off as downright unforgiving. But, truly, as angry as I am with leadership that have let their flocks go astray, I have just as much, if not more compassion for the millions of sheep searching for the right path home, and I am just as easily able to laugh at the irony of G-d's truth in action. I hope everyone else is the same way because experiencing that depth and range of emotion draws us closer to knowing our G-d. And knowing our G-d is the only way to know and to be our true self.

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posted by Shoshana @ 11:39 AM

Sarah Palin: Standing With Israel

Via Israpundit:
I just attended a rally for her (Gov Palin) here in Anchorage where she spoke before going back on the campaign trail. I wore an Israeli/USA flags lapel pin on my shirt. Knowing that Sarah Palin flies a small Israeli flag in the window of her Juneau office. When she made it to me I stuck my hand out, with the pin I’d removed from my shirt in my hand, and left it in her hand when we shook. She was taken aback, wondering, what the heck is this? After she looked down to see what it was, she looked back up at me and kind of gasped, holding her hand over her heart and saying "THANK YOU!" I shouted back, "STAND WITH ISRAEL! She nodded and paused and looked me right in the eyes and said very seriously with a stiff and confident nod, "I WILL wear this." She is a real person, very sincere. I was glad to hear her tell Charlie Gibson repeatedly that we should NEVER 2nd guess ANYTHING Israel decides it needs to do to protect themselves.

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posted by Shoshana @ 9:55 PM

Why I Like Sarah Palin:

[Ed. Note: I know, I know, this is supposed to be a blog that focuses on the Messianic movement and subsequent veins thereof; since we live in a world in which "we are all links in a chain" as my mother would say, political commentary matters-- especially to believers, and especially to Jewish people. So, I'm getting political; so should the yeshiva-boys. (Like they already don't in their own way....)]

I'm sitting here listening to Chris Thile's album Not All Who Wander Are Lost which is *the* perfect soundtrack to accompany a discussion about the Republican Veep nom, because the bluegrass tunes, much like the hockey mom-turned-Governor, are so inherently American. As much as I hesitate to admit it sometimes, there is something so freaking beautiful about the soul of this country. According to the democrats, because I am a white, middle class, Jewish female in a certain age bracket, with a certain level of education under her belt, who lives in a certain area of the country, I am supposed to be a cynical, self-loathing, nation-hating anti-patriot bent on self-destruction through the socialization of my federal government. But, you know what? I can't be. I like this place too much.

There are a lot of perspectives I could take on Sarah Palin.

I could write as a woman about how great it is to see another woman get nominated for V.P., but honestly, in the world of feminist tripe, how shallow of a comment is that?

I could write as a Jew and get antsy about her Evangelical background and attendance at a church where David Brickner from Jews for Jesus was invited to speak, but honestly, I find her faith more helpful than harmful. After all, it isn't like the woman or her pastor are strapping explosive vests onto their kids and sending them into crowds of Jews; her son is going into the Army to beat Al-Quaida, not crash himself into a national landmark.

Heck, I could even write within my democrat-approved demographic and say that because of my age, my gender, my education, my geographical region, and my ethnic makeup that I think Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton, which is true. Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton-- which is why I would vote for her in a heartbeat.

But, I think I'm going to write this one out as a working class, Wal Mart-shopping, cowboy-boots wearing, ponytail-bearing, once-and-therefore-always-Texan, history-loving American with hardcore flag-waving roots. So, let me begin by saying: I like Sarah Palin because she's an American, just like me. She's a wife and mother with normal kids and a husband who works hard. She goes to church and actually believes in the Bible she holds every Sunday, because she understands that leaders must have the attitude of servants. Yet, she's proud enough of her history to "take the bull by the horns," as my grandfather often said, and "tell it like it is." The best thing the McCain camp could have done, they did: They researched and found a politician with the right combination of government experience and down to earth American character.

Joe Biden was all over the mainstream media during this morning's news hour, scrambling with his liberal newscaster cohorts to throw half-hearted blows in Palin's direction. It is evident that they don't have a thing to go on. Sure, Sarah's delivery was great, and her one-liners about B. Hussein Obama were fantastic, but even more than that: everything she said about energy independence, fighting terrorism (and B. Hussein's willingness to negotiate), and the economy was right on the money. As Clive Crooks over at the Atlantic Monthly notes:
Well, the Democrats have a problem. They had a few days of calling her a clueless redneck, a stewardess, a nonentity, and she has hurled that back in their bleeding gums. (If I were Joe Biden, I'd start practising for October 2nd right now.) Even before tonight's speech, they had backed off the "no experience" strategy, because (as the Republicans intended) that was sending shrapnel in Obama's direction.
But, here's the kicker: Most who can't beat 'em, join 'em, but Palin is forcing the hardcore liberals to draw a line in the sand. Crooks goes on to say:
Where they will have to end up is obvious: McCain-Palin is an extreme right-wing ticket. It is a team that will prosecute the culture war against all that is decent and civilized in the United States: that must be the line.
Classic Marxists to the end, the liberals play the pot calling the kettle black. Suddenly, Sarah Palin, who represents the majority of American citizens (what one bleeding-heart liberal I know called "the poor farm girls of the American midwest"), is the one attacking all that is "holy and good" (and I use those terms very loosely in this context) in the eyes of liberals the nation-over. Liberals who would sooner sell us out to Iran than stick a few drills into barren Alaskan tundra. Liberals accuse the Evangelical Hockey Mom of waging a war they created and are busy fighting every day: a war against the culture and values that made this country great. Do they really think all us lipsticked pit bulls will let them get away with that?

You see, the thing about Sarah is that she resonates with a person who is tired of being let down by a system that is so overloaded, you can't half-see the pork from the bull, let alone wade through it all. Perhaps the mainstream media is having such a hard time criticizing her because she isn't this or that-- like so many of the rest of us average Americans, Sarah Palin just is, and there's not much arguing with that.

Yesterday, I couldn't have given a hoot about this election. My only concern was keeping my passport updated so I could make a quick run for it if B. Hussein got elected. Now, I'm interested. I'm interested to see if the real America I love is all it's cracked up to be. I'm interested to see the real America put up a fight-- and win.

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posted by Shoshana @ 5:45 PM