Tag Archives: Judaism

Yay for A-J!!

 Last evening one of my friends & I went to First Presbyterian Church  in Pensacola to hear a lecture by  Old Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine.

Ms Levine is not only a brilliant { and funny} Bible scholar, she is also a practicing Jewish person.  Last evening’s lecture was about Jesus as a Jewish rabbi in the 1st century & what His early hearers might have internalized  what we know have recorded as  part of our Christian Bible.

I’m totally fascinated with all things Judaica  with good reason. My Mom’s family geneology   is Eastern-European Jewish  &  most of my kin on that side of my family  practice their Jewish faith.

Of course I know that Our Lord  was a Jewish man. He after all, ws born to a Jewish mother.  But it saddens & still surprises me how much anti-Semitism  is still taught  in 21st Century Christianity.  During my previous life as a Protestant here in the south, I have been the victim of more than one anti-Semitic comment by  Christians. {This cut me to the core… & I am * so* glad that I am no longer a part of that  community where I  endured  anti-Semitism!} I never hid & will not hide my Jewish roots & yet some folks, in spite of{ or maybe because of} my Jewish roots, still tell me their misinformed opinions about  my Jewish kin. :O(

 Amy-Jill Levine’s lecture was poignant,  very well researched & freaking hilarious!  I like the  metaphor she used about how  Christians & Jews should  view our  shared  heritage. She said that Christians & Jews are  travelling on a parallel path but when on looks at the  horizon, one can see that the road merges into one end point.  That ” end point”i s GOD.  Jews & Christians are  both People of the Book & A-J cited  several New Testament  teaches of Christ that point back to  common motifs that His first-century Jewish listeners would have  heard.  wow….this was totally fascinating  & I am hoping to return to the lecture this evening.

The only part about last night’s evening was that the  hosting church did not have any of A-J’s books available for purchase afterwards.  So, it looks like one Sarah Beth will need to visit Better World books or Amazon.com to find tomes  written by this brilliant & funny Jewish feminist New Testament scholar.


Amos Said: Just DO IT!

In EfM this week Year One is studying the prophets Amos & Hosea. This is the first time I’ve had an in-depth look at what Amos, especially, says & I am pleasantly surprised to see how much of his prophecy deals with the responsibilities we people of faith have towards our human sisters & brothers.

Amos also warns the community what will happen  if they don’t heed these responsibilities. Wow…. the later part of the book of Amos is filled with doomsday prophecy that even author J K Rowling would find frightening.

God commands us to care for the poor, the friendless & the oppressed. This is, according to my EfM text for this week, NOT a newfangled idea  put forth by we social progressives{ no matter what the followers of Tony Perkins & his ilk would try to have American Christians believe….} All people of all nations are God’s people. Just because God chose to enter into a special covenant with our spiritual ancestors, the Israelites, does not mean that we are to ignore the plights of others in God’s Creation.

I find it hard sometimes to remember that all persons in ALL NATIONS are made in the Image of God, especially  the extreme Moslems who wish to remove the modern-day Israel from the world map. My ancestry is actually Eastern-European Jewish{ Mom’s family} & I identify strongly with the Jewish inhabitants of the modern state of Israel. I cannot help but to side with the place where many of my kinsfolk{ albeit distant kin} reside. Yet at the same time I make an effort to educate myself about the life of the everyday Molsem: the more I understand about their worldview  the more I’ll see them as equal in God’s sight. Loving people who hate you & your kinsfolk is hard & I am  really not making much progress in this endeavor. But I am educating myself & by doing so realize that not * all* Moslems want to kill we ” infidels” & that it’s a small yet powerful fringe of Islam who gives the rest of the faith a bad reputation.  Embracing social justice for me means  that education is key to understanding the needs of people in other cultures. Social justice means  trying hard to also educate others about the plight of oppressed people in these other countries: especially the brutal oppression of girls & women in these  societies.

I would like to make a few comments on these books  in light of the recent  statements put forth by a certain Fox Noise  TV personality who thinks that we Christians who are staunch advocates for social justice are ” communists’. I resent being called a ” communist” by someone who is a spokesperson for the most corrupt  news organization in the world. Beck probaly hs never read Amos, or if he did, he takes the dooomsday prophecy to mean tht all who do not think like him are doomed for Sheol.

Amos tells us to ” just do it”{ to borrow from an old Nike commercial}. Lisa Bloom, one of my favorite women on TV, has a saying posted on her Facebook ” I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Than I realized, I am somebody”.  Is this perhaps echoes of the prophet Amos?