Theology

The way we talk about Pharisees, and why it matters

With the Lenten season coming up, it's time to discuss something that's been on my mind for a while: Pharisees. Odd, I know -- that's not something that normal people think about, except perhaps how not to be one of them: those hostile, unbending, legalistic Jews of the 1st century. The ones who scolded Jesus… Continue reading The way we talk about Pharisees, and why it matters

Social Issues, Theology

The one sin we can’t fess up to

For Black History Month, I'm making more of an effort to read books by people of color (something I should be doing more of anyway). In rereading I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown (because it's just that good), this passage stood out to me: White people desperately want to believe that only the lonely,… Continue reading The one sin we can’t fess up to

Social Issues

How to talk about politics on social media without being annoying

Many people are annoyed by the onslaught of political posts on social media. I can't say I blame them -- because not all political posts are created equal. It would be easy to say "Just don't" in response to the question, Should I post something political? But the truth is, almost everything is political in… Continue reading How to talk about politics on social media without being annoying

Social Issues, Theology

Maybe we need more foolish hope

I used to feel ambivalent, sometimes even frustrated, when friends would share on social media that they were expecting. Hear me out. Trump was still fairly new to the White House. Hate crimes were increasing all over the country. White nationalists were becoming emboldened in revealing their hateful agendas. Scientists released a grim report on… Continue reading Maybe we need more foolish hope

Theology

Humanity is not all right

I am still asked from time to time why Judaism wasn’t “good enough” for me to keep it as my religion. A common misunderstanding when it comes to religious conversion is that it’s all about what fulfills me at a personal level, or makes me happy. I did not leave Judaism because it wasn’t making… Continue reading Humanity is not all right

Social Issues, Theology

When we are the reason they left

Not long after "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" author Joshua Harris announced he is no longer a Christian, Marty Sampson, a songwriter for the Christian band Hillsong, did the same thing. In my social media feeds, people have expressed fear that their favorite Christian artist, author, or speaker might be next. As if deconversion is a… Continue reading When we are the reason they left

Theology

Why you can’t divorce suffering from the gospel

Some time ago, I read a tweet by someone who claimed that Christianity should not exist among indigenous groups. In other words, if violent missionaries did not threaten minorities to convert on pain of death, then none of them would be Christian today. They would have no reason to be. Much to my surprise, this… Continue reading Why you can’t divorce suffering from the gospel

Social Issues, Theology

ICE raids and “real” Christians

Some people say that actions matter more than belief. My Jewish upbringing taught me the same thing. A loving God, I learned, would judge people by the way they treated others than whether they followed the correct religion. I'm torn about this. The thing is, theology matters -- it matters a lot. Theology shapes what… Continue reading ICE raids and “real” Christians

Theology

A Jew-ish perspective on the Eucharist

I should probably hand over my Protestant membership card (assuming I ever had one) for how much thought I've given to the Eucharist lately: just how essential is it to Christian worship? Is it the literal body and blood of Christ, or purely symbolic? Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre… Continue reading A Jew-ish perspective on the Eucharist

Social Issues, Theology

I am both/and

Every time I hear about an act of anti-semitism, I can't help feeling a conflict of loyalties. Do I mourn as a Christian, or as a Jew? Can I grieve as both? Is that possible? In college, some well-intentioned friends quoted Galatians 3:28 to me when I expressed uncertainty about where I belonged: "There is… Continue reading I am both/and