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

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

Theology

Connecting to Jesus by strawmanning Judaism

I understand the appeal of Messianic Judaism to Protestant Christians: it seems like a way to connect with the Jewish roots of Jesus. It helps provide context for Jesus’ parables. It also functions like an insider’s guide to evangelizing the Jewish people. Unfortunately, MJ theology not only misrepresents ancient Judaism – it’s offensive to traditional… Continue reading Connecting to Jesus by strawmanning Judaism

Social Issues, Theology

Can anger be holy?

People of color are often used to hearing that they sound angry all the time. The "angry black woman" stereotype is especially common. What you may not know is that "angry Jewish woman," or simply "angry Jewish people," is also a Thing. And I'm one of them. In an unexpected way, the Trump era has… Continue reading Can anger be holy?

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

Writing & Publishing

Spinning Crap Into Fertilizer: cover reveal + foreword

I am thrilled to present to you the cover for my next book, Spinning Crap Into Fertilizer: How American Christianity has forgotten the necessity of suffering: When it comes to suffering, there are two kinds of people in this world… Those who say, “Crap happens,” and those who cry out, “Why is this crap happening… Continue reading Spinning Crap Into Fertilizer: cover reveal + foreword

Theology

Reflections on Confirmation Day

This is what I told my evangelical husband when he asked why it was important for me to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church: I wanted to be confirmed for the same reasons I wanted to get married rather than simply live together. I wanted my relationship to be "official"; I wanted to make communal… Continue reading Reflections on Confirmation Day

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

Theology

How essential is the resurrection?

I was tempted to make popcorn as I scrolled through intense Twitter debates over Easter weekend about whether it’s necessary to have a literal resurrection of Christ- and whether those who see it as metaphor "count" as Christians. I was under the impression that a literal resurrection was one of those "non-negotiables" when it comes… Continue reading How essential is the resurrection?