A couple of weeks ago, I posted Puzzling Over Fringes. It was quickly followed by a flurry of activity on Google+ and a reader on this blog. Now, normally a flurry of activity for a writer is a good thing, and I’m not complaining, but as subscribers to my newsletter know, I felt sucker-punched by the dichotomy of responses.
So I got to thinking about replacement theology. For those of you unfamiliar with this theology, it is the belief that the Christian Church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people. (A belief to which I do not subscribe.)
Why would I start thinking about replacement theology? Part of the flurry of responses said that my wearing tzitzit was another attempt to replace Israel. I don’t see it that way, but the idea that it appears that way is horrifying.
So as I was mulling all this over, I thought about conversations I’ve had with Christians. Long before I stopped eating pork, or started honoring the Sabbath, or attending a Messianic synagogue, or wearing tzitzit, many thought I was Jewish.
Why, you ask? I had the same question, so I asked. Every one of them shared the same reason – my knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. Add to this that I would bring in some of the teachings of the rabbis, and I just had to be Jewish.
So this begs the question: if we don’t want to appear to be Jewish, should we stop studying the Hebrew Scriptures? Should we stop reading rabbinic commentary? Should we stop learning about the Jewish roots of our faith? While this sounds sarcastic, it’s not. It is an honest question, seeking an honest answer.
Since coming into the Messianic movement, my heart and mind have experienced an explosion of understanding. Jesus said so many things that once seemed confusing and contradictory. But with a Jewish perspective, His words are thrilling!
And just like a new believer, I am excited to share what I’ve learned. Yet to some, this understanding makes me appear Jewish. So…should I stop?