Torah Portions and general thoughts on evangelism and fellowship

I have a question: when you study the weekly Torah portion, are you studying a week in advance or not (ie do you study the portion for shabbat in the days running up to shabbat, or start looking at it on shabbat and study it in the days afterwards)?

I’m assuming that the former is the norm rather than the latter. Not being in fellowship anymore, I have never really got into the habit of studying the portions regularly. Actually, when I did have a Messianic fellowship it wasn’t a particularly observant one anyway, so I never did have anybody to study with so it was always a challenge.

So I’m still in the wilderness – another kind of wilderness now, and I wonder whether I have the strength to carry on swimming upstream. I keep coming back to the conviction that Judaism, even Messianic Judaism (and perhaps especially so) cannot be lived out properly except in the context of community.

I am trying to connect more and more with Christians (like the Roman Catholic church, I view them as ‘separated brethren’). I do keep coming back as well to the question of where to draw the line – when and at what point must we ‘come out and be separate’? To what extent can we have fellowship? Is there anything on which we can agree, or are the two ultimately irreconcilable?

I encountered a Messianic Jewish lady this week, who appears to have moved from Orthodox Judaism straight into mainstream Christianity without a ‘Messianic’ step inbetween. Actually it would be interesting to know how many Jewish people end up in mainstream Christianity having been part of the Messianic movement. I would think the number and percentage would be very low, given the Messianic emphasis on Torah and rejection of anything even slightly reminiscent of paganism.  I am noticing, however, that my friend’s perspective on Torah as an Orthodox Jew is very different from mine as a Messianic (non-Jewish) believer, and she didn’t want to get drawn into a discussion about what constitutes paganism.

I am realising more and more as well that the Messianic movement is almost as broad a ‘church’ as mainstream Christianity. It really does vary from something approaching Orthodox Judaism on the one hand and almost Roman Catholic High Church on the other. My experience is probably different again, because I discovered the Messianic movement in parallel with the Sacred Names movement which tends to be scathing of paganism in Christianity and Judaism in equal measure.

I keep wondering about how to live out the Great Commission as part of living out Torah, and wondering whether it is possible without making use of existing structures. I am feeling particularly isolated and useless. Being Messianic surely isn’t all about living to ourselves in a holy Torah huddle while the rest of humanity is drowning.

My friend advised me that it is unwise to criticsise traditional, established church tradition. She also advised me to play down my Jewish connection if I want to have any connection or involvement with other Christians (this was in the context of Mission). I can see where she’s coming from. Even though I am not actually Jewish, I have experienced a fair amount of anti-semitism from within the church. But is keeping quiet and putting my head down really the best response, or even the right one? I have to say I feel profoundly uncomfortable about that.

 

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