The Surprise Ending of the Frum Gentile Story

Several months ago, prominent bilateral ecclesiology blogger Derek Leman wrote how he had to “draw a boundary” in his congregation by essentially booting 2 Torah-keeping non-Jews from his congregation.

Why the boot?

Derek’s explanation was that 2 men were dressed frum (piously Jewish), thus erasing Jew/gentile boundaries. Derek didn’t like that. And Derek didn’t like that these gentiles considered themselves part of Israel. But mostly that they dressed like Jews.

And thus, our 2 unnamed men were no longer welcomed at Derek’s synagogue. As Derek wrote,

These visitors yesterday would not have earned a boundary-keeping talk from the nervous rabbi (me) if it had not been for their crossing a boundary of identity. The person I talked to crossed two:

(1) He wears tzit-tzit in public with no kippah…

(2) He is a non-Jew who dresses as a frum Jew...

Ah, those 2 deadly sins: wearing fringes but no kippa, and gentiles dressing frum! Heaven forbid!

Now, a frum-dressed person usually indicates kippa, tallit, a tefillin-binding, phylactery-sticking, payot-curlin’ observant Jew with siddur in hand.

Bo Barbie knows frum:

Frum Barbie

So…these 2 men that were essentially booted from Derek’s bilateral ecclesiology synagogue -- I have some news about them.

I met one of them last night.

One of these utterly frum gentlemen visited our Messianic congregation last night…and…I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Imagine a old, observant man walking into a room, chanting blessings reserved for racial descendants of Jacob! Uttering thanks to God he wasn’t created a gentile! Dressed like the chief rabbinate: a big black Orthdox Jewish hat, black overcoat, payot, the whole bit!

Now, erase that from your imagination. It didn’t happen.

The man wore a t-shirt. I think he may have worn fringes to remind himself of God’s commandments. That was all. Seriously, the guy was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and fringes. (I’m not even sure about the fringes, I don’t distinctly remember them! He certainly was not flaunting them.)

I talked to him about Derek Leman. He has no hard feelings. The man was kind and gracious. Good fruit evident in him just from our short time talking.

He told me with solemn sincerity that he and his friend were not dressed frum, as Derek described, but were wearing tees and jeans, just as he was standing there in front of me. No black hats, no payot, no kippah, no phylacteries, no tefillin.

Not frum.

I’m left with some difficult questions. Did my friend Derek Leman lie outright? Did he exaggerate the situation to better promote his theology by demonizing the opposition? I wouldn’t think so, I would think Derek has higher personal standards than that.

The ongoing attempts to exclude Messianics outside of the bilateral ecclesiology niche makes me wonder. That Derek wants to redefine “Messianic” to exclude folks like this man worries me – maybe in his zeal to exclude the “unwanted” Messianic types, Derek exaggerated the facts? I don’t know how else to explain the discrepancy between this man’s earnest story and Derek’s story-with-a-theology-zinger blog post.

(Ain’t drama in the Messianic blogosphere childish and ridiculous? Yet I felt obligated to set the record straight in this matter.)

We now return you to drama-free posts. Messianic drama queens and Frum Barbies need not apply.

64 comments:

  1. Judah, if you read Derek's post more carefully, it would become obvious that at the time the "frum Gentile" guy was dressed as a "biblical character," and not a t-shirt he was sporting when you met him. So, he was not only pretending to be a "Jew," but he was trying to present himself as even a better Jew than actual flesh-and-blood Jews. How do we know that? Well, again, it came across in this man's deeply-seated and arrogant attitude towards Judaism and Jews, especially when he uttered the following phrase:

    "I don’t wear a kippah because that is man-made."

    Translation: them Jews with their man-made traditions got it wrong, but I got it right. Nonetheless, I should be allowed to join any Messianic Jewish congregation, and show them how to do things properly, "biblically."

    Not at all offensive, eh?

    The second mistake this man made was by saying the following:

    "I am a descendant of Jacob. You don’t have to be Jewish to be from Jacob."

    First of all, as a Jew, I take offense to that - and so do most Jews I know. So, if a particular MJ synagogue views this guy's Two-House views as very harmful and offensive to the Jewish congregants, do they still have to welcome folks like this into their congregations, knowing full well that they will attempt to spread this teaching to everyone they meet (which, I can say from experience, happened, in my congregation)?

    Overall, I think Derek handled the situation quite well. Besides, why would you believe this guy's version of what happened over Derek's? You only knew this fellow for only a brief moment of time, but you know Derek "forever." Is it simply because this fella's beliefs are closer to yours?

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  2. Gene,

    I have seen a photo of both unnamed men taken on the day they attended Derek's shul.... it was a couple of months ago, so I may not remember it perfectly, but I think they were wearing polo/golf style shirts and not t-shirts. They may have also been in khakis instead of jeans, but they surely were not dressed frum -- and I've seen gentiles dressed frum (again my home congregation used to be Beth Immanuel -- home of the frum gentile...)

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  3. Tami...

    I think what's even more important than exact details of how these folks were dressed, it's about the attitude they came in with (as reflected in their own words). In the end, that's what really matters the most.

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  4. First of all, I think the Barbie shiksa dressed frum is just hysterical. :)

    Second, I'm so glad I don't have to worry about a "dress code" in my congregation. I just had a 3 1/2 hour board meeting with my congregation today in which we discussed, among other things, the whole "identity" thing and what direction we wanted to take our group during the coming year, based significantly on the conversations I've had in the blogosphere and the reading I've been doing this summer. I don't have room to discuss it here, but we acknowledge that each person responds to God and God's word in their own way and in their own time, so we don't expect cookie cutter congregants (say that three times real fast).

    Finally, if I accept Derek's description of events, I can see why he'd be upset. Occasionally such individuals come to my congregation as well, and while we don't have the same "identity" issues, some people *really* want to impress us with their attitudes and their observance. I usually don't ask them to leave. I don't have to. As long as they're willing to be respectful of us, we can accept a certain amount of variance in our midst. However if they can't accept us once they listen to what we teach and realize we're not about turning Gentiles into Chassidim, they typically leave and don't return.

    Now if Derek misjudged them, I would be truly sorry but, after all, we're all human and have our issues. Even Messianic Rabbis aren't immune. On the other hand, not all Gentiles who are part of OL/MJ/TH should attend a BE/MJ congregation as the boundaries are more "specific" than other Hebraic/Yeshua-worshiping congregations.

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  5. Gene, you said:

    "The second mistake this man made was by saying the following"

    Now let me get this straight.. this guy is against "man-made" stuff, but yet he himself, a man, made a statement offering a view on the Bible?? Wow, how dare he go against his own theology by saying anything about the Bible. What a man-made maker of religion...

    The funny thing is, modern day people from the west, who don't speak Hebrew, think they understand the Tanakh (the HEBREW Bible), which is written in HEBREW, a language that only the Jewish people have spoken, and is intertwined in Jewish life and culture.... yet these people just know better than them all, and better than all the Hhakhamim of Israel from thousands of years ago...

    If that isn't ridiculous, I don't know what is...

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  6. I am surprised that you guys don't see the irony here.

    It is a typical case of "a slave becomes a king."

    Derk, who in the eyes of Mainstream Judaism himself is a Frum Goy, is Lording it over some other goys who want to belong.

    This is what happens when lack of education meets pride.

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  7. The thought did occur to me Dan, but I decided to avoid it. I suspect the others noticed as well.

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  8. "The thought did occur to me Dan, but I decided to avoid it. I suspect the others noticed as well."

    There's a wide gulf of difference here, James. I hope you will understand this when you examine this closely.

    Derek operates within a Jewish space, part of a Jewish Messianic organization, respectful of Judaism, protective of Jewish identity. He works with Jewish leaders, some of whom supervised his conversion, which while may be controversial to some or many in MJM, is part and parcel of Judaism and took place under Jewish auspices.

    The same cannot be said of those guys who simply choose to invade Jewish space with their own version of "Judaism" and "Jewish identity," and are in disrespectful in deed, word and mindset to both Judaism and Jewishness in particular.

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  9. The same could have been said also for Orthodox Judaism that Gene revers so much aho openly declared that Derek's conversion is not worth the paper it was written on.

    But of course it is easier to attack one law than attack the orthodox...OY, Vey.......

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  10. Ahem ... that Barbie is hardly frum.

    First of all, tallit and tefillin do not signal "frum." They signal "it's morning, and I'm davening Shacharit." Reform & Conservative Jews wear these things when they pray Shacharit. And - shocker of all shockers - lots of non-Orthodox women wear them, too!

    Second, she's wearing short sleeves. Frum women cover their arms ... and their legs ... and (when they're married) their hair. And they certainly don't wear tallit & tefillin! That would be a HUGE no-no.

    I'm just saying ... it's essential to know what frum actually looks like if you're going to have an argument about whether it's appropriate for non-Jews.

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  11. Gene, all I was saying to Dan is that I did recall Derek had converted and I chose not to make it an issue.

    I realized why this conversation as a whole bothers me after I went to bed last night. It feels like we're all talking about Derek behind his back.

    Judah, did you email Derek and let him know you were posting this blog so he could drop by and decide if he wants to respond?

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  12. Remember the verse in James 2:

    1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

    Who cares what the guy was wearing!!!

    We have a Gentile who wears kippah in our congregation, let him if that's what he wants to do.

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  13. Actually, all men by tradition, are suppose to wear kippot in the synagogue, not just Jews.

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  14. :gasp: Barbie not accurately depicting frum dress? What's next, Scuba Diving Barbie not really being able to breathe under water? Don't ruin my childhood, dammit!

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  15. Barbie is *still* showing too much flesh for my liking!

    That's better :D

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  16. Hmmmm. I wonder if Burka-Barbie would allow Hijab-Barbie into her mosque.

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  17. This is the only real Barbie, folks:

    http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Barbie-Ken-Set/dp/B000M9LU8U

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  18. Hahah. I bet I know your identity, anonymous!

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  19. It's interesting to see how much interest there has been in Judah's latest blog. I was one of the guys there that day so I know exactly what happened. I am also the man Judah met last Sabbath.
    However, I was not the one who stated that the kippa was man-made, that was my friend's
    very polite , true and matter of fact comment when confronted by Derek about not having a kippa on while wearing tzit-tzit. I don't think either of us stated the next "quote" about being an actual descendant of Jacob while not being Jewish.
    It is not our belief that any gentile(or Jew for that matter) can state unequivocally that they know and can prove that they are descended from Jacob. What we can state is that scripture says that we as believers are "Abraham's seed"(Gal 3:29)and fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel.(Eph 2:11-12) From these and many other scriptures, we can conclude that we are considered members of the
    household of Jacob, for Luke 1:33 says that Yeshua reigns over the House of Jacob forever and to me that means that since He is my king as well, that the House of Jacob is my identity as it is all believers in Yeshua.
    We, who once were Gentiles are NOT
    co-opting anyone else's identity. What matters is the truth.

    We are not anti-semitic in any way. No more so than one would
    consider the entire "New Testament" to be anti-semitic for declaring that one does not enter the Covenants to Israel by conversion to Judaism or becoming Jewish or even being born a Jew, but by exercising faith in the God of Israel and by believing in the Total Gospel which certainly includes the Torah.

    Then, we were no more or less arrogant than Derek Leman. We both tried to defend our positions with rapid fire statements issued in a confrontational setting. We were not approached by Mr. Leman in any polite way at all. We were basically assaulted by Mr. Leman in a very intense way that caught us by surprise and put us on the defensive immediately.

    Again, Derek Leman's words and attitudes work against what I believe God is doing in bringing restoration of Torah to the gentile, and in the fulfillment of the "fullness of the gentiles" in order that all Israel might be saved. Consequently, he must also oppose the idea of the "One New Man". He really seems like an unredeemed Shaul, willing to stone gentiles in this case who go against his theology of Judaism. What he fights so hard against, he may soon see as the move of the Spirit of God among the gentiles to bring about the restoration of all things and the return of Messiah. May he repent soon and
    see the error of his zeal without knowledge.

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  20. Hey! Thanks for stopping by and telling us first-hand your side of things.

    It was great meeting you.

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  21. Now that we heard from one of the "anonymouse" who actually participated in the altercation and their version of the encounter(and his own attitude combined with his theology), I have even more respect for Derek. Yasher Koach!

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  22. You can take Shlomovich out of the Galut, but you cannot take the Galut out of Shlomovitch.

    Those kind of people will always ahve the mentality of a slave, forgetting that we as Jews are free today, we have our own country. We do not see any fly as a demonic goy.

    Shame on you Gene. You should move to Israel and join the IDF, learn what does it mean to be free as a Jew.

    As a side note, I wonder what is the reason Derek is hiding and will not come to defend himself?

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  23. Fine blog readers, note that Derek's supporters have not expressed any concern about Derek's lying through exaggeration.

    Keep this in mind as conflicts arise in the future: for some, theological alignment is more important that honesty in leadership.

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  24. "Shame on you Gene. You should move to Israel and join the IDF, learn what does it mean to be free as a Jew."

    Dan, you prefer Galut yourself - that's why you left Israel for Canada all the way back in 1966, then move to the U.S. It has been now 44 years since you left the Promised Land. You LOVE Galut! May be you have much more of the "galut mentality" than me since you lived in "exile" far longer than I have even been alive:)

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  25. "Fine blog readers, note that Derek's supporters have not expressed any concern about Derek's lying through exaggeration."

    Judah, that wasn't very nice of you to accuse Derek of lying. As I said to you before, you've known Derek far longer than you did those clow... ahem, fine fellows.

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  26. Gene,

    Don't judge a man until you sit in his chair.

    My father, myself and my son, we all served in the IDF (my son went there from the galut, just to serve).

    I guess it is a lot more convenient to tell russian jokes from safe Florida.....

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  27. "safe Florida....."

    Dan, have you ever ventured into downtown Miami after dark:)?

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  28. >> that wasn't very nice

    LOL. It's amusing to hear you concerned about being nice, Gene. When did this miraculous transformation happen? ;-)

    Gene, let me ask you a question. If I sent you, say, a photo of the 2 men on the day they visited Derek's congregation, and it proved Derek was lying about them dressing as frum Jews, would you be concerned? Or would you not care since Derek's theology aligns with yours?

    Bottom line: Derek publicly slandered these men as anti-Semitic covenant-erasers, opposed to free thinking. I've met this guy and the opposite is true of him, and may the record show it. (Amen!)

    It concerns me that Derek exaggerated facts in order to demonize people who don't think like him. It is not characteristic of the fruit of the spirit.

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  29. "If I sent you, say, a photo of the 2 men on the day they visited Derek's congregation, and it proved Derek was lying about them dressing as frum Jews, would you be concerned?"

    Certainly, I would love to see that (assuming it was taken on the same day/place). Please e-mail the photo to my gmail account found at http://dailyminyan.wordpress.com/contact/

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  30. Alright. I'll try to get a digital copy and send it over when I do.

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  31. There are some pieces of the puzzle missing if we are "trying" Derek in the court of the Messianic blogosphere.

    First, there is Derek's point of view to consider. In any situation, when you're trying to evaluate a circumstance you didn't personally witness, you have to talk to all the parties (I used to investigate child abuse for a living and my brain is still wired that way). Without getting Derek's side of the story, you will always have an incomplete picture.

    The bigger issue is that all of this is taking place more or less behind Derek's back (I'm sure he knows by now and one way to avoid a conflict is to ignore it). Whether you like or dislike Derek is irrelevant. Our standard of conduct and integrity must apply to everyone or it means nothing.

    Oh, and taking a photograph of someone on one particular date won't tell you what they looked like or how they were dressed weeks or months before the photo was taken.

    Please understand, I'm not saying these things because I'm for Derek or against Derek, but simply because playing by fair rules is the right thing to do, even if you suspect the other guy cheated.

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  32. We got Derek's side of this in his blog. In fact, that's all we had for several months. It was an effective way of demonizing One Law folks as anti-Jewish.

    I posted this only to tell the other side, having met the guy in question and hearing his side of things.

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  33. "I posted this only to tell the other side, having met the guy in question and hearing his side of things."

    Judah, I think your accusing Derek of lying was HIGHLY unwarranted. You made a HUGE issue of his words differing from the words of the people in question. It's their words against Derek's. Derek claims that one of these guys was dressing as a "biblical character" at the time he met them in his congregation. However, let's say for the sake of argument that they wore a regular t-shirt or a polo shirt as you claim will be shown in the photo (will your picture prove the date, location and time?). The PRIMARY thing that Derek took issue with them was wearing of a tzi-tzit in PUBLIC (which neither you nor they have so far denied), something that only "frum Jews" do, right?

    So, this makes these folks, combined with their hasidic beards, liable for posing as (weird and kippah-less) Jews in public and completely vindicates Derek.

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  34. Well, Gene,

    I accuse you of lying too. You said that I derive my material from anti-semitic websites which is a bold face lie.

    Run, get some water to dose your pants, they are on fire.....And move out of your glass house if you are expecting to continue to throw rocks.....

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  35. >> hasidic beards

    Heheh. You don't know what you're talking about, my friend.

    Ok.

    Regardless of Gene's approval, I am going to set the record straight here.

    Derek called these men 'anti-Jewish' and erasers of God's covenants. Now that I've met one of them, turns out he's not anti-Jewish, nor an eraser of covenants...nor frum, for that matter.

    All of that slander was written about this guy in a very public and popular forum.

    It is our duty as disciples to investigate serious things like the allegations Derek made against these men. Now that I've heard both sides, my findings are that Derek Leman either exaggerated or lied when he said these men were frum, and that he lied about these men being anti-Jewish.

    While only DL can say what his motive was, it is my opinion Derek did this in order to sway believers towards his theological slant.

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  36. I want to start by agreeing with what James has said on the matter.

    I wasn't initially going to comment, but I feel it is important enough to share, regardless of whether or not it will change anybodies heart on the matter.

    I am astonished at the amount of mudslinging I have seen occurring here. We seem to have forgotten to love one another. At what point did slandering others in the name of theology become more important than love. Can't we challenge one another to see things differently without it degenerating into bashing a leader for how he handles circumstances in his own congregation? Clearly, things have gotten out of hand.

    I want to mention a couple of things regarding this particular matter:

    1. Rabbi Leman never mentioned this gentleman's name. There is a monumental difference between mentioning an anonymous circumstance and posting on one's blog that "such-and-such" is a liar, or whatever.

    I'm also not entirely convinced the, "he did it first" argument is the best one to use during Elul, or any time of the year for that matter.

    2. Rabbi Leman clearly did challenge this individual in a way that caused this man to feel hurt/disrespected (some unpleasant emotion).

    This is something that would most certainly be worth Rabbi Leman knowing, and worthwhile for this man to try to approach him and see if some fruitful reconciliation can come of this. I don't know if it would or not. In either case, it is between Rabbi Leman and this man, ONLY.

    3. This blog post had only the intention to slander another

    The only point of this post seemed to be the slandering of Rabbi Leman. This is fruitful...how? This helps build the kingdom...how?

    Has it occurred to anyone (I speak about both sides of the fence) that maybe we can share with one another without beating each other?

    I speak as a newbie to the Messianic blogsphere and I know I don't get a lot of readers. I also know I work hard to offer postings abou subjects entirely different from those which everyone is trashing each other.

    As a friend of Rabbi Leman, as a friend of all followers of Yeshua, as a conscious Jew, and as someone hoping to know God in my own life more and more I had to speak up about this.

    Please, in the name of all things good, try to operate with some semblance of ethics. Otherwise, we will destroy each other before any opponents from the larger Jewish or Christian worlds even start going after us, not even to mention ha-satan.

    Is it really too late to do t'shuvah on this?

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  37. As a friend of Derek and a respecter of anyone that serves in the position of leadership within a church or Messianic community I am sure that there are many dynamics involved here that are not being presented.

    I am greatly saddened and disappointed that this issue is being presented in a public forum. Two names are being damaged here Derek’s and the name of HaShem. The accusers have remained nameless which makes them--as far as I am concerned (and I may say what the Torah demands) is/are false(s) witness. Even if names come forth this is not the place or the forum to work through issues such as this. It only brings shame to God’s name. In fact, I am embarrassed to even put my name in this thread to voice concern.

    I realize that the most difficult and venerable position to maintain in the body of Messiah is that of congregational leadership. With this in mind, I respect Derek’s right to guard his community from behavior or even personal practice that may work at odds to what his community represents—regardless if we agree with them or not.

    “He who publicly shames his neighbor it is as though he shed his blood." (b.Bava Metzia 58b)

    Was the purpose of this blog to bring correction or shame?

    Boaz Michael
    www.ffoz.org

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  38. In agreement with Benjamin and Boaz and in the light of upcoming holy days that call us to repentance, I think DELETING this post and all of the corresponding comments completely will go a long way to rectify any possible hillul Derek, hillul Yeshua and hillul HaShem that may have occurred here (intentionally or unintentionally it does not matter at this point.)

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  39. Pick the 2x4 from in between your two eyes Gene. You should have gone into politics, not to Mj. You are talking like a diplomat.... We can all see through you.....

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  40. Well I can't hardly imagine that, if at this time in history we are so unwilling to listen to what Messiah Yeshua has already said, that we would suddenly be all ears in the millennial kingdom.

    The lines have been drawn and the gap is widening between the "Jews" and the "Gentiles".

    That is not only sad but unnecessary. Quite a spectacle to those who are on the outside wondering if there is any validity to what has been called the "Messianic movement".

    Unteachable, easily offended, looking for advantage and practicing the fine art of always being correct.

    When do mature believers get to lead fellowships? Where are the souls who consider others to be better than themselves? Is it true that there is not a wise man among you who can judge these matters?

    There may be time left in this world to sort out these issues, but it would be unfortunate if we had to use it that way.

    To a brighter day.

    Efrayim

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  41. "We got Derek's side of this in his blog. In fact, that's all we had for several months. It was an effective way of demonizing One Law folks as anti-Jewish.

    I posted this only to tell the other side, having met the guy in question and hearing his side of things."

    Sorry, Judah. I have to call bullshit here.

    Calling out one party by name while allowing the other(s) to remain anonymous is shameful.

    I've been chewing over the content of this thread since last week...biting my tongue (as I rarely actually chime in).

    James, Benjamin and Boaz literally took the words out of my mouth.

    While this post may have been well intended you laid the groundwork for this to turn into shameful character bashing.

    Tihngs like this remind me why I stopped participating in message groups back in 1997.

    The level of immaturity found in the comments here should be embarassing to most here.

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  42. Two things,

    1) I suggest that all of you holier than thou guys who act like Derek's messengers, first, take the 2x4 from between your eyes.
    The truth is the truth, and how do you expect to solve any problems or differences between us when we refuse to lay all the chips on the table. Stop invoking God's name or Lashon Hara when you get offended, look in your own closets first. Derek was asked many times to come and defend himself, if instead he elected to send other people to defend him, then let him and you holy guys live with the consequences.

    2) This is Judah's blog and he is entitled to write whatever he wants . Anyone who does not like it I have a solution for you---DON"T COME HERE. Stay in your safety zone with you cronys.

    Bottom line---Stop playing these holier than thou silly games....

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  43. Hey guys,

    1. On a public & influential forum, Derek slanders God-fearing One Law people on his blog as "anti-Jewish" and "erasers of God's covenant" who were pretend Jews dressed frum. He essentially boots them out his congregation.

    2. I happen to meet one of the guys Derek booted. Turns out, they weren't dressed frum, weren't anti-Jewish, and weren't erasers of God's covenants. (Whaddya know!)

    3. Feeling a duty as a disciple of the Master, I set the record straight on this very blog, tiny and irrelevant as it is. :-)

    4. Messianics who theologically align with Derek, unconcerned with his behavior, engage in virtual gnashing of teeth, pseudo-wailing and feigned outrage at me, the messenger.

    Wail all you want, fine blog readers, the record has been set straight; both sides of the story are now visible on the internet.

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  44. Side note:

    The drama in this thread is so thick and ridiculous, we could easily topple Days of Our Lives without much effort.

    I volunteer to be the sexy delivery boy.

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  45. "On a public & influential forum, Derek slanders God-fearing One Law people on his blog as "anti-Jewish" and "erasers of God's covenant" who were pretend Jews dressed frum. He essentially boots them out his congregation."

    Judah, Derek mentioned none of their names, nothing to identify them to the public. I don't know who these folks are, what they look like, how old are they, and where do they live. It would be no different than say a doctor described a medical condition/history of a patient of his, without revealing that patient's name - no breach of trust has occurred, no law has been broken.

    However, to accuse a well-known leader (and a person many people I am sure look up to) of lying - repeatedly - and especially a person who you identify with as a fellow "messianic" AND a friend - this is where you have crossed the line into the proverbial Lashon Hara territory, IMO.

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  46. Hi Gene,

    My post brings to light evidence that was not revealed when Derek posted his story-with-a-theological-zinger.

    I'm glad to have been of service to Messiah in bringing this issue to light, even though it reflects negatively on one of our leaders.

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  47. "I'm glad to have been of service to Messiah in bringing this issue to light, even though it reflects negatively on one of our leaders."

    Still defiant and unrepentant. This remind me of a verse in NT that says that one day there will be those who will kill, and yet think they are doing a service to G-d?

    OK, enough drama:) I hope that you will go to Derek directly and resolve this matter one-on-one instead of public arena.

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  48. It is good and right to have both sides of the story public, no matter how many irrelevant commentators think otherwise. :-)

    Had Derek kept this a private matter in his congregation, there would be no need to voice the other side of the story. But because he publicly shamed these men and their beliefs, we must hear the other side of the story, even if it is painful to do so.

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  49. ... and Gene pulls the LaShon Hara card!

    From http://www.jewishideas.org/blog/it-lashon-hara-make-public-aware-terrible-sins:

    "It is not "Lashon Hara" to call the public's attention to injustice and criminal behavior. To cover up such behavior is the sin. To look the other way while Jewish children are being humiliated and segregated is not virtuous, but is a reflection of a warped idea of Torah and Torah values."

    From http://jsafe.org/pdfs/Lashon%20Hara%20and%20Abuse.pdf:

    "There are times when a person is obligated to speak out, even when he is the sole informant and even though the information is disparaging. Specifically, if a person’s intent in sharing the negative information is for a to’elet, a positive, constructive, and beneficial purpose, the prohibition against lashon hara does not apply."

    Gene: The fact that Derek is referring to an unnamed person is no excuse. The victim of the injustice is a victim nonetheless! Even MR. Leman has attempted to use the doctrine of LaShon Hara to silence someone and it is available for all to see. Do you want to go there? I'm sorry Gene, your attempt to use the emergency parachute has failed... it's a backpack! 8-)

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  50. It's a backpack....LOL! I love it.

    The irony here is that Derek himself is not welcomed in Dauermanns congregation, because with all his bogus conversion he is still a Gentile, and Dauermann does not like Gentiles in his congregation.

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  51. Reminder: the point of this post is not to bash Derek Leman, but to give the other side of the story, which is inconsistent with Derek's version.

    I'd rather see Derek and anonymous reconciled, with whomever needs to repent do so, and then we could move on.

    FWIW, 2 different people, one from Derek's side of things, and another from anonymous' side of things, have suggested a phone call or conference. Maybe that's an opportunity for repentance/reconciliation. We'll see what happens.

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  52. Bringing the actual parties together at the same table, so to speak, is a fabulous idea (not that it'll be easy). It's an opportunity for everyone to be able to take the moral high road and frankly, to show the rest of the world how the body of believers is supposed to resolve conflicts amongst ourselves.

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  53. To Dan:

    You wrote:"Two things,

    1) I suggest that all of you holier than thou guys who act like Derek's messengers, first, take the 2x4 from between your eyes.
    The truth is the truth, and how do you expect to solve any problems or differences between us when we refuse to lay all the chips on the table. Stop invoking God's name or Lashon Hara when you get offended, look in your own closets first. Derek was asked many times to come and defend himself, if instead he elected to send other people to defend him, then let him and you holy guys live with the consequences.

    2) This is Judah's blog and he is entitled to write whatever he wants . Anyone who does not like it I have a solution for you---DON"T COME HERE. Stay in your safety zone with you cronys.

    Bottom line---Stop playing these holier than thou silly games...."

    First of all, and let me make this clear under no uncertain terms...I am not Rabbi Leman's messenger. I speak for myself ONLY.

    Nor do I speak for God, but I hope to speak for what I believe in (just like you). Once one opens the door to challenge someone's character, everyone gets exposed or misrepresented (likely both). We are, in fact, allowed to challenge one another (I agree with you). Requesting that we all relate out of brotherly love is not "holier than thou." It is simply a friendly reminder. I'm sorry if you do not feel you need that reminder. I have had plenty of times I needed that reminder. I am thankful for those individuals who reminded me. I have simply paid that gift forward.

    If you stand on a conviction that telling people who are sharing an opinion that they are "holier than thou," saying they are engaging in "silly games," telling them to not "COME HERE," and go back with their "crony's" is appropriate, that's you're right. I would just ask that you consider whether or not I have demonstrated hypocrisy.

    By the way, there are enough 2x4's for ALL of us here...

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  54. To Judah:

    You wrote: "Reminder: the point of this post is not to bash Derek Leman, but to give the other side of the story, which is inconsistent with Derek's version.

    I'd rather see Derek and anonymous reconciled, with whomever needs to repent do so, and then we could move on."

    Thank you for making your intentions clear. I was not getting that impression from the tone of the posting. It is amazing what can get lost without hearing the human voice.

    Thank you for letting me share here Judah, I am ready to move on now

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  55. A couple of weeks ago I reconnected with a former pastor and his wife out on the West Coast. I had not spoken with them in 15 years and when I told them I had been in messianic congregations for the last ten years, they were appalled.

    As I spoke about my desire to show my love for God through following his commands, they told me that they felt like I had turned my back on the Spirit. No matter how much I tried, I could not convince them that you can be in the messianic community and still walk in the Spirit. I told them they were wrong.

    After reading these posts, I am asking myself if it is still early enough on the West Coast to call them and apologize.

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  56. Judah said:

    >>The ongoing attempts to exclude Messianics outside of the bilateral ecclesiology niche makes me wonder. That Derek wants to redefine “Messianic” to exclude folks like this man worries me – maybe in his zeal to exclude the “unwanted” Messianic types, Derek exaggerated the facts? I don’t know how else to explain the discrepancy between this man’s earnest story and Derek’s story-with-a-theology-zinger blog post.<<

    Regardless of the unavoidable drama, this is a very important issue that needs to be dealt with. How many of us are reluctant to visit a messianic fellowship or synagogue these days because of discriminatory attitudes. If someone's appearance or doctrine is not to the complete satisfaction of the rabbi or congregational leader, will he be confronted, mocked, written about on a blog with sarcasm and exaggeration? Makes me fearful to bring a group from my new Sabbath fellowship to experience an established Messianic synagogue service sometime. I think of the passage in James chapter 2 about partiality and "respect of persons." The equivalent in our day seems to be (paraphrase)...

    "If there come unto your synagogue a Jewish man with tzit tzit and kippah and there come a Gentile man with tzit tzit and no kippah and you say to the Jewish man, "Sit thou here in an honored position" and to the Gentile man, "Go away, we don't want your kind" are ye not then partial in yourselves and are become judges of evil thoughts?....If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, "THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors......

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  57. Messiah's Way and Tandi, to be fair, there is a high degree of variability in Messianic/One Law/Hebraic congregations and their members. Even the best among us is capable of sin, so it's helpful not to put anyone or any individual congregation on a pedestal. They'll just fall off at some point.

    Try not to let the comments here paint all of the "Messianic movement" with a broad brush. There are many good and sincere people who, within the Hebraic worship context, are trying to honor God and walk the path that Yeshua has set before them. Needless to say, we all stumble sometimes, which is why, if we're going to make a mistake, we should err on the side of mercy and grace rather than judgment and rejection. If God treated us like we treat each other, no one would survive. When Yeshua returns, will he find faith?

    In any congregation, be it Messianic, a Christian church, or whatever, the leadership sets the tone and direction. Tandi, if you're interested in visiting a Messianic congregation, don't be afraid. You might want to call ahead and talk to someone to find out what to expect, though. Then visit and see how you are treated. If the love of the Messiah is there, you will be welcomed as the person you are, and not be expected to morph into something else just to please the group.

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  58. A bigger issue that is raised by this posting than who lied and who slandered who is the question of what relationship the non-Jew has with the Torah.

    There is one school of thought that the Torah is given only to the Jews and only they should (or need to) follow It.

    This idea is held (apparently) by Derek Lehman and his followers and, somewhat ironically, by the historical Church.

    The other School of thought is that there is one Israel - all who are in Messiah, and the Torah is given to all Believers.

    Getting into endless debates over dress-codes is premature until we of the Messianic movement come to an agreement over this Theological issue.

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  59. And what else is new David?

    I thought that is what we argure for some time now?.......

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  60. Getting into endless debates over dress-codes is premature until we of the Messianic movement come to an agreement over this Theological issue.

    David, my first thought here is "good luck with that". I honestly don't think there will be a consensus opinion on this matter (or many other theological matters) until the Messiah returns. We debate these topics rather endlessly in the Messianic blogosphere so right now, and given that Rosh Hashanah is only days away, the need for repentence and return to God by *everyone* is of heightened importance.

    While we may not get to a point of mutual theological agreement, I hope we can reach a point of at least acknowledging that we all are one flock of one shepherd and that we will all learn to hear and obey his voice.

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  61. "While we may not get to a point of mutual theological agreement, I hope we can reach a point of at least acknowledging that we all are one flock of one shepherd and that we will all learn to hear and obey his voice."

    I agree. However, when we have leaders excluding some of our brothers over theological differences, it becomes crucial to continue this debate until it is resolved. If they practiced inclusion and love we could take our time in working out our issues.

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  62. I perceive Tandi has done what I'm considering, chucking MJ in general to seek the peace of one's own, new Sabbath fellowship. I highly suspect she will not align with any national-level organizations going forward. I've heard in the Denver area a non-Jewish MJ congregational leader was told he should resign because he was not Jewish. I've heard in the Atlanta area any MJ congregation not run by a Jew is blackballed by their area MJ association. I think it is time to bring these and similar actions out into the light and clean house. I believe this blog in its small way is has brought one such injustice out into the open. Sorry Gene! If an organization is not showing the love of Messiah Yeshua then it is time for such organizations to repent and change their ways or close as people of the light seek the light.

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  63. Anonymous, there's no way for me to adequately respond to your comments in a short reply, so I created my own blog post to address the issue. It's called Blackball?. Feel free to let me know what you think.

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Husband, dad, disciple of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, technologist. Author of Chavah Messianic Radio, MessianicChords, and EtzMitzvot. @judahgabriel


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