2013 wraps up, and Kineti – this very blog you’re reading, the blog on the Messianic Jewish and Hebrew Roots world – turns 10 years old - whew! I’ve been blogging for a decade. As far as I’m aware, that is the longest running personal Messianic blog on the web.
Thanks, fine Kineti readers, for your eyeballs and attention spans and discussions this past decade.
In 2013, I wrote a few posts that are worth reading, posts that drew attention and provoked (hopefully!) some thinking. Think of it as the highlights of the last year of the Kineti blog. Enjoy:
- The 3 signs of apostasy, and how to deal with doubt in your own life (258 comments) – With a well-known Messianic Jewish blogger leaving the Jewish Messiah and converting to Orthodox Judaism, I look at several examples of apostasy among friends and family, and what steps we can take to strengthen faith.
The result was rather overwhelming: 250+ comments from Messianics, Christians, Jewish anti-missionaries, atheists, and apostates. There were a few reactionary blog posts on other Messianic blogs. Even though my post was only to highlight apostasy and suggest ways to strengthen faith, I’ve since been labeled the “apostasy police” – ha. I’ll have to add that to the list of religious insults. :-)
- Why atheists make terrible dictators (72 comments)
Should governments be secular? Should we separate God from nation? As it turns out, statistically, atheists make the worse dictators. Why is that?
- Oh my God! Ridiculous theologies about God’s name (26 comments)
The absurdity and foolishness of turning a minor issue – usage and pronunciation of God’s name – into a major issue of faith, one worth dividing over. Examples of foolishness in both sides of Hebrew Roots and Messianic Judaism.
- Looking for Messianic good in Christmas (27 comments, 117 more on Facebook)
This caused a lot of discomfort among my own family and, I suspect, Messianics and Hebrew Roots folks abroad. Why is it some Messianics are religiously fixated on Christmas, calling on its rejection as a non-negotiable article of faith? This, too, is foolishness, an imbalance on minor issues that the Hebrew Roots world needs to mature out of.
- Stringency Snowballing: how extreme religion comes about and what to do about it (30 comments)
Why do Islamic women and Orthodox Jewish men in the heat of the Middle East wear heat-attracting black clothing, black hats, black head coverings? It’s the same reason immodesty is blamed for the flu, cancer, and wayward children! (Don’t laugh, it’s a real claim.) How extreme religious stringencies snowball into cultural norms and religious law.
- So there we were, singing Hebrew songs to Lutherans (15 comments)
Hineh mah tov! True story how God brought together numerous Messianic and Christian groups for the sake of worship.
- Messianic Misfits: good people with bad theology (32 comments)
At what point on the Crazy Theology Scale do you break fellowship with believers? Small matters like calendars and holy days seem minor, but what about issues of living like Torah observance? The identity of Messiah – man, prophet, God? A true story about a good man with bad theology.
- The problem with FFOZ’s Tent of David (171 comments)
First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ)’s new book, Tent of David, argues Messianic gentiles should return to the church. But if the Messianic movement is from God – including drawing gentiles back to the Jewish Messiah, the goodness of the Torah, and an Israel-centric faith – then why should we send gentiles back to the church, where assimilation back into a faith severed from its Jewish roots is inevitable?
- All natural, bro! Why Yeshua’s disciples must put away medical quackery (38 comments)
This caused much consternation among my own religious community, where many Hebrew Roots and Messianic folks embrace all-natural elixirs over sound medical advice by medical professionals. Ultimately, this hurts our credibility by embracing pseudo-science. We, as Yeshua’s disciples who are called to help people in need, should embrace modern medicine as a means to harness creation for the sake of helping people.
- My experience at church today: a friendly critique of a pastor’s sermon on Jesus and the Sabbath (48 comments)
Highlighting anti-Judaism and anti-Torah perceptions in the church, but dealing with them in graciousness. True story from my experience at a church with my wife, when the pastor speaks against shabbat, God’s sabbath. Understanding their arguments and offering Scriptural responses.
2013 has been the busiest year of my life.
While I continued working my full-time software developer job, I also launched a startup around internet radio, and began working for an Israeli software company. In addition to running Chavah Messianic Radio. In addition to serving in ministry at my local congregation.
Working 3 jobs is nice from a financial standpoint. It leaves little time, however, for anything else. I’d like some leisure time, and I really don’t have any because of work. That’s not sustainable, and I’m looking to change that in 2014.
The busy life has cut back a bit on my blogging. In years prior, Kineti saw 2 or more posts per week. This year has saw 2/month, if I was lucky to find enough time to write. In fact, this very post was planned for December 31, and only now on January 5 am I sitting down to write it.
More than ever, fine Kineti readers, I’ve grown spiritually in the last year towards balance and maturity. More than ever I’ve seen how some Messianics amplify minor issues into major ones to their own detriment. It’s caused me to put a focus back on the majors.
The majors being what Messiah said were majors of the Torah: justice, mercy, faith.
Justice: God commanded us to show justice to those in need, calling out orphans and widows as examples. (Deut 10:18-19). I’m putting a focus on this in 2014 by helping those where I can, volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, and organizing my congregation to do the same.
Mercy: There is a transition in many Hebrew Roots peoples’ lives. We go from Torah Terrorist to a person who cares about regular people and desires to see others grow in their walks with God, not being a religious butthead to those that disagree. I am in that transition now.
Faith: High personal standards is not incompatible with mercy for others. This past year I really grew closer to God through daily prayer, growing maturity in worship via experience at our congregation. Overall I feel like I’m growing into a more mature, seasoned person of faith, shedding a lot of the anger and frustration that has come with past fixations on the problems of Christianity.
More than ever, I see God at work in Christianity, Hebrew Roots movement, the Messianic Judaism movement, Jewish Christianity, and the unbelieving Jewish world. (Heck, I even see God at work among secular people, more on that in another post…)
On the whole, folks, I’m happy where things are headed. It’s not all roses, but there is much to be grateful for, and much to look forward to, both personally and among the people of Israel and the coming kingdom of Messiah.
Thanks for reading. To a 2014 characterized by spiritual growth: shalom.