Monday, January 22, 2007

Walls of Partition

This article from Christianity Today magazine seems important to me. It mentions how many African-American ministers become weary of having to bridge the culture gap between "Black" and "White" in their local religious communities.

As a Messianic Jewish minister I deal regularly with pastors and churches that have an equally awkward culture gap. They schedule a community Pentecost event and wonder why my congregation can't also celebrate Shavuot by attending. They speak of how they value the Jewish roots of their faith, but lack the time or care to bring any of these roots into their congregational life. They are timid about exploring how to draw from the "rich inheritance" we share because they are afraid doing so at all must somehow imply other things they do are wrong.

(There are also some local pastors and churches that are actively embracing the Jewish roots of their faith, and do understand how to cooperate smoothly with a Messianic Jewish congregation. I don't want to describe an overly troubled situation.)

However, the Messianic Judaism is a movement, something birthed and empowered by God to help God bring transformation to Jewish communities and to churches. Besides sharing a sense of purpose that includes dealing with that awkward culture gap, Messianic Jewish leaders also network together and support each other. Both help tremendously.

It was sad to read in that article that apparently God has yet to raise up a similar movement of ministers dealing with harmony among ethnic groups. I know of a few organizations, such as Promise Keepers, that focus on this, but apparently there is no real movement -- or if there is then it's not very well networked and not accomplishing what God is intending.