Being Still | "The Reminders We Don't Know We Need"


  1. As a Jew, I’m a little ambivalent about the idea that Jesus came along to save people from the tedium of the Old Testament and to let them eat pork and stuff. I mean, I don’t have a problem with people eating pork (and I actually do so myself), but I hate the smug attitude I sometimes hear of “I’m allowed to eat pork because I have Jesus. Jews have to keep kosher because they don’t have Jesus.” Jesus and whether or not the OT law is followed have nothing to do with each other. The reason that temple rituals aren’t followed anymore is because the temple was destroyed by hostile invaders. Pure and simple. Titus and the Romans did that, *not* Jesus, who had already died, although Jesus allegedly predicted it during his life.

    The Messiah in Judaism is not somebody who comes to render the OT laws obsolete. The Messiah is someone who is so powerful and morally upstanding as to be a role model who causes everybody in the world to worship God and all Jews to follow the law. If Jesus is the reason for the OT laws to have lost importance then he was not the Messiah in the Jewish sense. Even in the Koran, Jesus doesn’t say that his preaching takes the place of the Law of Moses, he says his preaching “confirms” it.

    My minister friend puts it very nicely when she says that the Bible was not a book for people in ancient times, it was a whole library. It serves more than one function. It is philosophy, it is poetry, it is legislation, it is history and historical record-keeping, it is mythology and allegory. God gave us a reasoning mind to figure out which parts are which. God is not teaching you a lesson by boring you with lists of names; that part of the Torah (a better name than Old Testament, by the way, which implies obsolescence and irrelevance) is merely meant to serve as a historical record which was important at the time, and if you have no use for it, don’t feel that you have to read it out of obligation. It is not going to make you a better person, nor is it all a big set-up for Jesus.

    I’m not trying to talk you out of worshipping Jesus or anything like that, I just want to encourage you not to fall into the predictable pattern of thinking that the Torah is just something that Jesus came to wave away. The Torah was a way of life for a nation. Some of that way of life is worth preserving, and some may not be. You have to think about it, not just say “oh this is so boring, thankfully Jesus got rid of it.” Because he didn’t. Remember that Jesus didn’t come up with “love thy neighbor” himself, he learned it from Leviticus.

    Maybe when you read all those complex temple rituals you could reflect on what was lost when the Babylonians, then the Romans destroyed the temples. Maybe you could reflect on the hundreds of complex and possibly beautiful Indian and Aboriginal rituals that don’t get practiced anymore and that we don’t even know about because conquerors destroyed those people’s way of life. That would be a better lesson, in my humble opinion, than thinking about how this is just something we have to choke down like yucky medicine in order to get to Jesus.

    1. Hey IB! I really appreciate you taking the time to read this post and respond so thoughtfully (and thoroughly, I might add!)… I totally respect your positioning, and it’s not my job to argue with you… I just must simply agree to disagree… the point of this post was not to harp on just the “rules” and all that stuff… it’s merely a microcosm of a much larger picture and a much larger struggle that I deal with (and I think many Christians, and possibly Jews – but I don’t know) deal with. I absolutely agree with your minister friend that the Bible serves more than one function – absolutely!! For me, it’s a holy book that can (and does) teach me about everything in life… from relationships, to morals, to pursuing a calling, to how to just be a good person, to how to worship God, to learning about history, to how to do… well… pretty much anything… I could go on, but I just wanted to say that this post was really about a whole lot more than just “being bored by God’s rules and oh thankfully Jesus got rid of that” – because that’s really missing the point and the bigger picture. Jesus did a WHOLE lot more than just “get rid of the rules” 🙂 He came to save sinners (of which I am very much one) and that’s what I’m most thankful for above all else.

      Again, I really really appreciate you coming and reading and engaging in discussion!! Thank you so much!!

      1. As a new reader and fan, I have to say this post really bothered me. While you say that this post was about “a whole lot more” than “Phew, the crazy rules are gone!” that’s really what seemed to be the point of the post.

        As an observant Jew, I can tell you that those “crazy rules” really aren’t so crazy when you live them. Some of them can even be pretty fun:) I practice them, I study them, I teach them to my children. My family members generations ahead died for them. So to hear them dismissed in this way is offensive.

        I normally just dismiss comments like these when I read them on blogs. But after reading so many thoughtful, informative posts of yours I think you should be aware that this came off as extremely dismissive and rude to me, and probably some others as well. It seems a bit of a departure from the classic you.

        1. Hey Keshet – I just want to sincerely apologize if the post came off that way to you and if you were offended in any way. That is never, ever, ever my intention and for you to feel as though your beliefs as a Jew were being dismissed, I am truly sorry. I realize that and see how this post could come across that way, but I truly hope that you see and know my heart and that’s not my intention.

          Honestly, my purpose in sharing this post and my purpose in sharing my heart here was just to openly talk about some of the struggles I have (and I know many Christians have – and I’m sure there may even be some Jews that share the same struggles) with some of the law portions of the Bible / Torah. And ultimately a lot of those struggles are just a microcosm of some of the larger struggles I have as a follower of Jesus.

          I don’t mean to sound defensive or like I’m brushing off your comment and feelings because that is not the case at all.

          I’m also probably not articulating myself as well as I could or should… But it truly is my hope that you hear my heart on this and know that I in no way dismiss those rules, laws, and traditions God created… I know it’s because of those rules, laws, and traditions that we are even here today. So, for that I’m so grateful! Among MANY things.. I am super grateful.

          I guess what I’m ultimately just trying to say is – I’m not perfect. I screw up. I make mistakes. And I am extremely ignorant when it comes to a lot of this stuff. I’m an imperfect sinner doing the best I can to learn, grow, and mature in my faith. And I know that along the way I am gonna stumble… And here I could have and should have done better for you and all the other Jewish readers that I have who may have felt put off by this post.

          I hope you can accept my apology!

          Thank you so much for reading and for feeling comfortable enough to leave such honest feedback. I hope you will always do that! (But I also hope not to offend you. :))


          1. Of course, and I only wrote because I feel like I know you a bit from your blog, and this seemed very not “you.” I think you are rocking it, and I know you will continue to:)

  2. I was so happy to wake up to this today! I have been following the plan to read the Bible in six months and I am sad to admit that the OT often bores me as well. Thanks for this insight! I will keep that in mind as I read! Susan

  3. Great devotional!! I thought the same thing when I read through the Bible last year with our church and I came to the very same conclusion (after I complained a whole lot…even to my hubby). Can’t wait to read more of your devotionals. Thank you for being faithful to the prompting of God!!

  4. I needed this today! And it almost seemed as if I was writing it myself! I look forward to reading more of these, hoping my health will continue to improve so I can keep up 🙂

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