In this episode, Terry leads with a conversation regarding science, religion, philosophy, and the signs of the end times. This longer episode connects directly with Terry’s dissertation and brings to point a conversation about what are we doing, as Jews and Christians, to help or hinder tikkun olam and prepare for a “messianic” era.
Below you will find an embed of the episode aired on Anchor and following it my response to the episode. I encourage you to subscribe to the blogs and podcast individually or sign up for emails to your inbox. Also, click here to learn more about this project and how you can contribute ideas (as well as be a guest speaker).
This is a challenging topic to address. In the pursuit of building bridges, Terry and I managed to find some common characteristics between the Jewish and Christian faiths, as well as the Jews and Christians themselves. For example, both camps believe in an end to the current era, but may disagree on the finer details. Leaving that for future conversations, this post focuses more on practical living for the present. Both groups struggle to practice their faith in a way that manifests itself beyond Torah observance and evangelism.
This is a significant issue. During my time as a Christian and Messianic Jew, I would definitely say there is an ignorance that applies regarding science and the scientific method. Climate change is not so much a fact as it is a political opinion used to sway Republicans and Democrats. This is problematic. In my personal experience, most “Christian missions” were missional in mind: whatever practical good they did to help others had the ulterior motive of evangelism and needed to score conversions as a means to justify the expense of resources. There are mercy ministries that exist, but they exist primarily to “share the Gospel,” instead of primary just to help others.
In the Jewish camp, they aren’t called “mercy ministries” but they operate essentially the same, with a key difference: Judaism does not concern itself with conversions. In fact, conversions are discouraged. The notion is that Gentiles (non-Jews) can be Noachides to have a “right standing” with HaShem. Thus, any works to help others are done with the approach of helping others. This is good, but as a result, there seems to be less help focused on non-Jewish individuals. Every human needs equal assistance since they are all equal to HaShem (they just fulfill different roles on the earth).
Despite these works by the organizations, in my perspective, both Jews and Christians outright fail when it comes to tikkun olam on an individual level by conservation, recycling, composting, reducing plastics and chemicals, etc. This is an easy and practical method to change the world for better. Don’t have time for family and making your own detergent? Make it a family project. From a Jewish perspective, this is even better as you can imbue the mundane activity with a deeper purpose. You can even use it as a teaching method, either for yourself, others, or family, on how this conserves and contributes to us being caretakers of G-d’s creation. With that simple concept, making detergent has now been elevated to a spiritual act to connect with HaShem.
Crazy, right? It’s actually not that hard to live green. Then again, I live in Portland where green is the starting point. I’m not a hippie by any means, but I find simple yet effective ways to conserve, reuse, and sustain the planet while maintaining my Jewish identity. In fact, by elevation, it enhances it. If you need any help on some easy ways to get started, contact me and I’ll gladly share DIY guides you can implement right away. I even worked them for convenience and effectiveness.
What are your thoughts? Where can we make bridges? What areas seem unlikely?
Questions about religion, semiotics, Judaism, or Christianity? Maybe all of the above?