Thursday, June 7, 2018

An Unexpected Turn

Sometimes life takes us in a direction we didn't expect. It's not always dramatic; sometimes it's only a subtle shift, but significant nonetheless.

Over the last couple of months, my wife and I have been re-evaluating our priorities in the context of our family and our community. We took a hard look at our plans to launch a business and/or a ministry and to find a way to work from home. What we realized is that these things are not a priority in this season of our life. Rather, our focus needs to be on building up our community and establishing a foundation for our young, growing children.

I tried to extend Parashah Messiah too long -- past its purpose. Keeping up with it has been a challenge, much less trying to build up FBTL as a whole. That's why I've decided to let both of these go for now. I thought I could work on establishing traditions for my own family and share/promote those formally through the FBTL page simultaneously. It proved to be too much. So, I'm cutting the latter in order to better focus on the former.

I've learned a few things over the last two years. For one, engaging an audience (and especially recruiting writers) is just as hard as it ever was. I remember this difficulty back from my days of publishing the Midrash Newsletter; I just thought that I could put in the effort necessary to overcome it this time. And, I did, for a time. Until I started running out of people to ask to write.

I also have another point of experience in my continuing inner struggle between the structured/formal and the messy/informal. Both have a place in this world, but finding what works best for me in engaging others has been a back and forth tug of war. What I've learned here is though I think I would love to work in the formal (I had such a blast working with the HarvestMag team), I'm not sure I'm cut out to lead such a venture. For now, I fall back on my informal, but honest blog.

Which brings me to the future. Building a foundation for my family is my priority right now, so I don't know that I'll necessarily have the time to pick this blog back up in the way that I used to write (though, when I do have the time and have thoughts to share, the Hopeful Heretic will be here for that purpose). Most of my focus is going to be on a renewed effort in my own education (working on some Greek, early church history, and basic philosophy) and building traditions and practices for my family.

I'll leave the FBTL website up for now, though I imagine I'll probably take it down toward the end of the year (hosting a website isn't quite free). I'll keep a backup of all the wonderful Parashah Messiah articles. A big thank you to everyone who participated in this project. It's impact may have been small, but it was there. Especially early on, I received several messages from folks talking about how the Parashah Messiah posts encouraged them in their faith. More importantly, I have seen God moving throughout other teachers and parts of the Messianic movement to bring a restoration of the Gospel to this corner of the church.

I'm not sure where the future will take me, whether I'll eventually take up FBTL up again or join someone else in their work or just keep quietly working in my own family and community (with the occasional blog post, of course). But, for now, this is where I'm at. Thank you to all who have been with my on this journey thus far. I look forward to the years ahead.
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Why "Faith Beyond The Letter"?

Well, I promised you all a post about why I decided to move Parashah Messiah over to Faith Beyond The Letter (and why I created FBTL in the first place). Here it is. Finally.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parashah Messiah has Moved!

Parashah Messiah has moved! You can continue to follow by going over to www.faithbeyondtheletter.com/parashah-messiah/

Things are pretty busy right now and there's a few things that are still up in the air, but hopefully I'll be able to post more details soon on the future on The Hopeful Heretic and the launch of Faith Beyond The Letter.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: The Great Spiritual Migration

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The Great Spiritual Migration
(by Brian D. McLaren)

Most people who know me know that I try to keep an open, yet critical mind about new ideas. I will consider the ridiculous, try to get into the shoes of those who believe it; but when I'm done, I'll apply the same ax that I apply to my own beliefs. It is in this vein that I opened up The Great Spiritual Migration and it is under this standard that McLaren's book failed to hold up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Spiritual Sobriety

Spiritual Sobriety
(by Elizabeth Esther)

Addiction is a nefarious sickness that can take any number of disguises--including spirituality. In Spiritual Sobriety, Elizabeth Esther (a former religious addict herself) shares advice on how to recognize and overcome religious addiction.

As a recovering religious addict myself, I found the concept behind this book intriguing. In our faith walk, we're always trying to figure out how to do things right so that we can be righteous and accepted and so that we can feel close to God. But, how often do we ask ourselves what is healthy? Is it really healthy to continually be looking for that emotional high we get at worship services? Could our constant fretting over whether or not we're doing the right thing be a sign of a deeper problem? Esther says these are signs of spiritual addiction, and I'm inclined to agree.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Updates! (Parashah Messiah, New Messianic Lectionary, Faith Beyond the Letter)

So, if you haven't heard, there's a few new things going on that I'd like to share with you. Life's been pretty busy, so this is just going to be a quick update, but I wanted to make sure I posted at least something about these latest projects.

Friday, March 4, 2016

How to survive the rise of tyranny

I have to be honest--the results of Super Tuesday surprised me a bit. I thought surely authoritarian supporters would be a minority. Surely, people would hear the rhetoric of Hitler and Mussolini behind the words of this man who "speaks his mind", a man who publicly stated that he wants to increase the power of libel laws. I never thought this idea of building a wall was even meant to be serious, yet we're still talking about it. I believed in the goodness of people, yet here we are promoting an ideology of fear and hate even among Christians! Especially among Christians.

Vox has an excellent article that explains some of the sociology behind all this, showing the personality profile of authoritarians and how fear is a driving force in bringing their dark side to light. One of the interesting things they mention that is easily lost is that Trump isn't even the real problem. The real problem is an American people who espouse an ideology that creates and supports people like Trump. I want to say that he doesn't represent the Republican party, but from the people's point of view, he does (or at least more than half of it). And that means that even if Trump can be defeated, we will see more people like him in the future, because that's what the people are demanding. What we're seeing is a people who are so scared that they want a strong leader, one who will stop at nothing to ensure their security.