Unification

City Borg on the Prairie

This is just a quick note, for anybody who might be reading/ interested, to let you know that I have decided to amalgamate all my various blogs – The Bajoran Exile, Chakotay Homestead, Seaside Therapy, Shepherdess, Messianic Woman etc. back into one right here (hopefully that should be achievable, as they’re all on WordPress).

When it’s all done, you can expect more of the same, but with a much heavier dose of Star Trek analogies.

I don’t know exactly why I have this continual impulse to start new projects that I can’t possibly keep up with, but it is certainly a recurring theme. I shall attempt to stop it immediately.

I haven’t written anything anywhere recently (unless you count twitter and facebook), due to mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. That has made me realise how ridiculous it is to have so many blog projects on the go at once, and…

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The Kingdom Divided

I thought I would re-post this here, as I don’t usually post Bible studies on Life for Beginners, and this seems a more appropriate place. I don’t often post Bible studies here either, but this is a specifically Messianic topic. What do you think? Does it matter whether or not we are accepted?

City Borg on the Prairie

I have been quite shocked and disappointed this week to (re-)discover two things:

Firstly that anti-semitism is alive and kicking in the churches, particularly down here in Cornwall.

Secondly, that there are many groups and individuals who believe that gentile believers are not part of Israel proper, only on the fringe as part of the ‘commonwealth’, and that Torah is only for Jews (and beyond that, that we need the “oral Torah” to properly understand and obey Torah).

To my understanding of the scriptures, such a view and practice of exclusion is falsely resurrecting the partition wall that Yeshua tore down. It is a little bit like saying that gentiles aren’t really part of the Kingdom, which is after all what “Israel” is meant to be – the Kingdom where God reigns.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free”

We are meant to be equal…

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Time to Plan Passover Cleaning!

I’m hearing it a couple of days late, but the report is that there is no Aviv (ripe barley) yet in Israel, so a second month of Adar, called Adar 2, is added. So this is what you might call a Jewish ‘leap year’, with 13 months.

So that means that it’s around 45 days to Passover (a few less now, I think, maybe 43?)

The command is to remove ‘leaven’ or ‘chametz’ from the home, but most people will do a thorough ‘spring clean’, working on the basis that there may be ‘chametz’ hiding somewhere!

We have Purim inbetween of course, but I think that now is the time to start planning, if not actually cleaning in earnest yet 🙂

What’s in your Planner?

I just had to share this, as I am a plannerholic! Diaries, notebooks and planners are among my absolute favourite things!

In fact I have several planners on the go this year, for different things. My favourite format is Filofax (personal and A5), although over the years I have tried just about ever planner and every format available!

My current planners are: a purple personal filofax for my handbag that goes everywhere with me, an A5 purple filofax for general planning that stays at home (on what currently passes for a desk) an old, slightly falling apart black A5 filofax that houses my daily to-do list, and an A5 Paperchase planner for my prayer list.

I also have separate planners for homeschool and study. I know, I’m a stationery addict 🙂

I have been meaning to post about what is on my To Do list, so I will aim to do that next.

http://homemakersdaily.com/use-your-planner-especially-when-you-dont-want-to/

So do you use a planner or a diary? Do you wish, like I do, that there were a specifically Jewish or Messianic woman’s planner?

If your wife can’t stay home without generating income, she needs real work, not a blog or pyramid scheme

This post leaped out at me today as I was surfing (and to be honest, avoiding the housework actually…). Our financial situation has changed drastically over the last few years to the extent that we are now completely dependent on benefits and I absolutely hate it. I have been wondering for months what I could do or how I could help to get us back on our feet. Additionally I have been dreaming (literally) about my job. I haven’t worked outside the home now for maybe 15 years, but I often dream about the work I used to do and I confess, I really miss it. I miss the office, I miss dressing up for work, I miss the social side, I even miss commuting. But there’s no going back – for various reasons, working outside the home is just a non-option for me. I need to find an alternative. So what do you think, is this post reasonable in its assertion that WAHMs need proper work? What to you actually constitutes proper work, and are blogs or pyramid schemes or selling franchises like Usborne or Pampered Chef not even worth looking at?

The Practical Conservative

The title says it all.  Blame pregnancy brain for this placeholder of a post.  I shall return this one day when I’m a little less gum-brained, but I wanted to post a little at least about what I mean in the title.

To be blunt, if your wife has to make money while she’s at home or else you all have big financial problems and she can’t get a job outside the home for whatever reasons, then she needs to do something real for money.

Too many housewives who have to be economically viable beyond canning and couponing get caught up in the pursuit of professionalism in their work-at-home endeavors.  So they turn to monetized blogs and pyramid schemes because you “join networks” and “build inventory” and sometimes get to wear a business suit or go to a conference.  Such things are just traps, sucking money out of families that…

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Messianic Distinctives

I have been thinking recently about what it means to be Messianic. For three years now I have had no Messianic fellowship at all – there is simply nothing available in this part of the world – and so, after being completely isolated for so long (and even without internet fellowship) I have started again to look for Christian fellowship, and have had to determine where I can be in agreement, and where I must draw the line.

So what does Messianic mean?

Messianic Judaism, or the Messianic faith is far from homogenous – there is a broad spectrum ranging from something which to all intents and purposes resembles mainstream Christianity, right through to something which resembles something more like Orthodox Judaism.I wrote this basic list in around 2007 in an attempt to formulate some `distinctives’ (differences from mainstream Christianity) to which all Messianics would be able to agree.
[1] We fully identify ourselves with the Jewish people: For those of us who are of a Jewish background and heritage, we remain Jews. For those of us who are of a gentile background and heritage, we see ourselves as ‘grafted in’ to the Covenant People, Israel. We do not remain `gentiles’ in the sense of ‘pagan’ (although the Hebrew word ‘goyim’ also carries the meaning ‘Nations’). We do not stop being English / French / African / Australian or whatever, and we do not become `Jews’.
To be fair though, even this is not without contention. Most Jewish congregations do not accept non-Jews as part of Israel, denoting this whole idea as ‘replacement theology’ and saying that non-Jews can be part of the ‘commonwealth’ but never properly part of Israel. I don’t personally think that is a fair criticism.  We are supposed to be ‘One New Man’, the Body of Christ. Read Romans 11 and Ephesians 2. What if a Jewish Messianic marries a non-Jewish Messianic? Are their children Jewish? No, I am convinced that these distinctions should not be perpetuated indefinitely. There is to be neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female. But as with other race problems in the Church at large, we’re not there yet.
[2] We seek to recover the lost heritage of the essential `Jewishness’ of the ‘faith’ – that is the ‘Christian’ faith, the original Messianic faith in Yeshua (Jesus), and perhaps emphasising the Jewishness of the early church by including the use of Hebrew names, and a movement away from pagan-derived non-Hebrew religious names and vocabulary. (This is much more prevalent in the Sacred Names movement, which is connected to but perhaps a somewhat separate branch to Messianic Judaism.)
[3] We celebrate the Scriptural and Jewish Feasts, including Sabbath, Sukkot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach/ Passover, FirstFruits/ Omer/ Shavuot (`Pentecost’ in Greek) as well as Hanukkah and Purim in preference to `Christian-ised’ pagan-derived feasts such as Christmas and Easter. (The more Christian branch of Messianic spectrum, that formerly called itself Hebrew or Jewish Christians, tends to retain all the Christian festivals, and tends not to view any possible pagan connections as a problem.)
Additionally, some adopt a kosher diet – abstaining from pork and shellfish – understanding that Paul’s vision was a metaphor for welcoming non-Jewish people into the faith and not, as Christians understand it, abandoning the food laws themselves.
[4] We have a reverence for Torah in its entirety, not just the `ten commandments’, as “inspired, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness”. (Not to earn salvation, as the Messianic movement is often accused of)
There is an unfortunate tendency to get stuck in the minutiae of the Feasts without going on to searching out the ‘Weightier Matters of the Law’. I have been down that path myself, and I have seen good people disappear into an abyss of rules and regulations, losing their love and compassion along the way. It’s not a pretty picture.
The weightier matters of the Law are pretty clear from scripture – they include Justice (justice for the poor, the downtrodden, the disadvantaged, the widow, the orphan, the imprisoned, the victim), Mercy and Love.
For those reasons, the church with which I have involved myself recently – although it  may not seem an obvious choice, given their love of Christmas – is The Salvation Army. Obviously we differ on the significance of the sabbath and the festivals; and I am pretty sure it is a denomination that tends towards replacement theology. I am pretty sure we differ theologically. I’m also pretty sure that it wouldn’t be the most comfortable place for a Messianic believer.
But ultimately, I feel that as a single, isolated believer, I am doing no good, but as part of an extended body, despite theological differences, we can achieve some good. And when you look at Christianity as a whole, what denomination is doing more towards Tikkun Olam? (Healing the World)
The Messianic view of the Law, Torah, is quite different from mainstream Christianity – it is not a burdensome, undesirable curse of a thing that you would want to get rid of. Instead, it is viewed as a gift. A beautiful, restful, peaceful haven of safety. Torah is viewed as freedom, not something we need to be freed from.
The Salvation Army, perhaps alone in having the ‘liberal’ values of wanting to help the poor and disadvantaged, tends to be fairly conservative theologically in terms of valuing ‘holiness’. Although they divide the Law into the classic ‘Moral, Civil and Ceremonial’ categories, rejecting the ‘Civil’ and ‘Ceremonial’, they do at least continue to believe that the Law is a good thing.
I was thinking today that, if I were asked to ‘work’ on Shabbat (in terms of Salvation Army work), for instance, I would struggle, I would certainly wrestle with whether or not I could or should ‘work’. But it occurred to me to wonder what constitutes Biblical ‘work’ – I generally wouldn’t cook or shop on the sabbath, but what about healing the sick? feeding the hungry? rescuing the endangered? At this point, I haven’t been asked to do anything that would make me struggle or question.
But I think that it would be possible to retain integrity as a Messianic believer at the same time as giving up the gift of the sabbath to do good. After all, isn’t that what Yeshua himself did?

Rounding up the Week

Shabbat Shalom! I hope you have all had a great week!

I am finishing up the week with debilitating backache, so I haven’t managed to get all the work I wanted to do done (and my husband has had to cook the shabbat meal! Thankfully I had everything prepared so it was just a matter of putting everything in the oven, but I am very grateful nevertheless!)

Following the post about the Japanese recipe, ‘Doria’, I did a little bit of googling about the interesting similarity between Japanese and Hebrew script, and I turned up this interesting article: http://originalbuddhajones.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/old-japanese-words-have-hebrew-origin.html

and this video (in Japanese, with some English subtitles.)

I’m sure that, if you had time to research, it would be an interesting study.

We are facing the storm ‘Brigid’ this weekend, which is set to hit the west coast of Cornwall, so I’m praying it won’t be the storm of ‘apocalyptic’ proportions that the American weather forecasters are suggesting, but rather the little bit of wind and rain that the British forecasters have mentioned. 🙂

Have a great Shabbat!

 

Doria • ドリア

This is not a kosher recipe, so obviously you would need to adapt it, but it looks like a good base, and I’m really struck by the letters for Doria (is that Japanese?) and how closely they resemble Hebrew. Isn’t that interesting?

Year of Biblical Womanhood

This is just a quick post to ask if anybody who considers themselves to be aiming for (a conservative interpretation of) ‘Biblical Womanhood’ * has read Rachel Held Evans’ book?

Everything I have read by Rachel Held Evans so far leads me to suspect that she essentially doesn’t respect the concept of Biblical Womanhood (at least in as far as it is interpreted by conservative believers), and that her book is essentially mocking anybody who does, from a modern, feminist, liberal perspective.

I would love to be proved wrong.

Have you read the book? Would you recommend it?

* I may perhaps aim to discuss what that might mean in future posts.

Concerns over Soya as a Health Food

Last year I experimented with going vegan for about three months, for various reasons. Unfortunately I got very ill, to the extent of nearly needing to be hospitalised. Tests suggested that I was at risk of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and was advised by my GP to avoid wheat, dairy, all fake sugars and all fake meats especially soy-based and gluten-based meat replacements. I have found that, providing I stay within those guidelines, my gut doesn’t give me too much trouble.

This prompted me to look again at the subject of whether soya can be considered a health food or not. I present the following link as a good summary of why soy may be a health risk – not just to people like me with a tendency to sensitivity, but to everyone, especially children and young people.

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2014/01/why-soy-is-not-a-health-food.html

Please do your own research and come to your own conclusions about whether you want to include soya in your family’s diet.

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