My sixth book of lent reading was one I picked up because it was on Rob Bell’s suggested reading list. It’s written by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, a prolific author who is fully Jewish and not at all messianic. That is to say, he is still waiting for the Jewish messiah (a harsher way to say that would be to say that He considers Jesus a crazy person or a liar for claiming deity…). I wouldn’t recommend a book like this for people young in the faith, but it is useful background information for preachers and teachers.
All the same, Kushner knows a good deal more about the Jewish culture that Jesus was raised in and it helps me understand the Bible more when I understand the thinking, customs and traditions.
Here’s some take aways:
- p.20, “People see only what they’re looking for and what they understand, not neccesarily what lies in front of them.”
- p.21, referring to Genesis 28, “Jacobe meant: ‘If I had known God would be here, then I wouldn’t have gone to sleep.”
- p.61, “If all people in the world were to [repair creation], our world would truly be a Garden of Eden, the way God meant it to be.”
- p.67, “The Sefas Emes teaches that not only is God hidden everywhere throughout all creation, but we can also bring this concealed holiness out into the open through our performance of sacred deeds.”
- p.94, “Most Jews have an open and even playful approachto interpreting and understanding the Bible, and this can be surprising or confusing to some Christians.