Dave Brisbin | 2.12.17
Why try to understand Jesus’ message from a first century, Hebrew point of view? What will that change? There’s a question I get a lot. The answer is: mostly everything. Whatever we say about Christianity being a relationship rather than a religion, the truth is that Western Christianity has become heavily focused on an intellectual understanding of theology and a rational/literal understanding of scripture, a legal view of our relationship to God, a dualistic view of life—especially the separation of the spiritual and physical, and an emphasis on the afterlife as opposed to life herenow that sharply defines our view of and attitude toward life and spiritual practice. 

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From a Hebrew point of view, the intellectual gives way to the experiential, the literal to the metaphorical, the legal to the relational, dualistic to holistic oneness, and therethen to herenow, which changes everything about our view of life and practice of faith. One of the primary metaphors Jesus and the Jewish authors of scripture use to describe this way of seeing and living life is the ancient Hebrew wedding tradition, in which a bride waits up to two years between the kiddushin/betrothal and nissu’in/wedding for her groom to come unannounced to claim her. Knowing the details and significance of the wedding tradition, how it shaped everyday Jewish life, how a young bride lived between betrothal and wedding, between the life she’d only and always known and the radical change of a new one to come, between heaven and earth—the present embrace of a too-short experience of love and life mixed with the excitement and anticipation of sudden newness at any moment—points us toward the rich experience of living kingdom as breathless brides.

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