When I was a little girl I would spend time with my only living grandparent; My father;s mother-Fannie. She was a little lady and made awesome tea cookies! I remember her upper apartment and the small kitchen and the “cooking” we would do. We always made what she called a mish mash. A mish mash was a mixture of all kinds of crazy things together. It was a way I pretended to cook. I have a visual memory of everything thrown in from whatever was in her refrigerator or pantry; borscht, uncooked noodles, everything thrown together and mixed together with an egg beater. For some reason I thought this was so much fun at 3 years old! What I made wasn’t really palatable but it was a mix of everything and anything on hand.
The same can be said for a lot of people’s spiritual lives. They take whatever is on the shelf at the moment throw it together and mix. It might not really go very well together when you read the ingredients but who really cares–it is fun!
Increasingly in the world I find that many want to be both/and. They want to have multiple religious identities. They lack a sophistication and nuance of the details of their spiritual and religious disciplines and so think they can mold and meld two or more religious ideas into one – a mish mash.
In this pick and choose kind of world, when people have their doubts about organized religion–the mish mash of individuals seems safer. So it is no surprise that the mish mash mix is so prevalent. Take Judaism and Christianity. Though they share some things, some values in common, they are very different from one another. I love my Christian friends and colleagues. I deeply respect their faith and their values but at the end of the day Judaism and Christianity are deeply different ideas. Jews believe that God has no embodiment-no physical reality. While Christians believe that Jesus came to embody God on earth. These are radically different ideas. There is much to appreciate about Christianity and some things as a Jew I have to distance myself from. Especially the history of anti-Semitism permitted and encouraged by the Church. Or the willingness of some Christians to want to convert all the Jews to their way of thinking and being so that their vision of the end of time can come.
Jews have a messianic ideal but we don’t sit around and try to make the Messiah appear–we plant trees for future generations.
So I noted with interest this story from JTA-the Jewish telegraphic agency that shared the news of the death of the biggest MishMasher of recent years.
Jews for Jesus founder dies
May 21, 2010
NEW YORK (JTA) — Moishe Rosen, the founder of the Jews for Jesus movement, died Wednesday at 78 from prostate cancer.
Rosen, born to Reform Jewish parents from Austria, converted with his wife to Christianity in 1953 and later became a Baptist minister devoted to converting Jews. He founded the Jews for Jesus organization in 1973, although the movement began earlier. He served as executive director until 1996, but worked as a staff missionary and served on the 15-member board until his death.
Jews for Jesus has offices in 11 countries, including Israel, with more than 100 missionaries employed worldwide.
“We exist to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide,” their mission statement reads. Over the years, their core belief system and their targeting the Jewish community has made the group, which is comprised primarily of Christians, anathema to the general Jewish community.
He tried to convert the Jews. Plain and simple by a mishmash of Judaism and Christianity. Confounding the two and confusing the two.
Let’s have enough respect for these two great faiths to honor them without the mish mash.
For even as people and kings and priests and Popes have misused religion –abusing it as power and dominance over others, betraying the real truth of justice and love that both Judaism and Christianity teaches–It doesn’t work as a mish mash.
It was fun in my Nanny’s kitchen. It serves no purpose in the spiritual realm.