Tag Archives: separation
Posted on 21. Mar, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
A Life Apart is a captivating documentary on the culture war between ultra-orthodox, Jewish Hasids and America. In it there is this wonderful story that illustrates the movement’s haunting attraction. It was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Baal Shem Tov, its founder, was praying. He stopped abruptly and after a while the congregation grew restless. Suddenly, an illiterate young shepherd, unable to restrain himself, pulled out a flute and played a single, heartfelt note. The congregation was scandalized but, as the sound died out, the Rebbe began praying as though nothing had happened. When asked about it he said, “I sensed the gates of heaven were closed to our prayers, but that one, pure note, sounded by the shepherd boy, pierced through the heavenly gates and only then were our prayers permitted to follow.”
Posted on 17. Jun, 2009 by Tim Stoner.
The encouragement by many current teachers to fearless engage in the world is laudable. It is a necessary corrective to the fundamentalist tendency to flee from or demonize culture. However, I think it is not very helpful to teach that we are to feel at home, “safe” in this world; i.e. that true holiness reduces the Christian’s tension in and with the world. According to the NT, our primary identity with regards to the world remains “stranger”, “alien. We are still to be in the world but not of the world. That very biblical and very healthy tension is essential and should not to be lessened or sneered at, even if it is done ever so ironically.