A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that over a third of the Jewish community accepts those who believe in Jesus as still Jewish. Leaders of the Messianic church, however, disagree as to whether or not this shows that Jews are more open to Jesus than in the past.
"A less hostile climate, a more open-minded climate" is pervading American Jewry, Messianic Jew Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. While he said that this doesn't mean Jews are hungry for Jesus, he said that this shift represents a unique opportunity for Messianic Jews to spread the Gospel.
Glaser explained that, "more than anything, the number one objection Jewish people have to believing in Jesus is that if they do, they have to stop being Jewish." While more than half of American Jews still consider Christianity incompatible with Judaism, Pew found that 34 percent do not. That number is even higher among ultra-Orthodox Jews, at 35 percent, and among ages 18-49, at 38 percent. more >>
This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, a coincidence that last happened in 1888 and will not occur again for 79,043 years, according to Jewish sources. Jews and Christians agree that "Thanksgivukkah" is not a contradiction but a fortuitous connection between holidays that both celebrate thankfulness to God and religious freedom.
"AJC has not conducted a formal study, but my general sense is that I don't think anyone is stressed about Chanukah overlapping with Thanksgiving," Michael Schmidt, New York City director for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. "I think people are sort of playful about it, as shown in the term 'Thanksgivukkah.'"
Schmidt emphasized the thematic connection between the two holidays. "Hanukkah this year, which celebrates the revolt of Judas Maccabeus for religious freedom, very nicely aligns with the holiday of Thanksgiving, where the Pilgrims celebrated religious freedom," he said. more >>
Sometimes it can appear that where there is a calendar day, there is a holiday of some kind. Observances can range from the solemn Memorial Day to the not-so-solemn Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Not all holidays are equal, with a small number being nationally, religiously, or ethnically significant; some involve the government closing down for the day while others do not.
Through it all, Thanksgiving has held its own as a much beloved American holiday. Taking place on the last Thursday in November, for many, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. more >>
One of the largest churches in North America will soon be charging entry fees for visitors who are there for sight-seeing purposes.
Washington National Cathedral, located in the District of Columbia, announced Monday that it will begin charging an entry fee in January for a "six-month trial period."
Jada Pinkett Smith, popular actress and wife of celebrated actor Will Smith, has caused a stir among her Christian fans who took umbrage at one of her recent Facebook posts to her 4.3 million fans declaring "we must not belong to the obedient… we must belong to our truth."
"We are born with our souls, but it is through our experiences in life that we are given the opportunity to discover the paths needed to develop the self. In order to do this we must not belong to the obedient... we must belong to our truth," noted Pinkett Smith in the cryptic Facebook post last Thursday which has since triggered a raging existential discussion about God. It has also attracted a barrage of excoriation from people of faith who think she went too far with her comments.
"Poor baby! Floating way out in the universe somewhere! True meaning of LOST in SPACE! Just shows you how the devil can manipulate your thinking when you[r] mind is not focused on the one and true GOD! Love ya little Jada!" wrote Connie Cooper in response to the post which has been liked more than 40,000 times and shared more than 3,400 times. more >>
The foundations for Christena Cleveland's new book, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart, began when she was eight-years-old. As a child, growing up in her father's "a quarter black, Hispanic, Asian and white" church plant in the culturally heterogeneous San Francisco Bay Area, this was Cleveland's reality.
"It was normal for you to interact with people who were different. It was normal for cultural conflicts to come up and for you to work through them, rather than run away from them. It was normal for me to sing worship songs outside of cultural comfort zone," Cleveland told The Christian Post. "Church was an adventure."
But as Cleveland, who attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for undergrad and subsequently entered a doctorate program at University of California, Santa Barbara, left her childhood behind and began to move around the country, she quickly saw that many American churches had nowhere near the diversity she had taken for granted as a child. more >>