Discussion

Last spring, you generously sponsored me to write “an article of 1,500 words, give or take, that gives a good introduction to Messianic Judaism today.”

I finished the article some time ago and was very pleased at how it turned out, but it wound up being around 11,000 words — nearly eight times its anticipated length.

On Chanukah, we remember the miracle of the oil in the Temple burning for eight times its anticipated length. And while my article’s becoming similarly long was the furthest thing from a miracle, I do think it makes Chanukah a serviceable if somewhat contrived time-peg for my finally publishing the article.

So here it is. But really, I believe and hope that my article, “Whither Messianic Judaism?” might be something fun and unusual for you to read this time of year, while you may be thinking about religious traditions and hopefully have some extra time.

"Whither Messianic Judaism?" on Medium

Happy holidays, and thank you again for your support!

Paul



Hi all!  Things are still moving along with my article on Messianic Judaism, thank you for your patience and support.  Adam Jack Gomolin at Inkshares had some great edit suggestions on my first version, so I revised accordingly and the second draft is now being read by another Inkshares editor, Barnaby Conrad III.

Meanwhile, my friend Mark Glaser will be reading it this weekend with an eye towards helping figure out what to do with it-- like, should we send it out to publishers, and if so, who; or should we publish it ourselves, and if so, how.

The article is nearly 10,000 words in length, which makes it long for an article but short for a book, so it could go in a few different directions.  It's also a tricky piece to categorize because it includes some fictional elements (which are clearly delineated) along with the regular reporting-- so it's not standard journalism, and would not work for publications that frame their content as such.

But however the piece comes out, I'm excited about it.  I think it's super interesting (I'm biased, of course).

Paul

Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · added almost 7 years ago
Thanks for the update, Paul! Excited to see a draft!


Sep2012 caricature adjusted 240w Paul Spinrad · Author · added almost 7 years ago

Greetings, valued backers!  Despite my lack of updates, I have been working on "Whither Messianic Judaism?" and have finished a pre-rough draft that Wendy is reading now.  So we're on track, just taking some time to get there.

In the course of my research, I got to speak and correspond with some real leaders of the Messianic Judaism movement, which was interesting and fun-- they were all super nice and helpful. I wasn't sure if anyone would trust me, since they don't know me and might wonder if I was from an enemy anti-missionary group like Jews for Judaism or Yad L'Achim, but they correctly assumed that I was reaching out in good faith.

Meanwhile, at Inkshares, my article will be edited by Adam Jack Gomolin and Barnaby Conrad III, which I'm excited about.  Adam is Inkshares's General Counsel and is super enthusiastic about the topic; he told me that he has "topic envy."  He and I have had some great discussions about Christianity and Judaism.  Barnaby Conrad III is an experienced writer and editor (I remember his name from The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic, which I loved), who is also into the topic and gave me a great research lead, an old friend of his in Oakland who almost became a rabbi, but instead wound up becoming an Anglican Vicar. Adam, Barnaby, and I had lunch together to discuss the project after it was funded, and I think some great ideas came out of it.

Adam asked me who might be interested in publishing it, and I emailed him back that I wanted to approach the topic in a personal and discursive way that would probably render it unsuitable for conventional publication. So that's what I did, but maybe we'll do two versions-- the long, quirky "Director's Cut" and a more focused and commercially viable version edited down from the original.

Sep2012 caricature adjusted 240w Paul Spinrad · Author · added about 7 years ago
"Whither Messianic Judaism?" just hit its funding goal on Inkshares, which I'm stoked about-- thanks again everyone!  I'm glad to be able to focus on researching and writing it now.

Meantime, I'm lining up interviews with Daniel Juster (Tikkun International), Susan Perlman (Jews for Jesus), and Rabbi David Levine (Beth Israel Messianic Synagogue and Messianic Jewish Teachings podcast). These are three people whose perspectives I'm most interested in for this article, and I'm glad I'll be talking with them.
Sep2012 caricature adjusted 240w Paul Spinrad · Author · added about 7 years ago
Thanks again for your support!  I've already spoken and corresponded with some of Messianic Judaism's leading voices, and the topic is as interesting as I was hoping. I think their story and recent growth demonstrates some truths about religious affiliation that are relevant to all of us today, and that we (dun-dun-dunnn!) need to be serious and strategic about.

I've also learned about the Christ At The Checkpoint conference, which took place just this past week in Bethlehem. The conference brought together Palestinian Christians and some Israeli Messianic Jews, aiming to combine their forces into a sort of Jesus-powered vanguard that will bring peace to the region. It seems like a long shot from both sides, but I think it could actually work.

The previous Christ at the Checkpoint conference, in 2012, was officially denounced by most of the major MJ organizations in the U.S.: the MJAA, UMJC, IAMCS, and IMJA. But this year, a founder, president, and longtime leader of two of these organizations, Daniel Juster, spoke at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, while none of the big MJ organizations objected-- at least, not publicly.

On the fundraising front, I've raised $984 so far, but need $586 more to meet the goal-- and the deadline is in just 9 days. So if you know anyone else who might be interested in this, please let them know!  Thanks again.
Sep2012 caricature adjusted 240w Paul Spinrad · Author · added about 7 years ago
Thanks again for your support!  I've already spoken and corresponded with some of Messianic Judaism's leading voices, and the topic is as interesting as I was hoping. I think their story and recent growth demonstrates some truths about religious affiliation that are relevant to all of us today, and that we (dun-dun-dunnn!) need to be serious and strategic about.

I've also learned about the Christ At The Checkpoint conference, which took place just this past week in Bethlehem. The conference brought together Palestinian Christians and some Israeli Messianic Jews, aiming to combine their forces into a sort of Jesus-powered vanguard that will bring peace to the region. It seems like a long shot from both sides, but I think it could actually work.

The previous Christ at the Checkpoint conference, in 2012, was officially denounced by most of the major MJ organizations in the U.S.: the MJAA, UMJC, IAMCS, and IMJA. But this year, a founder, president, and longtime leader of two of these organizations, Daniel Juster, spoke at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, while none of the big MJ organizations objected-- at least, not publicly.

On the fundraising front, I've raised $984 so far, but need $586 more to meet the goal-- and the deadline is in just 9 days. So if you know anyone else who might be interested in this, please let them know!  Thanks again.