Friday, December 07, 2007

Methodist is Jewish-Lite? Huh?

I was idly listening to Randy Rhodes on Air America and she made the passing comment (in a vastly different context) that "wasn't Methodist Jewish-Lite?" (paraphrased). This totally got my attention and I missed the rest of the on-air conversation while I called Terri to see if she could explain the connection. Neither of us could and we both got quite a bit of amusement out of it.

You see, even though I'm no longer a Christian, I was raised Methodist, and I briefly considered converting to Judiasm (I'll explain more below). If there was someone who would have understood the comment, I would have, and I was completely befuddled as I didn't see a connection at all beyond an attachment to doing rituals exactly the same way each time. I was very much waving my hand in the air: "Excuse me. I have a question." Or as Terri put it "If this is on a need to know basis, I NEED TO KNOW."

I think we'll be forever in the dark on that one. Randy Rhodes doesn't do email for her show and I don't think fast enough on my feet to call her. I even tried Google and got precisely no where. Ah well, it was funny in that hurt brain sort of way.

What I love about the Jewish community that I'm familiar with is the willingness to laugh about familial dysfunction. My family is Southern (I'm the only Californian) and I see plenty of parallels between dysfunctional middle class Southern families and dysfuntional middle class Jewish families. The obsession with appearing happy and successful, heavily matriarchal (and the matriarch doesn't like to be disappointed), some powerful people in the family assuming that you just know what they want without them having to spell it out, oh and you must fit in and not be different.

But I realized that though I'm plenty spiritual, I'm not religious in the traditional sense so converting to Judaism didn't seem to be right for me. When asked I just say that I'm more a Jewish-Identified Gentile.

1 comment:

whoizme8 said...

Fascinating and funny. Enjoyed it. Please read and comment on my book on John Wesley's theology.

Have you heard about John Wesley? Do you like reading about John Wesley? Are you interested in John Wesley’s theology?

Are you interested in what John Wesley thought about the Roman Catholics? How about the Quakers? Did you know that he wrote about the Deists and the Mystics and compared their thinking with that of his “True Christianity?” He also wrote about the relationships between Judaism and Christianity.

John Wesley was a very ecumenical thinker holding together many views that apparently are opposed to each other. We should be proud of our founder.

The book “John Wesley, Natural Man, and the ‘Isms’” written by J. Robert (Bob) Ewbank, discusses all of these issues and more.

Written for the layperson as well as the scholar, there is a Study Guide in the back of the book to help individual or group study. The Guide has questions in the front, which are answered later in the Guide.

Bob has a B.A. from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas and an M.A. from Garrett-Evangelical. He is currently Lay Leader of St. Mark UMC, in Mobile, AL.

Bishop Rueben P. Job of the United Methodist Church has written some kind words on the back cover.

Sam Royappa District Superintendent of the Coulee District in Wisconsin has recommended this book to his clergy and laity.

Dennis Mohler, District Superintendent of the Foothills District in Ohio also comments on the book at

The book is found on the Newcastle Methodist Church site at

A review of the book has also been published in the October 15, 2009 copy of The Laity Link which is the newsletter of the Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Laity. It is also been written up in “The Rainbow,” the magazine of Delta Tau Delta, The “Aware” magazine of Garrett-Evangelical and the Baker University magazine “Baker World.”

The book has been used by a local Sunday School in its entirety and quoted in others.

To find the book go on the internet to:
1. (Wipf and Stock)
2. The book is now available at Cokesbury, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, WJE at Yale (The Jonathan Edwards Center),,,, Booktopia,;,,,, Angus &,,,, Infibeam, and among others.