Repost from fellow blogger, Peter Vest’s, site:
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Why Individualism in Messianic Ministries is Hurting Us as a Movement and a QUESTION
Not too long ago, there was a video put out by some Jewish Christians who apparently lived in Israel. As is typical of Christians, they attacked Judaism by attacking the Rabbis. The thing that bothered me most, even more than the unfair attacks, was the arrogance behind it.
And then a member of a well-known One Law ministry made some public comments that expressed approval for the awful video and I called this person out.
The readership to this blog plummeted (it has since recovered). The person in question quickly de-friended me on Facebook (which in Medieval times would be like slapping someone with a glove).
Now, I’m not bringing this up to cast any blame–I’m sure I deserve most of the blame, not being the most diplomatic person in the world. I’m bringing this up because it highlights a faulty value system in our Messianic movement:
It seems that most ministries prize individualism (independence) over holism (interdependence).
I seem to recall that there was a scholar named Hofstede who wrote extensively about the differences between Eastern and Western culture. I’m probably not going to get this exactly right but I believe he explained that there exists a continuum of values between the opposite poles of individualism and collectivism that might look something like this:
Individualist values: self-sufficiency, independence, non-conformism, role aversion, individual decision making, independent living, self-guided
Collectivist values: cooperation, interdependence, role acceptance, group decision making, group living, group-guided
The idea was that Western countries, because of affluence and modernism, place more value on the individualist values. Be true to yourself, do what feels good, don’t listen to “authority”, let’s all promote equality because everyone is absolutely the same–let’s even have gender neutral bathrooms. And in the Eastern countries, people actually listen to their elders, they are true to their group at the cost of personal desires.
The ideal is probably somewhere in the middle of the continuum, (Continued on his blog, please discuss here or there…)
What does it truly mean to be One New Man? One in Messiah?
How can we come together and set aside minor differences and learn to walk in love and humility, letting the Ruach settle (or glory) in the variety? What are the ‘non-negotiables?’ What are the ‘negotiables?’
As I commented on Peter’s site, I fear the only real solution is a crucible…. It will be painful, but the chaff will be removed.