It feels like many events are coming together. We’re beginning to talk about the future rather Jewishly. We’ve made contact with some people who are helping us. Those who are shunning us seem to be quieting down and moving on. And surprisingly we’re hearing about a number of individuals and couples who have been involved with Messianic Judaism who are beginning to question Jesus’ validity as the messiah. We have spoken to some who have left that religion and are in the process of conversion. Others are researching and struggling. But for us, the high emotional drama of rejecting Jesus/Yeshua and Messianic Judaism (which is an insidious form of Christianity and just as idolatrous) seems to be channeling into intellectual energy, personal growth, and unity.
I was listening to Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb speak on the topic of “How to Live With Questions You Can’t Answer” and he mentioned the phenomenon of swarming behavior in locusts. Apparently when the density of locusts reaches a certain value, the locusts, who prefer to live independently, begin to act as a swarm. Scientists say this behavior gets switched on by increased stimulation of the hind legs from being jostled by other locusts and through prolonged exposure (via sight and smell) to other locusts. But what gets activated? The neurotransmitter serotonin. In humans, low serotonin can lead to depression. Maybe one could suggest a correlation between living in isolation and depression. Research certainly bears that out. But does swarming just make locusts feel “happy?”
I can understand the Christians in the Austin Messianic community who want to ostracize me and run my name through the mud under the guise of “protecting” others who may be vulnerable (some are going so far as to call as many people on their lists as they can to talk about me and my recent rejection of Jesus/Yeshua as messiah). I can also understand their huddling together like lost sheep trying to continue on with a few very green pseudo-leaders at the helm who are trying to protect and steer the “scattered flock.”
But I don’t understand and cannot excuse the cruelties they have committed against my godly wife. One of the former elders of the community is sending demand emails for his charity monies to be returned at my own personal expense. Never mind he is clueless about non-profit law–has he considered the effect this would have on my pregnant wife and child? Another elder in the community comes face to face with my wife at the Kosher Randalls in town and shuns her. All he can do is stare her down. This same man is the ring leader who has taken it upon himself to make this call-list and to get in touch with folks (to commit lashon hara) and he hasn’t even spoken to me and my wife to get all the facts. Rather than judging us fairly, he assumes I have ill intent (which is idiotic–I’m going into Orthodox Judaism–we don’t proselytize). Rather than consider that my wife is still a believer in Yeshu (a fact that he is well aware of), and treat her as a “sister,” he punishes her right along with me. There are no courtesy calls to ask for clarity. No words of love or encouragement. No pleas to repent. No offers to comfort my wife. She gets blacklisted right along with me as if she too is a heretic.
I don’t believe the ner on my Chanukiyah has ever burned as brightly or as clearly as it did tonight. We had a lovely Chunukkah party with family and friends. In addition, all of the supportive and positive comments that I have received so far on this blog, on Facebook and in emails were in my mind and heart tonight also illuminating our evening. Thank you all so much. Please keep them coming.
Dear Rabbis and Jewish Leaders,
My name is Jeisyn Murphy and I am a former member of the “Messianic” community in Austin, Texas. I have been regarded as a teacher and leader in that movement by some.You may have seen me at various events at the J or in the Kosher section of HEB from time to time. Almost two weeks ago I publicly renounced my belief that Jesus (or Yeshua as some call him) is the messiah. I have renounced “Messianic Judaism,” Christianity, and all forms of idolatry. My sincere desire is to convert through Orthodox Judaism. I have been studying and trying to live according to Torah on my own the last seven years, always in the background of the Austin Jewish community because of my erroneous beliefs. But I have now set aside all Christian/Messianic teachings. I want to observe Hashem’s Torah as a righteous Jew and to join the Jewish people.
I had hoped to speak with people in my chavurah either as a group or individually about my rejecting Jesus/Yeshua as the messiah. I have been waiting out of respect for my wife as she felt most comfortable bringing this up after Chanukkah because she is struggling with accepting this herself. Alas the info has leaked and some very pious Christians have taken it upon themselves to spread the word in the Austin community and through other online social media outlets without speaking with me and my wife first (this is lashon hara of course, may G-d have mercy on them). At the same time I realize they are acting according to Hashem’s will so I am grateful He is in control.
I have, by this post, spoken to some people on the phone. by email, or on Skype. Others I suspect will call or email in the days to come. To those who are filled with love and respect I will continue to speak with; or at least part ways with a heartfelt “shalom.”
All are welcomed to continue to follow my story and comment respectfully.
May everyone prepare for a holy and kosher Chanukkah!
Image by Center for Jewish History, NYC
After Motzei Shabbat, my closest friend joined us for the evening as we prepared Chanukkah themed prizes for our party coming up Tuesday night. As we talked, he finally got around to saying, “I’m really ticked at you for doing this,” referring to my belief that Jesus is a false messiah. When I asked him why he said that several years ago I had promised him that I would never do this and that he was worried this was the first step in my becoming an atheist. I told him that the atheist fear was a common worry among Christians when their friends realize the truth about Jesus. I pointed out that the New Testament can not stand alone without the Tanakh but the Tanakh stands alone just fine without the New Testament. I explained that identifying Jesus as a false messiah was in no wise taking a step back from G-d. Rather, I was deepening my faith in Hashem and distancing myself from idolatry.
As for the alleged promise I made him, what can I say? I refuse to be held responsible for a belief based on information that I didn’t know back then that I do have now which causes me to see Jesus in a true light which is making me renege on an impossible promise to keep. If I did promise him that I would never stop believing in Jesus I regret doing so and will be more careful in the future about making promises.
But really…I was disappointed he didn’t have a little more force to his discussion with me. He didn’t try to debate. He didn’t dig. No threats to shun me. He was the easiest to tell this news to. The hardest will be coming up in a few weeks. Please stay tuned.
my first shabbat as a heretic
Today I sat in the midst of the little home chavurah I attend with my little “secret” boiling inside of me. At this point, only my wife knew of my realization that Jesus is not the messiah and we haven’t decided how to tell the group or how we will leave it. After much internal debate, I decided that I had to tell my best friend before we announced all of this to everyone else. I’ve known him for almost sixteen years. Our friendship did not begin based on religious ideals and I hope that it won’t end because of them. We’ll see. My stomach turned waiting for the time to pass and I felt more alone than ever.
Jews expelled from Frankfurt, 1614