It's Torah Time!

Where do you live? If you're anywhere near Laguna Beach, CA, I'd love to meet you. I'll be teaching a 13 week series on my book, The Gospel according to Moses, every Thursday night at 7:00. We're meeting at The Little Church by the Sea. You can get directions here. Once you arrive, go around behind the sanctuary and through the gates into the courtyard. Look for us in the large meeting room (it will be the one with the lights on). Be sure to introduce yourself!


The Gospel according to Moses is a bestselling memoir about my five years studying the Torah with the rabbis at the nation's second largest Reform Jewish congregation. I was the only Christian in regular attendance among about 100 Jews. During the first six months of so, only the senior rabbi and the man who asked me to attend knew I was a Christian, so I got a brutally honest peek at what Jews really think of Christians. After I "came out," I was warmly welcomed, and the next few years revolutionized my faith.

The subtitle is What My Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus, and that pretty much sums up the content of the book. I learned more about Christianity from Jews during those five years than I've learned from Christians in my entire life, not because the Jews taught me intentionally, of course, but because they challenged me to dig so deeply into the doctrine that were discussed every Shabbat. Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

"Being a conservative Christian at a liberal Jewish temple has never been easy or painless, but I have accepted the cost because my religion teaches that constructive growth is worth a little pain. (James 1:2) Key positions of Christianity have been strongly disputed almost every week at Chever Torah by highly intelligent people who know the Scriptures well and find very different truths there. At first I responded to the challenges with dogmatic inflexibility, experiencing a range of unpleasant emotions from anger to anxiety. Only God’s subtle prodding can explain why I kept returning. Then somehow—again, I believe this can only be explained as an act of God—I found the ability to set aside my preconceived notions and truly hear the new ideas these Jews tossed back and forth. From that moment on, the people of Chever Torah began to coach me in that decidedly Jewish pastime: wrestling with God. Now, after years of Bible study among them, I have learned to think about important things like faith and obedience, justice and mercy, and rebellion and redemption in Jewish ways, and in so doing I have found deeper meanings within every word uttered by Jesus and his apostles."

Copies will be available for you at my cost, and of course I'd be delighted to autograph yours.

The study I experienced among the Jews was unlike anything I've ever known in a church. It was passionate, intellectually challenging, sometimes irreverent, and above all, inspiring. In the series I'll be teaching, I'll do my best to recreate that powerful experience. I hope you can come!

Posted byAthol Dickson at 7:21 AM  

8 comments:

Lori said... February 5, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

Do you ever plan to do a video of your teaching, for some of us that live on the opposite coast? =))

I am placing that study on my list, I love the topic. Right now I am working through Chuck Colson's book "The Truth." Have you read that? It is great and yesterday my brain hurt from soaking in many of his teachings.

Wish I could be there Florida is just to far away ;).

Athol Dickson said... February 5, 2010 at 8:50 AM  

I wish Flordia was closer, too. St. Augustine is one of my favorite towns in the USA.

Lynn said... February 5, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

Hope you'll blog about the best bits!

Lori said... February 5, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

Ahh mine to. We are about 45 mins from St Augustine. Hubby and I run away there for short vacations. I never tire of the history in that city.

Mark Young said... February 10, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

This is a study I'd enjoy. Unfortunately, I live more than a thousand miles away—too far to commute. I look forward to reading your book, however, and will learn from afar.

Eddie Snipes said... February 15, 2010 at 8:39 PM  

I started reading your book today, and so far I am really enjoying it. You started the book with a subject that is dear to my heart - doubt. Your comments about being willing to be honest and asking the hard questions to God is so true. I've experienced this in my own life and ministry.

Doubt is not a sin, unbelief is. Unbelief is saying that we don't believe what God has said, but doubt can be an honest searching. The most solid Christians are those who faced doubt, believing that God is true and that His word will stand up under the evidence. Hiding from doubts is actually disguised unbelief. People who pretend doubts don't exist are deluding themselves and are in danger of getting frustrated and giving up on faith.

Most Christians have it backwards. Faith is supposed to be our shield, but those who hide from doubt are trying to be the shield to their faith.

You said it very well in your book. I am really enjoying what you've written. I'm about 15% through it and have found it to be very insightful. Thanks for all the work you've put into this book.

-Eddie

Athol said... February 16, 2010 at 8:01 AM  

"Hiding from doubts is actually disguised unbelief."

I couldn't put it better than that, Eddie. Thanks!

Allie said... February 24, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

And this is why I belong to a Messianic Jewish congregation. I've learned so much more about God and Jesus and what Jesus meant when he said this and that when looking at things with a Jewish perspective than I have learned in a church.

Its like I recently pointed out to some friends - when it says in the NT that "all scripture is God-breathed......." he was talking about the OT! Most of the NT hadn't been written yet and were letters - not scriptures - and wouldn't be compiled for quite a while. But most people don't realize that. They think it refers to the the NT _only_

Oh I could go on and on. But your book sounds great and that had to be a wonderful experience.

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