Married to the Empire

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A new experience for us

Steven and I read this article in the Religion section of The Dallas Morning News the other day. A lecture series titled "The New Testament: First Century Jews, First Century Christians" is being offered every Tuesday night in January at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas. It's free and open to the public, so Steven and I decided to go. Considering we've been teaching the Old Testament to our middle schoolers for the past 2 years, we've been pretty steeped in Judaism lately, and we'd love to learn more.

This was the first time either of us had ever been to a Jewish temple. (I was invited to a friend's bat mitzvah in the 7th grade, but it was during Christmas break, and my family spent that Christmas out of town. It's 21 years later, and I'm still disappointed at having missed that!) We were afraid we'd be dressed wrong since we were both in jeans, especially as the first person I saw walking in was wearing a suit! But it was a very casual event, thankfully.

We got there about 15 minutes early, but already the place was PACKED. Standing room only. And considering that the majority of the audience seemed to be a bit on the elderly side, this was not good. Apparently people were asking why we couldn't move into the synagogue because an announcement was made that we couldn't move in there because the choir was practicing in there with a choir from a local Baptist church. That got a lot of laughs.

This should give you some idea of how crowded things were:

Steven commented that we'd have to arrive much earlier next week to get seats. I just gaped at him and said it wouldn't do any good because there is NO WAY we'd sit while all those old people were standing! He nodded and said that was a good point. But I think they're looking to move it into a larger place for next week. I don't think they were expecting so many people to show up!

The speaker, Dr. Mark Chancey, is the chairman of the religious studies department at SMU. He is a Christian, but he really knew how to speak to his (mostly) Jewish audience. Last night's lecture was a sort of Christianity 101 with a brief overview of who Jesus is, his followers, why Christians have the books of the bible we have, etc. It was fascinating hearing the questions asked of him during the Q&A. He was asked about the gnostic gospels and Dan Brown's assertions in The DaVinci Code. To this Christian, it was obvious, but to those who don't believe in Jesus as Messiah in the first place, the question made sense. I just loved hearing a different perspective!

While we didn't necessarily learn anything new last night, we are anxious to go back next week. I really think this will be a great series, and it's just fun doing something new and different. And next week, as Dr. Chancey put it, we'll be learning, "How does a nice Jewish boy grow up to believe he's God?" I can hardly wait!

1 comment:

Ann said...

That sounds awesome!!! What's really exciting is thinking about all the people there that will hear and accept Jesus. Please keep us posted on the next session!