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Things than make you go: hmmm...

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The Search for Community
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For social community reasons, members of my family would like to find a congregation that we can meet with more regularly.  There are many around the metroplex that we have visited over time.  Some were great for a time, then they affiliated with various main stream organizations, the nature of the service changed, statements of faith were put into place, doctrinal positions taken to align with those organizations, some leadership became narcissistic, others were driven out of the very congregations they founded.

I think the problem of finding community as Elohim draws his elect to Himself is going to be harder and harder going forward.  I know from the tenor of this writing that it appears overtly pius, self-righteous, and narcissistic.  I also know that is not the intention of my heart.  This is a matter that has pained me greatly for months, at times years, and continues through to this day.

There are many reasons to maintain and seek community, and there are equally as many reasons not to.

There are some communities that have a sense of love and kindness - at least on the surface.  While at the sametime they commit lashon hara in the back rooms of their elder meetings against their guests and members.  These are usually easy to identify as they will out themselves as some point.  I've even seen leadership in these communities take a priave conversation and make a drosh of it - condemning the activities of the other person in the conversation publically without a private reprimand or discussion.  I've seen it happen over non-sin related things, but a matter of opinion on an acivity... such as a TV show that carries a story line that may be innappropriate for children.  Or how someone's child dressed: dress with exposed shoulders, dress not long enough, wore slacks - not a dress, etc... Everyone in the congregation knew who was being talked about, discussions were held in back rooms, and when the family heard of it that family never returned. 

I've had leaders follow the party line of their "covering" organizations that they have affiliated themselves with just to get Shm'ka (ordination).  I had one leader tell me that the will of the community is more important than the truth and the insistance of searching for the truth was a very "christian" approach to faith and not Jewish.  I left that community right after that, and it disolved a year later with that leader taking his "show" on the road.

I've seen leaders that were the most amazing researchers and speakers of the most profound things fall due to social ineptness, narcissism, failure to live the faith, and self promotion.

Often alliance with various organizations taints the whole community.  The leadership, if committed to teaching the truth, won't touch certain subjects and will discourage those topical discussions in any community sanctoned activity.  If they are more committed to their affiliations, then they will follow/teach the "party line" - even if they know it to be in error.

Some people will say just find one and make it your home...  However, when you have children, false doctrines can have a huge impact on the future of your children.  Your daughters are seeking husbands, and your sons will seek wives.  Where will they pull them from?  They will usually pull them from the community you fellowship with.  This then becomes a much heavier matter than whether I like the people or dont, or it's not perfect but it is good enough...

There was one congregation where you could tell right from the moment we walked in that is was a personality cult.  Everytime we went I would get no less than 6 ideas for articles to write about due to the error I heard coming from the teacher.  My sons, as young as 13 at the time, felt the same and asked me on our way home how the teacher could possible teach those things and why everyone kept coming back.   Honestly, I went for a while simply to use the teacher a muse for ideas to write about.

There have been a few home groups that my family and I have visited.  Problems there too.. The addition of our family can easily double a group's size.  My families long back ground in advanced studies can cause us to give answers to questions that are difficult to understand without the proper ground work.  Sometimes we ask questions that make people really aren't ready to face yet.  Sometimes there are would-be leaders with their own agenda trying to seize control, often fighting with other would-be leaders.

Currently we have a home fellowship.  It is not always easy.  The sense of community is the immediate family and a few friends.  Not everyone is available every week or Sabbath.  I am not the greatest cantor, and liturgy is about as short as it can get.  Sometimes I play music, sometimes I do not.

For a long time, we were just reading and disucssing the Torah portion (About 2-3hrs)... But due to risk assessment in world activities, we have now have verse by verse readings from the Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim, and Ketuvim Netzarim.  The canvas must be painted with all the colors to see the whole picture.  The readings and discussions take about 4-5hrs, depending on the depth of the discussions and topics being covered in those readings.  Then dinner to follow...

I don't have answers to every question.  I don't have questions for every answer.  I cannot sing every song, nor chant every prayer.  I just do my best.

My best is still not helping my daughters and sons find mates.  So far one has, and that is by a blessing of Elohim that her family saw the same issues that ours did at about the same time in a congregation we mutually attended at the time.

Sigh... It is draining... Community is not easy.  With the way Elohim has divided His people, you have to wonder at some point if it is even good beyond a certain level.