Two Wildly Different, Strangely Similar Books Asking One Question: Who Am I?

It’s complicated.

No, that’s not a Facebook update on my relationship status.* Recently, I wrote a short bit as part of a group post for the Her.meneutics blog about the need to embrace complexity in our understanding of maturing faith. There’s complexity, then there’s the borderlands just beyond complexity. Those lands have names like Chaos, Confusion, and “It’s Complicated”.

Recently, I read two books that captured the complicated nature of being a Jewish person in an Evangelical subculture: My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders The Bible Belt in Search Of His Own Faith (Harper Collins, 2008) by Benyamin Cohen and Jew In The Pew: A Memoir (Kipling House Books, 2013) by Jenny Berg Chandler. Cohen found himself curious about and perhaps coveting some sort of entre into the churchy Atlanta culture surrounding his modern Orthodox lifestyle. Chandler, who grew up in the first wave of the post-1967 contemporary Messianic Jewish world, eventually migrated into the mainstream Evangelical church for a couple of decades before hitting an emotional and spiritual wall. Both books detail the authors’ respective struggle to make sense of their Jewish identity using the prism of the church to do so. [Read more]

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