The world as it must be – A Jewish Perspective and a Challenge for us in the Diocese of New Westminster

Shawn Landres is the CEO and research Director for Jumpstart – A Thinkulator for Sustainable Jewish Innovation. Jumpstart can be found at It’s well worth a look. Landres has made significant contributions to Jewish academic and non-profit organization leadership in the United States. He conceived of the S3K Synagogue Studies Institute and its Jewish Emergent Initiative.  Like other particpants in the ’emergent’ or ‘missional’ conversation going on around and among us, Landres challenges us to participate in God’s mission in terms of our relationship to the world being wholly reflective of God’s relationship to the world.  His challenge to people of faith is worth listening to in the context of our own diocesan ‘missional’ initiatives.

What is very interesting is Landres repositioning of the idea of “heresy”, shifting it to embrace not only ‘wrong belief’  but also the resulting ‘wrong practice’ – a truly missional approach to our purpose as people of faith in the world. In other words, our real ‘heresies’ are found every time we do not position ourselves to act redemptively in God’s world around us:

“One of the greatest heresies of Jewish faith, caution my friends and teachers Rabbi Shai Held and Rabbi Sharon Brous, is the belief that the world is as it must be. This heresy contradicts the core principle of Judaism that we are covenanted with God to be partners in creation, instuments of revelation, catalysts of redemption. If the world were as it must be, Abraham would not have argued with God to save the peole of Sodom and Gomorrah. If the world were as it must be, Jacob would not have wrestled with the angel of the Lord. If the world were as it must be, then Moses would not have defended the Hebrew slave or marveled at the incongruity of the burning bush. If the world were as it must be – okay, you get the idea.

So the world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. If that’s the case, then three questions follow: (1) Why isn’t the world living up to its potential, as it were? (2) What is our vision for the world? and (3) How do we get there from here?”

-Shawn Landres

-Reblogged from MINemergent, a posting service of Emergent Village

Your comments and thoughts are most welcome.

Deacon Steve Bailey, St. Laurence, Coquitlam is one of the administrators of  nwanglicanblog

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One Response to The world as it must be – A Jewish Perspective and a Challenge for us in the Diocese of New Westminster

  1. Many thanks for your kind comments – it’s great to know that the essay is catalyzing conversation. BC’s one of my favorite places, so this is especially nice!

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