A few weeks ago I was flying back from Virginia. While flying I was reading Bernard Lonergan’s Method of Theology which is not the most interesting book in creation but it was required for my Ph.D. seminar. Anyway … in the reading I came across a description of the word horizon that was transformational. I was so impacted on a personal and ministry level that I grabbed the closest thing I could find — an airsickness bag — and wrote this simple but declarative sentence …
What is the beyond the horizon for Tzedakah?
To understand why this reading and this question shook me, I suppose I need to let you know how Lonergan defined horizon. Lonergan sees the word “horizon” in three perspectives …
- “Denotes the bounding circle, the line at which earth and sky appear to meet. This line is the limit of one’s field of vision;
- Beyond the horizon lies the objects that, at least for the moment cannot be seen; and
- Structured result of past achievement and, as well, both the condition and the limitation of further development.”
As I considered these words, I began to ask myself and God some questions about the future of Jewish missions and Tzedakah Ministries. The first question I asked is have we who do Jewish evangelism and missions limited by what we can see and what our field of vision is at the moment? Do we rely on old methods and standard operating procedures (SOP) to share the Gospel when new methods and new considerations should be considered? For my dad who died in 2000 often stated from his pastoral sermons that while the message never changes, the methods must constantly be changing. I do believe that we (myself included) have limited God because we do not have the field of vision that Jesus wants us to have. All I can say is simply, NO MORE!
The second question I asked myself is do we realize that the evangelistic reality that we perceive is not what God see for the future? We get discouraged because of struggles and opposition but God sees the eternal need of the Jewish people and we need to focus on what cannot be seen and not on the field of vision today. We need to move around as Lonergan suggested to see new perspectives and opportunities. For while Lonergan had no interest in Jewish evangelism, he unwittingly gave those of us who care about the salvation needs of God’s Chosen Ones a horizon template to do the work more effectively.
The third question relates on how we can use the past as a model but it should be recognized that when we in the live in the past we will forget to focus on the future. My dad who was wiser than most people could even imagine once said in a sermon (see … I did listen!) that the phrase “remove not the ancient landmarks” was not about the color of the carpet in a church but about eternal truths of evangelism. Therefore, we need to hold on to the truths of the Great Commission but not glory in past achievements because they will eventually turn our present into a museum of past glories that do little more than gather dust in the future.
I suppose this particular blog post has been a little more on the reflective and esoteric side than a clarion call for missions. However, I do believe that there are times when a little horizontal change in order for vertical missional success for the Jewish people can be possible. So who will join Tzedakah Ministries in moving a little to the left so that the horizon of Jewish missions will come not only from a different perspective but also a little more into focus. For while the Jewish people do not realize the importance of this change in position, their eternal destiny mandates that we consider those three questions.