If you expect disciples to dress bad, smell bad, and spout irrelevant archaic babble, you've got company.
Nowadays, in some circles, being a disciple is about as popular as being a pimp.
But that's all a lot of bad press for something magnetic you wouldn’t want to miss.
Disciples are meant to be the most charismatic and magnetic people around.
And magnetic is just another word for attractive.
Disciples? Attractive? How can this be?
Jesus explained it this way. He said, “It is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher.” He was telling his disciples, “Your goal should be to be like me.”
And elsewhere in the Bible we're told, ”God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son (that’s Jesus), so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
Disciples are people God is molding into the family likeness.
Jesus was so magnetic people are still feeling the pull 2000 years after he got his feet dirty with the dust of Galilee.
Maybe you wouldn’t mind having some of that kind of magnetism yourself?
Here at Interfaithfulness, helping people to become magnetized disciples is priority one. We are currently in the early stages of developing an important discipleship initiative. It won't go public for months, but we're working on it!
Here’s a deeper definition of what discipleship is:
(1) being conformed to the image of Yeshua
(2) in character and
(4) In communion with the Triune God, and
(5) in familial companionship with His people.
We invite you to think about that and stick around here at Interfaithfulness. We'll be talking about this much more in the future.
You, and we, just might become attractive first-class passengers on this disciple ship!
*Ship illustration from Craiyon.com
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Well this pressed my buttons. Through experience I emphatically believe some of that bad press but I know you well enough Rabbi Stuart to know what you are working on will be what discipleship should be, as Yeshua has called it to be, and will be rested on respect for others. I confess however to balking at the section here, ‘what good it will do.’ For me it echoes performance orientation and I shrink from that. Could be just my buttons and me hiding. All the best and it’s great to receive from you again.
Hello, Marilyn. Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated.
I want to respond to this comment of yours:
To me, "performance orientation" refers to leaning on personal performance as a criterion for approval from others, especially from God. Of course, this is not a viewpoint Rather, I was highlighting a motivation for people accustomed to distrust or despise discipleship because of certain cultural freignt attached to the term due to their own experience and observation.
In large part this blog was written to de-stigmatize discipling and to motivate my intended audience to investigate discipleship. This I do by highlighting the prospect of personal benefit. I could have highlighted deeper, more theologically-couched eternal and ethereal benefits. But I think such an argument would be assuming my intended audience to have more theological sophistication and a more developed spiritual appetite than is likely to be in evidence.
Thank you again for writing. Please do so as often as you like. Answering your questions and comments improves my grasp.
Thank you for your reply Rabbi. I understand.
In your opening line, you addressed an entity identified as "you", but I found that identity far too vague. Is this the ordinary John Q. Public? These days, I doubt that the average non-Christian even knows the proper definition of "Christian", let alone does he or she recognize the term "disciple". I suspect that many within purported Christendom suffer a similar lack. The word "disciple" probably conjures up some image of men wearing togas who lived 20 centuries ago. So who is sufficiently savvy nowadays to recognize or identify with the term, in a manner that knows its ancient meaning and can extrapolate it to a modern context?
Therefore I don't imagine any would-be disciple who does understand the term being subjected to public expectations of deplorable appearance, smell, incomprehensibility, and the like, because of *that* term. It would be somewhat more likely under the term "Christian", given the background of American cultural history and the current political climate.
Nonetheless, your provision of an accurate definition is commendable and its positive connotation is encouraging. Regrettably, what constitutes good character from a biblical perspective is anathema to the current leftist, socialist, Marxist political climate, and it is not at all magnetic or attractive to people with that worldview. It is inimical, and quite properly perceived to be so. That is not to denigrate it as an unworthy pursuit. But let no one deceive oneself that it will be widely appreciated. Its value is for oneself and one's religious community; and its impact on the wider community will depend on persuasion that exceeds mere discipleship.
This blog entry addresses a rather wide field of people. Think of the effort like nets cast onto the Sea of Galilee. The fishermen may be looking for a particular kind of fish, but can only capture it by casting their nets wider.
I am addressing people in and around the Messianic Jewish movement and also "church Jews" who want to be more deeply or personally discipled. More specifically, people have been undiscipled, poorly disciple, partially discipled, or mis-discipled, that is, snared by one or the other of the sectarian, elitist, cultic or semi-cultic groups adhering like barnacles to the Messianic Jewish body.
Most knowledgeable people within the American Messianic Jewish community will readily agree that the state of discipleship in this context is at best uneven. I feel that the heart of my vocational call as one of Yeshua's servants is to encourage and assist people to draw nearer to the Holy One, Blessed be He. This discipling initiative is a core aspect of my obedience to that call.
This discipling effort is addressed primarily to the American scene. Your comment mentioned "the current leftist, socialist, Marxist political climate" as antithetical to the propagation of the Good News. While that concerns and irritates many conservative Yeshua-believers, I observe that in America, the Far Right has claimed ownership of Christianity, fusing their political agenda with the Christian religion, and mingling nationalistic symbols with religious ones, wrapping Yeshua in an American flag. While this will not trouble most people in the Right-wing, this syncretistic welding of politics and religion repels the average older American Jew, who prefers a wide separation of church and state, having a bloody cultural memory of the price we have repeatedly paid for living in jingoistic policial climates. Younger American Jews are, in the main, not enthusiastic about Right-wing politics especially the Far Right, although there are some exceptions, of course.
This is why my blog post frames the Faith and Yeshua in terms of personal benefit, rather than in the language of ideology, even biblical ideology, and theological discourse. In the American context I have described, to speak in biblical and theological terms now carries political freight. The gospel has been discredited and coopted. In presenting the gospel, many will agree with me that great care must be taken to accredit Yeshua and the gospel apart from political agendas.
Therefore, in evaluating my discipling effort, one should consider the social environment where it is being carried out.