Middle Eastern Religion & American Christianity
Theres been a lot of discussion lately about Middle Eastern Religion & Philosophy "seeping" into Christianity. Let me clarify that there is a difference between Religion & Mysticism, Mysticism isn't Godly or Biblical, it'd fall under the guise of occultic. That said, some religious practices may not so much be seeping in as they are seeping back in.
Do we forget that Israel is located in the middle east? In case your new to geography & nationality let me give a quick overview of Israel. Yes, the current location of Israel was founded in 1948, it was located there as thats where it'd been previously, hundreds of years prior and that has been known for thousands of years. Israel is the homeland to the Jewish people, although they are also scattered all over the globe, Israel is their "home base" so to speak. The Jewish people make up the Jewish religion. Christianity spawned off of the Jewish religion because when God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for the sins of the world, all those who would believe in Him and repent of their sins could have eternal life with Him and the Father in Heaven. Christianity is named for Jesus CHRIST, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth which are both located in Israel, His disciples were drawn mostly from Galilee, also in Israel. Jesus did some of His teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem, also located in Israel. Actually pretty much all of Jesus Ministry took place in Israel. Heres the shocker, this is all because Jesus was Jewish!
When Jesus was crucified and resurected it also took place in Israel, His Apostles were Jewish, the one Jesus called "the Rock" of the Church, Peter, was also Jewish and the very Church that Peter was the Rock of was started in Israel. I know I'm seeming a bit sarcastic here, but the truth is that both Judaism and Christianity ARE Middle Eastern Religions and as I hear, see or read some of the discussions on the topic of "middle easternism" creeping into "the Church", all i can think is "well duh" it never should have left.
The command was to take the Good News of Jesus Christ into all the world, this is known as the Great Commision, but we must remember that the starting point was in Israel, home of the Jews and of Jesus Christ, whom Christianity is named after. So doesn't it make sense that "true" Christianity would likely have a Jewsih (hence Middle Eastern) flavor to it? As great & blessed a country as America is, we weren't Gods chosen people, we weren't the founding nation of Christianity and Jesus certainly wasn't American. America didn't even exist (as a nation) when Christ lived, taught, preached & reigned. I think it's awful funny that some who think of a Middle Eastern vibe as wrong, are basing it on what we call Christianity here in America, like we have a lock on what God in Christ intended. I'm sure as Jesus and the founding disciples, Apostles & especially Peter & Paul look upon American Christianity there likely shocked to say the least. Some of that in a good way, and surely some not so good.
To reiterate what I said at the opening, I'm not talking about mysticism. Many Christians, and some Church bodies as well are really digging into Jewish cultural roots, studying their customs and ways, seeking a deeper understanding of the times and societal context of the New Testament writings. If a person wants to adapt some things into their walk with the Lord, that are things that Jesus Himself and the Apostles / disciples also did, good for them. No, it doesn't grant them any favor, it's not a works or deeds type thing. It's an experience, like going to visit the Holy Land! I've often thought if the Jews & gentiles of Jesus time could see American Christianity, how many times they'd think or say "where'd they get that from" or "whats up with that". Anyway, blessings all. Hope that clears some things up.