Livin' the Life - an introduction

The following is a (draft) introduction to my next book, LIVIN' THE LIFE. We are hoping to publish the book through a CROWDFUNDING initiative, with supporters pre-ordering a batch of ten books, in order to help with the publishing costs. If you can help in this way, please click here.

"Sometimes I wish I knew nine years ago what I know now. Yet, on the other hand, it would have deprived me of an exciting journey of discovery into this wonderful world of the Hebraic. These last few years have often been like a game of snakes and ladders, with faltering steps up a slippery step-ladder but with the falls down the ‘Greecey pole’ thankfully decreasing over time. It hasn’t been perfect, because God has had a lot to contend with (my puny, aging brain), but it has been a necessary process. The fruit of this has been a collection of books that have astonishingly drawn together a community of fellow sojourners. The question is, where will this all end? When are we finally going to get it? The answer is, probably never, but at least we have ventured to the foot hills. The objective of this book is to summarise what has led me to this point in time, then suggest a route to the higher peaks. So, without further ado …

It all started in 2009 with How the Church Lost the Way, which exposed the effects of the teachings of Plato on the Western Church, right from the early 2nd century onwards. This was a revelation to most, apart from those academics who knew about this but didn’t consider it necessarily a bad thing (!) The story continued the following year when How the Church Lost the Truth introduced the simple ideas of Aristotle and highlighting the devastating effect of these teachings on the medieval Church onwards. In these two volumes the problems were laid out, (added to by the twenty wide-reaching essays in the Bishop’s New Clothes a few years later). We were able to see the causes for the sorry state of much of today’s Church. But what could we do about this?

In 2011 after a lot of agonising and uncertainty, To Life was published. The trepidation was because this book ventured into some new areas and made suggestions that went completely against the grain of current Christian thinking and practices. Was it a step too far? Apparently not (though some may disagree). The effect it has had on individuals and congregations has been very startling, with a sense that the madness is not just all mine, it has now been shared. Welcome to my world!

Firstly, it provided an initial working definition of what is Hebraic. The starting point is having a faith in God that underpins our wisdom, which compels us to perform our deeds (rather than thinking or debating or arguing about such things). This definition is gradually refined as God reveals more and more. It bucks the trend of current perceptions that define Hebraic in terms of externals, of practices, rituals and Jewish cultural trappings. Instead the true Hebraic understanding is of an internal mindset, that of Jesus and his disciples and in fact of the Jews who preceded him and inhabited the pages of the Hebrew Bible. In other words, rather than dwelling on festivals, eating habits and vocabulary, we consider how those early Jews thought and acted on those thoughts. Following on from that I contrasted Greek and Hebraic thinking and came to the following conclusions:

The first was that we should live Hebraically, focussing on our relationships. There should be reverence for God, a total respect and unquestioning faith in God in every situation. We should favour small groups, with an emphasis on personal relationships within the Church and nurture family relationships, with the realisation that God’s blessings flow more freely through His covenant people.

The second was that we should think Hebraically, focusing on understanding God’s provisions for us. We should consider living by faith, a total reliance on God’s promises for our needs. We should have total trust in the Bible, treating God’s Word as precious and endeavouring to study it wholeheartedly. We should also focus on the real Jesus, understanding him in his Jewish context.

The third was that we should act Hebraically, living lives of truth, joy and purpose. There is the importance of good conduct, showing the World by our actions that there is something different about us. We should seek an understanding of the concept of One New Man and making adjustments if necessary. Then there is unity without compromise, supporting our Christian family without condoning error and heresy.

The Hebraic is about man and God and can be better understood through this set of contrasts.

  • The Greek mind says that man is at the centre of life; the Hebraic mind says that God is at the centre of life.
  • The Greek mind says that the things of God must be deduced from our logical minds; the Hebraic mind says that the things of God can only be understood by faith and revelation.
  • The Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God; the Hebraic mind says that we should know God.

It’s all Hebraic. It’s a lost art for some, to others it’s already an ever-present reality. It’s simply how we can best act out our part of the Divine drama, the everlasting love story of God and His people. To do so we need to discover our role and purpose and see where we fit in and then make sure we are on cue and don’t fluff our lines! It’s all about relationship, man and God, God and Man, man and man. It’s as simple as that.

So why another book? Livin’ the Life! A predictable title, yet given an edge by a substituted apostrophe, which also provides its own subtext, a more meaningful instruction, live in The Life.

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:12)

This is completing the story introduced by To Life!, L’Chaim, a celebration of possibilities created by thinking differently, Hebraically. It is time to widen our scope and push out these ideas into the wider Christian World, where I believe they belong.

This book will explore major (and minor) facets of Christian life today, but with Hebraic eyes. A toolset is going to be created, not just from ideas already developed, but through a deeper trawl through Hebraic understandings. What will result will be, at least, food for thought, but perhaps more so, perhaps there will be a nudge towards a life lived … in The Life, a model where we should all be in Jesus, despite the challenges presented by 21st Century society."

Steve Maltz

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