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Bnei Noah
For those few people, who had never heard of the story of Nissim Black, here it is, told by himself:

It is amazing!
Hi, I am also a Gentile, but do not identify as a Noahide. I've never lived near many Jews so this forum is helpful for me so far with a question I had. (Here is my history with Judaism: Once as I child I was with my father who was enjoying English-language Jewish religious music on TV. I had no idea what it was, so he explained it to me and told me it was good. Once I sat near a synagogue day-camp at a baseball game. Later on I tried to read Hebrew and estimated it took me about one hour per word. I did not continue working on it. Later still I had a friend who had previously lived in Israel, she told me I was just like the Hasidim because of my strong positions. Later I was accused by a not-nice person I knew who thought I was a Jew. He almost certainly had never seen a Jew in his life, so I would have to do! I think it was on the basis of my looks and that I was intelligent. Which is kind of funny that he tried to be an antisemite but had so little to go off he figured intelligence must be suspect.)

Maybe it is different where you live. I thought it is sort of assumed that many Noahides also follow another religion, and the Noahide movement appears to be meaningful to those who have family members who are Jews. I understand there is an association of Noahides in the U.S. and that they meet from time to time in some places. From your post it sounds like it is different where you live and I hadn't thought about that.

I suppose a similar thing is where people marry into an ethnic church but are from another ethnicity; it puts you at a definite social disadvantage. There are some churches that seek out converts for leadership positions for one reason or another, but not most of them.

So you can see being an outsider as a disadvantage, but it can come with its own advantages. I understand that there are sociological studies of the sort that found that people find outsiders more romantically appealing. Another factor is how people treat you differently as an outsider. I see more welcoming at first. People make an extra effort to communicate because they don't take you and your participation for granted. This is especially helpful if you take work that requires you to move frequently. The flip side is that there is a certain trust factor people have in knowing that that someone has such a strong stake so to speak that betrayal and leaving would be just as painful for the other person as it would be for them. (Because lets face it there are people who join for bad reasons and then betray. You get this in any small town as well, not just in a congregation.)

The level of commitment and study required for the Noahide movement is not very detailed, and I think there is are various good reasons why it is so. If you want something deeper, you will have to keep at it and not expect someone to hand it to you.

As for Nissim; after reading about him; being black is both his advantage and disadvantage in different ways. It is unrealistic for him to expect only good and not bad. But navigating this is tricky. I have lived in a black neighborhood and so I can sort of relate to being different and not having as many relationships. The challenge of navigating the life choices he made looks like it will help him grow more than if he had stayed put in life. His life can be compared to Dr. Rapp's life: in an opposite sort of way.
Hi and thanks for your interesting thoughts.

Over here in europe there is not really a big noahide community as it is in the US. And I must say, that it seems a little odd to me, to build some kind of "noahide religion". I think, the noahides worship Hashem and therefore they actually should be more connected to the jewish people.

In the times, when I was a christian I was a very active member of my congregation. I even took duties of the lower priesthood (I used to serve as a reader / lector in an russian orthodox congregation). By the way, in the christian orthodox church it is obligatory before the main liturgy starts, that the lector reads loud the morning prayers in the church, what are in fact some of the Tehilim. I enjoyed that part of my duties the most Smile

So, now as I follow the noahide laws I feel sometimes isolated. I cannot walk to services, have no one to talk to about the faith, have no religious holidays and have no spiritual counsellor anymore. Only the online communities are available. That makes me sad sometimes. I'm sure, you can imagine that.

But I will not complain, most of the time I am very glad and grateful, that I found my believe in Hashem Smile

About Nissim: I had never been interested in Rap / HipHop Music, so I haven't heard of him. I found his videos on youtube by coincidence and find his story amazing and heartening. Today I like his music Smile

Best wishes!

The story of Dr. Rapp is really interesting!
The Noahide movement appears to be more compatible with the more rationalized Protestantism of Western Europe than the mystical orientation of Eastern Europe--theosis, liturgy, incense, priests, and lectors. For awhile I worshiped with Greek Orthodox even though I was not one of them so I have an idea what it was like for you. I suspect that is part of what you are missing that Eastern Christianity gave you that the Noahide movement does not. I am not going to tell you to dive into mystical Judaism instead but as my previous posts on this forum indicate it has interested me somewhat. One has to have a good rubric and strength of character for judging the influences that come your way when you open yourself mystically. In Eastern Christianity the church authorities, the community, and tradition do some of that for you so you don't need to do it yourself. To grow mystically it helps to have that support from your community and tradition so you are not cowardly while dreaming. At my not so good moments I've purposely woken up rather than be courageous.

Posting on here has helped me grow. In the last week or so I have come to a spiritual understanding about an unresolved strange experience in my life years ago. I would not have figured it out without posting here; but it doesn't seem that there is anything left for me discover in this direction.
I'm not sure how mysticism can allow you to disconfirm a religious claim. Can't everything and nothing be considered true when your experience is not weighed and tempered by reason and argument? How do you determine what's real? I find zero value in mystical experiences, and I wonder about mystics and how much time you spend in learning rather than chasing the wind. I don't mean that as harshly as it sounds. It just seems to me that mysticism follows feelings and imaginations rather than objectively true facts and concepts.

Can you help me understand? How do you determine reality and truth?
I have a rational anchor to my mysticism in that I empirically evaluate my dreams, patterns of what most would call psychosomatic symptoms, and general experiences. I use several rubrics to judge angels, my deceased relatives, living people close to me, or whatever else it is that communicates with me in dreams or could be influencing waking life. I use inferences frequently, though knowing the limits of inferential reasoning. If it is not working out for me I fight and don't give up until I win and "it" loses, which it will. I also carefully evaluate other people I am around and their influences on me.

Skepticism is inappropriate to the Lord and to angels; if you habitually treated a sensitive friend skeptically they would be offended and would go away. I suspect that in habitually skeptical people the supernatural aspects of life are greatly reduced due to this. There are some people out there that make dream journals or whatever to try to prove their supernatural powers or whatever it is they have a chip on their shoulder to prove, but this is not the purpose of the gifts that have been given to them.

This leaves me at times feeling like David or like Noah; like David in the searching to make the best choice, and like Noah thankful for his and his family's preservation.
(07-07-2020, 03:26 AM)sixtynine seventy Wrote: Skepticism is inappropriate to the Lord and to angels...

I don't think that skepticism is off the table for any claim. I mean, if I were skeptical about my mother's love for me, that would be odd. Why? She lives. I speak to her nearly daily. She tells me everything. She holds me in great esteem. She tells me that she loves me. To be skeptical would be absurd in this case. However, God has never spoken to me. I have no reason to not be skeptical about claims people make about God, and angels even seem more beyond-reality than God in my eyes. Believing in angelic beings seems to me to be akin to believing in fairies or demons. I just don't see any evidence that such things exist. I remain skeptical, waiting for evidence to present itself and being uncommitted to belief in any of these things until I get reliable evidence that I can take into consideration.

Mysticism to me is really out there. I don't understand it at all. It seems that a mystic can believe in anything and nothing, since everything is subjective and nothing can truly be rejected so long as you imagine that you heard or felt something.
"God has never spoken to me."

God spoke directly to me in a dream, once. He briefly gave me relationship advice and it was very good. If it was not God, why would he lie to me and say he is the Lord, yet give good advice?

"can believe in anything and nothing"

You just take it little by little; if it isn't working then stop and try something else. Waiting for reliable evidence seems unlikely to work because the little things are not verifiable even for those who are into that sort of thing. There needs to be a hunger and a searching involved on your part.

People get all bent out of shape by going off the deep-end whole hog. Interpersonaly some get sucked in by scammers from Nigeria. You don't do the equivalent spiritually either!

Being skeptical seems to me to be a strategy to hide from having offended God, angels, or other people; or from not dealing with guilt and other bad things and letting them pile up. I once tried to visit a woman who was deeply in debt; she had advertised for haircuts. But she had taken her doorbell off so the debt collectors couldn't bother her! Well neither could I. I never did meet her so she could cut my hair. Skepticism is like her strategy.
Quote:Being skeptical seems to me to be a strategy to hide from having offended God, angels, or other people; or from not dealing with guilt and other bad things and letting them pile up.

That makes no sense to me at all. Being skeptical just means that you don't commit to an idea without sufficient reason to do so. If you don't believe in gods or angels, how can you think you're hiding from gods and angels? What are you talking about?
(07-12-2020, 09:27 PM)sixtynine seventy Wrote: God spoke directly to me in a dream, once. He briefly gave me relationship advice and it was very good. If it was not God, why would he lie to me and say he is the Lord, yet give good 

Years ago I was working on a film and having difficulty figuring how to edit a sequence. I tried all different combinations, but it just wasn’t flowing. That night I went to bed, still trying different sequences in my head. Nothing. I went to sleep and I dreamed that Jerry Lewis, who was a professor at my school, came into the editing suite and saw me frustrated. He looked at me, didn’t look at my work, but simply said, “Why don’t you....” and gave me the solution I had been seeking.

Based on your logic, it was actually Jerry Lewis who provided the solution, not my brain creatively presenting me with the answer. 

I don’t buy it for a moment. Excuse me for being....skeptical....but what part of dreaming don’t you understand?
בקש שלום ורדפהו

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