I have a soft spot, in personal terms, for Jews.
In high school, my brother and I were thought to be Jews. We chalked it up to our olive complexon and the fact — noteworthy in suburban Augusta, Georgia — that we didn’t attend a church. (Or at least a church anyone knew of; I was a member at the Unitarian Church of Augusta from age 16 to 18. This did impress my various English teachers.) I was very bookish. We both had a wry humor. Go figure.
I also have a soft stop, in ecclesiastic terms, for Jews. If that’s not a misplaced notion.
Since the 1970s, the havurah movement (havurot, plural) has created small (and not so small) communities for Jewish living, study, service and prayer. They are more often than not described as “egalitarian and participatory.” This isn’t “your parents’ synagogue.” Egalitarian often means non-sexist, democratic, respectful without regard to experience or education or all of these. The largest number are lay-led. Some are quite experimental in worship. Reading the Jewish blogosphere, I see that they are also the site of living experiments in pluralism. (Which should be required reading for anyone concerned with missiology, and all Unitarian Universalists.)
So, let me ask the obvious question. Given that there are distinct differences in Jewish and Christian ideas of organization, why isn’t there more evidence of havurah-like Christian congregations? I’d join one. I think a lot of us would. I’ve heard of some but they are far more exceptional than havurot are in the “Jewish ecology.” Or is that what Emerging/Emergent churches is supposed to evoke, if about thirty years late?
Please discuss. Havurah members especially welcome. Note, if you will, if you are lay or ordained.