When I wrote my article asking whether it was time for another Jesus Movement among Jewish millennials, I fully expected some pushback, since the subject of Jews believing in Jesus is hardly without controversy and emotion. As a Jewish follower of Jesus (aka Messianic Jew) since 1971, I’m fully aware of how hot a topic this is. To my surprise (and embarrassment), it turns out that a lot of the controversy had nothing to do with the substance of the article but rather focused on a website I hyperlinked in the article.
To explain briefly, my article was responding to a recent poll that claimed that almost 50 percent of Jewish millennials believed Jesus was either God incarnate or a rabbi or spiritual leader. That prompted me to ask if it might be time to see a great spiritual revival among these Jewish millennials, just as we saw in the Jesus People Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During that time, not only did many Jews go on all kinds of spiritual searches (including Buddhism and Hinduism and Hare Krishna and Transcendental Meditation), but many of them (like myself) became followers of Jesus.
Since I wanted to paint a picture of Jewish involvement in the counterculture movement, I did a search for Jewish leaders involved in that era and found quite a few relevant links. (I have a large personal library where much of this is documented in detail, but for my articles, I do my best to provide online links.) One article I found listed the Jewish musicians and singers and political agitators all together, so I hyperlinked that article and continued to write.
A few days later, someone tweeted me, asking, “Why does this story link to the forums for rabid Neo Nazi website Stormfont? Is that a website you frequent and cite often?” I replied, “????? Not a clue what you’re referring to.”
Why does this story link to the forums for rabid Neo Nazi website Stormfont? Is that a website you frequent and cite often?
I was then sent a graphic to my article, pointing to the sentence with this link, which I then clicked on again. To my absolute shock, it was indeed a rabid neo-Nazi website. (In a word, yikes!) Of course, I thanked the individual for pointing this out to me, making a note to myself to revise the article with a proper link replacing this offensive one.
But since I had never heard of Stormfront before, the name had no significance to me when I first saw it. And since I write at least 200 articles per year, many with multiple links, I failed to take the time to look at the website as a whole. (Really, it would have taken me just a few seconds. Lesson learned.)
What’s most telling, though, is the firestorm that erupted on Twitter, much of it profane and ugly and angry. One of the conservative websites that carried the article came under particular attack, as if the site was now a Neo Nazi co-conspirator. And of course, my linking to the article further demonstrated how bankrupt I was as a Jew who “converted to Christianity.”
I did take the time to interact with some of the critics, hoping they were sincere in their questions, even overlooking the fact that one person described himself as an “Antifa Supersoldier.”
Some, in fact, accepted the truth of the matter: It was a simple (but unfortunate) oversight.
Others, of course, only mocked more, finding more fuel for their imaginary fires. (I think the funniest attack came from a critic who pointed to a website that ran the article but removed the link. I was blamed for doing this myself, now accused of “plagiarizing” from a neo-Nazi website without acknowledging it!)
So to each of the mockers, especially those on the extreme left, sorry, but you’ll have to find another battle to fight. There’s neither smoke nor fire here.
That being said, I can assure my extreme-left critics that we have plenty of substance to disagree on, so let’s have at it. I’m happy to have my viewpoints challenged if you’ll let me challenge yours.
In any case, I truly apologize for my oversight in linking to this website, and, of course, I have corrected the original article to link elsewhere. And I do appreciate those who pointed the error out to me, even if some of them did it with bad intent. In the end, it was all for the good.