Author Archives: Sal Baldovinos
There are few movies that can be called seminal works of art. For me, visions of Oliver Stone’s Platoon, Spielberg’s Jaws or Coppola’s The Godfather come to mind. Stories whose characters grip us from the very first scenes.
Documentaries have their place as works of art too, telling true stories of people and places that can change the very way we perceive them. From controversial work like Fahrenheit 9/11 to the eye-opening work of Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, documentaries have a way of bringing something seen as subculture to the mainstream. Think of the rise in natural living and eating sparked by the wave of insightful narratives like Food, Inc. and Forks over Knives. These masterful films bring us, the naive, a glimpse into a world we have little to no exposure to. Whether you’re interested in the dealings of the Bush Administration or what you’re serving your family for dinner – we look to documentaries to shed some light in an area where we are currently sitting in the dark.
Those few, whether it be a feature film or documentary stand out because of a few things, namely their characters, the narrative, and for me, most importantly – the desire to share the storyteller’s passion.
It was just after Christmas when I first heard of The Way, a documentary seeking funding to finish their first feature length project. The trailer spoke volumes. It was to be what seemed like, the definitive documentary about what is a lifestyle that many have chosen based on reading the Scriptures for themselves. Appropriately named, The Way, as it breaks down the lifestyle our Messiah lived; then known as “The Way”, is a story that we can all relate to in this walk. Its approach, both fair and balanced, showed a maturity lacking in most teachings available on the topic; that of the Hebrew Roots Movement. Even now, I shudder to think of the visions some of you might have at that very association. Be it Messianic Judaism, Hebrew or Christian Roots – they all come with some sort of contaminated aroma to them. Even the use of the word “movement” likely brings about visions of cults, not unlike the fictional cult on Hulu’s “The Path”.
Filmmakers and producers Luke & Kayte Abaffy set off to raise a modest $12,000 for their film to finish it. I say modest because if you know anything of the film industry, that’s “chump change”. The cost of feeding an A-lister’s ego for a week, perhaps. Many in the community, including this ministry, supported the campaign on Kickstarter and within days, the project was fully funded. To date, they raised over 300% of their initial goal. An amazing accomplishment for any campaign let alone a documentary and a religious one at that. With the extra funds, the couple set out to make their vision a reality with even more capital to help them tell the story.
As I understand it, with the extra funds they were able to travel and do additional filming and interviews. Those interviews ended up creating the narrative we have now in the final release. In addition, the production value was bumped significantly with a soundtrack that captures the emotions of the scenes you’re watching and, for this inspiring visual storyteller, improving the overall quality of the film with professional color grading and editing.
The Way does what many YouTube videos on the topic could not. Remove the anger and bitterness of their past Christian life and talk about a journey each one of us is facing today or have faced in the recent past. The problem I see in many online teachings is the problem we see in most-all secular teachings or movements. They’re pretty one-sided and the zealousness of their newly found insights are riddled with indictment and scorn for our former lives – and even loved ones. The first half of the film attempts to break down, quite simply, the way Jesus; Yeshua herein, lived his life.
Basic questions I think we all asked of ourselves and our church leaders are the framework for the introduction of the film. At its core – the question being, “if we follow Yeshua; why don’t we live like him?” Not knowing how the filmmakers chose their subjects; those not in the “movement”, I applaud them for finding knowledgeable professionals in many walks of life. My personal favorite, the self-proclaimed Heathen / Wiccan Priestess. The wealth of information she presented was incredible. To sit and have a cup of coffee with her for an hour, wow. What struck me as the most fascinating, was the level of balance all parties interviewed expressed. Even those opposed to this way of viewing Scripture. Though a good deal of the information was known to us at the time of viewing, it was presented with more context, additional nuggets of information and a balanced point-of-view. Those who are in this walk, names like Brad Scott and personal friends of this ministry Zachary Bauer, Paul Nison, and Rob Skiba, all gave wonderfully mature testimonies. Testimonies of those you know have studied and surpassed the phases of bitterness and crossed-over into the life of simply sharing truth without resentment.
The second half of the film explores the underlying “phases” of this walk. Phases I’ve liken to the Five Stages of Grieving. Arthur Bailey also hints at one of his teachings, featured in our Getting Started section; Religious Traps of the Messianic Faith. That teaching alone should be required viewing for anyone interested in this walk. Powerful testimonies given by “everyday people”, former church leaders and professionals who left their friends and family in the Christian church. Testimonies like the one given by Debbie Smith-Bevan resonate with many of us, including many wives struggling to live this walk alone. Tear-jerking, to say the least.
Is The Way the messianic Citizen Kane? Does it’s use of professional cinematography and tear-jerking score make it THE documentary that will help change hearts and minds? To tell you the truth – I hope it will be! The optimist in me says the marketing and professionalism of this movie will help draw more people to watch it than a powerpoint YouTube video and a bitter commentator yelling about the pagan origins of … everything! The realist in me says; wait and see. Some people just aren’t ready for this message.
As a backer of this film, I’m pleased to report the investment was well worth it. Luke & Kayte did an incredible job of sharing their passion for Yeshua and the stories of those featured in the documentary mirror that of so many coming to this realization that the way we live our lives now, has little to do with how our Messiah lived his life then.
If there is one movie that can lead people to reading the Scriptures for themselves, I do believe The Way could be that movie. As a reader of this article, you can help by continuing to support the efforts of the filmmakers by purchasing a digital copy or a physical DVD to share with others.
We realize not everyone can spend upwards of $20 for a movie, let alone one that isn’t featuring comic book superheroes. And because of that, we’ve been gifted by Luke & Kayte five (5) free copies of the DVD to share with you, our audience (those in the U.S.)! International readers – One (1) digital copy will be given away to our friends aboard!
Starting Monday the 29th and ending September 2nd – you have the chance to win a copy of the DVD! Enter below by following the instructions and be sure to share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest or if time allows carrier pigeon! Use the hashtag #TeshuvaTheWay when sharing this link!
Enter to win
Have you seen The Way? Share your thoughts on the movie in the comments and let us know how you plan to share the Good News of Yeshua’s message!
We’re excited to announce that we are partnering with our friends and producers of the excellent documentary, The Way. If you haven’t had a chance to see the film, we highly encourage you to do so! If you’re willing to wait a little longer – we have an chance for you to win a copy very soon! Stay tuned for the details in the coming days as we will have a video & updated post telling you how to enter for the giveaway!
Watch the trailer here
As we look around the landscape of this growing movement that is the “Hebrew Roots” or “Messianic Judaism” awakening, I started to see a pattern. Most people, when coming out of the mainstream church went through period of being “alone” (however you define that). My family was “alone” yet we had our parents who were also on this journey. Alone in the sense that we didn’t have a community to fellowship with.
I equate that to the pattern Paul went through. He KNEW the law (as Christians profess to KNOW Jesus). He had to be alone for three years to RELEARN / UNLEARN everything he thought he knew. I see this as the cleansing period. After that period, for some, the Father starts to bring people of like mind together and building communities. In between all that time I see another pattern emerged.
I liken coming out of the religious institutions to the five stages of loss / grieving. The five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance are the framework for many people’s walk:
How could I possibly believe all these lies from my church and family?!
All you pagan idolatry in Christianity have no idea! Stop posting on my wall, I have no business being your friend, you’re all lost!! That’s pagan! You’re pagan! Pagan!!!
Ok, we can be friends, just dont do your pagan stuff around me or ask me to do them with you. I’ve settled down now, sorry.
No one wants to be my friend. I’ve burned too many bridges with family too. I’m alone and I’m the only one doing what I do. Was this a mistake? Was I lied to again?
I am Israel. I’ve come out of Egypt and my Father will gather me to my people in His time, not mine. I have accepted Yeshua as my Messiah and follow Torah, that is my purpose in life.
Keep moving forward
After dealing with the stages of loss/grieving, it’s time to get down to Business!
Business – Now that I know who I am and I know my purpose (Ecclesiastes 12:13), I can be about my Father’s business of taking the true Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world while He gathers the two sticks of Judah (Jews who have the Torah) and Joseph (Christians who have the Messiah) together as one bride (Israel) who prepares for the coming bridegroom (Yeshua, The Messiah).
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to fellowship with fellow Hebrews and learn from fellow Torah researchers, Zack Bauer & Rob Skiba, at the Declaring the End from the Beginning Conference in Beaumont, Texas. It was a nice visit and Zach premiered the third installment of the Greater Exodus series. (Part 1, Part 2).
While there were many key takeaways from the conference, I’d like to share an insight that Zach shared while we had lunch. He shared a dream that another gentleman had, a vision, if you will. His vision was of him holding onto a rope, much like you would for a tug-of-war game. The harder this man held on to the rope the more it burned his hands, the more pain he felt. Of course, as soon as he let go, the pain, while not immediately gone, stopped. He released his grasp on the rope and it no longer burned him.
The Rope & The World
If you haven’t guessed, the rope was a picture of the world or the current state of his world. The Father was leading him, like many of us, to let go of what holds us to this world: material possessions, jobs, city-life convenience, and even family and friends.
The harder we hold on to those things, the more resistance and pain can be felt.
In my personal experience, I’ve had many encounters with holding onto ropes that I should have let get much earlier. Whether it was working at a sports bar as a DJ or even an unhealthy relationship – holding on those things often leads to more pain than was ever needed. If you simply let go, the pain felt would stop much sooner.
“It’s easier said than done”, some might say. Part of me even agrees with that sentiment. Yet, when we make the effort and choice to let go, while not always immediate, the blessings come. I know a lot of Hebrews who struggle with their professional careers that force them to work on the Sabbath. Leaving that job would or could bring a lot of burden on their families. That’s understandable. But where is our faith in this situation? Does is it lie in our secular paychecks or in the rewards / blessing our Creator provides for us.
We need only look at how the Ancient Hebrews were provided for in the Exodus account – Exodus 16:14-27
When the dew had evaporated, there on the surface of the desert was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Isra’el saw it, they asked each other, “Man hu? [What is it?]” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe answered them, “It is the bread which Adonai has given you to eat. Here is what Adonai has ordered: each man is to gather according to his appetite — each is to take an ‘omer [two quarts] per person for everyone in his tent.” The people of Isra’el did this. Some gathered more, some less; but when they put it in an ‘omer-measure, whoever had gathered much had no excess; and whoever had gathered little had no shortage; nevertheless each person had gathered according to his appetite.
Moshe told them, “No one is to leave any of it till morning.” But they didn’t pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two ‘omers per person; and all the community leaders came and reported to Moshe. He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’” They set it aside till morning, as Moshe had ordered; and it didn’t rot or have worms. Moshe said, “Today, eat that; because today is a Shabbat for Adonai — today you won’t find it in the field. Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat — on that day there won’t be any.” However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none.
Releasing the rope helps heal the pain. We pray this will bless you in your walk.
“Tens of thousands of believers are leaving the church and redesigning their lives to look like the Messiah’s. Help us tell the story.”
“The Way” is a documentary that follows a grassroots movement of believers all over the world who’ve drastically redesigned their lives, after searching out answers to questions like:
- Why is ‘Jesus’ not a Hebrew name?
- If Jesus lived a perfect life, why do modern-day Christians live so differently from Him, in everything from our diet to our dress to our holidays and day of worship?
- If God never changes, why is His moral code for modern-day believers different from the one He gave everyone in the Old Testament?
- And why do we see the apostles observing Passover and other biblical festivals that are nowhere to be found in our modern day church?
The people in this movement are re-learning what God loves, what His name is and what He wants from us. They’re relearning wrong from right and finally feeling like a “peculiar” people.
Support this project on Kickstarter today: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1783576899/the-way-a-documentary
UPDATE: As of Monday December 28th – the project was FULLY funded with over $15,000 in backing! Way to go! We’ve submitted our support and will certainly ask to have it hosted on Teshuva’s website when it becomes available.
Watch the Trailer
In our previous study, we took a look at various examples of how we can afflict our souls, including; but not limited to fasting. In part two, we will look at if there is a time limit for afflicting your soul, the role of the High Priest and the People. We hope that this study will be a blessing to you and you family as you continue to reflect on your life on Yom Kippur.
How long do we afflict our souls?
Traditional observance of Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, is to reflect on your life in the past year since the previous Appointed time. One is to observe Holy Day from sundown-to-sundown according to the Torah. But, how long are we to afflict our souls? Are we supposed to fast the entire day? Both questions have subjective answers based on one’s understanding.
And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. “And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before יהוה your Elohim. “For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. “And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. “You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. ‘It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. (Leviticus 23:27-32 ~ ISR98)
And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. “And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before יהוה your Elohim. “For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. “And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. “You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. ‘It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. (ISR98)
to be occupied, be busied with
to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down
– to humble oneself, bow down
– to humble, weaken oneself