MUSLIM STUFF C 2013
1961 What is the main message of the bible?
I want to continue with the strain of thought from the last post.
But first- some politics.
Yesterday Susan Rice pulled herself out of the race for Secretary of state.
Obviously the president felt it would be bad to have her at the center of a huge nomination process- being she’s at the heart of the Benghazi scandal.
Okay- what’s the big deal?
Yes- once again- some on the left side of the aisle [not all] have accused the other side of not being ready for a Black woman secy of state.
Yes- the pundits were out saying ‘when will the Repubs ever be ready for anyone but a White male holding the office’.
You know- for the money these guys get [MSNBC] you think they would maybe educate themselves on the main subject of their job.
We haven’t had a White- male secretary of state for around 20 years [last one was Larry Eagleburger].
As a matter of fact- the last one a Repub president had- just happened to be a Black woman – with the last name of Rice! [Condi].
Sad- these race baiters are destroying the fabric of the country- and they are doing it on the altar of vanity.
Sure- they think [make it sound like] they are the defenders of the minorities- but they hold an elitist attitude- one that has scorn for the rest of the country [outside the media market of NYC].
At the end of the day- they misinform their viewers- they believe that their racist charges are true- and they incite a sort of ‘reverse racism’ by creating an underlying distrust of those who are not like them.
Okay- in the last post I discussed the main message of the bible- what the main purpose is.
Over the years- as Christianity developed- the church had councils and meetings to hash out various controversies.
Over time- these meetings produced the historic creeds of the church.
Now- as a Protestant- I am not an ‘anti- traditional’ one.
I have read- taught- studied the creeds and the councils- and I’m on the side of those who hold to the creeds.
But- this has tended to cloud the main message of the New Testament.
Which is called The Good News.
What was the message the Apostles preached in the book of Acts?
The bible says they ‘preached the word’.
This was not simply a ‘bible message’ per se.
That is- they were not doing what many modern preachers do- simply going thru the bible to find various verses- about all types of subjects- and then making application.
No- they were preaching Christ- they were telling the world of their day that Christ came as the promised Messiah and died and rose again.
Then they told the people if they had faith- and they became followers of ‘This Way’- they would be justified by God- in a way that the law would not be able to do.
This is the heart of the New Testament message- that people are now saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ- as opposed to the old way of Law.
This is the basic message- what we call the good news.
But- like I said above- in the world of politics and religion- this simple message has been obscured.
Many people reject Christianity because of the hard line creeds and statements that came out of the church councils.
Many object to the way the Church has defined the doctrine of the Trinity.
Now- I’m with the creeds on this- but I do understand how Muslims- Jews- and even many Christian ‘groups’ have also had problems with the historic definition.
A friend asked me the other day about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Now- at first I had no idea why he asked- but I told him I try and take a much more gracious position then you might hear from the average Christian teacher.
I told him they did break away from the historic position of the Trinity- but I also told him there have been many believers- all thru the history of the church- that have done the same thing.
I did a quick review of the Arian controversy [not Aryan- like the racist group].
In the early centuries of the church there was a famous Catholic bishop by the name of Arias.
He held to the same belief that the present Jehovah’s Witnesses do- that Jesus was not God- in the same sense that God the Father is God.
Okay- eventually the church overruled him- but there was a time where this belief was widely accepted- and taught- in much of the church.
Till this day there are entire groups of Christians that never rejected this initial belief- and they have been around since the days of Arius.
So- when discussing this with my friend- I tried to say I do understand how other religions have a problem with the historic way we have defined the Trinity.
He then told me his dad- who was a heathen his whole life- married a wonderful Jehovah Witness woman later in life- and he has become a devout believer.
So- in a way he was glad to see that even though the church does not believe the same way his dad believes- yet at the same time- there have been- and continue to be- many sincere believers who have had the same ideas as his dad and step mom.
Okay- said all that to say this.
Many good Muslims- who try to serve the Lord to the best of their ability- they see this doctrine as the major point of Christianity.
That is- they do not see the main message spoken about in the New Testament as the simple truth that God sent Jesus as the Messiah- more than a prophet- though a prophet he was.
But he came as the fulfillment of the promise that God made all thru out the history of Israel.
That someday a Messiah would come and he would not just die for the Jewish nation- but for all people groups.
And that all those who are struggling to please God thru their own obedience to the law- they are now free from ‘the law’ and can come to God based on the obedience of Christ.
Now- this would later become a debate- both in church history- and in the pages of the bible itself.
We read in the New Testament that some were accusing the apostle Paul of teaching that we can go out and sin- break the law- because we are now under grace.
Paul defended himself against this charge- and said we- as children of God- do God’s will.
He did not teach it was okay to break the commandments.
But- he did teach we are not justified- made acceptable in the sight of God- thru our doing of the commandments.
He taught that this system of trying to please God thru the obedience of the law was flawed from the get go.
Simply because all men are sinners- and no man could ever keep the law 100%.
Therefore God made a New Covenant with man [as opposed to the Old Covenant which was based on the law and works].
In this new ‘deal’ Jesus dies for the sins of the whole world- and all who now believe are forgiven by God and have eternal life.
This is a free gift that God gives to man based on the death of his Son.
Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life’.
This is the Good News- this is the main message of the bible.
When I hear people of other faiths- or even people who have joined various sects of Christianity- when I hear them have sincere objections to the Trinity- or to some other doctrine- I try and bring them back to this main message of the bible.
This simple message of Christ dying for the sins of men- and freeing man from the struggle of trying to please God by keeping the law- that’s the old Testament that is no longer in force.
Paul the apostle wrote the Corinthian church and he said he was worried that satan was blinding their minds form the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
I have found this to be true over the years- many people have all types of objections to Christianity.
Some have to do with politics and the Western world.
Some have to do with the way the church has come to define certain doctrines.
But for the most part- many of these well meaning objectors have never really understood what I just showed you- that none of these things are the main message of the bible.
No- the main message of the bible is that because of Christ we now have a New Covenant with God.
Not one that is based on our ability [or inability] to keep the law.
No- that was doomed from the start- no man could do it.
But this New Deal we have is completed in Christ- we can come boldly to the throne of grace- because Jesus made the way.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1960 MY APPEAL TO ALQAEDA
I woke up early the other day- around 1 am [I have had this problem for years].
Right before I woke- I had one of those dreams that you feel are significant.
I was with a friend- Huey- and we were on top of a building.
To get down you had to climb down a rope from a tree- Huey jumped on the tree and almost killed himself- he managed to escape but hurt himself real bad.
Later that day- in ‘real life’ [no more dream] he called me- he had some ride he needed or something [Huey is one of those guys that always has something going on- but seems to never accomplish anything. A few months ago he asked if he could store some of his stuff in the room at my house- I use the room for the homeless guys. Sure enough- he’ll come by late at night- needing something- I felt I needed to learn some patience with my buddy].
The phone he was on was breaking up bad- but I told him quickly about the dream- that he needs to be careful about something [you know- I thought maybe it meant danger- not an actual fall!].
So I haven’t seen him in a couple of days- but wanted to know how he was.
His brothers- who I’m doing the halfway house with- haven’t heard from him.
So I’m walking to my van at the mission- and I see Huey for the first time since the dream.
‘Hey- how you doing’?
He was in severe pain- maybe a broken rib.
I just fell off of a pier and hurt myself real bad.
I told him ‘didn’t you remember the dream’.
Listen to my dreams.
Okay- not really.
The point is God uses us- all of us- in community.
That means in the bible the various gifts of the Spirit- they are intended to function this way.
We have [in modern church] more of an individual style of the gifts.
Maybe we attend a church- or go to some function- and often times we want to hear what God said – ‘thru the prophet in the house’ type of thing.
But actually these types of scenarios lean too heavily on one person.
You might have a gifted young man- a real go getter- maybe the pastor of a church.
Okay- good- but if the format is trying our best to hear God- mainly thru the speaking gift of one person- then thats limited- it really is not the way ‘church’ was done in the bible.
Okay- enough of that.
I have a couple of things I want to write on- but can’t do them both.
I want to write a post- just to Al Qaeda.
Yes- not one of those ‘got ya’ type titles- but a real life post to members of Al-Qaida.
What would possess you to do such a thing?
This last year I have had a lot of web hits from countries where many Muslims live.
My blog changed a function a while back.
It shows me- not on the site- but in the private section- how many hits we get.
A while back I stuck a thing on the site to see what countries view- but I realized the hits were much more than what that Fidgit thing was showing.
We were goin up a few hundred every couple of days.
Grant it- that’s not much- but it’s more than I thought.
We just passed 37,000 hits the other day.
So- I also noticed that the posts where I mention Islam- or some type of political thing- they get the most hits.
So- being I already said this much- might as well make this the Al-Qaida post.
I’m grateful to have Muslim friends who read the site- I’m grateful if some are Al-Qaida.
My appeal- what I try to do over the years- is to simply see both sides of a thing- to try and understand the others view- and then do my best to present the Christian idea.
Now- when I was talking to a friend the other day- Islam came up.
I told him ‘did you know that Muhammad- the founder of Islam in the 7th century- had many of the same protests that other Christian groups would later voice too’.
I explained that Muhammad’s rise in defense of the poor and down cast [by the way- that’s actually a biblical characteristic of prophets- in the bible] were similar to Christian movements that would rise later on- like the Salvation Army.
I went on to show that he also felt like the growing use of statues in Christian worship was a violation of the commandment that says you should not make images/idols.
Now- to my Catholic friends- I have taught the entire history of the use of art- and yes- statues- in Christian worship.
I have also taught against the Iconoclasts- those Protestants who destroyed the statues in the Catholic churches- during the times of the Reformation [16th century].
So- I’m not ‘Catholic bashing’ at all.
The point is- Muhammad had some of the same objections- based on the bible- that later Protestants would have.
Gee John- I never knew this? That’s why I teach it- it helps to have less of a negative view of Muslims as a whole.
So- after I try to look at some of the good things that Islam has done [Hamas- in the Palestinian area. Why do they garnish so much support among the populace? Because they start hospitals- they feed the poor- they start welfare programs for the kids. Do they do this as some sort of trick- a way to gain the hearts and minds of people? No- they do this because it’s a basic tenet of their faith].
Okay- then what do I say to any Al-Qaida on the site?
I say that the historic divisions- the things that divide the East from the West- many of them are actual misunderstandings.
Yes- some of the religious objections were misunderstandings.
The classic one.
Muhammad believed that the Christians worshipped 3 Gods- what we call the Trinity.
But he thought the believers worshipped God- Jesus- and Mary-the mother of Jesus.
That’s of course not the trinity- this is simply a misunderstanding.
Christians believe that there is one God- in 3 persons.
Those persons being the Father- Son and Holy Spirit.
But the biggest thing I like to show my Muslim friends- my friends form other faiths- is that the message of the Cross- it’s one of grace.
Christians believe that Jesus kept all the commandments of God- then he died to pay the price for our sins.
As Christians- we don’t teach against the 10 commandants- but we don’t use them to gain acceptance with God- the acceptance we have with God comes because of the death of his Son on our behalf.
In actuality- this message is a great relief for all people who live ‘under the law’.
That is- if your Muslim- if your Al-Qaida- you too can take this.
Yes- Jesus died for you too.
That’s the appeal I make- I’m not asking my friends from other faiths to convert- if they want to- fine.
But that’s not my appeal.
I’m saying to all my friends- this message of the Cross- this is for all people.
Heck- if you want to stay Muslim- stay- but just accept the reality of this post.
Yes- Jesus is spoken about much in the Quran.
The prophet Muhammad respected Jesus.
Jesus can become- should become- all that he was intended to become- that is he died for you guys too.
Right now in the Muslim world there is a movement going on- it’s highly debated in Christian circles.
The movement is many Muslims are receiving Christ in this way- and staying Muslim.
Yet- they are accepting the Christian view of the death of Christ on their behalf.
As somewhat of a scholar type guy- yeah- I see where the objections arise.
But as a real world person- who is glad that I get many readers from countries where I know many Muslims live.
To you- go ahead- accept the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Many Muslims have already done this- many more will.
If you want to keep the other good points of Islam- fine.
But don’t see acceptance thru your ability to keep the law- no one can ultimately live up to that standard.
Jesus was the only one who never sinned- his death on our behalf allows us to come into the presence God.
He died for all- Muslims- Jews- Hindu’s’ the list goes on and on.
In today’s world- many of the objections against Christianity are really objections against Western Imperialism.
A thing I too reject.
That’s not the heart of the Christian faith.
You can receive Christ- and keep objecting to all the political ideas of the Western world.
Heck- Jesus railed against the money changers [the rich capitalist pigs of the day].
In some ways- Jesus was the ultimate Revolutionary who spoke truth to power.
Yeah- many radical’s- even Al-Qaida could respect him for this.
That’s my appeal to Al-Qaida today.
Glad some of you might read- keep reading- that’s the point.
NOTE- There is a famous prophecy about Jesus in the bible- it says ‘Gentiles shall come to your light- and kings to the brightness of your rising’.
This also applies to the ‘rise’ of the church- the people of God.
But in context- the gentiles are all the nations [even various religions- some are called Denominations] that are not Christian- not considered benefits of the Covenant of God.
The apostle Paul teaches us that we are all now part of the covenant of hope- we all now benefit from the promises of God [Ephesians].
The point being- the bible speaks about other groups- other nations- seeing the reality of Jesus and his kingdom- and that these too will come to the ‘brightness of his rising’.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1958 AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE!
Its story time again kiddies!
Come- gather at the media carnival- they have another great fantasy for us all.
Yes- that’s the way I feel often- when seeing new narratives emerge.
The past couple of days I have been hearing ‘he might use chemical weapons- against his own people’.
Heaven forbid it- oh my- we could never have that.
Yes- that’s the way they want you to respond.
I’m talking about Syria and the ongoing tragedy of the civil war taking place in their land.
Now- I’m certainly not a supporter of Assad- the son of Hafez Assad- who ruled with an iron fist for 40 years.
Hilary Clinton called the son a reformer- a good man who was for change.
Now he’s a murdering thug with a bent on using the most horrid thing in the world- chemical weapons! Oh my!!
Yes- for those of you who don’t know- the standard method of killing- shooting lead [or other metals] into the bodies and skulls of folk- smashing their skulls as the bullet goes in.
In many cases leaving the wounded person to die- in great agony.
Well- this method is humane.
Or say dropping a nuclear bomb on hundreds of thousands of Japanese women and children.
You know- giving radiation poisoning to tens of thousands of moms- many who were pregnant.
These kids dying of radiation sickness- their limbs melting off like charred meat from a chicken bone.
Yes- this is ‘humane’.
But chemical weapons- against HIS OWN PEOPLE- o my.
I guess it would be okay if it were other people?
Did you know our great Winston Churchill used- and advocated for the continuation of them- during the war?
Bet you didn’t know that little tid bit.
I don’t want anyone to use any weapons- ever.
And yes- chemical ones are very bad.
But when you see the western media saying ‘against his own people’.
Watch out- they are trying to develop a narrative that will excuse our involvement [via NATO] to go in once again and ruin another country.
Right now- as I write- the guys who killed our ambassador in Benghazi are walking the streets- freely.
There are reports that no one has been questioned- everyone in town knows who did it [Ansar Al Shariah].
Yet till this day the U.S. has so badly dropped the ball- that these guys roam the streets with impunity.
This week I heard an ‘expert’ on Arab affairs describe the ongoing protests in Egypt as simply a healthy expression of Democracy.
That the Egyptians were suppressed for so long- that now that they have freedom- they just can’t get enough of this new expression of rising up in their streets.
Wow- what a great story.
O- but I forgot- the women have been raped openly in the famous square- by the great Muslim Brotherhood.
All of these things are examples of the media wanting to make things look/go a certain way.
It would be terrible if after all the praise about the Arab spring- the open support we gave to Morsi [Egypt’s new pharaoh].
If after all this- we now realize that we were part of a revolution- that simply became anarchy.
That’s why they tell us the story thru this lens.
That’s why they say ‘chemical weapons- against his own people!’
So you would think ‘of course we had to intervene- we had no other choice’.
When the so called rebels [Al-Qaida] attacked a hospital in Syria and killed innocent victims and doctors- was this called an attack ‘on their own people’.
When the Al Qaeda group in Libya hunt down the former relatives and friends of Gadhaffi.
When they torture and kill them.
When the free roaming militias terrorize blacks and women- do we say they are ‘terrorizing their own people’.
We don’t say it because we backed them.
The guys running Libya are guys we put in power.
So when the various atrocities take place- against ‘their own people’. We don’t say it.
But when it’s time for the west to intervene again- well watch out- we start saying ‘against his own people’.
All war- and weapons of war- are sad- tragic.
It’s sad that many young Arab- Persian and Muslim kids have grown up in this mess.
Its’ sad that some have embraced radical expressions of their faith because they see no other way out.
It’s sad that Morsi turned out to be no better than the guy before him [Mubarak].
It’s sad that the U.S. has put its hand to many times to try and make a certain outcome happen.
Maybe we have done this meaning well [maybe!] but the end result has not turned out well.
If we go in and depose Assad [Syria].
That country will fall to Al-Qaida- that’s a fact.
I don’t want to see chemical weapons used either.
But don’t fool yourselves.
They are all killing- both sides- using very bad things- against THEIR OWN PEOPLE.
The only innocent ones are the true protestors who have not resorted to violence.
Those in the square of Egypt today- who are not violent- they are noble.
Those in Libya- Syria- all the other hot spots in the Arab world.
Those who reject violence- they are noble.
But if you take up a weapon- be it chemical or any other- then you have chosen to live by the sword.
A great man once said ‘if you live by the sword- you will die by it’.
His name was Jesus Christ.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1951 ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE [and the media write the script]
This past week we have seen media bias on an unusually large scale [that is it’s rarely so blatant].
The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been reported in the strangest of ways.
Say if you had 2 kids throwing apples at each other.
You would ask ‘how did this start’.
And say if we found out that Timmy had small apples- and Billy had big ones.
Now- Timmy knows Billy has better apples- that he can launch them with greater precision and power- yet Timmy thinks if he plays his cards right- that maybe Billy won’t throw in response [Or that his new friends might come and help him].
So Timmy throws about 300 apples in a short period of time.
Finally Billy has enough- he takes his precision throwing skills to the table and slams Timmy.
After a few days of getting slammed- Timmy’s friend [little Morsi from around the corner- lives on Egyptian trail] gets involved.
Morsi says ‘damn you Billy- stop it- Timmy’s my friend’.
Billy has only one request- tell Timmy to stop throwing.
Morsi is really not a go between at all- in all his talks he keeps saying he’s on Timmy’s side- he calls Billy a cold blooded apple thrower- and little Morsi does not even recognize that Timmy actually started the whole thing [the recent apple throwing].
So- the big brother on the block finally steps in.
Yeah- the guys from USA Street enter the fray.
They have recently praised the guy from Egypt Street- they have made all sorts of statements saying he’s really a heroic figure- he’s willing to reach out to both sides and play the mediator.
Yet- in fact- he has not done this at all.
But the boys from USA Street have to make it look that way- or else they too will look bad- after all- they were behind the Egyptian street boys rise to power [in many covert ways- like calling for Mubarak to step down ‘yesterday’].
So- USA boys have a plan- they have friends that write comic books [called news paper reporters].
These friends will write and say anything to help their friends who are currently the bosses on USA Street [the Obama team].
So- they wrote all types of articles praising the new leadership role of Morsi- they made it look like Obama and his risk in backing Morsi was worth it- after all- Egypt has emerged as the new mediator in these affairs.
Well the truth is- all of this is a big lie- a true comic strip if there ever was one.
Yes my friends- I have rarely seen bias on a scale so large.
These last few days the articles reported that ‘both sides have demands’ [Israel and Hamas].
They reported ‘a cease fire is now in place- but there are rockets that continue to be fired into Israel- will Israel use this as an excuse to be the first to break the cease fire’.
If the other side [Timmy- Hamas] are firing rockets after the so called ‘cease fire’ what do you call that?
You say ‘o- Hamas broke the cease fire’.
But no- the media made it sound like these rockets had a will of their own- they were fired into Israel- after the cease fire- which according to them- both sides were still abiding by.
I mean this stuff is laughable- they must think we are absolute morons.
The truth is- Israel and the Palestinians have a long feud- and this post is not to say one side is totally right- I at times have said we also need to see the true plight of the innocent Palestinians- yes- some are very good people- they are not all Hamas.
But- the recent violence is a direct result of Hamas deciding to send rockets into civilian areas of Israel.
No nation- that has the capability to fire back- would sit back and not respond.
Israel did the only thing that they could- they shot back.
Now- to then say ‘yes- the violence is a result of both sides having legitimate concerns’ is stupid.
Yes- the Palestinians do have real concerns- but the recent violence is a result of little Timmy starting the apple throwing.
I read a report that said ‘Israel’s demands are for the rockets to stop- Hamas wants an end to the embargo’.
Okay- I got that.
But when one guy starts shooting at the other- and the other shoots back- and you say ‘okay guys- what’s going on- what do you want’.
And when Billy says ‘I don’t want anything- Timmy just started throwing- I want him to stop’.
That’s not ‘both sides having equal demands’ no- that’s one side saying ‘quit throwing the apples’.
The truth is- this entire thing is a debacle.
President Obama should not have been in Asia- there’s too much going on at home [fiscal cliff] and he needs to have more involvement in the mediation.
Yes- when Bush was in office- and had an actual peace process on the table- when things hit the fan- Harry Reid- and many other Democrat leaders were on the floor condemning Bush for not being involved more.
This time Obama does not even have a peace process in place- he could not even call both sides ‘back to the table’ because there is no table.
One article showed a picture of the president on the phone- it said he ‘skipped dessert and rushed back to the phone’.
Making it sound like him and Morsi were these 2 jet setter type diplomats- in a world of ids fighting.
The reality is this thing was a huge foreign policy mess.
Hillary went in- she basically told Morsi what he had to do- and she [we] also made it sound like he won- he prevailed as a new emerging peace negotiator- this is all a false story.
Hamas agreed to stop firing [even though they were still firing!] because Israel has amassed a ground force and were ready to go in and demolish Hamas.
Yet- after the agreement- both the Palestinians- and Morsi- were celebrating a so called military victory over the ‘terrorist’ Israel.
Yes- Morsi and Hamas all held to this same line.
How can you call him a new peace maker- after he says and acts like this?
Yes my friends- we have seen the worst in media bias- in a long time.
We have seen the comic strip writers living up to their reputation.
Yeah- they all put on a big show for us- they wrote a script that had nothing to do with what really happened.
And they did all this because this time their friend was running the show.
The last time around [Bush years] well the script looked nothing like this.
NOTE- Why so hard on Morsi [the Egyptian president]?
Just yesterday he re wrote the ‘Egyptian constitution’ and took to himself more power than Mubarak ever had.
Many Egyptians took to the streets [they are there right now] protesting this power grab by an Islamic group.
Yes- Morsi and the group he’s affiliated with- the Muslim Brotherhood- promised to never do this.
There are Christians and other non religious secularists in Egypt who fear this move.
One of the reasons he did this was because he arrested- and wanted tried- many of his political opponents.
The judges in Egypt have a reputation of being independent.
Yes- they are not as good as our system- but they are pretty good- in that they are not simply tools of the leader- like in many other places around the world.
So- when Morsi wanted some of his political enemies tried- the courts said no.
They said there was not enough evidence to try them- or find them guilty.
So- Morsi made this move- and is replacing all the judges with his own men.
Yes- this move is worse than anything Mubarak ever did.
Yet- we find president Obama and his administration praising him as some sort of great peace negotiator.
Ah- what a web we have weaved in this mess.
1949 HEBREWS 9
Let’s make up for lost time.
I was wanting to review Hebrews chapter 9 last week- so let’s hit it today.
The book of Hebrews [in the New Testament] is one of my favorites.
Not only chapter 9- but the whole book speaks about how Jesus started a ‘new and better’ covenant [agreement] between God and man.
The Old ‘agreement’ [covenant] was called The Law.
It was based on man approaching God solely on his own effort- how well he did- how hard he tried to keep the commandments.
There are many good people today who still approach God based on this.
The New Testament says the law came thru Moses- but grace and truth came by Jesus.
Because of Christ- we can now approach God based on his merit- he kept the law and died for us.
Now- this does not give us an excuse to sin- but the new approach is one of grace as opposed to law.
Okay- Hebrews 9 says Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament law to the tee.
He is now our new High Priest.
He goes into the presence of God for us- with his Blood- and he makes intercession for us.
In the Old Testament system the priests went daily [and yearly] into the tabernacle [tent] and did certain sacrifices.
They used the blood of ‘bulls and goats’.
The writer says these things could never make the worshippers clean- but they only served as examples until the ultimate sacrifice would be made.
That was Christ.
The writer says the real temple—the real presence of God is in heaven- and Jesus has entered into the true Holy of Holies on our behalf.
He says ‘this should purge us from dead works to serve the living God’.
In context the ‘dead works’ are the old works of the law system- with all of its animal sacrifices- and the New Way is this new priesthood established by Christ himself.
We don’t need the blood of animals as a sacrifice- we have the death of Christ.
I wrote an entire commentary on the book of Hebrews- on the blog.
It’s a great letter- and the main point of the letter is an appeal to the first century Jewish community- who were still keeping the ordinances of the sacrificial system.
The writer is trying to show them that Christ has put an end to the old system of animal sacrifice- and he has established this new ‘system’ [called the New Covenant] and it is based on the one and final sacrifice of Jesus.
This truly is Good News [the meaning of Gospel].
Today we have better covenant- a better way to approach God.
We don’t come to him based on how well we kept the law.
No- Hebrews says ‘let us come boldly into the presence of God’.
How can sinful man come boldly?
Because we come to God- not by our works- but on the merits of the sacrifice of Christ.
Yes- as simple as this sounds- Christ died for all- all can come- all who believe.
1948 WAR OF THE WORLDS [or world views?]
Once again I end the week with the dilemma of either writing on a bible chapter [Hebrews 9] or discussing world events.
Let me start with a few news items.
I find it funny how the media has been covering some recent events.
I also find it degrading that MSNBC has begun a new era- yes- for the first time I can remember- they are now continuing to go after the losing side’s candidate- even after the race is over.
Yes- They have been doing shows- I guess we should start calling them skits [they are performers you know].
And they are blasting Romney for anything he says- even as a private citizen- and they are using his life- I guess for ever- as a talking point.
I guess we will continue to hear about Ann Romney’s MS- her use of horses- you know- O’Donnell can’t stop mocking the woman.
Her kids- watch out- MSNBC will get you too!
This is so sad.
Chris Matthews had on Jim Clyburn the other day [a Dem congressman] they were discussing the issue of Susan Rice [UN ambassador].
She’s under fire for her statements about the Benghazi attack.
To be fair- it does seem like some on the right misread it- Petraeus did testify yesterday that she did not change the Talking Points.
But they were ‘scrubbed’ by the Intel community- not the White House.
This was the big issue- who removed the part that said Al-Qaida were part of the attack.
Anyway- Clyburn tells Matthews that- don’t forget- they are going after a young ‘BLACK WOMAN’.
Matthews says ‘go on’.
Very sad indeed.
There were [still are] very legitimate questions about what Rice said.
Why did she present talking points that basically said the opposite of what they knew? [even if she’s not at fault- they were still not accurate].
She did go on in the Sunday interviews and say Al-Qaida was on the run- yet the truth was they were part of the attack.
Even if she is innocent- yet she did present a false narrative.
If this is business as usual- than we still have a problem.
I was at the mission the other day and some girl asked one of the older guys who works there ‘what are you reading’.
He told her a news article from the NY Times about the Palestinian- Israeli fighting.
She asked him why Israel was bombing the Palestinian area.
He really didn’t have a good explanation- right at hand.
So I contributed a brief synopsis [which he later thanked me for- as well as the girl- just to say it wasn’t rude].
I told the girl that Israel began this recent action [it’s the largest military action against Hamas- the group that they are fighting- in years].
Because Hamas started shooting rockets into Israel about a week ago.
They sent around 300 rockets in- with no response.
Now- as someone who has tried very hard to be unbiased about the middle east question [for instance I have written in defense of the Palestinians many times- something that is the minority position in Evangelical circles].
Israel had no choice but to respond.
But some in the media are making it sound like Israel is to blame.
CNN said ‘this all began when Israel killed the top Hamas leader’.
Yes- many of you have seen the dramatic video of the guy being taken out in his car.
But this was not the ‘start’ of the violence.
If someone bombed your house- say 3oo times- and then you shoot them with a gun.
Well- who started it?
There is a very important story that should be told- that takes a little time- but the media is not telling you.
Let’s give it a shot.
First- I’m not blaming Obama.
But elections do have consequences.
Over the many years of the fighting about the Palestinian question- Hamas- the group that won the election a few years back- took power.
Now- they are actually branded as a terrorist group by the U.S.
They now feel emboldened to act- to make an all out attempt to raise world awareness- by these initial attacks- and they are hoping for their own Arab Spring.
Why are they doing this now?
Understand- Hamas is actually an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood- the group who has now risen to power in Egypt.
The new Egyptian president- Morsi- has already sent a team to the Palestinian areas- and they are backing Hamas.
Obama has been very friendly with the Muslim Brotherhood- and very cold to Israel [though he denies it].
After the re-election of Obama- it’s only natural for Hamas to think they have much more leverage now- see?
Now- that took a couple of lines- why couldn’t the media have told you that narrative?
Fahreed Zakariah- a CNN analyst who I actually like.
He was asked about the release of a guy who killed some Americans- Iraq was holding him- they let him go.
He blamed the problem on Bush [yeah- you can use Romney on MSNBC- CNN will use Bush].
He said that Bush was too willing to work with the radical Islamist groups- and he allowed them to gain some power in Iraq- and that’s why this happened.
He also said Obama came in and tried to fix it- but it was too late.
I find it interesting that Fahreed- who advises the president- has been part of the entire ‘new approach’ to the Arab world.
Yes- Obama [for good or ill] had very high hopes of starting a new relationship with the Muslim world.
He sincerely felt if he could reach out to certain groups [Muslim Brotherhood] than he might be able to change the tone in that part of the world.
He has made more effort- at normalizing relations with Muslim groups- than anyone in the history of the presidency.
I just showed you how some of these efforts might be the root cause of the aggression right now with Israel and the Palestinians.
Yet- in the middle of the greatest effort ever made to reach out to- and work with radical groups.
One of Obama’s top defenders said ‘the reason Iraq released the guy who killed our men- is because Bush was too cozy with radical Islamist groups’.
This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
I try to be fair in my analysis of these things.
When you are simply a cheerleader for either side [MSNBC on the left- Fox- some- on the right].
Then you lose all credibility- because people know they can’t trust you with a fair analysis.
But if we can’t- as a nation- as a globe- see behind the lines- see what’s really going on- then we will continue to blame one side- or the other- while not really seeing the root cause.
Yes- there are questions still to be asked.
Maybe the president’s noble attempt at reaching out to radical elements was doomed from the start.
Maybe one of the reasons we are seeing some of the worst violence in the Palestinian areas has to do with this.
But for one of the president’s biggest cheerleaders- who has himself criticized Bush many times for his hard stance and ‘unwillingness’ to see the Muslim side.
For him to say one of the problems is Bush was too chummy with radicals- it’s beyond belief.
Yeah- but if we don’t blame Bush- who else could we blame?
Just switch to MSNBC- they’re still blaming Romney.
Yeah- that will work.
1946 JEWS TEACHING SCIECNE- WHAT IS THIS?
I want to try and cover a little bit more on Einstein.
But just a few quick notes.
The last few days- as I have watched some of the post election coverage- I find it funny how the ‘4th estate’ has tried to rise above their own ignorance.
This past year- as I have both read- viewed- listened to many media sources- all sides of the various debates that go on in the country.
There was a conscious decision made- by some on the left- to ‘suppress the vote’.
I thought it was the Repubs that were trying to do this?
Yes- there were efforts made- whether noble or not- to suppress some of the minority vote [noble - some say they were just trying to stop voter fraud- others said they were trying to suppress the minority vote].
But- how did the left do this?
Once again- yes- hailing from the great state of N.J. [ the headquarters of many media outlets- it is sad that the most grievous offenders come from my hometown area! - Fort Lee- Secaucus- spots right where I grew up].
MSNBC spent an entire year mocking the faith of Romney.
I saw Martin Bashir- actually say- on air- that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
Can you imagine him saying this about a Muslim candidate?
Chris Matthews- he spoke about Romney and his religion as weird- a cult- and other interesting terms [Matthews says he was taken out of context- but simply using the word accomplishes the task].
Now- after a year of this- it is true that some White evangelicals [their target audience of suppression] did indeed not vote for Romney.
In media lingo they call this ‘failed to get out his base- the White vote’.
They see what they did as a noble cause- a good thing.
When you convince yourself that those who don’t embrace your ideas are racist nuts- then it justifies this double standard.
There was an article on Hillary Clinton seeing the Broadway play the Book of Mormon [yeah- Bloomberg manages to keep the lights on Broadway on- but watch out if you’re from Staten island or the Rockaway’s!]
When she came out of the theater she said it was so funny- she couldn’t stop laughing.
What was she laughing at?
The play is an open mockery of the Mormon faith.
Yet- this same state dept official- she was outraged over the release of some on line movie clip that depicted the prophet Muhammad in a negative light.
They just sentenced the maker of the movie to a year in jail- over some probation thing.
Yes- that’s the double standard of the media- politicians- it is quite obvious.
As I read a few chapters every few days- I want to comment on the important- relevant stuff.
One of them being the very word Relativity.
Now- I am tempted to go back and review all the posts we did on physics [you long time blog readers might remember?].
But this book is not a physics book per se’- but a biography.
Yet a quick review might help.
Einstein became famous for a few things- most of us know the famous equation E=mc2.
Simply a conversion of mass into energy formula- it works for all things- not just Nuclear.
His theory of Relativity shook up the world of physics- and Einstein is indeed the father of what we call modern physics [and Quantum theory].
Okay- what he did was he took the centuries old ideas of Newton [the father of classical physics] and he said that time and space were not absolutes.
That’s is- that depending on the observer [and his speed] time actually changes.
Some in the scientific community could not fathom what he was saying.
The book has actual headlines from the NY times- they openly doubted some of Einstein’s work
I remember reading this years ago- but this time I saw the real headlines.
They said stuff like ‘what is this new theory- that space might be limited- this defies the actual definition of space’.
Now- it would take too long to tell you what they were covering- but it is one of the various theories of the universe.
In actuality- the times might have been right in this one case [it’s a theory that the universe is curved- has no detectable edge- if so- you can than argue for an infinite universe in a closed space- because there is no edge- or end].
As a side note- logically- the times was correct.
Just because you can’t find a ‘sharp edge’ to a thing- that does not mean the thing is ‘endless’.
I covered this years ago in our apologetics posts- it was interesting to have re –read this from this author [Isaacson].
He is a good author- and explains stuff well.
Okay what was the other stuff that some objected to?
Some associated- wrongly- the theory of Relativity- with the modernist philosophy called Relativism.
Relativism [remember the philosophy stuff?] said that there was really nothing as objective truth- that what you see might be just as true as what someone else sees.
You might both be looking at the same thing [morally- murder- etc.] yet to one it might be wrong- to the other- right.
This idea- Relativism- was strongly rejected by many philosophers- especially those with a Christians/Theist background.
Even today this is one of the major debates going on in the world of the philosophy.
But- some confused what Einstein was saying- and they thought [or used it] to back up the ‘moral’ philosophy of Relativism.
This was a mistake.
Einstein himself- as I mentioned in an earlier post- was not a relativist at all- that is when speaking about moral absolutes.
So some began to associate him- as one of the new ‘Jew’ scientists- who were introducing dangerous doctrines to the world.
Yes- some of the objectors to Einstein objected on the basis of this new ‘Jewish science’ that was breaking away from the moors of Christian science- whose father was Isaac Newton.
See how both anti Semitism- and religious belief played a role in this?
I’ll end with a quote from a famous man of the time- an up and coming politician- I mean he could awe his audience like no other.
Obama- Clinton- even the great communicator- Reagan- were no match for this man when it came to giving a speech.
He said ‘Science- once our greatest pride- is today being taught by Hebrews’.
Who said this?
The future leader of Germany- Adolph Hitler.
1945 BIRTHER- ME?
Before we end the week I want to simply quote a few verses from Isaiah 26.
‘Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee’
‘Trust ye in the Lord forever- for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength’
‘When thy judgments are in the earth- the inhabitants of the world will learn justice’.
I stumbled upon this chapter the other day- I did not realize how many verses I have memorized over the years- ones that I would quote and stuff- not realizing they were lumped together in this chapter.
Over the years I have had times [years] where I would read thru the bible every year.
Or maybe read the New Testament thru many times- and the Old Testament a little slower.
These past few years I have slowed down a bit- still reading every week- but less ‘volume’ and more meditation.
I’ll read a chapter- then stay on it for a few days- and then see more stuff each time.
I try and listen for ‘daily bread’ type of a thing.
In the Lord’s prayer [Our father] he said we should pray for ‘our daily bread’ and in a way that speaks about what God wants to tell us each day.
Sort of like the story of Manna in the time of Moses.
The people of God were in the wilderness for 40 years- and God fed them bread every morning.
It was called ‘angels food’ it was this little wafer type thing that was on the ground each day.
God told them only take enough for you and your family- if you take too much- and store it up overnight- it will spoil.
But on the 6th day they could take enough for 2 days- because they were not supposed to gather it on the Sabbath.
So God in a way has daily manna for us- if we try and overload the system- by eating too much- then it will spoil.
Its funny- over the years I have seen/gone thru stages where you get involved with movements- good people- who for whatever reason get into some type of teaching.
Maybe they will emphasize some new thing- and for years they will go down that road.
Maybe it’s not a bad road per se’- but these things were not supposed to be ‘roads’ at all.
That is- as believers we should establish our hearts in grace and the reality of God.
The reality of the Cross and death of Christ for us.
And then as we learn and grow- sure- we will learn lots of stuff- but when you get into fads- well it’s like the verse in the book of Hebrews.
‘It is a good thing that you are established in grace- not with meats [ side doctrines] for it is not profitable for those who are occupied therein’ [my paraphrase].
Okay- a few things.
The other day at the mission I had to intervene- sort of like a Ref.
2 of the guys were getting into it- over all things- politics and religion!
Now- these guys happened to be sober- but you have a few guys who start drinking early- and by the time I get there- well let’s say they are feeling pretty good.
So- I could think of no better environment to discuss politics and religion- can you?
Somehow one of my buddies- who is very smart- got a hold of ‘birthirism’ somewhere along the line.
I first heard him talk about it a few months back- and was kinda surprised.
He is not a ‘right winger’ at all- he attends a classically more liberal church [Methodist] and we often discuss the Sunday school teaching from the previous week.
He has the notes from church- and they are always taking a more liberal side- and I have told him that the Methodists are a great church- and they do an excellent job at social justice [like the Catholics].
So- it was a surprise for my friend to have launched into birthirism [the belief that Obama is not a U.S. citizen].
By the way- those who believe this are not total nuts- if I have time I’ll share a few facts- things that have caused people to question- yet I have never swallowed the Trump view.
So- my buddy starts into his talk.
‘Obama was sworn in on the Koran- even if he was born in Hawaii- that’s not part of the continental U.S.- so he still is not legitimate’.
A few more things like this- that coming from this particular friend- surprised me.
Now- this day we were sitting with my other friend Don.
Don is the gardener at the mission- the pics I posted on Facebook- with the garden- that’s Don.
Don is quite the intellectual- for real.
It never ceases to amaze me when I run into the smartest guys that are homeless.
Don has a well rounded education- knows all types of subjects- sort of a renaissance man if you will.
So- for Don to have heard my other friend launch into his thing- well- he could not believe that my friend was saying this.
Don- rightfully- corrected my buddy in no uncertain terms.
My buddy went on about Obama being a non citizen.
Then they appealed to me- to be honest I did not want to get into it.
But I did.
I had to side with Don- and correct my other friend because he was so misinformed.
Obviously Hawaii is part of the U.S. - even though Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the land mass that makes up the lower 48.
Yet they are states- and they count as being born in the U.S.
But I had to throw out some cover for my misinformed friend.
He looks up to me as sort of a teacher- and when someone sees you that way- it’s hard for them to be corrected by someone they look up to.
So- I did tell Don that I have read/watched so many news things over the past 4 years- that there were things that gave some people real reason to doubt the president’s place of birth.
Now- be careful here- I want you to hear carefully.
Because what I think has happened- is the president did things in the past- like we all have done [skewing the facts to gain a benefit].
He possibly presented himself- at various times- as being from Kenya- or as sharing the Muslim faith.
What- are you nuts?
Not 100% [maybe half?]
Okay- here’s the cover for my buddy.
As people started looking into the birth certificate thing- there were some indications that the president might have said he was from Kenya- maybe to sort of play into the role of ‘this new and up and coming author- with such an interesting background’.
Or maybe at times- in applying for school- you might say you’re a foreign born person- because you get an edge if the school has a quota type thing [thus the Trump challenge to show his college records].
Why do I think this might have happened?
When you wade thru all the accusations- there were a few things that did come up that quite frankly looked strange.
One of the more questionable things was the actual promotion of one of Obama’s books- the book publisher actually introduced Obama- the author- as a ‘Kenyan born’ person.
Now- when this came out- the president- and the publisher- both admitted that this was not a fake.
They simply said it was a typo.
They both admitted that the intro for the book said Obama was Kenyan- but it was a typo.
Look- a typo is hitting a wrong key on the keyboard [unless this type writer had Kenya as one of the keys?]
And what are the chances that this typo just happened to name Kenya as his birthplace?
I mean that’s a bit much to swallow to be honest.
So John- he’s a Kenyan!
Now- here's where I give the pres the benefit of the doubt- but why I say he too has given the birthers a reason to question him.
There are a few people that said/think that Obama used this ‘I was born in Kenya’ thing to simply help promote himself.
He has spoken about his own identity struggle in the past.
Growing up he had the name of his step dad [Sotero].
As he got older- being raised by a single mom- he eventually learned more about his real dad- from Kenya- and he did try to identify more with his father’s heritage.
So- maybe did he start saying ‘I’m Kenyan’
Was this so bad?
But is this possible?
The more believable explanation for a book publisher to say you’re from Kenya- would be that Obama might have presented himself as such.
Others have said that he did say this to them as well.
And some think he might have used this on his college application.
This is very possible- and to be honest- for a book publisher to accidently pick Kenya- as a typo- that’s a bit much.
So- I gave cover to my birther friend- by leaving him room- that is to say there are people who question it- Obama’s place of birth- and they are not all nuts.
But- I also sided with Don- that at the end of the day- I think this issue is settled.
It’s hard to have friends on both sides of these things.
Because when you take one side- the other feels alienated.
I think it’s also wrong to assume that those who did not support Obama are all birthers.
I supported Romney simply on the basis of experience.
Those who want a real honest critique of the president should read Bob Woodward’s latest book.
He tells the story- the true story- of how many of the president’s closest inside fiends felt he was so far out of his league- after he got in- that others had to actually run the show- for quite some time.
Yes- these are actual reports from friends of Obama.
I remember hearing his main financial guy [I forget the name right now- Lawrence Lindsey?]
He said at one point ‘if we were not running this show- no one would be in charge’.
Yes- there are some real- honest critiques that have come out- and they did indeed feel like the president was way out of his league for this job.
And these were not birthers.
So- at the end of the day- some supported one side because they had real questions.
Others supported Obama because they too had honest positions.
But we also need to correct those in our midst who have wrong views- things that they picked up along the way.
If we want good discourse- it must be informed.
And yes- at times both sides have missed this mark.
1939 THE MORE IMPORTANT STUFF
Today we are going to do an ‘all nighter’.
A few months ago I started a new thing- I invited a few of the homeless guys over to the house [actually that’s not new].
But I cooked a good meal for them and let them crash out on the floor for the night.
Over the years I have had a few friends spend the night- but not on a weekly basis.
So- I fixed up a room for them- and tonight they will use it.
Before the weeks out [I guess that means in the morning?] I will try and write a post on Luke chapter 15.
I at least want to cover one bible chapter a week.
But let me just make a few notes today.
For those of you who are not familiar with ‘our ministry’- the whole basis of what I do could be summed up from Isaiah chapter 58.
In a way it’s an encapsulation of the whole intent of the Judaic law.
Actually that will fit in with tomorrows post.
In the Old Testament prophets we read many times where God rebukes the Jewish people [called the People of God under the old covenant].
And he says time after time ‘I don’t want your religious ritual- I want your heart- I don’t want to know how good your are at making animal sacrifice- I want you to sacrifice by loving your neighbor’.
These themes are found all thru out the prophets.
Now- in the New Testament we see the same thing with Jesus.
He says ‘you tithe and do all types of religious stuff- yet you have left out the more important matters- love and mercy’.
Jesus truly fulfills his prophetic role by defending the poor and speaking ‘truth to power’.
I see the role of the church- the main job of Christians- as one where we are not building religious empires- where we are not all about getting a lot of money to ‘reach the world’.
But where we are to live- as best as possible- the new command that Jesus left us.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart- soul- mind and might- and your neighbor as yourself’.
That’s the crux of the matter.
So- today I will go down to the mission and invite about 5 or so friends.
We will pick up some food for the ‘party’ [I got paid last night!]
We will come back to the house- hang out- share what’s been happening- eat- and then crash for the night.
Now- don’t be fooled- we will talk much about Gods will- the guys always wind up bringing it up- it’s a natural part of fellowship.
There will be no drinking or smoking [pot].
Yeah- the guys will smoke cig’s.
But all in all they know the rules- and they abide by them.
Last week Michael- the street artist I have written about over the years.
Mike is a great painter- and right now he works as a cook at one of the local buffets.
He came over just for a few hours with some brothers- and later he told me that was one of the best times he has ever had.
We did nothing- but hung out.
Many street people live lives of quiet desperation.
I see them every day- they go thru their routines- they know each other by name- but yet they rarely interact this way- that is just getting together without it being a drug induced party.
And when they do get together like this- it helps them.
The other day I was talking to Joe- a friend I have known for 20 years.
Somehow he brought up the name Tom.
I asked him ‘do you mean the Tom that hit the 100 thousand dollar lotto ticket a few months ago’?
Yeah- one of my good friends hit the Texas lotto thing- a scratch off- and won big.
He bought 2 Harleys and a bunch of stuff.
I posted the pic on my site- you probably would find it under the Photo album named ‘homeless 2012’ [Face book site].
As I mentioned Tom- the Harley guy.
Joe told me ‘no- not him- he’s my biological brother’.
I have known both of these guys for 20 years- have seen them on the streets- at the mission- all over.
Yet I never knew they were related- actual brothers.
It’s easy for the guys to live their lives- to pass by each other- and never really have fellowship- a good time where they all get together and have fun- without getting drunk- without getting high- just eating good food and knowing that we are doing it as a ministry/friendship thing.
I simply spend my money on the stuff- I take no offerings for it- imagine if we all did stuff like this? [I know many others do- but most Christians don’t see this as a regular part of the Christian experience].
If people all over the world did this on a regular basis.
Then if you had all the church people doing it- then you wouldn’t need to raise a million to do ‘Gods work’.
It would be getting done thru the small sacrifices that each of us make on a daily basis.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Ephesians and said ‘he that is not working- get a job- so you can have to give to those in need’.
No tithe here?
Not pouring it into a huge ministry budget?
No red tape?
Yeah- the New Testament [and old- Isaiah 58] teach us to actually use our resources to reach out- directly- to the poor and hurting.
Read the epistle of James- or the letter’s of John.
This teaching is not a side issue- it’s one of the main things.
As a matter of fact- that’s why the prophets of the Old Testament- and Jesus in the New- kept rebuking the religious people of their day- because they knew how to keep the religious rituals.
But they forgot the ‘more important stuff’.
1937- WAR CRIMES AND OTHER STUFF.
In the aftermath of the Benghazi debacle [the U.S. putting an embassy in the middle of an unsecured area- with known militants roaming the land- and then pulling out their security]. There were voices [including the president] that condemned the killing of the ambassador as acts of terror- or on the same grounds as a war crime.
The president used language like ‘bring them to justice’.
When one nation declares war on another [or in this case- a specific group- Al Qaeda]- then the killing of actual representatives of the other side- when that side is dumb enough to plant them like sitting ducks- is actually considered a legitimate military target [compared to the killing of an ordinary citizen who holds no official capacity].
Now- before I lose my conservative readers- listen clearly.
I of course condemn the killing of ambassador Stevens- and the 3 other Americans.
After watching/reading the stories about this incident over the past couple of weeks- I fault the U.S. administration for failing to properly protect the area.
We now know that that the U.S. watched the attack unfold- over a period of 7-8 hours- and did nothing.
There are conflicting stories- our people on the ground said they requested help- multiple times.
They said that help was denied.
We had a brave young Navy seal who took it upon himself to try and save the ambassador- he was killed in the attempt.
And we had the president say- that as soon as he heard of the attack- he immediately made ‘the call’ to increase security around the world- and start the steps to bring the attackers ‘to justice’.
What our guys needed was ‘real time’ help- we had a drone filming the thing- some possibly armed- and we watched our guys get killed for 7 hours- and did nothing.
Now- this was a debacle in no uncertain terms- and the loss of our guys is tragic.
But- when you declare war- and put an official representative of the opposing side smack dab in the middle of those we declared war on- what the ‘heck’ do we expect?
Right now in the media- this term is often used against those we deem ready for removal.
It makes no difference to us whether the side doing the removal are Al Qaeda- we simply refer to the leaders as having committed ‘war crimes’ or ‘crimes against humanity’.
We did this with Gadhaffi- doing it with Assad [Syria] and will probably keep doing it from now on.
When you see one side as having committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in general- then it justifies the other side- no matter how bad they are.
The whole concept of holding people responsible for war crimes arose after world war 1- yet it wasn’t until WW2 that we really had the concept down.
After the war was over- there were trials held in Germany- the most famous being Nuremburg- and we tried the German military men who committed ‘war crimes’.
Some of the criteria for a war crime simply said ‘if the losing side did it- and the winning side did not- then that’s a war crime’.
Sounds a little like Jeff Foxworthy type stuff.
But this is true- some of the German submarine captains actually used as there defense- that the allies [our side] did the same thing- and that was enough to say ‘okay- not a war crime’.
As you can see- war crimes- or ‘crimes against humanity’ are in the eye of the beholder.
Now- in the entire history of the world- the biggest one [or 2] day killing of civilians- that is a targeting of civilians for a military/political goal- was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Yes- out of all the nations on the planet- the U.S. killed more civilians- on purpose- in these 2 attacks- then in any other single bombing in history.
We had our reasons for sure- but the immediate deaths were around 200 thousand- not counting the many women and children who died many years later- from the long tortuous process of radiation cancer.
These types of deaths- especially on many of the thousands of young kids who suffered extreme agony- great fear in their deaths- were not considered ‘crimes against humans’.
Yet- the water boarding of a terrorist- an actual enemy who is in our custody- is considered tortuous- and meets the criteria of a war crime.
See how messed up this is?
Now- in the past 2 years the U.S. has worked closely with the state of Israel in monitoring/spying on Iran- to see how far along they are coming with their nuclear program.
We share intelligence- and have even ‘partnered’ with them in some clandestine op’s.
The famous Stuxnet virus- a computer virus that was launched to disable Iran’s nuclear reactors- was a joint program between the U.S. and Israel.
Okay- one of the other secret operations that has been going on is the killing of civilian scientists who are working with Iran’s nuclear program.
These scientists are not military targets- they are civilians- who are deemed ‘worthy’ targets because of their role in the nuclear program.
I have heard no one call these killings ‘crimes against humans’ or ‘war crimes’ even though these scientists are civilians.
No- in the reports about their killings- there is a sense of ‘hooray’.
In the past 3 years there has been a collection of various bomb parts- dropped by the U.S. - in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are legal teams on the ground- representing the families of kids and women who have been killed by our nonstop use of Drones in the area.
We- the U.S.- have a military objective- to root out the Taliban [who were ‘created’ by the U.S. govt. when we aided them against the Russians]. In the process of this rooting out- we have killed- and keep on killing- Muslim women and kids.
Now- do we ‘mean’ to kill them?
Of course not.
But we are making the military/political calculation that so many kids and women will indeed be killed- we know this.
So- we are basically saying ‘look- we really don’t want to kill these kids- but this does happen from time to time’.
Can we help it?
Of course- stop using the ‘darn’ drones- solved.
The whole point I’m making in this post is we- the citizens of the world- are often manipulated by the way a story is told- by the way the media show us stuff.
I know of no U.S. citizen who even thinks twice about calling the killing of the Japanese- and thousands of kids- with radiation poisoning- a very tortuous death- a war crime.
Yet many see the water boarding of a terrorist as a war crime.
Does this make any sense at all?
All killing- all war- is wrong.
You mean our response to 9-11 is wrong?
I mean that when humans resort to killing other humans- because they see no other way to resolve the problem- then it’s wrong.
I don’t like hearing the words ‘this guy committed a crime against humans’.
When you put a bullet in another human- and kill that person- it is never a just act- not in my book.
Yes- there are people who have committed terrible crimes- and I- like everybody else- also think ‘that so and so needs to die’.
But as a society- we should be able to deal with them [life without ever getting out] without having to kill them.
Over the next few weeks we will see the outcome of what really happened in Libya- but when I hear words like ‘we will bring them to justice’.
I don’t truly get it- if we [the U.S.] declare war on a group- we then need to be more responsible about where we put official rep’s of the U.S.
Our official Rep’s are deemed ‘justified’ targets- they represent the U.S. govt. in an official capacity.
The U.S. needs to respond to attacks on them as an act of war.
I heard Leon Panetta say ‘we couldn’t put our troops at risk in an unknown situation’.
No- you say that if it’s some type of rescue operation of non U.S. citizens- but when it’s an attack by those we have declared war on- and they are attacking our official U.S. rep on the ground- no- we do indeed put our troops at risk to go in and do what needs to be done.
1931 A PLACE CALLED REST
When I get up in the morning- I spend about an hour or so praying/meditating before I write.
I get the entire ‘message’ during this time.
This morning- in my mind- I saw a sort of panoramic view of all of church history- quite a message for a short post.
I also felt like covering the history of Judaism during the time of Christ- another long subject.
I think the main reason for these themes popping up is because I have been reading some in the book of Hebrews- and I want to cover Hebrews 4.
But- let’s try the other stuff and see if we can get it in.
In the early days of the church- in the 4th century- we had the rise of the Roman emperor/military ruler- Constantine.
Part of the achievements of Constantine was his development of the eastern half of the Roman empire- whose capitol was named after him- Constantinople.
Over a period of years the early Roman church fought over whose bishop would have more influence- the bishop of Rome [Pope] or the bishop in the east.
Many bishops in the Catholic Church have disagreed over the influence of one bishop being greater than the others [the idea that all the bishops should have an equal voice at the church councils is called Collegiality].
This has caused splits within the Catholic Church thru the centuries [the last big one in the 19th century].
Eventually the early church split- and the Eastern Church separated from Rome.
The eastern empire [called Byzantium- the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church] officially split in the year 1054.
Now- in church history we call this the Great Schism- even though the Protestant split which took place in the 16th century was greater in effect.
Okay- the Protestant reformers split over various issues- I have an entire study on the blog about this.
But the main issue became what we call justification by faith.
Over the centuries many good men- and average church goers- lost the main message of the New Testament- which was a message of being saved by the grace of God.
Many well meaning Christians were struggling to do penance in a way that sort of earned them their salvation thru works.
The Protestant reformer Martin Luther was teaching the book of Romans [he was a scholar and a Catholic leader in intellectual circles at the time].
During his teaching on the epistle of Paul [Romans- in our bible] he came across a verse that said THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.
As he mediated on the passage- and the other themes in Romans that speak about being saved by faith and not by works- he started a sort of mini revolution amongst the students and he became a sort of favorite teacher in the area of Germany where he was teaching.
Over a period of time- thru all sorts of religious and political machinations- he launched what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
Okay- Hebrews 4.
How does this fit in?
In Hebrews 4- the writer is appealing to a first century Jewish audience who were steeped in a legalistic mindset.
That is- in many ways- they were like the Christians of the 16th century who lost the idea of grace- and were seeking to please God thru the works of the law.
The writer tells them that thru the appearing of the Messiah- Christ- we can enter into a new type of covenant- one based on rest.
He says ‘those who have entered into Gods rest have ceased from their own works- as God did from his’.
Okay- there’s a lot to unpack here- and time is running out.
The writer uses the creation account in Genesis chapter 2- where the bible says God created the world in 6 days- and on the 7th day he rested.
He symbolically says ‘there is a place- called Gods ‘rest’ that we too must enter into’.
He’s using an analogy- God rested from his works on the Sabbath day- so we too must strive to enter into this Sabbath rest [a type of the New Covenant- established on the death and resurrection of Christ].
If you read the chapter- you should be able to pick up this main theme- the main point he is making is because Jesus has come and become the final Passover sacrifice for the sins of man- therefore the Old law- with all of its sacrifices and demands- has now been fulfilled thru Christ.
We sit ‘at the table’ with the other disciples- the Lords table- and we freely partake of the Body and Blood of Christ- and by faith we receive eternal life- not by the works of the law.
See- this is the whole point.
Thru out the centuries Christians have lost this sense of free grace- this reality that we come to God by faith- not based on how good we have been- how hard we have tried to obey the law.
No- we come to God- Boldly [Hebrews] ‘because we have a great high priest who is now in heaven- seated at the right hand of God’.
Jesus represents us to God- he is before the throne of God interceding [praying] on our behalf.
It is no longer a matter of our effort- our striving- no- we are truly saved by grace.
1928 BENGHAZI- LIBYA
So much to say- where do we start?
Okay- I have caught up on the news shows/papers for the past couple of weeks.
And even though I have been able to follow snippets of the news on my trip- yet I really didn’t see the entire picture until now.
First- as most of you know many in the Muslim world protested the U.S. on 9-11-2012.
Many of these protests seem to have been instigated by a stupid film about the prophet Muhammad that was put out by some guy living in the U.S.
One of the attacks that took place on that day was in Libya- our embassy was stormed and for the first time in 30 years an American ambassador was killed on foreign soil [the other incident was the famous raid in Iran].
The difference between the attack in Benghazi- Libya- and the other protests was the attack in Libya was a militia type attack- they used heavy weapons and there were no protests during the day.
Now- for whatever reason- the White House ‘spun’ the attack as part of the protests about the film. They used this language to describe the attack- even after the U.S. knew this was false.
I saw Ambassador Rice on the Sunday talk shows saying that the killing of Stephens was part of the protests over the movie- this was 5 days after we knew that this was not true.
As more facts surfaced- and the White House began adjusting their story- they later said that the Libyan attack was different.
Now- what’s wrong here?
As the story developed- it was in the best political interest of the president for this attack to have not been Al Qaeda related.
If Al Qaeda was indeed responsible for the hit- then it would contradict one of the major arguments for the president to be re elected.
That argument being he has ‘Al Qaeda on the run’ and ‘go ask Bin Laden if we are tough on terror’.
Now- whether you’re a Dem or Repub- there is no doubt that this has been a major part of the campaign this year.
If you ‘tune out’ the first story- about the attack being a response to a film- and look at another set of facts- you will see a quite different story.
Okay- the ‘other facts’.
A few days before the Libyan attack- we killed a very top official of Al Qaeda.
A few days after the killing the president once again said- publicly- ‘we have them on the run- they are on their heels’.
Now- we just killed one of their tops guys- we basically said ‘look- you guys are on the run-we are killing you like ducks in a pond- and you can’t respond’.
Okay- this is not the smartest move on our part.
Then while all this was happening- the top Al Qaeda guy who replaced Bin Laden said ‘we are going to retaliate for this’.
A few days more- Stephens was killed- by Al Qaeda related groups in Benghazi- Libya.
Why did V.P Biden say- in the debate ‘we did not know this was a terror attack- our intelligence learned about it later’.
Actually- there were congressional hearings on this very thing- the same day of the debate- in the hearings our guys testified that we did indeed know it was a different attack- a terror type attack- and not the same type of protests that were taking place in the other nations.
The next day- when this came out- that Biden simply got it wrong [heaven forbid that we use the word lie- which by the way just happened to be the actual label they put on Romney for 2 weeks].
When the contradiction surfaced- the White House press secy- Jay Carney- said that Biden was telling the truth- that he and the president did not ‘personally’ get a call telling them about the nature of the attack.
It seems unthinkable that the intelligence agencies- the state dept.- and many other top officials- including some Administration officials- could know about the nature of the attack- and yet a sitting Vice President would still say ‘WE did not know’.
Who are we?
We- the U.S. govt. did indeed know- it came out in the hearings.
The best spin you could put on this is that Biden simply flubbed it once again- the worst is that they are trying to cover for themselves at the expense of the state dept.- by making it sound like they got the info wrong- and that’s why Susan Rice and others said the attack was simply a protest- versus an Al Qaeda attack.
Okay- now do you see what’s been going on- why this story is not simply some silly thing- like the first page coverage the papers gave to a 40 year old story about Romney cutting some kids hair in prep school?
No- this story is about the false spin that we have been hearing the last year- that Al Qaeda is ‘on the run’.
No- lara Logan- the news reporter who was raped during the protests in Egypt- she put out an article that said Al Qaeda is in no way on the run- that they have grown strong- and that they are on the verge of hitting us here in the U.S.- once again.
No- this is a serious story- it’s about whether or not the current administration took seriously enough the real threat that our ambassador in Libya faced.
Ambassador Stephens said he was on an Al Qaeda hit list.
CNN found his diary a few days after he was killed [it’s amazing that we left the crime scene open- to the point that 3 or 4 days later CNN walked in and found this key piece of evidence just sitting there next to a chair].
In the diary our ambassador wrote about the very real threat of Al Qaeda in the area- he had requested additional resources to guard against the threat.
For some reason- we turned him down.
A few days later he was attacked- dragged thru the streets- sodomized [yes- most news shows did not tell you this part] and murdered in cold blood.
And till this day- over a month later- we don’t have the answers.
Yeah- this is a story that deserves coverage- real news coverage.
1924 A FREE BUS RIDE
In the last week I have had some good conversations- talked to various people- from different backgrounds.
I have actually defended other groups [Catholics] from false accusations.
One friend said ‘the Catholics put tradition OVER the bible’.
I said- ‘actually-that’s not true’.
The other person- a fellow Protestant- insisted it was.
I told them that the church believes that Gods voice comes to us in 2 ways- scripture and tradition- but they see them both as means to communicate God’s word- they hold equal value- at least in official Catholic teaching it is this way.
I had another friend- a Muslim- ask me about the teaching from the bible that says ‘another prophet will come’.
Is this in the bible?
I told him there is a famous teaching you find in the bible that says ‘another’ prophet must first come.
But- he was under the impression that this verse was referring to Muhammad- I explained that the disciples actually asked Jesus about this.
They said ‘if you’re the one- that what about the prophecy that says Elijah must come first’.
Jesus said that there was indeed a prophecy that says before the Messiah comes- Elijah must first come.
Then Jesus said ‘John the Baptist was Elijah’ [John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah- and according to Jesus- he fulfilled the prophecy].
Jesus said that the prophecy about another prophet was fulfilled by him and John the Baptist- Jesus was the final and ultimate ‘prophet’ –Messiah- sent from God.
In all of these dialogues- I was friends with these people- I talk to these people as co-equals- I try real hard not to ‘preach at them’.
Sure- in a way- this type of conversation- is a type of preaching- but how long would it have taken my Muslim friend to have wandered into some church and have heard this?
We- all of us- need to have friendships with people from other backgrounds.
We need to know- really- what other people believe.
My Protestant friend started from a wrong understanding of what Catholics believe.
If she wants to dialogue with Catholics about the differences between us- then she needs to know what the differences are.
The other day I was riding the old bus that drives down Bergenline ave.
Back in Texas when you buy a ticket with a transfer- it’s good all day.
So when I got on the bus I asked the guy if it was still good.
He looked at it real quick and said ‘yeah’.
After I sat down he told me ‘you know it did expire- but don’t worry about it’.
I told him I would pay for the ticket- but he said that’s okay.
So I talked to him from 48th street to 91st.
I told him I was visiting from Texas but grew up here in the area.
I told him I retired from the Fire Dept. after 25 years.
He has worked for the state for 30 years.
He asked me what it was like to retire- sort of like he is thinking about it too.
I told him that a lot of my friends put it off- they are scared of doing it.
Even though a job like mine might be considered dangerous- yet you get used to the routine- and some guys don’t know what they will do if they retire.
He kept agreeing with me- like he is having the same thoughts.
He was nice guy- a Black guy.
Why mention Black?
I asked him where he lives- he said East Orange.
I haven’t been around here for so long- I did not know that it is a predominantly Black area [I found out later].
But when he said he lives there- he said ‘you know- I like it- I don’t want to go home and have a lot of drama- I get that on the job’.
I think he was saying he has to deal with people who are racist- people who look down on others because they are different.
And when he’s home- he doesn’t want the same thing.
Sure- I understood what he was saying.
When I sat down that day- I never met the man before- after about 40 blocks- we were talking like friends- plus- I got a free ride.
It’s worth treating others with respect- listening to their side of things.
Sometimes they have picked up ideas that you might be able to correct- to show them that they might have a wrong impression about Christianity.
Other times you will learn too.
All in all- if you start without prejudice- you can go a lot further.
1920 SHEEP FROM ANOTHER FOLD
One of the challenges on this journey is I have friends/family who have hearing problems.
My dear mom has a hard time hearing- and it’s natural to talk loud.
You think because it’s difficult for you to hear- that to talk loud will somehow help the hearer as well.
I have a homeless friend who has been legally deaf his whole life.
He has learned how to talk low- on purpose.
I was telling my friend Patrick that this homeless friend also likes to dominate the conversation- he will talk- nonstop- literally for hours.
To be honest- I don’t mind- or lets say I realize that it helps him- so for 20 years I have had lots of talks [or should I say ‘hearings’] with him.
Okay- so as I’m sitting at my mom’s house yesterday- everyone is out- and I figure ‘wow- some quiet time- let’s make the most of it’.
Well- let’s at least try.
My phone rings- it’s a Texas number ‘what the heck- might as well get it’.
I usually never answer my phone unless it’s a number I recognize.
I get it- it’s my deaf homeless friend on the line- yelling ‘hey John- I can barely hear you’.
So- this is my buddy stuck in the forest in Texas- his girlfriend left him there [remember the last 5 posts?]
Anyway- he does not know I’m in Jersey- none of my homeless buddies know- I had no plans to have left the day I left- so no one knows.
So- as Dirk’s on the phone- telling me ‘I can’t hear you- you’re breaking up’.
I keep saying- well- yelling ‘I’M IN NYC [that’s really the spot- N.J. - right on the Hudson] I CAN’T TALK RIGHTT NOW’.
He keeps telling me he can’t hear me- but says ‘well- I can’t hear- but I guess I’ll just talk anyway’.
No- no- don’t guess that- not today!
I finally got thru and told him I’ll talk whenever I get back to Texas.
Okay- the journey has been interesting so far.
Whenever I drive cross country [or south to north] I enjoy reading the different ‘church’ names along the way.
You can see the development of Christianity across the country- by reading the signs.
As somewhat of a church historian- when I see the signs- I remember the times I read about the various movements.
Some church signs show the debate over the Trinity ‘Pentecostal oneness church’- they emphasize the divinity of Jesus a lot.
‘Pentecostal Trinity church’- they are saying ‘we are not the other guys’.
Of course you see the standard Baptist churches- the Methodist regions as well.
Over the years all of these groups have come to emphasize various teachings of Christianity.
As I headed further north- of course I come to my ‘homeland’- and I see the great catholic churches- the ones I remember from my youth [sort of like crossing the Tiber in a way- for you non intellectuals- google it].
It’s a sort of spiritual lesson- this past week- as well as the coming months- the Catholic church is going to focus on Vatican 2- the last church council.
This council [a meeting of all the catholic leaders/bishops] emphasized Ecumenism- for the first time the church recognized the various Christian churches- you know- all the ‘signs’ I saw on the road- as ‘separated Christian brothers’.
It was a big step for the church- a step of unity- based on the desire of Christ we read about in the gospel of John- chapter 17 ‘that we all would be one’.
In my talks these past few days- and my bible reading in the gospel of John- a theme kept popping up.
The Lord has been telling me to ‘shepherd all the people I bring to you- all those who are on a spiritual journey’.
In John’s gospel the message- at least to me- is to do my best to present the pre-imminence of Christ- that he is the source of salvation- and to recognize that there are also ‘sheep- not of this fold that he will bring’.
Now- in context Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles- the ‘non- Jews’ who would convert.
In the ‘broader’ context- I am taking it as being open to the other Monotheistic faiths.
So- I have good talks with Muslims [and have even shared some good things about Islam- yes- there are good things- with fellow Christians].
My mom told me ‘John- do you know who died’.
Sandy is a nice Jewish lady who lived right up the block from me when I was a kid.
I was friends with her son.
She became a Facebook friend a few years back.
I am always grateful when I make Jewish/Muslim friends on the site.
When I first friended Sandy- we talked some.
Then I noticed one time- we didn’t talk much [you know- when you write a lot- people are going to get offended at one time or another].
So- when I did not see her comments- I figured she got upset about some post.
But then one day- about a month ago- I saw some action form her page- I forget what it was- but I saw that she came back to read the posts.
Then- well- she passed on.
When my mom told me that she died- I said ‘are you sure’.
I went to Sandy’s page- and there was no indication that she died.
So I left a little note to tell my friend good bye.
Yes- I’m grateful for ‘the other’ sheep if you will.
The other friends of mine who are on a spiritual journey.
I’m grateful for all the ‘separated brothers’ those various Christian churches who are now seen as brothers in Christ.
Make no mistake- as a Christian I believe that Jesus is the Son of God- who died- was buried- and rose again ‘according to the scriptures’.
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead- the forgiveness of sins- and life everlasting.
I also believe that in this life God will bring to us others who are on a journey as well- and maybe for a time these people might be on a different path- maybe they do not see everything like I do.
But when these contacts are made- do your best to try and see them as ‘others who are not from this group’ but others whom God has brought your way- at least for a season.
NOTE- One sign I liked was on the side of this huge gun store ‘GUNS- GUNS- GUNS- JESUS IS LORD’.
Went down to the mission yesterday.
I saw Julie- Dirk’s girlfriend.
I usually don’t see her at the mission- and when I do- she’s always with Dirk.
At first I wasn’t sure it was her- but as she walked by I asked ‘aren’t you Julie’.
Yeah- it was her.
If you remember- I wrote a post about them both going to one of the national parks here in Texas.
It’s called the Angelina national forest.
Over the years Dirk has told me lots about how much he loves being there.
It’s kind of a ‘second’ [or 3rd?] home away from home.
Dirk spends most of the year living here in his van.
Every so often he goes home to Michigan to see family.
And sometimes he stops at the national forest for a few weeks- he knows the locals- older retired guys who he plays cards with and stuff.
He has told me how he loves to hunt for arrow heads along the banks of the river.
Okay- I asked Julie where Dirk was.
She told me ‘I left him there’.
They got in a fight- over the arrow heads!
Yeah- every morning Dirk would get up and take Julie arrow head hunting.
So she told me she bought a few books in town and one morning wanted to read.
Dirk went hunting for the heads.
He came back- found something and was all excited- he tried to show it to her or something and she was into the book.
One thing led to the next- they got in a fight- and she drove back to Corpus [about a 600 mile drive by the way].
He has no ride back.
I knew from the start that they were going to get into a fight- I just didn’t think she would leave the guy.
I think that’s why she was down at the mission- sort of waiting to see if he makes it back.
I mean I did have to laugh- as I talked with Julie I told her I thought something like this would happen.
I do want to mention something that will sound self serving- buts it’s the second or 3rd time Julie has told me this- and to be honest it surprised me.
Julie tells me that Dirk is always talking about me- that he sees me as his ‘mentor’ and that he has nonstop praise for me.
I find it ‘funny’ because Dirk usually has nothing good to say about anyone- to be honest.
Many times he has put down the other ‘street’ preachers who work in the area.
I have had to defend Brother Rey- a street preacher- many times.
But being she brought it up again- I want to simply say a few words.
I have known Dirk for many years- and he realizes that me getting with the guys- often taking them out to eat- just being friends with the homeless.
He knows that this is ‘ministry’ to me.
Now- when you become friends with people- of course- over time- they will learn stuff- you will talk about God- and many times the guys have questions- things they might have heard as kids.
Misconceptions about God- things that have hindered them from believing- and often times it’s a simple explanation that clears it up.
So- I guess after knowing Dirk all these years- he has come to see me as a sort of mentor.
I have Henry sleeping in the living room right now- we hung out most of the day- I cooked some simple stuff last night and let him crash on the couch.
I have started doing this at least once a week- I see it as a way to contribute a little more- without it costing a lot of money.
Henry is a football nut- he knows the sport like I used to follow boxing.
Over the years at the fire house the guys realized I was a boxing fanatic.
I would usually know who would win the fight- and when they had a question about some rule- they would ask.
I had a laugh one day- I was upstairs watching the fights- they were down in the main room- I guess they put it on as well.
James- one of the guys- came up to ask ‘what’s it mean when they say- no 3 knockdown rule’.
I told him ‘that means you can’t knock the other guy down- more than 3 times’.
Actually- it means you don’t stop the fight if the other guy goes down 3 times in 1 round.
Some states have this rule- they think it prevents a fighter from getting hurt too much.
But in some cases maybe one of the knockdowns is a fluke- then a guy might lose a fight when he really wasn’t hurt.
So- being Henry is a football nut- you guessed it- we watched the bad call in the game the other night.
I think it was Green Bay and Seattle.
It made the news because the NFL has the replacement ref’s in the game- the regular guys are locked out over a dispute about their contract.
Henry could not get over the amount of coverage- I mean I had ESPN on for 4-5 hours at the house.
I finally told Henry ‘man- I’m gonna catch some news’.
Yeah- it was on the world news too!
Obama and Romney and all the politicians had to have their say.
I’m just waiting for the Al-Qaeda statement.
So- we watched the play- around a hundred times thru out the day.
In a little while Henry will get up- we will head out to some area- maybe go visit my friends in Bishop/Kingsville- it’s been a while and I probably should see them.
It really doesn’t take much to do this- I read John chapter 15 earlier.
Jesus says the most important thing is to love your brother.
That he showed us that to lay our lives down for another- to sacrifice your time- money- etc.
That this is the heart of the matter.
It doesn’t take much- and your friends will never forget.
1915 DIARY OF A MAD MAN?
Read a news article yesterday morning.
It was the State Dept. blasting CNN for an ‘unconscionable’ [yikes!] report on the ‘private journal’ of the dead U.S. ambassador who was killed in the Benghazi attack.
If you just read the headline- it seems as if CNN were the bad boys [and girls] and the U.S. govt. were most holy.
But- as you read- you realize- once again- that what should have been one of the biggest news stories of the year- has become a non issue because of political propaganda- by the media networks themselves [minus CNN].
Okay- the story.
The last few days you have read more than one post by me- about the reality that the Libyan govt. - and our ambassador himself- have told our govt that they were in danger- that the security of the embassy in Benghazi was not good.
Then- you had the U.S. kill a top Al Qaeda guy- with a drone- and Al Qaeda said they would seek revenge.
Now- the last year- because of the political campaign- you have had the Obama team talk much about the death of Bin laden- and a sort of ‘boasting’ about how many Al Qaeda guys we are killing.
In a few weeks a movie is coming out- probably timed in co-ordination with the Obama campaign [though they deny it] that is going to glorify the killing of Bin Laden.
Why all the glorying?
The reality of politics is you focus on what you think the candidates strength is- and one of the strengths of the president is seen to be his policy on killing Al Qaeda guys.
Okay- now- if you simply put 2 and 2 together- is it possible that the killing of Stevens [our ambassador in Libya] was a direct retaliation- by Al Qaeda- for all this darn bragging we are doing about killing their guys?
Of course it’s possible- and more than likely a reason why they killed him.
Then why would the media- and the Obama administration push the initial story line that this killing was nothing more than outrage about a movie ad- on line?
Because if the fact is- that we were warned- over and over again- that our security was bad.
And- that Al Qaeda were growing tired of our bragging about all the drone killings.
If this were [is] the case- then not only did you just lose one of the main strengths of your campaign [if you’re a Dem].
But you also might have ‘provoked’ the killing- by all the bragging.
Okay- why the feigned outrage by the state dept?
CNN found the journal of the slain ambassador- and in the journal he wrote that he- as well as the Libyan govt. - all feared an attack.
They warned the state dept. - over and over again- that this might happen.
And it did.
The State dept. was basically outed for their failure.
And in response- they said that CNN ‘broke its pledge’ to the family by releasing this info.
The state dept said CNN took evidence form a ‘crime scene’ [the journal] and shamelessly spread it around.
The State dept. called this ‘disgusting’.
The truth is- CNN- who in my view have done the best reporting on this story- read what the ambassador himself feared- and they backed it up with interviews from other people who knew Steven’s.
They then reported- only on-line [not like the top news story of the other night- the Romney gaff].
That the ambassador feared that the security that the state dept. was providing was inadequate.
This story should have been reported- much more in my view- because it shows that the U.S. govt. dropped the ball- after many warnings.
It would be like finding a journal in the World Trade towers that said – ‘we have been warning Bush that this would happen!’
This is a big news story- yet the response of the state dept is that CNN shamelessly revealed the secrets of a dead man- and also ruined a ‘crime scene’.
These are stories I see all the time- both in the print media- and on the tube.
Many have debated whether or not the news media actually coordinate with the Obama people [actually a report just showed that a govt. person emailed a group- Media matters- and this ‘non profit’ group contacted the major networks- and they ran the story on the news that night].
I don’t know how ‘planned’ this type of bias is.
But- you can see it exists.
The point I want to make is when you have an important story like this- one in which it’s quite possible that the ongoing bragging about killing Bin Laden might be actually leading to counter killings of our people.
Then we need to ask ‘should we keep bragging’.
When the Muslim ‘world’ rose up in anger- according to the Obama people- because of a video that might have antagonized them.
The Obama people condemned the video- and did all they could to discourage the release or making of any other movies that might incite violence.
Then if this is so- should the American movie makers release the Bin Laden movie [that portrays the President in a favorable light]?
When I read the above article about CNN’s ‘reprehensible act’- at first I thought they really did a terrible thing [just by reading the headline].
But as I read- they simply reported- what should have been a big story- in a minor way [on-line].
Don’t be fooled- this happens all the time- we live in a day where the blogging community- and the free on line news sources can now ‘correct’ it- but there are many who will never read the correction.