Thursday, July 25, 2013



The chapter for this week is Colossians 1.

When we read the New Testament- for the most part we are reading ‘crisis letters’.


The apostle Paul wrote the majority of the letters that make up the New Testament- and his life was spent proclaiming the gospel of Jesus- and refuting the false teachings that the early church had to deal with.

In this letter to the church that lived at Colosse [a city in the days of Jesus] the error that the apostle combated was Asceticism.

Which simply means the idea that the way we gain favor with God is thru strict self denial- to the point of injuring your self.

Now- in the bible we do read that we should deny ourselves- practice habits of self denial [fasting] and ‘keep our bodies in subjection’.

But in the church at Colosse they took it too far.

So- in chapter one Paul presents the reality of God- that he created all things- visible and invisible- and he declares unto us a mystery- something that was hidden until the time of Christ.

What is it?

Paul says ‘Christ in you- the hope of glory’.

Often times you hear the phrase ‘Jesus is in my heart’- well- in a sense- that is true.

‘Christ in you’ simply means that the Holy Spirit [Christ not only denotes the person of Jesus- but it was his title- he was the anointed one who was to come- Christ means Anointed One].

So- Paul tells us the Spirit of God dwells in the heart of the believer- that Christianity is not simply obeying rules- or self denial [the problem Paul is refuting].

But it is a new way of life made possible because God’s Spirit lives inside of us.

Paul also refers to God as ‘Our father’.

Jesus shocked the religious world of his day when he referred to God- as not only his father- but ours too!

If you remember- the Jewish people at the time said ‘he is making himself equal with God- because he claims to be the Son of God’.

Now- was their accusation true?


Was Jesus claiming deity for himself?

Now- this is indeed where it gets tough for some.

I have lots of friends of other faiths.

And most of the time I try and take an open minded approach.

But- in this area- this is what makes Christianity unique among the other religions of the world.

Jesus did indeed claim deity- that he was the Son of God.

The critics say ‘see- he was crazy’.

The followers say ‘no- he was telling the truth’.

The apostle Paul refers to God as our father- and this ‘new’ way of seeing God- has remained with the followers of Christ ever since.

A short note;

Many approaches to God/religion are based upon the same belief that the Colossians were being influenced by.

That God is a mean judge- that if we try hard- to obey- we will escape his wrath.

But if we mess up- and stumble- he will judge us.

Okay- the basic reality of God as judge is true- to a degree.

When people are ‘outside of Christ’ [do not embrace him as the Messiah].

They are indeed under the judgment of God- the apostle Paul said ‘if your approach to God is based solely on law- then you are mandated to keep every point’.

The legalistic approach to God- which many good people embrace- sort of views God as someone who might have grown up in a harsh home- or maybe a home without a dad.

This view- though well meaning- still sees ‘dad’ as the mean guy who you better watch out for.

The view Jesus gave us was a different one.

That God is our father too- and because Jesus- as our ‘elder brother’- took the Cross for us- we now have the ability to approach God based on Grace- not based on our strict obedience to the law.

This ‘family’ view of God is indeed unique to Christianity- and of course I embrace this view myself [when I pray- I do indeed approach God as my father- like Jesus taught us in the model prayer- the Our father].

Okay- that’s just a brief overview of chapter 1.

Try and read that chapter before the week is out.

Meditate on the reality that God created all things- invisible- and visible.

He is the creator of it all.

Jesus is ‘the image of the invisible God’.

The way we know- see the character of God- is by seeing and learning from the life of Christ.

The disciple Philip asked Jesus ‘Show us the Father’ [in John’s gospel].

Jesus said ‘have I been all this time with you- and you still don’t know what the Father is like- if you have seen me- you have seen the father’.

Jesus was ‘God in the flesh’ [we call this the Incarnation- God become man].

If you want a view of God- a ‘lens’ to see him by- then look at Jesus.

Jesus said ‘take my yoke upon you- and learn of me- for I am meek and lowly- and you shall find rest for your souls’.

Christianity offers an approach to God that says ‘come unto me- all you who labor and are tired- you will find rest’.

NOTE- Christianity in the first century was not born in a vacuum.

Of course the major World View was Judaism- but the second- very strong influence/philosophy of the day was Greek wisdom [thus my quote in the last post ‘The Greeks seek wisdom’].

In the letter to the Colossians- the Apostle refutes Asceticism- which was indeed a belief of the Greek philosophers.

Greek wisdom taught that the material realm was evil.

Way back about 6 centuries before Christ- you had the famous Philosopher Socrates.

His most famous student was Plato.

And Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle.

When Socrates was put to death- because of his supposed bad influence on the youth of his time [he taught them to questions stuff!].

It is reported that he calmly drank the Cyanide- because he believed that when he would die- be released from his body [the so called evil realm of matter] that he would finally ‘be free’.

Now- do Christians believe this?

Yes and no.

Because our bibles were written in Greek [which shows you how strong the Greek influence effected the early church- our first New Testaments were written in Greek- though the Roman Empire was the world Empire of the day.

But Alexander the Great- the famed Greek conqueror who came a few centuries before Christ- he instituted what we refer to as Helenization.

A form of conquering where you let the people you conquer keep their culture- but you also use parts of your culture [in this case the Greek language] to permeate the vanquished.

So- the Roman Empire of Jesus day [who at one time were under the rule of the Greek Empire] continued to write in Greek.

It wasn’t until around a few centuries after the time of Christ that the first Latin bible was written [by Saint Jerome].

But even his bible [the Latin Vulgate] used the Greek Old Testament [called the Septuagint] instead of the Hebrew- for his Latin translation.

Ok- the point being- the Greek world did indeed have a strong influence on the early church.

And the church had to refute the belief that all matter was evil.

The Christian doctrine of creation [developed under saint Augustine- the 4th-5th century bishop of Hippo- North Africa].

Was the teaching that matter was good- that God created the material realm- so it is not  inherently evil.

But- after the fall of man [Genesis 1-3] a curse did indeed come upon the earth [some times when the bible says ‘the world’ it is speaking of the earth- but other times it is speaking of the fallen order- the sinful realm of man. That’s why there is some confusion- till this day- among Christians. They might read verses like this- and think the bible is saying the earth itself- the planet- is wicked. Actually in those verses it is speaking about the fallen order of sinful men. See? ‘For all that is in THE WORLD- the lust of the flesh- the lust of the eyes and the pride of life- is not of the father- but is of the WORLD- and the WORLD is passing away’- this is one example from the epistle of John- here the World is not saying the planet- but the world of sinful man- a fallen ‘world’ order.]

So- in conclusion [if I ever get there!] we- as believers- reject the belief that all matter is evil.

No- man was created in the image of God- and God is the creator of all things- both visible [earth- man- etc] and invisible [mentioned in the above chapter].

The evil we see in the ‘world’ today is simply a result of mans sin- mans choice to live in rebellion against God.

We can’t escape ‘this world of sin’ by simply denying ourselves [though that is one aspect of the Christian life].

But God sent his Son into the world to redeem man- Christ died for all men- and this is the Divine act of Salvation.

When we as humans partake of this Salvation- we are then free- free to enjoy this life- that God gave us- and we don’t have to have the mindset of a Socrates- who saw this natural life as evil.

The apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans;

‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice- HOLY and acceptable to God’.


Our bodies- the actual flesh we live in- can be Holy- sanctified- when submitted to the will of God.

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.

Saturday, July 20, 2013



I’ve been meaning to write on this event for a while- but due to ‘un-foreseen’ circumstances- haven’t had the chance till now.

This past year has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me- even as I pen this post I’m still in transition [the place I’m staying- though very nice- is temporary].

So when you’re in the middle of major life change- it’s hard to stick to an older schedule.

But- I’m giving it my best shot.

Ok- on February 15th of this year- I was up early praying [I just finished a little over an hour outside- I have been able to keep this routine up].

And it was an important day for some of the stuff I was going thru- in a way I ‘needed a sign’ that God was hearing me.

Now- when you get up at 2-3 a.m.- for years- and walk outside and pray- looking up- you see stuff- lots of stuff.

I have seen thousands of ‘shooting stars’ over the years [Meteors- Asteroids].

At times- some were so close/bright- they looked like shooting fire balls [I’ll never forget these- I saw them one morning at the Fire House in Texas].

So- over time- it becomes common.

I guess the last one I saw was last month- early in the morning in Texas.

But- on Feb. 15th- I saw something that I never have seen before.

I was looking into the night sky- and as I looked at this star [ one of thousands] it got super bright- and went out.

Now- at first I thought ‘you gotta be kidding’.

It was a Nova/Super Nova.

I don’t know what the odds of seeing one- with the naked eye- is- but that’s what it was.

A first- and more than likely last- experience.

Now- it was significant enough- that I wrote it in a journal that I have been making for this year.

Later on in the day- all over the news- was the sighting of a major event in Russia.

The Chelyabinsk Event.

It was the sighting of a Meteor that exploded [called a Bolide] over the city.

It came in over the Ural mountains and took the region by surprise.

This was the most ‘seen’ meteor explosion- ever.

Now- there have been much greater ones that have impacted the earth before [The Tunguska impact of 1908- which wiped out a thousand square miles of Siberian forest].

But this one was caught on lots of Russian dash cams- installed in their cars for the purpose of preventing police abuse- and the image was uploaded to U-Tube and went Viral.

So- the day I saw my Nova- was the same day of this Russian Meteor.

Another event- in the Heavens- happened on this day.

This was also the same day that a very large Asteroid passed very close to the earth [a one in a hundred year event].

The name was 2012 DA14- it flew 28,000 KM above the surface of the earth- it was much bigger- around 30-40 meters.

We were tracking the path of this asteroid- but the smaller- more seen one- was a surprise.

The immediate speculation was that these 2 events were related.

That the Astronomers messed up- and did not foresee that the larger object also had smaller ones ‘riding’ in its wake.

But we later found out that the 2 events- on the same day- were actual separate events.

Now- the reason some have continued to doubt the official account [there are on line blogs that have sprung up and espouse certain conspiracy theories on this] is because the odds on both of these events happening on the same day are quite high.

Some say a Billion to one! [Others have the odds lower- but it’s still a very rare event].

Okay- what are the odds that some one would see a Nova with the naked eye- on the same day of these other 2 events?

To be honest- I have no idea.

The only reason I remembered the date was because these other events happened- and are dated by others.

What does the bible say about stuff like this?

Like most things- you would be surprised.

In Genesis chapter one- the bible says God made the Sun- Moon and Stars- and they are ‘for signs’.


What kind?

 Thru the course of history ship captains have used the stars to navigate and stuff.

But what about signs like I just mentioned- sort of like God saying ‘look- this time is important- I’m giving you a sign’.

In Matthew chapter 2 we read an interesting story about the birth of Jesus.

The wise men from the east ‘saw his Star’ and came to worship Him.

King Herod enquires of them what time the ‘Star appeared’.

He wants to find Jesus too- but so he could kill him and get rid of the competition [Herod heard that Jesus was this new King of the Jews].

The Wise men tell the king- and then they follow the Star until it ‘stops’ over the place where Jesus was.

The bible says ‘they rejoiced- when they SAW THE STAR’.

Around Christmas time every year you hear various sermons about the wise men- who were they- etc.

And this usually leads to a short study about the pre Christian religions that put much emphasis on stars- and how they coincided with the birth of some great ruler.

All of this is interesting- but we do know that God said the stars would be for signs- and sure enough we read accounts in the bible where they were doing just that.

I should note that God also forbade his people from the worship of these objects- which the pagan religions were want to do.

We also read in the book of Revelation that Stars are symbols for stuff.

We read that ‘stars fell from heaven’- or ‘the 7 stars in his right hand are the angels of the 7 churches’.

In these references the stars are talking about messengers- leaders- rulers- etc.

In the books of Psalms- and Romans- we read that God reveals his glory from the things he has made- the Heavens ‘Declare the Glory of God’.

So- should we look for signs like this?


Jesus said ‘a wicked and adulterous people seek after a sign- and there shall no sign be given them’.


The Apostle Paul says ‘the Jews seek a sign- the Greeks seek wisdom- but we preach Christ Crucified’.

So- people have been looking for signs for centuries- and they have missed the boat because of it.

Never the less- God does at times give us signs- when he wishes to do so.

When I saw ‘my Nova’ I knew it was more than likely a one time event.

But- I took it for what it was worth- and moved on.

As I was going thru my journal the other day- I did not even realize that about this time I had penned a verse from Exodus- it said ‘This shall be a sign to you’.

To be honest I looked for it earlier- I don’t remember if I wrote this verse before or after ‘my sign’.

But I know I never connected the event with the verse- until I recently read the journal as a timeline- then I said ‘wow- this is so cool’.

I saw the connection- only from a distance.

So- do you need a sign- like the song says ‘I need a sign..’

Don’t look for one- trust God- but- if he decides to give you one- he can.

When Jesus rebuked the Jews of his day- he said ‘you seek a sign- but no sign will be given to you- but the sign of the Prophet Jonah. As Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights- so shall the Son of Man be in the Heart of the earth 3 days and nights’.

He told them that the ‘sign’ he was going to give them would be the greatest yet- he would rise from the grave after 3 days.

Yeah- they looked for a sign all right- and they did not like what they got.

NOTE- let me add a little at the end here.

The chapter for this week was Deuteronomy 30.

Last night we also had the President make some surprising news- he gave about a 16 minute speech- off the cuff- on the Trayvon Martin case.

He surprised many – both on the left and right.


I was talking to someone the other day and told them that Obama has had a hard time with the strong Black civil rights crowd.

He was seen as someone who did not really share in their struggle- not like the inner city Black kids who experienced lots of discrimination here on the mainland.

Yes- Obama grew up in Hawaii- and he was raised by a single mom- who was White.

So- he had a hard time gaining the trust of guys like Sharpton and Jackson.

He has also received criticism because he has avoided hot button racial issues- he has tried to walk a very tough middle road on stuff like this.

So- when he made his speech last night- it was a surprise.

How did he do?

It was no time before the hard right blasted him- and some on the left praised him.

As I simply heard him- without trying to pick every little thing apart- I thought he did ok.

He said things that would offend both sides of the aisle.

He spoke about the Black majority in prison- as well as them being the majority offenders.

Now- there are different arguments on why this is- but he did say that both the incarceration rate is high among minorities- as well as the offense rate.

It seems as if the president was simply trying to put some of this in perspective- he was saying that the reason we are seeing so many in the Black community up in arms- was because of the history that they have experienced.

Your background shapes you- you view things from a different lens- when you grow up in a different ‘world’.

In the bible we read a silly debate that was going on at the time of Jesus.

The religious folk had a technical argument that they debated at the time.

They came to the conclusion that you could ‘sware’ on the altar [you know- like ‘I sware on my mothers grave’ type thing].

But you could not sware by the ‘gift on the altar’.

Now- today this argument doesn’t make much sense- but back then it was a big deal.

Now- one day Jesus wades into it- and says- in so many words ‘you idiots! You think swearing on the altar is ok- but the animal on it- well that’s a big no- no.’

He then says an interesting thing- he says ‘what’s greater- the gift on the altar- or the altar that sanctifies the gift’?

He told them they were making a distinction that wasn’t there- as a matter of fact- the reality was the other way around.

The thing of importance is not the gift [our talent- the way we can ‘perform’ and look good to others].

But the thing of importance is the altar.

That is- the community of people that we speak into- those who are the sanctified ones- our gifts are only meant to build these people up- they are given to us for the benefit of the community- what the bible refers to as ‘a nation of priests’ [Peter].

The point?

All of us have come to ‘this Mountain’ [the present time we are in- all from both good and bad experiences].

We are here now- the above chapter in Deuteronomy says ‘I have shown you the blessing- and the curse- if you walk away now- from this moment of opportunity- you are gonna die- got it?’

Yes- I get it.

God is saying to many of us ‘I have brought you here for a purpose- maybe you thought this thing was about you- your legacy. Maybe you had different plans- you thought things would work out differently. But now we are here- all of us- the good and the bad- you see what I did- both in judgment and blessing. The thing of importance is not your gift- your talent- but the people you are here to form- to speak to- to lay your life down for- that’s what counts’.

In a way- I think the president had his ‘coming of age’ experience last night.

He looked at this second term- which quite frankly has started badly.

He also realized that the thing he wanted to avoid- being the first Black president- who made race a big issue- he could avoid no more.

That his goals- the way he wanted to be seen- was not important.

But the thing of importance was the people- to address the gorilla in the room- the one he has managed to avoid for the past 5 years.

At one point the president said ‘turn the tables around- say if the White guy and the Black kid were the other way around’.

I actually did this- real time- the other day.

Remember the post about me taking a walk form North Bergen to NYC?

Well I later realized I walked thru Harlem that day.

A spot where a White guy is not supposed to go- never mind walk!

I also mentioned how I stopped in front of some Black guys garage-  and he pulled up in his car and pointed it ‘at me’- not realizing he was simply waiting for me to move- so he could get in.

When he got out of the car- I ‘jumped’ on him- in a way.

Like ‘what the hell do you want man!’

I was Trayvon- I thought this guy stopped his car- and faced it right at me- because he wanted trouble.

And I have never been good in these situations- I have always gone off the deep end- and said ‘let’s do it’!

Now- that’s the way I am- I know its bad- I know I cant be walking thru Jersey city- and Harlem- with an attitude like that.

But I just turned 51- I realize I will die with this attitude- there’s nothing I’m gonna do at this stage to change that.

Now- If I were Trayvon- yea- I would have beat the hell out of Zimmerman too- that’s a fact.

Would I have been wrong?


I was ready to beat the ‘hell’ out of the Black guy in Harlem the other day- and he did nothing wrong!

But he stopped on an empty street- and pointed his car at me- on the sidewalk.

Heck- I thought the guy was gonna jump me- and I wanted to let him know I was ready to go at it.

It’s a natural defense thing- and Trayvon simply did the same thing.

So yeah- I understood when the president asked us to try and see things turned around.

When he took the risk and gave a speech- one that he has avoided for 5 years.

He’s at the point where many of us are- the thing that matters now- after all that has happened- is to finish the course well- try and make something useful here at the end.

Forget the legacy thing- the people are what matters.

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.

Monday, July 15, 2013



First a quick note-

As of right now I’m not able to regularly hook up to the internet- so I’m going to write these posts- and then post them when I get a chance.

If I don’t comment- or ‘like’ a note a friend may give- that’s because I can’t.

Sometimes I get a quick- week- wireless connection in my area- and you might see me post a note- and then I lose the connection when I try and ‘like’ something- or return a comment.

So- don’t feel bad [which happens quite often in social media venues!] if that happens to you.

Ok- this week I had a few people ask me about the resurrection- what does the bible teach about a person when they die.

I explained the ‘normal’ Christian belief- found in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

I also left room for a few other Christian groups- that have different ideas about what happens between death and the resurrection [like those who believe in soul sleep- that the Christian is simply in a state of unaware ‘waiting’ until the Return of Christ].

And I told my friend that I don’t see these other Christian groups as really bad- or heretics- because they have a little different view.

Ok- my view [the classic view- for both Catholics and Protestants].

We believe that when a believer dies- their Spirit/Soul go right into the presence of God [To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord- Apostle Paul said this].

The body goes into the grave and at the Return of Christ- what we call the 2nd coming- the Body and soul of the believer who died- are re-united and they are raised from the dead.

The Christians who are still alive at this point- they don’t ‘see death’- but are also transformed and receive a Glorified body [a resurrection body] at this point.

The main bible chapters on this are 1st Corinthians chapter 15- and 1st Thessalonians 4.

My friend also asked about the present state of the dead believer- are they aware? Do they know what’s going on?

Yes- even though they do not yet have their resurrection body- they are in Gods presence [what we call the Beatific vision- ‘seeing God’] and they know what’s going on.

That’s the basic Christian teaching- for both Catholics and Protestants.

In Protestant circles- there are varying degrees on some aspects [some hold to a belief in the Rapture- a teaching that comes from a different reading of Paul’s letter- 1st Thessalonians 4. These believe that the second coming is in 2 stages- and this puts a little different spin on when the resurrection occurs- but for the most part these hold to the basic teaching about the actual resurrection body].

What about it?

The resurrection body is the same type of body that Christ had after he rose from the dead.

What we refer to as a glorified body.

In the bible we read about others who were raised from the dead- but these people died later- and their bodies- though raised from the dead- were not resurrection bodies.

A common question is ‘what are these bodies going to be like- will we recognize each other’?

Yes- but at the same time the apostle Paul gives a response to this question in Corinthians 15.

He says that when you plant a seed- the seed dies- but the plant that comes out of the ground is not simply a bigger seed!

But it is a whole new type of thing.

He uses this analogy to describe the resurrection body- the body believers will get when they are raised from the dead.

So- that’s the basic Christian teaching.

Though there are various Christian groups who interpret some of these verses a little differently- as long as they still hold to the actual belief in the physical resurrection of the body- I think they are ‘safe’ [safe= still basically holding to sound truth].

There are some though- who deny the actual resurrection [that is they spiritualize it- and say the resurrection is simply the reality that we as believers have already experienced a sort of resurrection- which is true- but this does not negate the actual physical one to come].

Believers in this camp- are in danger- in my view [as well as the apostle Paul’s- that’s why he wrote the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians].

There were some in the church at Corinth  who were denying the belief in the resurrection- Paul told them-

‘if you say there is no resurrection- then that means you also don’t believe that Christ was raised- and if you don’t believe that Christ was raised- then you are still in your sins and your faith is vain’

Strong words indeed.

So that’s the scoop- we- as believers- believe that our loved ones who have died in the faith are  now in Gods presence- conscious- and in pain and sorrow no more.

At the second coming of Christ- they will be re-united with their bodies- raised from the dead- to die no more.

This is a major Christian doctrine- the resurrection from the dead.

Once again- in chapter 15 of 1st Corinthians- the apostle Paul- speaking to the believers who were beginning to doubt the resurrection- said

‘If our belief in Christ is for this life only [meaning there is no after life] then we are of all men most miserable’.

The resurrection gives us hope- it also gives us hope for our loved ones who have died- they might be ‘gone’ right now- but we will indeed see them again some day.

NOTE- this is the first ‘official’ post from New Jersey.

Being I don’t have a good internet connection- I’ll try and add stuff at times at the bottom of the posts.

I’m able to catch a Wi-Fi hook up every now and then- but it’s very weak.

Of course the big ‘news story’ for the past few days is the Zimmerman thing.

To be honest- I have not followed this case much at all- the amount of news coverage was silly- we did [do] have lots of much bigger news stories to cover- but much time was wasted on this.

Okay- my opinion?

From the start- I tried not to take sides- many in the media saw this as a ‘right/left’ issue- that’s a mistake- in my mind.

I said I thought that Zimmerman was sort of a Wannabe cop- and that he did go much further then he should have as some neighborhood watch guy.

As I listened to the arguments- from both sides- there was some credence to the prosecutions closing arguments that showed that Zimmerman was following Trayvon- and they did a good job at showing that when he got out of the car- he more than likely already knew the street name/address- but said he was looking for it because he knew the person from the PD said not to follow him.

But- as I was discussing this with someone- I said even though I’m not a defender of Zimmerman-yet- there was enough reasonable doubt- that at the time he shot Trayvon- it just might have met the criteria of self defense.

And that’s indeed what the jury thought as well.

So- at the end of the day- I feel bad for the poor mom- she is a good Christian lady who did want justice for her son.

Even though Trayvon was demonized by some on the right- he was a human being- a kid from a home without a dad- and his mom loved him- very much.

His mom also chose to not make this a racial thing- they were the ones [his parents] that forced their side- the prosecution- to not go down that road.

I commend her for that.

As of today- there is much talk about doing the federal charges- the hate crimes thing.

Now the way this justice dept. is under Holder- they just might do it.

I don’t say that simply because Holder is Black- but because he has a record of using the justice dept as a sort of an arm of the civil rights agenda’s of people like Sharpton and Jackson.

So- he might just go for it- which I think would be a big mistake- and be an injustice to those who are really victims of true hate crimes.

Okay- that’s it for now- I’ll try and post this today if I get a connection.

God bless.

P.S.  I’m still settling ‘in the land’ but in time might try and do some home bible study type things.

If so- when I start some- I’ll simply see if any of you in the NY/NJ area are interested to host one [just open a living room for an hour- maybe make coffee- pretty simple].

Keep that in mind and pray about it if you want to host one.

Thanks- John.

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.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


MOTHER- MAY I? [My last Texas post]

Over the weekend I read as many news stories as I could on the Egyptian Coup.

Now- there is much debate over whether it was a coup or not.


The Egyptian election of Morsi- after the overthrow of Mubarak- was seen as a major step for Democracy in the Arab world.

And of course- some in the media tried to spin the story [Arab Spring] as it being a result of president Obama’s speech that he gave about a year before the overthrow.

Obama spoke about a new sense of freedom and co-operation- the overall ‘we can’ attitude that swept him into office.

So- as the first ‘revolution’ unfolded- Nic Robertson [CNN] was in the famous Tahrir square- and was searching for some young protestor- to give Obama credit for the ‘new day’ dawning in the Arab world.

Nic went to his first protestor and asked the kid if he credited Obama for this great new day.

The kid said- in so many words- no.


Nic went to number 2.

Got the same response.

He then went to his 3rd protestor- and this kid finally said ‘NO’- he replied that Obama was non committal at first- did not back the protestors- and that he only jumped on the bandwagon after he saw the writing on the wall [that Mubarak was on the verge of being kicked out].

So- after hearing the protestors basically say Obama was not even part of their thinking- good old Nic then turned to the camera- and reported something to the effect of;

‘There you have it- the protestors are vey happy that the president is with them’.

Yeah- that’s how the media have ‘reported’ this stuff for the past 6 years.

So- what really happened with the whole Egyptian revolution?

When Egypt did indeed kick out their Autocrat- they did it with the U.S. working behind the scenes with the Egyptian military.

Egypt- the most populous Arab nation- had its military generals trained in the U.S.

Because of this- we have connections with the generals- in a way that we do not have with other nations in the region.

So- we kind of gave the Green Light to topple Mubarak- and went with what we felt was the popular trend at the time.

There was indeed a legitimate feeling of a need for a change in Egypt.

Lots of the new generation of kids- because of their connection to the world in a new way- thru Face Book and other internet venues- they began seeing what the rest of the free world was like- in a new way.

So yeah- they did want change- and Mubarak was oppressive- he used his police to abuse the people- and they were rightfully tired of it.

So- Egypt had its first Democratic election- and Morsi- the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood- won.

Now- at the time- there was a fear that Morsi might try and ‘rule’ as a Muslim- who would institute a sort of Theocracy [religious rule] and trample on the rights of the other groups [Christians and Secularists] who wanted Mubarak out- but did not want an islamist to rule in this way.

So- over the past year- Morsi showed himself to be stubborn- and when Egypt was writing her constitution- Morsi did not compromise- but pushed thru a sort of Muslim constitution- and put hard line Islamists in key positions of govt.

He also butted heads with Egypt’s Judiciary- which were known to be independent- and Morsi consolidated more power- some say more than Mubarak- to his own position as the head of Egypt.

Ok- this worried the other groups in the nation- and Morsi made the power grab- thinking that the military would not move against him.

He thought wrong.

Now- here’s where it gets tricky.

During the final days of the Morsi rule- the military was having behind the scenes talks with Morsi.

With the U.S. [referred to as MOTHER] having a hand in it all.

There are some reports that at the last minute- Morsi was going to take a deal- brokered by MOTHER- to share power with the other groups- and prevent a military take over [we were dong behind the scenes negotiations thru an Arab emissary- and when word got back that the U.S. gave the go ahead for the coup- one of Morsi’s guys reported back ‘Mother says we can stop playing in one hour’].

Some reports say that Mori accepted the deal from the top general- but the general reported back that he rejected it.

That the general lied- because he wanted Morsi out too.

How much of this is true- I don’t know [I read this in the New York Times].

But if it is true- this would mean that the military basically did what they wanted- even though the U.S. ‘told’ them to get a deal.

Either way- they arrested Morsi- have been in flux since- and the situation might spin out of control.

And at the end of the day- leave one of the so-called great foreign policy moves of the administration- in a complete mess.

Now- as most things go- there were not a lot of clear- easy choices- to make at the time [or now].

The hard right critics of Obama are saying ‘see- he backed a militant Muslim- and we told you this would happen’.

The left- well they don’t have much to say now- but they are doing their darndest to explain all of these ins and outs- to show you that Obama tried- really hard- and it just didn’t work.

What’s wrong with that John?

Nothing- but they could have gone into these same long explanations for Gitmo- and a million other stories- but when there’s a Repub pres- well they just report how much he blew it.

So- as of now- Egypt is in real trouble.

As a defense of Obama- the Muslim Brotherhood was [is] indeed a political Muslim group- who believed that you should gain power- not by terrorism- but by the ballot box.

Was this a good thing?


So- you can’t fault Obama for supporting Morsi at the start.

And he did work behind the scenes to try and convince Morsi to be more open minded- and to share power.

Morsi did not take this advice.

The danger now is- that the Muslims who rejected the Muslim Brotherhoods idea- that you could gain power thru Democratic means- are saying ‘see- we told you so’.

This leaves a huge gap- which the militants will use to their advantage.

So- it does seem like Obama had no real choice- but to have backed Morsi at the time.

But the real question is- are the majority of Muslims in this part of the world ready for true Democracy- in the way we understand it.

Probably not.

Now- when I say ‘the way we [the West] understand it’ I mean in a secular sort of way.

Most in the Western world accept the reality that whoever we elect into office- most of the time a Christian of some sort- that he [she] will not use that position to simply expand their idea of religion.

But in most Islamic nations- this distinction does not exist.

There are some in the Muslim community- who are trying- real hard- to Reform radical Islam- and bring her into the 21st century- they believe in a more moderate approach.

But how much success they are having is questionable.

So- under Morsi you had a legitimately elected President [like what happened in Palestine when they elected Hamas] and he used his ‘legitimacy’ to basically enact a sort of Islamic rule.

Did the majority of Egyptians want this?


Did he have the right to do this?

Yes- and no.

It depends on your view of ‘Democracy’.

He and his supporters felt ‘we won- we get to do what we want’.

And they pushed thru an Islamic constitution- and that angered- and scared- the other groups who wanted Mubarak out- but did not want this.

Our dilemma [That is us- you know- MOTHER] we did not really want a coup- because it would then justify- in the minds of some- radical Islam.

The younger generation would say ‘see- we tried Democracy- and it didn’t work’.

At the same time- we also did not want to simply be backing a hard line Islamist which is not what the majority of Egyptians wanted.

So- after reading/watching as much as I could- that seems to be the jist of it.

A few things;

When the U.S. - does behind the scenes deals- with any group [ In this case we used our influence with the generals].

It might work the first time around [kicking out Mubarak].

But maybe not the 2nd time [accepting the Morsi deal- like we wanted].

The generals realize that we- if it’s in our interest- will be sneaky- and stab leaders in the back- leaders we were behind just a few days before.

Yes- the U.S. had strong ties- and deals- with Mubarak.

The generals saw what we did to a so called partner- and that didn’t leave a whole lot of respect for us.

When we in the west are seen as MOTHER [this term was coined by the insiders- Morsi and his men saw us this way- that we were trying to micro manage the outcome].

Then there develops a built in resentment to whatever happens.

The people will ultimately blame us if stuff goes bad [Libya- Iraq- Afghanistan- etc.]

We have to come to a place where we simply do our best- we advocate for the rights of all people- but leave the outcome up to them.

That’s the only way the world will function [or not] in the end.

We have to be realistic about what Democracy means to these Arab states.

It does not mean the same thing to them- as us.

Now- I know that can sound demeaning- but it’s just the truth.

Many in the Arab world do not see a distinction between being an elected official- and at the same time promoting the religious values of those who backed you- even if the majority of citizens in the country don’t want it.

That’s the way it is- we can’t change that.

If that mindset is to change- then it has to come from within Islam itself.

But- if every time a more moderate Muslim is found- like some in the West who do advocate for this more moderate view.

And the hard right goes after them- just as much as they go after the radicals- then we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

So- its hard to see any real progress- with all these obstacles in the way.

As of now- Egypt is in real trouble.

They were a stable nation just a few years ago- not any more.

They had a stable economy- no more.

The last ting they needed- was to lose any funding they have- and the money we have been giving them [the military] might go away.

The U.S. has a policy- if your nation has a coup- then we stop funding you until you elect a leader.

Now- as you can see- that’s not as easy as it sounds.

NOTE- The western view- that Democracy trumps just about every thing else- is simply a moral ‘judgment’- the same argument that those who support a Theocracy would say.

That is- some in the Muslim world sincerely believe that the final arbiter of right and wrong is indeed God.

Now- in the West- we are schizophrenic in a way.

We- for the most part- reject religious rule.

But at the same time we too have certain moral standards- judgments- that we impose- even on people who not like those ‘morals’.

The Supreme Court recently ruled in a favorable way for gay marriage.

You also have those in the more ‘liberal’ sector of society- that advocate for ‘Man/Boy’ love.

Now- most of us [including me!] reject that.

We say ‘No way- it’s just not right’ [NAMBLA- North American Man Boy Love Association believes we should legalize sex with minors].

So- the majority rule in our country does indeed impose certain standards- and others need to abide by them- or else.

The argument that men like Morsi make- is they too believe that society needs to abide by laws- but in their mind- they choose the ‘laws of God’ [as they see it].

This argument is not totally defenseless- the problem is once again- whose interpretation do you use?

In Egypt- you did not have a ‘real democracy’ as we in the West would define it.

In ‘our world’ Democracy is not simply majority rule- we have a form of Representative Democracy- we elect leaders and they make the laws [in keeping with the constitution- that’s why some call us a Constitutional Republic].

Where did this idea come from?

Well- you can go back around 500 years before Christ and see the city/state of Athens giving this kind of govt. a shot.

But our founding fathers were really a product of the European Enlightenment.

They were influenced by men like John Locke- for the most part that’s where our constitution came from.

Jefferson- Franklin- etc. put into practice the Democratic ideals that were written about by these men.

So- when we in the Western world say ‘oh well- if they elected so and so- then that’s it- we must respect the will of the people’.

That’s simply a judgment call- the bible does not exalt this ‘will of the people’ to the same degree as we do.

That might sound strange- but it’s true.

What is the type of govt. spoken about most in the bible?

Believe it or not- it’s a Monarchy.

That’s right- we read books like ‘Kings’- yeah- that’s what it’s about- kings.

In the time of Jesus we did have a Roman Senate and stuff- but you do not find a Democracy in the bible- not like we know of today.

So- when we in the West hold to an idea that whoever gets elected must be respected- that’s not always so.

Hitler was elected too.

I don’t say this to demean our form of govt.

I do indeed think we have the best thing going on the planet as of now.

But how long we can sustain it- well nobody knows.

There are cracks- serious ones- that are forming in our system.

And I’m not talking about what you might hear on conservative radio- or in our ‘world’ of anti Obama media [or pro!].

But there are indeed serious issues- that men like Alex DeTocqueville talked about.

A Democracy can last so long- but when people realize that they can vote in others- who will start giving them free stuff- then at that point the writings on the wall.

I heard a recording the other day- it was covering the conversation of people who were getting the free phones that Obama has started giving out- sort of an extension of the Welfare state.

Now- I have friends who get the phones- so don’t get mad if your one of them.

But- in the recording- the people were asking if it’s okay if ‘I get as many as I can and try and sell them for stuff’.

It was an undercover set up- to see what the people- who were giving the phones out- would say.

And sure enough- the people- working for the govt. said ‘yeah- just don’t get caught’.

That’s the problem- when we as a society begin electing- supporting people because he might give me something for free- then at that stage Democracy is in trouble.

The whole point is when we have a mindset- that what the majority of the people want is right- well- that’s just not so.

And we- even in our Democracy- have morals- standards that we impose on others.

Where do these standards come from?

Well- that’s a very long debate about Moral law- one that in the end does prove the existence of God.

But what Morsi was doing in Egypt was not a Democracy like we know of.

As of now- the Morsi supporters have been fighting back- and the military has killed about 50 protestors.

We had our hand in this thing from day one- and when things spin out of control- both sides are going to blame us.

That’s what’s happening right now- and once again- we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.

Pray for Egypt- no matter what your view is- we want peace for the people of Egypt.

For Muslims- Christians- Sectarians- for all.

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.

Thursday, July 04, 2013




Before I forget- the chapters for this week are Galatians 5 and Luke 9- if I get a chance I might hit on them at the end.

Ok- this week has been a big news week.

As I watched our secretary of state- John Kerry- do ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between the Palestinians and Israel- I thought we must be living in a dream world.


For many years now- the big issue- that some felt was the lynch pin to peace in the Arab world- was this issue.

But over the last few years- it is not seen in the same way any more.

Since the so called Arab Spring- the Palestinian issue has really been a background issue.

Now- I’m not saying we should forget it- but it’s not on the top burner any more.

The big burning issues are the 100 thousand people killed in the Syrian conflict.

The 2nd over throw of an Egyptian leader [for good or ill].

The major unrest in many of these Arab nations- these are the big issues.

And the U.S. was treating the Palestinain issue as a sort of emergency thing- Kerry was doing late night meetings- for some elusive break thru that has been ‘eluding’ US secretaries of state for 30 years now.

It just seemed sad- I mean I am not an Obama hater- by no means- but it’s almost to the point of incompetence.


I listened to the radio news- one day the President made a statement that we were behind Morsi [Egyptian president] 100 %.

The very next day- the statement from the administration was ‘we are not taking sides’.

This is so bad- we have lost all credibility in the world.

The Snowden aftermath.

This week we also saw the NSA leaker release more info about US spying- this time on our allies.

Now- Obama tried to defend the operation- by saying all of our allies do this.

Is this so?

He was spinning [lying?] the story.

Our European allies said ‘look- we all do targeted spying- true- but not the massive trolling for data that you guys are doing’.

The reality is our allies do not do what we do- this type of ‘throw the net out’ type of collecting of data.

Our allies were shocked that we were doing it to this degree- on them!

Obama said we needed to do this because it also provided a benefit to these allies [who we are spying on] because of terrorism.

They replied ‘how many terrorists are you finding by bugging our diplomatic offices’.

They are mad- France wants to postpone our upcoming economic talks over this- it is bad.

Last but no least- Obama delayed- for one year- one of the main parts of Obama care.


He simply said they were doing this because of business concerns.

The part he put off was the requirement for employers to insure their people- or pay a fine.

Now- when Obama Care was being touted- many critics said that these types of forced mandates on private business would hurt the economy.

But the proponents instead said no- but it will actually help it.

The main reason it was delayed- was because the implementing of it right now was going to be a disaster- like the critics said.

Next year we have the mid term elections- and the political insiders all knew that the Repubs were going to use the unpopularity of the plan- and try and repeat another mid term blow out [like the last one].

So- most think he put it off for purely political reasons.

But- if the plan was all that it was cracked up to be- why put it off?

Much of what the critics said was right- there are already reports [Bloomberg] that rates are going to skyrocket for many under the plan- and that there are still going to be millions of people with out insurance.

So- in all honesty- the critics were indeed right- and the fact that the president arbitrarily delayed it for one year proves it.

I mean it is questionable if he can even do it [delay it].

It is the law of the land.

Say if a Repub gets in next- can he do the same thing?

Of course not- they would be accusing him of breaking the law.

Okay- as you can see- there are ripples of trouble on the horizon.

I want to end with Luke 9.

A few key points;

Jesus tells his men that they are going to go out- preach the kingdom and go light.

‘Don’t take a wallet- or extra clothing- stay at whoever’s house they offer- etc.’

He talks about giving your life away ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it- but he that loses it will find it’.

I like the last verse ‘he that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom’.

Over the years I have tried to put our modern American preaching in context.

It’s been tough- because there are a lot of well meaning folk- who focus in on actual bible verses- and teach a sort of Christianity based on the increase of wealth mindset.

Now- along with this teaching you also see a basic self help course mentality- only Christianized.

Yet at the same time we read in the gospels a type of radical calling of Jesus.

Explicitly telling people that this mission is not about us- not about getting stuff- but giving your life away.

It’s the overall context of all that Jesus said and did that goes contrary to the American message.

But it takes time to see this- we have a tendency to gravitate towards a message of financial abundance- or a message that seems to provide security for us and our kids.

It’s in mans nature to see things this way- that’s why Jesus made statements like ‘you can not serve God and money’.

I mean he does not say stuff like this just once or twice- but this is an underlying theme of his entire life.

The other day I taught a little from the book of Samuel chapter 12.

Nathan the prophet confronted King David- and gave a story about a rich man who had lots of sheep- and a poor man who had one.

In the story the rich man gets rebuked- the poor man praised.

Jesus does the same thing in his parables.

The rich are seen in a negative light- the poor in a positive one.

Now- this is actually a sign of a prophet- one who defends the poor and rebukes the affluent.

The prophet Amos- in the Old Testament bares this calling.


Jesus is challenging us- all of us- to take up the Cross and to follow him.

And a big part of that is living- not for self gain- not for self security- but giving our lives away.

One of the guys I have run into these last 6 months is a man by the name of Jude.

He’s around 70 year’s old- and always on the go.

His motto is ‘it’s hard to hit a moving target’.

And he does indeed live by this motto.

I met him thru the work I was doing at the halfway house.

He’s a big shot with  AA- and is known all over the country as someone who has brought many to sobriety thru AA.

He even has his own following in AA- they call them ‘disciples of Jude’ or something like that [a take off from the tribe of Judah in the bible- Judaism or something- I don’t remember the exact phrase].

I was with my buddy David one day- he keeps in touch with Jude every day by phone.

I asked him 'hey- where’s Jude’?

He tells me he moved to Chicago.

He went back and is living on his friend’s couch- doing some business deal- and working for AA.

Then- the other day I find out he moved to the Mexico/Texas border and is renting a house in Mexico because it's cheap.

I mean the guy is really a moving target.

So as I’m sitting with my buddy David- the phone rings- its Jude.

David told him I might have stopped by and stayed with him for a week or so in Chicago.

I was thinking of doing it.

But first I’m going to get a little settled in N.J. /NY area.

Jude says ‘sounds like me- a moving target’.

In Luke 9- Jesus is telling his men to be moving targets.

He’s saying ‘go light- when you go to an area to work for the kingdom- just stay wherever you can- eat what they serve- and then move on’.

In the mindset of the world- you strive to be secure- you seek that thru the ownership of stuff- the false security that people find in wealth.

Now- don’t get me wrong- we are to be responsible- and I have worked- retired- made money- the whole 9 yards.

But I have tired to give stuff away too- to live the ideal that Jesus clearly speaks about in the gospels.

In a way- I feel like my hand is now steady on the plough- I’m afraid to look back.

NOTE- In the last post I mentioned how president Obama was rebuked by the president of Senegal because he was openly challenging these African nations on their stance on homosexuality.

He later went to Kenya and did the same thing- sort of was publicly speaking about the recent decision by the Supreme Court and how he hailed it as a great stride for civil rights.

Now- the Deputy President of Kenya took him aside and rebuked him- and told Obama that they do not appreciate him demeaning their values in such an open way- and using his pulpit to say so.

The Kenyan official quoted scripture ‘vain is the man who puts his trust in man and not God’

The Kenyan official said he –and Kenya- were not going to remain silent as Obama spoke against their value system- and they feared God more than an American president.

It was surprising to see so many world leaders openly denouncing the president like this- I am not jumping for joy over this- I’m showing you that we have lost alot of credibility in the world- even among leaders that would normally not say anything.

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.