MUSLIM STUFF- 2014- A [Posts where I mentioned Islam]
2009- ALL THINGS?
Today is really my first day back- real time [I’m posting this right after I write it].
I have been journaling for the past 3 months- but that’s a little different.
Okay- out of all the news events- Boston marathon bombing- Ricin letters [by the way- last I saw they seem to have arrested the wrong guy].
Out of these events- a smaller one stands out in my mind.
The handling of the debt crisis in Cyprus.
A few weeks back Cyprus- one of the very small states that’s involved with the E.U. debt crisis- did a surprising move and simply confiscated the money of private citizens from the banks and used that to pay off debt.
Now- they took what was over and above there form of FDIC insurance for the depositors.
In essence- they looted the accounts of their customers.
Now- this simply shows us how bad the EU debt crisis is- and that things have not actually improved- but gotten worse.
So- how has the global market reacted?
This is what’s funny [or sad?] it seems as if some are in denial- while others are simply hedging their bets.
There is a huge amount of money in the system [what we look at when the dow goes up- or down] that simply is looking at the numbers- sort of like a bookie would look at the odds on a game.
Some of this money is simply there because- for various reasons- they think more money might be coming into the system.
That is some investors are not investing because they think the global market is sound- some invest because they think the situation is so bad that it merits a bailout.
I read an article on Egypt- how Morsi [the president] believes that the western nations will bail him out- give him loans that are above what they should get- and he believes this because he thinks they are ‘too big to fail’.
That is- he is expecting the loan not because they are stable- Egypt used to have a good economy- but since the ‘revolution’ it has been a real mess.
So- as a direct result of their Arab Spring- they need much more cash than before.
And Morsi thinks they will get it- even though- economically they probably don’t deserve it [not to mention some real ideological problems with the new leadership- like very anti Semitic statements that the leader holds to].
So- overall- we are in April of 2013- and the European debt crisis is not over- but probably getting worse.
These last few months I have been reading more of the gospels- and have cut down on the news a lot.
I still read the headlines- and catch a few news shows- but not nearly as much as before.
I was what you would consider a news addict- for real.
So- I have focused more on the gospels and less on world events [though they are still very much a part of what we are called to impact as the church].
As I finished the gospel of Luke the other week- I noticed a verse that I have read many times before.
But it hit me in a new way.
It says ‘all things that were written had to be fulfilled- in the Law and the Psalms and the Prophets’.
It’s talking about all the Messianic portions of the Old testament- the bible passages that speak about Christ.
Then of course he enters into the final stages of his earthly life- and is Crucified.
Over the years- as a bible reader- I noticed how lots of us tend to gravitate towards the ‘flashier’ parts of the bible.
I have many Psalms and Prophets that I quote from- there are portions of Isaiah [what would be called ‘the prophets’] that I have memorized for years.
I am reading thru the Psalms right now- they are great stuff.
But when I read the above verse- which was said by Christ himself- he said ‘ALL THINGS’ had to be fulfilled- not just the ‘flashy’ portions of scripture [Psalms- Prophets].
But the hard stuff too- Law.
Then at the crucifixion scene- he’s on this Cross- this place of public humiliation- and the people watching are sort of in shock.
He has become what the scripture said ‘a stone that the builders rejected’.
His friends have gone- his poor mom is seeing all this play out- and the others are there- almost to see what else could go wrong with him.
Then- in the middle of it all- don’t forget his family earlier thought he was ‘beside himself’ he looks up to God- and he makes a few statements.
He asks ‘why did you leave me’.
He says ‘father- forgive the ones who hate me- and want me gone- they don’t know what they do’.
Then- as the Roman gaurd looks on- he says ‘into your hands I commit my Spirit’.
And in Old King James language- he ‘gave up the ghost’- that is- he died.
As I read this account recently- and the statement from Christ about all things being fulfilled.
I saw what Jesus was saying ‘look- I have been with you for 3 years- doing ministry- teaching you stuff- how to forgive- don’t hold grudges- carry your Cross every day’.
Then- HE DID IT- he showed them how to ‘die well’.
Yeah- all things had to be fulfilled- all things had to be modeled.
He had to demonstrate- in real time- what he taught them.
Oh- now I get it- I really do.
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 [Face book] - I have posted lots.
HOW LONG TO THE POINT OF NO RETURN?
Being I’m in the middle of getting rid of lots of stuff- and doing some final repairs on cars and the house- I haven’t really had time to comment on many big news events.
This week there have been some important things that I feel I should mention.
Bradley Manning has been in court for the leaking of thousands of ‘secret’ memos to Wikileaks.
Most of you should be familiar with the case.
He has been held in solitary confinement for a few years and the govt. has charged him thru the espionage act.
Now- even though most of the stuff leaked really amounted to embarrassing details- how the U.S. govt. has done behind the scenes talks with other nations- kind of deceived folk- or the biggest leak was the video now famously referred to as Collateral Damage.
This video showed a terrible incident where our guys fired [helicopter] on a bunch of civilian reporters- by accident- thinking they were the enemy- but were later found out to be reporters.
It looked bad- really bad.
So- the question is should we view the leaking of this stuff as espionage [spy type charges] or more like a whistle blower.
That’s the debate- I personally think what he leaked does not rise to the level of life in prison- which is what the govt. is seeking.
Now- we also had the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.
During the hearings- he [and Holder- US attorney] were asked questions about killing US citizens- without due process.
As most of you know we killed a US citizen a few years back with a drone [in Yemen].
He was indeed a full blown Al-Qaida leader- and had influence with others.
Now- what most don’t know is a few weeks later we also killed his US born son- 16 years old.
His son was born in Detroit- living in Yemen.
By all accounts- his son was not an Al-Qaida operative- he of course was probably influenced by his dad’s radical views.
But he was a minor- a US citizen- and he was traveling to see his dad.
We killed him with a drone strike while he was sitting at an outdoor restaurant.
When the US govt. was asked why we killed him- one of the responses was he should have picked a better father.
Now- whatever side of the aisle you fall on- this stuff has to stop.
All this is going on at the same time we just read the Miranda rights to the son in law of Osama Bin Laden- and are putting him on civilian trial in NYC.
So- we executed a 16 year old US citizen- because his dad was a bad guy- yet we read the rights to a non citizen- who may have some type of involvement with the 9-11 attacks.
[Note- the US govt. has said the killing of the boy was a mistake- but we still killed him]
This is bad- very bad.
As the US seeks to imprison Manning- for life.
And is also attempting to get Julian Assange- the founder of WikiLeaks.
We need to ask ourselves what role the on-line media outlets play.
For instance- the NY times printed some of the same material that Manning leaked- yet the print media are considered ‘media’ and the printing of ‘secret’ stuff is considered noble- like Florida’s sunshine laws.
Yet if an on-line publisher posts the same stuff- he can be tried for espionage.
During one debate when this question came up- the pundit simply said if it’s in print- then it’s legal.
But if it’s on line- its not.
Is that really the criteria we want to use to decide that what one organization published is noble- but for the other it merits the possible death penalty [which is the level of crime Manning is charged with]?
Yes- these questions are important to answer- they should not be seen as ‘left or right’ questions [the Repub senator Rand Paul did a stand up job- literally- by doing an old fashioned filibuster on the drone issue the other day].
So yeah- if a nominee for the CIA- or the US attorney general can not say that a US president has no right to kill a citizen- in our country- without due process- then he should not be up for that position.
We as a country have gone thru many struggles since the tragic 9-11 attack.
And we [first under Bush] did give up too many rights as we overreacted- by loosening our rules on the privacy of US citizens.
But if we cant clearly say that no US president- whether Repub or Dem- has the right to kill a US citizen without due process- then we are all falling off the deep end-
As Kansas put it TO THE POINT OF NO RETURN.
1968 7 PRINCES TO THE RESCUE
I want to try and comment on Micah chapter 5- an Old Testament prophet.
But first a few other things.
Last night I was watching Fox news- and Greta mentioned the top stories of the year.
Lots of the news shows do this every year.
I thought- in general- that it’s harmful to re-tell the school shootings- over and over again- right at this time.
In our media world there is a sort of voyeurism that takes place- we want to see- hear- the actual events- over and over again.
Sometimes after a tragic event- maybe it’s already a few days old.
And some network will get hold of the actual 911 call- and run that as the news ad during the day.
‘Hey look- tonight we have the actual call’.
Oftentimes it’s the call a parent made when she found her kid was killed- or some other tragedy.
We do not need to air that type of stuff.
Anyway Greta said she thinks that ‘Africa will be the top story of this new year- not the Arab Spring’.
Okay- I know my liberal friends are mad at me- some ‘un-friend’ me and stuff.
Because I have been hard on the Dems.
But this time I’ll be hard on Fox.
Who remembers the Arab Spring posts I did last year?
The 3 nations that ‘sprung’ were Tunisia- Egypt- and Libya.
All these nations border each other on the Mediterranean sea- on the North part of the African continent.
In short- all the Arab Spring nations are Africa- so far.
The only possible one that’s not African is Syria- and it hasn’t ‘sprung’ yet.
So yeah- we should not always believe what we see on the tube.
Okay- Micah 5 is the chapter for this week.
It has the famous prophecy that out of Bethlehem Jesus will come.
It speaks about Bethlehem as a small- po dunk type town.
‘You are the least in Judah- yet from thee shall he spring forth who is to be the ruler’.
Jesus hailed from the wrong side of the tracks in many ways.
Galilee was also a sort of underclass area- Jesus and his men spoke Aramaic- which was kind of a lower class language.
A sort of Ebonics of the day [ouch!]
Yet- from that spot where it seemed no good could come- yet good did come.
A couple of verses caught my attention.
‘Daughter of troops- gather yourself into troops’.
And ‘When the enemy comes into the land you will raise up against him 7 shepherds and 8 principal men’.
When I read these verses this week- I applied them to the halfway house ministry we started a couple of months ago.
Often times in scripture we read symbols- things that might use warfare imagery- yet they are not talking about ‘killing’ the way we think.
One of the tragedies of our time is we have too many religious people who have never made this distinction.
And even in the church we hold to many ideas- that come from images about war- that are only symbols- but some teach them as actual war.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John talks about the Christians overcoming the enemy.
It talks about a battle- Jesus on a White horse- a sword coming out of his mouth.
When Evangelicals turn these into actual war prophecies- they do damage to the truth.
I mean the image of a sword from Jesus mouth is understood as the Word of God.
So Jesus ‘slays his enemies’ with the word of God.
Does Jesus actually kill them?
No- when people accept the message of Christ- they get baptized.
Baptism is a type of death to the old man- and life to the new.
So- the images of those being killed by ’the sword from Jesus mouth’ should be seen in this way.
[Or as a type of end time judgment that Gods word carries out- Jesus said ‘the words that I speak to you’ will judge you in the final day.]
Revelation says those who ‘died the first death and had part of the first resurrection’ the second death has no power over them.
All who are in Christ have died a sort of ‘first death’ on these- the 2nd death [when you die] has no power.
The writer of Hebrews says Jesus delivered us- who thru fear of death were all our lives in bondage.
Those who have died the first death- who have joined themselves unto Christ and are 'crucified’ with him.
Yeah- on these the 2nd death has no power.
Okay- I could go on and on like this- but the point is we as believers need to be careful when we teach the verses that speak about killing- death and swords.
Often times they are not to be taken literally.
So- when I read that God raises up ‘7 princes’ against the enemy.
I realized- at the halfway house- there are a total of 7 of us working together in the ministry.
I liked that- God uses people- princes- to come against the enemy.
Okay- back to Revelation.
There is this image of Jesus with 7 stars in his hand- and it says these are the 7 angels of the churches.
Some see these ‘angels’ as church leaders.
The Greek word means messenger- and it can mean angels or people.
The point is- Jesus has these people- these chosen ones- and he uses them as ‘weapons’.
That is- those who are sent into the world with the message of the gospel- these are in a way soldiers for the Lord.
But they don’t go out and kill people in the literal sense- but when they carry the message of the Cross- and when others believe in that message- then yes- those who believe and are baptized have died in a way.
The apostle Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I but Christ lives in me’.
So yeah- when the enemy comes in- God sends messengers against him.
These messengers too have ‘swords’ in their mouths- they speak the Word of God.
And yes- every so often they ‘kill’ people- that is- those who hear the message- they die a sort of ‘first death’.
They die to the old man- the old nature.
They are raised with Jesus also- to walk in a new way.
Yeah- on these- the next death will have no power.
NOTES- I also wanted to mention yesterday’s ruling by Supreme Court justice Sotomayor.
She ruled that the Catholic owners of Hobby Lobby must either provide birth control thru their company- or start paying a 1.3 million dollar a day fine.
I remember when the debate was going on about Obama Care.
Many good people—Bishop Tim Dolan from N.Y. and others.
They were assured by the president himself that the religious views of Catholics would not be trampled over by the new law.
Yet- since the law passed- many Catholics have already been affected by the law in a negative way.
As most of you know- the church teaches that birth control is not an acceptable practice for Catholics.
Now- being raised as a Catholic- and now a Protestant- I do realize that many Catholics do not obey this rule.
But- others do.
It is sad that the Obama Care law does indeed trample over the rights of Catholics.
When a law forces a Catholic to provide something that goes against their conscience- that’s wrong.
The president and his supporters swore that this would not happen- tell that to the owners of Hobby Lobby as they start writing checks for 1.3 million- every day!
1962 VIRGIN BIRTH
I wanted to close up the last couple of posts on the common misunderstandings of Christianity and Islam.
But also mention a few things about the halfway house.
Okay- the last misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians is the term Son of God.
This term is found in the New Testament- and around this time of year we celebrate the Virgin Birth as well.
Strict Muslims are not supposed to see- or ever read this term.
Islam teaches that to say Jesus is the Son of God- that it denotes a sort of sexual relationship between God and man [woman].
Of course the church does not teach this- when Christians say – Son of God- they are speaking about Jesus in a unique way.
He ‘came out’ from God- was ‘Generated’ from God- in a way that no other creature can lay claim to.
Now- when the church uses this statement ‘first begotten of God’ or ‘the first born among many brothers’ [both found in the bible].
The church is not saying that Jesus was the actual ‘first created being’ from God.
Okay- I know this gets a little tough- but it’s hard to clear up the misunderstanding without a little theology.
So- historically- the church interprets these terms as meaning Jesus has the first place- the Preeminence over all creation.
Grant it- those who reject the Christian teaching about the Deity of Christ- they think the church is denying the bible- in these areas- when she says these terms do not mean Jesus was created.
To be fair- I think the New Testament does tech that Jesus is not a created being [John 1:1- The Word was God- speaks about Christ].
But I also see how others can view these verses differently.
The main point today is the church does not believe that Jesus was the product of a sexual physical relationship between God and Mary.
No- Son of God means- to the contrary- that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary in a non physical way- and she became pregnant- thus ‘The VIRGIN Birth’.
But- because devout Muslims are forbidden to read this term- Son of God- some have made New Testament translations that leaves the term out.
Instead of ‘Son of God’ these bibles say ‘he that was generated from God’.
Okay- it kind of means the same thing- I’m not against making the change [though some are- because it is not an actual translation form the Greek].
But if it’s done so Muslims can read the New Testament without violating their faith- then I’m for it in that limited use way.
Okay- obviously Christians and Muslims have many other things they see differently- but in the last 3 posts I wanted to hit on some of the main things.
Often times when studying different religions- we [as humans] have a tendency to read what others have to say about a group.
But it helps- a lot- if you read what the group itself actually says.
Now- you still might find some shocking stuff- stuff that is downright in opposition to your faith- but if you read it straight from the ‘horses mouth’ at least you know you’re not opposing something that the other group might not even believe!
Okay- I guess we’ll skip the skip the few things about the halfway house.
I wrote a couple of posts the last week or so about my friend Huey who fell off of a pier and hurt himself pretty bad.
He spent the weekend at my house- he probably broke a few ribs- but does not want to go to the doctor so I put him up for a couple of days.
All is going real well with the halfway house- we already had a judge release an inmate to the house.
It’s kind of funny- the guy we sent down to represent the house- Andy- was a drunk on the streets about a month ago.
Yeah- it worked out well.
That’s it for now- figured I would not post on the terrible tragedy of the killing of the little kids.
That story has already consumed the news cycle- no need for more.
Talk to you later- John.