Saturday, January 31, 2009
BBC news at their web site is reporting that a synagogue in Venezuela has been "ransacked." The article is, "Synagogue desecrated in Venezuela." Here is part of the information:
"An armed gang has ransacked a Jewish synagogue in the Venezuelan capital Caracas after occupying the building for several hours. About 15 unidentified men broke into the building before daubing graffiti on the walls and desecrating scriptures. They also called for Jewish people to be expelled from the country."
There is also a silent video of the damages on that site.
Anti-Semitism is growing in socialist Venezuela under the rule of President Hugo Chavez. One of the issues I noted in one of the articles I did on Marxism is the melding of Marxism and extreme far right ideologies among the growing revolutionary movements today. Presbyterians Dancing With Karl Marx! Part 2 The Jewish magazine Commentary has an interesting article that confirms my thoughts on such a merging, at least in Venezuela.
Chavez has been influenced by radical far right nationalist, Norberto Ceresole. Writer, Travis Pantin in his article "Hugo Chávez's Jewish Problem," describes who Ceresole is:
"But Chávez is not just another Latin American leftist on the Castro model. While the Cuban dictator may be his most important political influence, his greatest intellectual debt is to the Argentinian writer and thinker Norberto Ceresole: a man not of the Left but of the populist Right, a Holocaust denier, and a sworn enemy of Israel and the Jews.
Born in 1943, Ceresole was one of the leading spokesmen for the radical populist government of the Argentinian president Juan Perón. Later, in the guise of a political theorist, he argued that the only appropriate leaders for Latin American nations were caudillos: nationalist, militarist, and charismatic strongmen capable of ushering in a “post-democratic” age in which the region’s people would become effortlessly at one with the generals who would direct every aspect of society. Led by a group of such caudillos, a confederation of Latin American fascist states would then be in a position to beat back American global hegemony.
Ceresole reportedly traveled with Chávez during his initial bid for power. After the latter’s 1998 victory, he published a celebratory volume, Caudillo, Army, People: The Venezuela of President Chávez. The second chapter is entitled “The Jewish Question and the State of Israel.” In it, Ceresole espoused a “new revisionism” that defined the Holocaust as a “myth” and Israel as a global menace"
Pantin goes on to write about how Chavez has used the fraudulent document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion against the Jewish community in Venezuela. He has also accused them of being God killers, the old defamation used against the Jews in Medieval Europe.
Pantin also writes that "One-third of Venezuela’s Jews have fled the country by now, and those who remain are in a state ranging from discomfiture to terror." The reason, "Prominent Jewish figures have been publicly denounced for supposed disloyalty to the “Bolívarian” cause, and “Semitic banks” have been accused of plotting against the regime. Citing suspicions of such plots, Chávez’s government has gone so far as to stage raids on Jewish elementary schools and other places of meeting. The anti-Zionism expressed by the government is steadily spilling over into street-level anti-Semitism, in which synagogues are vandalized with a frequency and viciousness never before seen in the country."
Pantin's article published July/August 2008 was written before the incident BBC just reported (above) and before Chavez ordered Israel's Ambassador expelled from that country.
One other thing that should be noted, some of the groups that backed the vicious anti-Zionist protests in different cities in the United States make common cause with Chavez. On the web site of the Party of Socialism and Liberation this is noted:
"The rally was chaired by Tampa student organizers Naveen El-Nawawy and Ahmad Deeb. There was roaring applause as Emmanuel Lopez of the ANSWER Coalition told the crowd that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had expelled the Israeli ambassador.
Lopez noted: “Venezuela is not extending their solidarity to the people of Palestine out of charity, but rather, they understand that their struggle against imperialism and for their freedom is in fact the same struggle as that of the people of Gaza. Its that real type of solidarity, built through our common struggles against a common enemy, that we have to recreate here in the United States.”
So it is a mixture of far right and far left hate that is attempting to use the Jewish people as scape-goats.
Pray for those chosen to bless the nations.
Up-Date- Another headline from yesterday is "Breaking News Caracas: the destruction of Jewish property has begun." This news piece is written by Aimee Kligman of the Examiner.com. This article contains information from people near the incident. One of the items is that, "We are also being told that a few ago, without fanfare or publicity, three of the most important rabbis in the community were expelled from the country. Their names for the record are Rabbi Mizrahi, Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Brenner. "
I have not seen this anywhere else so I am not sure.
Friday, January 30, 2009
It should be noted that Keum, A South Korean Presbyterian, is one of the signers of the Cuba Conference on spirituality and liberation that was held in May of 2008 by both the World Council of Churches and the World Reformed Alliance of Churches.
In May of 2008 I posted an article entitled Biblical Christianity as Scapegoat. It was about that 2008 conference held in Cuba whose members published a statement entitled "Communiqué from the Workshop on Spirituality of Resistance, Liberation and Transformation." This particular 'Communique' was about changing Christianity and aligning with other spiritualites in order to create a superior spirituality more in line with a socialist viewpoint.
I quoted part of the paper: "Empire spawns its own destructive spiritualities, such as the “religious right,” and thus it seeks always to co-opt the powers of religion for imperial aims." And I wrote about this as an example of scape goating.
I also wrote about one of the signers of the communique, Professor Ivone Gebara of Brazil. Her religious beliefs are an example of the kinds of new spiritualites that particular group up-holds. I quoted from her book Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation. She wrote:
"Evil is the proclamation and imposition of my gods as eternal and exclusive, capable of saving all of humanity. Evil is the claim that some people know the will of God and are commissioned to teach it as irrefutable dogma, while others are obliged to humbly recognize and accept their own ignorance." (168)
That last part is, of course, a caricature of Christian evangelism.
Jooseop Keum is, as I stated above, one of the signers of the Communique. So when he states in this new report on the World Social Forum that “While we share our spiritual resources with the civil movements, we could also learn from them what the most urgent mission priorities are in the contemporary world,” what is he really saying? That a spirituality that is called Christian by its adherents but is instead anti-Christian should be in partnership with a new kind of political ideology? An ideology by the way which, in this case, involves Cuba and Venezuela.
That isn't really new, but is instead as old as the history of the Church. In fact, John, the author of Revelation gives the Church a picture of just those kinds of partnerships. It's the picture of a woman drunk with the blood of saints sitting on the back of a beast.
When I read these various statements by Church leaders and theologians, who should know better, I think of a Romanian Lutheran Pastor whose story,Tortured For Christ, I read many years ago. The story includes the pastor and his wife's trials under, first the Nazis, and then the Communist. This part of their story is during the early years of Communist control in Romania and it reminds me of the foolishness of people who want an alternative spirituality to under-gird the various socialists who inhabit the World Social Forum.
"Pastor Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand attend the "Congress of Cults" arranged by the Romanian Communist government. As many religious leaders come forward to swear loyalty to the new regime, Sabina Wurmbrand tells her husband to "wipe the shame from the face of Jesus."Richard, knowing the outcome of such an act, tells his wife that if he challenges the congress she will no longer have a husband. Her only reply is, "I don't need a coward for a husband." When the pastor steps forward, the delegates believe he will also praise the new leadership, but to their surprise, Richard tells the 4,000 delegates that their duty as Christians is to glorify God and Christ alone."
That is all Christian's duty and also pleasure.
You can read the whole Wurmbrand story here and here and here.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
H/Tip Toby Brown
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This was the beginning of devotions for me this morning and I couldn’t help noticing the contrast. Verse 16 is filled with animal metaphors. So the next verse simply, boldly jumps out at you. Wolves, yes, we all understand, they rip and tear apart. But that’s just a picture, the real evil; evil without a picture to explain is humanity, unredeemed humanity, humanity rejecting the good news of Jesus Christ, his life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection.
Jesus has just given his disciples instructions for going out into Judea and preaching. But he expands the ministry in verses 16 through 40 to all the ages to come. After all, in verse eighteen their testimony reaches out beyond the dusty villages and cities of Judea and reverberates before governors, kings and Gentiles. This is a message for all those who follow Jesus and minister in his name.
Returning to verse 16 one begins to understand the position of the sheep by the fact that they are in the midst of wolves and well, they are sheep. They seemingly have no defense. So Jesus gives them a defense.
As John Calvin writes, “Serpents, being aware that they are hated, carefully avoid and shrink from every thing that is hostile to them. In this manner he enjoins believers to take care of their life, so as not to rush heedlessly into danger, or lay themselves open to any kind of injury.” But, as Calvin puts it, “Doves, on the other hand, though naturally timid, and liable to innumerable attacks, fly in their simplicity, imagine themselves safe till they are struck, and in most cases place themselves within the reach of the fowler’s snares. To such simplicity Christ exhorts his disciples, that no excess of terror may hinder them from pursuing their course.”
That is amazing to say the least. I would have understood those two metaphors in almost the exact opposite. May we all fly with such simplicity and not be hindered by any ‘excess’ of terror.
Jesus’ warning to beware of men (or humanity) is meant as a warning for the long expanding history of the Christian Church because he catalogs much of its persecution. Calvin understands Jesus to be preparing the coming disciples because people often are stopped by the surprise of unexpected suffering.
But the admonition in verse 19, not to worry or be anxious, is followed in verse twenty by a promise that is not found anywhere else in scripture. That is “it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” R.T. France in the Tyndale commentary understands that the disciple who represents Jesus also bears the Spirit from the Father.
Finally after all of the detail of persecution the text gives a clear definition between two kinds of fear. And this nicely fits together with my posting Spiritual manipulation when voting on 08-b which included questions by a Presbytery about fear.
Verse 28 states “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” On this France writes, "Two types of fear are here contrasted: fear of men is a self-interested cowardice, but fear of God is a healthy response of awe and obedience in the face of the Almighty, and one which is positively commended throughout the Bible. ...Compared with the fate which awaits the disobedient and apostate, martyrdom is a far less fearful prospect"
Monday, January 26, 2009
Pastor Luke Robinson from Frederick Maryland preaching at the 36th Annual March For Life Rally, Washington DC 2009. Some very important and strong words to President Obama.
"At the conclusion of your term in office, may it never be said that you presided over the largest slaughter of innocent children in the history of the country and that African Americans became an ever increasing minority under your hand.” Quote taken from LifeSiteNews.Com.
Also hat tip to Hans Cornelder at Presbyweb
Friday, January 23, 2009
After “a ‘centering’ prayer” and a quiet reading of “both the current language in G-6.0106a-b and the proposed changes to ‘b,’” the presbytery members were asked to, “Ponder these three questions, and then using mutual invitation invite one another to reflect on these questions. “
The three questions are:
“1. What is your initial response to 1) the current wording and 2) the proposed wording?
2. Where and how do you see God in each? - (Or to ask this question in another way) – How do you see faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ expressed in each?
3. What frightens you if the proposed language fails – and if the proposed language passes?”
This is spiritual manipulation under the guise of ‘we need to be in harmony in our presbyteries.’
Some thoughts on the wording of the questions as manipulation:
1. Using the term “initial response,” to the wording suggests that some do not have long held biblical reasons for holding on to their view of fidelity and chastity.
2.“Where and how do you see God in each?” implies that God is in both the current wording and the proposed wording. But if one of these is biblically unworkable then God is not in it.
3.“What frightens you?” Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are not frightened by policy changes rather they are concerned with faithfulness; their only fear is fear of the Lord and that has to do with reverence.
'Frightened' is a buzz word that has been used in my Presbytery on other issues. It puts the person defending their position in a very awkward place making it seem as though they are feeling endangered rather than standing up for what they believe is right.
Some thoughts on the process as manipulation:
1.In a free debate by those who were chosen by their Church to be Pastors and Elders people are allowed to speak as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. This process undermines that freedom. Someone else is controlling how each individual will form and speak their thoughts.
2.The reason given for the process is to make sure each person’s thoughts were “honored.” But we are not called to honor everyone’s position or thoughts but instead to be respectful to them as a person. We are to be polite and in fact to love that other person. We all fail at this but that doesn’t mean that we need to be controlled or manipulated. It means instead that we need to seek forgiveness and give forgiveness. It also means we need a Moderator that holds us to the rules of debate.
3.Another reason suggested is so that the other person might feel safe. But God has not called us to safety; he has instead called us to do the work of His kingdom. We, as Pastors and Elders, are instead to be concerned for the safety of our Churches. That concern is that sinful practices might not take hold and be lifted up among our congregations
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sometimes one is reminded that without Jesus Christ, theology is dead. Sometimes one is reminded that in the name of theology some will seek to elevate human sinfulness.
Presbyweb has linked to an article, "Theologians converge on Brazil to envision a sustainable world." The article is about the third "World Forum on Theology and Liberation." These forums are held either before or after the World Social Forum.
This particular Forum will be lead by several well known theologians including a Presbyterian, Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung, Dr. Emilie Townes, and Mary Hunt, an Eco-feminist who spoke to Voices Of Sophia at the Presbyterian 2008 General Assembly. Also, Dr. Leonardo Boff of Brazil will be speaking.
There will be rituals of water, earth and body. These are described:
"Each day the Forum will begin with a moment of prayer. Groups from different parts of the world and different churches, with elements of traditional religions and African, indigenous, Amerindian and Asian cultures, will lead a ritual to invoke God's transforming, prophetic and regenerating presence - in God's many names - on each day of this big encounter."
In the past I have written several postings which include information on both the World Forum on Theology and Liberation, and the World Social Forum, as well as the United States Social Forum. The postings included, Presbyterians Dancing With Karl Marx! Part 1, Presbyterians Dancing With Karl Marx! Part 2 and Presbyterians Dancing with Karl Marx Part 3 .
In one of those articles I highlighted the theology of Dwight N. Hopkins, Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School and also a member of Trinity United the Church once led by Jeremiah Wright.
He wrote a paper for the first World Forum on Theology and Liberation. I wrote about his paper, "Theologies in the USA:”
"He [Hopkins] names, what he sees as the most pervasive theology in the US, “neo-conservative theology,” which purportedly understands God as “the open face of aggressive US empire.” (Italics the author) Next is “liberal theology,” which according to Hopkins sees God as “bourgeois rights.” (Italics author) The final category is prophetic theology which the writer states sees God as “Liberation toward the practice of freedom.” Clearly Hopkins’ ideology is not theology (the study of God) nor is it based on scriptures but on Marxism."
There are already some papers for this new forum posted on the web site. Those that I can read, (many are in the language of the presenter), are interesting yet are totally disconnected from theology proper, the study of God, and are instead about socialist ideology.
One of the papers, "Peace Paradigm Shift and Joshua Syndrome" written by Jong Sun Noh, is almost incoherent due to the author's attempt to defend the leader of North Korea , Kim Jong-il, as well as that country's ideology. Her first paragraph on the second page is totally political propaganda:
"The politics is the culture in a form of political music, political mass games, political singing, dancing, paintings, arts, calligraphies, cheering with dancing of half million on the streets of Pyongyang. The formation of culture and the cultural activities is to cheer up the spirit of the people to a goal of solidarity in the system as a whole, one strong fortress against the invading forces of outside."
Another paper points to the true reason for this forum, That is, to use theology to bolster a socialist ideology. In the paper, "On Expanding the Scope of Liberation Theology: Two Theses," by Ivan Petrella, he writes about absorbing liberation theology into all facets of society. Petrella states, "it must become the foundation for other disciplines as well. Economics, law, medical anthropology, political science, sociology and a host of other disciplines could engage in the same epistemological shift with revolutionary consequences for each field."
His final thought is that the theological be divorced from liberation. He writes:
"Perhaps the task is that of disentangling the “liberation” from the “theology” in liberation theology. To work in liberation theology could mean to work outside of it, by finding ways the epistemological shift can infiltrate, subvert, and transform other bodies of knowledge. Here the liberation theologian need not carry the label of “theologian” and works best under a different disciplinary guise. Could the future of liberation call for the dissolution of liberation theology as an identifiable field of production? It would be up to subsequent generations of liberation theologians to turn this vision into a reality."
When liberation theology began in South America it at least had a few anchors, including the person of Jesus Christ. The martyred liberation theologian, Oscar Romero ,wrote:
"It would be worthless to have an economic liberation in which all the poor had their own house, their own money, but were all sinners, their hearts estranged from God. What good would it be? There are nations at present that are economically and socially quite advanced, for example those of Northern Europe, and yet how much vice and excess! The Church will always have its word to say: conversion. Progress will not be completed even if we organize ideally the economy and the political and social orders of our people. It won’t be entire with that. That will be the basis, so that it can be completed by what the church pursues and proclaims: God adored by all, Christ acknowledged as only Savior, deep joy of spirit in being at peace with God and with our brothers and sisters."
Liberation theology has long since moved far away from that stance. When the word of God is by-passed for human ideas and experiences then even an apologist for North Korea, one of the most totalitarian states in the world, can be considered a theologian. When Jesus Christ is rejected by those doing theology then theology will of course die. And only a supposedly utopian but instead dictatorial system will remain.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I am interested and concerned with a comment Noel Anderson, of Anderspeak, placed on Jim Berkley’s blog posting, Speaking Nonsense to No One in Particular?” That posting is about the prayer, Bishop Gene Robinson, the first gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, will give at one of the Presidential inauguration ceremonies.
Anderson's comment includes “I expect we [Evangelicals] will all soon face an option of whether or not to share communion with those who violate their vows and/or those who think it is okay for them to do so.” He added “in certain gatherings.” And I would suppose he is thinking mainly of Presbytery meetings.
This statement was something I had been thinking about but not voicing. I think those of us who are Presbyterians (USA), in California, waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide if Proposition 8 is lawful or not, are mulling over and praying about all kinds of painful decisions.
I thought about this, and read Calvin, (of course), but, already understood that the efficacy of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is given by the Holy Spirit and is active because of the faith of the believer in Jesus Christ. The sinfulness of those who serve, both Pastors and Elders does not change the Supper. (That is an argument that is constantly arising and being resolved in the history of the Church.)
But, as I see it, here is the problem: The Sacrament is to be attended by the word of God. And that word is the gospel of Jesus Christ which affirms the righteousness Jesus bought for sinners by his blood. The Holy Spirit makes the promise a reality to the believer. The Sacrament without the promise is no sacrament at all.
This was part of Calvin’s complaint about the Catholic Eucharist, that it had degenerated into a kind of magical rite that simply had some words mumbled over it instead of the promises of God’s gracious gift attending its giving.
And writing of the difference between the false and true Church, Calvin refers to Jer. 7:4 and writes, “The Lord recognizes nothing as his own, save when his word is heard and religiously observed.” So if someone is offering communion who believes, against the word, that sexual sin is not sin, and that Jesus Christ did not need to die for that sin, is that a problem?
That is, if some in my Presbytery are ordaining homosexual elders or marrying same gender couples in civil ceremonies and then leading a communion service in my Presbytery haven’t they divorced the word from the supper? And should I participate?
And to put it even bolder if a whole denomination states, which they have not yet done, that sexual deviancy is not sin, and so make void the promise of Christ to forgive and transform the sinner with the blood of Christ, wouldn't that eliminate the promise from the Supper? Wouldn’t the sinner, instead be encouraged to boast in their sin thus separating God’s word from the Lord’s Supper?
Then wouldn’t those particular churches whose orthodoxy causes them to disagree with such affirmations about unrepentent fornication, adultery and homosexual sex be the only safe place for the orthodox or evangelical to participate in the Lord’s Supper?
“Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood , suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach . For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.” (Heb 13:12-4)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
but, unknown to them my foes are often my friends, see A Prose Poem: Beloved Enemies .
Thinking of all of those names you have been using, I thought I should tell you, if you think my heart has been hardened like Pharaoh's, you should ignore me, hanging out on Pharaoh's door step is uncomfortable to say the least. It might leave you swamped by some revengeful gathered sea.
For those of you who think I am a wolf in sheep's clothing you should run like crazy. Wolves have very large teeth for tearing. In one dark story they took out a whole wedding party. Listening to Scripture while Wolves are howling .
For those of you who think I keep a sloppy blog deleting capriciously, well each one of us, individually, obeys or falls before our Lord. It is his righteousness, not ours after all. Speaking of ...
A better place for you to be is in the care of the Lion of Judea. Whose roar is friendly to the repentant sinner. And after all it is only him with whom we have to do. Calvin quotes Ambrose on Jesus "He is our mouth by which we speak to the Father; our eye by which we see the Father; our right hand by which we offer ourselves to the Father. Save by his intercession neither we nor any saints have any intercourse with God."
So if you are seeking some kind of resting place, some kind of safe shelter, some haven out of a storm, some perfect clarity about truth, I can only point you in His direction. And, if your tone becomes too malevolent, still, I can only point you to Him, as I, for the sake of all, I am sorry, delete you.
I like to think of C.S. Lewis's description of those we meet on our journey, not of faith, but of life, for sadly some are not walking in faith. But the description:
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendship, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.
....And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. ..."
So please, do not come here if you are unhappy here, and can only hear the howl of a wolf, or the silent stoniness of a Pharaoh. But do run with great speed to Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God , the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
Jacobsen reminds me of other teachers, some are in those other movements, who tend to mix a lot of truth with some error. Enough error to throw everything off kilter, and enough truth to cause some to fall into the error. When someone begins casting aspersions on “institutional Christianity,” and suggesting that it is okay to leave the institutional church and find others who share your own desire for relationships they are actually speaking against that which belongs to Jesus Christ.
1. Several good books on this subject are, Churches that Abuse: Help for those hurt by legalism, authoritarian leadership, Spiritual Intimidation, and Recovering from Churches that Abuse, by Dr. Ronald M. Enroth. Another good book recommended to me by Enroth is Unholy Devotion: Why Cults Lure Christians, by Harold L. Bussell.
Monday, January 12, 2009
On Sunday afternoon about 5:00pm we left to return home. Somewhere along the way we stopped for dinner and an hour later we stopped for a bathroom break. Our driver, one of the moms, forgot about her allergy to some soaps and washed her hands in the bathroom. She began to have some allergy symptoms right away as we got back on the road. Within about 20 to 30 minutes she began to have an asthma attack. She had her inhaler and took a couple of puffs but that didn't seem to do anything for her. We began to worry about her and made her switch with the other mom that was authorized to drive.
Gate Cottage which I think is the oldest building on campus burned to the ground in the middle of the night last night. Gunther got the day off today but spent it at school anyway backing up all his folders on his computer. The entire counseling department had offices in Gate Cottage and everything was a total loss. Gate cottage is the building you go through to get to the Falls.
You can no longer really tell but there was a second story which is where all the offices were. Both the first floor and second collapsed into the basement. There were five different fire departments involved in trying to put it out. (Picture by Robin Dake of independentmail.com)
And finally, I followed all this by jumping in the shower this morning, looking down at my engagement ring and realizing some where the day before my diamond had fallen out. (Some where between Winston Salem and the shower)
Maybe tomorrow will be a better day!"
Friday, January 9, 2009
This will probably be my last posting, for a while, on the conflict in the Middle East. Here are quite a few different people's thoughts with many links.
Kerri Peterson-Davis at Dressed for Dancing left a comment on my blog posting A speech on the floor of the Senate by Senator Jon Kyl about Israel and Gaza . She gave me the link address to a blog which has postings from two friends, one from Gaza and one from Israel in one of the towns that has experienced the rocket attacks from Hamas. It is an extremely interesting blog; one that is now, of course, experiencing a lot of traffic. The blog is Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot
One thing that struck me about this blog, which has more then one opinion on the subject, is that it is somewhat of a contrast to the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (Presbyterian USA). On their site they have an article that is totally pro-Palestinian. You can find it here Israel/Palestine Mission Network Statement on Gaza. The statement begins:
"The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) condemns in the harshest terms possible the Israeli massacre of Palestinians now underway in Gaza. This long-planned and all too indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of civilians, the wounding of thousands, and the destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, mosques and economic infrastructure cannot be justified in the name of Israeli national security."
As is usually true with this particular organization there is never any empathy at all for Israel. And in fact several years ago they put up a link and recommendation to a movie that pushes the old lie that all of the Media belong to the Jewish people. The movie, "Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land" listed under first Resources and then Children and Teachers is still there. You can read about it here under Returning to Lies.
On the other hand, Michael Kruse on his blog, Kruse Kronicle has linked to one of the more informative, sensitive and even articles I have read on the situation. The article, "The Arabs and Israel: A Hundred Years War," at the Economist, has history, present situation and analysis.
Under the subtitle "Why they Fight" is this:
"And Gaza, remember, is only one item in a mighty catalogue of misery, whose entries are inscribed in tears. The Jews and Arabs of Palestine have been fighting off and on for 100 years. In 1909 the mostly Russian socialist idealists of the Zionist movement set up an armed group, Hashomer, to protect their new farms and villages in Palestine from Arab marauders. Since then has come the dismal march of wars—1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006 and now 2009—each seared by blood and fire into the conflicting myths and memories of the two sides. The intervals between the wars have not been filled by peace but by bombs, raids, uprisings and atrocities. Israeli settlers in Hebron today still cite, as if it were yesterday, the massacre of Hebron’s Jews in 1929. The Arabs of Palestine still remember their desperate revolt in the 1930s against the British mandate and Jewish immigration from Europe, and the massacres of 1948.
The slaughter this week in Gaza, in which on one day alone some 40 civilians, many children, were killed in a single salvo of Israeli shells, will pour fresh poison into the brimming well of hate (see article). But a conflict that has lasted 100 years is not susceptible to easy solutions or glib judgments. Those who choose to reduce it to the “terrorism” of one side or the “colonialism” of the other are just stroking their own prejudices."
I would encourage all to read the article.
And just to point out where blogs can sometimes lead and how opinions can be formed outside of any context there is this. One commenter at the Gaza and Sderot blog, Israeli Blogger, who has his own good blog, Thoughts from Israel, welcomed a Muslim commenter on his blog who is from Chicago and a teenager. Here is The Muslim Kid's latest posting, I'll stand with you. In this posting he writes,
Hamas to kill Jewish children 'anywhere': "Hamas has threatened to kill Jewish children anywhere as Israel continues its counteroffensive in the Gaza strip.'They have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine,' Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said in a televised broadcast recorded at a secret location.'They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people,' he said in the report, according to the London Times."SOURCE: http://themunz.blogspot.com/2009/01/hamas-to-kill-jewish-children-anywhere.html.
So sometimes at the end of legitimate goodwill on one blog is a ready desire to kill by a teenager on another blog. The Muslim kid calls the Israeli Blogger an honest Jewish blogger, he tells the world he is ready to kill Jewish children. This is where I should once again place Malcolm & Alwyn with their old album “The World Needs Jesus.” I don't know anything else to say!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
"Western history is, by God's will. indissolubly linked with the people of Israel, not only genetically but in a genuine uninterrupted encounter. The Jew keeps open the question of Christ. He is the sign of the free mercy-choice and of the repudiating wrath of God. 'Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God' (Rom. 11.22). An expulsion of the Jews from the West [Perhaps from the Middle East?] must necessarily bring with it the expulsion of Christ. For Jesus Christ was a Jew." Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This is a speech given by Senator Jon Kyl on the floor of the Senate January 6, concerning a Resolution on Gaza. It was adopted by the Senate on the eighth.
Senator Kyl is a Presbyterian attending Valley Presbyterian Church, Paradise Valley, AZ.
I think the information in this speech is extremely informative and important.
GAZA RESOLUTION -- (Senate - January 06, 2009)
Mr. KYL. "Mr. President, I hope--and I am joined here by Senator Lieberman--that the Senate will have an opportunity to consider before this week is out a resolution we believe has been drafted by the majority leader and the minority leader that deals with the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip and that we believe needs to express the will of the Senate. We believe as well that a similar resolution would be voted on in the House of Representatives to express the will of the House. So then the whole world--and certainly the administration--would know of this body's strong support for the State of Israel and our support for the actions Israel is taking right now. We hope that vote can occur before this week is out. I wish to commend Senator Lieberman for his considerable leadership on this issue.
We support this resolution. The first thing the resolution does is to remind people why the State of Israel had to act.
Last February, on a trip to the Middle East, I visited the Israeli town of Sderot, which is about 3 miles from the border of Gaza, and I learned from the town's mayor of the toll taken on the residents of this town and neighboring cities from more than 8 years of rocket attacks by the Hamas terrorists. At the police station, I saw rack after rack of these spent rockets, the remains of the rockets that had been launched by Hamas against the civilian population of this city. In fact, about 15 minutes after we departed the city, one of these Hamas launched a Qassam rocket--identical to the hundreds we had seen at the police station--which fell on an Israeli home in town, destroying it. Thankfully, no one in that attack was harmed.
Is there any doubt that if the United States were suffering an attack from just across the border similar to this, that we wouldn't react to stop that from happening? I think there is no question that we would act to stop this terrorism. It is our hope that the resolution would express our acknowledgment that a nation has the right to defend itself, that Israel has had to respond to this, to more than 6,300 rocket and mortar attacks on its citizens since it fully withdrew from Gaza in the year 2005. In fact, this town has been suffering for over 8 years from these attacks.
The second point the resolution makes is that there is no equivalency between the actions of Hamas and Israel in this case. Israel conducts its military operations to spare innocent life. They have specifically targeted Hamas command centers and security installations and rocket-launching sites, weapons stockpiles, and weapons smuggling tunnels. They have tried very hard to avoid civilian casualties. In fact, Israel has transmitted very specific warnings to Gazans. They have dropped leaflets and made phone calls to targeted areas to warn citizens to leave because an attack is imminent. This, of course, even means they lose the element of surprise and potentially put the lives of Israeli soldiers at risk. But Israel believes it is important where possible to avoid jeopardizing innocent life--quite the opposite from Hamas, which deliberately and cynically fires rockets from civilian areas to make it more difficult for Israel to target the terrorists and to increase the likelihood of civilian casualties when Israel does take action.
Hamas has ignored a plea by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 28 that:
Civilian areas in Gaza should not be used as a base from which to launch its actions against Israel.
Dozens of mosques in Gaza have been turned into weapons storage facilities and Hamas command centers. In fact, an airstrike on a mosque in the Tel El Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City last Wednesday set off numerous secondary explosions caused by the arms that had been stockpiled in the mosque.
Finally, Hamas openly admits that it uses women and children as human shields. A leading member of Hamas told Al-Aqsa TV on February 29, 2008:
'For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry ..... This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahedeen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.'
While targeting terrorists, Israel works to avoid a humanitarian crisis for ordinary Gazans as well. During the first week of Israel's operations, it facilitated the delivery to Gaza of 400 trucks loaded with more than 2,000 tons of food and medicine. This is not easy when you are in the middle of military operations. Ten ambulances and two thousand blood units were transferred to Gaza just in that week. More than 80 Palestinians have entered Egypt for treatment, in addition to a dozen or more who have entered Israel. On January 5, more than 93,000 gallons of industrial diesel fuel and gasoline for vehicles was transferred into Gaza from a fuel depot in Israel. By the way, that fuel depot comes under constant attack from terrorists in Gaza, as does the place where the electricity is generated for Gaza, which, of course, makes absolutely no sense.
Finally, this resolution speaks to calls for a cease-fire. Many voices in the so-called international community have been heard pleading for an immediate cease-fire, although I think it is instructive that one never hears those voices condemning rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists.
I believe the path to a halt in the violence is clear. A cease-fire is appropriate if and when it is durable and sustainable. A cease-fire, on the other hand, that would allow Hamas to rearm and rebuild its support in Gaza is, of course, not acceptable. Hamas cannot be given a cease-fire that only serves to provide it breathing room to regroup and then a month or 2 months or 3 months from now start firing its rockets and missiles again.
The United Nations could play a constructive role, but it must resist the temptation that it all too often falls into, and that is that of moral equivalency. I point to the press statement of the Security Council on December 28 which, among other things, said the parties should ``stop immediately all military activities.'' This is dangerous moral equivalency. Only one party to the violence carries out ``military activities.'' The other party--Hamas--terrorizes and murders innocent people. That is why the only Security Council resolution that could be acceptable in this situation--and I say this with the understanding that the Security Council is meeting as we meet here today--is one that affirms Israel's right to defend itself and calls on Hamas to immediately stop its terrorist activity.
I add that a Security Council resolution should look to all of those who support Hamas--primarily and most significantly Iran. For years, Iran has been the source of money, training--including training at the facilities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran itself--and weapons to Hamas. Hamas's relationship with Iran is so close that the Egyptian President said this past May that Hamas rule in Gaza means that Egypt has a "border with Iran.''
Since Israel launched its military operation against Hamas, Iran has announced stepped-up arms shipments. Senior Iranian clerics have organized recruiting drives to send Iranians to Hamas's aid. Just yesterday, a senior Iranian cleric announced that it had recruited 7,000 Iranians to join the cause of Hamas. Yet the international community has taken no action to counter Iran's support of Hamas terrorists.
A U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran for its assistance to Hamas would send an important message and would be a good place to start, as would unilateral sanctions by the United States.
Let me conclude by quoting the Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who recently wrote one of the most precise and succinct observations on the situation in Gaza that I have read. He wrote:
Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare, but excruciating.
The Reid-McConnell resolution we expect to be introduced shortly will be an important reaffirmation of the bond between Israel and the United States. It is one forged on the basis of common values and the tragically shared experience of terrorism. By passing this resolution, we are saying to the Israeli people: We stand with you, and we support you in defending yourselves against terrorist attacks."
I have added a couple of quote marks into the document where they were needed.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It is an understatement to say that what is happening at the moment in the conflict between Israel and Hamas is horrendous.
There is tremendous fault on many sides, but I have a different view than many and although that is not what I am writing about, I will add a few of my own thoughts to this matter. One of the issues at the very beginning of modern Israel were accusations by some that the Jewish people were too passive in the face of Hitler and the Nazi’s plans for genocide.
While that was not true in many places, including the Warsaw Ghetto, historically Israel has made sure that they would “never again” forfeit there own existence. Israel now faces thousands of peoples, who like Hitler, are seeking genocide. That includes Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iranian leadership. For them the so called occupation is not an occupation of Gaza, etc. but of all of what was called Palestine by the Romans. In other words according to these radical Muslims' interpretation "no occupation" means no Israel at all.
The other part of the equation is that the world community has some accountability for what is happening in Gaza at the moment. That is, in my opinion, the UN should have sent peace keepers into Gaza to stop Hamas from sending rockets into Southern Israel.
The moderate Arab nations should have encouraged Hamas to stop the rockets. The world media should have been much more careful in their news stories about Hamas’ barrage of rockets on Israel making that an important story. The WCC and NCC should have made statements about the rockets condemning them in no uncertain terms. But that is all my opinion.
But here is something of which I am very sure. Anti-Semitism is rising in Europe as it is in the United States. And that is something all Christians should be concerned about.
MSNBC on line has an article Jews in Europe targeted as Gaza anger grows.” Some of the information is:
“PARIS - Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe's towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain.
Assailants rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France, on Monday night. A Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, also was attacked Monday night by someone who "broke a window and threw in something that was burning," said police spokesman Leif Nilsson. Neighbors alerted rescue services before the fire took hold.”
And in Amsterdam, on the third of this new year, “parliament member Harry van Bommel (Socialist Party) calls for intifada against Israel during anti-Israel / pro Gaza, pro Hamas, pro Hezbollah demonstration."
France and its anti-Semitism is not such a surprise. Before Hitler came to power in Germany, France experienced more anti-Semitism than any country in Europe. But Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole were known for their resistance to the Nazis. Many citizens hid Jews during the German occupation.
Evangelical Christians will not forget the story and ministry of Corrie ten Boom who lost most of her family in the concentration camps because they came to the assistance of the Jewish people. Her story is told in the book and movie “The Hiding Place.” Another excellent video is of an enactment entitled “Corrie Remembers”:
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem also means praying for the Jewish people in Europe and the United States.
Hat/tip to Debbie Berkley and Will Spotts for information.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I know, what Christian believer doesn’t know that. A fairly simplistic statement. But I have been thinking about that for several days. And when I saw this u-tube posting I was at first extremely troubled but then realized that God had sent the Christians of the United States a mighty work to do. Of course it will be the Lord’s work, the work of the Holy Spirit.
The hate in this video got me to thinking about how I had experienced Islamic hate on a very small scale. But I was thinking about it, I woke up this morning thinking about it. More then thirty years ago when I was attending junior college I had just finished eating lunch with some Christian friends and was returning my tray to the Cafeteria when I saw a tall rather dark man reading a small black book.
Already in a rather joyful mood from the conversation I had just had I walked up to him and asked if he was reading the Bible. I will never forget the spew of hate and foul language that came out of his mouth as he also explained that he was a Moslem.
In another instance, about the same time, my husband invited home for the night a young man who was an Egyptian. He had been married to another friend of ours who had divorced him for abusing her. He was without a place to sleep or food for the night so my husband did a good thing. Yet, the next morning as we talked he explained to me that he would like to line all the Israelis up and shoot them.
Several years later, actually not that long ago, when I got my first computer, I had been told that my first “paid” published article was on the web, fascinated I went looking and did find it. The article was entitled , Identity: A "Christian" Religion for White Racists. But, I also found it on a radical Islamic site with the name changed from the original to “Christianity a Religion for White Racists” and the article had the ending removed which was the gospel part. (Of course my editor took care of it.)
There are other stories, but that’s enough except for the Jewish lady who is/was liberal. I met her a couple of years ago at a Presbyterian Church where she and another person were presenting the film, Ever Again. (An excellent film) As we were talking afterwards she told me how she had almost become conservative. It was because when participating in anti-war marches against the Iraqi war she found herself constantly confronted by both straightforward anti-Semitism as well as a particular hatred of Israel. The video above will not change her feelings I am sure.
But what will change the radical Moslem and their hatred? Only the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Only a God who was willing to become human and die on the cross for their hatred, and our hatred.
Several years ago a lady who had been a Moslem came to speak at a women‘s luncheon at Fremont Presbyterian Church. She came here with her husband to study when the Shah of Iran was in power. She was almost forced to leave when Iran was overthrown by radical Moslems. Instead she found a way to stay and a Baptist Church helped her with her children, the ladies at the Church invited her to an aerobics class and then prayed for her. One night she dreamed she went on a journey to Jerusalem to find Jesus And she did find him.. You can read her testimony here. Testimony of Halimeh
That is simple, I know, but the radical Moslem, like all of us need Jesus Christ
Hat/tip on the video to Will Spotts