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New York Jews Blast De Blasio Over AIPAC Speech


The Third Way

A group of prominent Jewish leaders in New York have sent a letter to the city’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio sharply criticizing him for the fawning and kowtowing speech he secretly made to AIPAC. It’s short and to the point–AIPAC doesn’t speak for these Jews and, I’ll add, AIPAC doesn’t speak for most Jews or Israelis. It’s high time these people, who are not only causing immense harm to Palestinians but are also determined to lead Israelis over a cliff and US Jews to the end of the era of our history most free of anti-Semitism were confronted in no uncertain terms. They have money and hate, and nothing else. They represent no one but themselves.

Here is the letter:

View original post 302 more words

Did Jesus Suffer for This?


I’ve been wondering what God thinks about this whole Chick-Fil-A deal.  Only he knows the intent of Mr. Cathy’s heart. Was he asked a leading question that elicited his response? I don’t know. But, it sure gave Christians something to stand up for…something to fight for…but in gaining this ground, have they lost a more important bridge?

Sometimes I read a blog that addresses a subject I’ve been thinking about, and this one by my blogging friend, Anita Mathias in Oxford, UK is just such a one. Read on.

Christus als Schmerzensmann (Duerer)

Christus als Schmerzensmann (Duerer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dreaming Beneath The Spires: Christians, Quit Being so Oppositional!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Christians, Quit Being so Oppositional!

Image Credit

So, on the 1st of August, on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day hundreds of thousands of Americans bought sandwiches from the popular fast food chain. Chick-Fil-A made $30 million on that day, to be donated to anti-gay groups.

Dan Cathy and his chain were being appreciated because they were “guilty as charged” of donating a cumulative $5 million dollars of corporate money to anti-gay groups, including the Family Research Council, called a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
And in my mind’s eye, I watch Jesus watch these snaking queues of Christians identify with him by buying these sandwiches, and I believe he is very sad.
Why do I believe this?
Because it makes me and so many other Christians cry. And Jesus when he sees us care—enough to give good gifts to our children, to look for a lost coin, or sheep or son–uses the same phrase, how much more would his father care.
5 million dollars for the project of changing people’s sexuality, a project with limited and dubious success, and to oppose  gay marriage and gay rights!!
Oh, how has the overwhelmingly positive message of Jesus—love one another; trust God; don’t worry, the Father cares; there is true life only in God; forgive aught against any—got reduced to being against gay marriage, against abortion, against gun control, against immigration, against Barack Obama, against the democrats?  Oh my fingers hurt just typing all this!
* * *
Five million dollars is both pocket change to God which he can give those who ask with a single good idea–and a significant sum of money.
It could sponsor 11,904 children for a year, providing them with food, education and clothing through World Vision at $35 a month. It can provide clean water to 250,000 people who might otherwise die young from preventable water-borne diseases, or spend many hours a day hauling water, exposing themselves to violence and sexual assault in the process. Nine year old Rachel Beckwith raised $1.2 million, providing clean water for 60,000 people in Ethiopa.
Because of early and unassisted childbirth, two million people suffer from fistulas.  “Women and girls with fistulas become pariahs. Their husbands divorce them, and they are moved to a hut at the edge of the village. They lie there in pools of their waste, feeling deeply ashamed, trying to avoid food and water because of the shame of incontinence, and eventually they die of an infection or simple starvation,” according to The New York Times.   Dr Steve Arrowsmith and volunteer doctors who work with the Fistula Foundation could heal 11,111 women for 5 million dollars
And if you believe, as I do, that man does not live by bread alone, but also by every word from the mouth of God, 5 millions dollars will pay for the translation of the entire Bible into 6.15 languages through Wycliffe Bible Translators’ The Seed Company (at $26 for a verse, painstakingly checked through a rigorous six step process). We’ve supported a small part of the Seed Company’s translations, and it’s very satisfying.
* * *
Which of these activities do you think is closer to the heart of Jesus?
Will funding anti-gay organizations make a gay person straight? Sexual desire stems from our unconscious limbic system and the autonomic nervous system. Attempting to change these is fraught with failure. Exodus International, (supported by Chik-fil-A) which attempts reparative, conversion therapy on gays, recently admitted that 99.9% of conversion therapy participants do not experience any change to their sexuality
And if they did? Is that what Jesus primarily came for? Called us to? To make gay people straight?
Or is his mandate that we follow him?
And, perhaps, in the process of following Christ some gay people might marry a heterosexual partner. And some might remain gay, but still love Christ.
 Lonnie Frisbee who was instrumental in the founding and flourishing of the Calvary Chapel Movement, and instrumental in the founding of the Vineyard when the spirit fell on hundreds of young people as he prayed, Come Holy Spirit was gay, despite his struggles, and died of AIDS.
The remarkable and saintly William Stringfellow was gay, and memorably wrote Can a Homosexual be a Christian? One might as well ask, can an ecclesiastical bureaucrat be a Christian? Can a rich man be a Christian?    Can anybody be a Christian? Can a human being be a Christian? All such questions are theologically absurd.
To be a Christian does not have anything essentially to do with conduct or station or repute. To be a Christian does not have anything to do with the common pietisms of ritual, dogma or morals in and of themselves. To be a Christian has, rather, to do with that peculiar state of being bestowed upon men by God….
Can a homosexual be a Christian? Yes: if his sexuality is not an idol.
                                           * * *
And when did following Jesus become synonymous with defending “traditional marriage?” Or disapproving of gays?
What did Jesus say for–or against gays? Nothing!!
His message was love. His message was Himself. Come to me. Eat me. Drink me. Abide in me.
And what happens when we do so? That’s his business. He will take each of us through different paths.
And so there will be rich Christians and poor Christians.
Republican Christians and Democratic Christians.
Christians who cheered on George Bush as he bombed Afghanistan and Iraq, and people like our family who were so distressed by it that we immediately started applying for jobs in other countries.
Gay Christians perhaps, and straight Christians.
Christ is too wonderful a treasure, too rich a feast to limit himself or be limited to straight people.
Christianity is a relationship, not a cultural statement.  God will call Christians to be salt and light and sweetness in every area of society, among the rich and among the poor; among the highly educated intelligentsia, and those who follow the crowd;  among conservatives and among liberals; among the gay and among the straight.
                                               * * *
So what stand would Jesus take on gay marriage, and gay ordination, these schismatic issues?  We don’t know, but we can surmise from the four loving detailed biographies we have of him.
Above all things, he hated hypocrisy. He hated self-righteousness and holier-than-thouness. He opposed the unthinking group mind. When the Pharisees of his day all clung together, clucking their tongues, Jesus was on the outside with the least and the last.
And these were the people he sided with, reached out to, spent his time with: Zacchaeus, who was notoriously dishonest. A woman caught in adultery. A woman who had led a sinful life. A woman who had been serially married and now lived “in sin”. A hot-tempered, violent Peter. A friend of prostitutes and sinners, he was called.
And if he met a gay man or woman? He would have preached the gospel to him, as he would to anyone else. He would have loved them, overwhelmingly. And they might in response have adopted traditional marriage. Or perhaps, might not have. That is between them, Jesus, and his Spirit.
Being is a Christians is not about making gay people straight or picketing abortion clinics or defending the intent of the American Founding Fathers or American values.
It is about a relationship with a person. A relationship which turned the world upside down in the first century (Acts 17:6) and will, infallibly turn our world upside down if we let it have its way with us. 
You might also like:
Sunrise in our Garden, behind our Willow Tree
The Parable of Those who Reject Multiple Chances. Blog …
Curses: Medieval Idea or Scriptural Reality?
How many plagues does it take?

The Weirdest Things Occupy Protesters Get Arrested For


Occupy Wall Street

Image via Wikipedia

I assume by now the world understands the cultural phenomena of “Occupy Wall Street” and other  protest movements in the USA aren’t really comparable to the “Arab Spring“.  In Arab countries where people are protesting, their lives are on the line.  Whether the occupiers will eventually accomplish their goals is anyone’s guess. Actually, their goals are anyone’s guess.

All of the news coverage has switched over to the endless and uncivil Republican Debates. Comic relief might be a better word for them if they weren’t supposed to be taken seriously.

Here is one article that gives us a glimpse into the Occupy movement:

The Weirdest Things Occupy Protesters Get Arrested For – National – The Atlantic Wire.

But both of these phenomena have one thing in common which we cherish here in the USA, and that is our freedom! We can protest in any weird or absurd way we please while exercising our freedom without being killed for it!

Mustafa Tamimi Has Died


It is reported that Palestinian protester, Mustafa Tamimi, picked up and threw rocks at the IDF, thus compromising a Peaceful Protest. Of course, he was wrong to let his passion move him to throwing rocks.

For those who think, it is impossible for Palestinians to be “peaceful”, you should know that many of these peaceful protests have originated out of the Palestinian Evangelical Christian Church working alongside Muslims.

“Point is that the IDF should not use a tear gas canister like a projectile weapon. It should be aimed up into the crowd for dispersal, not in a protestor’s face. There are ways of dispersing crowds, and the IDF soldier will ultimately go unpunished.”

Warning: The video feed has a very gruesome scene.

Mustafa Tamimi has died | Mondoweiss.

What do you know about Bahrain?


Map of Bahrain

Bahrain

The Arab Revolution continues to spread.

There is a lot going on in Bahrain right now. I was confused about where Bahrain is, so I had to look it up on a map. In case you would like to know more, I thought I’d share this with you.

Bahrain royal family orders army to turn on the people

Bahrain’s ruling family has defied mounting international criticism by ordering the army to turn on its people for the first time since pro-reform demonstrations erupted five days ago.

Protesters run from a cloud of teargas  

Image 1 of 2
Protesters run from a cloud of teargas during a clash with Bahraini security forces near the Pearl roundabout  Photo: GETTY
Bahraini protesters pray and sit in the street  

Image 1 of 2
Bahraini protesters pray and sit in the street facing army tanks, unseen, while ambulances behind them take wounded demonstrators to hospital Photo: AP
Adrian Blomfield

By Adrian Blomfield, Manama 8:32PM GMT 18 Feb 2011

As protesters attempted to converge on Pearl Roundabout, a landmark in the capital Manama that has become the principal rallying point of the uprising, soldiers stationed in a nearby skyscraper opened fire.

Since they took to the streets, Bahrain‘s protesters have come to expect violence and even death at the hands of the kingdom’s security forces. At least five people were killed before yesterday’s protests.

But this was on a different scale of magnitude.

As they drew near, they were met first with tear gas and then with bursts of live ammunition.

Many fled the first salvoes, scrambling down empty streets as the shots rang out behind them.

As they ran, terror and disbelief flashed across their faces. One man shouted: “They are killing our people! They are killing our people.”

Cowering behind a wall, a woman wept, her body shaking in fear.

But many refused to run, initially at least, determined to defy the violence being visited upon them. Some held their hands in the air and shouted “Peaceful! Peaceful!”.

The shooting resumed. One man crumpled to the ground, blood pouring from his leg; nearby a second was also felled. A scream went up: “live ammunition!”

As security forces then began to fire anti-air craft guns over their heads and the air filled with tear gas, the protesters’ will finally broke.

But even as they fled in headlong panic, a helicopter sprayed gunfire at them and more fell. Paramedics from ambulances that had rushed to the scene darted forward to help the wounded, but they too were shot at. Several were detained and at least one ambulance was impounded.

Doctors at the nearby Salmaniyah hospital said they had received 32 wounded people, nine of whom were in a critical condition. There were unconfirmed reports of two deaths at Pearl Roundabout, but witnesses said the bodies had been seized by the army.

Those caught up in the violence were mourners, returning from funerals of three people killed before dawn the previous day when police opened fire on protesters, many of whom were asleep, in a successful bid to regain control of Pearl Roundabout.

Thousands thronged the body of Ali Ahmad al-Moumen as it was born aloft down the streets of Sitra, a poor Shia village near Manama.

Despite the violence, many said the death of Moumen and other protesters had only increased their determination to press ahead with the protests.

“The regime has failed to stop us,” Abdulwahab Hussein, a senior Shia Muslim leader, told the crowd. “Their action shows that they are strong and we are weak.”

Most of the protesters are members of Bahrain’s long-marginalised Shia majority.

They say they are not demanding the abdication of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Sunni king, but they are calling for a constitutional monarchy that would treat the Shia fairly and make them equal subjects in his kingdom.

But they are demanding the resignation of his uncle Khalifa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, who has served as prime minister for 39 years.

During his rule, the protesters say, the Shia have been turned into second class citizens, deprived of jobs in the army, police force and government while Sunnis from abroad have been given Bahraini citizenship to alter the kingdom’s demographic balance.

Government officials in Bahrain have warned that the Shia opposition is controlled by Iran, which seeks to use the kingdom to establish a foothold on the Arabian peninsula.

Protesters insist that they have no love for Iran and are only seeking justice for themselves.