Posts Tagged ‘history’

(It’s a repost but man, it puts me in a good mood! Peace.)

Fireworks. Backyard BBQ. Family. Music. Fanfare. Sports. God. USA.

Whatever you equate July 4 with, it better come with a hearty side helping of patriotism. As we Christians know all too well, freedom indeed wasn’t free.

There was a cost on the line – some paid in tears, some in years and many paid with their lives.

We are here today, blogging ad nauseum, because of the bold and the brave, the few and the proud, the men and women who have proudly served this country since King George made a few people so uncomfortable, they bolted England for a new world in the name of freedom.

They made a home, fought for independence, pledged their allegiance to God and country and the rest is history. We are living that history today, and I couldn’t be happier.

So, to commemorate this pomp and circumstance, (and the fact that I promised My Fair Lady I wouldn’t touch this thing all weekend) I give you a video certain to bolster pride, nationalism and joy.

Have a blessed fourth of July wherever you are. Peace to all.

Now, take it away, Sam!

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Due to exploration and bad stewardship, the Jordan River could dry up in 2011

Pictures could be all we have left of the Jordan (Courtesy: Ivan Makarov)

From Genesis to the Gospel of John, Christians have become infatuated with the River Jordan. And rightly so.

This river has majestic meaning to the Body of Christ. From being parted for Joshua, Elijah and Elisha to Naaman being cured of leprosy, the Jordan River has been home to some of the most memorable and miraculous events in the Bible.

However, the most famous Jordan River marvel was the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 NKJV)

Glory to God! See there, that’ll preach. Needless to say, even if you are not an aficionado of Southern or Urban Gospel, this river is sacrosanct to the Church.  And so, when I read this story in Treehugger.com, I was highly perplexed:

Even the most famous and admired places aren’t immune to the problems of abuse and pollution – the Jordan River being a prime example as it’s expected to run dry by 2011 due to overexploitation, pollution and lack of regional management, according to Friends of the Earth, Middle East (FoEME).

Get that… Jesus’ river. Dry? To environmental stewards (of which, the entire Body of Christ should be), this is a harrowing story because this is another mighty body of water that has been destroyed because man was too lazy to care. This isn’t some “liberal rant”; this is ecological fact.

Not only is it historically significant but the river valley is also one of the world’s most important crossroads for migratory birds, with 500 million birds migrating twice a year.

The story continues to inform us that more than 90 percent of the river’s water has been diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan, and what’s left is an unappealing mix of sewage, saline water, and run-off from cropland. Yet, we still go to the Holy Land in throngs recreating the aforementioned baptism of Christ unaware of this lamentable situation.

In 2011, that will no longer be possible so this is on your bucket list, call your travel agent today. However, there is a glimmer – albeit a miraculous ray – of hope:

According to FoEME, the river once had a flow rate of of 1.3 billion cubic metres a year, but now it trickles at less than 100 million cubic metres. The organization says that a rush of fresh water released into the river could save it.

This is how the Jordan River could end up if we don't act.

All it takes is a seed of faith. I've heard that somewhere before.

Is anyone preaching ahead of me here?

Wall Watchers, we are vessels of living water. And if we utilize the power of the Holy Ghost inside of us, why can’t we pray for that rush of “living water” (approximately 400 million cubic metres annually worth) to flow back into the same river that brought a well of God’s spirit to us?

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38 NKJV)

Why couldn’t this happen? Why wouldn’t this work? We have seen the Lord do so much more with so much less.

Sure, it may seem like an asinine thought, but the FoEME is devising a water management plan to help save the River Jordan. Why can’t Christians help? God did give us dominion over this earth; we can exercise it here in the Holy Land.

Still thick in vegetation, the Jordan River was more than a lifesource for people to eat, bathe and drink. It was a barrier of protection and a divine source of inspiration. Today, after this clarion call, helping restore this river should be our obligation.

It descends into the Sea of Galilee. From there, it travels 65 miles to the Dead Sea, but because of its meandering path, it travels 104 miles to get there. That’s a lot of space to cover, but nothing is too impossible for God (Luke 1:37).

I’ll get back to fun, yuks and fresh tags, but this distressing tale is certainly Writing on the Wall.

Pray to become better stewards of this planet. Pray to be mindful of ways to conserve our resources. Pray to exercise that dominion more actively. And pray for the restoration of the Jordan. Selah. Peace.

In case you are new to the Gospel, a couple of things:

  1. Welcome! Jesus loves you.
  2. Muslims aren’t huge fans of the Jews.

I wouldn't put this past him.

To the latter, I don’t mean as in not carrying a foam finger reading, “There’s only one Savior for me.” It’s more like, “I have hated your guts for 6,000 years. Ishmael is the man and you suck, YHWH dude.”

That is whenever it’s not convenient for a Muslim to become a tour guide for the site of one of Jesus’ most famed miracles. In that case, “Mohammad will show me the money. Praise be to Allah.”

Thanks to the Washington Post, we read about a man who has a truckload of bravery – meet Father Masoud Abu Hatoum.

Yeah, an Arab Christian. You would the circus came to town and he was the elephant jumping through a hoop of fire, but alas, he’s just a man who loves Jesus and business savvy.

In lieu of this economy and what it has done for Holy Land travel, Hatoum has decided to work on some grassroots marketing and keep the young ones from leaving their huts for uptown Nazareth.

After all, that’s where the real sanctimonious action is, right?

Father Masoud Abu Hatoum, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his enthusiasm, has come up with a few ideas, like re-enacting the New Testament story of Jesus transforming the water for guests at a wedding in the Galilee hamlet of Cana, now this northern Israeli town of Kufr Kana.

What makes Father Bulldozer even more amazing is that the town of Kurf Kana post Arab-Israeli war of 1948 is now populated with 16,000 Muslims and only 4,000 Christians. Yet, there he is – a few credits short of an MBA and it seems, a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

On a recent Sunday, the Roman Catholic service at the stone-and-marble Cana Wedding Church only drew about 20 worshippers, most of them middle-aged. Another couple of dozen turned out at the smoky, dim and ornate Greek Orthodox church nearby in the old village center, where volunteers built a display for stone jars the church says held the water Jesus turned into wine.

That day attracted 40 people. Last summer, he only had 10. Business is booming for this guy. Moreover, this isn’t the only PR stunt up his mocked Nehru sleeves. Check out what he did on Christmas:

For Christmas, Abu Hatoum erected a scaffolding strung with blinking lights around 90 feet (27 eters) high over his church and he billed it the tallest Christmas tree in the Holy Land.

“I would have made it higher,” he said laughing, “but I would have needed a license for that.”

The gimmick was enough to attract an Israeli television crew, and a spot for the priest on local radio, pleasing parishioners who said nobody had expressed interest in their church before.

Will his chicanery be enough to show out the resurrected Christ and show up traffic and people to this dwindling town?

We shall see, but I’ll bet you one thing – as long as he can stand in front of his former cronies singing the praises of Jesus, I would say someone will cross that (bottom) line.

Peace be upon you, Padre.

Christmas is a time to gather with family, eat like a glutton, think about the Christ child… and how he lived. How many Jesus movies did you watch this past week?

Me? 516. At least it felt that way with every church party I visited. I enjoy them wholeheartedly but after the 200th time, maybe its claim to the “Greatest Story Ever Told” wanes a skosh.

Anywhoo, during those wonderful films, I began thinking of all the people who claim they don’t believe in God; yet, they can be heard referring to “Jesus’ day.” How do they really know anyway?!

A Jewish home in the shadows of the Church of the Annunciation. Ironic. (Source: Dan Balilty, AP)

Then, this story from USA Today comes out and I now have a referral point to that ubiquitous time in history.

Archaeologists said Monday that they unearthed remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that dates to Jesus’ era, a simple structure of two rooms and a courtyard, said Yardenna Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

I love how the aforementioned folk who don’t believe in Jesus of Nazareth are fascinated by everything else in Nazareth.

While these diligent archaeologists are not claiming it is the house where Jesus lived specifically, a young Jesus may have played around the house with cousins and friends, Alexandre said.

MEMO to the Pulpit Pimps and False ‘Profits’ out there: it’s okay to admit Jesus didn’t come from riches, but rags.

This was a modest community – you know, living in dirt homes, wearing tattered tunics and driving camels. And for many in Christendom, that now visual fact could bring healing to the millions who feel a seed here and keeping up with the Joneses there have done nothing but destroy their credit… and their faith.

Yes, later in life, you can argue the Christ-child wasn’t doing that bad financially.  Spare the doxology and psychobabble, this isn’t that kind of post.

My prayer is we can all take from this discovery and confirm where the Gospel message’s focus should be – it’s about who you are and are destined to be, not what you have and what you are determined to get.

That… or call Hollywood and claim we have the makings of a new movie, “Jewish Boyz in the Hood.” Nice.

Religion and animals. They have been intertwined since the beginning of time.

  • Noah had the ark, and all the animals two-by-two
  • Muslims abstain from swine
  • Mayans have a movie coming out about Quetzalcoatl
  • Mythological creatures are typically morphed humans and horses or whatever
  • Treatment of animals is holy writ according to Judaic law
  • And then there are Hindus who give a new meaning to “Holy Cow”

Looks like something from a Disney movie really

Looks like something from a Disney movie really

Evidently, they are pretty sweet on elephants, at least according to this Christian group that has been picketing the Calgary (Alberta, Canada) Zoo.

The Calgary Zoo said it has no plans to remove a dancing elephant statue after a complaint from a Christian group that it’s an inappropriate religious icon.

A private donor gave the statue, modeled after the Hindu god Ganesh, to the zoo in 2006 to stand in front of the Asian elephant exhibit. As CBC News first reported, Concerned Christians Canada sent a letter raising its concerns that the statue was “selective religious partiality” to the zoo on Thursday.

MEMO to CCC: The ecumenical pachyderm here was donated to the zoo, and in lieu of the global economy, you think they are really going to give that up in account of, what did you call it again, “Selective religious partiality”? Uh, no.

“A lot of people are saying we’re being intolerant. I don’t consider asking that the zoo look at this from a balanced perspective being intolerant,” said national chairman Jim Blake on Friday.

What? You want a crucifix to dangle in the ape exhibit, as if to tell Charles Darwin where to stick it? Perhaps, a Bible in the snake exhibit with the tempting verse from Romans 16:20 that “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Great, but when that happens, watch out PETA because those will make some sweet boots. Just sayin’.

See here, the fallibility of this protest is most Christians will look at that cute elephant and think, “Aw, that’s cute.” They aren’t thinking, “I’ll bet that’s a surreptitious homage to Hinduism. I’m calling the manager.”

If you want to make a difference for Jesus, pick a cause everyone understands because right now you may as well be telling kids all over Canada that zoos are of the devil. And just how “concerning” is that?