Doug's definition of art: "It's a bit like trying to draw God himself -- doomed to utter failure from the start. But even if I only 'touch the hem of his garment,' I'll be satisfied." Beeeautiful.
A Strange Kind of Freedom: Israel's most vocal critics within the American-Jewish community pay a hefty price in terms of reputation for their stance on the Israeli military offensive. And most of their vilification comes from those who think criticizing Israel is the same thing as being anti-Semitic. (Warning: adult language)
I said I would provide more commentary on the Ha'aretz article I posted yesterday, so here it is.
Basically, this is a fifty-five year long conflict over a piece of land, with each side resorting to some sort of physical violence: the Israelis use military force, the Palestinians use human bombs. I disagree with some of the tactics the Israelis use, but from a Christian point of view, that piece of land is land God promised to the Jews. I figure that when the Almighty plays into this sort of deal, there's a lot on the table that's at stake (and it doesn't help that what is at stake is unseen for now, but our timetables definitely don't match up to God's). The Jews have been a scattered and persecuted people for thousands of years - or they were until 1947.
On the other hand, we have the Palestinians - people who, prior to the formation of the State of Israel, occupied that same piece of land. I can't say I'd be too happy if I were forced to suddenly pack up everything I owned and flee because suddenly my home belongs to another group of people, the rest of the world says so, and I can't do a thing about it. For the last fifty-five years these Palestinians, their children and their childrens' children have had to live in squalid refugee camps outside Jerusalem, in homes that could easily be destroyed by harsh weather as much as they are by the Israelis' mortars, bullets and bulldozers. They live with the hope that someday they may return to their former homes. Realistically, will that happen anytime soon? No.
It's strange to me how two people with the same ultimate objective (strap bomb to self, blow up self in crowded area, kill as many Jews as possible, die a martyr) could have such differing reasons for doing so. In the dangerously volatile environment they live in, I would have to say that their actions would make sense - and yet they don't at the same time. I can't place myself in Arin Ahmed's shoes, though - I've never lived in a country where suicide bombings and seeing armed soldiers on patrol are common. It'd probably be easy to be indoctrinated with propaganda that's meant to fuel hate against either the Arabs or Jews there (depending on whether you're Jewish or Palestinian, of course).
Israel's Defense Minister gave some pretty frank answers to the reporter's questions at the end, but I've a thought about some of his comments. Since the militant groups sponsoring the suicide bombings seem to be singling out individuals who don't think they have much to live for to carry out their deadly missions (indoctrination, indoctrination), then what can be offered to persuade them otherwise - Arafat or no Arafat, Sharon or no Sharon?
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you." For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity. - Psalm 122:6-9
The tale of the would-be suicide bombers. More commentary on this later.
And cripes, I wish they'd stop shufflin' me all over the place at work. I liked hiding out in the deep recesses of the file room, thank you!
Bravo, Mr. Ignatius - truer words have never been spoken.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. - John 21:25
The unwritten story of what God has done perfectly supplements what has been written in Scripture - that's the power of the personal testimony. Where the Bible is a treasure box, testimonies are like gold coins being perpetually poured into it. Amen.
I meant to spend today at my church, helping out with the outreach thing they're having on the church grounds, but instead I've lounged around the house all day with my sisters and cousin. We've been migrating from surfing the Net (been blogsurfing and checking things at PH sporadically), to watching movies to settling down in the living room with a book (I finished Jane Eyre, finally - YAY!). Now this is what I call relaxation.
Happy Fourth of July, y'all.
Distorted sound ruins
I went back to work today and nearly nodded off at my desk. Pain meds suck. I've been sleeping on the couch in the living room since my oral surgery Friday, just so I could be closer to my meds (which are in the kitchen) in the first place, and I so want normalcy to return soon. Normalcy in this case means sleeping on an actual bed and not having to stumble over computer wires at 2:30 in the morning just to down a couple of nasty pills.
Murm walked past me Sunday or Monday night, and that's when I noticed her new t-shirt and the little message in white that was written across the front: "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" No comment on that one. Noooo comment. (There, I blogged it! Ya happy now!?)
And I know it's about an hour shy of striking midnight, but Happy B-Day anyway, Dad. I'll refrain from commenting on this subject as well since you seem to have convinced yerself pretty good that you'll always remain 39. (And your kids know darn well that's not at all true!)
My name in heiroglyphs :
It is one of the deep paradoxes of our culture that we are a deeply religious country yet we are often deeply embarrassed by that fact. I have in the past asked students whether they think church and state should be kept separate, and almost everyone says yes. Should religion and politics be kept separate? At least as many, sometimes more, say yes to that. Well, then, should morality and politics be kept separate? Definitely not. Yet most people's moral concepts are strongly influenced, if not mainly shaped, by their religious upbringing. I think that is why a majority of people have told pollsters, on various occasions, that they would not vote for an atheist as president. Some take this as a sign of bigotry. I think, rather, that people who connect their own morality with belief do not feel confident in assessing the views of anyone who has not experienced that connection.The recent appeals court ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance has made wonder - in a sort of fuzzy way (them painkillers can make thinking rather hard sometimes) - about the Christian response when politics and religion get thrown into the mix. Often the most common response when something this big occurs in the political realm that I hear among believers is, "Man, this country's going to hell in a handbasket! They're trying to take God out of the picture in this country!"
Who says so?
Just as the Church is not represented by a building with a steeple and pretty stained-glass windows - we, God's people, make up the Church body - so it is with the Christian presence in America. Believers should not stake their Christianity on how many religious icons can be seen on public buildings (i.e., the posting of the Ten Commandments at City Hall, or even the "In God We Trust" logo on the dollar bill). What should matter is what is in the heart and spirit, and the believer's personal relationship with God.