Friday, October 14, 2011

Harold Camping's Rapture

Brother Camping has warned the world about the rapture next week. My dad and I feel so badly about watching him go through this again.

In defense of Camping, let me offer my opinion about him. He has a really good heart, and he has a body of good works that few in our age can rival. He was the founder of "Family Radio" which was the first of its' kind, and had exceptional programs, including daily Bible studies, and top notch teachers. His heart, is truly in the right place.

I want him to be right, and if next week turns out to be the return of Christ, no one will be happier than me. I pray I am worthy to be taken aboard.

But, the world's media machine is always looking to discredit people of faith, and by issuing such public predictions, he opens himself up to the ridicule and criticism of those who think Christ is a myth, let alone his return.

Just like when bad Jews, like Madoff, paint their entire race in a negative light, Brother Camping's predictions are used against those of us who earnestly believe that Christ will return in our lifetimes, hopefully.

I think all the signs are there, and it could be anytime, but, that doesn't guarantee that Christ will be back when I say it could be. It could take another 1000 years. A thousand years is like a day to God, or even more extreme.

Also, there's nothing black and white about the "Rapture" being what we think it should be. For as many scriptures as I can point to that implies a beaming up of believers, there are twice as many that indicate a trial and tribulation of the saints, where the only escape is physical death as the road to salvation.

In other words, none of us can know precisely. It pleased the LORD to make these signs ambiguous, and like much of prophecy, it takes a balanced view to get the whole picture.
We won't know, until it happens.

While I find Harold's predictions cringe-worthy, on the other hand, I think it's a good message to impart to people of faith to get their acts together, NOW.

While I'm typing this, I'm listening to the News and how Iran is drawing a line in the sand, even threatening nuclear action. Along with Syria, and the unstable individual countries of the Middle East, right now, the one prediction I can feel safe in projecting is the likelihood of nuclear war in the next decade. The rapid succession of nations which surround Israel, and becoming more unstable and trending towards extremist Jihad, the prophetic messages are clearer than ever before in history.

I join Harold in agreeing that something is going to probably happen, but, I don't know the order of these events, and neither can Harold. It would be amazing if we were beamed up before the radioactivity affects us, because the Book of Revelations states that the suffering and sickness will be so intense that the living will envy the dead.

I wish people would take these kind of real life events to heart, and stop focusing on Harold's predictions. As wacky as it seems, he's closer to the truth than the backwards and misguided individuals marching in the Wall Street spectacle.

While jobs and poverty are certainly a valid cause to join forces to fight, when compared to nuclear holocaust, it seems like a fatuous waste of time. We need to fix the world before we can become one-world at peace.

I believe that the only path to peace is Jesus Christ, who hopefully will come back soon. But, I am sad to report that I don't share Camping's view that it is soon. I think it's more likely that we'll all see a nuclear incident before that happens.

I pray for Harold Camping often, because, he's such a dear man, and he meant a lot to me, especially when I was a fledgling evangelical in the 80s. I truly admired and trusted him. The important thing to remember is that no one person, other than Christ, is infallible. I write some controversial things about prophecy, and I am offering my opinions, not claiming that I have divine inspiration, just personal revelations. I am also a flawed person, to say the least, and I hate it when someone points to my foolishness and use it against Christ or Christians.

Sometimes, Christians are the most gullible, because, we tend to be trusting. We have good intentions, and deeply desire to have everyone we meet exposed to the love Christ has bestowed on us.

Heavenly Father, in Jesus' Name, I pray for Brother Camping to not lose heart, but, to have a sense of humor about our fallibility. I pray that people see that it's out of his passionate love for Christ that he projects topics like the Rapture, and that even if the message is flawed, that many will awaken to the fact that we're probably in the final ten years.

If we can live each day, prepared for it to be our last, then, for this alone, Harold has imparted a good work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Succot, Tabernacles, and The Birth Of Christ

The cluster of holy days in the Tishri, the Hebrew seventh month have great prophetic meanings. On the first day of the seventh month, the shofar, a ram's horn, is blown, and it signifies a holy convocation. It represents remembrance of the victories which allowed the Israelites to enter the holy land, and God's faithfulness to promises that he makes to us.

It's a day of rest, a sabbath, and also marks the harvest season. Every seven years, when the festivities ensue, it designates a year of resting the land from planting. Every 49  years, when the ram's horn is blown, it represents the "Jubilee" which is a time of restoration of land, an end to servitude for debtors, and represents many spiritual metaphors that help us to understand God's grace.

For the next  week, other celebrations were observed, in the spirit of the season. It really invoked the kind of festivities that we associate with Christmas.

On the 8th day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, commences and it is a day of fasting and repentance for sins and for supplications to have received grace to be pardoned for transgressions.

The next week was a week of rest. When you consider that this probably followed the harvesting, and it was a time of being renewed and forgiven for sins, it was a special time for them to celebrate and thank God for their blessings and His infinite grace.

On the 15th day of the 7th month (around today) is the very festive holy day of Succot, also called Tabernacles. As a Jew, all I knew about this holiday is that some people put out little decorated shacks. They deck the little buildings, or booths, with gourds of many colors, fruits and other natural decorations. Again, it's a precursor to the decorative enjoyment of Christmas with stringing up lights and mementos.

This is the last of the mandated holy days, and it was always strange that it is mentioned in Zechariah as the one sabbath that will be retained in the Millennium Kingdom, following the return of the Lord. It states that the nations will be required to send representatives to Jerusalem to present themselves at Succot, The Feast of Tabernacles (succa) and there is a curse towards the nation that refuses to acknowledge it will be vulnerable to the plagues that will be otherwise gone from the world.

So, Succot, Tabernacles, as the third tier of a holy month of awe, is a big deal to the Israelites.

In close examination of Succot, it turns out that it was both a place, and it has the literal meaning of "tabernacle" or "booth":   סכה cukkah

 Most Jews were taught that it represents the booths or makeshift shelters the Israelites had to dwell in while camping in the wilderness, with Moses, for 40 years. This holy day was ordained by Moses, as well, so, originally, this is the most general remembrance.

With a little investigation, though, the first mention of Succot, was when Jacob traveled to the territory of  Succoth (Succowth), where he built housing booths for his cattle (called succah) and for himself.

Succoth, the place, was also the first campsite that the Israelites, led by Moses, were encamped, and built
tents/booths/temporary housing.

I've written many times about how Christ's birth can be definitively identified to be in the period between Rosh Hashana and Succoth, The Feast of Tabernacles. This formula is  valid and follows John the Baptist's birth story. Zecharias, his father, was a priest, and his term of service in the Temple for two weeks can be calculated as being in the Spring. When he returned, he impregnated his wife Elizabeth, as prophesied by Gabriel. Six months later, Gabriel announced to Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be born, and in the Fall, he was born.

Since I'm murdering the formula, due to fatigue, please read the link to learn the connection:
 Christ's Birthday

It explains in detail why Christ was born at Tabernacles.

But, here's the latest insight I had on the topic. In studying the etiology of the Hebrew word, I discovered that the first use of the word cucca (succa) of tabernacle or booth, referred to the housing for livestock and horses.

Then it dawned on me that Christ was put in a MANGER, which is the exact structure that would be decorated and present when Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem.


 I always felt that the only natural time for them to attend a mandatory census count was for the holy days, when people went back to their tribal land. We know that Mary and Joseph travelled there with Jesus, at Passover, when he was a kid, because, he stayed behind to teach in the Temple, and they had to travel back to find him. Their entire clan had to have been travelling, otherwise, they would have noticed he wasn't there sooner, like in "Home Alone."

So, they had a routine of going back to Bethlehem and Judea during the holy days. Even though it doesn't state it, it's not hard to see Succot in the season of Christ's birth.

She gave birth, and they put the baby in one of the booths, or other words, the MANGER, or succa, and I bet it was decorated with the fruits and gourds that were festive for the season.

 Think of how the magi found them there, and how even in the town, people were celebrating his birth. He was one of their kin, but, they were also waiting for the Messiah. The Messiah had to come from David's kin, and enough people took notice that Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt to prevent the paranoid Herod from killing Jesus, parallel to Moses's birth.

So, Shalom y'all. It's Messianic Christmas, the Feast of Tabernacles. Decorate your backyard tree, and gazebo, if you will, with pumpkins and brightly colored pomegranates and if you're blessed to live in a place where the leaves are turning, celebrate the birth of the Lord as the leaves explode in color and die.

There's always that flip sided dichotomy. At harvest, after reaping, there's new life, not death, as the New Year begins with the forgiveness of sins, and the hope of the Messiah.

At the beginning of planting the next season's crops, when the blood of the lamb was shed to mark the doorway of the homes of the redeemed of God, Christ's blood was shed to be a propitiation for our sins. .

There is a divine balance and lesson for it. There's so many more layers beneath this cursory study. I hope to get more depth this week and come back to it.

Luk 2:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Luk 2:2  ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Luk 2:3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Luk 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luk 2:5  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Luk 2:6  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luk 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luk 2:8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luk 2:9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luk 2:10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luk 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12  And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luk 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luk 2:15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Luk 2:16  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luk 2:17  And when they had seen [it], they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Luk 2:18  And all they that heard [it] wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Luk 2:19  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered [them] in her heart.
Luk 2:20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luk 2:21  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Luk 2:22  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present [him] to the Lord;
Luk 2:23  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
Luk 2:24  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Luk 2:25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name [was] Simeon; and the same man [was] just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luk 2:26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luk 2:27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luk 2:28  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luk 2:29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luk 2:30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luk 2:31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luk 2:32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Luk 2:33  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luk 2:34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this [child] is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
Luk 2:35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Luk 2:36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Luk 2:37  And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luk 2:38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Luk 2:39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
Luk 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Luk 2:41  Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
Luk 2:42  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
Luk 2:43  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not [of it].
Luk 2:44  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among [their] kinsfolk and acquaintance.
Luk 2:45  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
Luk 2:46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Luk 2:48  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Luk 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
Luk 2:50  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Luk 2:51  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
Luk 2:52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The DIVINE Kim and Kyle Richards of RHOBH

I've been getting so deep and philosophical lately, that I needed to get back to a lighter topic. I've already admitted that I am a voyeur of the Real Housewives franchise. I finally got around to watching the DVR latest episode, called "Game Night."

 While I've never been a huge fan of the NJ or Orange County casts, I am hooked on these Beverly Hills divas. I think Bravo can easily flush the other cities, and concentrate on them. Maybe they can relocate Carolyn Manzo because she belongs more with these elegant women than the mob ladies surrounding her in New Joisey.

Even with Taylor Armstrong's controversial presence this season, which was filmed before her husband Russell died, she is notably skeletal and unbalanced. You really have to feel sorry for her for this fact, although, I was not a supporter of her selling pictures of her sporting a black eye and blaming it on her dead husband.

This week's crowning moment was the fantastic chemistry between the Richard sisters, which was strained last season. This season, there is an endearing and interesting unity and co-dependency. They are unrestrained and their personalities are unstoppable, mesmerizing and electric. While many will criticize them for the events of this week's show, I loved it, and I love them!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

First of all, I think Kyle Richards is the most stunning woman of the entire series. She is also someone who I can relate to, and I think other people feel that way, as well. Kim is fragile, histrionic, needy and very charismatic, in her own way. Both were kid actors, and they are the aunts of Paris and Nicky Hilton, which makes their chemistry even more appealing, because, let's face it, it is hard to watch them and not see Paris and Nicky in ten years. Kim is so Paris and Kyle is Nicky.

The weird thing about the producers of the show this season is that they decided to add this inappropriate tacky and strange ex-model to the cast, plopping her into the scenes, forcing these women to consider her a "new friend" even though she's not very likable really.

Last week's show illuminated some problems, because, as a newcomer, she jumped right in and acted like a street ho-bag with these elegant matrons, both in language and attitude. It may be a fit for Jersey Shore, but, very strange to pair her with these women. She had no edit button, and no class.

At a party at the imperial palace of Princess  Malooof, her feral 3 year old stood in front of the women and pulled out his pee-pee and peed in front of people. This ding-dong strange mom thought it was adorable. That made me appreciate Kyle, because, she established the fact that it really isn't okay to not tell a child that peeing in public on people's lawns in front of strangers is not what we do. When her boy gets touched by Chester, the neighborhood molester, she can blame herself.

I'm not fond of people who let their kids run wild, without restraints. Sure, they're just kids, but, they need to learn social skills. I think women like Brandi are dangerous reproductive units. They know how to make babies and give birth, but, that's about it. For the next 18 years, those kids become the irritants to all around them, and usually wind up in rehab.

It's not that Brandi seems like a bad person, actually, as much as she doesn't belong in the cast, and it doesn't fit. So, it felt amazing when Kyle and Kim, supported by the other new castmate, Dana, cut her to ribbons. What the heck does she have to offer, other than being smug and irritating?

At least the newly rich Dana, with her label obsessions, is a piece of work, and funny, truly a contender as a character.

Oh man, Brandi is just another washed up super-model who's looking for a way to stay relevant since 15 year olds took up her slack on the runways. She should try the Bachelor, Great Race or some  other reality venue. She doesn't have anything worth seeing in this crowd, other than a defensive snarky tongue, in my opinion, and this attitude that she's poorer, but, really much superior to the other matrons.

It's not that the Richards women weren't horrendously cruel to her and rude, but, you know what? When a newcomer is introduced into an established group, their role is to ease into it, without sending out screaming signals by dressing like a slut, or talking like a slut, and begging for attention, "LOOK AT ME ME ME!!!" I don't blame them for not liking her, and I LOVE them for actually going to mat to put her in her place! I may be perverse, but, it's real.

We're all familiar with being the new person at work, or in the neighborhood. You have to let people get to know you, gradually, and show enough respect to try to get to know them, as well. Even with her self-deprecation, it's obvious that Brandi feels superior to these slightly older women. Yet, she's only a few minutes younger than Kyle and Kim, so, her attitude really is crappy. She has this sign on her face that reads, "VICTIM" and you know what? Everyone is a victim. Get over it, and show some respect to get respect.

What is beautiful about the Richards is that they really let their feelings out, not like the stilted Camillle, who is actually very cool, and very very funny! I honestly think Camille is an outstanding person, based on the show. I hope she can let her hair down. She's pretty special.

I don't know how to explain it, but, I appreciated the mean girl drama of it all, because, in a way, this newcomer was asking for it by her non-verbal signals and energy. In the media, people are trying to pretend like they felt sorry for her, but, I bet if they were honest, they would be beside me, and huge fans of the Richards.

There's all this melodramatic posturing about bullying, and it's a controversial modern obsession. This awareness is artificially exacerbated by the attention-whore antics of Lady Gaga, attaching herself to some poor misfit EMO kid  who committed suicide because kids in his middle school were mean to him. I mean, what can you say about this? I was bullied, and everyone went through these rites of passage.
I was actually stabbed with scissors, and had to leave that school.

But, here's the dilemna, while you can try to bring awareness, you can't legislate or regulate everyone's behavior. I HATE being told what is politically correct and acceptable, particularly by someone morally loathsome like Gaga who is a blatant Satanic high priestess who performs before children with her breasts and crotch exposed.

If it wasn't for Kyle and Kim, this show would be on life support. Lisa Vanderplump is gorgeous, successful, eccentric and divine, but, not very interesting this season, with her mother of the bride boring boring boring storyline, although, the wedding planner is hilarious.

It was far more engaging last season, with her non-sexual gigolo adopted son mooching off them. But, that little dog, Jiggy, is a star, for sure, and her husband is awesome. Any 50 year old man who dresses to match his tiny toy dog deserves his own show.

Taylor offers some drama to the season, but, it's all too real, you know? If poor Russell hadn't been found at the end of a rope before the first episode, it would feel differently. Now, it's painful to see her bony body and cadaverous face, with the only roundness possible through pillow cheek implants which are as obvious as the humongous duck lip extensions.
She's a complete freak show, and her unbalanced behavior in the episodes only makes it more sad. I do feel sorry for her, on that level, and yet, it's not fun to see, so, I find myself fast forwarding. I don't know what to think about Taylor. On one level, I think she's pretty cool, but, I don't like how she seems to be exploiting her husband's death.

Adrienne Maloof is another completely divine creature, and I like her, but, she offers very little excitement or drama, so, I wind up fast forwarding her, usually, as well. I do love her Dr. 90125 Hollywood plastic surgeon husband, except when she talks to him like a dog, and he is like a hangdog used to being put down and whipped.  In his own merits, he's pretty special, and has a wonderful personality. She's very classy, but, imperious and too politically correct and tactful, not to mention  perfect to add any real excitement to the episodes. I think that she needs to go. Other than lifestyles of the rich and famous, we're not really getting to see her life, except for scripted sequences.

If the series continues with Kyle and Kim, maybe Paris and Nicky, with their mom Kathy could join the cast. In that event, the show would soar without any need of the others, who probably don't add anything anyway.

I just want to finish by applauding the absolutely most entertaining moment in Housewife history, in my opinion, when Kim absconded with the annoying Brandi's crutches and HID THEM!!!!! LOVED IT! I know it's mean, but, that's the point. Fantastic episode, at least the Kim and Kyle part.

If you get a chance, watch this week's show and if you're not fans of the Richards' sisters after that, this franchise of housewife programming isn't for your tastes.

Chaz Bono's Lion's Heart

I love Dancing With The Stars, and this season, one of my favorites is Chaz Bono.

 It also made me recall my early mission days, when I was given a chance to shepherd gays and transgender people. One of the signs of old age is constant nostalgia and insight from the past. I've been deluged with memories, lately, that I haven't thought about for literally years and years.

Maybe it was the call from my dear old friend from the past, which summoned up some of the ghosts from these days, or maybe I need to review my own life to scrutinize what I did wrong or right.

I was reminded of when as a youth leader, and becoming knowledgeable enough to minister, I was recommended to participate in a missionary assignment. This is the ultimate dream of all young Christians, especially Jewish ones! We all desire to be sent to the Congo, like Audrey Hepburn in "The Nun's Story", haha, but, in reality, missionary assignments usually refers to work amongst our own environment. In my case, it was suggested that I help minister a mission to gays and transgender people.

I was honored, but, it was a strange ministry to be asked to participate. Back then, Jews 4 Jesus was sponsored and funded, in part, by the Southern Baptist Convention. They funded the Messianic movement. In turn, after educating us,  they expected us to impart their dogma, doctrine and mission goals, with the latitude to incorporate our Jewish culture and beliefs.

When they suggested I participate in a mission to the gays, I was a little surprised, but, it made sense as well. I had some good friends, who were gay, who I brought to church, from time to time. I suppose I was much less imposing or threatening than a male sponsor or spiritual mentor, anyway. 

 However, their plan was to help convert them, both in spirit and sexual orientation. In my heart, I believed that it wasn't possible to change their sexual orientation. I didn't share this belief, and that my be my first mistake.

I never believed that they were condemned, 0R that God created them flawed, or that their love wasn't valid. While there is certainly promiscuous behavior in the gay community, it is not different from heterosexuality, where pornography and lust lure the individual down a destructive path.'

But, in general, I cannot attribute someone else's sexuality to rebellion, sin or the devil, gay or straight.

It grieved me, to constantly try to fight the daunting bias against gays, and that's not even close to how  narrow minded their view was of transgender people. 

I became concerned for transgender, knowing three or four individuals personally. One transgender male to female I knew was so successful that she dated prominent blue blood people, even Grace Kelly's brother. But, the story for the others was far different. It pierced my own heart to feel their heartbreak and hear their stories of rejection and ridicule. Not one transgender person I ever knew was in the flagrantly exploitative "drag queen" mode, but, quite the opposite, being  more subdued than we were.

By  mid 1980s,  AIDS was casting a dark shadow on the gay and transgender communities, and it was not unusual for otherwise decent, kind-hearted, and God-fearing Christians to hate these people, without knowing anything about them.  

What was far worse was how many believed AIDS was a plague that they deserved. Meanwhile, thousands of hemophiliacs were afflicted, not to mention those who were not considered high risk. 

 Instead of providing safe haven and being a refuge to these dear souls, we became their tormentors, condemning them by justifying our prejudice by assuming God's "plague" was a license to hate and judge them. In fact, we were judging ourselves, because, the absence of love is considered the greatest sin.

   I recognized this syndrome to be from pure ignorance and fear. Unfortunately, the case with those who consider themselves "children of God," is that we often think that our own impulses and knee-jerk responses are infallible, in the mistaken assumption that we are imbued with the mind of Christ. How can we grow, or get past that major obstacle?

Back then, the church recognized that a mission to the gays was essential, but, felt our role was to emphasize total renunciation of their lifestyles. 

It's absurd to consider why heterosexuals  are welcomed into the church, with no questions asked, while homosexuals and  transgender, were outcasts. In fact, my closest gay friend, had not even had sex for years and years. He felt this was directed by God, and the way he  he could achieve his goals. That was not different from my own self-imposed chastity before God as a single person.

I don't think the Kingdom of God pertains to who you have sex with, anyway, but, how faithful we are to the Gospel of Christ, and our faithfulness to HIM, following his commands, his example, his ministry and extending the hope of eternal life to a hopeless world. 

What more deserving group is there than those who the world cast out ?

In the course of my early association with this ministry,  I encountered  a transgender teen, just a helpless young pup, who was heartlessly thrown out to the streets by his own so-called Christian family. I ended up bringing him (her) home with me. She was lovable, ethereally beautiful, kind and spiritual. It broke my heart to pieces seeing how at risk she was, living on the street, starving, getting beaten and even raped.

 Christ is about redemption to ANYONE who accepts His free gift. If this free gift went out to Paul, a murderer and persecutor of the disciples, then, why would two people who are committed to love one another be seen as being outside the grace and cleansing of the blood of Christ?

The Kingdom of Heaven is not about sex. It just is not. We're informed that in God's Kingdom, we'll be like the Angels, being neither male or female, while being both male and female. If it's the nature of Angels, why can't the Church be more open-minded?

In the course of a rapidly expanding gay attendance in our congregation, we inherited two Israeli women, one a female-to-male transgender.
They had to leave their Orthodox communities in Israel, and sought a place where they could exist in peace. They were joyful believers, and they filled me with a helium-like contact high from being in the presence of two people who loved God.

The coup des gras was when they were  married in our church by our rabbi. Their relatives were overcome with emotions, because, the wedding was wonderful to behold, with unadulterated joy and blessings. Naches, as they say.

The rabbi also had a blast, with a  jubilant audience appreciating every word of his consecration and sermon to them. There wasn't a dry eye, and people were laughing and crying when they were pronounced man and wife!

The bubble burst when their exuberant families extended their deepest thanks to our rabbi, and expressed their awe in how liberal-minded our branch of Judaism was in accepting two people,  both born as woman, and joining them in a legally binding marriage.... well, kind of legal.

The kerfuffle that ensued in rapid order is actually unnecessary to describe, because, it is obvious how it would upset many.  

 The objectives for damage control ensued : 1. Keep this out of the MEDIA; 2. Remove me from all contact with the gay community; 3. Make my life miserable... including being yelled at and insulted.
A lot.

The next mission I was offered was to Druids. Yes. That's right. DRUIDS! If I heard the line, "You don't look Druish," a thousand times, it wouldn't surprise me. Anyway, I left the congregation shortly afterward. I loved Jews 4 Jesus, but, it felt like wearing a pair of jeans I outgrew, cutting into my flesh and making me miserable. I went looking for a better fit somewhere else, and to be honest, I'm still looking....

I wanted to emphasize these stories to portray why I have always been tender-hearted to gays and transgender, and why I  believe they are as worthy of Christ's Kingdom as me. The amount of suffering they endure almost pre-qualifies them, in my opinion, because it helps to create the mirror image of Christ on the cross. 

No one who is straight could understand the personal, and public struggles they have to overcome.

I'm reminded of John 9:1 to 9:3 where Christ is presented with a blind man. Sicknesses were considered to be a punishment for sin back then, (and for some, in our day.)

Jhn 9:1 And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth.

9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

It may seem like a stretch to use this illustration to compare gays and transgender, but, it parallels the type of prejudice and self-righteous indignation that many of us, as Christians, are prone towards. Just like in this passage, Christ utilizes the infirmity in this innocent man to impress the disciples how some, who are ostensibly cursed, or are different and despised, are not smitten to punish them, but, to earnestly test our hearts, and our faith.

When we label people  unworthy of salvation and condemn them to Hell, based on our narrow-minded understanding derived from framing a few lines of Scripture and developing a curse, we have impeded the work of God, and persecuted His creation. God isn't the author of confusion. We need to think about the way we react to many who are outcasts from church society.

God does NOT make mistakes. These people are born with an orientation as certain as any heterosexual or original gender individual. We know that genes and hormones determine sexual identity, and development is unique to each person.

 I don't believe that someone decides to be rebellious, and succumbs to a sexual preference due to sinfulness. The amount of turmoil and pain that most gays endure make that premise LUDICROUS! They were made the way they are by a perfect and merciful God, and deserve the same opportunity to be loved by God, and by God's so-called "chosen." They stand as witnesses of God's perfection, and God-forbid we condemn those who God has blessed.

Anyway, I think Chaz Bono has a ton of courage, and I'm proud of him. I pray that he has not been scarred or scared off by the prejudice of many Christians. I would feel honored to call him, "Brother."

And as far as I'm concerned....That's that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Doomed to Repeat History

I grabbed a book to take to the doctor's appointment, and my dad was reading a copy of my " The Gulag Archipelago" by
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I've read it twice before, but, each time, I am blown away.

Reading it, for the third time, provoked  new emotions, shame and horror, nausea and an anxiety that verged on panic. My blood pressure reflected this when I finally had my vitals taken. It was heightened because of what I see happening with the misguided, called "The Wall Street Protesters."

100 years ago, my family were in those demonstrations, half a world away. Eventually, their determination helped to crush an Empire. Indeed, my mother's uncle is given credit, along with Lenin, for crushing it and killing the last Cesar, launching what is the end of freedom for mankind, not the opposite they were willing to die to achieve. They died all right, but, not the way they were willing to die. Their ultimate fate was crueler than the Nazis' mistreatment, as unlikely as it seems.

I believe the Holy Spirit  helped me to see the truth of the misery caused by my mother's family, and their comrades, the original Bolsheviks. 

The book begins on a terrifying journey to the early stages of Stalinist oppression. At first, the originals were protected, but, if you belonged to an offshoot revolutionary group, like the Mensheviks, or other moderate socialist organization, you were eliminated. First, they sent you from your regional affiliations, never again to be with family and friends, and finally, they killed them. They were vaporized, like the Orwellian vision of 1984, where even the memory of their existence was erased.

Finally, the original Bolsheviks, including most of my mother's family, who built the machinery of oppression, were picked to die like the aristocracy they despised and persecuted. 

Most disturbing and nauseating, for me, was their fanatical crusade to eliminate every vestige of Christianity. Even speaking of Christ to your child was a capital offense. If you were caught in any association with the church, you were ultimately eliminated, after deportation and exile, then, starvation, torture and murder.

My mother's namesake, her aunt named Sofie, had an 11 year old grandson, who wrote to her in prison, and described the desolate misery of his life in a way that would be echoed by the poor souls in Concentration Camps:
"Dear Nana, I did not die again today."  

That's all they could hope for, another day to breathe. And when you remember that these words were written by the nephew of the revolutionary that  lived with Stalin for years, and served with him to create the USSR, it is even more illuminating.  Stalin's loyalty was perverse and paradoxical, turning on his closest allies and resources along with indiscriminate genocide of the masses. 

Alexandr makes a chilling comparison of the severity of these unchristian, Antichristian forces  in Russia, with the Nazis watching their moves. Whatever the Nazis did, was first  done by Stalin's iron legions of death. However cruel Hitler was, the cruelty of the Stalinist regime's Marshall Law State, made Hitler , the Gestapo and the SS, look democratic and sane. This is not a hyperbole. Solzhenitsyn gives hard facts that are incontrovertible and documented.

The profound shame I experience is heightened by my love of Christ and freedom. 

In 1925, my grandfather was an American citizen, after immigrating in 1917. This is when the winds changed in the Soviet Union. Lenin was gone. Yakov Sverdlov was dead. Trotsky was marginalized and criminalized.

Stalin, the last of the Bolshevik triad in power, seized the reigns and indiscriminately began a campaign of misery, suffering, subjugation and torture such as has not been witnessed in the world, because, unlike dictators who victimize their enemies, he wiped out anyone who was a threat, inclusive of his most "inner circle,." 

It is still a mystery to me why my mother's biological dad abandoned six young children, following their young mother's poisoning at 40 years old. He never looked back. For all he cared, they could starve, and nearly did. He returned to the USSR to serve as one of Stalin's henchmen. To comprehend the scope of his personal crimes against humanity makes me want to slit my own throat, and I feel guilty for even being alive, when up to 100 million souls were eliminated, never to produce progeny for the future. I feel guilt and shame for being alive.

Ultimately, at risk, were  2/3rds of the Russian people, who were fair game for massacre and elimination. No matter what you did, you never had any security, whether you pledged your heart and soul to Stalin, or renounced him.

You can't compare the murderous rampage of Stalin to Hitler.The truth is that Stalin killed more than Hitler's 12 million, by at least six times that amount!

The poor and disenfranchised, the spirit of the Wall Streeter, believed they were fighting for liberty, but, instead got a regime that was infinitely more oppressive than a rigid potentate like the Tsar, or unfair like the disposition of the rich to poor in our society.

I was reminded of this spirit today while watching the spectacle of the idealistic proletariat democrats marching in NYC, and carrying on their odd mission, truly believing that redistribution of wealth, from rich to poor, is possible. How deceived they are. 

There is a saying that is profound and true, by George Santayana, that "those who do not know history's mistakes are DOOMED to repeat them."

The full quote is even more applicable to our current age:

  • Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.
  • Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    • This famous statement has produced many paraphrases and variants:
      Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
      Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
      Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
      Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
      Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

    I wish every protester out there would read Solzhenitsyn's works and comprehend how convoluted the best plans are when manipulated by evil men. Many historians believe   Yakov Sverdlov, considered Soviet Russia's "first President" (although, he was more of a front for Lenin's rule) and Lenin, did have a very pure ideal at heart, but, when Stalin emerged, following Sverdlov's death at 33, and Lenin's death, shortly after, the plan was usurped by a demonic bloodthirsty Stalin.

    He was paranoid, even of his own family,  and had true contempt for other people's lives, even those who supported the revolution, were less than having no meaning to him. They were rounded up, like the Jews would be in the next decade, dispatched to doom, either in prisons that were pre-medieval, or  exile in Siberia, where hunger and abuse reduced the quality of life to subhuman. 

    While many Socialists idealize the young Yakov Sverdlov, Lenin and Trotsky, the reality is that one day, the benefactor reigns, and the next, the devil is their overlord.

    I confess that I idealized Sverdlov, and my grandfather, his young brother, because, it is quixotic and exciting to know people in your own family played a role in shaping the 20th Century. Most of my cousins and brother have collections of Soviet memorabilia. Right now, I'm looking at an original Soviet flag, in my room, the one with the hammer and sickle on a sea of red. It has nostalgia for us because my mother's uncle designed it.

    Now, I look at it with a burning knot in my gut. I think of the millions and millions of souls who were crushed and erased from life. I envision all the pious religious leaders and devout Christians being given the opportunity to renounce Christ, or die. I put myself in their shoes, for a second, and feel the tribulation of not being allowed to share any mention of God or Christ, not in my home, not in church, not anywhere. I think of the martyrs who were tortured and murdered, not in Nero's Roman Colosseum, but, less than 100 years ago, at the dawn of a technological renaissance of machine and philosophies on the flip side of barbaric genocide.

    Solzhenitsyn, like Maxim Gorky, was a bitter man, and it reads all through his works, but, why shouldn't it? Should he sugar-coat it, or not hold them accountable, lest Communism spreads like the cancer it is? Look at Obama-nation's masses, spinning their wheels, and chanting the same proletariat mantras that their predecessor in the USSR perfected.

    Don't they understand that the final end of their devotion to a false messiah and failed system will only get them what it got the revolutionaries 100 years ago, which was eventual persecution and death?

    In fact, Stalin seemed to lean harder on his former compatriots than other infidels and peasants. He eradicated each group of professionals, fearing their intellect would devise a way to overthrow his plans. I believe he was possessed by a demonic entity, and could be considered the first modern incarnation of the Beast, although, Satan has always been there in kings and queens.

    I can't think of a more grim fate than to consider the lives of Stalin's era of citizenship. When the Bible speaks of Daniel's "Abomination of Desolation", which Christ used as a metaphor to wake up future believers, it establishes the breadth and scope of such spiritual bankruptcy. 

    We see it's beginnings now, particularly in some big cities like NYC and LA. In California, there is a push to legalize a prohibition on circumcision. WHY IS IT NECESSARY? If you don't want your kid circumcised, FINE! But, that's not good enough for the neo-Stalinists resurrecting Big Brother. They want to decide for you. The fact that it forces Jews to abandon a six thousand year heritage is not even relevant because it is really the point....

    In NYC, a billionaire mayor, would like to reign as Cesar, or Stalin, and regulate every breath you take, every bite of food you eat, and the decision to make "Ground Zero" a "pastoral free zone" is evidence of his heart and soul.

    These things are happening all over the world. In the antichristian stronghold of the UK, they have now abandoned the designation A.D. or "Anno Domini" - after Christ for the secular replacement, CE.  Not a huge thing, in and of itself, but, every day, subtle changes are made to further remove the legitimacy of having legal choice to worship Christ.

    This is the EXACT way the Soviet Union began. There was a diabolical machine at work, and it's tentacles were seemingly infinite and without seam, making people feel unconcerned about each change, until the day that their day comes, or their loved one is erased, or they become an unperson.

    Every time I behold Obama-nation, and the body of supporters who prop him up, it is chilling to my very bone marrow, because, I know history better than some.

    Now, I  confess, that I started my young teen years, being dazzled by Socialism. I read "The Communist Manifesto" and everything about it seemed right. But, then, as I grew up, and read more, especially about my own family, the more ashamed and revolted I became.

    What's chillingly ironic to me is the outcome of my own grandfather's dedication to this revolutionary organization, and service as Commissar under Stalin. 

    Stalin ordered his execution, even though he forsook his young orphaned family to return to serve him. Whether Stalin used this a fake device, or someone else freed him, he wasn't killed, and came back home to the USA in 1940, ran a business, and sung in Synagogue, as a cantor. Everything that wouldn't be available or possible in the USSR, which he and his family helped to construct, he learned were valuable. Freedom to make a living from a trade you excel at, and freedom to worship the God of your choice, not to mention "FREEDOM OF SPEECH."

    Mensheviks, were co-conspirators and fought with the Bolsheviks. The revolution was impossible without their support. Under Stalin, the Mensheviks became despised enemies, considered to be under the auspices of Trotsky, who was a rival. Not only was Trotsky eventually murdered, but, nearly everyone who could be  a possible Trotskyite, and their entire families, were murdered. So much for unity.

    Even a national treasure, as well as a SIGNIFICANT Socialist propagandist, Maxim Gorky, was terrorized in the end, and many believe murdered, because, he had an affinity for Trotsky, and they had been friends, even though Stalin was also once friends with him. In a pathetic attempt to preserve his life, Gorky ended his days renouncing Trotsky, a man he trusted and loved. That didn't defer his fate, however. There was no right move. It was all whim and chance.

    Like the WallStreeter of today, their revolution was  also provoked and powered by the rich. While it may seem like another paradox,  it fits together when you behold someone modern, like Michael Moore, wealthy beyond belief, who has the hubris to demand rich financiers be forced to hand over their fortunes.

    In the early 1900s, celebrities  like John Steinbeck and other important prominent individuals advocated this change for our own culture. Mark Twain sponsored my own grandfather and his family, which included Maxim Gorky and my great-uncle, his protegee adopted son. Millionaire Industrialists, like Jacob Schiff, (An antique in-law of false prophet, Al Gore), contributed hard funds to finance the plot. They fomented unrest in propaganda form to Americans as well. While they had the liberty to express themselves in any way they desired, they were helping to construct the vice that would forever squeeze out freedom of speech for future generations.

    There are true parallels to today, transferring Jacob Schiff to
    Obama's spiritual guide, Warren Buffet. Why does it benefit these men to eliminate competition and capitalism? Maybe because then they believe they can attain much more power than economic privilege, but, domination with Satan, over the minds and souls of those allowed to live on Planet Earth.  I know that may sound like paranoid Christian piffle, but, yet, there is a truth that is hard not to see.

    I have a love-hate association with my  own family history, still, even knowing the truth. It's still fascinating to me, to know this family history. That said, I can't justify a thing that they did, even knowing why they did it.

    In trying to achieve a level playing field for all, in a place where 1% of the population held 100% of the wealth, they created a version of Hell on Earth, where all were reduced to live in hunger, terror, disloyalty to kin and neighbor, abandonment of spiritual consolation and by the time they died, they probably looked forward to the release. This is the fate of Obama-nation citizens of the one-world global government to come.

    If I could, I'd buy thousands of Solzhenitsyn's books and hand one to each misguided protester today. If only they knew history, modern history. If only they knew. Alas, it's a Twitter world, where if it's not on the brainless social media sites, it's not important to learn.

    The Soviet Union is back, in a big way. I feel like my ancestors were like the Bin Ladens of the 20th Century, and their dream for the USA is being activated now, using the dreams of equality and hope to lure the naive, no different than a piece of cheese in a mousetrap.