Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blogging From The Wii

I got a Wii for Christmas and wanted to see if I could post something with it using the Internet Channel and my wireless Wii keyboard. I'm not sure how to add links yet so I may have to do them from my computer, but this is just a test post.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's Some Hanukkah Music For You



Here's a Dylanesque Christmas song that I also wrote in 2005:


“This is a wedding song…this is a Halloween hymn…no, this is a Christmas carol…”

A ring is just a thing to get you through the pain that stings
And wedding bells that ring, around a boxing glove love---take off your mask and expose your wings
Now, it’s time for shelter…it’s time for Doves to feather, in full flight
Never faltering that Star that lights up the night and brightly the sky bedights
Tangling, upon the ‘scape and horizon, on some Eastern desert sand
The waiting Madonna and the Carpenter, surround the sound of a pre-nuptial band
It’s time to incarnate the Word that saves the world from sin-sick lullabies
Oh, Christmas Rhapsody and ecstasy of Easter wings that never taste the poison that makes you die

It’s time for the morning-after and to swallow that little pill of predestined free will
And to look upon the newborn Babe, whose stare and lightning eyes could kill
It’s time to crucify the flesh, until the false humanity is finally choked off
When you nail your sins of pious vanity and pride, upon a blood-stained Cross
Now, I’m just a poor boy looking for a manger and a pillow to rest my head on
I need someone to take me off of the streets to a Nativity scene and take me home
Oh, joyous Rapture, when Easter wings touch…connect…for innocence to protect
And that Christmas Rhapsody of long ago, which reduced worldly things to their proper dusty specks

While flecking flakes of pure gold to rain down, upon the naked human soul
With the blush of the Rose that exposes it all and unravels dignity to shreds---unrolled
And humble down the Winter willows, which creep and crawl, while you stall
With your grave face, against a wailing wall, inside the confines of some prayer hall
Some they calk their holes full of fool’s gold, but we calked Your holes full of solid lead
When the ceiling was pealing, resealing and dealing the wounds that blow red
And stain those Easter wings, which offer up their hollow cups and empty plates for the feast of kings
And queens, on the table spread and sing the ole time Christmas Rhapsody, where church bells ring

Out the turning tides and burn bridges of the past left lingering, on the wind
Go fast and flash the differences, which change you inside, when you begin again
Become like a little Christ, which lights the Tree, in the Garden of Epiphany
Where you can drink a mixed Double-Shot of Truth, until you gain the eyes to see what you don’t see
God is hidden, among the clouds---revealed, in times, between the lines of crowds
Never, in the shadows, but through a glass darkly seen and heard, if you don’t talk so loud
Silence is a prayer, upon Easter wings, even in a mission field with all the tracks that you lay
People can still hear that Christmas Rhapsody written, on every turn of the heart’s stage or page

The whole of humanity is stained by such a ravenous frame and they’re the ones to blame
For playing games with the One, who came to take away their sense of shame---you get lame
Thinking too long, upon that little thorn that twists you up inside---you gotta pull the plank from your eyes
Stop fostering false humanity, let it fall down to the ground---rise up to the skies, you become wise
Put together patterned pieces of puzzled fates, faith’s intangible evidence, which shapes
The conscience and strips it down to the heart of it all---unties the laces and puts you, in your place
When Easter wings crumble like towers, upon the sea of a Higher Reality
Get caught and spent, tangled in that all encompassing net of Christmas Rhapsody

The Old order has been turned into a shadow of the New, which has already come
You’ve seen it’s face, you’ve felt it’s blows, if you’ve stared too long into the wings of the Sun
You’ve burnt your eyes out, on life decaying by the blade of a dangling double-edged sword
Defeated and beaten into ploughshares hidden, behind a Rock, in the field of a Holy Word
Called from the world not out of it---though sometimes, you must hide, in the wings of a Sacred thing
Which redeems everything, when it flings off worldly armor with skill and a numbing sting
To that defecated clay, which sometimes holds down your Easter wings from their career of flight
And it’s that Christmas Rhapsody, which was born this midnight, tonight, on a long ago night

It’s time for ships to come sailin’ in, in the morning for safe harbor, in some mooring
When it’s winter storming, pouring snow and covering everything and showing
All those little bright white lies of your past, coming down, upon you fast, when tied
Sparkle there, in the clouds, in the stars, in the sky, where your halo lies---you pick up the tides
Put another sail, on your mast---set sail, across the world---seeking there to find
The answers to the questions that always plague your mind---get infected by a Spirit that always shines
And topple over orders that try to hold down Easter wings into a pin hole void and cell
Well, just look at that Christmas Rhapsody cut through all the borders---the Lord with us to dwell

There are stripes, which heal and give life meaning and like a flag all hold onto it, when life gets old
We all seek to fade into that cold warm Winter’s Light, the jailhouse of another soul---never seeking parole
From those streets of gold, which we all reach for, when everything, in life, starts to get quiet
Pretty soon everyone will join in the riot for brotherly love to apply it for everyone to try it
While waiting on Peace to come that’s already here inside, where True Peace can’t die and
You’ve carved out your decorations and strung that Light, across your soul---come out of hiding
You’ve seen your Christmas tree become a Cross to take away everyone’s loss of True Humanity
And it’s those Easter wings, which give that Christmas Rhapsody it’s meaning and sets the world free…

©2005 T/H Songs, INC. & GB Lyrics, CO


Here's a Christmas song I wrote in 2005 for Linda who runs the soup kitchen I volunteer at:


The first Christmas surprise was a dirty diaper
I said the first Christmas surprise was a dirty diaper
Sometimes, you wonder how Mary felt, when she heard God cry just like her
It just goes to show how God is humble like that
To put up with all of that, all of our humanly crap
Well, we’re all just dirty diapers and even worse

But Linda, she’s as humble as humble can be
I said Linda, she’s as humble as humble can be
At the homeless shelter, she brings me my cup of tea
When the wind crackles too much and rattles my cage
And the leaves turn brown, fade and fall just like the turn of a page
Being thrown and stripped, dipped into a sea of spice, peppermint and honey

Some-days, I feel unconscious, buried, beneath the grave of all my beliefs
I said some-days, I feel unconscious, buried, beneath the grave of all my beliefs
That’s when Linda, she picks me up, pulls me off of the streets
I was just a weary-eyed wanderer, before Linda sheltered me, in her wings
Now, I’m digging down to the scratch of my relief and the wounds that heal and clean
Well, you can pick a flower and sing a song of mercy for all of your grief

Oh, the face of Jesus, it shines there, upon Linda’s rings
I said, oh, the face of Jesus, it shines there, upon Linda’s rings
A sparkling, in the diamonds of her eyes of things that have been redeemed
The sun, he shines, if just to ease your mind and echo the wind flying with a sigh
When the Winter snow comes calling, falling like shadows of you and I
This here is just a Christmas song for Linda, because she asked me to write her something

©2005 T/H Songs, INC. & GB Lyrics, CO

Hanukkah: The Story Before Christmas

A few years ago I gave a menorah to my dad for his birthday for fun and ever-since then we've been celebrating Hanukkah as part of our holiday celebrations. It may seem different for a Gentile family to celebrate a Jewish holiday in the midst of our Christmas celebrations, but somehow Hanukkah is deeply connected to the birth of Jesus. Hanukkah is a more ancient form of Advent---but whereas Christian Advent celebrates the awaiting and arrival of the miracle of God's Incarnation in baby Jesus, Hanukkah is a remembrance of God's past miracles. This is most evident in the blessings over the Hanukkah lights:

Blessing over Candles

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us

l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)

Blessing for Chanukkah

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time

Shehecheyanu (first night only)

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)

The Hanukkah story is as follows:
The story
See also: Hasmonean

Around 200 BCE Jews lived as an autonomous people in the Land of Israel, also referred to as Judea, which at that time was controlled by the Seleucid king of Syria. The Jewish people paid taxes to Syria and accepted its legal authority, and they were free to follow their own faith, maintain their own jobs, and engage in trade.

Traditional view
By 175 BCE Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended to the Seleucid throne. At first little changed, but under his reign, the Temple in Jerusalem was looted, Jews were massacred, and Judaism was effectively outlawed. In 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. As was the normal practice of the Hellenic religion when sacrificing to the Greek gods, pigs were sacrificed on the altar to Zeus.

Antiochus' actions proved to be a major miscalculation as they provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion against Antiochus. Judah became known as Yehuda HaMakabi ("Judah the Hammer"). By 166 BCE Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The festival of Hanukkah was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his brothers to celebrate this event.[10] After recovering Jerusalem and the Temple, Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud, olive oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. But there was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.

Hanukkah lamp unearthed near Jerusalem, c. 1900.The version of the story in 1 Maccabees, on the other hand, states that an eight day celebration of songs and sacrifices was proclaimed upon rededication of the altar, and makes no mention of the miracle of the oil.[11] A number of historians believe that the reason for the eight day celebration was that the first Hanukkah was in effect a belated celebration of the festivals of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.[12] During the war the Jews were not able to celebrate Sukkot/Shemini Atzeret properly; the combined festivals also last eight days, and the Sukkot festivities featured the lighting of lamps in the Temple (Suk.v. 2-4). The historian Josephus[13] mentions the eight-day festival and its customs, but does not tell us the origin of the eight day lighting custom. Given that his audience was Hellenized Romans, perhaps his silence on the origin of the eight-day custom is due to its miraculous nature. In any event, he does report that lights were kindled in the household and the popular name of the festival was, therefore the "Festival of Lights" ("And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights").

It has also been noted that the number eight has special significance in Jewish theology, as representing transcendence and the Jewish People's special role in human history. Seven is the number of days of creation, that is, of completion of the material cosmos, and also of the classical planets. Eight, being one step beyond seven, represents the Infinite. Hence, the Eighth Day of the Assembly festival, mentioned above, is according to Jewish Law a festival for Jews only (unlike Sukkot, when all peoples were welcome in Jerusalem). Similarly, the rite of brit milah (circumcision), which brings a Jewish male into God's Covenant, is performed on the eighth day. Hence, Hanukkah's eight days (in celebration of monotheistic morality's victory over Hellenistic humanism) have great symbolic importance for practicing Jews.

Modern perception
Most modern scholars argue that the king was in fact intervening in an internal civil war between the traditionalist Jews in the country and the Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem.[14][15][16] According to Joseph P. Schultz:

Modern scholarship on the other hand considers the Maccabean revolt less as an uprising against foreign oppresion than as a civil war between the orthodox and reformist parties in the Jewish camp.[17]

These competed violently over who would be the High Priest, with traditionalists with Hebrew/Aramaic names like Onias contesting with hellenizing High Priests with Greek names like Jason and Menelaus. [18] In particular Jason's Hellenistic reforms would prove to be a decisive factor leading to eventual conflict within the ranks of Judaism.[19] Other authors point to possible socio/economic in addition to the religious reasons behind the civil war. [20]

What begun in many respects as a civil war escalated when the Hellenistic kingdom of Syria sided with the Hellenizing Jews in their conflict with the traditionalists. [21] As the conflict escalated, Antiochus took the side of the Hellenizers by prohibiting the religious practices the traditionalists had rallied around. This may explain why the king, in a total departure from Seleucid practice in all other places and times, banned the traditional religion of a whole people.[22]

The Hanukkah story comes from I and II Maccabees in the Christian Apocrypha. So how else is Hanukkah related to Christmas---well without the events that Hanukkah is based on there would be no Christmas, because there would be no Judaism as a backdrop for Jesus to grow up in. So when we Christians participate in the Jewish celebrations of Hanukkah, we experience an alignment with Jesus' spiritual ancestry. See also: What Hanukkah and Christmas Have in Common. Oh and Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike!

Ancient Gold Coins Discovered Under Parking Lot

Rare Coins Found Under Parking Lot
posted: 23 HOURS 45 MINUTES AGOcomments: 104filed under: World News

JERUSALEM (Dec. 22) -- Some Israeli archaeologists are having a particularly happy Hanukkah.
The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday -- the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.

The coins were minted during the early 7th century.
"This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem -- certainly the largest and most important of its period," said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday.
One of the customs of the holiday is to give "gelt," or coins, to children, and the archaeologists are referring to the find as "Hanukkah money."
The 1,400-year-old coins were found in the Giv'ati car park in the City of David in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, a site that has yielded other finds, including a well-preserved gold earring with pearls and precious stones.

They were in a collapsed building that dates back to the 7th century, the end of the Byzantine period. The coins bear a likeness of Heraclius, who was the Byzantine emperor from 610 to 641.
The authority said that while different coins had been minted during this emperor's reign, the coins found at the site represent "one well-known type."
In that style, the emperor is clad with military garb and is holding a cross in his right hand. One the other side, there is the sign of the cross.
Authorities said the excavation of the building where the hoard was discovered is in its early stages. They are attempting to learn about the building and its owner and the circumstances of its destruction.
"Since no pottery vessel was discovered adjacent to the hoard, we can assume that it was concealed inside a hidden niche in one of the walls of the building. It seems that with its collapse, the coins piled up there among the building debris," Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets said.
CNN's Shira Medding contributed to this report.
© 2008 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2008-12-22 14:53:25

Sunday, December 21, 2008

God Comes Through Small Things

Leonard Cohen once wrote:

I balance on a wishing well that all men call the world.
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky,
and lost among the subway crowds I try to catch your eye.

The lines above are from the Leonard Cohen song Stories Of The Street:

You may be wondering what such a depressing song has to do with Christmas, but the most recent post at That Baptist Ain't Right reminded me of the bolded line. By the way thanks for stopping by the other day, That Baptist Ain't Right! Anyways, here are some highlights from the recent post from That Baptist Ain't Right Blogspot:

God of the Small Things
I think maybe our Gospel is too big. Yeah, that's right: too big.

I think God likes small. And I think he likes the inner, hidden things instead of the stuff everyone has to see.

Ever noticed the small things in the Bible? The mustard seed. The leaven. A small pearl, tucked away in a creature in the sea. A lost sheep or a lost coin. A worm to get the attention of a prodigal prophet. Children. The non-flashy, non-neon, non-anything that wouldn't seem to be "Biggie Things."

Instead, God uses the ordinary & the subtle. Of course, God can use the fire & lightening bolts & the earthquake. He certainly does at times, I think mainly to remind us of the small things.

Other subtle things. The still, small voice. The deep stirring of the heart.

And God has a way of favoring the small beginnings. The socially unimportant for whom he seeks justice. The widow whose mite was worth more than all the exalted & announced giving of the Pharisees. Eleven disciples that turned the world upside down. An old, childless couple with nothing but a promise of a nation from a yet unseen kid. A manger with 2 young teenagers, & an insignificant town was blessed with the Invasion of God into human history.

In fact, I don't think God likes the Big & Showy. Every time there is Big & Showy, people get involved, show themselves off with the 2x4 in their eyes, & just get in the way of God. The Pharisee on the street corner announcing his prayers & his work for God --- he has his reward, says Jesus. And all those rules those Big & Showy Godslingers like to force on everyone to make sure the small, inner attitude is forgotten --- typical of man; unheard of with God. When Christ spent time with the Down-&-Out instead of the Up-&-In, the Godslingers cried foul. How can anything good come out of partying with those people? They are not believers; don't' wash their hands; don't keep the rules; don't attend church; don't do the right things; don't ... the list just keeps going.

But God looks not at the Big & Showy Rule Book. In fact, I don't think God likes rules. God said he doesn't want Rule Keepers but Heart Followers who love justice & mercy & actually help folks. It's too small a matter to keep rules; that is what Pharisees do --- make the rules so everyone knows what to do & that makes everyone think they are righteous. But that is not what Jesus said: Unless your righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees ... (MATT 5:20).

It is far too easy to keep rules than to live the attitude.

It is too easy to compel behavior than to change lives. Come to think of it, Christ never tried to do the Big Thing & make any laws; change gov't; become a policy advisor to a political leader. In fact, Jesus didn't get involved with the Big Thing of politics at all. None of the disciples did either. No, it was the small things that changed lives --- feeding the poor; helping the homeless; demanding justice for everyone regardless of status or affiliation; laying down his life because the Pharisees didn't like it when the Rule Book Theology was challenged.

When we try to make it too big, we mess it up.

Yeah. Small things. Big results. What a concept. What a God.

After all smallness is the biggest scandal of Christmas---that God was willing to incarnate God's Self into a small newborn infant for our sakes that played a larger role in the universe. That Baptist Ain't Right Blogspot and Leonard Cohen both remind us of that and the fact that God uses the small things.

Documentary On Christianity Available Online

Watch the full PBS documentary here: From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.

Here is a description of the documentary from the above link:


Watch the Full Program Online

"From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" tells the epic story of the rise of Christianity. The four hours explore the life and death of Jesus, and the men and women whose belief, conviction, and martyrdom created the religion we now know as Christianity.

Christmas Tragedies And Christmas Miracles

Girl Dies in Christmas Parade Accident AP
posted: 14 DAYS 8 HOURS AGOcomments: 348filed under: National News

BEAUMONT, Texas (Dec. 7) - A trailer carrying children in a Christmas parade struck and killed a 10-year-old girl who had jumped out of a pickup truck driving among the floats Saturday, police said.
The girl had been jumping on and off during the parade route and was told to stop before falling and hitting her head, said Monica Smith, a Beaumont police dispatcher. The girl was then struck by the trailer behind her.
A number of parade watchers saw the accident unfold, Beaumont police officer Crystal Holmes told Beaumont television station KBMT.
Authorities said the girl was taken to a hospital with severe head injuries and pronounced dead.
Smith did not have any details about what group the girl was with in the parade.
Stephanie Molina, who attended the parade but didn't see the accident, said the city had considered canceling the Christmas parade this year because of the destruction wrought to the area by Hurricane Ike. Molina works for the city's convention and visitor's bureau.
"We decided to do this for the community because we needed something positive," she said.
Hundreds attended the parade in downtown Beaumont. The grand marshall was former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett, a native of nearby Port Arthur who was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down while attempting to make a tackle in a game last season.
The Christmas parade accident was the second this week in Texas. Ten members of a Cub Scout troop in Overton were injured Monday when they were struck by a pickup truck. The 82-year-old driver was charged with reckless driving.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-12-07 01:18:19

Ernest Coleman, The Enquirer / AP
A sign outside the Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati advertises the Christmas show that turned fatal for one young actress.

Christmas Show Actress Falls to Her Death
posted: 2 DAYS 5 HOURS AGOcomments: 407filed under: National News

CINCINNATI (Dec. 18) - An actress in a Christmas pageant who was suspended 25 feet in the air by an overhead rope fell headfirst onto a concrete church floor and died, authorities said Thursday.
Keri Shryock, 23, and two other performers were playing wise men on their way to Bethlehem before about 2,000 spectators during Wednesday night's opening performance at Crossroads Community Church.The three were approaching a star when Shryock fell into an aisle in the audience portion of the theater, witnesses told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"Toward the ending of the song she came loose," Daniel Doepke, 55, of Middletown, told the newspaper. "I can't describe how heart-wrenching it was, her fall to a hard concrete surface."
Shryock was taken to University Hospital, where she died Thursday morning. A hospital spokesman declined to describe her injuries.
Cincinnati police were assisting the Hamilton County coroner in an investigation, a police spokeswoman said.
There was no immediate explanation of how the accident occurred, or if there was an equipment failure.
"Our prayers and heartfelt sympathies go out to her family during this incredibly difficult time," the church said in a statement. "We are shocked and deeply grieved by this tragic accident."
Shryock, from Sylvania, Ohio, near Toledo, graduated from Bowling Green State University this year.
Melissa Davish, a friend and former gymnastics club teammate at Bowling Green, said Shryock had become a surprisingly good gymnast since taking up the sport only two years ago and was excited about performing the rope act.
"She wasn't scared of anything," Davish said. "It's a strange coincidence. I can see her saying, `I'm a gymnast, I can do that.' She was really excited about doing something that unique."
No one involved with the production would be available to talk about the staging, which the church characterized as a contemporary Nativity story, said church spokesman Matt Chandler.
"It was a figurative and artistic version of the Christmas story found in the book of Luke," he said.
Ten remaining performances of the show "Awaited" were canceled. The nondenominational church held an evening of prayer, reflection and worship Thursday night.
About 1,100 people attended the prayer session, said church spokeswoamn Natalie Hastings.
"There was a sense of grief in our community and a need to gather," Hastings told The Enquirer. "This was a way for people to come together and be reminded what God has done for us, even as we are dealing with something that we're having trouble processing."
The church also planned to provide grief counseling for those who witnessed the fall.
The mega-church was founded in 1996 and has grown to a membership of about 10,000, Chandler said. It is known for dramatic and musical presentations at weekend services.
The church's Web site said "Awaited" was seen by more than 20,000 people when it first was presented last year.
Shryock was employed as an assistant in the Office of Commuter Services and Off Campus Living at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-12-19 00:03:14

The families involved in both of these tragedies definitely need our thoughts and prayers during this season for families---but on a somewhat better note though still prayer-worthy---here are some Christmas miracles:

Girl's Santa Letter Leads to Man's Arrest AP
posted: 5 DAYS 5 HOURS AGOcomments: 0filed under: Crime News, National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAAPHARR, Texas (Dec. 15) - A Texas man has been arrested after a 9-year-old girl wrote to Santa Claus asking that a relative stop touching her and her sister.
The Monitor of McAllen reports that Andres Enrique Cantu, from the town of Pharr, was arrested Friday and is in the Hidalgo County jail.
A criminal complaint says the girl turned the letter in at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Authorities interviewed the girl after a school counselor reported the letter.
The complaint says investigators believe the molestation occurred over a period of four years.
Cantu is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child and could face as many as 99 years in prison if convicted.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-12-15 22:27:02

Texas Boy Survives Near Decapitation
posted: 3 HOURS 46 MINUTES AGOcomments: 144filed under: National News, Weird NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA(Dec. 21) - A Hillsboro, Texas, boy who suffered an "orthopedic decapitation" when he was involved in a car accident three months ago has staged an amazing recovery, according to cbs11tv.com.
Nine-year-old Jordan Taylor's head was almost completely detached from his body after a dump truck ran through a stop sign and hit a car he was riding in. "There was no connection between the bones of the neck and the head," said Cook Children Medical Center's Dr. Richard Roberts.
Fortunately, Roberts was able to reconnect Jordan's head to his neck with a metal plate, screws and titanium rods. Now it appears Jordan, who had been given a one to two percent chance of survival, has defied the odds and recovered from an injury that by all accounts should have killed him.
"He's beyond all expectations. He's a rock star. He's doing great," Roberts said.
2008 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2008-12-21 13:25:49

Christmas Will Soon Be Here

So I finally got all my Christmas shopping done this past week, but I probably won't be posting much till after the Holidays---but I hope to post a few things between now and Christmas Eve. Here is a Larry Norman song on the over-commercialization of Christmas:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sorry For The Lack Of Updates For Awhile...

... but it's been hard to get back into the groove of things with all this holiday craziness. Anyways, it's hard to believe how fast this year has flown by and that Christmas is 2 weeks away. If you are as excited as I am---here's a site to help you pass the time: Fupa Games!

They even have a Christmas section. Here is one of the Christmas themed games for you to try:


Friday, November 28, 2008

King Herod's Tomb Most Likely Found

King Herod The Great's Tomb At Herodium

For those of you who missed the special on National Geographic Channel, Herod's Lost Tomb which aired Tuesday, November 25, at 9 p.m. ET, it will air again on Sun Nov 30 at 2 P---so check your local times and listings. There's more on King Herod in the December issue of National Geographic magazine. Here's an online preview of the article:
King Herod Revealed
The Holy Land's visionary builder.
By Tom Mueller

Photograph by Michael Melford

 Eight miles south of Jerusalem, where the last stunted olive trees and stony cornfields fade into the naked badlands of the Judaean desert, a hill rises abruptly, a steep cone sliced off at the top like a small volcano. This is Herodium, one of the grand architectural creations of Herod the Great, King of Judaea, who raised a low knoll into a towering memorial of snowy stonework and surrounded it with pleasure palaces, splashing pools, and terraced gardens. An astute and generous ruler, a brilliant general, and one of the most imaginative and energetic builders of the ancient world, Herod guided his kingdom to new prosperity and power. Yet today he is best known as the sly and murderous monarch of Matthew's Gospel, who slaughtered every male infant in Bethlehem in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the newborn Jesus, the prophesied King of the Jews. During the Middle Ages he became an image of the Antichrist: Illuminated manuscripts and Gothic gargoyles show him tearing his beard in mad fury and brandishing his sword at the luckless infants, with Satan whispering in his ear. Herod is almost certainly innocent of this crime, of which there is no report apart from Matthew's account. But children he certainly slew, including three of his own sons, along with his wife, his mother-in-law, and numerous other members of his court. Throughout his life, he blended creativity and cruelty, harmony and chaos, in ways that challenge the modern imagination.

Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer has spent the past half century searching for the real Herod, as he is portrayed not in words but in stone. He has excavated many of Herod's major building sites throughout the Holy Land, exploring the palaces where the king lived, the fortresses where he fought, the landscapes where he felt most at home. Of Herod's many imaginative building projects, Herodium was the only one that bore his name, and was perhaps the closest to his heart. It was here, at the end of his daring and bloodstained career, that he was laid to rest in a noble mausoleum.

(Read more: here).

New Finds at King Herod's Tomb: 2,000-Year-Old Frescoes

Mati Milstein in Herodium, West Bank
for National Geographic News
November 19, 2008

Archaeologists exploring King Herod's tomb complex near Jerusalem have uncovered rare Roman paintings as well as two sarcophagi, or stone coffins, that could have contained the remains of Herod's sons In May 2007, veteran Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer solved one of Israel's great archaeological mysteries when he first uncovered the remains of Herod's first century-B.C. grave at the Herodium complex, located 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Jerusalem.

(See related: "King Herod's Tomb Unearthed Near Jerusalem, Expert Says" [May 8, 2007].)

King Herod, appointed by the Romans to rule Judea between 37 and 4 B.C., is renowned for his monumental construction projects, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Caesarea complex, and the palace atop Masada.

Herod constructed Herodium as a massive and lavish administrative, residential, and burial center.

New Findings

Netzer revealed new discoveries at a Wednesday press conference in Jerusalem.

Recent excavations uncovered an elaborate theater dating slightly earlier than Herod's burial complex that had been demolished to enable construction of the artificial mountain that served as his tomb.

The walls of the theater's loggia—a balcony that served as a VIP room and viewing box—are decorated with well-preserved Roman paintings of windows and outdoor scenes. (See full article: here).

See also: Lost for Centuries, Herod's Tomb Comes to Light and Tomb of King Herod's wife unearthed, Israeli archaeologist says.

Bernat Armangue / Associated Press---
Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer walks at the fortress of Herodium in the West Bank, where archaeologists are excavating what they believe is the tomb of King Herod.

Naming The Bird "Turkey"

For those of you who don't know, the bird turkey has a connection with the country Turkey---although there are no turkeys in Turkey. Here is a snippet of the Wikipedia article on the bird turkey:
History and Naming
When Europeans first encountered turkeys in the Americas they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl (Numididae), also known as a turkey-cock from its importation to Central Europe through Turkey, and the name of that country stuck as the name of the bird. The confusion is also reflected in the scientific name: meleagris is Greek for guinea-fowl.

The names for M. gallopavo in other languages also frequently reflect its exotic origins, seen from an Old World viewpoint, and add to the confusion about where turkeys actually came from. The many references to India seen in common names go back to a combination of two factors: first, the genuine belief that the newly-discovered Americas were in fact a part of Asia, and second, the tendency during that time to attribute exotic animals and foods to a place that symbolized far-off, exotic lands. The latter is reflected in terms like "Muscovy Duck" (which is from South America, not Muscovy). This was a major reason why the name "turkey-cock" stuck to Meleagris rather than to the guinea fowl (Numida meleagris): the Ottoman Empire represented the exotic East.

The name given to a group of turkeys is a rafter, although they are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a gobble or flock.[1]

Several other birds which are sometimes called "turkeys" are not particularly closely related: the Australian brush-turkey is a megapode, and the bird sometimes known as the "Australian turkey" is in fact the Australian Bustard, a gruiform. The bird sometimes called a Water Turkey is actually an Anhinga (Anhinga rufa)

See also: Is turkey (the bird) named after Turkey (the country) or vice versa?, Why A Turkey Is Called A Turkey and Why Is Our Thanksgiving Bird Called a Turkey? (Answer: Because, of course, it came from Turkey).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving With Homebrewed Christianity

Here is a prayer by Paul Rauschenbusch, great-grandson of the famed Walter Rauschenbusch, the father of the "social gospel"--- Walter Rauschenbusch is one of the best Baptist preachers besides Harry Emerson Fosdick--- that my friend Tripp posted on his Blog:
Rauschenbusch’s Thanksgiving Prayer
November 26, 2008

O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

HT: Paul Rauschenbusch

Posted in prayer, www stuff

Here Is One Of My Musical Compositions

This is a music video that I made on 11/06/2008 of a musical composition that I created in 2003 using Cakewalk Music Creator and Autocomposer. I made the music video by converting my Midi composition to an MP3 and pasting that into Microsoft Windows Movie Maker along with some pictures as I was trying to upload it to Blogger, but couldn't get that to work or get it to upload to YouTube either---so here I am. Anyways, I named the original composition: "Zelda Suite" as it reminded me of videogame music specifically from "The Legend Of Zelda" videogame series---hence the use of pictures from: http://www.legendofzeldaseries.com/main.php?page=pictures.html. I never quite finished my suite, but this is the most complete version that I have.
Go here to view the original page. Anyways if you grew up with Nintendo like me the Legend Of Zelda was one of the must have video games for the NES. This video should be a trip down memory lane picture wise---music wise it's a fairly decent composition of mine.

Fundamentalist Wackiness In Overdrive


First, here's a post from Dr. Jonas' Blog:
Good for Decatur FBC!
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article about FBC Decatur and its pastor, Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell. She was selected as the church's first ever female pastor last year. Furthermore, the church, with 2700 members is the largest Baptist church in the South to be headed by a female pastor.

Her presence as pastor of such a prominent Georgia Baptist church has been a thorn in the flesh to the Fundamentalists who control both the SBC and the Georgia Baptist Convention. So, it remains to be seen what action, if any both entities will take toward FBC Decatur. Knowing Fundamentalists as I do, I suspect both entities will seek some kind of "punitive" action toward the church. After all, they can't possibly be seen cooperating with a church that (in their twisted way of thinking) so violates the letter of scripture!

The article can be found at this link:

The best quote in the article is this: "If they would like to ask us to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, I think that’s fine,” Roper said. “I think our new minister is wonderful.”

Good for you Ms. Roper! And good for you all FBC Decatur! What a wonderful example to the rest of the Baptist world!

posted by glenn jonas at 1:14 pm

Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell recently became one of my Facebook friend by way of my Blog I guess as I already posted this: TheoPoetic Musings: Georgia Baptist Convention Says No To Female Pastors on the situation. Anyways, I agree with Dr. Jonas' assessment: "Knowing Fundamentalists as I do, I suspect both entities will seek some kind of "punitive" action toward the church. After all, they can't possibly be seen cooperating with a church that (in their twisted way of thinking) so violates the letter of scripture!" It's just like those who say homosexuality just can't be in the church but at the same time hypocritically welcome and accept with full fellowship military personnel who murder for a living and serve the Roman god of war, Mars---otherwise known nowadays as: "collateral damage." The God of the New Testament is not the false god of war, but Jesus Christ who is called: "the Prince of Peace." Now, don't think that I'm bagging on the military as I respect them and the Grace of God found in Jesus Christ is for both the military and homosexuals---I am just making a point about fundamentalist hypocrisy.

Anyways, all you homophobic bible literalist fundamentalists, here are ways in which homosexuality already plays an important role in church life: consider King James who was openly bisexual. Here is what one of your fellow fundamentalists, Gary Bauer, has to say about the subject:
Used too often as a controlling device and not enough as a spiritual compass, the Bible becomes a tool to promulgate moral and political agendas. For example, in 1998, the right-wing Christian groups -the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality- ordered all its members to cease using the King James Version of the Bible because historians had proven that King James I of England, who was also known as James VI of Scotland, was indisputably gay.

Should the King James Version of the Bible, which has been around since 1611 and used worldwide, be discarded solely on the bases of King James' sexual orientation?

Speaking at a press conference about this controversy, Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council said, "I feel uncomfortable that good Christians all over America, and indeed the world, are using a document commissioned by a homosexual. Anything that has been commissioned by a homosexual has obviously been tainted in some way."
See also: Queen James and North Carolina Baptists and King James' Homoerotic Letters. Also, consider the heart-wrenching and soul uplifting church music by homosexual composer, Samuel Barber:
---Mister Rogers' favorite composer. And last but not least consider: that was painted by Michelangelo who had numerous homosexual affairs it is believed. In fundamentalists' twisted theology, these things would be considered condoning "unacceptable behavior" and they have the gall to say God doesn't accept females and homosexuals into full inclusive fellowship into the church---but he does accept militarists with all the death and destruction they bring such as:---because voting straight ticket for ultra-conservative Right-Wing nutcases makes one such a "good Christian." I know though that Jesus accepts heterosexual females such as: Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell and heterosexual males such as: Dr. Jonas, Mr. Rogers and myself as well as homosexuals and soldiers and God uses all of them for His/Her purpose, so get use to it.

SBC Calls Roman Catholic Church A Cult

Check out Big Daddy Weave's post on the subject: A Southern Baptist War on the Catholic Church "Cult". Here is a snippet from that post:
Meet Jim Smyrl

Jim Smyrl is the "Executive-Pastor of Education" at the 28,000-member First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. FBC Jacksonville is the third-largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest megachurches in America. As Executive -Pastor of Education, Smyrl is no lowly staff member. He's been dubbed "Second in Command" at FBC as Pastor Mac Brunson's "right-hand man."

Over on the Official Blog of FBC Jacksonville, has announced a series of upcoming posts on the "Catholic Cult."

Fundamentalist nutcase John MacArthur would be proud---here are a few of his anti-Catholic statements: PowerBlog!: John MacArthur - Grace to Who?, A GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH DISTINCTIVE and ---go here for the rest of the video series---for example. Also, Joe Blackmon's comment on Big Daddy Weave's post is telling:
joe blackmon said...
Big Daddy Weave

I haven't got the slightest interest in "top down" organization within the SBC as you assert. I worry about only one church--the one I attend. As long as the SBC publically affirms what I believe, I am perfectly happpy to remain in the SBC. Hopefully, the natioanl convention will take a cue from the wise people in Georgia and disfellowship so-called Southern Baptist churches who have unbiblical practices like FBC Decatur.

2nd of all, anyone who associates with a church that affirms homosexuality as moral, abortion as a legal right, and women pastors as godly is NOT a conservative. Furthermore, they are either *a* not a Christian at all or *b* immature and ignorant.

I also notice that you failed to respond to my point that Catholic doctrine is completely without any biblical support. Therefore, since what they teach is unbiblical they are a cult. Their size is completely irrelevant. The Mormon church has a huge number of followers. That doesn't make them Christians.

I wonder why you failed to address that part of my comment in your diatribe. Oh, I know. It's because you can't.

5:12 AM

The only cultists I see are those that worship the false manmade paper and leather god, the bible.

Dr. Jonas And Balthasar Hübmaier

Dr. Jonas has an interesting post on Balthasar Hubmaier on his Blog---here are a few snippets:
It was my church history professor and mentor in seminary, W. R. Estep that first introduced me to Balthasar Hubmaier. The first time I saw his name in writing I thought, "how do I prounce it?" But, it didn't take too many class sessions in Dr. Estep's course on the Anabaptists before the name became so common that all of us knew how to pronounce it.

The brilliant Hubmaier was born around 1481 in a small town called Friedberg just outside of Augsburg. He attended the University of Freiburg and there came under the tutelage of the great Catholic theologian Dr. John Eck. Hubmaier completed both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees then followed Eck to the University of Ingolstadt where he received the Doctor of Theology degree. Eck once called Hubmaier the most brilliant student he'd ever been associated with. Because of his great preaching ability and keen theological mind he accepted appointment as preacher at the cathedral in Regensburg in 1516. Five years later he became a parish priest in Waldshut and there came into contact with Ulrich Zwingli and the Swiss Reformation. Two years later, he became publicly identified with Zwingli’s reform in Zurich, but soon developed Anabaptist ideas.


...An eyewitness to his execution described Hubmaier’s death this way:

To the people he said, “O dear brothers, if I have injured any, in word or deed, may he forgive me for the sake of my merciful God. I forgive all those that have done me harm.”

While his clothes were being removed: “From thee also, O Lord, were the clothes stripped. My clothes will I gladly leave here, only preserve my spirit and my soul, I beseech thee!” Then he added in Latin: “O Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit,” and spoke no more in Latin.

As they rubbed sulphur and gunpowder into his beard, which he wore rather long, he said, “Oh salt me well, salt me well.” And raising his head, he called out: “O dear brothers, pray God that he will give me patience in this my suffering.”

As his beard and hair caught fire, he cried out, “O Jesus, Jesus.”

Associated Baptist Press has this story today about the original writings of Hubmaier: http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3667&Itemid=53.

It seems that in just a few months all the writings of Hubmaier are going to be accessible on the internet. Great news about this nearly forgotten Anabaptist reformer! I have told my classes for years that if Hubmaier had lived out his full lifespan his influence in the 16th century might have rivaled that of Luther and Calvin.

Read the whole post at Dr. J's Blog. Besides, Bruce Springsteen, I remember Hubmaier being one of Dr. J's most passionate subjects---well Anabaptist history and church history in general. Here are a few more thoughts on the influential Radical Reformer:
[edit] Reformer and Anabaptist
In 1522 he became acquainted with Heinrich Glarean, (Conrad Grebel's teacher) and Erasmus at Basel. In March, 1523, in Zürich, Hubmaier met with Huldrych Zwingli, and even participated in a disputation there in October of that same year. In the disputation, he set forth the principle of obedience to the Scriptures. It was evidently here that Hubmaier committed to abandoning infant baptism, a practice he could not support with Scripture.

Anabaptist Wilhelm Reublin arrived in Waldshut in 1525, having been driven out of Zürich. In April Reublin baptized Hubmaier and sixty others.

In December 1525, Hubmaier fled to Zürich to escape the Austrian army. Hoping to find refuge, Zwingli instead had him arrested. While a prisoner, Hubmaier requested a disputation on baptism, which was granted. The disputation yielded some unusual events. Ten men, four of whom Hubmaier requested, were present for the disputation. Within the discussion, Hubmaier proceeded to quote statements by Zwingli in which he asserted that children should not be baptized until they had been instructed. Zwingli responded that he had been misunderstood. The bewildered Hubmaier agreed to recant. But before the congregation the next day, he attested the mental and spiritual anguish brought on by his actions and stated "I can and I will not recant." Back in prison and under the torture of the rack, he did offer the required recantation. With this, he was allowed to leave Switzerland and journeyed to Nikolsburg in Moravia. This weakness troubled him deeply and brought forth his Short Apology in 1526, which includes the statements: "I may err—I am a man—but a heretic I cannot be... O God, pardon me my weakness".

Anyways, digitizing his works is a great way of preserving his works for future generations and introducing him to a younger audience.

Prosecutor Says Church Killings Suspect Shows No Remorse

Shooting Suspect Allegedly Confesses
posted: 3 HOURS 33 MINUTES AGOcomments: 93filed under: Crime News, National News

MONROE, Ga. (Nov. 26) - A man accused of gunning down his estranged wife and a man in a New Jersey church told authorities Tuesday in a videotaped confession that he would've killed everyone in the building if he'd had a machine gun, a Georgia prosecutor said.
Joseph Pallipurath, 27, admitted to Sunday's shooting rampage, which also seriously wounded a third person, hours after he surrendered peacefully at a Georgia motel, Walton County Assistant District Attorney Eric Crawford said.

"He was very emotional and very animated during the course of the interview," Crawford said. "The impression I got was he was waiting to talk to somebody and tell his side of the story."
Pallipurath told authorities he believed church members were blocking his attempts to contact his wife, who had left him three months ago, Crawford said. The prosecutor added that Pallipurath didn't apologize or express remorse for the shootings.
He was arrested late Monday in Monroe, about 40 miles east of Atlanta, after a motel clerk recognized his face from a photograph. During a court appearance Tuesday, he wore a blue jumpsuit and answered only "yes" and "no" when the judge asked him about his charges and extradition process. Pallipurath, who had no attorney, agreed to return to New Jersey.
The Sacramento, Calif., man is charged with shooting and killing his wife, 24-year-old Reshma James, inside the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, a suburb about 15 miles west of Manhattan. Prosecutors said James had previously taken out a restraining order against Pallipurath.
Also killed was Dennis John Mallosseril, who maintained the church's Web site. Witnesses said he tried to intervene.

Based on Pallipurath's statement to Georgia authorities, police in Clifton found his green Jeep parked in a public lot several blocks from the church, Clifton Detective Capt. Robert Rowan said. Inside the vehicle were a revolver believed to be the one used in the shootings and an automatic handgun with several clips of ammunition, Rowan said.
After learning from Georgia authorities about Pallipurath's comments regarding what he would have done with a higher-powered weapon, Rowan said: "I thought, 'It's lucky that we didn't have a mass murder on our hands.'"
The parish priest, the Rev. Thomas Abraham, said church members were thankful for Pallipurath's capture. At the church Tuesday, workers replaced bloodstained carpet where the shootings occurred.
"It's a big relief because of the fear factor," he said. "If he was still in the area, you never know if he might come back."
Police believe Pallipurath took a taxi to Manhattan and caught a bus from there to Georgia, where he has relatives, Rowan said.

Pallipurath is charged in New Jersey with the two homicides, one attempted homicide plus aggravated assault and weapons charges, Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano said. Georgia authorities said they would arrange his return to New Jersey within the next 10 days.
The prosecutor also gave new details Tuesday morning about Pallipurath's path leading up to the slayings.
Pallipurath's wife had come to New Jersey to stay with her cousin three months ago to escape what relatives said was an abusive marriage to Pallipurath. The couple was married just over a year ago in India and moved to Sacramento in January.
For about two weeks before Sunday, Pallipurath stayed with an unidentified couple in Paterson, only a few miles from the church. Avigliano didn't provide details about the couple, a man and a woman, but said it did not appear that they were related to him.
The couple was questioned but were not charged in connection with the shootings.
Associated Press Writer David Porter in Newark, N.J., contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-11-26 03:30:48

We should still pray for all those involved as God's Grace extends to all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Man Killed Outside Scientology Building

A man holds up police tape on the grounds of the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. A sword-wielding man in his 40s was shot and killed outside the building by a security guard on Sunday.

Man Killed Outside Scientology Building AP
posted: 1 DAY 2 HOURS AGOcomments: 396filed under: Crime News, National News

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 24) - Police said a man who waved a pair of Samurai swords on the grounds of a Hollywood Scientology building had a "previous relationship" to the church, but released little other information about the man shot and killed by a security guard.

The unidentified man, described as being in his 40s, approached three guards Sunday in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Terry S. Hara said.
The man was "close enough to hurt them" when one of the guards shot him, Hara said, and after questioning the guards and looking at surveillance tape decided the shooting was justified.
"The evidence itself, it's very, very clear," Hara said. "The security officers were defending their safety."
Police said the tape showed the man appearing at about noon in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand before he was shot, Hara said.
Detective Wendi Berndt told the Los Angeles Times the man had been involved with the church in the past.

"There was a previous relationship, but it is unclear to what degree," Berndt said.
Calls to Scientology representatives on Sunday were not returned.
The Celebrity Centre includes a seven-story Norman-revival landmark that towers over the Hollywood freeway and used to be a residential hotel for movie stars.
The castle-like facility now serves as "a home for the artist, a place where he can come and learn, attend seminars, meet other artists and even perform at our many showcases and events," according to the Centre's Web site.
The Church of Scientology was established in 1945 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and claims 10 million members around the world, including celebrity devotees Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-11-24 06:12:09

More On The New Jersey Church Shooting

Cops Nab Church Shooting Suspect
posted: 6 HOURS 7 MINUTES AGOcomments: 1712filed under: Crime News, National News

NEW YORK (Nov. 24) – A California man accused of driving to New Jersey and fatally shooting his estranged wife and another man inside a church has been captured in Georgia.
Joseph M. Pallipurath was arrested around midnight Monday in Monroe, east of Atlanta, said New Jersey district U.S. Marshal James Plousis.

Pallipurath, of Sacramento, is suspected of shooting and killing 24-year-old Reshma James inside the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, a suburb about 15 miles west of Manhattan.
Also killed was Dennis John Mallosseril, who maintained the church's Web site. Witnesses said had tried to intervene and break up the church rampage.
A third person, James' cousin, Silvy Perincheril, was shot in the head and was hospitalized in critical condition. James had taken out a restraining order against Pallipurath, prosecutors said.
In California, the suspect's father had called on him to surrender, as did relatives of one of the victims in New Jersey.
All three victims were shot once in the head and didn't regain consciousness, depriving investigators of the opportunity to interview them. James died at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and Mallosseril died three hours later.

The search for Pallipurath, who fled in a vehicle with California license plates, had centered on Georgia, where he has relatives, prosecutors said.
Pallipurath is accused of opening fire Sunday just as the congregation was finishing its prayers for the dead, a staple of weekly worship service. Authorities say he fired more than three times but only three people were hit. No one else was injured.
After fleeing three months ago from what relatives said was an abusive, arranged marriage in California, James moved to New Jersey and stayed with Perincheril, who lives in Hawthorne.
The couple were married just over a year ago in India and moved to Sacramento in January.
Reshma's aunt Maria Joseph, of Hartford, Conn., said she warned her niece, who was studying to become a nurse, not to marry him. Other relatives told her the man had a history of "behavioral problems," Joseph said.

Mathai Pallipurath, the suspect's father, said he thought his son and daughter-in-law were happy together, and he described his son as "handsome" and "a nice guy."
According to a published report, however, the elder Pallipurath was granted a restraining order against his son in May. The father said Joseph was abusive to family members and had threatened his life.
In the story posted on its Web site Monday, The Sacramento Bee, citing family court records, said the restraining order was dropped at Mathai Pallipurath's request on June 17. Mathai Pallipurath was not available later Monday to comment on the report. A man who answered the phone at the family's Sacramento home Monday evening said he did not wish to speak further.

The shootings have reverberated throughout the Knanaya faith, a close-knit Christian minority in India who are even closer-knit in the United States.
The parish priest, Rev. Thomas Abraham, said he heard a loud noise and thought something had fallen in the church. He got up to go toward the noise, only to be hit with a wave of parishioners pushing him backward, saying someone was shooting inside the sanctuary.
He said church members were in shock.
"They're all scared; they're all really upset," he said. "We have to hold together in this time of adversity."
Associated Press writers Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, Bonny Ghosh and Victor Epstein in Clifton and Judy Lin in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this story.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-11-23 16:58:36

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bruce Springsteen And Songs Of Hope And Redemption

First things first if you didn't see the Larry Norman videos in this post:TheoPoetic Musings: It's Time: Week 9---Hope---here they are:

Larry Norman - 1985 - Medley---Letter to the Church, Come Away, If the Bombs Fall

Larry Norman - 1980 - Why Can't You be Good & Pardon Me

Anyways, here are 4 other Bruce Springsteen songs, which are full of hope, lost hope and redemption: Thunder Road, Born to Run, Badlands and The River. Here are the videos with relevant sections of the lyrics:

Here is a good section:
...Don't run back inside
darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

(Read the full lyrics: Here).

Here is a relevant section of the lyrics:
In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
and steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
'Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real

(Read the rest: Here).

Here is the best section:
...Workin' in the fields
till you get your back burned
Workin' 'neath the wheel
till you get your facts learned
Baby I got my facts
learned real good right now
You better get it straight darling
Poor man wanna be rich,
rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied
till he rules everything
I wanna go out tonight,
I wanna find out what I got
Well I believe in the love that you gave me

I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that could save me
I believe in the hope
and I pray that some day
It may raise me above these

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
We'll keep pushin' till it's understood
and these badlands start treating us good

(Read the rest: Here).

Here is the section to watch out for:
I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain't been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don't remember
Mary acts like she don't care

But I remember us riding in my brother's car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I'd lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she'd take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse
that sends me down to the river
though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight...

(Read the full lyrics: Here).

I'll let you draw your own conclusions this time around.

Faith and Theology: Iron & Wine and Augustine: on grace and mothers

Faith and Theology: Iron & Wine and Augustine: on grace and mothers

These type posts are always interesting to me as the connection between theology, spirituality and music are my forte.

Here is snippet of Faith And Theology's new post:


Iron & Wine and Augustine: on grace and mothers
One of Augustine’s favourite biblical texts was Paul’s question to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:7): “What do you have that you did not receive?” – Quid enim habebat quod non acceperat? Against Pelagian conceptions of grace, Augustine insists on the absolute priority of God’s action towards us in Christ. Even when God rewards us for good works, God is merely “crowning his own gifts.” There is, in other words, a sheer incommensurability between God’s gift to us and the gifts that we return to God. Even the best of our gifts are always derivative and dependent on the grace that we have already received.
Read more at the above link.

It's Time: Week 9---Hope

So this Sunday was the end of our church-wide series, It's Time and our last lesson was on hope, which I think is appropriate for these troubling times. In Sunday School, we discussed how hope has changed for us from when we were children till now. First, while we're on the subject of hope, I just want to say that I hope to start writing poetry and lyrics again next year as this year has been a dry period for me. You'd think with all that's been going on this year, I could find plenty of inspiration, but no such luck. Anyway, I've mainly been writing theological articles this year, but here is the only thing poetical/lyrical I've written all year: It's Larry Norman influenced:

Baby, you look so lonely
I’ve seen you in all those magazines
You’ve been living for fashion
Traveling all those party scenes
But you look so empty…you don’t know what to do
I think it’s about time that you look into the Truth

I’ve got the answer…right here on my lips
Have a little bit of Jesus…He’s sealed with a kiss

Now, you once were in Vegas
You played a Full House in your deck
And you once were one of Degas’ dancers
So graceful in your dress and steps
But now you look such a wreck…you don’t know what to do
I think it’s about time that you look into the Truth

I’ve got the answer…right here on my lips
Have a little bit of Jesus…He’s sealed with a kiss

Well, Baby…what are you doing
Doing with yourself
You can’t keep running back to the same ole things
With your heart upon the shelf
Baby, you really need to change

Because Baby, you look so lonely
I’ve seen you in all those magazines
You’ve been living for fashion
Traveling all those party scenes
But you look so empty…you don’t know what to do
I think it’s about time that you look into the Truth

I’ve got the answer…right here on my lips
Have a little bit of Jesus…He’s sealed with a kiss

Yes, I said: “I’ve got the answer…right here on my lips
Have a little bit of Jesus…He’s sealed with a kiss

©2008 T/H Songs, INC. & GB Lyrics, CO

Also, I'd like to direct you readers to my cyber friend, Bruce Reyes-Chow's excellent Podcast from January of this year on the subject of hope---specifically about hope within the PCUSA as he is the Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but the Podcast ties in well with our lesson. Here is the description of Bruce's Podcast off his Podcast Blog: "Hope---Bruce talks a bit about Hope plus the Song by David LaMotte." Oh by the way, thanks for stopping by this post: TheoPoetic Musings: It's Time: Weeks 5 And 6, Bruce!

From one Bruce to another---here's a Bruce Springsteen song that gets to the heart of our discussion in Sunday School and speaks to these times of economic difficulties: Here are the full lyrics with my commentary on the relevant parts:
The Promised Land
(Bruce Springsteen)

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert
I pick up my money and head back into town
Driving cross the Waynesboro county line
I got the radio on and I'm just killing time
Working all day in my daddy's garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage
Pretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge

The dogs on Main Street howl
'cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land (The chorus particularly speaks to hope in the midst of desperate times.)

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start (Here the call to a new start is the key to putting hope in action.)


There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted (Here the hopeful action takes place.)

I believe in a promised land... (The refrain ties the narrator to the Ancient Israelites and their search for the Promise Land though sometimes our own "Promise Lands" are right before our eyes but we wander blindly and aimlessly pass them.)

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

Speaking of the Promise Land, here's a song by Rich Mullins (one of the most prolific songwriters to come out of the Contempory Christian Music/Jesus Movement, in my humble opinion) off his last album, The Jesus Record which captures the hope the Ancient Israelites had:

The original version on Disc One: The Jesus Demos is better, but I couldn't find a video for that. Here are the full lyrics to the above song:
My Deliverer

(Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker)

Exodus 2:23, Exodus 3:8, Second Samuel 22:1-7
Psalm 40:16-17, Psalm 70, Isaiah 53:5
Matthew 2:13-21, Luke 4:18-19, Revelation 6:13

Joseph took his wife and her child and they went to Africa
To escape the rage of a deadly king
There along the banks of the Nile, Jesus listened to the song
That the captive children used to sing
They were singin'

My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by

Through a dry and thirsty land, water from the Kenyon heights
Pours itself out of Lake Sangra's broken heart
There in the Sahara winds Jesus heard the whole world cry
For the healing that would flow from His own scars
The world was singing

My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
He will never break His promise - He has written it upon the sky
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by

My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
I will never doubt His promise though I doubt my heart, I doubt my eyes
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by

My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
He will never break His promise though the stars should break faith with the sky
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by

My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by
My Deliverer is coming - my Deliverer is standing by

My Deliverer is coming

The Jesus Record is a great album so if you don't have a copy---get one. Anyways, hope was a great theme to end our series with as we are approaching Advent season.

Malaysian Council Bans Yoga for Muslims

John MacArthur surely would agree with this---after all he said that 'all Christians need for meditation is the bible,' so why not the Koran for Muslims. Here is a clip of John MacArthur telling Doug Pagitt that some aspects are dangerous for Christians as they may welcome demons into their life:

John also said why borrow a term from a false pagan religion. Well there goes the idol and false god of John MacArthur, the manmade pages of the bible---after all, the Greek word "biblos" from which the word bible derives was invented by Zeus-worshiping Greeks. The pagan Egyptians invented paper and not to mention the pagan and imperialistic terms which the Gospels themselves are comprised of. What do you expect from people who worship manmade paper and 'golden' calfskin leather instead of the One True Risen and Living God, Jesus Christ. Anyways, sorry for getting sidetracked---here is the full article on the Muslim ban on Yoga:
Malaysian Council Bans Yoga for MuslimsBy VIJAY JOSHI, AP
posted: 1 DAY 22 HOURS AGOcomments: 169filed under: World News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Nov. 22) — Malaysia's top Islamic body, fresh from banning tomboys, issued an edict Saturday that prohibits Muslims from practicing yoga, saying that elements of Hinduism in the ancient Indian exercise could corrupt them.
The National Fatwa Council's chairman, Abdul Shukor Husin, said many Muslims fail to understand that yoga's ultimate aim is to be one with a god of a different religion — an explanation disputed by many practitioners who say yoga need not have a religious element.

"We are of the view that yoga, which originates from Hinduism, combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god," Abdul Shukor said.
News of the yoga ban prompted activist Marina Mahathir to wonder what the council will ban next: "What next? Gyms? Most gyms have men and women together. Will that not be allowed any more?"
The edict reflects the growing influence of conservative Islam in Malaysia, a multi-ethnic country of 27 million people where the majority Muslim Malays lost seats in March elections and where minority ethnic Chinese and mostly Hindu ethnic Indians have been clamoring for more rights.
Recently, the council said girls who act like boys violate Islam's tenets. The government has also occasionally made similar conservative moves, banning the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims earlier this year, saying it would confuse Muslims.
Analysts say the fatwa could be the result of insecurity among Malay Muslims after their party — in power since 1957 — saw its parliamentary majority greatly reduced in elections because of gains by multiracial opposition parties.
Malay Muslims make up about two-thirds of the country's 27 million people. About 25 percent of the population is ethnic Chinese and 8 percent is ethnic Indian, most of whom are Hindu.

"They are making a stand. They are saying 'we will not give way,'" said Ooi Kee Beng, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
Decisions by Malaysia's Fatwa Council are not legally binding on the country's Muslims, however, unless they also become enshrined in national or Shariah laws. But many Muslims abide by the edicts out of deference, but some, like Putri Rahim, plan not to follow the latest fatwa.
"I am mad! Maybe they have it in mind that Islam is under threat. To come out with a fatwa is an insult to intelligent Muslims. It's an insult to my belief," said Putri, a Muslim who has practiced yoga for 10 years.
In recent years, yoga — a collection of spiritual and physical practices, aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit — has been increasingly practiced in gyms and dedicated yoga centers around the world.
There are no figures for how many Muslims practice yoga in Malaysia, but many yoga classes have Muslims attending.
In the United States, where it has become so popular that many public schools began offering it in gym classes, yoga has also come under fire.
Some Christian fundamentalists and even secular parents have argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state. Egypt's highest theological body also banned yoga for Muslims in 2004.

Yoga drew the attention of the Fatwa Council last month when an Islamic scholar said that it was un-Islamic.
A top yoga practitioner in India, Mani Chaitanya, said the Malaysian clerics seem to have "misunderstood the whole thing." Chanting during yoga is to calm the mind and "elevate our consciousness," said Chaitanya, the director of the Sivananda Ashram in New Delhi.
"It is not worship. It's not religious at all. Yoga is universal. All religions can practice yoga. You can practice yoga and still be a good Christian or a good Muslim," he said.
Malaysian yoga teacher Suleiha Merican, 56, who has been practicing yoga for 40 years, also denied there is any Hindu spiritual element to it. "It's a great health science that is scientifically proven and many countries have accepted it" as alternative therapy, said Merican, a Muslim.
Associated Press writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur and Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-11-22 14:33:54