The Joyful Mystery

‘El misterio gozoso’
Carravagio's The VisitationYesterday was the annual remembrance of “The Visitation” as recorded in story, in the Christian Bible. With words and phases that almost rhyme, would any of the more than 20,000 branches of Christianity ever compare Elizabeth to Sarah? In old age? Would any of the more than 20,000 branches comprehend much about Judah, and the given  split, in history, with the kingdom of Israel? Would any of the more than 20,000 branches connect the saving ….associated to Judah? What was most true was the loyalty of Judah to Yahweh, after the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians in c.722-721, leaving Judah as the sole remaining kingdom.

“The Visitation” by 17th-century Italian painter Mattia Preti.

To be a companion, bringing new life, with Elizabeth, so alone.  In the “Hill Country.”  Note the invisible in the story – Zechariah and Joseph. The quiet in the house.  Mostly, Elizabeth needed someone to talk to? Do you know the history of the Hill Country in Judah?  Did Mary even know Elizabeth was pregnant, or was she only looking for a place to escape?  In the start?  Some scholars refer to this period as an independent kingdom of Israel, fully independent. Taking, according to Wikipedia, the title “basileus” and expanding into the neighboring regions of Samaria, Galilee, Iturea, Perea, and Idumea.

In any story there is TIME and PLACE, like the independent kingdom of Israel, in a story of freedom, just before the Romans arrived, with the installation of Herod the Great.

Breath-taking. Leaving. Like Abram, only more suddenly. Move. Letting go! Sacrifice. Behold the connection of leaving to the sacrificial.  Did Mary tell her betrothed? Or her parents? That she was going? What about the personal safety of Mary and the fetus, in Hill Country? Was this the first? Had another woman in the history of the Hebrew Bible been in her situation, only to lose the fetus? Was Mary alone, traveling into Judah, under the leadership of the Pharisees, with their continued adherence of the Pharisees to the purity laws and tradition. Yikes!

Zechariah, a priest at the temple in his town, in Judah. With this protected status … in the beginning, closest to home. With all the history, in Hill Country, to arrive with a muted Zechariah.  When noticeably pregnant, with other noticeably pregnant women, there is an extra thrill when you missed your period and wanted a child.  Only unmarried Mary did not, at this point of her life, want a child or she would have been stoned to death!  Enthusiasm? Excitement and mutual congratulating?  Mary left home, to move into the home of Zechariah, a priest, with all of the emphasis to the purity laws and tradition.

Due dates. Single unmarried Mary. Before the Visitation, was the LEAVING in the story, by Mary, like the Call of Abram? Or more like the sudden leaving, like Jacob? In either saving or being saved, locate the sacrifice in leaving, with the sacrifice of a protected STATUS, from home.  Leaving for Hill Country, as quickly as Moses had the Hebrew slaves leave Egypt, only for Judah? Where cousin Elizabeth lived with the priest Zechariah.  Not just an inherited but his given priesthood, based upon his branch of the 24 branches of priesthood in his time. [As the invisible becomes visible]. So would Zechariah turn her in?

Did the fetuses listen with tiny, eager ears to all the concerns over purity?

A “given,” based upon what you don’t know or think that you do, about the MYSTERY in the mountainous southern part of Israel. There is always the unknown of a present age about all the “givens” a child is born into.  Like the “givens” lost when you knew the end of a story.  How did Elizabeth even know she was carrying a male? Concerning “the [MALE] prophet and One to be proclaimed, yet to be born?  I can imagine it [her own pregnancy] is similar to Mary and Elizabeth’s joy and enthusiasm,” writes Colleen Chiacchere on the Creighton Online Ministry website which got me challenging her perspective. The unquiet ghosts, “leaping between and among you, those two frisky fetuses.”

More like morning sickness? There is this great unsettling, with the loss of this protected status, when you live in a town and your own pregnancy becomes more apparent over time. Did you ever learn the history of the tribe of Judah which alone remained loyal, at first, to the house of David, though the tribe of Benjamin would join Judah?. The two kingdoms, Judah in the south and Israel in the north – according to Wikipedia – co-existed uneasily after the split. But in the beginning, for 60 years, the kings of Judah tried to re-establish their authority over the northern kingdom, with perpetual war between Israel and Judah. What was most true was the loyalty of Judah to Yahweh, after the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians – compare the Babylonian captivity to the Egyptian slavery – with the siege of Jerusalem – including the destruction led by the King of Babylon of the first temple built under the fourth-born son of Bathsheba [was he the eleventh son overall, like Joseph?] by David, born in Jerusalem – leaving Judah as the sole remaining kingdom, in c.722-721.  According to Wikipedia.

Is there the missed theme — the same one found in the The Book of Genesis — of separation much later to come, in this fully developed kingdom when measured against the culturally-related-but-politically-distinct northern kingdom of Israel. With the olive industry there, in Hill Country. Did they [the fetuses], asks Colleen Chiacchere in Creighton University Online Ministry, swim and sway with your voice?  John and Jesus?  Did they feel the love of your hospitality? Do you even KNOW the history, Colleen?  Why does understanding of the past look so inevitable?  Why do you steal the mystery, about the lingering conflict over power and shared dominion in Judah, in having to choose between being king and being High Priest?  With The Visitation, in Hill Country, did you comprehend the sudden fear in having to choose, with the suffering to come? So did Zechariah even know Mary was pregnant, when she arrived?

“Does he know how we are related?”

Mother and son. Husband and wife. Cousin to cousin. “Does HE know? About what you are carrying?”

The prophet. Make ready the way. In a place with the tomb, as well as an unsettling concern about purity.

After you left home, there would be the day Mary would have to return after the VISITATION.  Did you feel the shared aloneness of Mary with Elizabeth? In either saving or being saved, locate the comeback in the story …. Surrounded by Sadducees and Pharisees, as well as Zechariah. And the Sadducees did not believe in Resurrection. In stories of comebacks, in stories of authentic sacrifice, with the continued theme of separation, note the theme of the competition between Church and State over purity laws. And Mary seemed to be in violation of purity laws that Elizabeth surely understood.

The split between Judah and Israel. The air on the mountaintop. Light air. Hill Country. Prior to the destruction of the Temple, one of the factors that distinguished the Pharisees from other groups was their belief that all Jews had to observe outside the Temple the purity laws (applicable to the Temple service). As Josephus noted, the Pharisees were considered the most expert and accurate expositors of Jewish law. According to Wikipedia, “during the Hasmonean period, the Sadducees and Pharisees functioned primarily as political parties. The major difference was the continued adherence of the Pharisees to the purity laws and traditions of the Jewish people in the face of assimilation. The Pharisees demanded that king Alexander Jannaeus choose between being king and being High Priest.”

Behold The Visitation! In Hill Country. In the conflict of Church and State, the fidelity of one to the other, the Pharisees demanded that king Alexander Jannaeus – the Hasmonean – choose “between being king and being High Priest.” According to Wikipedia, “Alexander Jannaeus openly sided with the Sadducees, in adopting their rites in the Temple which caused a riot in the Temple and led to a brief civil war that ended with a bloody repression of the Pharisees. On his deathbed, Alexander Jannaeus called for a reconciliation between the Sadducees and Pharisees; he was succeeded by his widow, Salome Alexandra whose brother was a leading Pharisee. In the conflict between her first born son Hyrcanus who sought Pharisee support, and a younger son, Aristobulus who sought the support of the Sadducees, the nation was drawn into, after 90 days of Hyrcanus’ rule, civil war which was ended when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BCE and inaugurated the Roman period of Jewish history, with the infamy of Herod. Herod was victorious in 37 BCE.  Antigonus was delivered to Antony and executed shortly thereafter. The Romans assented to Herod’s proclamation as King of the Jews, bringing about the end of the Hasmonean rule over Judea, according to Wikipedia.

Aristobulus III, grandson of Aristobulus II through his elder son Alexander, was briefly made high priest, but was soon executed, allegedly due to Herod’s jealousy. In 36 BCE. His sister Mariamne who was married to Herod, also fell VICTIM to the notorious jealousy of Herod, the proclaimed King of the Jews. The sons of Herod by Mariamne — Aristobulus IV and Alexander — were in their adulthood also executed by their father, according to Wikipedia.

 In stories about Homeland Security, about all the “givens” in Judah, after the perpetual wars over purity,  over what side you or your family were on, would you anticipate some vengeance by the victors – these Pharisees – in choosing between being”Jewish”  between a king and High Priest?  So Hyrcanus II lived amid the Babylonian Jews, who paid him every mark of respect, as he was held by the Parthians … since 40 BCE.  For the next four years, until 36 BCE, when “Herod, who feared that Hyrcanus might induce the Parthians to help him regain the throne, invited him to return to Jerusalem.  The Babylonian Jews warned him in vain.  Herod received him with every mark of respect, assigning him the first place at his table and the presidency of the state council, while awaiting an opportunity to get rid of him. As the last remaining Hasmonean, Hyrcanus was too dangerous a rival for Herod. In the year 30 BCE, charged with plotting with the King of Arabia, Hyrcanus was condemned and executed,” according to Wikipedia.

So what year had Mary been born? And since the birth for Zechariah, his years had included all of this history.  The duty as people of faith is not to disconnect from the real world the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, from your idea of Mary and Zechariah — as Colleen Chiacchere did yesterday on the Creighton University Online Ministry website.  And to leave home is always the first sacrifice, in building upon and confronting the great Unsettling Sacrifice.  In the face of assimilation, in a society seen as oppressive.  And note the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – not to be made into a statue.  With the command, “Do not be afraid!”

So in her world at the time, why did Mary leave?  How did she know Elizabeth was pregnant, except from her own Call, like Abram’s.  Or did she know?  But there was the Obedience, to move forward, if she did not know quite why.  Otherwise the threat was in a conflicting belief – by those who knew that you were betrothed – between the issue of fidelity and a betrayal, as seen in adultery.  Go!  To Hill Country. Behold – for those dealing with the loss of independence in the kingdom of Israel, under the Roman Empire, under Herod the Great – the Genealogy!  In the conflict over belonging, in a society seen as oppressive!  Note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, with this shared idea of independence and purity.  But what is the connection of purity and dependence – relying upon Someone else or something else for your safety?  Behold the handmaid, living with the reduced set of circumstances in the inheritance, dealing with loss… of purity?  Pregnant, living in the home of a priest, with the tension between Church and State.  Were the Pharisees now allied with Herod, so the God of Abraham might survive?  Was the birth right passed on by Sarah and Abraham connected to purity?  Behold all the tension over purity, over paternity.  As Mary is taken in as the insider, not outwardly challenging the law of purity, but would she be stoned?  And how well did Mary even know Zechariah? Was he a Pharisee? Or a Sadducee who did not believe in Resurrection? What had become obsessive to the Pharisees, when there was only one way to think, to worship, would become the threat of the very same human condition, whether as the last person on earth — or the first — and feeling so all alone.

God. The stories. The secret immensity of God’s fertility. People like to read about themselves, besides knowing what horrors happened yesterday. History up close, in the news. But not history far away. Did you ever hear the command, in the story of The Visitation, given LOT, with his own virgin daughters? “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.” The HILLS saved Mary? Surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen — as your loving cousin, immersed into the culture of Hill Country, with all the ardent desire for a child of your own.  To pass on the invisible.

In the conflict over to whom Your son would belong, over who would be saved, with involvement – some kind of personal involvement – with the use of Your fertility, in times of annihilation as You were so personally threatened, from having been immersed into a culture during this gestation period, when purity became, in the conflict of private and public lives, an obsession greater than life itself? Pharisees, thinking about the method of punishment which left most readers gasping! In this incredible story of The Visitation, there is this companion, Elizabeth also so alone.

Behold the weeping mentioned in “The Visitation” in a poem by Joyce Rupp, from her book Out of the Ordinary:

Elizabeth wrinkled and wise, weary from the child kicking inside, (already a hint of wildness in him),
The two of you, meeting at the door, weeping and laughing at the same time, each one GASPING at the other’s fertility.

Behold the gasping, at the same time.  Elizabeth over her aged fertility so much like Sarah. Behold at the same time, a gasping over the innocent purity of Mary! In the first half of life? In the last half of the creation process? Bringing new life, in the saving connected to Judah, did you feel the fear at this point of life, in creating, for each woman?  With even all the “givens” to a pregnant woman or to a chief priest — to any Creator — with a protected status.  Just as Moses was taken in by the Pharaoh’s sister, Mary is taken in by Zechariah.  In Judah. 

What was always true about Judah was this loyalty to Yahweh, as Church and State now co-existed uneasily, within the Roman Empire.  Where cousin Elizabeth lived in Judah, with a need, while carrying something, based upon age for a handmaid [like Hagar].  Behold this joyful mystery, connected to the Fear of the Lord – a fear at this point of life, in creating, for each woman!  Behold each woman, finding a safe place, to gestate, though at least the first trimester – or the last trimester – with God present in the world, hiding in plain sight, in the home of a priest.  A son of Abraham who had obsessed over purity, in an obsession to the birth right, which becomes somehow connected to “saving.”  So what does happen to those who obsess, who are not open to amending their lives, over all the “givens” of Creation? So much like Sarah, too, left with human wondering.  Would you be there at the end, for what you created?  Or Whom?  In Hill Country, where Abraham buried Sarah.  In Hill Country, in the early part of David’s reign, Hebron reached its zenith serving for the first seven and a half years of his rule as his capital.  In Hill Country, behold Judah and the split, in history, as the sole remaining kingdom, with the handmaid who says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”  In a story, as the Lord becomes much more than simply MY God!

Copyright © 2016.

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God. The post script to the stories, with the Invisible, almost secret immensity of God’s fertility. Before birth. Before the “given” separation from a mother, with loss of this protected status. As insiders become outsiders.   As women become mothers, with new Identity … given.  Did you ever locate the invisible saving in the story of the Visitation? Before the saving of others, with all the Sacrifice connected to saving others.

So like the living symbolism of the comeback in the stories of Victims, for Isaac and Ishmael after their journey to Mount Moriah, there would be, after her journey to Hill Country, Mary. With these comebacks into the real world after. . . in the world split between Church and State. Living with the reduced set of circumstances in the inheritance, of purity. In ‘the above’ and ‘the below,’ with the purity still somewhere. To be found.

So did Zechariah even know how his silence, imposed, came to save? As the gestation period of his wife certainly disrupted his prayerful life …. in the beginning? And his son then was born to save others, connected to a saving of the mother of God? The quiet part of the Visitation story was as Zechariah figured out the mystery in his own muteness? Perhaps with the opening words of Psalm 46.

Copyright © 2016.

Larry Gillick, SJ
MillennialJournal.

Related. https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/when/

Mordecai Paldiel

Passover

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. We endow our lives with stories. When your relationships were so alive, as your prayers were so alive and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation. In search of the Promise Land. With a great restlessness. Carrying the fire, with the importance of the binding in the relationships, in stories within your own tradition, about pure love. With God’s intervention in the relationship.

Moses was born into a story whose history long predates him. Like Abram, Moses was a member of a “tribe” and like Abraham, he carried the idea of a new nation, after the burning bush, based upon Abraham’s idea of a place to freely sacrifice? A nation based upon blood, though it is thought that the young would never want to know about pain, never want to know about war, pestilence or death? The young do not, for the most part, want to hear of the never-ending plagues? They do not want to hear about Israel,named after the renamed Jacob?

There is this poetic justice of Passover, when contrasted to the times of the birth of Moses in Egypt.  I wonder whether the Egyptians were then having kids? Behold, in the story of Moses, the outsider! To the Pharaoh, with the two kinds of people in his kingdom – those who were free and those who had become enslaved – there was this annoying Moses.  Or had it been the savers and those who needed to be saved, as the slaves were making the Pharaoh look bad? Was this a fear, like in Sodom, of the growing minority of outsiders? [Lot, who had married a woman of Sodom, had been the only outsider.] Contrast the ambiance in Egypt in the times when Moses had been born to the ambiance in Egypt during the plagues. Death was all around? New life was not?

Note the separation if not a halving in this unsettling story. To be moved, like Abram, from his place of birth. The writers who record, unknowingly, an identity in stories, never mention the heart-break when you sacrifice a homeland? For the Pioneers, the FIRST time in the story of firsts.  Born into a story whose history long predates me, note the Identity, here! The ones listed, in the metrics of measuring up to the past, to judge.  So Abram’s first born son was half-Egyptian, though never in his early life had he seen the land of Egypt? After Egypt had saved the sons and grandsons of Jacob – after the Ishmaelites had saved the life of the prophet Joseph – wasn’t the threat HERE, in the times of Moses, to the Hebrew slaves whose identity comes from the LAND?  Hadn’t that been the reason Abram left, in his Call, in the first place? When he sacrificed his father’s home? There is a threat when you identify so much – too much – with the native land?

Compare / contrast. The metrics of story. Miscasting Ishmael, as a son disowned, the story of Passover miscasts the slaves? The tradition of story – the Passover story – only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with Israel – so much like the half of his mother’s family that Jacob came to discover, as he had moved in with them [those who had formed her]. Echoing this theme of fulfillment is, the larger narrative arc, from an every day invisible formation of his own creator, at what point you were felt to be half-slave? As you were losing your identity, in this more and more secular land, like in Egypt? In a slavery which consumed every moment of your life, without any law to protect you and your loved ones? When you were not free, the past and its tradition become so dispensable, in a secular world.

Formed to be different than those living in the secular world of The Egyptians. Concerning Identity …. what does make me belong here, even after The Call? Notice ever the saving LAND of Egypt, for more than 400 years? There is this hostility in the perspective to the past, over the power of the past that everyone has been born into, because the past carries a certain authority.

Passover. There is the past in the story. So a new nation, based upon Abraham’s idea …. like maybe Abraham once had considered what a son would be like? And is it ironic that his first-born son had been half-Egyptian, and it was Egypt that had saved the grandsons and grand-daughters of Jacob, who had been renamed Israel? In a story of the loss of innocent life, is there a missing perspective about this unsettling story of Passover. For the Pharaoh who lost his first born son – the one he thought would one day be king?

The Call, again. Did you hear the Call again, here, like Abram had been called out of the land to which he was born? And so another story about halving in this unsettling story of refugees, like Abraham’s first-born son, Ishmael.

Was there a great irony, in a disconnect from the time of Joseph when he had saved not only his father and the sons of Jacob but he had saved the Ishmaelites and all of Egypt? Behold another story about those who were saved, those who belong not to a land but, to us, still – the 600,000 refugees and their God. And what clearly had happened in the story of Passover, at the time of Moses’ birth through the time when Moses killed an Egyptian to save a slave, is that under the Pharaoh the past and its tradition had become so dispensable.

Over and over there is, for the sons of Abram, The Call. And in Passover, it is Moses who heard the same Call, to move the descendants of Abraham through Sarah out of Egypt. The story is not about political Power but something else. Did you feel all of the emotions connected to leaving? “I envy the dead with somewhere to settle down … permanently,” said the Syrian widow who envied the dead, while leaving in 2015 her loved ones behind . . . to be moved, like Abram from his place of birth? Life as refugees, for forty years! Behold Passover!  Note the halving/ separation in this unsettling story, as hearts are broken, as death is all around, but new life is not?

Had you read what had happened in Cologne on December 31, 2015, about the missing sacred, for younger people whose smaller attacks repeatedly have been discounted as random acts, by the secular leaders like Angela Merkel and the mayor of Cologne? It was like the gun violence, here, where I live. The secular world, in Belgium, treated Muslims from Morocco as victims who had no chance of succeeding, in life. What happens to a people who cannot be saved? To their Spirit? To move out of a kingdom, with powers of the monarch, into the land with more freedom where the majority ruled but you were always going to be the minority. You were not formed as the majority had been formed here. The KING of Morocco – unlike the Pharaoh – was happy to get rid of these discarded Moroccans who had come over time to sacrifice their identity? Clearly, these accused young male were giving up their religion and their identity which had taken up every moment of their life. Cast into a democratic republic, new belief filled the vacuum, that the end justifies the means? The young all around wanted consumer goods or some kind of worldly power over someone?  It had been young Moroccan men in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, involved in sexual assaults. [The unresolved mystery for this writer is how so many Muslims claimed January 1 as their date of birth.] Behold their underlying anger, that accompanies a lost identity!  What does the secular world not see about what had been left behind?  Behold the emptiness in the story, in the stories of the great unsettling and an emptying out.  Is it a wonder that ISIS – these pimps FOR sacrifice, for only their own temporal power – appeals to the refugees from a kingdom?

As you sacrifice a past, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the story of Ishmael had never been about a frothing rage at the colonialism of Sarah, using her handmaid to have a son. In the great unsettling, the story of Ishmael is not about a paternal Authority but something else – the spiritual power at work in an unsettling. The Call. His very own Call, just like the Call of Abram. And Hagar too listened to the voice of God, in another story of a saving love which comes out of the true sacrifice in leaving, as Abram once left.  


Passover is the challenge to remember for the children the unsettling story of invisible splitting. So had Ishmael been a victim? When each of the Victims in the stories of sacrifice – Isaac, Ishmael, Jesus – left behind to their followers this boldnes-for-life identity, like for a chocolate chip cookie. The unsettling boldness passed on by Abraham, to all of his sons and grandsons? This Passover season [which does extend for eight days] recall with bold gratitude the insertion into a rich family history of this ancient tribe of Abraham, with the attachment to the arc of God’s saving work through Abraham and Sons, both in the Land of Israel and wherever you happen to live, after the Great Unsettlings.  As a believer in one of the Abrahamic religions, consider the chocolate chip cookie and whether you had enough chocolate chips inside to even be considered a chocolate chip cookie, by both the inside and the outside world, or in the new world that you had entered.  With forty years of exile, to come.  What does happen when there is not a community of people there who had preceded me?  It is said in Belgium, “a less-integrated Turkish community has resisted the promise of redemption through jihad offered by “radical” zealots. The Turks, as a result, had held on to their identity in a foreign land.  Their children are not so split – YET – between the old world and the new.  And speaking of “saving love,” it is Turkey and Jordon which are saving so many refugees!

Behold the land which had once saved the sons of Abraham in Egypt, if the leaders there always did not. Note the Ishmaelites who did sell Joseph – at a time when slaves were sold – in the “Saving” in act of buying. A caravan of Ishmaelites had been given Joseph, after Judah had had his brothers sell Joseph – for a price, each time. Behold Egypt in the story, of salvation!  This selling of Joseph by the Ishmaelites, in the end, to the Egyptian, had saved him.

Behold the system, and the closeness to power in the story, in the household of the king! In the real world, behold The Pharaoh, counting the cost, 400 years later.  And slavery was about humans looking for enough ease! Yes, the Ishmaelites had sold Joseph . . .to a chamberlain.  Behold the pain of giving up, what you one day had had.

This ‘giving up’ was a Passover story. Just as saving or being saved, in the case of Moses, by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Living with the Egyptians before the split, with a closeness to power. Hadn’t it been a betrayal to the sons of Joseph who had saved all of Egypt to then enslave them? Behold the perspective of sacrifice: inside and outside over the devolution of sacrifice! “So where is the lamb, Abraham?”

From the saving LAND of Egypt, was it all of this LAND that needed slaves? Behold the invisible fertility which returned since the times of Famine!  The grateful-for- having-been-saved slaves!  When these people of Egypt had enough – Dayenu – and then forgot, by this point in the story, about all the people connected  to how Egypt had been saved.  So how, Moses, would the land be tended after our slaves were set free? What did a LAND do to a people’s spirituality, for these humans looking for ease!  Behold the threat of attachment to a place, if the Israelites too much belonged? Behold The LAND as a character in the story, with the sell-out, with betrayal, of your one-time saviors!  Did you have too much land or too much money if you ever considered purchasing a slave? Or not enough of your own fertile young kids to work the land?

With income and expenses, note the involuntary nature of his request to sacrifice your nation’s slaves, by this man named Moses. There would have been a revolt!  In the betrayal part of the story, in the Akedah, hadn’t Abraham betrayed his son?  How does that story connect to Passover? Why should the Pharaoh betray the Land and the future?  Had there been a threat of attachment? So did these slave belong to Egypt?  If your son never had a homeland, how would any of your descendants ever belong?  Did a son make a father too attached to the world?  Why HAD Abraham heard the Call to leave his home?  And then the Call to sacrifice his only son?  Whichever son!

It had been the chief servant who found Isaac, oh so damaged in the Akedah, as the reliance on the servants continued in this family, a wife. Hadn’t Jacob then betrayed Rachel by not saying no to the marriage with Leah? And then there were all the handmaid tales, with the sons and one daughter of Jacob, with sellouts, with betrayal, over issues of belonging?  Or in a world with all of the arrangements and the arranging, in  a world with dowries, was it the laws which determine belonging?  Locate all the betrayals…. in Joseph tattling on his brothers; in his brothers plan to sacrifice Joseph; even in the revised arranging to sell Joseph into slavery, based upon who was free and who was a slave in this family? And Reuben!  Yes, with the long-forgotten Reuben, did you ever see the voluntary nature of his sacrifice …. of the birthright?  And wasn’t that what had saved Joseph in the first place?  And by saving Joseph, Joseph had saved all their known world?  To have sacrificed the birthright, and his own sense of attachment, in the name of love.

Eve. Did you ever feel her conflict over the very first commandment?  In the one law about belonging in The Garden?  Like in the same conflict for Reuben, in the story how he lost his birth right, over a handmaid, in times when the law recognized handmaids as wives except with respect to an inheritance, though it had been Reuben who had saved Joseph after he was thought to have lost his inheritance.  And before Moses ever saved his people, there had been his sister Miriam who had saved Moses, risking her own life. In the name of sisterly love.


So wasn’t the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh – with the same deep emotions of his sister at the time that Moses had been born – over the recognition of the Spirit of God? After the God of Jacob once had saved all of Egypt, in a forgotten recognition of the God of Abraham? From out of The Call to KNOW – in sacrifice of Abraham’s son by Sarah – comes a recognized expectation to save. After Isaac is saved. And if you read the Quran, the same thing had happened to Abraham’s first born son. Unlike Ishmael, Isaac never physically leaves …perhaps because his faith is so shaken . . . as he is saved from Abraham’s image of God. Did you know of the involvement of a servant in the case of both these sons, after their own so personal involvement in the Akedah, then to find them a spouse?  In Ishmael’s case, it was the handmaid/ mother Hagar who found him a wife, as Ishmael learned over a time of discovery that he was born as no traditional servant. Behold the Post Traumatic Stress in the stories of the Victim, to make OUR lives a blessing …”bless those in need of healing”….. when no one would ever be the same!

Behold the conflict! “Though you are holier than I am, your God is not my God. Yet!”

Enough! Note the point of enough between Pharaoh and Moses, in the halving/ separation in this unsettling story, in asking for a place for his people to “freely” worship. Moses was challenging the Pharaoh who was connected himself to “his” people’s worship? Behold the Clericalism of the Pharaoh, where Church and State were one, who acted as mediator between the gods and the world of men. After death the Pharaoh became divine, identified with Osiris, the father of Horus and god of the dead, and passed on his sacred powers and position to the new Pharaoh, his son.  So compare / contrast the valuation connected to this blasphemy in Moses’ betrayal of the Pharaoh who had once saved him. Behold Moses, so perfectly formed by the Pharaoh, much like a prince of Egypt.  “We are not giving up our slaves …. over matters of worship.” Ask Abraham Lincoln, about April 15, 1863, on setting the captives free, without any compensation? Dealing with loss. Of not just the work force. “We are not sacrificing our slaves,” over issues of our god in Egypt!  Moses was asking the mediator as leader of the Church/State – a strong-willed monarch whose view of a rebellious slave-leader threatening old elites – to sell out existing religious belief in Egypt?  Was Moses asking Pharaoh to connect worship to love?

Behold the story of Liberation Theology, long before the controversy of Liberation Theology of John Paul ll with his South American theologians! Mission creep, threatening “our way of life!” Did you feel the mission creep of church or state, based upon the series of plagues from your God – the one that my people did not freely come to – in a challenge by your God, rather than my God? Or to my people? Compare / contrast, in the metrics of story, of blood in the story of Passover. Compare the children of Joseph to what the descendant of Isaac discovered, so much like the half of his mother’s family that Jacob came to discover, as he had moved in with them. The miscasting half of the family that he had never come to know, perhaps only heard about? When you never felt a part of a family that you did not know? The tradition of story – the Passover story – only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with what always seems missing. In stories with various degrees of closeness, did you ever note the descendants of Joseph WERE related to the Egyptians, and not in a step-relationship. Who should be saved? Who should save, when these slaves were HALF- EGYPTIAN? 

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” writes David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. As the first plague and the last plague involved a plague of blood.

Behold the rock of power meeting the pluralistic theological sands – shifting sand – of your slaves. Compare / contrast the metrics of story, as the blood of the lamb had saved the first-born sons of the Israelites, the Pharaoh was not quite so blessed. And did you hear the voice of Isaac from the Akedah on the story of Passover, about the whereabouts of the lamb?  Did you ever paraphrase Isaac over his ‘lamb’ question? So where is The ‘Saving’ love of prophets, formed to be different than those living in the present day secular world?  When power and position of Church and State were One!  A perfect first-born son!  Behold The Call – behold all the chances in his very own Calls in the story – that the Pharaoh did not heed, as another Pharaoh once had when it came to the dream of the Prophet Joseph.  And as a result, behold the intense deep emotional grief so personal all over Egypt, over all the perfect first born, considered to be pure Egyptian, lost!

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Larry Gillick Ascension Thursday Commonweal
Creighton Online Ministries
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Robert Mickens

Imitations of Attachment

Moreton Fig TreeDid you ever notice  Egypt and the Egyptians in all the stories of Victims in the Book of Genesis?  Victims facing what I would call capital punishment?

Ishmael. After the forced relocations. Taking it personally – the crime, in the family. The narrator  never points out the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence. If you knew them all so personally. Until there developed a fear, perhaps out of being forced out.  And then the coverups, in the tradition of mystery.

Behold a narrator who brought you there: Passover is the story of being saved from death. Or is it the story of saving, after being saved? When Exodus – the leaving – follows Passover. And does the “serving” stay with the one-time slaves / hand-maids? How is that same variation on a theme – Judas and Imitations of Attachment – present in the story of Exodus? Just as for Ishmael, to be written out of the story, there is The Great Unsettling for the Narrator when you are not being counted any longer in the family.

The Great Unsettling emotion with Passover is over-coming a fear of death. For people who had come out of slavery. When the Great Commandment was to know, to love, and then to SERVE ….. God. The threat in the story of Passover – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence – is seen when your first born son is lost. The inheritance was in The Call. To banish Ishmael,your half Egyptian son – your son who was born a slave.

The Call. Like when Abraham had left his own home behind in The Call, so his first born son, Ishmael. When you were born into something, so often the power of God remains to be seen. Like what he too had been born into, but left behind. And so the Exile of Hagar and son, in another Great Unsettling. Compare the banishment of the first born son of Abraham to Exodus. When Moses freely chose to lead the Israelites into exile.

And somehow the distortion of the great emotion with Passover, if you DID overcome the fear of death, involved suicide. Or in the case of yesterday’s news out of Brussels, mass killing in these imitations of attachment. If suicide is ever the answer, you never really recognized true love. If you do not really know Someone – if you got caught up in issues of power – did you ever want to serve …. in this Creation? When you carry only imitations of love, because of what you are born into? The horror back in Egypt, in the house of the Pharaoh, on the night of Passover, was that same horror for those who actually had come to know Judas – those who did believe and love, together. But those who never, under the Romans, really shared a homeland, with the goal of serving if not your own, the stranger.

The Spirit. The one revealed to Abraham. The one revealed to Moses. The meaning of Passover, again, is this great unsettling. When you are born a slave? That every day identity of a handmaid or a slave, who could not escape being enslaved to the earth, by the sweat of their brow. Twenty-four hours a day. With your children being sold out from under you. So the need to get your own place to worship your very own One God. So note from betrayal after Joseph had saved the Egyptians – so much like Hagar had saved Sarah and Abraham from extinction by delivering their first born son – these people of Egypt. Even though the son – Ishmael – seemed rejected one day by the mother, Sarah. Or who most thought was her true mother?  And wasn’t this the same story? God was going to reveal what exactly happens when a perfect Son is sacrificed, and the Church and the State will not rescue who Pilate heard was the King of the Jews.  After Joseph, the son of Jacob, had saved the Egyptians, this son of Joseph was gonna save all the world in this Passover! When sons always look at the end like their fathers, God was going to reveal what His fertility and Resurrection is all about. To those who had come to know him. To those who had come to love him. Like the Joseph who came forward to claim the body. AND those willing now to serve him. Yes, formed in his likeness, God was going to seat the Messiah at his right-hand. And there is a humility coming to know your ancestors.

In a story of the people with power and the underlying fear of Insurrection, who was Judas? And how did John the Evangelist – he was not the Apostle John – know of the exchange of the thirty pieces of silver? When there was so much confusion for all who had lived through that night . . . of Passover. Did you ever compare Peter’s betrayal to Judas’? What had been this fatal flaw of Judas but his anger over what he had been born into? In what is now called the Holy Land? And as far as this tradition of antisemitism in history, why didn’t Christians feel the same way to Peter, James and John – or to mother Mary for that matter – as they do to Judas?

” Called.” With suicide comes the reflection of blame. Where is God’s Mercy for Judas? Didn’t God need Judas in this story of The Passion? How did Judas fail to love, as the others eleven seemed to have? He had never been one of the special three taken up the mountain at the time of the Transfiguration. His calling is not even recorded in the Gospels, other than a suggestion in the Gospel of John that Judas had the money bag that paid for the Last Supper. It is as if the writers had no feeling for Judas. So what had been the cause of the Crucifixion? Isn’t the cause part of God’s plan, in salvation history?

So there was this imitations of attachment, for three years? For three whole years.  Did you ever compared the identity of Judas to the other Eleven. Judas selected by Jesus.  And Judas also choose to become a follower.  Behold the relation to follow to an updated Call, like the Apostles all would be called to leave, like Abraham. Home.  Only unlike Abraham, Judas was not ready to be moved. And only thirty pieces of silver – symbolic of purity, strength, clarity, focus and TRUTH – were to blame? Or was it his perception of belonging to the Holy Land? To Israel?  Whoever thought a Jew had a part to change the world, in a LAND and a place when inequality threatened stability?   Was Judas like Barabbas, a threat to the Romans? Taking it personally – in the family – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence.  So the thirty pieces of silver. The scene that I envisioned, after the Seder on Holy Thursday, was like at a cemetery, with the ghosts of the first born sons. Without the currency but the spirituality of silver. Born into a currency, in what you carried with you? Into the Garden. So why should ONE currency prevail over all others? As inequality threatens stability, why silver and not Roman currency, like what Jesus once had asked whose face was on the coin? Did you ever consider why in the story, the price was measured in silver, this invisible currency?  Note all the invisible threats in The Passion – the systemic threats to God. With either the lightness of God’s Presence or as a burden, as my God is compared to your God? If you ever lived through currency wars. And the leaven in the story? In the advent before Passover, when observant Jews remove all the leaven from their home if not their homeland … To become unburdened. Blood on the doorpost.  Behold a hacked interior Spirit? This identity of Judas had been hacked, if you compared his identity to the other Eleven. Judas could not escape his pride living in the soon to be called “The Holy Land.”  Judas mostly loved his homeland, in a world not so split between Church and State.  So a narrator who brought you to an oppressed nation living under slavery, or just under the dominion of the Romans …. did you hear the anguish manner of sincere Jewish prayer?  “Favor us, oh Lord! Keep us from the strangers’ ways….oh hear our Sabbath prayer.” .

Behold the Agony in the Passover Prayer!   This Year!   “Where is the lamb?” From out of the anger when you don’t belong – in an oppressed nation living under slavery – to direct that anger at others who had that same sense . . . like the refugee. As you voluntarily leave the PLACE and what you were born into. As you sacrifice – a creation process in its own right – for others. When you grow a Spirit, through a tooling for remaking.  Behold the Agony in the Garden!  With a spotlight on an invisible Presence … in this God of Abraham. When you, like Hagar, like Ishmael, are left with nothing. But Spiritual growth.

The Great Unsettling for the Narrator is not being counted any longer in the family. Afterwards. What he too had been born into, but left behind – the son of Mary and the son, the world thought, of Joseph. The Law could not, to the great disappointment to Peter that night, save him – The First Born – again. And the chief priest could not. No, The Law was not going to save the Victim this time. The Law that was given in Exodus. It was the Law that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Paradise, in the beginning. This one Apple law. What a ridiculous law! This time the Father was not on the surface going to save his son, through the law and Pontius Pilate. And the Church officials in the way of the chief priest were surely not gonna save him. Instead Jesus was going to die.


In the September 11th of its day, Passover. In the September 11th of its day, the Akedah. In the September 11th of its day, leaving home, accompanying her husband from Haran to Canaan, as Sarah had. In the beginning. And so the leaving and the come-back stories, with the change beyond imitations of attachment to one of union based upon true love. In what is mostly a love story, of saving after being saved, and leaving to teach the world.  In a story of another Great Comeback, after a son leaves again, does the “serving” stay with these one-time slaves / hand-maids?

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So there is the betrayal by Judas, compared to Peter’s denial? Note the different understanding? One Apostle took action and the other ran away in a different dimension of sell-outs of a beloved. So Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah? With the emotions connected to love, if there was a true love rather than an imitation of attachment, did Peter? To deny knowing him, after three years. When Pilate recognized something in the way of power, in this Messiah, Pilate came the closest to understanding the power of God in this story. In the way of fatal flaws, Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah which led him to act on behalf of the Land in the story? His emotional response was related to overcoming the fear of death of the Land. Or overcoming the death of the Spirit in this Land? Based upon what you had been taught? Based upon your own expectations, connected to belonging? Had that Passover been like living through another refugee crisis, like the First Passover? When the slaves seemed to be taking over the place? So his fatal flaw was related to Spirit missing ….or was this fatal flaw of Judas, like in the midst of that first Passover, having just no understanding of what was happening — maybe much like the other eleven? 

I am not sure how many would understand the sacrifice – over what had driven the sacrifice of The Akedah – but the same fatal flaw of Abraham? Out of love for his wife, he had a son. But he did not love the mother of his son as much as he did the mother of his second son? And he was not supposed to have any feeling for her? So how did this affect their son – what had made Ishmael so different? I am not sure how many would understand this son. Behold the community standard which contributed to the fatal flaw of Abraham, that led to The Akedah!  When all along the difference about Abraham had been his detachment from the LAND. But how could you remain detached when you had a son, whose mother you did not love? And how would a father ‘s detachment from the LAND affect the son’s detachment from the world?

Behold the same great internal divide.  So how would a son’s detachment from the LAND affect these relationships based upon divine love?  For Judas …. who loved the LAND with TOO much feeling. Dayenu! Behold the “Dayenu” in the story of the Promise Land, in the story of Passover, in the story of The Passion.

“Forgive us!” What did you hear in the Lord’s Prayer? That Kaddish prayer is the “Our Father” prayer, with the plea to “deliver us from evil.”  Give us our bread, unleavened, that we might rise again some day.  Like the Irish celebrate 100 years this Easter.  Of the Uprising. With the loss of innocent life.

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Larry Gillick, S.J.

 

On the Day That the Sacrifice Begins

I live half-a-mile from The History Center.  In the New World there is the unsettling in this place, whether on issues of history and memory, like with Church or State.  Had this been the same unsettling connected to the Messiah – in the beginning – dealing in public ministry, as History is used against you? Whether with cameras or like Laws of Church or State can be used against you … as PLACE – the invisible …. in what always has been here – is used against you? This Spirit from where you come … like in The Americas, founded on the back of slavery and Imperialism?

Consider that first day on the job as a Messiah. And the loss of this protected status … in the beginning, closest to home …. later all over Israel. With the entire tradition resting upon purity, washing, dinnerware, bloodlines. This theology of Purity, ever since the time of Abraham. With Sarah, his half-sister.

Move! Letting go! Sacrifice. Note The Bond, just like for Ishmael in the story of Hagar — speaking of captives and refugees — becoming invisible as you move …. God-like. Feel the great unsettling of The Spirit of the Lord, connected to authentic sacrifice! When nothing else is left…. locate the displaced in the story, like the Lakota in South Dakota. Yes,in order to survive, MOVE! — to what the Canadians called the Reserve Land. And then what is left of my center, as a child – as a captive, like Ishmael – looks to their parent(s) as authority figures? But did you feel the alone-ness in the story, for the son?

The noun Targum – Targumim (singular) –refers to “translator, interpreter,” derived from early semitic quadriliteral root ‘trgm‘, and the Akkadian term ‘targummanu.’ A translator of the Hebrew Bible is called a hammeturgem (he who translates). Necessary near the end of the 1st century BCE, with the common Hebrew language in transition, to give explanations, as Hebrew was being used for little more than schooling. Besides denoting the translations of the Hebrew Bible, the term Targum also denotes the oral rendering of Bible lections in synagogue. Other than the meaning “translate,” the verb Tirgem also means “to explain.” Writing down the targum was prohibited. Targum refers to “translation” and “explanation” or argumentation of spoken paraphrases, expansions and explanations of Jewish Scripture by a Rabbi in common worship, in the common language of the listeners, with paraphrasing in the common language after Hebrew Scripture was read.

“…. handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.’ Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.”

In either saving or being saved, locate the comeback in the story …. with an audience that felt that they did not need another authentic sacrifice connected to a Messiah? Hearing of the great unsettling teaching, The Spirit of the Lord, in “their” synagogues …. praised by all. Into the real Promise Land, into the synagogue, Jesus had come back to Nazareth, to where he had grown up, and went according to ‘his’ custom into his synagogue, in public ministry, on the Sabbath day. And there in the House of God was the great unsettling Presence … in The Spirit of the Lord. Living with the invisible loss of language, as PLACE is used against you, as PLACE claims you as its slave? How old were, how blind were, how oppressed were the eyes of all in the synagogue? As your place of birth blinds you to the outside world.

With language directed at intimations of attachment, This Spirit from where you come … founded on the back of sacrifice. The humility,in an endurance for a generation, living under the great Roman Empire. Dealing with loss, for the those who were small, slow, weak? For those who endure, generation after generation, over and over, sacrifice. Loving not your teammates from Rome, but your neighbor. . . but who is my neighbor? Where so many try to choose their neighbor, based upon the choice of domicile. With all the different degrees of closeness to a neighbor, as your child becomes captive …to a PLACE founded on the back of sacrifice! Captive to an identity that they are born into. With a King who bowed down, as the Giant had bowed down in death to David.

There is this great unsettling, with the loss of this protected status, for the son of David, who had worked as a carpenter in a search for God’s Will? “… and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.” Met with silence? Do you feel the invisible size in another story of sacrifice?

There is this great unsettling, with the loss of this protected status! With the choice of conversion to Islam, death, or exile — threatened the Jewish and Christian communities — and wasn’t this then what happened in the Inquisition to the Jews of Spain, in 1492. What was that David Remnick prologue, in his book Reporting. There is an unsettling loss of this protected status which is connected to authentic sacrifice, to develop your very own abilities in all areas – intellectual, artistic, social, physical – of accomplishment.

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Besides meaning “translate,” the verb “tirgem” also means “to explain.” While Targum refers to “translation” and “explanation” or argumentation of spoken paraphrases, expansions and explanations of Jewish Scripture, writing down the targum was prohibited  — not unlike some communities banning or limiting study altogether of Rabbeynu Mosheh Ben Maimon’s (Our Rabbi Moses Son of Maimon”) The Guide for the Perplexed, as well as his writings on Jewish law and ethics.

According to scholars, otherwise equal under the laws of property, contract, and obligation, dhimmis did not enjoy, as citizens in the Islamic state, certain political rights reserved for Muslims.  Dhimmis — Jews and Christians  — had their rights fully protected in their own communities, but with certain restrictions.  It was obligatory for dhimmis to pay the jizya tax, which complemented the Islamic tax (the zakat) paid by Muslim subjects.  Excluded from specific duties assigned to Muslims, the various dhimmis communities were allowed to rule themselves under separate legal courts in the Ottoman millet system.  Under Sharia Law, the dhimmi communities were usually subjected to their own special laws, rather than some laws that were applicable only to Muslims.

Noting the history of Spain and the subsequent history of the Spanish Empire, the family of Rabbeynu Mosheh Ben Maimon (Maimonides) chose exile. Some speculate that it was likely that Maimonides feigned a conversion to Islam before escaping.  When brought up by a rival in Egypt, his forced conversion was ruled legally invalid under Islamic law.  Maimonides moved about for the next ten years in southern Spain, eventually settling in Morocco.  This was during this time when he composed his acclaimed commentary on the Mishnah in the years 1166–1168.

Yes, I live 800 meters away from The History Center which is somehow directed at intimations of attachment, like the attachment that I got at home from my parents and grandparents, to share a form of secular holiness that often is directed to a home … or a neighborhood … or a city. There was a distinct sense of place in my life which had always been asserting itself, enfolding over time, staking a claim on a people. Before it was lost or overtaken. Or just taken anyway? After you had come to know something about a place.

“… and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him… And he said to them,’Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’ …They also asked, ‘Isn’t this the son of Joseph?’ …. he said, ‘Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.’ When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town.” And did you note, how after the reading from Isaiah in his hometown, Jesus became — in THE TRADITION  OF ABRAHAM, ISHMAEL, and ALL the descendants of the sons of Abraham  — homeless?  ‘For we know partially and we prophesy partially…’  So, in search of a Promise Land, Jesus chose exile.  

Note, while reviewing the words of Isaiah, the proclamation: ‘The Spirit of the Lord … has sent me to proclaim …. to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim….,” with the credentials of a carpenter.

Feel the alone-ness in the story, for the son of David.  God-alone prayer seems so selfish, without stories and without sacrifice….. and without a community to give and receive support. And according the the previous verse, Jesus had just come back from his forty days alone in the dessert.  For me, without a community to give and receive support, I would believe in neither miracles nor prayer.  In the God-question – in the perspective as the Receiver of prayer, without others – prayer is self-indulgent, affecting no one else, unless you did belong to a community.

‘They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.’ There is the unsettling loss of protected status, with the choice of exile; did you feel the alone-ness in the story, as a son of David? In Nazareth, “Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.”

When the power of a culture is based upon a shared literature. In stories. “Mostly they are the same lives, the same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. We endow our lives with stories, if the power in the ideals of a father – the bonds, the identity, and all the belief – is gonna survive. If the identity in a name is going to survive at another level. When you were forced to somehow start over.  Without a home. And there is the unsettling in this place, whether on issues of Church or State, when a human is displaced.

On the day you became the Authority over your own life – or think that you could do anything that you wanted….alone or together, though this is the perspective only if you were the Master, not the Handmaid.

Note these Victims of sacrifice, followed by the Post Traumatic Stress to anyone who personally knew the Victim – Ishmael, Isaac, Jesus – through stories of such personal sacrifice in the Book of Firsts of the Hebrew Bible as well as in the first book of the New Testament.

Locate all the victims in the Book of Firsts. Did you ever notice all the victims of rape in the Book of Firsts. The daughters of Lot whose own protected status is now connected to their father. Note the rape stories, connected to the daughters of Lot, later to the daughter of Jacob and Leah, Dinah, whose own protected status is now connected to her brothers … or not? Note the barren women, in half-relationships, in arranged marriage, with mostly informed consent? Locate all the victims in the Book of Firsts. Note the unsettling stories, of sacrifice, which includes Hagar, a woman whose own protected status is not connected to a man. Was Lot a rape victim, with all of the sons of his nameless daughters who went on to find their own nations? Did you ever note the chronology, where after the birth of Ishmael comes the story of Sodom? Doesn’t chronology – in the spotlight on the First Born all over the Book of Firsts – mean something? And those Ishmaelites were the folks who ended up saving Joseph so he might save his family as well as all of Egypt. Note the unsettling stories, with the various degrees of informed consent, just like in the story of Hagar’s pregnancy related to such personal sacrifice?

Could you connect the lives of the descendants of Abraham to unsettling sacrifice? And these were the sons who were related to such personal sacrifice. So how is the birth of Abraham’s first born son – on issues of power, ordering, shared dominion and freedom – related to such personal sacrifice? After the attempted sacrifice of Ishmael on Mount Moriah, after the birth of Isaac, after he is weaned – if you ever noted the chronology – Abraham sets the captive (Hagar) free, along with his own son. Yes, locate all the victims in the Book of Firsts. Did you count the barren women in arranged marriage whose sons all became prophets? Did you count Ishmael? Had there been agony in the arrangement in Abraham’s marriage, as Abraham was asked to sacrifice his first born son – to banish him when he had reached adolescence. In the perspective of Sarah, Ishmael was sacrificed in his exile from his father. And Hagar had been this woman in an arranged relationships, whose son became a prophet.

Living in denial, note the little attention paid to the VICTIM of rape … like Ishmael. In either saving or being saved, locate the need for a body before you ever sacrifice. With an appreciation for the mothers – before you note these Victims of sacrifice – locate who it was who first gave birth with agony in those days, before anesthesia. In that the first born son of Abraham was born a slave, was there in the manner that Ishamel was born a slave an imitation of attachment, for Sarah and Abraham? In a world where birth and motherhood give meaning and purpose to a human life – if your faith in God did not – over time Ishmael becomes unwanted to Sarah. What did Sarah know about all the agony connected to giving birth, with the various degrees of informed consent? On the day you became the authority, over your own life – or think that you did – are you conscious of your own protected status which is connected to authentic sacrifice that occurred in the past, over giving birth? With an appreciation for the mothers and their life cycle as women whose sons all became prophets, note – in the day and age now where so many believe in the organization called Planned Parenthood as well as this authority over your own body and consequential life (or think that you did) – and locate the agony connected to giving birth, with the various degrees of informed consent. With different degrees of education and experience – like music appreciation in elementary school – note the lack of appreciation connected to your perspective of Hagar, for what she was willing to do out of love. What did Sarah know about falling in love with a stranger, in that she married her half-brother – Abraham who had always been there – ten years older than she was? And wasn’t Abraham’s fatal flaw Sarah’s fatal flaw – not understanding what it means to really belong – that Abraham had been forced in the name of love to share with her? By locating all the victims in the Book of Firsts – focused since the argument of Cain with Abel – in either saving or being saved, what had motivated Abraham to travel first to Mount Moriah with his first born son, per the story in the Qoran. Was Abraham’s motive to subsequently travel to Mount Moriah with Sarah’s first born son, per the story in the Book of Genesis, the same? If you compare Abraham to Adam, did you see the same acquiescence to Sarah and her handmaid that Adam had given to Eve, concerning eating the apple? Were the female prophets married to the male prophets using, in the name of love, the God of Abraham? Isn’t this especially the same female fear of being used and exploited … connected to creation? Just as Sarah tried to have this God of a nomad belong ‘to us,’ through her handmaid’s son –through birth – Abraham set forth to Mount Moriah to have this God belong ‘to us,’ through his sons’ sacrificial death. Yes, locate the need for a body before you ever so personally sacrifice that a mother so well understood. How did Abraham address the anger of Sarah over the sacrifice of their protected status – like with the various degrees of anger by some believers – with such a perfect son? And the believers, as a descendant of the Father of Faith or anyone who personally knew the Victim – Ishmael, Isaac, Jesus – through stories of such personal sacrifice, believed that these Victims were perfect, up until the moment on the Mount when they were saved – before the Post Traumatic Stress. And the perfect really have no need for God? Or forgiveness?

Note how closeness and the Truth about closeness, through / with /in love stories, along with a feeling about the misuse of human power – to whom did this Living God really belong? – lead to a stories about Mercy and the birth right of God’s Mercy. As if you are entitled to have this protected status, carrying a name, as a descendant of the Prophet Abraham?  There is the realness of raw emotions after a son seemingly lost his father, of a closeness to his father.  Yes, over time a prophet becomes unwanted, like the presence of Isaiah was an unwanted intrusion, in his native land. When the Victim in each of the stories of sacrifice taught the importance of giving up the protected status that you once had considered to be the inheritance, in the name of Forgiveness. And both of the sons of Abraham – in stories on innocence – had come back to bury their father. Together.

Did you ever notice how you are on-guard with outsiders? Did you note in a relationship, the best humor is always domestic, like about a father or any family member …. if you had once been living in a spirited place? If mostly these are the same lives, the same stories, over and over, there comes the unsettling time in witness or hearing testimony about either true human sacrifice or an act of rape, that the unsettling sets in, again. Maybe like with the circumcision of a grown-up. And there is this long period of recovery, either for the Victim or for anyone, like her/his family, who had come to know the Victim. And there is this long period of recovery, in trying to return to what was once there. When a Victim was so innocent. And somehow this indescribable event is connected to learning how to pray, directed at God-alone prayer with others, out of the alone-ness in the stories. In the three Abrahamic religions, whether in the Old Country or the New World, there is the same unsettling for anyone who personally knew the Victim — Ishmael, Isaac, Jesus — with a closeness. In the three Abrahamic religions, if you were ever going to come to learn how to pray, you needed first an appreciation connected to a body and the stories directed at keeping a reverence for indescribable sacrifice directed at a Living God. But mostly you needed an authentic love relationship connected to a splitting if a sacrifice is ever gonna mean anything.

….. and then she died.

Perhaps you are able to connect the lives of the descendants of Abraham to unsettling sacrifice. But how was Sarah ever able to forgive Abraham after the attempted unsettling sacrifice of Isaac? How is the birth of Sarah’s first born son – on issues of power, ordering, shared dominion and freedom – related to such personal unsettling sacrifice in the lives connected to the descendants of Sarah? It is Sarah, per the chronology too often ignored – the mother of the sons of Abraham is key to their identity – who dies after The Akedah.

Memory is the key to any identity, touching your emotions in this tremendous bond, touching you deeply, connected to your identity. So “remember that you are dust, and unto dust thou shall return.”

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POST SCRIPT: ….. and then she died.

Perhaps you are able to connect the lives of the descendants of Abraham to unsettling sacrifice. Abraham, who discovered at the end of the story of his tremendous human longevity, was, in the dénouement — in the release of tension in the dénouement — coming back home in his lame-duck days, with his great sense of shame after wounding his own fertility, while dealing with loss of mostly power in old age, and starting over. Is pride, involving a desire for power, based upon knowledge – to somehow be more important than others – the most serious of the deadly sins for Chosen People?  Based upon more than surface knowledge, how is the birth of Sarah’s first born son – on issues of power, ordering, shared dominion and freedom – related to such personal unsettling sacrifice in the lives connected to the descendants of Sarah? It is Sarah, per the chronology too often ignored – the mother of the sons of Abraham is key to their identity – who dies after The Akedah. So was it Abraham wondering before The Akedah, or or Isaac wondering afterwards, if he had even mattered, begging to have had mattered, begging to be blessed, so that God would never forget, NEVER forget Abraham, just like THAT Holocaust — or had it been Sarah wondering if Abraham ever really loved her?

Recognize the developments after The Akedah story as Isaac, not Abraham, becomes the protagonist by the time of the dénouement of the story? So how was Sarah ever able to forgive Abraham after the attempted unsettling sacrifice of Isaac? Somehow the movement in the common stories, like the physics after The Akedah, or in Eid Al Fitr— creating something out of nothing, like with the lingering Spirit from a closeness, in the beginning — becomes this birth right, related to Closeness, even after all the splittings and separation  …. with all the lingering human doubts. So was Ishmael, was Isaac, ever able to forgive Abraham after the attempted unsettling sacrifice?   And how did they come to understand this God of Abraham Who had first called the Father of Faith, away from his own father’s home so long ago, giving up a sense of protected status connected to borders?  Since The Call of Abraham …. “Let me show you a Promise Land, a place you do not know….and you shall be a blessing.” … there is this unease over this place you do not know, similar to my unease when I am running late for an important appointment. Only a displaced son carried this unease related NOT to a clock but to an unknown place – a lot like over not belonging here – maybe so much like being a Jew in Germany in 1939, when you carried the unease with your every moment of your life, or like a one of the millions of refugees suffering mass displacement, from Syria in 2016?

Memory is the key to your identity, touching your emotional connection in this tremendous bond, with different degrees of deepness, in the 26 European countries without visible national churches that have abolished passports and any other type of border controls, on imitations of attachment, directed at union.  In a collective memory of forgiveness of others in the name of a forgiving God, on issues of inheritance and birth right — note the discovery of forgiveness through the son, in all the Abrahamic religions — with all the eye-popping tension in the story between those who were not good enough with those who seemed to be too good, there is this indescribable pain which creates memory in a culture — like out of that closeness, in the beginning.  As that closeness, in the beginning, often seems one day lost if not sacrificed, in a more secular world with such free movement.  Did you note how the son really ends up saving the father …or, in the case of Ismael, the mother?   On issues of union, beyond imitations of attachment?  Yes, “remember that you are dust, and unto dust thou shall return.”

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When? ¿Cuándo?

When? The open-ended question of the Hebrew Bible, when will you? It was the great question of any relationship, when? To understand a relationship with any woman born in the Philippine Islands, a Western man in pursuit had better understand, in a culture with infinite poverty, a perspective that he was expected to save the entire family of his Pinay lover.

When? When will you begin to save us? The female perspective. It seems okay to spy from a female perspective on anyone with whom you choose to live. It is all about Homeland security. It is about fear about life …getting, providing security over the long-term. It is the perspective that develops when you carry the capacity to bear life, at the onset of an early age. When you might one day be pregnant.

Expecting. Behold the timing, in the WHEN, with the spirituality of the expectant. Sarah and Hagar. Jealousy, only later. That first born son was somehow expected in an agrarian culture to save Sarah and Abraham? And did you recall how Abraham had traveled to Sodom to fight to save Lot? What did you expect to happen? From out of his Call to leave home, in his quest to discover a new home, what did you expect to happen?

Did you ever keep track of all “the leaving” in the Book of Genesis? In the story of leaving, there was the first time when Abraham with his half-sister, their father and nephew Lot leave home. In the case of Jacob, had there even been a need to go? The only one who never seems to take leave is Isaac.

The Call. There was no mention of any conflict that led to the flight of Abram et al, the first time. God seemed to ask Abram to leave. So Abram and his family give everything up,including a familiarity with the people that they had come to know and trust. And so begins the open-ended question of the Hebrew Bible: when will You?

Men have bar fights over women. What do women do to fight, except leave? And that had been the solution to the resentment in the house of Rebekah living with Isaac and the God of Abraham over issues of power and birth right. Wasn’t it Rebekah who sent young Jacob away? In a reversal of the role of Abraham….only Abraham had been asked by Sarah to send Ishmael away. In the case of Jacob, had there even been a need to go? But that was the female defense?

To allow Someone to rule over you, for peace, after listening to a leader speak of socializing losses after privatizing gains, for all of his family, Terah seemed to have listened to his son. About leaving. With a focus on a Promise Land, but for what? So after sacrificing a home, the open-ended question of the Hebrew Bible is, “when will You?” Is the female perspective any different than with an expectation in the Philippine Islands? With a perspective, in a culture with handmaids and slaves, that a male spouse is expected to save the entire family, in a relationship. But with these new nomads?

Note the long wait …for Sarah … for all the barren women in the story of Firsts, recorded in the Book of Genesis. Yes, The Call is to KNOW. Abram is to leave, in his FIRST great sacrifice in the Book of Genesis, the story of FIRST times. Note all the characters who then take leave, following the example of Abram. And so begins the open-ended question of the Hebrew Bible: when? It is in the journey that Abraham comes to open up his heart as he comes to know God. The stories in the Book of Genesis, in the beginning of, is about coming to know God, in the long wait. After all the splitting, all the separation, all the halves. And so the first sacrifice. To save us, the displaced? And thus begins the open-ended question of the Hebrew Bible: when? In a story about hope and love …. when a Messiah? Because at some point like Abram, and Isaac and Jacob – and all the great women of their lives – we lose our innocence. So was it an embarrassing question to ask, ‘had there ever been a need to go, to come to know God?’

When? When will you ever sacrifice? When you first give up your homeland, like Sarai, like Abram …. in the first great sacrifice. And wasn’t that what happened when the servant of Abraham went looking to arrange a wife for Isaac, after The Akedah? From out of the Call to LEAVE home, behold Rebekah’s Call! For those who never really tried to read these days what were viewed now as “patriarchal” stories in the Hebrew Bible, there was the same role in the life of Rebekah as had existed in the life of Abram and Sarai, with always the ongoing stories connected to servants and handmaids. . . and the displaced. From out of her Call to leave, before the name change which came to mean something, maybe like when a woman used to take on her husband’s name. In the Old world.

Will you ever sacrifice? Will You ever begin to save us? When? Where? How? When will you personally deliver God to your Promise Land? From out of The Call to KNOW – that ends before Sarah ever dies, in sacrifice of her only son – comes the recognized expectation to save. After Isaac is saved. And if you read the Qoran, the same thing had happened to Abraham’s first born son. Unlike Ishmael, Isaac never physically leaves…perhaps because his faith is so shaken . . . as he is saved from Abraham’s image of God. And so the WHEN question, as the male standard is to never leave, again, but to love and to serve. In what is called the ‘daily double’ at the race track, ‘to love and to serve’ is what one woman can only do to fight, as the solution to the resentment in the house of Laban, where a man cannot open up his heart to love and to serve just One — but considers taking leave?

Burren 4

 


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Larry Gillick, S.J.

Behold The Handmaid

Ecce ancílla! Behold the Handmaid … of the Lord!

In every story of the Hebrew Bible there is, when Abraham’s descendants are involved, the looking back. Like either for Lot’s nameless wife or Noah’s nameless wife. After all of the nameless received names.

The BoatHad you watched the news-clips this week from Macedonia or Hungary, and next week from Germany? In times of annihilation, as these sheep are willing to get branded by Church and/or State, in order to be saved. And note the earth in the story, in drought, in famine …. or even in times of plenty, but with winter not that far away. Behold the nameless in the story, carrying the Fear of the Lord with you, like perhaps the descendants of Ishmael these days?  With no emotional attachment to you, these Muslims expected to be saved with welcome – maybe like Egypt once extended that kind of hospitality to Jacob & Sons?  Only this time in Europe? Did you still feel the themes in these stories as a character is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence? Or just turned away?  Would you put some trust going in, in your God?  Did you work at knowing your God through stories, in the movement in the story toward growth?

In the story of Jacob, all the characters had names in order to peel away the layers— the essential truth, like in the book, The Boys in the Boat.  Note a leaving and the “Looking back.”  The moving forward, but coming back to the same themes about leaving again. When what happens in the boat is like “the chase scene” at the end, with suspense? That suspense is the reason to write – in the way of immersion – a book, for the roar of the gathered spectators.

The crowd. When Abraham’s descendants are involved, there is the looking back, like for Lot’s wife … to find not only the meaning, but the connection to the past, with the concern about the missing or a lost inheritance – or just the missing. Looking back, moving forward, but coming back to the same themes about leaving again. And so the focus on The Relationship – The True Relationship – connected to love.

So instead of remembering, the goal was to really come to know. For each of these characters of the Book of Genesis, there is The Call, in relation to Church and/or State. “Not by Might. Not by power.”

In the movement in the story, toward growth, a child doesn’t even KNOW how she/he were formed…or how I was created. So at what age do you explain? And how do you explain to the children of emigrants who left it all behind, living in exile – as a child of exile? Did you ever note until he is no longer heard from, how Reuben worked to stay immersed in what he had been born into? With the Birth Right. When his own father thought he had lost it?

“….by Spirit alone.”

Feel The MOVEMENT in the story, with the conflict, the tension. “There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot…” And now again. For Abram, as for Terah, even as for Lot in stories as over and over a father finds salvation through his son. And so the revised arrangement? Did you note the CALL, in this part of the story …. like the CALL that Abram once had answered, in the CALL in the story of Jacob? Did you look around at this part of the story for an answer to the “Where is the lamb?” question? As Jacob, like any nomad, feeling their alienation, while leading his sons to a place where they might belong? Real people have to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships, after the one you loved the most had died. Or went missing, for a while.

Immigrants. Living with the vow of Covenant every day, with the emotional attachment connected to any living sacrifice, as God has a more recognizable name, to the crowd and so did these people. When Rachel died, did Jacob slight his primary wife left behind in the eyes of Reuben? His mother, Leah? Artlessly, slight her? Reuben’s action with the handmaid of Rachel in the rivalry between two sisters, on issues of closeness to Jacob were meant to challenge his father, with the Birth Right? To only over time, in renewing vows, come to know what the vow really meant.

“God from God, light from light, True God from True God.” Rowing blind into the future, with only a Spiritual guide of the one up front, as Art becomes worth dying for. Like in the book, The Boys in the Boat, this BOAT ends up representing a lot more than their individual lives. Thus after the tear, for what we had become TOGETHER, to take half-measures, again. Or half-wives.

Emigrants. What of the Post Traumatic Stress Disordering of Isaac and his God? What of the authority of a father, Abraham and the God of Abraham? Locate the denial and the fear in the life of Jacob which motivated him to get away again … this time from Laban, as he denied the authority of Laban and his gods over Jacob. Wasn’t that the resentment that Jacob had lived with, between his own mother and his father over what was not perceived to be an equality in the God of Abraham? And Jacob’s real birthright was in leaving, so much like Abram had left his home. And for each of the protagonists of the Book of Genesis, there is The Call, in relation to the Land with the invisible borders of “Church and State,” on issues of power and might.

Settle down! In stories about leaving and coming back, feel the Restlessness. Central to the stories in the Book of Genesis is the theme of barren versus fertile, with the Jewish theme of ENOUGH when compared to the theme of sacrifice, with Joseph – the 12th child. Wasn’t there enough? Jacob with all of these sons, as well as these earthen vessels called handmaids who raised the sons of Jacob. And it had been these sons of Jacob who had elected to sacrifice the first born son of Rachel, the woman Jacob truly loved. And because Joseph as well as Benjamin were raised by a handmaid, who better had a feeling for the land, if the theory held that Bilah, like Hagar, was Egyptian …or her sister, Zilpah, the handmaid of Leah? And especially in such a household, with a greater need for a handmaid than Sarah ever had, you would as a son of Jacob, authentically know these handmaids associated with fertility in the Hebrew Bible; a handmaid is a female slave, enslaved to the wife and mistresses to the husband – in the case of both Abraham and Jacob.

Ahotay was the father of both Bilhah and Zilpah, who had been taken into captivity. In setting this captive free, it is said that Laban (Rebekah’s brother) gave him a wife named Hannah. Their two daughters included the woman Zilpah who was part of the hoodwinking in the marriage of Leah, presented as the younger of the two Ahotay daughters as a handmaid. Zilpah’s older sister was Bihah who had later been given as a handmaid to Rachel by Laban and then given by Rachel to Jacob when she failed to conceive. After Leah had four sons, Zilpah had twin sons conceived with Jacob. Bilhah too had twin sons conceived with Jacob. Leah and Rachel – unlike Sarah – were each to claim the two sons as her own. However, without the wisdom of Sarah, the rivalry between two sisters carried over in the relationships of all of the sons of Jacob, in the “be careful for what you pray” lesson. So based upon the story, could you really ever believe that Laban had set this captive Ahotay free? And so the inheritance for all the sons of Jacob, with the battle over Laban’s notion of what “Set free” meant.

The arrangement. Pilegesh is recognized by some as an Aramaic word meaning “half-wife,” in reference to handmaids. So as a son of Jacob you would know intimately the rivalry between sisters, as developed between rival sons. Compare what was happening to this generation to the previous stories with the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. When your wife in one perspective, or your mother in another perspective, is gone. So compare Rachel to Hagar, as the mother of these half-slaves. There is all of this holiness associated with the members of the household of Jacob, yet no one knew that a woman born to be a handmaid desired to both love and be loved by one man? Like you might look for One God? And what of the jealousy based on fertility of the two sisters, in the often overlooked theme of barren versus fertile? Or on the issue of ENOUGH?

From age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living G*d, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living G*d. It had been Sarah who asked for the banishment of her handmaid and her son. Why? The real Jewish theme, again and again in the Hebrew Bible, is one of annihilation, with all of these confounded separations in the stories of FIRSTS, in the Book of Genesis. So as Ishmael does get divorced from his father, what about the birth right? And with this separation, note the speed of departure, walking away at godspeed, described for any descendant of a nomad, to be at three miles per hour – not at the pace of a music video with a missing real emotional attachment. There was this lost emotional attachment …. In the perspective of the created. The blessed kids with their fears and the blessed anger which comes out from intimacy. On issues of power, when a divorce was what happened when a partner refused “the other” power over me. Maybe too much like the perspective of a child, as you clearly had made a mistake and you wanted to deny a portion of your past. Or your brothers did? When you were not equal. And the conflict here was between Sarah and her handmaid who were not, in this relationship, equal, as the first born was dispossessed of the Birth Right? In this family that believed in Birth Right. And the perceived inequality in this family was based then upon who their mother was.

The visible and the invisible. Forming the context as God’s Chosen People, did you feel the themes in these stories as a character is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence: 1) Adam and Eve, with their banishment? 2) The rest of the world, except for Noah and his family, at the time of the Great Flood? 3) Isaac on Mount Moriah? 4) And Ishmael in his very same Akedah moment on Mount Moriah thirteen years earlier, per the Qoran. 5) In the story of Reuben, the first born is dispossessed of the Birth Right again. And when your very own existence seems threatened, you turned to God? On matters of Atonement? After you sold someone into slavery?

According to Wikipedia, a pilegesh was recognized among the ancient Hebrews to have the same rights enjoyed in the house as the legitimate wife. But there was the conflict between the internal world and the external one, as far as strife. In who was Truly part of this family. With regard to social and legal standing – in the caste, in a world where shepherds were the lowest of the low – who were these sons of Bilhah? Bilah had been given to Rachel upon the marriage to Jacob, by Rachel’s father. So on issues of saving and being saved, on issues of slavery, what had Bilah taught the young men in their formative years – Dan and Naphtali, to whom she had given birth before Rachel ever did to Joseph?

And in relation to true purity, how can you forget the vexation and deception in the marriage of Leah to Jacob which seemed the inheritance that came from Rebekah’s family, now belonging as much to the sons of Jacob who are made up of the same percentage of blood from Laban that Isaac had had from Abraham? When you always married the eldest daughter off first – in the ordering, in the system within the house of Laban.

“Taking a chance on me.” Was Jacob looking for a place of peace when he left the homestead of his father? The irony was that this disrupted place was where he landed – in the homestead of his mother. Why do you think that in the relationship of Rebekah as an aunt to Rachel, his mother had left there in the first place, while facing the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence?

And with the hoodwinking of Isaac by Jacob, the hoodwinking of Jacob by Laban, what kind of sons did you expect Jacob to have? Having fallen for your mother’s niece like Abram fell for his half-sister …Jacob and so the sons of Jacob, hoodwinking their father for twenty-some years.

When you were raised by your mother’s handmaid, when you heard your half-brothers’ jokes about being slaves, did this rivalry teach you humility? Or did you grasp all of the resentment in the story?

JOSEPH

And so another handmaid in the story. Displaced by the Fear of the Lord, Jacob’s two beloved sons of Leah had to contend in the world, as their mother was gone from their everyday life. So locate the missing in the story, in the lives of Leah’s sons. What is missing is the mother, with the system substitution of the handmaid raising them – in contrast to how Sarah had banished her own handmaid – with still the ghosts of ingratitude toward Hagar’s sacrifice. So the ghost in this story is the mother of Joseph who neither Benjamin nor Joseph had ever really come to know, except through her handmaid.

Note the missing relation, if the chronology in the movement of the stories representing some form of growth – as a son came to save a father? — the inequality which threatened stability, based upon the PLACE and TIME that the two youngest were born into, with the displaced ghost of Rachel. And so, in their beginning, being sold into slavery, in the early story, a son is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence. Behold Joseph! Were you sensitive enough to the chronology over a lifetime to realize there was a significant period of time when Joseph never knew for sure – with his human doubts – whether he and his brother would survive? Even with his gift of prophecy. Because if your mother had not survived, why would you ever?

The all-knowing story-teller, working for The Academy of Private Detection, before answering the question whether the G*d of Jacob would live through and/or beyond Joseph, had some exploring to do in stories about leaving and coming back. And note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen. This was the very same human condition, as seen at Sodom in the threat as everyone comes to think alike, when everyone does something the same way. Even like prayer? So on matters of sacrificing Joseph, what was the big deal, with so many other sons? Banished by his own brothers, into slavery. And then the growing set of circumstances, over twenty-some years, as Jacob and all of his sons are faced with being reduced to utter non-existence by famine, along with all of Egypt. And what had Joseph learned that allowed him to save everyone? Or was it the God of Jacob that saved them all?

And so the story of Joseph, in what preceded him. In the relation of God’s Will to an inheritance which had come down from Abraham, did you feel like half a son when your mother is gone? And the sons of Jacob thought that Joseph was gone for good, like his mother Rachel? So Joseph surely came to understand all the turmoil among his brothers.

Before Joseph had ever reached the age of reason, there had been the rape of Dinah which was followed by the adultery of Reuben with the concubine of Jacob. If, on issues of relationships and ownership and handmaids and slaves, Abraham’s concern had been focused on issues of purity, wasn’t sex with a handmaid either rape of “adultery?” As any rape was the wrongful attempt to show dominion over someone – in times of war, over a place, what if you owned someone? In the transition period, as Jacob’s sons became men is the context, after the sons of Jacob/Leah had rejected the proposal for an arranged marriage to Shechem, with their concern, fifteen or sixteen years before, about illicit relationships? And the focus has changed from Jacob to that of his sons, on issues over who was most pure.

Yes, how the sons humbled Jacob, per these stories, with the missing emotional attachment before recognizing the System Substitutions, with this next generation. What is invisibly carried with the change in creation? In the challenge of modern times, the same unfinished incomplete invisible condition is over the conflict between the affiliated and the unaffiliated. In the quiet conversion called family, among uncles and nephews, over keeping a separation … or over growth … or over the distinctions between their animals — which came out of knowing – note Reuben as the firstborn son, with more than the same rights in this household? And there was an incredible main difference – perhaps like the age difference between Reuben and Joseph … or like between a handmaid in the concubine and a wife — was that the handmaid as concubine did not have an inheritance or a dowry. So this sequel to the story of the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac continued to be one of inheritance. And if, as a reader, you happened to be Muslim, did you note the same basic conflict had been between Hagar and Sarah? And all of these stories passed down since the time of Abraham – including what was to come, as King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines – involved a loving God, in the conflict over issues of who was most pure.

Now if you believed what is said according to Wikipedia – as it was regarded as the highest blessing to have many children, legitimate wives often gave their maids to their husbands to ATONE, at least in part, if they were barren – the main themes here are both somehow atonement and who it was who was able to first have an inheritance or a dowry, and then pass it down to the next generation. So is it the greatest of all irony that the dowry becomes that of slavery? And in the eyes of Ishmael, would you add the word “AGAIN.”?

The irony that Eve and Adam were displaced comes close to that of humor, unless you had some emotional attachment to these people. And in any family there are the differences in age between the eldest and the youngest, as well as the level of emotional attachment. Now according to Wikipedia – I am not Jewish so I have never read this myself – concubines are severely condemned in the Book of Leviticus. The simple truth is a human relationship was going to fail, if the women was not equal to the male. And it is the emotional attachment that I get from reading the Book of Genesis involving real people – people from whom I have descended – that gives my own relationships , human and divine, such depth.

And had it been because what Joseph had come to know through being around Bilah, who he had come to love as a mother? I sent an email to a friend of mine who now lives in New York City that a childhood friend of his lost his mother this week. “You knew my mother.” From St. Mark’s school … and at the Church. The mother who prepared the surviving son for the outside world. Long before she died. And there was a special bond because Bilah and her sons had really come to know Rachel, like Joseph never had the chance to.

Now according to Wikipedia – which I think gets it wrong without distinguishing the differences between the internal world and the external one, as far as strife way beyond legal status – the concubine commanded the same respect and inviolability as the wife, and it was regarded as the deepest dishonor for the man to whom she belonged if hands were laid upon her. But inside the family?

To live with an emotional attachment, did you see the first born son of Leah challenge his father, with the Birth Right, in a challenged based in a resentment that we all now live with. As experienced between Jacob’s own mother and his father, the ideal of a youth had been over what was not perceived to be an equality in the God of Abraham in relation to the spouse’s ideal. There is the resentment of Muslims over their perceived to be either equality or inequality of the God of Ishmael to the God of Isaac. There is the Fear of the Lord where I live over the related resentment of Muslims over their perceived to be inequality. So when it came to the handmaids, and living mostly all alone with the handmaid of Rachel, what had Joseph come to know about this world? And because the mother of Joseph died in childbirth, Bilah had formed Joseph to be who he was, Joseph acted friendly toward these sons of Bilah, the demeaned sons of the handmaids who were being called slaves by the first born sons of Leah, in a continuation of the story of who was better than who.

One of us. To keep a story of a great leader and prophet as written untouched. Were you sensitive enough to the chronology over a lifetime to realize there was at some point a significant invisible splitting that had gone on among the brothers? At some point did a people reverence something – a Land, a language, a story, a love – too much, with too little thinking about reality?

Language is always based based upon the PLACE and TIME. So how else did Joseph come to communicate with Egyptians except through a language taught by someone within his household who might know Egyptian? So the separation among brothers was based upon those who understood Egyptian and the other half who did not? And now reflect back on what had happened in that scene when Joseph was sold into slavery. Did you ever consider divorce and splitting as a form of sacrifice, in a new separation, based upon language with a refinement with a language?

One of us, and more – Joseph, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, knowing the language of the handmaids, one day rescued by…. was there any invisible irony that his brothers gave Joseph to Ishmaelites? To ATONE, for a perceived past wrong-doing of Abraham – if you wore blinders from the future that judged the past harshly? A human relationship is going to fail – which seems to be the wisdom of Sarah – if one man is not equal to the other.


As the first born son of Jacob challenges his father with the Birth Right, on the surface, Reuben is dispossessed of the birth right, until the reader comes to see the power of the Birth Right over time. It was with the power of birth right that Reuben saved the beloved son, who one day saved all of the sons.

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord!” It was the handmaid for whom Reuben sacrificed the birth right to challenge the morality of his father on issues of true love! In a world without Ten Commandments, feel the ghosts of the past, of issues of slavery. Examine the handmaids in the story who formed Joseph, which led to the saving of the entire line of Jacob if not Abraham, as you follow the Family Tree responsible for all of this Spiritual power, in a partial answer to the “Where is the lamb?” question, as a son came to save a father. So in a story with many perspectives of salvation, locate the VICTIM, through a betrayal, followed by denial, accompanied by Abandonment. The birth right was in a an act of saving – this so visible Act of Faith. And so, at some point to save someone, in an act of mercy. And so this BIRTH RIGHT, with a justified right to leave, with a lingering question of the degree of emotional attachment to one another, in a house filled with tattle-tales and hood-winkers; and hand-maids? In the end of the Book of Genesis is another evolving story with a theme to save and atone, at the same time. Together.

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System Substitution

Moreton Fig Tree “Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation.” Like in the Tree of Knowledge story, note the forced out native-born in the story, like the North American Indians, comparable to Eve and Adam.

System substitutions again, by Abraham. Note the circumcision, only after he went and fathered a child through his wife’s handmaid. So in the science of consequences, his first born son was a slave. If you did Algebra I.

In an apparition, there was suddenly the unexpected banishment, like an accidental death? And these stories just seemed to be repeating themselves. With the hovering ghosts of ingratitude toward Hagar, Sarah at least banished her handmaid and her son. The thing that got between two women might have had something to do with the methods of shared prayer if not shared belief.

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. In a story when both Abram and Sarai had the same father but different mothers, what has become of the command given to Adam to cleave? “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Though Abram had left home in his calling, here he was still cleaving to his half-sister perhaps out of the prejudice that he had about the outside world.

In any relationship, there is the issue of undivided support.

In an act that failed to distinguish, Abraham had fathered a child. And in the science of consequences, there is another separations and a split. In a perspective which challenged, to provide a fierce undivided support for a split child – did Ishmael belong to Abraham or to the mother? And so in the relationship, based upon cleaving, there is still the issue of support. So what is this perspective about a handmaid leaving the father of her son? If Ishmael belonged to Hagar, what of his relationship with Abraham, his master?

In a story when neither Adam nor Eve had a father or a mother, what is this new perspective for Ishmael about leaving a father? And I am drawn to the opening line in the National Book Award winner, The Round House: “Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation.”

So another author captures the story of beginning – in the conflict of the Native-born with the outside, with only the one post-Apple- Age-command given to Adam, about cleaving.

With the fear in the story, doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about land and women and suffering, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your money, if not your land, then at least your kids. And in growing up, based upon my parochial education, let me say that the Christian world in the Americas never gave a second thought about Ishmael until sometime after September in the first year of the New Millennium.

Hagar Spirit. It is the size and shape of ghosts which get through things. Feel the Post Traumatic Stress when a father sets a captive free. It seems fair to say that the lesson of the Emancipation Proclamation is that a society ignores the formation process of Creation by solely setting a captive free. So note another separation like between Abram and Lot, only this time between Abraham and the mother of his first born son. And were you sensitive enough to a chronology over a lifetime to realize there was a significant period of time when Abraham never knew for sure – with his human doubts – whether he would have any other son? Abraham who had negotiated with his God over saving 100 people in Sodom, in contrast to his ancestor Noah who failed to negotiate with God when he knew what was coming…. the father of faith, told what was coming. Before the discovery that God might be negotiated with. Note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, whether as the last person on earth — or the first — and feeling so all alone? Living with exception to these kinsmen, with Sarah and all the strangeness of Sarah through the things not physically shared – the torture of her barren-ness for the inability to carry the God of Abraham to the next generation through a child. Locate the personal boundaries in the story, with violations of individual if not communal boundaries in the story of Hagar.

The all-knowing story-teller, working for The Academy of Private Detection, before answering the question whether the G*d of Abraham would live through and/or beyond Ishmael, had some exploring to do of the people without power in this chapter of the story? Chosen, like in a mate, if the G*d of Abraham would survive for his son, with the involvement of political and Spiritual powers? Through story, image is defined by others, especially in the way of Ishmael’s handmaid-mother. What is apparent to me in my religious tradition somehow acquired through Abraham is that every tradition of the Abrahamaic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – has a need for both a story and a real living human body in order to pass on the method of prayer.

From age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living G*d, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living G*d. So in these stories locate the system substitutions again and again by Abraham, which over and over is repeated in the system substitution of his sons and grandsons. You learn these days in Algebra I about system substitution …and there is a theology of failure. Note the actions of substitution after Abraham realized his mistake.

The chronology in the life of Abraham started with the Call. The place in the story was always important – like the PLACE of origin – though Abraham acquired his wisdom over time because he just kept moving. So would Ishmael? There is something missing in the life of Ishmael. It is the hole that often can represent Spirituality. Note the reluctance of the narrator if not the Author of Life to state the self-evident about the inequality which threatened stability, based upon the PLACE and TIME that you were born into, with the displaced ghosts. In the beginning, like just another speck of dust – you. And when your father banished your mother over the conflict over the unconditional. And your father was gone from your everyday life. But in the case of Ishmael, not until he reached an early teen-age year.

Note the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – and the chronology which led to the idea of “unconditional love.” What transpired just before this banishment was the circumcision, after Abraham had gone and fathered a child through his wife’s handmaid. So in the science of consequences, his first born son, in the eyes of the world if not in the eyes of Abraham, was a slave.

In the ghosts of the religions of Abraham, stories do affect the way you pray … thoughtfully. In Ghost stories, this hole left in this birth of Ishmael is comparable to a hole left after a death. Remember, that thou art dust, visible and invisible. Long after you forget, one winter morn the quiet spirits of your ancestors show up again on your windshield after the morning frost melts ….and you notice that dust and it meaning, years later. When there is something in the hole that is now missing. As inequality threatens stability, in the construct of ghosts , there is the hole. And the construct of each and every ghost is still dust, from the dust of PLACE and TIME. Discussing the placement of Spirit in the hole – in the silence of Creation – the seen and the unseen construct of ghosts is still dust. Forever buried dust?

Did you grasp the resentment in the story? Why did Sarah even have a handmaid? Why did a childless woman need a handmaid? Was Abraham bringing back the spoils of war, as a sign of her worth … to prove her True worth …. like a Valentine from long ago? What had come between Sarah and the ideals of her handmaid over who she was: over identity and belonging, and over who this G*d of Abraham and of Sarah was? In having to still prove your worth at this age was there the lack of respect from outsiders to both Abraham and Sarah, without children? Did Hagar know the same feeling, as a handmaid? Was the wife of Abraham hostile that Abraham had taken in an arranged relationship – only a temporary one – a handmaid, against the mores of the people he had grown up with? Did Abraham and Sarai think that they could contend with a son born into slavery? When did the insight into the uncaring nature of others — a missing hospitality — begin that grew out of concepts of pride?

Order, before there was any law … in the beginning. Chosen first, but elite? Was the first born son better than the others? In the serial stories there are the personal and/or nostalgic associations. Not for the light-hearted, the debate is over goodness in what, for so many, were just kid stories … over whose sacrifice was best, in the debate over how to worship God which began as Abel, “for his part, brought the fatty portion of the FIRSTLING of his flock.” In the theme of “firstborn” and of chosen, with inheritance, as you assembled the children to hear the stories … about the the beginning of.

Did you ever follow the chronology which led to the idea of “unconditional love,” in the placement of the story of Sodom and purity — about intimacy — just after Ishmael had been born to Hagar? There is always the conflict over belonging to the G*d of Abraham, because Abraham himself was so divided in his love (over issues of purity), perhaps over to whom his new son belonged? Did you note the constant strife between the herdsmen — the stories over and over about shepherds — and now between Sarah and Hagar, which always exists in relationships? In the silent themes of PLACE, bloodlines, and the fertility which determine power and freedom, at this point in the Book of Genesis, Ishmael was the bastard son of Abraham, after Hagar had sacrificed her purity to her masters. When you were living as a conquered people and a conquered nation – with all the silent invisible hostility – Hagar had conceded forever not only her status but that of her son? But with the far off hope that something would one day change?

To connect the dots about Hagar, about intimacy, about unconditional love, Abraham has sacrificed his purity in the same way Adam had, to appease Eve. As your life becomes a formula, with personalities, plot structures, and noble character within, in order to develop comfort, with consistent shapes, often reaching consensus over right and wrong if not goodness over evil, there was this this hole left from this birth of Ishmael? When there did not yet exist a rule of law. And so the innocence of Abraham sacrificed, in order that Sarah might have a son.

The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all … wrote Daniel Mendelsohn in THE LOST.

And so the story of Abraham. An apparition is mostly an opening of light, if you did your Algebra I. And if it is Thursday, I am working on Algebra I and system substitution, but finding Abraham in the stories about sacrifice and human bodies, and their connection to unconditional love. How to communicate deep feeling of flesh and blood nomads in search of something, while unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — in the story of the Father of Faith, concerning his God and the relationships of Abraham, moving slowly toward the proper way of worship … through stories about sacrifice and human bodies? “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive, but with a great restlessness. When you prayers were so alive….and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Even if sometimes you had to hood-wink a son.

Locate the VICTIMs by the end of the Book of Genesis. As Ishmael goes missing. And in a role passed to Isaac – who had to appreciate his own father’s pain about a missing son – and then in the story of Joseph, it is Jacob, who is the ultimate VICTIM of hood-winking in response to “Where is the Lamb” question. In these stories of the missing. Like Israel, surrounded by people who he could never really trust, even his eldest son of Leah. And did you witness in the stories of Jacob & Sons, all of the Violence over trying to be One? Again. And so the invisible God of Jacob, so distinct from the God of Abraham. If you ever spent the time to try and see. And did you notice a greater suffering as the living VICTIM went missing, for over twenty years, in a witness of the unseen? With so much emotional attachment … to first Jacob, and then his son, Joseph? And the long-forgotten first born son, Ishmael?

And so this birth right, connected to the invisible if not to the missing. Yes, locate the importance of the binding in the hole left in the relationships, in stories about unconditional love … with God’s intervention in the holes.

COPYRIGHT PHOTO of a Moreton Bay Fig Tree COURTESY OF, belonging to, HO TONY of New Zealand. Touch to enlarge the photo, to locate the Spirit in the tree. Is Abraham near the root?

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2015 POST SCRIPT:
Speaking of “system substitution,” the trial of Jason Rezaian, the reporter working for the Washington Post in Iran was not much different than the news stories from 2011 involving Dorothy Parvaz or even the arrest of Shane Bauer. Yes, when we endow our lives with stories. Through stories about sacrifice involving human bodies? “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the current editor of The New Yorker, a one-time reporter for the Washington Post. Mostly these are the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Because of a great restlessness you were born with, that seemed to move the next generation.

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Larry Gillick, livelydust.

ONE SILENT NIGHT

The doubts in the story. About each other. About their God. The movement in the story. Always the movement in these stories of the principals. The Flood. The Exodus. And having to take decisive action, to survive. So in this case there was the decree, just when you wanted to stay home. But maybe by leaving when the child was born, the locals would not talk so much about what had happened – or what was perceived to have happened. Creation

There was the mixing of the public and private concerns, as well as the innocence in the story. When you somehow were innocently born into the evil in the world. Not unlike what happened to a judge who found himself surrounded by evil, if you were bothered by all the secret goings-on, in the name of super men, if not God, in the system under the National Security Agency, after what happened to all of the innocent kids in human history. In human history up until this point.

Life and death. Did you note the theme in the first chapters of Genesis, about movement. Noah and his unnamed wife, who must have felt so very much alone. So was this a new beginning or just an ending? Chosen, with your very own personal choices about continuing life. (Chosen – the contest was fixed in my favor, in a contest between the inside against the outside world?) The doubt in the story about life – that I was loved? The sacrifices made to demonstrate love, to remove the doubt, because there always was doubt that you were Chosen, until you were so very much alone. Like Noah. Or Isaac. Or Joseph, in Egypt in times of famine. Or another dreamer named Joseph.

Again and again, as your very private life would determine the future of the world: the mystery, with the seen and the unseen. Adam and Eve. Noah and his unnamed wife, while pairing up all the animals. When you feel so very much alone, with doubt in times of annihilation, while starting over as PLACE replaces TIME as a character determined who they were; did you ever sense from the displacement the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize a Post Traumatic Stress disordering, about what is lost of the inheritance if not the birthright as PLACE replaces TIME, in the New Creation? The theme over who would be saved, and with the involvement – some kind of involvement – with the use of your fertility, in times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened – with or without love.

The movement, the themes, in the stories: When in hindsight it all seemed so fixed, like last night’s Ms. Universe Contest. Missing the movement in the story, with the pain and the suffering. Far from your home, with the doubt whether you really had been personally Chosen. The always and everywhere doubt over some warped sense of those who were chosen after hearing true stories of annihilation, about the powerless and the innocent. When it was clear that even God was capable of mass killing of the innocent.

The human condition: when the last person on earth you could trust was gonna have you committed to a mental institution – the motive in the killings was the human condition, and being left so all alone? And scared.

The real Jewish theme, again and again in the Hebrew Bible, is one of annihilation. Of Abel. Of the world at the time of Noah. Of Isaac, in the story on Mount Moriah. When the focus was on the innocent, when the outside world got a view within. And all of the new threats – the inside and outside threats, to the Chosen People – which came out of envy and jealousy.

The same human condition, whether the last person on earth – or the first. The doubts in times of annihilation: again and again the stories of the past – and also in the present. The realization that these were such personal stories of fertility.

Here, the Roman concern of rebellion. So a census, for registration. When in Rome, with their fear, putting down all crazy religious rebellions. When inequality threatens stability.

So the census. So the journey, surrounded by other sons of David who had to register in Bethlehem – the long line of fertility. Maybe still struggling over the concept of the virgin birth. And we never hear in the Gospels anything about the timing of the wedding between pregnant Mary and Joseph. And how would a couple not keep talking about it. About who among the relatives were never invited – and the talking about the wedding. And so maybe the relatives caught a whiff of the tension, with the innocence in the story. Of Joseph. Of Mary. And if Joseph was from the line of David, from where did Mary originate? And was she even good enough for him?

All these Latter Day Saints concerned about the private lives of this couple, as if it was anyone else’s concern. Like the shared doubt at this stage between Joseph and Mary, they are in the story, so all alone. The innocent in the story – the already betrothed Joseph, representing the House of David. Why would the Virgin Mary get pregnant – however it happened, by the God of Abraham? And then sent off by the political authorities to a place of origin to register, to enroll for a numbering.

When surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, when the last person on earth – or the first – feeling so all alone? So was this a form of societal shunning, with such an unconventional marriage, before the unconventional birth? Why else could you leave a woman and her husband so close to delivering a baby so all alone, in the story? Was it about another human concern – about who wanted to come between a couple that was gonna have a baby so soon. With all of the emotion involved, wasn’t there a sense of human shame? When you woke up in a strange town, surrounded by your extended family struggling over the concept of why they were not invited to your wedding, and you were forced to explain who you were and what you were doing here, if not how long you intended to stay – together. In Bethlehem. And then this pregnancy!

When there were honor killings by families in these times, over women who conceived a child outside of wedlock. The system, with the underlying relationships which came out of fertility, which was the basis of the registration – to whom were you related? With the Roman concern over ideas of rebellion which might be fermented by crazy religious beliefs. And the Jewish concern, with the six hundred and some laws from Leviticus. So how would you explain the pregnancy?

The deepest part of Christmas which came from stories about not just transporting a culture to an old place, but then somehow planting the culture. Through the Law. So there was the long spoken of Messiah and the birthright, along with the private life of the Messiah and his parents. The missing public spectacle. The movement, in how it was coming along? When you seemed so perfect as a baby, but it was always hard to so personally live with your God in this impersonal world. On this earth. With the God who stirred and disrupted. Chosen People.

Was there doubt in the story, in this very private story? Or fear, if not anger? About how a man from the House of David was somehow asked to deliver alone the Messiah. Joseph, so all alone? And about the ‘becoming,’ it is of note that Joseph had strongly considered divorce, at some time during the gestation period of the Messiah. When, if you celebrated the meaning of Christmas, you recognized the inner split in God over exactly who were His chosen people. And the properly credentialed latter day saints excommunicated you today over such divorce action — or after an apostolic investigation, excommunicated the sisters of St. Joseph — unless they found human grounds for annulment.

The conflict over power in the story. In a variant of dealing with denial, the decree from Rome was an attempt to show their dominion over the place? Of the insiders and the outsiders, note all the outsiders who tried to become insiders about what happened at the time. There was, thank God, only the latter concern by the latter day saints about the status of Mary’s soul. Mary born without sin, but surrounded by crime and sin in the world. By all the emotional responses to fear and anger, and to punishment, in a story.

To address all the doubts in times again and again of annihilation: the stories of the past – and also in the present. In this story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN. When over and over there were stories of indiscriminate human annihilation, and real people had to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships. The relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself. From one generation to the next. So I strongly suspect that in gestation period of the Messiah that the birthright of Abraham was at play between this couple. The same birthright with sacrifice that came out of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had, in what seemed a normal way of life. Scripture is nothing but the history of how people who went before us learned how to pray. Abraham. Isaac. Sacrifice. The strangeness of it all. A bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, through a son. Before there was the commandment about having “no strange gods before Me.” And so began Abraham’s dialogue with God, asking questions, seeking answers if he was doing the right thing. Questioning. Really, learning how to pray, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his son –the bond. And as a result, there was over time some long-developed cultural trust in the personal story of doubt – in the bond. Marrying, despite the palpable doubt in each other, wrestling with the unrecognized birthright question…and passing it on, with such emotion. Generation after generation. But with a conflict in the story between the unrecognized sacrifices by a parent for a son/daughter who followed fathers and mothers, with no idea where the future would take him/her. Or ME!

Chosen. Like in a mate. Two people from two homes try to merge their ideas, with two personalities, of what is an appropriate environment for their child. And learning each other’s strangeness. Yeah, as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private lives of this couple – whether a couple would remain kosher. With the concern of all the latter day saints about the degree of how orthodox.

The perversions of Gentile people, by the all these latter day saints, missed the discussion of the form of their orthodoxy – until they missed,and I along with them, the doubt shared at this stage between Joseph and Mary. In the first months of their new relationship. When, like any nomad, you wanted to go back to a place where you were once known – so maybe a census. Known, like God had once been. In places where you were forced to just listen. Listening to Joe Lieberman, on his tradition: until the bereaved family was ready – if they ever were ready – to talk, there was just silence. After living through the real stories of annihilation, like twelve months ago in Newtown, Connecticut, note the importance in the story, again and again, of companionship in the silence.

Silence. The movement in the story over the shared doubt at this stage between Joseph and Mary. There was such concern about the private lives of these people – as if it was anyone’s concern – and I thought a lot about the Lanza family and the cause/origin of another indiscriminate human annihilation. Like in the story of Isaac. And all the unrecognized Post Traumatic Stress Disordering that resulted, on issues of trust between both people and their God. I thought about the human condition: when the last person on earth you could trust was gonna have you killed – or committed.

When doubt met belief. The movement in the story of bonds that came from compounded belief, of a real human birth. When you were surrounded by people who shared your belief, but with all of the real human doubt between people and families. The doubt that would continue to be a theme over a lifetime, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering in the potential death of Isaac and in his not described relationship with Ishmael, just as Abraham had suffered with Hagar?

In this story of relative love, the conflict is when everyone was not the same – even noting the difference in another story of a son of the father of faith, Isaac, who was going to die, and Abraham was going to live. The annihilation, in prayer, in starting over each week. After sacrificing your best.

A day of awe, dealing with inheritance, later to be too much forgotten when it came to the mystery of the issue of birthright. In this story about a Living God and about belonging in the world, but sacrificing Your best. Abraham, who discovered at the end of the story of his tremendous human longevity, in the dénouement, was — in the release of tension in the dénouement —coming back home in his lameduck days, with his great sense of shame after wounding his own fertility. When you prayers were so alive. And you wanted others to have the same experience. The story about keeping something alive with sacrifice, with a passion, concentrating on this thing called physical and spiritual love – in my own fertility – that God would never forget. ME!

These descendants of a people from the ancient Semitic population: a descendant of Noah’s eldest son, taken to a place where they never had been? And so this trip to Bethlehem, by Joseph. Bethlehem, where Jacob buried the wife he loved. So Bethlehem was about this bond which had come out of birthright, between outsiders and insiders in these love stories? Where God had lost his “strangeness.” Rachel was an outsider who never made it back to the Abraham’s homestead. That a nomad, without his own sense of place, who was supposed to resolve the crisis over belief, in a foreign land, outside the garden in the first place. With all of the anguish again this year, in Bethlehem where people are still dealing with independence and multiculturalism, along with the changing roles of power. Bethlehem, where David had been born. With all the stories of post traumatic stress disorder: when you killed a giant, despite the commandments. With still the ever growing need for a forgiveness, in Bethlehem. To confer a spirit about shared belief, in the name of God, upon a king. With all the tension in the forgiveness story. With post traumatic stress on issues of trust, for the young, unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — after a grandfather had once been ready to take a knife to your father. Wondering first about the genetic affect and then about the environmental affect on a son, in these love stories of how God lost his “strangeness,” about the birthright which had come down one silent night to Bethlehem.

To find your people. To form institutions based upon trust. To wake up among your own people everyday, one day able to escape your shame. Note the movement that came from the shame that Abraham, that Jacob, that David all had felt so personally. And now a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, from the royal line of Jacob – note the movement toward Bethlehem — with atonement, by God for all the present, past and future annihilation. Note the movement in the story concentrating on this new tangible physical and spiritual love – in a fertility – so that somehow for all the shame, I would never forget God.

TO Bethlehem. A virgin birth. Who would ever believe? In the story of the human condition, in the story of salvation history, when God came between Chosen People. So why not have Joseph be challenged by Mary, as Jesus one day would challenge the world? Who could, who would believe in a virgin birth – like on one dark December silent night Joseph finally had? Who would believe it now? To Bethlehem, a Messiah – who would ever believe? Or who could ever believe so personally in a Messiah — with all the personal stress between loved ones in passing on a human concept of God — now? That was the mystery. The darn near impossible. God! Who could believe in the “strangeness” of God? It was always the question. Then, and now – in all the connectedness this Christmas. And for every day of the remainder of your life, the world thought you — like your wife — were the parent of the Messiah. Who could one day save this world. As one silent night followed the last one.

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Jacob & Sons, Part II

To save a heritage…. or my heritage … when everything seemed threatened again, after one thing led to another.

Did you ever take a lot of time with a story, to savor its meaning ….. like a good wine, to savor its aftermath? Had you ever connected the stories of inheritance in the family of Abraham – mostly the same lives, the same stories, over and over – in the variation of pride and vainglory from unconditional love which was part of the inheritance which developed out of “knowing?”
https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/jacob-sons/

“There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, as the complaints reached Abram.” Even among uncles and nephews, over keeping a separation … or over growth … or over the distinctions between their animals — which came out of knowing?

In the movement in the story, toward growth, note the human unrest when leaving again, even for the descendants of nomads. And so the preparation to go on a trip. For a seventeen year old, like his mother at that age, “being a shepherd,” Joseph was with his brothers, with the flocks in what they were born into. Sons of Jacob, living at a time in a generation when a woman’s worth was proven in child bearing. And there was much strife between the brothers over who their mothers were. When it came to the handmaids, Joseph was frequently with the sons of Bilhah, because his [other] brothers would demean the sons of Bilhah, who had been the handmaid of Joseph’s mother who had died; Joseph acted friendly toward these sons of Bilah.

And these were the settlements of the generations of Jacob, from their wanderings. The first cause of their wanderings was their flock, when Joseph was seventeen years old. As Joseph, in a sign of pride and vainglory, as a kid, behaved childishly, writes Rashi, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. And besides the gift of prophecy, at a young age, Joseph was a handsome tattle-tale. “Any evil he saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father,” writes Rashi. His tales told to Jacob were about the violations of the norms of the day, by the first born sons of Jacob. And did your ears ring with the question of Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (The better translation was not “keeper” but “watchman,” if you ever studied Hebrew.) Rashi writes that the sons of Leah, now grown men, demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves, in a continuation of the story of who was better than whom. In the quiet conversion called family, Joseph suspected that the sons of Leah were engaged in illicit sexual relationships. On issues of giving everything up, on matters of sacrifice, the sons of Leah were also eating the limbs of living animals, on issues of torture, perhaps confusing true sacrifice with animal torture. And for reporting on these three matters, Rashi explains, Joseph was punished. In Genesis 37:31 it is stated that his brothers slaughtered and ate a kid … “When they sold him, and did not eat it alive.”

And so the significance of PLACE in the story, as Joseph came to Shechem: the place where the tribes sinned, where Dinah had been violated in days when Joseph was just a toddler, learning how to walk. And there the brothers, writes Rashi, plotted against him to put him to death.

Yes, before selling him, the brothers had intended to kill Joseph. So why would someone with the gift of prophecy walk into the trap? Could he not have saved himself, or was this a case where Joseph first needed to be saved, if he was to save. Even if he had the gift of prophecy, he had come to know THAT, as he had come to know his God. And Rashi writes, “in expression of modesty and eagerness, [Joseph] went with alacrity to fulfill his father’s command although he knew that his brothers hated him.”

On matters of self-esteem, it is of note that shepherds were considering the lowest of the low in the Egyptian culture. And people from Canaan were not normally even allowed to sit at table of an Egyptian. And so the importance of the first born son, Reuben, and the descendants of Ishmael, in the saving in the story of self-esteem. It was Judah, the fourth born son of Leah and Jacob, who “said to his brothers, ‘What is the gain if we slay our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but our hand shall not be upon him, for he is our brother, our flesh.’ And his brothers hearkened.”

As Joseph’s life is spared, by caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, so much like Isaac’s life had once been spared, like Jacob’s life had once been saved, and even like Abram had once saved the life of Lot before he spared the life of Isaac. As Joseph’s life is spared so much like ….. somehow the movement in the common stories seem repeated to a people who shared a past — so much like when Abraham had shown up, if you believed the story in the Qoran read at the end of Ramadan, on Eid Al Fitr, at the same PLACE as the same scene later played out, between Abraham and Isaac maybe a generation later, once Ishmael had been banished, like Adam and Eve — like in the beginning. So why not just end it all again, like on Mount Moriah, Noah-like without the ark? And God, if He let Abraham kill his son, then surely understood. About a killing like the physics in a sacrifice.

In the conflict over belonging, with too much independence, seemingly returning to the Promise Land, from where Jacob had come, to this place where a man had one wife and one God, note the very real relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself, from one generation to the next. As God tried to assimilate with His people, as the descendants of Abraham tried to assimilate into the New Creation after leaving the place of their birth behind. And that was the cause of hostility, for all the brothers?

Note that Joseph would not be as shaken as much as Isaac had been when Isaac really was the lamb that Abraham had planned to surrender now so long past. In another of these stories of betrayal over and over since Abraham really had betrayed Isaac in the Akedah, attempting to show how separate he was from all other men, just as Noah once had been, Joseph has acquired — with his epiphysis, in the invisible growth center, like within a bone, called soul — an inner strength.

In stories about identity, the missing connection for the sons of Leah is WHY they had been circumcised in the first place, indicative that they did not know God, since the time their sister Dinah, the daughter of Leah, had been violated? And that had occurred before the death of Rachel. And in retribution, the sons of Jacob, led by the second-born and third-born sons of Jacob and Leah, attempted to show their dominion over place after the sons of Jacob had rejected the proposal for an arranged marriage to Shechem. And their concern, fifteen or sixteen years before, had been about illicit relationships.

Where had Jacob been, with such a large family, for the past fifteen or sixteen years in his relationships with his sons? What had Jacob figured out about his birthright? The reporting that Joseph told him about the sons of Leah concerned still the illicit sexual relationships; “his master’s wife lifted her eyes, etc.” (Genesis 39:7).

As real people have to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships, after the spouse you loved the most had died. Why had Jacob been called back to Canaan at the time his eldest sons were of the age for arranged marriages, with his pregnant wife Rachel? Who would these sons marry? Did you note the CALL, in this part of the story? Like the CALL that Abram once had answered? And in the CALL in the story of Jacob, did you look around at this part of the story for an answer to the “Where is the lamb?” question? As Jacob, like any nomad, wanted to go back to a place where he had been once known – for the arranged marriages …. so at least for the younger sons, living surrounded by his kinsmen . . . where at least the sons of Rachel would be able to marry suitable women through some form of arrangement, on issues over who was most pure.

Living with exception to these kinsmen, when Joseph to his family had allegedly become the outsider – or not. Did you note the obsessions in the family … over who was “chosen” or who had the birth right, as the sons of Leah, now grown men, demeaned the sons of the handmaids by calling them slaves – what ultimately leads to the demise. Of Joseph. For twenty-some years, in the perspective of Jacob (who had also left home for twenty years.) And what happens to those who obsess, who are not open to amending their lives — as a son reflects the father.

Yes, how the sons humbled Jacob, per these stories. The suggestion passed along was if you were to dwell in the house of Laban, just as Lot had dwelled in Sodom, couldn’t you engage in licentious behavior .. With your handmaids? When you did not know anyone else there, when your hope in relationships with your true love was blocked by the system, when the order of fathers involved the marriage of firstborn daughters, and you couldn’t do anything about that world you had moved into. (And so the perspective of Jacob’s sons in the dénouement of one story, into what they had been born into.)

What is the sacrifice, in the mores of the sons of Jacob who had been formed by their different mothers, or by the handmaids of their mothers? Note the separation in the story, involving the sons of Jacob, in the movement in the story of nomads. Where is the lamb now, for the grandsons of Isaac? I think that the story in this relationship between Joseph and his brothers and with their father is about what happens concerning the relationship AFTER the betrayal. Or what would happen to the bond, in the twenty-two years that transpired, before Jacob traveled to Egypt to find his son, to find salvation. After the sons of Jacob had betrayed Joseph …. after the sons of Jacob had betrayed their father.

When a father finds salvation through his son. Had there been a threat that the sons of Jacob would be disowned? What was their fears in the story over their own personal recognized illicit sexual relationships? Or had it been over eating the limbs of living animals, maybe like other members of Laban’s clan had done? What did this failure to keep kosher mean in their torture and eating of living animals? Or did this recall the command given to Jacob as he prepared to face off against Esau? That command in chapter 32 of Genesis had been “the children of Israel may not eat the displaced tendon, which is on the socket of the hip, until this day, for he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, in the hip sinew.” And now their fears when there father heard reports about their behavior? And Jacob not dealing with the issue? When he had been so long immersed into the culture of Laban, which was his own mother’s family. Had you forgotten the moment when the hip injury occurred while wrestling with the angel in the night? Had you forgotten the visible injury …. the disabled in the story of Jacob and sons?

After all of Abram’s concern over purity, after what he had done to Hagar, which one day would result in circumcisions, leading up to the moment of the Akedah, what had become of the post traumatic stress of Isaac, in the conflict over belonging to the God of Abraham, because Abraham himself was so divided in his love, over issues of purity? Did you note the constant strife between the herdsmen — the stories over and over about shepherds — between brothers which always exists in relationships which come out of place, of bloodlines? When at this point in the Book of Genesis, how many of these sons were the bastard sons of Jacob?

So did Abraham disown Hagar and her son when he set them free? What was the perspective in this family of Jacob? Had there been a threat that the sons of Jacob’s handmaids would be disowned, if not set free?

And so the question of birthright. Was this the immaturity of a youngster with a developing inner talent but given no real direction, in this the slow development of the gift of prophecy, using a talent for personal profit to become beloved? “Any evil he saw in his brothers” – the sons of Leah –“he would tell his father.” How did people deal with strangeness, over who were your half-brothers or your full brothers? Sons so much like Eve who felt that she could do anything because she came from the Garden of Eden where God dwelled, or over who your mother was? Contrast the God of Abram and the definition of self-esteem to the concepts of the sons of Jacob with Jacob’s limited sense still of one birth right, no better than any other people, or any one son if the Lord was really with you. In this evolutionary developing story, in the shared God of Abraham, Chosen People who one day come to have their own children if not PLACE.

There is a danger living around your own kinsmen, as we all come to think alike with God before seemingly forced out of the Land of Canaan? So, Joseph suspected that the sons of Leah were engaged in illicit sexual relationships. And for reporting on these three matters, Rashi explains, Joseph was punished … by his brothers.

Behold the sacrifice. In the offense that Joseph could hardly have remembered, Reuben had slept with Bilah. What I believe to be missing in the mystery of the Book of Genesis is that neither Isaac nor Ishmael, in trying to save Abraham – on matters of shame – ever reported what had almost happened to their respective mothers, on Mount Moriah.  In a similar coverup, had Reuben, the first born son, ever explained to Joseph how Jacob had tried to take his birth right away like Jacob had with his own brother Esau? When did you discover that Jacob was this flawed hero? Or had this been another “Don’t tell your mother” moment which seemed a part of THE birth right. Much like a journalism major has no idea what they are getting into in a place like Russia or in the Philippines, it is dangerous work to want to be a theologian. So did Reuben love these Egyptian handmaids like he knew his father who engaged in illicit sexual relationships never had? And fifteen or sixteen years later, there is Joseph reporting on the illicit sexual relationships of the firstborn sons of Jacob. And for this, Rashi explains, Joseph – on matters of shame – was punished by his brothers. With all the wars which came out of identity connected to PLACE, there is sacrifice, as fathers over and over are sacrificing their sons. In stories about the seen and the unseen, note how just as a brother saved a brother, like in a reconciliation between Jacob and Esau, as Reuben suggested that Joseph be cast into this pit in the desert, “… do not lay a hand upon him.” So with all all the hoodwinking in between, about whether he had been killed, Reuben unknowingly first sacrificed his birthright out of his unconditional love for Bilah, and now consequently came to save the life of Joseph who was allied with the sons of Bilah.

Note the movement in the story of belonging which came out of a displacement in the story of Joseph. It was difficult when you left the PLACE where you grew up to search for a mate who was as pure as Sarah, as Rebekah, as Rachel while living outside the tribe, in the growing world. When it had been Rachel who had been most pure in the story of Joseph. That charley horse of the throat comes on the day that you recognize the part of Joseph in the invisible sacrifice with the birth right, while living outside the tribe – in what he had come to sacrifice, in his role of the lamb. Even when the world comes to adore you… from his own position of awkwardness, after being accused of raping the daughter of the chamberlain, in a family that slaughtered the king’s animals, Joseph is imprisoned.  In “the ax to the frozen sea ending”in the dénouement of the story of Joseph, did you ever sense from his displacement the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize his Post Traumatic Stress disordering, about what is lost of the inheritance if not the birthright as TIME replaces PLACE, on issues of identity?  Joseph had saved his brothers, but had not saved himself, and in his marriage to the daughter of a priest of the sun-god seemed to have sacrificed a future? In a “be careful for what you pray” story, the sons of Jacob survived as outsiders until their grandchildren’s grandchildren became slaves for the Egyptians, based upon Joseph’s sacrifice of his identity.

When into what they had been born, Joseph’s two sons were half-Egyptian, so Joseph surely came to understand all the turmoil among his brothers on concepts of what it means to be sons of servants, handmaids, slaves, or God’s Chosen — in sitting at table with Hebrews or even shepherds. As the Book of Genesis concludes, Joseph succeeds where Abraham fails, giving up forever whatever he had come to know of God … if Abraham had killed his first born son over issue of purity? Living in the “credentialed” world, in order to make a living there is a need presenting credentials to the proper authorities, in order to be recognized with the right to speak about the meaning of pedigree if not birth right … in the sacrifice of birthright, to start over? When every act of creation, noted Picasso, involves a form of destruction. And so again Abraham’s idea, to sacrifice the future – through a son. Could Jacob ever explain, like ABRAHAM could to his to his son that he had fathered Isaac not for the world — but for Sarah, after he had fathered Ishmael for the world, so that his God would not die? And so this story which reflects all the conflict and turmoil in the lives of Jacob and Sons, on world issues of insiders and outsiders? As Abraham had tried to make a sacrifice of his own purity before God with Sarah for others, few outsiders would ever understand the Akedah. Imagine the reaction of an outsider, if they ever came to understand the continuum ever since the story of Cain, that first born son of Eve and Adam, in the connection of sacrifice to purity and the future of the world. In the stories of real relationship, by the end of the Book of Genesis, the sons of Joseph had forever lost their blood purity, but lived on? And so begins the long period of time with the question, “dead or alive?” About the birthright, like in this story of Joseph – with the long-range repercussion, that the young never saw after what they were born into, so much like the hostility of Rebekah, after Isaac had married this outsider, through the arrangement by a servant of Abraham. To one day FEEL the inner hostility to the age-old institutions, by the servants.

In the Middle East where there still is constant strife between the herdsmen like between Abraham and his nephew Lot, the sons and grandsons of Abraham were still dealing with the post traumatic stress over issues of purity, on the inheritance, over who was better than who – selling their brothers off, contending with betrayal, pretending their prayers reached higher than the prayers of those who had lost their sense of PLACE in the world, in dealing with all their human and divine relationships, in preserving the heritage and somehow passing it on. Locate the innocent in each of the stories: in the story of Noah and in all of the stories concerning Abraham.  To save the world? To be put into a position to save the world through his son, like the son of David built THE Temple, this one son of Jacob. To really save all of Israel… for a while. In the focus of salvation, locate the conflict over who was most pure, when a child had no choice over the purity of the world they were born into – when you had so many different mothers living in the Motherland, with a missing peace. In these stories of Identity about Native-born and the aliens, over who was better than who, I have come to learn somehow to pray for peace, even when I, so much like Cain, am no longer among the most pure.

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After The Birth of Ishmael, The Story of Sodom

Lot In stories about identity, Lot’s wife was “one of them.” Note the movement in the story of bonds which came from compounded belief, of a real human death. When you were surrounded by people who shared your belief, but with all of the real human doubt between people and families, that doubt would continue to be a theme over a lifetime, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering.

The strangeness of it all, after the Great Flood — A SACRIFICE. What a bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, through a son. Imagine the reaction of Rebekah when she heard the story, as an outsider, about Lot’s wife. Chosen, and learning each other’s strangeness. All these Latter Day Saints concerned about the private lives of this couple, as if it was anyone else’s concern – as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private lives of these men – whether a family would remain kosher.  With the concern of all the latter day saints about the degree of how orthodox.

Yeah, so much like the shared doubt at this stage between Lot and Abraham, who are in the story, so all alone from the communities in which they lived, per the Book of Genesis.  And over and over the theme of separation: “There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, as the complaints reached Abram about the misbehavior of Lot’s herdsmen, about the arguments between their shepherds. Therefore the elder Abram said to Lot: ‘Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen. For we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’”

Note the Garden of Eden in the story, in the separating, without hesitation, of Lot from Abram. Lot made the choice to journey eastward where he pitched his tent near Sodom, which was the same direction Adam and Eve had once headed after their banishment. Abram was left alone near Beth-El, receiving from his G*d another of His promises.

Sodom and Gomorrah were among five old cities east of the Tigris River, which for twelve years had paid tribute to the conquering powerful King Chedarlaomer of Elam, until the five cities rebelled. And so a war for independence; after thirteen years of independence, the king of Elam with the help of three neighboring kings marched upon the valley of the Jordan and met the enemy near the bitumen pits in the valley of Siddim, trapping the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. A battle was fought and among the captives of King Chedarlaomer was Abram’s nephew, who had remained in Sodom. A messenger who had escaped from battle carried the news to Abram that his nephew was enslaved.  Gatherering 318 of his men, Abram pursued Chedarlaomer, and in a nocturnal attack, aided by many a divine miracle, his guys defeated the superior force, freeing the people – including Lot – recapturing all the loot, bringing back in a march of triumph the captives while singing praises to the G*d of Abram.  Accompanied by Lot, Abram then met the king of Sodom along with the 465 years old King Malkitzedek of Salem (Melchizedek) who, if you believed what someone seems to have inserted into the story, was the actual son of Noah, named Shem. In accordance with his priestly office, Malkitzedek gave to Abram bread and wine, adding to a typical offering his true and simple blessing: “Blessed be Abram of the Most High G-d, Who has delivered thy enemies into thy hand.” Abram then gave him a tenth of everything he had, in the aftermath of the war for independence for Sodom and Gomorrah.

Standing on the height near Beth-El, long before this war of King Chedarlaomer, Abram and Lot had gazed over a wide fruitful valley of the Jordan, like the rich land of Egypt they had just left behind. But the people in the valley “were wicked and sinners before G*d exceedingly.” Although he lived in Sodom, it is said that Lot was the exception to the cruelty of the Sodomites to all strangers.  In a story that repeats itself, as Sodom is totally annihilated just as the entire world seemed to be in the story of the Great Flood, Sodomites offered no hospitality to a passing stranger, no consideration for the poor. It is said that because one of Lot’s daughters once secretly had given food to a stranger near starvation, this daughter had been burned in public (see the story of Plitith). And so the pleading of Abram before G*d to save the cities for the sake of the righteous who might be living in Sodom, after G*d had informed Abram of His intention to destroy Sodom, where Lot (who he had saved once already) lived.
LINK: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_15816_149.pdf

When words carry weight. As the words take root….. ‘Take this’ bond.  Before comparing the G*d of Abraham to the G*d of Isaac, note another separation between Abram and Lot, in in the conflict over belonging,with so much independence? Note the very real relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself. From one generation to the next. So to be so personally given a choice. As G*d tried to assimilate with His people, in a seemingly populated world. Since mostly words connected to Spirit carry weight, if you did not understand this story about the nameless wife of Lot, you would never understand what would happen on Mount Moriah between Abraham and Isaac.

Note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, whether as the last person on earth — or the first — and feeling so all alone? It is never stated that Lot had been tortured in his captivity, but I think that he had been. When, like any nomad, you wanted to go back to a place where you were once known – in the arranged marriage, where at least your wife was known. And so the nameless wife of Lot, living surrounded by her kinsmen, but living with exception to these kinsmen, with Lot and all the strangeness of Lot.

In a variant of dealing with denial, there was the doubt. As the locals, attempting to show their dominion over the place, were having kids, to address all the doubts in times again and again of annihilation  …. Post-war?  In the stories of the past — and also in the present — in another relationship story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN, there is over and over indiscriminate human annihilation, as real people have to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships. Maybe after losing one daughter who had already been burned alive in public.

The all-knowing story-teller, working for The Academy of Private Detection, before answering the question whether the G*d of Abraham would die when Abraham died, had some exploring to do?  Chosen, like in a mate, needing a marriage certificate, or a death certificate, or just a wife, if the the G*d of Abraham would survive for his son, with the involvement of political and Spiritual powers?

From age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living G*d, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living G*d. Through story, image is defined by others, especially in the way of Lot’s nameless wife.  Compare how you prayed to others — not so much that you might pray better, but to find the Living G*d.

Comparing things was the definition of poetry. Compare the perspective in a story — from the perspective of Abraham — with the voice of the story-teller. In the case of Lot’s wife, how would you acquire a sense of belonging without learning about the spirits, in the relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself, from one generation to the next? Not so much the holy Spirit, as my holy Spirit that led to the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God.” Period. Paragraph.

Note the reluctance of the narrator if not the Author of Life to state the self-evident about the inequality which threatened stability: The fear of the Sodomites of outsiders, as if there was not enough there in the way of riches if all of the world discovered the riches – and then one day no one would be rich, like Lot. Always note the outsider(s) in the story of the Book of Genesis. And so the conflict of the G*d of Abram with the god of Sodom found more in the land instead of on the earth. Counting the cost of the earth of the irreversible environmental damage in the unsustainable world of straight growth, without death.

Starting over. To write it all down. Ever since memorizing the Abraham Lincoln line delivered about what was so self-evident, I have a reluctance to state the self-evident. Were all men really created equal? I feel safe to say that the Christian world has never given this story about Lot’s wife its due, if I could understand the comment that I heard ten days ago from a former priest: “It’s all fiction.” So in Catholic seminaries, young men are not taught to feel for the emotions that the characters in the stories had to live with – in this case Lot, trying to reach some understanding of what had happened. And what happens to someone who could not discover through stories real feeling — which came out of stories of betrayal — when you are surrounded by your kinsmen?

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is story that not only shapes the way you think, but the way that you pray. When doubt met belief. Aspiritual, not unlike being called asexual, from the reduced set of circumcisions like when you mother died …. or your father. To find the broken Spirit of God in ghosts, with the joy, the sorrow and the glory all eventually broken in a former priest, living with the reduced set of circumcisions in his inheritance, dealing with loss.

Note the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – not to be made into a statue, starting over, again.  There was the Obedience, to move forward with Lot’s fertility, and not the culture that you had grown up in. When Lot and his family had been outsiders.

The place in the story was always important – like the PLACE of origin. Feel the desire of Lot’s nameless wife who was from Sodom or Gommorah (over issues of PLACE-related-always-to-fertility?) which becomes obsessive to her and is what ultimately leads to her demise. And what happens to those who obsess, who are not open to amending their lives?

Note the movement in the stories about identity, about fleeing, but marked as a pillar of salt, or marked only to laugh about identity, if you did not look for real human meaning in these stories?

Marked: The story of Lot’s wife and the evolutionary vow of obedience was connected to statues? I do not believe what happened in Sodom was about the sexual practices. There. But I am in a minority. I think that the story in this relationship between Lot and his nameless wife was about what happens concerning the relationship AFTER the betrayal — Or what would happen to the bond?

There was Abram’s concern over purity, after what he had done to Hagar per the just completed chapter, which one day would result in circumcisions. The suggestion passed along was if you were to dwell in Sodom, like Lot, couldn’t you engage in licentious behavior .. and outside of Sodom where you did not know anyone and had lost your betrothed and any hope in relationships, couldn’t you do anything, without the knowledge of anyone you knew. (And so the perspective of Lot’s daughters in the dénouement of the story, after their life in Sodom was destroyed.)

In the years that he had spent with Uncle Abraham, Lot had absorbed what he had witnessed of Abraham’s great hospitality. Did you pay attention to the chronology in these stories?  So sitting at the gates of Sodom, Lot saw and greeted two strangers, inviting them to his tent. In doing so, Lot knew full well that he risked his life. Having learned of the presence of strangers, people of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house, demanding Lot give up the two visitors to be dealt with in the usual manner. In vain did Lot try to quiet the people outside his home, persuading them to leave the strangers alone. The more Lot spoke, the more excited the crowd became until finally the crowd threatened to kill Lot … until the angels (the strangers), as if was recorded, sent blindness on the Sodomitesif the Sodomites did not already have vision deficits. And so the PLACE in the story, as dawn was breaking. Invited to spend the night at the home of Lot and his nameless wife, the visiting angels urged Lot to flee with his family to avoid being caught in the impending destruction coming to this PLACE of iniquity. And though it is never specifically said, many suspect it was the nameless wife of Lot, as a native of Sodom, who had told someone that strangers were at their home. So it was Lot’s wife who had collaborated with her life-long friends and relatives? The command given LOT was “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.” With his own virgin daughters betrothed to men of Sodom, Lot did delay, the angels took hold of Lot’s hand, the hands of his nameless wife and two nameless daughters, and brought them out of the city of Sodom. And in my view, the angel who took Lot’s hand appeared in the image and likeness of a female, since gender seems important in the story.

When words carry weight, or since mostly words connected to Spirit carry weight, compare the G*d of Abraham to the god of Lot’s nameless wife, in the conflict over belonging to Sodom? Ever since the greatest commandment in the Garden had been to know G*d, who knew G*d best?  As the nameless wife of Lot, note she was given a chance to be saved, according to so many who embezzled the story for their own purposes. Had the nameless wife of Lot even recognized that these strangers were angels of G*d?

Did you grasp the resentment in the story? The real conflict in the story was not so much the people of Sodom and the punishment of Sodom, but what had come between Lot and the ideals of Lot’s nameless wife of who she was: over identity and belonging, and over who this G*d of Abraham and of Lot was. Was the nameless wife of Lot hostile that Lot had taken in strangers against the mores of the people of Sodom, of whom she was one? And there was now a threat to her own daughters that night, at the invitation of Lot. So that Lot might be saved? Outrageously, to save himself along with the angels of G*d, Lot had offered to sacrifice his own daughters to the crowd. And could you feel the later story to come when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah? What kind of crazy theology was this?

It was a theme over a pillar of salt, like I envision, quite impersonally, in the ruins of Greek temples. And so the nameless wife of Lot, born into the nameless fears of Sodom, surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen — as your loving wife, immersed into the culture of Sodom at her birth, had to decide, with or without unconditional love; in an arranged relationship, determined by family, with existing post traumatic stress on issues of trust, like what still existed today in parts of the world where the tribesman of Afghanistan would never let you talk to or see his wife, much less tell you his wife’s name. Not unlike the norms or taboos of the men of Sodom? The theme, in the conflict of private and public lives, over who would be saved, and with the involvement – some kind of involvement – with the use of your fertility, in times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened, from having been immersed into a culture at birth, when sex became a form of punishment – or the thinking about the method of punishment which left most readers gasping; or later, in the conflict of private and public lives, out of the thinking of the nameless daughters of Lot as a kind of reward, in a later story of incest which might have come as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in this incredible story.

Sodom and purity: To connect the dots about Sodom, about intimacy, in the placement of the story just after Ishmael had been born to Hagar. There is always the conflict over belonging to the G*d of Abraham, because Abraham himself was so divided in his love (over issues of purity), perhaps over whom his new son belonged to? Did you note the constant strife between the herdsmen — the stories over and over about shepherds — of Lot and of Abraham which always exists in relationships? (There are silent themes of PLACE, Bloodlines, and the fertility of Sarai.) When at this point in the Book of Genesis, Ishmael was the bastard son of Abraham.

To connect the dots concerning Sodom and purity . . . to give to someone, to pass on. Philanthropy, on issues of accommodation. The vehicle that carried the future. Language. Earth. Children. War and its never ending aftermath, when rape is about power and domination over your victim. To slowly invent words to pass on to your children, if not story. To communicate deep feeling while unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — Lot. Concerning the resentment in this story, didn’t the nameless wife of Lot resent if not Abram, Lot? Because she had gone along once already with Lot, which had resulted in one daughter who had been burned in public, because the girl had been hospitable to one stranger. What was this selfish theology of Lot, demonstrated in how he was willing to sacrifice the purity of his betrothed daughters to save himself and these strangers?

When there might not be enough to share, with strangers? And people, and I along with them, always thought the conflict in Lot’s home was somehow associated with the G*d of Abraham? If you ever later sensed the hostility of Rebekah, living in the house around Abraham, to the male birthright to the eldest, did the nameless wife of Lot miss the uniqueness of Abraham in his day while living in a world of serial servitude and sex, for the nameless wives – over making a different kind of arrangement in his own life. (And hadn’t Abram heard the story of what happened first to the one daughter [was it their firstborn daughter?] of Lot before what happened to the entire city of Sodom.)

What quietly is in this story again was 1) Separation, 2) Slavery and/or indentured servants, 3) another nameless wife, 4) PLACE, in the story of purity, 5) SHARED dominion, 6) fear and 7) resentment. The people of Sodom used the riches from their fertility to simply grow more riches for themselves. And when an individual supersedes the “group think,” there would be grave punishment; the punishment to invoke a lasting fear in the community, to be spoken of for ages, dealt with threats of sexual punishment, which was an aftermath of war at the time. Because the fear of the Sodomites of outsiders was that there was not “enough” there in the way of riches if all of the world discovered the riches – and then one day NO one would be rich, like Lot had become living there.  Or was their fear about drought and famine, as the Sodomites made PLACE their god, in the Post Traumatic Stress which lingered since the time Lot had once been held captive? SO to keep the outsider out!

Did you feel the concern of Lot’s wife over what she was leaving behind, like a statue, as Lot’s nameless wife looked back? According to Midrash, Lot and his nameless wife had four daughters, two of whom were married. The two married daughters and their husbands, along with the two future bridegrooms, remained in Sodom and perished. Unable to move on from what she had born into, note the lack of obedience in Chosen People to the heard commands of the angels of the G*d of Abraham. When a self-esteem of the people of Sodom, including the nameless wife of Lot — in more than just another story of pride — is, along with their god all based upon one PLACE, so in contrast to the G*d of Abraham. And thus the angels needed to grab the hands of Lot’s family.

A Promise Land. From a nomadic perspective of the infinity of G*d not connected to one PLACE, the G*d of Abraham is not connected to one place. Contrast the G*d of Abram to the thinking of his nephew, Lot, who had such a need to be lead by Abram. Note the importance of the PROPHET in his life: the definition of esteem was that which came out of not just the G*d of Abram but, in this evolutionary developing story, in the shared G*d of Abraham. The mystery in the promised vows, in the relationship from vows that led to the Great Covenant – the unconditional relationship – is based upon love and forgiveness. A Chosen People, who one day come out of their own PLACE, no better than any other people, if the Lord was really with you. And so much no longer like Eve who felt that she could do anything because of the place to which she had been born.

So contrast the concept of punishment that the Sodomites, if not the nameless wife of Lot, surrounded by so many of her kinsmen, the very same human condition, when the last person on earth — or the first — feeling so all alone, as you lost your sense of place.  View this nameless wife of Lot looking back at horror to see what happened to her city of birth, with so many loved ones including the betrothed men of her two surviving daughters, like had once happened to one of her own daughters. So contrast that concept of punishment for the Sodomites…. with the concept of the punishment that came to Sodom that takes away a future, like the punishment bestowed upon what is now the nameless world that existed before the time of Noah, intended for the strangers, with the punishment that the Sodomites threatened just for Lot — the sexual punishment that always burdens the victim’s future.

Using the method of Spiritual Exercises from stories, when I was there in the story, as evangelization did not work for me, I had to read and reflect for myself what was going on in the story, not concentrating solely on the ending. With a philanthropy—that you might have what I had, in what seemed a normal way of life. Scripture is nothing but the history of how people who went before us learned how to pray. Abraham. Isaac. Immersion. The arrangements when marrying an outsider, with some new need for evangelization, replacing the old ways of immersion? So I did believe in parochial education, along with what it was in the Picasso line, about creation: that every act of creation involves a form of destruction. And who better than a woman to appreciate the words, in the days when maternal life was threatened with each birth of a newborn? When you are putting it all on the line, for the first born and the next born: “This is MY BODY.”

The lesson that a life-long nomad named Abram seemed to come to one day out of PLACE was that of Chosen People, no better than any other people, if the Lord was really with you. Ignatius of Loyola described spiritual consolation as breaking down all barriers – the barriers between “us” and “them,” and in order to walk in the ways of God, ultimately between “us” and G*d. People who develop human Spirit into something divine had to have an awareness about ghosts. Like the ghost of Lot’s wife, with an importance of the binding in the relationships, in stories about unconditional love. When your relationships were so alive, did you feel a great desire for naming in all of the stories about native population, and the wandering Jew, through identity stories about Native-born and the aliens, over who was better than who.

Could you find the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – not to be made into a statue? If the unconditional had ever been there? Or did you feel the anger of a woman after, over time, you had started to so privately reveal something about yourself, from one decade to the next? And Lot had tried to save only himself, because he had guessed it was his nameless wife who had informed on him?

As the nameless wife of Lot was given a chance to be saved, even after she had revealed the presence of the strangers in her home. What happened was that Lot’s wife choose not to listen to the angels of Lot’s G*d, questioning the truth about Lot’s G*d after Lot had tried to save only himself, because he knew G*d best? And so the real human resentment in the story, not unlike how the locals of Sodom more loudly attempted to show their dominion over PLACE.

When your prayers were so alive, and you wanted others to then have the same experience… passing on the Spirit in some kind of Abraham-like Crazy Glue, in a collective memory of forgiveness of others in the name of a forgiving G*d, on issues of inheritance and birth right. Did you recognize the shift by the end of the story that is now all about all of the daughters of Lot, if compounded belief is to stay with the descendants of Lot and his daughters? Like in a dénouement of the story, passing on the power in bonds between your own people, concerning Lot’s wife and daughters: all along the focus in the culture seemed to be allegedly on the male and his tribe, in Sodom. It was always hard in this impersonal world, on this earth, to so personally live with your God, with the G*d of Abraham who stirred and disrupted Chosen People, when to be “chosen” is not something a person learns to be, but is an identity contested and fought over, between those who were not good enough with those who seemed to be too good, and always the tension in this indescribable pain which creates memory in a culture. “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories.

Locate the innocent in each of the stories: in the story of Noah, the story of Abel, the story of Adam, and in all of the stories concerning Abraham. Locate his conflict with others, trying to use their power, unblessed. When you had different mothers, note the difference between the brothers, or their nephews – the one who played the system, and the one who did not. When one guy had the world by the tail, and the youngest had suffered as a result of the Great War. And note what happens as you are surrounded by your own kinsmen who all think in the same manner, about good and evil.

When surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, needing a certificate, of birth, of marriage, of baptism, of death, or needing a wife, or just a son, if the G*d of Abraham would survive for the future, note the involvement of political and Spiritual powers? Through story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition shared, image is defined by others. And when surrounded by people suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fertility was thought to be just another weapon of war? Against the mores of the people of Sodom, of whom she was one, Lot had taken in strangers, against the wishes of his nameless wife? So Lot thought he was better than the people of Sodom, as he, maybe like his G*d, tried to assimilate with His people, living with the reduced set of circumcisions post-war.

Note the underlying belief by all the member of Lot’s family that IT was nonsense, maybe like your view of the story itself, concerning any need to be saved, for another day, in another place. So was it nonsense that the fertility of the daughters of Lot had to be saved for the future, in any post-war world, from a cultural atmosphere, as people can then be triggered consciously or unconsciously. After the recovery of the next generation from Post Traumatic Stress Disordering which came from all war, note the recorded stories distinguishing good from evil. These stories were told about hope, for a better world, with the threat to institutions, needing to be saved like the euro? How much was Sodom like the present day part of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen just north of Riyadh, with the concerns about purity in the Wahhabi heartland? Or how much was Sodom just like Russia, wanting to keep the outside world away? With all the micro-managing bean-counters, in a world left to the bean counters who seemed to forget the goal was thought to be ensuring the sustainability of a nation through its fertility and its food. Like in Ukraine or Crimea, trying to use a power, unblessed? As few nations on earth had ever lost so many people like Russia or Ukraine in famine, or in the what the western world calls World War II — The Great Patriotic War.  And in this great haunting, suffering was still so alive.

In the detachment which came from war, having grown up in the suburban world with a cultural atmosphere over the last 50 years of the suburban world, note a child or grandchild who did not share her father’s beliefs – about religion, about government, about the world, in times of revolution – after system collapse? And so the estrangement, in the detachment. In the detachment which came from war, even in suburban life, there is dysfunction out of leaving it all behind. There is the disordering which came from war, with varying degrees of compassion and cruelty, equanimity and fear, with the pathology which affected the expression of feeling as a result of conflict. And there is the mental illness as some kind of scarlet letter of our day, with the fear of mental illness which came out of the cultural atmosphere of war. And after we sent our sons to war, they came home, to settle in among us. Like in Sodom, locate the source of belief, held by all the member of Lot’s family — or like with the former priest born in 1930 — that it was all just nonsense.

By the end of the story, there is a change in the PLACE in the story, where Lot will have to live with an aim of shared “dominion” — a word suggesting an absolute fierce exercise of mastery. In his new location, in order to live with himself, Lot would need to seek forgiveness concerning how his action led to the death of his nameless wife as neither he nor his nameless wife ever really believed in each other. In the end, Lot is in need of forgiveness — from the G*d of Abraham as well as from his daughters.

Like in Sodom, locate the innocence in the story, and what happens to the innocent. In these stories about preserving a Spirit amid system collapse, did you see over and over a destruction of what institutions previously built … and concerning the themes of what the young are born into, an invisible change?

There were always these gradual changes…..in what is called systemic theology, followed by the fear and the anger. Was an outsider like me, really ever a threat to THEIR G*d or to them, if I risked my life in hospitality? In the days of rampage, as the Islamic State demands conversion in the manner that Abraham circumcised his own slaves, Islamic militants called D’aesh have attacked Christian communities in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, burning churches while trying to annihilate their God along with the faithful. In Iran, people of the Baha’i faith have been jailed and killed; in Pakistan Ahmadi Muslims suffer mob violence. And all over the Middle East, anti-Semitism has erased Jewish communities. The suggestion passed along by these adherents of Islam, in kidnapping young women, was ‘couldn’t you engage in licentious behavior,’ if you were to dwell in these circumstances? Were these the same perversions connected to Abraham’s concern over purity, after what he had done to Hagar per the just completed chapter, with the long-term consequences.

When you lived under a dominant power of church and state… With the FEMALE fear of life versus the MALE fear of death, fertility was thought to be just another weapon of war? Note all the human perversions and conversions associated with the sons of Abraham.

And so the same question: “Abraham, where IS the lamb?” After you have been sent by outsiders to war? When the new wars were the old wars, over this God of Abraham, as sons set out to prove how they have come to know God like Abraham?

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Hagar

No one is a born story-teller. With words, in translations, there was such a long learning curve that cut into you. In words and borders and getting across time, with power and dominion and in BONDS which came from stories about ‘Forced labor’ like in the Soviet Bloc, little different than life in the nineteenth century. Bonded labor. Less a system today than in the past – but still serial servitude. Not just servitude but serial servitude. Passed on, like a religion. Ever revolving. Ahead of the evolving human law that punishes. Or outlawed with tactics to make it harder to identify. https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/hagar/

Hagar

Serfdom. Poverty is a factor in all slavery, with unscrupulous owners of business, on the legal edge of criminal slavery who focus on the price of a product like cotton, to be sold in another market. Not as well-known is the Asia-Pacific slave trade in South India, writes Siddharth Kara on chattel slavery in the modern context, with ‘Dead Bondage’ contract after a deed-of-sale had been outlawed in 1833. Generation after generation, the relationship carries on in the bonded labor of agriculture, into the modern world.

To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY: In a world of BAD spirits, written about by a one-time slave in 1789. The suffering, generation after generation in bonded labor of agriculture. There is the degree of suffering even in the relationship of slavery into the modern day world.

Note the irony of the history found in the Hebrew Bible with the goings-on after Joseph, knowing the story of the Egyptian handmaid which afflicts the world today. Note the connection of Passover to the story of slavery, since slavery “by the sweat of your brow” was the affliction since the times of Adam, in the beginning.

When slavery was always connected to the earth. When the earth is the vehicle that carries the future, as humankind is to have a shared dominion, with ‘forced labor,’ in a bonded kind of labor that never would end and which would involve your children’s children.

Hagar, without a husband, in human bondage trying to make a decision about the future with her very good master, Sarai. Here was another lamb story which was never heard until more than 700 years after the common era began.

We all belong to an age, and it is not our fault. Looking for independence, women more and more are rejecting not just servitude but serial servitude in the institutions; in the crisis of modernity, maybe people were rejecting all of the work involved to care for just one child.

Having to start over like Hagar, out from human bondage. Did you feel the ghosts of fragmentation which came out of independence, in the conflict over belonging? Did you feel the ‘independence’ in the stories of an independent people, maybe in compliance with the right “to be forgotten” initiative of the European Union, as Google has started to remove certain of their search engine results? Or so they say.

Did you read to be ahead of where the world was moving, as the old world was dying, with all the fragmentation …. but with The Spirit in the fragmentation. Did you read the warnings about ending up like Hagar, so all alone? Note once again the suddenness in the story.

Had there been a reluctance at Gettysburg in the line delivered about what was so self-evident, to Abraham Lincoln? And speaking of loss of life, to men named Abraham, compare a sacrifice at the end of life, offering all that you had built up to incremental sacrifice made each day … or when you were young and forced to put it all on the line.

Creating a cycle of vulnerability. More nimble and transitory, in the modern world, the supply chain – the corrupted supply chain – comes from the human desire for a cheaper product, for greater ease. The greater unease created over the desire for ease. Everyday concern one day is transferred from the price of the products consumed to the cost to the victims in the economic systems. It is the awareness of the missing bond between the keeper of the flock, like the later missing bond between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, the first recorded twins? And like Cain, speaking of inheritance, having to leave again … just like Hagar.

El Shehaby

Living history. Whoever could believe how it all began? In the story about how it all happened, did your kids believe the chronology, before they arrived? Or was this just a secular chronology, denoting attitudes, activities, or other things which have no religious or spiritual basis? Did the kids even ask? In the beginning of – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep. About our chronology? And their personal appearance on earth.

To be dumped. Onto earth. Not knowing. To go back to the beginning: Banished again, like Hagar and her genetically modified son. Hagar, without a husband. Living with her bastard son, Ishmael. In what all the ghosts of saints have learned over a lifetime, in the seeds of charity and forgiveness, here was another lamb story.

Firstborn sons. Birthright. Planned parenthood. Creating, then sustaining the illusion, in a parental kind of way about systems like slavery. Feel the presence of a spirit, that you might love like I loved, in a powerful kind of way. Feel the power, in relationship.

“From age to age, from east to west,” we all belong to an age, and it is not our fault. Does it matter so much WHEN you were born? When your membership in a tribe was everything, and the place in the story was always important – like the place of origin.

Feel the desire between two women over issues of fertility which becomes obsessive, which does happen to those who obsess — even over religion, over spouses, if not children? TO be moved like the clouds from stories about life and death to replicate. In what all the ghosts of saints have learned over a lifetime, in the seeds of charity and forgiveness, Hagar, living with her bastard son, Ishmael. In the story that surely marks the New Millennium like — at least, the Irish people in the Twentieth Century, forgot. In all of the stories, over and over, about deleting the First Creation, before somehow taking it back. How could I ignore all of the bad choices Hagar had made in collaboration with her master? That was the story of Ishmael which led into the story of Isaac.

The War on Terror. The times we are born into. To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY and serial servitude, was there shame ever felt over the damage that you had done so far to this world? Was there need to set forth to start making amends over the conflict with the past, and all of our institutions. After the Space Age, where there is cyberspace, and there is no THERE there. No right or wrong? Just ask the National Security Agency about their interpretation about the meaning of human rights, if not torture, under the two past American presidents as concerns over security become so obsessive.

The weakly connected villains with the spiritual direction of a butterfly, denoting attitudes, activities, which have no religious or spiritual basis, the real New Millennium generation born under these two presidents with the genetically modified idea about goodness and evil, if not constitutional rights.

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker . When we endow our lives with stories, when your relationships were so alive but with the missing self-awareness in the story about allowing yourself to be Chosen, legitimately. Look in all of these stories about the descendants of Abraham, at the manner of the arrangements in relationship, even like the woman named Sarai doing all of the arranging with Hagar. Look at the way Sarai used her human ownership-power, here. Sarai, doing the arranging – as opposed to what had happened to her with Abram – when she was chosen from Abram’s father’s household. When your prayers were so alive and you were barren, but you wanted others to then have the same experience, to avoid extinction. With or without God’s intervention in the relationship. Note the importance of the binding in the relationships, in mostly the same stories about unconditional love, generation after generation.

Or the disappearance. To go back to the beginning, what all these ghosts of saints since the time of Noah were contending with was displacement, with their children looking for a spiritual direction. A woman using only her power through serial servitude who was expected to somehow, in her very own way, to carry the God of Abraham further in the world, beyond the tribes and the homeland where she was born? When growth was so much the measure of success, but from serial servitude, no human could ever really grow.

From the visible and the invisible, in stories about birthright held back, contending with displacement, did you carry an unrealistic expectation that a woman is gonna know God like I know God. Or that you son might replicate God’s greatness as Sarai — a direct descendant of Noah’s nameless wife — dreamed to do. Have you ever, like I have, heard a story of how a woman went ahead with a wedding when she knew that she was doing something wrong? It was like forcing a shot in basketball, which was never there, when time was running out on the shot clock.

In the stories of the seen and the unseen, the relationship is never entered into on a consensual basis between an owner and a slave. The word used is “Mistress” if female, not “Master.” On matters of shared dominion, the mistress dominates and there is no true sharing. And when your son hears one day about the circumstances of his birth, how would a mother maintain parental control over their child when it came to the concept of the connection of sex to “relationship?”

Did you feel the human force in the story of Hagar and Sarai? So what is your perspective concerning this story with Abraham, in what would later happen? Why had Abram ever left home in the first place — had he been banished? He married his half-sister, for God’s sake? Was there a connection over the command to cleave and the meaning of “cleave” in all of this? What is your perspective of the man who imposed circumcision on all of his nameless slaves, as well as on Hagar’s son? His thirteen-year old son, Ishmael, like all those adult SLAVES, would never forget the pain that Abraham inflicted in the name of his God with their own circumcisions. So was Abraham, after the birth of Isaac, after the unreflected upon pain of over-powering sacrifice which seemed to cross the line, if not the road which perhaps Abraham had so quietly inherited from Noah’s wife, banishing Hagar from the Promise Land just as Adam and Eve, as Cain had once been banished? Or was he setting the captives free?

In the stories of the seen and the unseen, in modern stories of displacemnt, after all the 20th Century Liberation Movements, with liberation theology and more emancipation proclamations, there currently are 28.4 million slaves in the world, or were at the end of 2006, per Siddharth Kara, of which 1.2 million were trafficked nameless sex slaves sold into another market. As Catholic Relief Services reports, “In every 800 trafficking cases worldwide, only one person is convicted.”

LINK: http://www.preda.org/newsitems/another-singer-support-the-survivors-of-human-trafficking/

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Reacting to the shared unexpected, which will change the future of the world … as a student, Jorge Bergoglio came across an 18th-century painting, “Our Lady, Undoer of the Knots,” which showed the mother of Jesus persistently undoing the knots in a long rope, which resonated deeply for him. This “Undoer of the Knots” might involve the job description of the current pope with his struggle in our day with, however small Vatican City looked to be on a map, what is the office of both a temporal and spiritual monarch, to meet and challenge the “doctrine” about God then and now which needs undoing?

To consider that in Ireland, probably no different than Argentina, per a 2012 commissioned survey by Amarach Research by Ireland’s priests’ association, showed that three out of four Irish Catholics find the church’s teaching on sexuality “irrelevant.” Did the priests wonder, if faith was about shared belief, what belief was shared any more? Were these questions about the truth about sex any different than with what Ishmael had to contend? When the people with power always wanted to just banish the enemy, perhaps because they had no sons of their own. But would their mothers set the captive free?

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IN OTHER NEWS ABOUT NOMADS, The White House said Thursday that in his sixty-second month as president, President Barack Obama had ordered a review of deportation practices, an announcement that comes amid pressure from Hispanic groups to scale back deportations of those who were considered illegals and not quite human, like a slave.

The Woman Who Never Returned: Wasn’t this above story about sexual abuse? Chosen people who felt that they could have sex inside the other tribe, with no idea of their traditions? Wasn’t that the story of “choice” in the world of democracy – the goal of Bill Gates and Planned Parenthood, or of genetically modified seeds which Mr. Gates is promoting if not for his family, for the rest of the world? When God gets near in your suffering, as God gets near as you clear out room, when it might seem like a void inside but it was some kind of unknown process. Or one not understood. Wasn’t that the story of the 21st Century war– chosen people who felt that they could annihilate the other tribe? If you owned the world, or tried to?

Note how no one ever asks how it was that Hagar had become a handmaid, or how this Egyptian had come into the house of Sarai. Had her arrival been a result of war? Or just the gift of the Pharaoh? In all of human history, the harm from the culture of war was in reducing the other human being to an object. And when you own a body, you could do anything.

To confess my sins to my son through stories not so much Chosen as much as “Privileged” people? Isaac, more like his momma, never left home? Isaac and place, in the story of generational justice with the prophet leading you somewhere. To stir you up. When you sacrificed a son … on Good Friday. Or Hagar. To give up your son to your mistress? And Abraham, sacrificing his sons, for Hagar, for Sarai? To scream out in story, to object as you carried the future. As you father, juggling all of these things local and the distant, in the inside and the outside world, was going to sacrifice you because when you own a body, you could do anything… for the ones you felt closest to? To make claim to your God, but to punish along the way his son, in the name of unconditional love?

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Separate But Equal

True freedom develops out of disciple and a healthy respect for necessity, writes Kathleen Norris. So beware the enemies of freedom.

Unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And that wrong will never be overcome.

So why a MISSION of freedom? Beware the counterforce, always moving, never reflecting. Look into your own counter forces which are always reviewing data and video, like an NHL assistant hockey coach. There is danger within. The reader knows that the movement, in the story of whatever inside or outside demons, involves attempts to steal the ability to take pleasure in oneself and the world. As this work becomes a real burden.

Looking for ease, to maintain the status quo. Hiring people to assist execution and enforcement.

The enforcers. Just as writers must nobly endure self-destruction compulsions, in your fugitive frenzy, you need a way to come down. Exercise works. To come back to earth with a disciplined regiment. Other means can be more tempting: tranquillizers, booze, marijuana. In the words of William Styron, alcohol can be ‘a magical conduit to fantasy… an enhancement to the imagination.’ In the words of Bertran Russell, drunkenness may be ‘a temporary suicide.’ Know that neither an artist or a spy can maintain such a high level of creative intensity. Beware self-destruction.

There are ups and downs of the creative process. And the burnout factor. Be self-aware. When you worked hard all week, when you did not desire to think too hard in your leisure. About what you believed in. When you did not want to think too hard about the state of your relationships. Watch your sex lives too, and all the things which try to steal your ability to take pleasure in yourself and the world.

When you want to do something once and for all and be through with it, the basic human desire is for peace and to be back at the start. In your homeland, where you belong.

Gone, like the wind, with its power and wealth. In Minnesota, the past is both an ally and the enemy. The prejudice, the burdens you carry from the past. Goodness, but not getting the support you needed, for your eggs. People left teaching, people left families all for the lack of support.

To stretch. To record it all. The morning yawn that stretches the inner world into the outer.

Communal goodness. The gentle force. Beware making this force brutal. The near impossible visualized. Invisible, impossible, incredible. Like the story of God. “The Lord is with you.”

As the system captured us, in the monk’s living quarters, beware self-destruction. Affirmative action. Bailouts for everyone … for bad priests, for bankers exploiting the system.

Vainglory. Beware its lust to draw others to ourselves, for selfish purpose, warns Kathleen Norris. If you had acedia as a monk, the last thing to do is to remain alone and barren, “having made no progress in my cell.”

The canons, the life cycles for the high priests of finance. Ah, the steps to counter inflows of speculative money.Caught up in a SPIRIT of globalization to move the dollar down, the need was based, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the unfunded $190 million a day war effort, its is running a large trade deficit in the United States, inflation has been 1.1 percent, compared with 2.7 percent when the year 2010 began. Although it had been written that the Fed’s QE move would indeed bring down the dollar, it did not always happen at the start. In the beginning. Since the QE announcement.

Beware the counterforces responding in the invisible world of liquidity management, where interest rates along with cash reserves control credit growth. Caught up in the SPIRIT of monetary war, Chinese central bank has “decided to fight forcefully” against the Fed’s easing, in the ongoing monetary war, fought with every bit the intensity as the war effort in Afghanistan. In 2010, the government of China ordered banks five times to set aside larger reserves, to maintain momentum. This was one step in response to quatitative easing involving liquidity management elsewhere. A trade surplus seemingly gave those Chinese policy makers a confidence to keep tightening, in 2010. Soon to become the world’s second largest economy, from its build-up of cash, three years later the economic forces seem to be back where they were as Europe announced their QE inititative. So why is the equity market at record highs?

Power. To be caught in life cycles of power, freedom, fertility. John F. Kennedy, in his January 20, 1961 inaugural address spoke about the MISSION of freedom, which is connected to your fertility and to your money, to the quiet hunger in the story, with slavery in the same historic stories. Over and over the recurring story of Egypt, the story of slaves. To be caught in life cycles of “Forced Labor.” And the way of life of slavery, where animal spirits soar, like the way of a life of crime.

Living here under the history of slavery. Like the forced labor” in the Soviet Bloc, little different than life in the nineteenth century. Bonded labor, less a system today than in the past – but still serial servitude though wtih tactics to make it harder to identify. To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY: In a world of BAD spirits, written about by a one-time slave in 1789.

Generation after generation in bonded labor of agriculture, there is the relationship even into the modern world with suffering. When you came from this culture where through history people had been treated as things, and it took two generations to wash out the influence, in the story of Exodus.

For how many years did slavery and overcoming slavery – the economic system of slavery, then overcoming system collapse – become the focus of American history? And it really wasn’t over.

So in the pursuit not of life styles, if the MISSION is freedom, how much joy were you entitled to, with the threat of the content of my crop . . . to others. The threat in your field of bugs as you tried to reproduce something, to just survive, as the mission was love and fertility to overcome human hunger. And so the envy, the jealousy, as you tried to grow something while looking for ease, as the mission was love and fertility. But what happens when you excluded one or the other?

Freedom, academic freedom, is not for the weak-minded. And so the focus on Hagar’s son as the son of a servant. In the beginning, unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And that wrong will never be overcome.

In the motives of love, when you have nothing, nomad-like, how honest do you have to be? Feel the distrust over other people’s motives, without an understanding of your own culture … when those other motives were simple lust, and avarice, and greed. The deadly sins all directed at power. When you have nothing, nomad-like, how faithful do you have to be to anyone? When all you had was life … and when that was at risk, all you had was God.

And so there was Abraham, in the new beginning. Is it the awareness of the missing bond between the keeper of the flock, like the later missing bond between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, the first recorded twins? And Cain, speaking of inheritance, having to leave again, like his parents. And now, Hagar with Ishmael, and the missing bond between the father of faith and the servant girl. The forced bond. The impositions on the people you were close to.

To know, to love, to serve. When your first son is a slave.

And so the reader, and the writer developing an awareness of the missing bond. In all of these stories about leaving and coming back, there is the serial servitude. In a world filled with doubt, it always has been tough to be in such an alliance with the true believers. In a world filled with doubt, over the known and the unknown. Like over climate change, globalization, and all the episodes of helplessness. In a world filled with doubt, like how Abraham had felt about his first born son.

True freedom develops out of disciple and a healthy respect for necessity. And slaves and servants did seem necessary, if you grew up trying to maintain a large home. But hostility developed among people who never had what you had, and what it was exactly which you tried to pass on. In systems caught in life cycles, set up where the first born son was supposed to get everything. But the mother did so much of the passing.

If the Spirit of God has set us free, unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And I hope those Coptic Christians are treated a bit better in 2014 while living under a dominant power.

And beware the enemies of freedom to freely worship my God.

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Larry Gillick








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Noah’s Wife

Maybe you have been in the Paperlessworld before. Maybe you have read about the Akdedah. What has never been brought up until now is the connection of Noah to the story. Oh, there has been mention of who was Abraham, as well as who was Sarah.

“Welcome to the Dormady Academy of Detection. This semester we will be using as text The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. As your will read, Mendelsohn is fond of quoting a twelfth century rabbi, on the meaning of the Book of Genesis. ‘The key issue for Rashi is that the wrong reading suggests an incorrect chronology of Creation: That God created the heavens and then the earth, then light, and so forth.  But this is not how it happened, Rashi says. If you get the small details wrong, the big picture will be wrong too.’”  https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/noahs-wife/

Noah's wife It is Daniel Mendelsohn who observes, “The story which began with Creation which is and was the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another, but ends by alluding to the… distinction between a man and a woman knowing God.” This is the most crucial distinction of all.

To unquestioningly buy it: war, slavery, religion, if not God. And so the Akedah in which the real main character is Isaac. The story begins with Creation which is the story of the acts of distinguishing. When we inherit and accept things, and eventually one day our sons and daughters quit the act of distinguishing.

And so the story of Abraham, when who is gonna remember another death, like Isaac’s? And why would you make this stuff up? With God somehow sharing in Abraham’s suffering. When in the words of Gene Tiffany, discerning the dignity of suffering, as suffering delivers us to a new place, and suffering is never below a creature of God.

When suffering brought its own dignity, even to a nomad like me. Note all the things which allow a nomad to travel, not unlike the things which allow a man to retire: money, food, wheels, or some form of transport. And so Abraham, the descendant of Noah. So who was Noah? What do you know about Noah?

Daniel Mendelsohn adds much to the picture of Noah, by reviewing each and every word of the story.

Marked. Noah’s wife. Abraham. The connection of self-esteem to work,or the lack thereof. The connection to slavery. The sweat of the brow, and the suffering.

There was a recognized everyday need, when you were marked, by what others saw. With all the seem-to-be ends in the stories… of Cain. Or of Noah’s world. Not much different than the moments when the Akedah story seems about to present the end of Isaac, if not of God, as revealed to Abraham.

Was there not a missing interest, by the majority of other folk alive at the time, in the God of Abraham? And was this not a threat to the future, in the apathy in a world when everybody spanked their kids?

The seen and the unseen. Like a ghost stealing your consciousness, the clouds really did get in the way of a spiritual journalist.

Most surprises are negative. Creation and the always differences between what you set out to make and what you make. Ask a parent. It cannot be all in technique. You gotta try to say something.

Recognizing the theme in the first chapter of Genesis “to separate,” note from the stories how heroes attempt to separate “my creation” from the rest of creation? And thus the developing concept of “CHOSEN” from all the rest. If there had not been a need for a connection to Cain, was there a need in the stories for a connection to Noah’s wife who was the one descendant after the story of the second creation connected back to Cain? In a world where most surprises are negative, did you ever wonder if Cain got spanked?

Note the marked fertility. Why had Abraham marked his slaves, Hagar’s son, and Sarah’s son? Just like Cain had been marked. And just liked Noah’s wife had been marked on her forehead which was the first thing any stranger would remember about her. So had the real appeal of Noah, to God, been in his wife? Or had the over-powering appeal of Noah to God been, as the just man of his generation, connected to whom he had chosen as his wife? And at this point, there was not enough attention to the story, at least by Christians like me who had embezzled the story of Noah, but had never thought enough about the inside meaning in the story.

“Noah, if you want to do mankind a greater service, tell funnier jokes.” Because Noah sure comes across as rather bland.

Somehow that line is connected to Allen Konigsberg. But hadn’t it been Noah’s wife who first asked Noah why the chicken had crossed the road?

A nomad who had been born of Noah’s nameless wife, without laws and commandments, but only norms. The movement in the story of a man without borders, moving amid strangers with danger. Note the insiders and the outsiders in the story of migrant nomads, after the ark landed, in a world without borders. Trace the connection of blood to bonds. The sons of Noah’s wife all had names. And so much like her forefather, Cain, it is said that the wife of Noah had a large distinguishing mark on her forehead, since the time of birth. Like Gorbachov? But in times of greater illiteracy and belief in luck, did the neighbors believe — with group thinking and collective behavior — this was some kind of mark of a witch?

And so the story of Noah’s wife, when who is gonna remember another birth, or the mother’s over-powering pain of childbirth, unknown, unreflected upon? The unreflected upon pain of over-powering sacrifice which seemed to cross the line, if not the road which perhaps Abraham had so quietly inherited, from the nameless wife of Noah?

The seen and the unseen. To be marked just a little more invisibly. And so the connection of the two – between a distinguishing past and a future of the WORLD – of the nameless wife of Noah to not only Abram but to Sarai.

Was it about what was fashionable at the time? Maybe if you had attended the Dormady Academy of Detection you would also have recognized the blood associated of Noah’s wife to Sarai, whose name after all would come to mean “laughing” — or her son’s name did. With a great need maybe for funnier jokes.

Did you note the nameless wife of Noah, who had outlived the nasty neighbors, knew why the chickens were crossing the road. Because it was gonna rain like hell.

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The Event Planner Dealing With Arrangement

It is stories that map a place as well as a time. And yes, the same stories about match-making and being chosen change over time as the old tellers die off. As times change, especially from the perspective of the woman.

Growth, in almost all of human history, came through a system of arranged marriage. Was that the proclamation in marriage, when growth was the only measure of success? If you were dishonest in your reports of growth, what else was dishonest about your organization? (I once served at the age of thirty on a board of directors which allowed its president to send in money, claiming new members, trying to prove greatness to the national. Whether there was true growth, however dishonest.)

Power. Truth and story-telling, with words, in the story about power and dominion. Feel the BONDS which came from stories . . . feel the speed up, of success, in numbers while trying to increase and maintain numbers, through some kind of human arrangement. In a world of power and the story about power, you take something so private public in relationship – in either sexual relationship or in worship. That you might pray, like I prayed: did you ever realize how personal this all had been — maybe a lot like the act of reading is — or even worshiping can be?

To allow yourself to be Chosen, legitimately, like the woman named Rachel, with Jacob like his grandfather, doing the arranging – as opposed to what had happened to Isaac. Creating, then sustaining the illusion, in a parental kind of way. Power. Feel the presence of a spirit, that you might love like I loved.

Power. When you are born into something. When you as a child had no choice and you had to live with it – in the outside world, in the inside world. When at one point in life you were able to run away, and in a sense discover your own inner power, but you now at this point could not run away.

Power. Restlessness. Shame. The visible and the invisible, as busy men and busy women did not understand power — the power of just keeping company as chosen people. There is the craziness of men who feel empowered, in the thrill of the connection, of distant people within the tribe.

The ordering, the separation, growing suspicion, and the doubts about each other, when you were young, bound by the family rules. Rules that started to look, oh, too confining. About the ordering of society, where families had been identified within a community. With rules about power.

The movement in the story of power. Listen once again through the stories in the power in connection as the invisible birthright was passed on again in a family: That this God is somehow connected to me. The inheritance, based upon goodness, did not involve “luck.” To realize how – wired to the community –that through institutions of learning and books, but mostly through stories, God is connected to me.

Exodus was the movement in the story of Jacob, not so unlike the story of banishment sustained by Adam and Eve. Upon the advice of his mother, Jacob was having to take decisive action, to survive, suddenly leaving upon receipt of birthright which came out of nothing but deceit — in this case, based upon his mother’s decree, just when he might have wanted to stay home, Jacob left Abraham’s homestead, for Rebecca’s homestead. And hadn’t Jacob really been a Momma’s boy?

With an Irish intuitive sense of what was happening, what is called in German fingerspitzengefuhl – the fingertip feel that maybe your pitching coach understood — for me the story, still, was all about Abraham’s old plan. He who was never coming back, you know. Home. To Sarah. Not after he killed her son, in sacrifice on Mount Moriah. As the past and the future were at odds, when reflected upon. And neither he nor his descendants could outlive this personal shame. Here so much was a living sacrifice by Isaac in role of a loving son; now, Jacob somehow was now being offered and given up as a living sacrifice to Rebecca’s family? And did you get the sense that Jacob was never coming back?

Note the vexation by Rebecca’s brother – Rachel’s father – not so unlike Abraham’s vexation with his son, Isaac. Once again there was a bit of the spirit of vexation: damage which is suffered in consequence of the tricks of another. Hoodwinking, not unlike Abraham getting Isaac to go on this three day journey, there was these stories of another trick on another journey. Over and over in the story of family, there is mention of hoods, of hiding, of idols. So all along, is God hoodwinking people to come to believe that they somehow are Chosen? What of the concept of unconditional love from the Covenant in the story of Jacob, as Jacob and Rachel gave up a belief in unconditional love to marry? Neither monogamy is present, nor was belief in monotheism shared for these two.

To know a land and its people was to know the stories. Have you ever left home thinking, maybe on a trip with Abraham to Mount Moriah, you were never coming back? Would you over time come to feel a shame over the greatness that you were born into? Did you ever feel the power in this story which comes from personal sacrifice while on the receiving end of all this deceit and the pretension in the every day aspects that took up every moment of your life. Did you ever note the separate belief connected to a place – to a land – like you discovered in a relationship with an outsider? Did you ever note how connected by belief you were as you shared a place in time, maybe somewhat like with a classmate?

Note the irony of the son of Isaac, marked for life by a mother, and the hostility of a mother with power in reduplicating Truth, in the arc of generational injustice based upon family pride. Like Jacob’s own mother had, there was Jacob living within a tribe, learning the mystery, as an outsider. Leaving home and not knowing if you ever would get back. Not knowing how long you would be gone. Like when you were drafted. Note the serious indefinite departures, after all this sex that the nuns failed to point out that Jacob had with one wife, two handmaids and now a second wife. Did you feel a hostility as an outsider, when you missed a feel, either within or not, for holiness?

Nice guys. Like in the insurance industry, there was a human resource department filtering out the people who just would not fit with the company, as it appeared in the public eye. Looking in the old days for guys, like Jacob, who every woman wanted to sleep with; a nice guy like Jacob, without any retribution. Leah. Leah’s sister. Their handmaids. I had failed to notice until relatively recently that there had been a lot of sex going on in Jacob’s bed, with his birthright. And Jacob, now with all of these wives and all of these children, and his belief in one blessing, with his one true love Rachel?

“Something that is yours forever,” wrote Chaim Potok, “is never precious.”

In the Jacob story, note the outsider, exiled from the world of theory, living at some point with now only memories but somehow wanting to make them your own. It was Jacob who thought a father with one wife had just one blessing to give. But Jacob was with his two wives and their two handmaids and eleven sons and one daughter.

It is stories that map a place as well as a time. What did the birthright of Jacob mean to the outsiders? To Laban who wanted his daughters connected to his sister’s family, so much like Abraham once had this same desire? There was the thrill of the connection, of distant people within the tribe, to others far away. It was part of the craziness of men who feel empowered. Did you feel the personal shame in the story of men who felt deeply inside that they were created to travel: men like Abraham, who felt so deeply inside that they had been created to travel the world? Men like Jacob who were never coming back to the nuthouse which had been the homestead of Abraham, thinking, then trying to kill within his own family, his son?

Yes, men like Jacob, hostile to and leaving that tradition behind. Before his attempt to return home, had Jacob really ever felt the presence of God directly, outside his youth? Beyond Canaan? Or outside his immediate family? And with Rachel, from Laban’s family with a belief in neither monotheism nor monogamy. Looking for the divine in all relationships even with superstitious women, looking for union with God, through their own flesh and blood. How could a man have a favorite child? How could a father or a husband with bonds, as the dogma of currency, show favor? Yes, how can Jacob have just one wife he loved the most? Or one son? Or one God?

What were the suspicions of this beautiful woman named Rachel, the young shepherdess grown, who had been born into this culture of deceit. Often in covert operations, a damage is suffered as a consequence of the tricks of another. And like Eve and Adam were punished by their cleaving, reproducing more people like themselves, so the story of Jacob and his wives.

When you were no longer so young, but still bound by family and the feelings which had come out of your family. What of the old rules which started to look, oh, too confining? Note the waiting in the story, to cleanse the influence of strange gods, from your native land, if that influence could ever be cleansed of the pretensions of the every day aspects that took up every moment of your life like a slave. A young shepherdess considered to be the lowest of the low – a shepherd girl willing to give her life for her sheep – on the receiving end and the giving end of all of his deceit, with Jacob who had wanted a piece of the institutions which had sheltered a civilization back home.

Power. Did you ever feel the power in this story – or the illusion of power — or the connection of the story of Jacob, in the story of the Promise Land, to the coming of a messiah? Have you ever left home thinking, as a child, you were never coming back? So much like Rachel, who was never coming back . . . but her children somehow find God in the story. These stories do not float free but are connected to a place – to a land. To know a landscape was to know the stories. So in this male dominated world, there had been Rachel, in shame over her fertility and infertility, another barren woman, the progeny of Jacob’s mother’s family, looking to bear a child to prove their worth. As if fertility came just from herself. As if she alone controlled fertility.

And what idol exactly had Rachel stolen from her father, Laban? (For all of these women in the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, merging lives between two tribes while facing sterility as a human condition.) How unusual was it for Rachel to be allowed to name her first-born son, Joseph, noting that God “has taken away (in Hebrew ASAPH) my disgrace”? Finally, after all of the messy arrangements, with her father, her sister, her servant, her husband. Yes, her disgrace was to allow Jacob to have so many wives, to have been a collaborator with her father in the marriage of Leah? From the world of fertility at harvest time, there is this second-born daughter Rachel, from the tribe of Laban and Isaac’s wife, caught up in the generational injustice based upon family pride. Jacob, hoodwinking each of his wives to come to believe that they somehow are Chosen?

Exodus. What did it mean in the way of institutional thinking, to give up personal ambition to rejoin the tribe, with a desire to return to the world that he knew had always been mostly more honest? So the thrill of the connection, of distant people within the tribe, in his return not so much to an institution but to the home and way of life which had formed Jacob.

Though the etymology of Canaan is uncertain, one explanation is that ‘Canaan” has an original meaning of “lowlands”, from a Semitic root kn’ “to be low, humble.” Though Canaan included what today is Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, northwestern Jordan, and some western areas of Syria, in Biblical usage the name was confined to the country west of the Jordan, the Canaanites being described as dwelling “by the sea.” The Biblical narrative makes a point of the renaming the “Land of Canaan” with “Land of Israel” in marking the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land. Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock in a certain subsistence mode. Wikipedia report that evidence of this moving — between-pastures cycle of agriculture — has been found showing shepherds staying with their flocks during the wet season and returning to graze them on the harvested stubble, closer to water supplies in the summer. There was a polarity between coastal towns and agrarian hinterland, illustrated in Canaanite mythology by the struggle between the storm god and the god of the sea.

Men who felt deeply inside that they were created to travel, like Abraham and Jacob had traveled, much like Cain had desired to travel, as his brother had gotten to. Jacob, soon to be renamed Israel, just before Rachel dies. Note the nomads as itinerants who still were a member of a community of people who move from one place to another. In trying to pass something in the way of spiritual power on– in the way of conversion through spiritual journeys. Note the humility, like a shepherd’s, in accepting a certain kind of authority until kids grow up and did not want to just obey what had always been the authorized commandments which belonged to someone else. There was an innate need for explanation about beginnings and endings. You needed others to tell stories of this migrant – otherwise if you just stayed home you would go, over a time, crazy.

Did you ever see the connection of these stories to past stories, or a connection of yesterday to today? As the past and the future were at odds…hoodwinked to believe that you were chosen, or hoodwinked to believe that you were born into a world that always had mostly seemed more honest. In an innocent view of a child.

Did you see the very same shame in the story, like the hostility of the son of Eve, in the stories? So Jacob, the allegedly just man of his generation who, like his grandfather before him with his family ego, wanted to return with some revolutionary ideas about relationship? Abraham had had a concept about only marrying within the tribe, one women. And there was this grandson of Abraham who had discovered the one true God, marrying his mother’s niece — or then two of her nieces, for God sake! Can you imagine the shock of Isaac when he heard the story about two of their nieces marrying one of his sons? Or the neighbors when Jacob returned, if he would safely return, to Canaan, with some degree of shame. Did you connect this to the hostility of Eve which she had to finally recognize in her son –even if a parent never came to blame themselves, their neighbors would. Hadn’t Eve eaten the apple out of an unease if not a hostility toward the Creator?

“Why are you going back to the ‘Land of Canaan’, Jacob? With two wives, when that seemed the norm only within the tribe of Laban.”

Yes, how old were you when you felt the growing shame in the story? And so the shame and disgrace in these stories of firstborns and the world’s systems. Did you see the sacrifice of Rachel, forced to travel in her finals days of gestation? In the story of unconditional love, what kind of man would make their so pregnant wife travel, even when all the forces of the world came down on you? Did you wonder about the connection of false gods — false idols so much the center of this trip — to what exactly Jacob thought he was returning? Contrast Rachel, who had upheld her tribal rules, waiting to marry Jacob after seven years as her father finally gave his consent, with Jacob who had not his tribal rules. So Rachel had honored her father, as Jacob at this point really had not? And what of the shame of Jacob, in having to still address what he had done to all of the firstborn: Esau, Leah, and the systems that favored firstborn. After Jacob had hid with his family — with what was supposed to be the future — placed in front of him for some kind of protection, as either one or both of Isaac’s sons faced annihilation, just like on Mount Moriah?

Exodus and the relationship conflict: Did you have a the ringing in your ear in certain words connected to this story not so unlike the initial conflict of Adam and Eve facing banishment? From that stated belief of Rachel with a birth of her first son: “God had taken away my disgrace”? Chosen. ‘Favored’ sons, with ‘favored’ wives and ‘favored’ sons. Note the hostility of those things which get in the way of either God or independence. Note, in the beginning, the hostility toward insiders – people using people – if growth was the only measure of success, when you were dishonest in your reports of growth, what else was dishonest about you and your organization, out for material gain and personal profit? Suspicions perhaps between women . . . envy between sisters, like between brothers: Esau and Jacob. Cain and Able? Were these the first pair of sisters mentioned in the Book of Genesis, who until this point in the story lived by the rules of their father, who allowed themselves to be Chosen. As Jacob prepared to meet Esau, were the word of Cain ringing in your ear, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”?

Jacob with his birthright, who somehow was above all other men. When you had it all, and you wanted to keep it? Jacob, with his two real wives and their handmaids, all caught in a borderless land, between the borders of the past, between two places, between customs of favoritism granted to firstborn sons/daughters in their tribal world, with handmaids, just like Hagar. The revolutionary Jacob, re-named Israel, for what he had done to the systems that favored the firstborn. And what of the shame of Jacob, in having to still address what he had done to all of the firstborn: Isaac, Esau, and Leah. What he had done to the people he had once loved, or based upon the system that he was supposed to? Did you feel the pride in the story, just as Jacob was returning to the world he knew, to the home with a return to a way of life — his old way of life — like an old institution which had formed Jacob, Rachel died delivering her second-born. In the movement in the story, with power in reduplicating Truth, in the generational injustice based upon family pride — Jacob now more and more like Abraham – note the perspective changes to the next generation?

Did you ever feel the power in this story, in Jacob’s discovery of a Living God, after he intended to wage battle to kill Esau, as Cain had killed Abel? Did you feel a connection of the story of Jacob, in the story of the nomad with the physical disability after his battle in the night – when a disabled nomad could not travel without pain. Note the humility in the story, which does give a certain power as all the force of the world seemed to come down upon you, as he gave up his perceived birthright, by sending flocks of his livestock to his brother in recompense of his crime. Had Jacob asked the Living God to bless his shame, as he prepared to meet his brother, in a battle between old tribal beliefs and what was missing for all other powerless beyond-the-firstborn people?

To lose either what you once had or what you once longed for and had waited, comes the discovery how to really pray, with a communal perspective. With the need to save the entire tribe. In one story of conversion, note those living with the system built for the human spirit of vexation. What Jacob was doing in the story was bringing HIS family back, feeling a command from Y*w*h to “Return to the land of your forefathers and to your birthplace, and I will be with you.”

Note the personal transformations in the generational injustice based upon family pride, in the dénouement of the story. Note the change in Jacob as a result of the death of his true love, with the power of his great love which in the end involved no deceit. Just as there was a hostility toward a brother who tried to take a birthright, just as Jacob thought his father had just one blessing to give, was there a hostility toward a God who tries to take life – like Abraham had once tried to take from Isaac –if you had never come to know the one true God? It seems that it was the power of unconditional love for Rachel, for his brother, that so moved Jacob to find a Living God, transforming hostility to love. As Leah was left having to care for Rachel’s sons?

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of  The New Yorker. As a birthright grew to the twelve tribes and some knowledge how to pray. Did you feel a growth in the suffering of one man, living with the system built for the human spirit of vexation, in the need for a larger place, for a Promise Land, for a place to freely pray and to try to love Isaac’s one true God unconditionally, and to atone for what he had done and what he had failed to do? Did you feel a presence still in the first recorded death of a woman in childbirth, in the human creation process, trying to prove greatness to God, which foretold so much of the history to come, as you were forced to somehow start over, with such a long learning curve, of a people shamed by what they had to endure. The leaving, the coming back informed and engaged in the world, to a place that it was believed God would return, in the “lowlands” called Canaan, with a Semitic root meaning “to be low, humble.” And there was Jacob, dealing with loss, wondering what would be the reception from Isaac and Rebecca, as to an anger and blame which went towards those who left you. And did you see an irony that by giving his blessing which came from the sacrifice scene on Mount Moriah, Isaac ends up with his birthright sacrificing his son Jacob for twenty years. Would Isaac come to see a growth of the concept of “Chosen” in the family of Jacob, as his own son had not come to banish the sons of the handmaids of his two wives?

There was Jacob, in the days with a need for support. . . with his large family. To go home, to gather together, with Isaac to grieve. Together, a hoodwinked people who come to believe that they somehow are Chosen, but still having to contend with death, accepting God’s support and a support of one another, in times of grief? Friedrich Nietzsche said that it was the stories passed on from generation to generation about the deepest of all suffering –stories about love — which made life worth living.

So what was the connection in the bonds of a grown shepherdess to God Who made all of this possible? With the two children delivered by Rachel who would deliver a generation from hunger, what was Rachel’s connection to Moses, to the City of David, to a Promised Land and the long-line of Chosen People — as vast as the stars in the sky?

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The doubts in the story. About each other. About their God. The movement in the story. Always the movement in these stories of the principals. The Flood. The Exodus. And having to take decisive action, to survive. So in this case there was the decree, just when you wanted to stay home. But maybe by leaving when the child was born, the locals would not talk so much about what had happened – or what was perceived to have happened. Creation

There was the mixing of the public and private concerns, as well as the innocence in the story. When you somehow were innocently born into the evil in the world. Not unlike what happened to a judge who found himself surrounded by evil, if you were bothered by all the secret goings-on, in the name of super men, if not God, in the system under the National Security Agency, after what happened to all of the innocent kids in human history. In human history up until this point.

Life and death. Did you note the theme in the first chapters of Genesis, about movement. Noah and his unnamed wife, who must have felt so very much alone. So was this a new beginning or just an ending? Chosen, with your very own personal choices about continuing life. (Chosen – the contest was fixed in my favor, in a contest between the inside against the outside world?) The doubt in the story about life – that I was loved? The sacrifices made to demonstrate love, to remove the doubt, because there always was doubt that you were Chosen, until you were so very much alone. Like Noah. Or Isaac. Or Joseph, in Egypt in times of famine. Or another dreamer named Joseph.

Again and again, as your very private life would determine the future of the world: the mystery, with the seen and the unseen. Adam and Eve. Noah and his unnamed wife, while pairing up all the animals. When you feel so very much alone, with doubt in times of annihilation, while starting over as PLACE replaces TIME as a character determined who they were; did you ever sense from the displacement the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize a Post Traumatic Stress disordering, about what is lost of the inheritance if not the birthright as PLACE replaces TIME, in the New Creation? The theme over who would be saved, and with the involvement – some kind of involvement – with the use of your fertility, in times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened – with or without love.

The movement, the themes, in the stories: When in hindsight it all seemed so fixed, like last night’s Ms. Universe Contest. Missing the movement in the story, with the pain and the suffering. Far from your home, with the doubt whether you really had been personally Chosen. The always and everywhere doubt over some warped sense of those who were chosen after hearing true stories of annihilation, about the powerless and the innocent. When it was clear that even God was capable of mass killing of the innocent.

The human condition: when the last person on earth you could trust was gonna have you committed to a mental institution – the motive in the killings was the human condition, and being left so all alone? And scared.

The real Jewish theme, again and again in the Hebrew Bible, is one of annihilation. Of Abel. Of the world at the time of Noah. Of Isaac, in the story on Mount Moriah. When the focus was on the innocent, when the outside world got a view within. And all of the new threats – the inside and outside threats, to the Chosen People – which came out of envy and jealousy.

The same human condition, whether the last person on earth – or the first. The doubts in times of annihilation: again and again the stories of the past – and also in the present. The realization that these were such personal stories of fertility.

Here, the Roman concern of rebellion. So a census, for registration. When in Rome, with their fear, putting down all crazy religious rebellions. When inequality threatens stability.

So the census. So the journey, surrounded by other sons of David who had to register in Bethlehem – the long line of fertility. Maybe still struggling over the concept of the virgin birth. And we never hear in the Gospels anything about the timing of the wedding between pregnant Mary and Joseph. And how would a couple not keep talking about it. About who among the relatives were never invited – and the talking about the wedding. And so maybe the relatives caught a whiff of the tension, with the innocence in the story. Of Joseph. Of Mary. And if Joseph was from the line of David, from where did Mary originate? And was she even good enough for him?

All these Latter Day Saints concerned about the private lives of this couple, as if it was anyone else’s concern. Like the shared doubt at this stage between Joseph and Mary, they are in the story, so all alone. The innocent in the story – the already betrothed Joseph, representing the House of David. Why would the Virgin Mary get pregnant – however it happened, by the God of Abraham? And then sent off by the political authorities to a place of origin to register, to enroll for a numbering.

When surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, when the last person on earth – or the first – feeling so all alone? So was this a form of societal shunning, with such an unconventional marriage, before the unconventional birth? Why else could you leave a woman and her husband so close to delivering a baby so all alone, in the story? Was it about another human concern – about who wanted to come between a couple that was gonna have a baby so soon. With all of the emotion involved, wasn’t there a sense of human shame? When you woke up in a strange town, surrounded by your extended family struggling over the concept of why they were not invited to your wedding, and you were forced to explain who you were and what you were doing here, if not how long you intended to stay – together. In Bethlehem. And then this pregnancy!

When there were honor killings by families in these times, over women who conceived a child outside of wedlock. The system, with the underlying relationships which came out of fertility, which was the basis of the registration – to whom were you related? With the Roman concern over ideas of rebellion which might be fermented by crazy religious beliefs. And the Jewish concern, with the six hundred and some laws from Leviticus. So how would you explain the pregnancy?

The deepest part of Christmas which came from stories about not just transporting a culture to an old place, but then somehow planting the culture. Through the Law. So there was the long spoken of Messiah and the birthright, along with the private life of the Messiah and his parents. The missing public spectacle. The movement, in how it was coming along? When you seemed so perfect as a baby, but it was always hard to so personally live with your God in this impersonal world. On this earth. With the God who stirred and disrupted. Chosen People.

Was there doubt in the story, in this very private story? Or fear, if not anger? About how a man from the House of David was somehow asked to deliver alone the Messiah. Joseph, so all alone? And about the ‘becoming,’ it is of note that Joseph had strongly considered divorce, at some time during the gestation period of the Messiah. When, if you celebrated the meaning of Christmas, you recognized the inner split in God over exactly who were His chosen people. And the properly credentialed latter day saints excommunicated you today over such divorce action — or after an apostolic investigation, excommunicated the sisters of St. Joseph — unless they found human grounds for annulment.

The conflict over power in the story. In a variant of dealing with denial, the decree from Rome was an attempt to show their dominion over the place? Of the insiders and the outsiders, note all the outsiders who tried to become insiders about what happened at the time. There was, thank God, only the latter concern by the latter day saints about the status of Mary’s soul. Mary born without sin, but surrounded by crime and sin in the world. By all the emotional responses to fear and anger, and to punishment, in a story.

To address all the doubts in times again and again of annihilation: the stories of the past – and also in the present. In this story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN. When over and over there were stories of indiscriminate human annihilation, and real people had to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships. The relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself. From one generation to the next. So I strongly suspect that in gestation period of the Messiah that the birthright of Abraham was at play between this couple. The same birthright with sacrifice that came out of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had, in what seemed a normal way of life. Scripture is nothing but the history of how people who went before us learned how to pray. Abraham. Isaac. Sacrifice. The strangeness of it all. A bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, through a son. Before there was the commandment about having “no strange gods before Me.” And so began Abraham’s dialogue with God, asking questions, seeking answers if he was doing the right thing. Questioning. Really, learning how to pray, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his son –the bond. And as a result, there was over time some long-developed cultural trust in the personal story of doubt – in the bond. Marrying, despite the palpable doubt in each other, wrestling with the unrecognized birthright question…and passing it on, with such emotion. Generation after generation. But with a conflict in the story between the unrecognized sacrifices by a parent for a son/daughter who followed fathers and mothers, with no idea where the future would take him/her. Or ME!

Chosen. Like in a mate. Two people from two homes try to merge their ideas, with two personalities, of what is an appropriate environment for their child. And learning each other’s strangeness. Yeah, as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private lives of this couple – whether a couple would remain kosher. With the concern of all the latter day saints about the degree of how orthodox.

The perversions of Gentile people, by the all these latter day saints, missed the discussion of the form of their orthodoxy – until they missed,and I along with them, the doubt shared at this stage between Joseph and Mary. In the first months of their new relationship. When, like any nomad, you wanted to go back to a place where you were once known – so maybe a census. Known, like God had once been. In places where you were forced to just listen. Listening to Joe Lieberman, on his tradition: until the bereaved family was ready – if they ever were ready – to talk, there was just silence. After living through the real stories of annihilation, like this month in Newtown, note the importance in the story, again and again, of companionship in the silence.

Silence. The movement in the story over the shared doubt at this stage between Joseph and Mary. There was such concern about the private lives of these people – as if it was anyone’s concern – and I thought a lot about the Lanza family and the cause/origin of another indiscriminate human annihilation. Like in the story of Isaac. And all the unrecognized Post Traumatic Stress Disordering that resulted, on issues of trust between both people and their God. I thought about the human condition: when the last person on earth you could trust was gonna have you killed – or committed.

When doubt met belief. The movement in the story of bonds that came from compounded belief, of a real human birth. When you were surrounded by people who shared your belief, but with all of the real human doubt between people and families. The doubt that would continue to be a theme over a lifetime, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering in the potential death of Isaac and in his not described relationship with Ishmael, just as Abraham had suffered with Hagar?

In this story of relative love, the conflict is when everyone was not the same – even noting the difference in another story of a son of the father of faith, Isaac, who was going to die, and Abraham was going to live. The annihilation, in prayer, in starting over each week. After sacrificing your best.

A day of awe, dealing with inheritance, later to be too much forgotten when it came to the mystery of the issue of birthright. In this story about a Living God and about belonging in the world, but sacrificing Your best. Abraham, who discovered at the end of the story of his tremendous human longevity, in the dénouement, was — in the release of tension in the dénouement —coming back home in his lameduck days, with his great sense of shame after wounding his own fertility. When you prayers were so alive. And you wanted others to have the same experience. The story about keeping something alive with sacrifice, with a passion, concentrating on this thing called physical and spiritual love – in my own fertility – that God would never forget. ME!

This descendants of a people from the ancient Semitic population: a descendant of Noah’s eldest son, taken to a place where they never had been? And so this trip to Bethlehem, by Joseph. Bethlehem, where Jacob buried the wife he loved. So Bethlehem was about this bond which had come out of birthright, between outsiders and insiders in these love stories? Where God had lost his “strangeness.” Rachel was an outsider who never made it back to the Abraham’s homestead. That a nomad, without his own sense of place, who was supposed to resolve the crisis over belief, in a foreign land, outside the garden in the first place. With all of the anguish again this year, in Bethlehem where people are still dealing with independence and multiculturalism, along with the changing roles of power. Bethlehem, where David was born. With all the stories of post traumatic stress disorder: when you killed a giant, despite the commandments. With still the ever growing need for a forgiveness, in Bethlehem. To confer a spirit about shared belief, in the name of God, upon a king. With all the tension in the forgiveness story. With post traumatic stress on issues of trust, for the young, unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — after a grandfather had been ready to take a knife to your own father. Wondering first about the genetic affect and then about the environmental affect on a son, in these love stories of how God lost his “strangeness”. About the birthright that had come down one silent night to Bethlehem.

To find your people. To form institutions based upon trust. To wake up among your own people everyday, one day able to escape your shame. Note the movement that came from the shame that Abraham, that Jacob, that David all had felt so personally. And now a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, from the royal line of Jacob. Note the movement toward Bethlehem — with atonement, by God for all the present, past and future annihilation. Note the movement in the story concentrating on this new tangible physical and spiritual love – in a fertility – so that somehow for all the shame, I would never forget God.

TO Bethlehem. A virgin birth. Who would ever believe? In the story of the human condition, in the story of salvation history, when God came between Chosen People. So why not have Joseph be challenged by Mary, as Jesus one day would challenge the world? Who could, who would believe in a virgin birth – like on one dark December silent night Joseph finally had? Who would believe it now? To Bethlehem, a Messiah – who would ever believe? Or who could ever believe so personally in a Messiah — with all the personal stress between loved ones in passing on a human concept of God — now? That was the mystery. The darn near impossible. God! Who could believe in the “strangeness” of God? It was always the question. Then, and now – this Christmas.

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Multiplication and Divisions

Boom! The Big Bang Theory. Creation.

To recognize My God. Abraham. When religion began dividing a people. A man in need of God. A man symbolic of the division between humans – with Hagar and Sarah. The rivalry. Having to decide about the power-base which has surrounded you, since your birth. About present valuations.

The movement in the story. Leaving, coming back, in an under-populated world. The repeated themes of fertility. Of exile and banishment. Of water, of floods. Of wells, of drought. Of enslavement. Of a way of life that could not be escaped from. The slow movement of nomads over time and space populated by mostly people living in denial, if not fear, of God. With themes of birthrights, of power and might, on life and death, so the comparative approach to the real God by fathers to sons, with that identity commandment.

Coming to know, to recognize God and His Image, concerning reproductions, prayer, intimacy, love. The relationship with a mission to love and to serve.

The movement in the story. Leaving, coming back. The females missing so much in the action of the story. In the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The nomads all with barren wives. In clearly an under-populated world. The repeated themes of fertility, and the arrangements — with land. Exile and banishment, from land. The Promise Land, for its fertility. And a return to a place by the next generation with a greater degree of exercised freedom.

The relationship theme. The conflicts which moved a couple. Did you ever note how much the women taken as spouses were outsiders? Except for Sarah. Go back and see from where Sarah had come, in the story, in the arrangement, of Chosen People. With the relationship theme, within a keep-to-yourself culture. In a part of the world where a stranger had difficulty breaking into the mainstream. It is said that Minnesotans have this tendency to keep outsiders at a comfortable distant. Like the new people at work.

In a state, comparatively speaking, with a high percentage of homegrown residents. Specifically seventy percent of the people are native-born in Minnesota. “They’ve never been,” said Cathy Shaefer, in describing insular people not intentionally cliquish, “alone before.” People perhaps only too comfortable with their lives. This statistic of homegrown people, provided by the Department of the Interior, was so high thirty years ago that it was described as “overwhelming.”

Social life. And so the story of nomads, settling down. In this Minnesota culture that Garrison Keillor had made a living describing. In Seattle this same social malaise is known as the Seattle Chill. People of color might conclude that the missing genuine welcome is due to racism.

It was the difficulty of all transplants. The burning bush that Moses found is still in Egypt. When it was hard moving into a new environment to be ignited. Readers often overlook the importance of ‘place’ in a story that defines everything. Perhaps it is due to the old Scandanavian heritage of Minnesota, where people here are still described as so generous, yet so detached to the newcomer. And like a river or a mountain, the old Norwegians and Swedes have set the tone for the rest of us to follow.

When you are born into something: And much like the challenge faced by each generation, to make the God of my ancestors a Living God, so the communal challenges of a people set apart to live in community. With the movement in the story, as valuations changed. Finding the quiet humility in the search for a homeland with God.

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The Storyboard

Art. To sell one book at a time. The magic. On issues of an established baseline of shared belief. When you see shared belief grow into the public sector. The developing bonds of trust.

In all the personal vanities of religion, God. Beyond the different divisions and conferences of Judaism, beyond the 20,000 fragmentations of Christianity. The vehicles of travel. The movement in the story. With Islam and Bhudha. With Taoism and Confuscious.

An arranged marriage. Looking for stability for your kids. When a love based upon romance goes bad. A marriage arranged for sex? When the charm eroded. When you lost your sex appeal. Letting someone place something inside of you. Like an idea about the future. It was probably the most feminine experience for a male. When the future was always left inside a woman.

To write about China. And to come from a culture, from a community that fostered concepts of one child per couple. Without protest, without voice, without memory, based upon oral tradition? Where the Gladys Kravitzes had united to formulate fertility policy. Politicians not so unlike the Russian Bolsheviks who broke away from socialism and like in the Youtube video called “I am God,” imposed their concepts of money and living on everyone. With new standards of living for health care and military service. And work. When one day the people pretended to work, behind the Iron Curtain. Like deep echos of both deep cannons and the neighborhood dog, the people there were still frightened by echoes in the dark of barking animals.

Private matters with such a public affect. When you see shared belief grow into institutions. Powerful institutions. Knowledge. Wealth. Fertility. Love. God. As the private and the public sectors intersect.

Art, as the measuring stick. What was the artist trying to say? In Art and language and culture? When the measuring stick of currency was oh so broken. When the language of art revealed your caste.

Denial. Acceptance. The movement. Of scatter-brained nomads, amidst so much stimuli, looking for God in all things.

Presumed dead. The anger. The fear. Following a war. Missing. Like Abel. At what point did the authorities allow a “missing person” report? The stories of identity. With poets and bards trying to capture in words the spirits within, into stories without. Into the terra firma world. (Looking for images and reflections of ourselves in other cultures.)

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The attraction to Mystery. The magic in just the attempt to identify God. For someone else, through issues of an established baseline of shared belief. How much these stories – a primate trying to find the measured words – meant, to me. Looking for a vocabulary concerning spiritual matters. At some point to come to a story. And you are in the story. How much these stories mean, to me.

TO create humanity, with a desire for God. These eleven apostles. Waking up when their traveling companion was declared presumed dead. The thing buried by Fear? The story over and over: born into everything, and losing it. In the garden. And going in search once again. With this mutual desire. God and His people. And fertility. The shared choice to love, to reproduce. The things that stayed with you. Every day. The collegiality. The unchanging law. When you appeared to be losing everything at the end of the story. And always the fear. Of exile.

When you no longer were Chosen People? How things kept changing. Contemplating the change. And the emotions, the perspective which went with the change. In the outside world. Did you feel the inner tension of Cain, not satisfied to stay in one place –like the Garden — and not satisfied to till the soil. The inner tenion over accepting that he himself was from dust, and all the irony in the turmoil and the dust-up after killing his brother.

The buried anger. The buried pain. The exile. Until the day it came out in the wandering. With a deep sense of good and evil, about unrighteous affluence. Those who desired to hang onto what they had.

Power. The evolution. Of human power. The battle over acceptance of power with its institutions. Faith versus reason, in the aftermath of the Renaissance. What was the artist trying to say? In the art of the Renaissance? What was the artist trying to say in his/her Art and language and culture?

Quarterly reports of the prophets. Navigating closeness. To stay close to God. Life, like on a great river. Looking for mentors in life. People trying. People really caring to stay close to God. Like Adam had not. Mostly because of Eve.

Adam lost his mentor about the time Eve came around. When he learned for the first time we were all gonna die. Somehow. With others. Or alone. When you were forced. Into relationships, with your co-workers. Or born into relationships. Like Cain. In family. Not unlike Eve. When you were born into something – the movement in the story – born to be this tiller of soil. The movement in the story, with your assigned place, or job description. And your jealous human perspective about it all. And anger.

Power. Force. Authority. To return to the world we had before a crime was committed. Talion law: An eye for an eye. The change from the Talion Law, called Reconstruction. Converting mechanical energy of downward-flowing water into thermal and acoustical energy. In the age of terror….that replaced the age of consolidations. On matters of faith and morals, after the leveraged buyouts. Energy of Chosen People, given some direction in life. The Dissipation, with a concept of a wandering formalized. In the mainstream. With a certain idea of movement and birthrights and inheritance.

Run. Hide. Escape. Missing. Presumed dead. Following a war. The anger. The fear. Again.

The loss of an audience, without a story board. The power. Of Art. The need for the story board, for the artist. . . to figure out the puzzle. I happen to talk to my ophthalmologist twenty-four hours ago – my one time cross-country captain. And he mentioned the importance of a story board, beyond long distance running, that he heard a world-famous author mention at a recent dinner at the high school we once had attended. So how can you either put together or try to read the Hebrew Bible without a story board? Where are you taking Me? How are you describing Me? The bulls in a china shop, what are you doing to the vehicle? How are you tending it?

And about the end of the story. In the mystery, where does the story line end? The loss of an author, without a story board. With themes of population. And growth, in fertility stories. In what had always been arranged marriages. After Abraham. Then the modern world, is God still in the arranged marriages?

To lead to an end. To tie it all together. What you need to live. Beyond yourself. With a certain esteem, in this creation. With seeds and harvest. To try again, In another new spring.

The ultimate honor killing on Good Friday that so many Muslim women could identify with. In not another crime against humanity, but of divine sacrifice. For Resurrection.

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Union. Relationships. That you might have, should have, what Adam had, what Eve had. Information, knowledge, or a personal experience – a family experience – of God’s love. When there still was only the commandment about the apple, focused upon knowing God, supplemented with a command focused upon knowing Eve, ‘cleaving’ in either bond, or in a kind of separation.

Was it worth your time, creating a relationship? In developing a common point of view, about an overall aim of the relationship. In enhancing connectedness to this world. When there had been something missing in my life?

The anger of Cain. Yeah, kids often seem oddly numb. About the hard questions. About these unexpected living arrangements, unprepared for growth. Over why Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the garden. When your kids did not feel so bad about something that they had never done. Like eating fruit, from one long lost tree. When the world was so unfair.

To be so dependent on the Promise Land, despite all of this freedom. Was it about expectations – my expectations about the world? About where an independent nomad might go? Because greatness was so lonely by one’s self. Descendants of believers who did not ask, did not dare ask this generation whether the one true God would seem relevant to them now in such an overcrowded world. Did not dare even ask if God, amidst all of the personal pronouns used, had ever been relevant to the parents. These Tree of Life stories about Chosen People, when God always met a person one on one, as someone developed their own relationship to the Tree of Life narrative, set in a world with enough people.

About your greatness. Get organized. Prove it. In a relationship. And then in the world. In the united state. My first ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, was based upon the world that my ancestors had given me. I had inherited it all. Like Isaac would. Like Jacob stole. Some, through the people I was related to. Some, through material wealth. From their DNA. Earned or inherited.

Looking for acceptance. When in the under-populated world there had to be movement in the story, by Adam and Eve. After the denial, the fear, and the inner conflict of nomads who wanted to keep moving, to bring goodness into the world, with the expectation to put down roots.

Acceptance about the garden. About the Promise Land, when there was a planet to inhabit. Those living arrangements. When you were just for the most part unconscious, navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of your family life – broken. Then the Lord called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?“ The winds of change. How fast things happen. After just one bite of the apple.

To slowly think and understand. Who was this God? Wanting your own kids or grandkids to think. About their past. And the custody rights. Before all the unraveling. Emigrants having to leave the Garden. Through no fault of their own. Recognizing the distance in the story. When both men were heroes in the story, as Eve, as Adam, had been heroes. Waiting, to know more about the custody rights to God. To the God of Adam and the God of Eve. But not understanding yet how to pray?

To slowly think and understand. After Adam, what was the point of view of the next generation, in the search for the divine? About fertility? The keeper of flocks. The tiller of soil. The first job descriptions. Cain and Able. When they both honored God from the work of human hands.

And then after Cain, what was the point of view of the next generation? Were we all really related to him? When he was born into his job description. With Cain’s hostility in his part in the food he was eating every day. When it was his brother who was the nomad. Who got to tend the animals. Long before the day when the Egyptians thought shepherds were the lowest form of existence.

“When you should have what we have.” Freedom. Human rights. Free will. And original sin. Even when you had lost everything – the garden – which had seemed to provide meaning, which connected you to God. The lost birthright, in Chapter One, to the garden. And then you were forced to one day leave it all behind.

The anger at the unfairness. Of systems of slavery, or new systems that replaced them, with the sweat of human brows. As the tiller of the soil, tied down to one place. Not all that dissimilar to the anger at having to bear children? The imbalance in “relationship work,” and a resulting anger? More conspicuous – but not to me – that these were my kids, inheriting my sins.

In the Promise Land. In America. Now the missing bonds. The anger at the unfairness of the world. Homeless sons and daughters of immigrants. The ones who left the Old World behind. And now years later these children mostly of divorced parents? And God, sensitive to the dominant culture. Sensitive to the gap in the living arrangement. And more attuned to all those gaps, and the inequality of the gaps in the living arrangement – than the insensitivities of an old world, with the ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, based upon the world that my ancestors had given me which I had inherited.

So this child left wondering, how could such great parents be kicked out of the garden? For just eating the apple? And why should they lose custody rights? To the garden. Over a simple apple. How can God not love my mother, or father? Even if, in an updated story, they had been divorced? And why lose custody rights to the garden. Over one simple apple. Simply for eating an apple. Who could believe?

The living arrangements. For refugees. For nomads. With a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness, was God homeless in His world? Did God identify with nomads and shepherds, created in His image, formed in His likeness? In a world that is rich with possibilities for connectedness and attachment, the heart and soul of intimacy, the lifelong challenge, begins with a home. And an identity which came from a home. And then it was gone.

To move populations through righteous anger. Because, as Chaim Potok writes, “Something that is yours forever is never precious.” So a promise land. With freedom and safety. With an overall aim of the relationship – in a marriage, in a home, in a homeland — developing a common point of view, about an overall aim of the relationship. But you had to work at it.

Was it worth your time? When marriage was really about about trying to find a moral consensus. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about themes of youth, beauty and riches. And that was the world of modern pop culture, of America today, ruled especially by beauty and wealth. All the things glamorized by the media, of modern America. Fitzgerald wrote with characters that keep trying but at the end of the story, never really found themselves, in this country formed by people who left the Old World behind.

And so in this land of immigrants, the ongoing struggle for an identity,when you moved away from your ethnic group.

Killing your own brother? When Cain was at the end of the story still my own son, in the eye of Eve and Adam. And all that they had left. Did you ever wonder what happened to Cain at the end of the day, after he had killed Abel?

Banishment. Exile. Excommunication. ‘Who in the name of God do you think you are?’ Cain and Able. The intent to take a life. Ishmael and Isaac, with their father. Jacob, with his brother and his own father. In the story of FIRSTS, taking a life. And the ongoing struggle with the refugee question, in this land of immigrants, dealing with nomads.

And so Cain, in his quest for mercy. And perhaps in his struggle, in his own “relationship work,” to learn how to pray. In a leadership role in his own heroic quest for salvation. When prayer always re-cast the human image of God. And Cain, so badly in need of God.

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Giving Me Artistically the ‘Once Over’

The landscape of dating. Over the past 20 years or so, as town centers completely destroyed by bombs in World War II in Eastern Europe have been, over time, stone by stone, restored. In my lifetime, and in the lifetime like the contemporary artist I met, who was three years younger. Her family had left and had spent their time elsewhere during the Reconstruction.

In the sign of the times, the woman still looks like a a cheerful hippie, with a restlessness on display, over time perhaps becoming more visible. Getting perspective from an artist who liked to paint landscapes of the far off, and generally avoided the things up close. The divorced mother, now at war with her son, looking for a lasting relationship, talking with great honesty about her life on Yom Kippur. To me.

After being banished from the territories in the 1980s, with an art degree from the University of Illinois in Champagne, she had gone to San Francisco. She landed in Minnesota in 1982, where she remains. When she married in 1991, she said that she knew on her wedding day she had made the wrong decision. Her marriage lasted until 1997, with six years of marriage counseling. Her husband, she said, was shocked when she asked for a divorce. At the time she had two kids, the youngest having been born in 1994.

Unsettled. To tackle the deeper problems, with perspective, after a deep sleep, of the daughter of Ukrainian Jews who had never returned home to Chicago. The woman who seemed on Yom Kippur to want to come to grips with her sins. The main one concerning that she never really had loved the father of her kids. Perhaps not knowing about “the last clear chance doctrine” to be used in her own defense. On issues of contributory negligence, in her life.

People do not really say, to strangers, what is most true, like this. Living day to day, struggling economically ever since her divorce, making a living as a sign painter. Recognizing all of the restlessness, in her story of detachment. At a time when clearly, with perspective of time, she had not really known herself. THEN the remark of a stranger recognizing her for her modeling for his art class, naked. This was, most likely, no big deal for an art major, though the stranger hovered over our table way too long.

The landscape artist who bared her soul to me in an Irish bar, owned by a Brit, about what she hopes to be building upon. Six years ago she had become Christian, with no mention on how that affected her relationship with her kids. Having gone to Guatemala to build homes, the divorced mother with one daughter away at college, with her church group, in her restlessness. But now at war with her high school age son who lives with her – perhaps playing the game by something other than the official rules – but he would be asked to leave when he turns eighteen.

The divorced mother, hoping to build on a lasting relationship, talking with so much honesty about her life on Yom Kippur. Giving me the once over. Just once, in this Irish bar that was not really Irish, with bagpipe music airing. Despite her claim of being an artist, who now liked to take commercial jobs closer to home but with her free time she likes to paint landscapes of the far off, generally avoiding the things up close. Expecting pain in any relationship, expecting such little joy.

Life in Minnesota. People want to live here; they don’t want to leave. We don’t have high turnover.

After a provided quote from me by another landscape artist –“I have always worked and pulled my hair out simultaneously, but the higher motivation is the sheer pleasure and joy found in the depths of perceptual engagement.” — she then said she did not want to see me again. Perhaps coming to learn, in her continuing education, that that you could not love others, until you settled first upon really a known self, before moving on. After giving me the once over, moving to the the art of loving yourself.

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When Your God Came Credentialed By the Authorities

You had to wonder, when called to prayer five times per day, about the content of the prayer. When prayer is really something that is not said, but an awareness kept, like keeping company, in an encounter.

To pray five times a day is to be available. To the Truth. How to exalt God? To confer a spirit….the slow patience while creating something in God’s image. A child. A story. The TRUTH. In the circle of revolutions. When revolutions are a process and not individual events. I know not why life is astir…in Iran. In the the torment of their God, and His people.

You had to wonder about the framework, the purpose, of the prayers in Iran, when called to pray five times per day, of those in power. With their prayers. Whether anyone truly wants to meet God. In their prayer encounter with a living God. In Iran.

With 62 percent of the vote, holding a seat in the United Nations, you were allowed to torture and murder – torture in the name of God– as part of the “security apparatus.”

The Islamists who since 1979 in Iran had morphed into elected autocrats once in office, exporting their tactics once sharpened by the neighbor to the north – Russia – to Syria and Lebanon and beyond. In a country without basic human rights of freedom of religion, or freedom of the press — where the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approves the Minister of Intelligence and the Minister of Defense – the Quds Force which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and serves as the linchpin in Iran’s regional strategy, had been dispatched to Syria. To interfere with the airspace where satellite waves and prayer were transmitted.

Between November 1998 and February 1999, the brutal serial killings were carried out of leaders of the Iran Nation Party, including Mr. and Ms. Foruhar, brutally murdered in their house; the kidnapping and killing in December 1998 of Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh, writer and translator of literature on women’s rights; and writer Mohammad Mokhtari. With the Grand Ayatollah attributed the murders to foreign powers, the state investigation and prosecution of the case of these four became known as the serial murders, and lasted several year before eighteen Ministry of Information employees were presented as scapegoats, admitting that suspects were under pressure to confess that they had links with foreign entities. Killed in Iran by “rogue elements” in the security services.

The National Union of Journalists had released the video, throwing light on a conspiracy of the Khatami government to conceal the truth. With ongoing variation on a theme over the ensuing twelve year. In 2009, there were, dressed in civilian clothing, the Basij — in the hands of those with Special Forces and a special force in an Islamist Republic — crushing the dissent over the reins of that power. When death sentences had lost meaning, to people without freedom.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, criticized this week the conduct of the Syrian government, while torture by the Iranian government had been long accepted as the status quo. The conduct of the Iranian government, blessed by, held above reproach.

UN High Commissioner Pillay said, “Resort to lethal or excessive force against peaceful demonstrators tends to not only breed a culture of violence, serves to exacerbate tensions, and violates fundamental rights, including the right to life.”

Meanwhile, when killings were approved at the highest level, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for unity among African nations, proclaiming “the UN decisions have always been against the interests of the African and Asian countries. Although the world’s independent countries comprise the majority of the United Nations member-states,” President Ahmadinejad in expressing his satisfaction with the formation of the African Union continued, “the UN has failed to defend the interests of independent states.”

Spinning the promotion of unity, with a people now repressed beyond a decade, you wondered if the locals ever interrogated their God. About power and might, and the use of earthly power. Over what was going on in their own world. And if this is how they treated their own, how did they treat their enemies?

Did the undefined interests of independent states include anything about independent belief, along with the freedom to freely pray? The spin on the Arab Spring from Iran is that these were not genuine popular movements in Syria but actually hostile outside intervention – perhaps too much like prayer – hostile to the Supreme Leader, directed at regime change. Called by Iran to be some kind of Western phenomenon.

Praying to the one True God, when killings were approved at the highest level. Connecting in praise and thanksgiving – in sacrifice – prayer is a process, an awarness kept, requiring tremendous freedom. No matter where you lived. When true revolutions are, not unlike prayer, processes, and not events. With God always at your side. When words do not truly articulate the truth. About the world. When silence – once used in the second half of prayer, to listen – had become, as in any dysfunctional relationship, the only weapon left. As leaders, while their Basij attack people and their Quds Force attack airspace, demonstrate exactly what it meant to take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain. And people kept praying five times per day.

When you lived in nations with illusion of power, even illusions about God-appointed leaders, to fight the counter-insurgencies of the soul sixty percent of Iranian homes and businesses, Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry’s research institute, told an Iranian news agency, would be soon on the new internal network.

When your God came credentialed by the authorities. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘s intranet, for the emerging conflict called the “soft war,” allegedly directed against the West. Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran’s head of economic affairs, said: that Iran’s national intranet would be “a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level.”

Reza Taghipour, Iran’s communication minister, made mention of the coming new computer operating system to replace Microsoft Windows. In the national interest. For a nation where murder and torture of your own was approved, by the Supreme Leader. When the sons of Hagar mostly always showed perfect obedience to Allah. And the women on a normal day always felt so all alone.


 



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Iran Helps Detain Another Journalist

Exile. Banishment. When journalist uncovered the truth, governments had a hard time distinguishing good from evil, in relation to their temporal powers. Amidst the chaos.

In a part of the world where torture was a way of life, one human rights group said Monday’s door-to-door cleanup operation in Syria was “to isolate anti-government sympathizers and render them incapable of organizing.” President Bashar al-Assad had blamed the uprising on foreign insurgents and “armed terrorist groups” operating in Homs, Banias and Dara’a, but while his security forces were using support from the Iranian Republican Guard.

Totalitarianism was back throughout the country of Syria, if it ever left. With phone and electricity lines cut in a number of cities, with the army going door to door, hundreds of Syrians were arrested in towns and cities and in the suburbs of Damascus. The military campaign to ferociously crush the seven-week uprising escalated in the city of Deir al-Zor and dozen cities on the Mediterranean coast and in the southern regions, as tanks occupied the cities of Tafas and strategically important Homs. There are more than 744 people dead, as women and children were arrested, in a campaign similar to that used to crush the “green revolution” in Iran in 2009. With mention in the Financial Times of one report that troops fired upon their own conscripts who would not fire upon protesters.

Syria, where precise details are hard to come by. About power and might. With half a million members of the Syrian army and other security forces attempting to quell the revolt. Everywhere but especially in the poor town of Dar’a, on the the border with Jordan.

Detailing the truth. Syrian’s state-run media almost daily reports on Islamists (Salafists) along with these foreign insurgents, without addressing why the growing hostility to Bashar al-Assad’s rule, as so many people were yet to be heard from – like Dorothy Parvaz.

As part of a “process of …media reforms,” President Bashar al-Assad had Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz detained on April 29th as she de-boarded from a Doha, Qatar flight at the airport in Damascus. Parvaz was leaving from the home base of the al-Jazeera English-language channel, with whom she worked with her United States, Iranian and Canadian citizenship. But her Canadian or U.S. passport alone would not work, going through Syrian customs.

And now as part of a “process of …media reforms,” precise details are hard to come by. Syria cunningly deported the Canadian journalist whose last Seattle newspaper employer had quit printing news and Al Jazeera was the only one hiring. Deported to Tehran, Al Jazeera reports, based upon that Iranian passport which Dorothy Parvaz had planned to use to enter Syria, since this manner of entry did not require a visa. Deported “perhaps,” only after Syria was able to get Iran’s assent. Which must not have taken long. To join the other 33 journalist in custody in Iran, which may or may not include Shane Bauer in that number, since he was on holiday when he was detained, with his two friends.

In a statement Al Jazeera was told Ms. Parvaz was “escorted by the Iranian consul to Caspian Airlines flight 7905, heading to Tehran.” The Syrian representative in Washington had told the network she had entered Syria on an expired Iranian visa, and was thus deported to Iran. An Iran where women did not move freely.

In April, White House officials asserted that Iran, a Shia-dominated ally, likely has been advising the government of Bashar al-Assad after its four decade rule from the Shia Muslim minority Alawite sect on how to crush dissent. Bashar al-Assad — nervous about appearing to crush protesters drawn from Syria’s 75% Sunni population, getting advice on intercepting or blocking internet, mobile phone and social media communications between the protesters and the outside world. White House official had pointed to a “significant” increase in the number of Iranian personnel in Syria — only a few hundred personnel — since mid-March.

With a lessening of world support, Turkey’s recent anger at Syria’s crackdown has fed feelings of betrayal in the Syrian government. In April White House officials suggested that Iran “has been worried about losing its most important ally (Syria) in the Arab world and important conduit for weapons to Hezbollah [in Lebanon],” a diplomat told The Guardian.

The anger over the unknown. When you had no reporters on the scene. To reports about the sound of torture. With Dorothy Parvaz perhaps in prison, in a nation where one person was killed every eight hours in Iran, with the start of the new year. Which had been BEFORE all these uprisings. In Iran where the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is responsible for restricting access in the Islamic Republic of Iran to any media of which the Islamic Regime in Tehran does not approve.

When journalist searched, in the name of a free press, for the truth. During a time when too many read the news at no cost, with no personal investment. As most tortured women in the Middle East remained in their homes, while males took to the streets. And citizens had a hard time, as Iran and Syrian governments tried to hold on to their temporal powers, finding the truth. Without a free press. Since 1992, in the information age, 861 journalists have been killed for heroically doing their jobs, with 145 journalists imprisoned, worldwide. Make that 146. With no indication yet if Shane Bauer — in Iran — is included within that number.

2015 POST SCRIPT:
The trial of Jason Rezaian, the reporter working for the Washington Post was not much different than the news stories from 2011 involving Dorothy Parvaz or even the arrest of Shane Bauer. Yes, when we endow our lives with stories. Through stories about sacrifice involving human bodies? “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the current editor of The New Yorker, a one-time reporter for the Washington Post. Mostly these are the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Because of a great restlessness you were born with, that seemed to move the next generation.

The Never Ending Shock and Awe

It was a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress. After a great shameful event, everyone agreed to not talk about it. Everywhere. In post World War II, when the veterans came home.

Vanquished. As two lands are laid waste. Ten Years After. Like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter. As a generation loses its fertility. Yeah, and bin Laden was dead.

In war. Who do you believe in a war? The Church? A president? When crimes became immeasurable? With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, in the aftermath. The irony of human justice, in a world laid with some kind of post-Nazi foundation of moral relativism to believe that a sovereign country has no right to judge the criminal who hurt its citizens. In a world, with so many young people who now felt that they should not be judged. When people no longer could believe in authority. For a generation which believes in no authority, what was to fill the vacuum of power? As no one went into politics, who I knew, with a well-formed conscious.

Global warming. Who do you believe about climate change? What do you believe about global authority? Long after an atomic bomb was dropped in war, like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, when invisible crimes became more measurable, when a force hits an immovable object, as the land is laid waste, in a western world laid without much of a foundation, and no one addresses the issue. When science forgot about nuclear winter?

In the physics of memory, in a world with so many grandchildren who felt that they should not be judged, comes global warming. The irony of human justice, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter.

War. Anger meeting anger. The powerlessness, as the aftermath of anger. In an unforgiving world of pierced tongues. With the distortions of power, even in the free world. Especially in the free world, reconstructed, in the dog eat dog world of capitalism. So what was worse, child pornography or torture? What if done in the name of Homeland Security?

When memory becomes a political issue. When vanquished.

How to use power?

The vacuum of power. When crimes became immeasurable? After the land is laid waste, in the physics of power and the abuse of power, comes nuclear winter. And Reconstruction, with the pain pills. For all the motherless children left behind.

War. Who do you believe in a war? It was a sad state of the world, when Russia becomes the spokesman for atrocities. Just as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov accused NATO of mounting an assassination attempt, illegal under international law, so had the Khaddafi government challenged the aims of the NATO mission, under international law. On the eve of bin Laden’s last day of life, the opponents of Colonel Khaddafi questioned whether Seif al-Arab al-Qaddafi, 29, and three unidentified grandchildren had actually been killed, or whether the announcement amounted to a ploy by Colonel Khaddafi to win sympathy and deflect blunt criticism of his own attacks on several rebel-held areas.

Issues not much different than the death of bin Laden.
In the aftermath, in the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome of war, who did you trust? When the American vision of justice, the irony of human justice, was one of vengeance and war. As the world lost its fertility. As a land is laid waste. Where once there seemed an universality in international law.

Sergey V. Lavrov said the NATO attack “arouses serious doubts about coalition members’ statement that the strikes in Libya do not have the goal of physically annihilating Mr. Khaddafi and members of his family.” Said the chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, Konstantin I. Kosachev, “I am very surprised by the total silence of the presidents of the U.S., France, and some other Western countries.” If reports of the deaths of Qaddafi family members are confirmed, it would drive home that the Western operation “is unacceptable to the same degree as the attacks by Qaddafi and his forces on civilians.”

Power as a force in life. How to use your mastery, to defend the land? After thousands upon thousands are dead, how to use power? When the land, when the ocean, is laid waste, beyond measure.

With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, living in the aftermath. Coming home, to figure out how to use power, to defend women and children.

In a world laid out with inviolate human rights, in a vacuum of power when leaders still sought vengeance making all life meaningless, how to use power?

In the aftermath of war, the sense of belonging. The human attempt set in motion to pass on a culture communicated, not by bellicose conquest, not by allocation or purchase of fluorocarbons, but through fertility. Human fertility. When fertility was the only language which conveyed the sense of belonging. When the invisible became visible.

With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land. About questions of belief. Over the reality of post traumatic stress and climatic effects of nuclear winter, with the administration of pain pills. Pills for fertility, pills for the pain, paid by a national health insurance policy. For those who could not cope, in a series of chemical reactions set in motion which was breaking down the stratospheric ozone layer protecting Earth. With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land, it was about the new perspective in such a world with the changing light—and tattoos. Light pollution, as a consequence of nuclear winter, from nuclear weapons.

When invisible crimes became more measurable, over time. To see all of the injustice in the world. And to somehow respond — rather quickly. Before forgetfulness sent in. Above the troposphere.

Before the next meaningless war, a response. About what you believed to be most true.

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Inside Out

When you shared a heritage, or a culture. And then the attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories. The sense of belonging. The language which conveyed a sense of belonging. To a group of people. To pass on, in like the eggs.

The eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. I got a call from the hostess of the Seder dinner who mentioned one oversight last Tuesday. About the eggs.

The symbol of creation had been forgotten? Like a good teacher, she wanted me to know about the importance of the hard boiled eggs, at the Seder.

This week I had heard an author who was a winner of the 2009 National Book Award speak. The book was Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice. I never got to ask why the title, Twice Towards Justice. Phillip Hoose reminded me of the retired sixth grade teacher that I curl with. There was a sensitivity present in a voice that Hoose was trying to communicate. The morning after, I found an old interview where he told Willie Perdomo his purpose in writing is to go in search of a voice to be heard, which never really had been listened to before. Claudette Colvin, as a teen-ager was thrust into the spotlight of the “separate but equal” world of the American South. In an old interview, Hoose told a National Book Award interviewer, Willie Perdomo, that he had once heard complaints of a young student who objected that in the study of history there were no people her age in the stories which made her feel so “invisible,” as though she did not, would not, qualify as a real person.

As he discussed Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, I recognized a Southern perspective from those times about just another carpetbagger, this one from Yale one hundred years later, telling a society about what was wrong with it, as he tried to profit as an author. What good was it for someone from New England to preach about racial intolerance in a part of the world that he was never a part of?

There was a sensitivity present in a voice, but it was more the perspective that interested me. The subject of the book had turned down his request four consecutive years to sit down and tell her tale. With a developed sensitivity to preserve habitats from his job on staff at The Nature Conservancy, Hoose said in a National Book Award interviewer that extinction often was on my mind, as he writes books. In the National Book Award interview, Hoose said that his motivation to write about Claudette Colvin, a complete stranger, involved a danger of her story being totally erased from history. Well, I was not so sure that there was a need for an eraser, since most of the people alive more than fifty years later never had heard the story which “often is told incompletely in unflattering comparison to Rosa Parks.” A more honest appraisal of his motivation seemed to be found in Hoose’s description of his youth in Indiana, a state where he said the Klu Klux Klan dominated the Republican Party. And life in Indiana, in his perspective, was never much different in those day from Alabama.

When you shared a heritage, or a culture: He wrote to inspire an audience to forestall species extinctions. The one with the echo of an inner hollowness of death. Or the aching involved to get out –of an egg. When your freedom was restricted. Or in the pain of childbirth. And then the pain of getting what was inside out for any child. And species extinction always involved fertility.

One of Hoose’s first books was about his cousin, Don Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees. I was aware that Larsen had died in the past 12 to 24 months. I was about to read a few of Hoose’s books. To find more about his attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories allegedly about dealing with loss, to forestall species extinctions. The Claudette Colvin story was about an imperfect world, man-made, about a system set up to forestall the extinction of a way of life, in one part of the country. In his attempt to pass on a culture, in the stories which conveyed a sense of belonging –in the language which conveyed a sense of belonging — I am not so sure that the author yet understood how this opus fit into the shelf with his other books. Except about being invisible in a world, when the subject seemed to revere an invisibility with her move to New York City after living in the spotlight during her teen-age years. After having sacrificed her invisibility, over a way of life, which put her own life in jeopardy. Over a cause, until her own young pregnancy, to forestall species extinctions. Gravida One, as one response. One strong response, about the injustice in the world. When Rosa Parks had a “natural gravitas” and was an “inherently impressive person,” said David Garrow, the author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

About the eggs. Yeah, the eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. Maybe a bit like Claudette Colvin was forgotten. I am not sure the author grasped the whole story, with a bit of quiet fear in his one reference to her pregnancy, in the time after her arrest, in the conflict of public life with private life. Especially in those times. About the subject not wanting this book written until after she had retired from her job at a Catholic hospital. The story which somehow involved the eggs. The woman who, nine months before Rosa Parks, had been the real incubator of the protest over segregation on the Montgomery bus system.
Copyright © 2011.

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The Seder

Tuesday this goy was invited to a Seder dinner, as a family tries to comprehend their own tradition and its meaning in their own lives, in the reality show called daily life, with the movement in the story – the movement in the story of Passover and Jews. What did it mean, this Jewish identity? With your DNA, within this creation, you were related to Him, in your image and likeness?

How can you know God, without understanding Judaism? Tuesday night I learned about the customs of a Seder dinner, in removing all leaven from a home – and maybe all the other things which inflate the egos in the rest of the year – in preparation for this day. That preparation had taken the host’s father seven days, in the old days, in removing the leaven from his home. Recognizing an underlying spirituality, about the ego in the story of Moses, about being Chosen People – perhaps because of the issues of inflation and bubbles of our times – I recognized the underlying spirituality about Chosen People, taming their egos, sharing so much with the rest of the world. Part of the ritual of the dinner was to read of the origin of Jewish women and people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. From the start, there was this sprinkled blood on the doorstep, as you let your God into your home … or in this case, a guest had dropped a bottle of red wine there, unexpectedly. When you married within the culture, with a tradition of blood in animal sacrifice.

With the always present issue of blood, in a living arrangement, as you marry someone within your tradition and passed a tradition on. You come to realize the continued existence of the tradition – your tradition – was up to you. As you made the discovery that the institution was somehow you. When you had somehow become the school, the temple…. the Chosen. You discovered the social meaning, in the age of social networking, when the conflict in the story was over more than shared belief, but shared blood.

The conflict in the story. With all of the movement in the stories comes the fear. And the primary fear was over fertility. Every fear concerning the next generation, about survival… and maybe the survival of tradition. Like the Passover story. When you go in Exodus, a bit uncertain when it came to your direction, after four hundred and some years in Egypt, and trying to get traction in the sand. In a certain involuntary cognitive state, and with high emotions over the intense unfairness in a system of slavery. But commanded with your life to know your God. With all the unknowns about would happen to the tradition, being caught in the desert. And all the emotions over survival… In Exodus.

The emotions of life over survival. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. In the Age of Divorce. Surrounded by other clans, which had such difficulty with concepts of union, in the your present day lives. And the primary fear was over fertility. In the earlier chapter.

Sarai. The laughter of Sarai, who needed a new name after the circumcision of Abram, in a scene which only Bob Newhart could try to explain. Over the phone. So because I always wanted to be a comedy writer:

Abraham, coming home after a long day at work, explaining circumcision to Sarah, at the age of 99 or 100. Like a Bob Newhart script, as Abram undresses.

“Uh, Abram. What’s eating you? You are moving kinda slow.”

“Well, I had minor surgery for something that had been causing me some trouble. “

“What is this word ‘surgery?’

“Well, I went under the knife.’

“Where?”

“Just outside Hebron. Away from the crowd. In a need for privacy.”

“No…I mean WHERE. Oh my God…. who did this to you?”

“I… um…. got circumcised yesterday.”

“You did what?”

“I am calling it a circumcision.”

“Really? Are you crazy? And who exactly did this for you?”

“I did it myself.”

“You? You? You can’t even fix the latrine. Why, in God’s name, did you do that? You know, we are gonna need new names after this, Abram. Both of us. New names.”

There had to be a reason for Sarai’s infertilty…and Abram thought it was due to him? So with a certain pagan view of the world, he took extreme measures? Maybe to remove something that was coming between him and his wife. To live and communicate now unconditionally. When you knew something and wanted to leave to the world this knowledge. The knowledge that took a lifetime to acquire. When something had been missing. Maybe when you were fertile. Maybe missing in your own childhood, or in your own neighbors. When something had been missing, and the plan then was to try it over. This time with maybe some spiritual direction. And maybe change, Norman Borlaug-like, the world.

The developing bonds. The lifelong challenge in the bond of a relationship. With the anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within. And then creating something out of that knowledge. Before you died. Stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. When you wake up one day and hear that your wife wanted more in the relationship? And you did not have a clue what the heck she meant.

The movement in the unsettling stories. About Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. Emotional stories about life and death. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. Stories generation after generation about fertility,about leaving and coming back, and death. Did you ever note the ages of Adam, Noah, or Seth? To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God, and the attempt to get comfortable with each other. For eternity. When prophets climbed mountains, with all of the emotions in a relationship. Or in one dimensional relationships. Over the quality of union. Or not. When perhaps God had not been ready quite yet to be around Adam, Noah, Seth, forever.

Union. Enhancing connectedness. To this world. Developing a common point of view. Union. When there had been something missing in the union, if not my life. About an overall aim of the relationship, with a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness– when the going gets rough, to stay together.

Fertility. The emotions. Fear. Death. God. Coming to an acceptance of God, like the acceptance level a couple reaches with each other. “Lord, let me get on with my business. Because I am not fertile.”

And so the fertility of Sarah, at the age of 89 or 90. “Laughing” was the meaning of the name of her first born son. Like Eve, nothing ever belonged to Sarah of this creation until she had kids. And so the battle within for any woman, over pride, when she was yet to have kids, with a man who wanted the the old world back, after the banishment.

Like a nomad, navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire, when you were just for the most part unconscious … or really just trying to figure it all out. With American men too often just numb. When those neurons just did not feel the things we were supposed to, about the hard questions, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire. For men too often just numb, about the hard questions, like greed. All men had it … some women. People throughout the world wanted to live like I had lived, like they saw in the movies. Greed fueled by media, for money and modern conveniences. Where It seemed there was not enough to be fairly divided.

SO after the public spectacle, for Eve and the apple, there was need for a wider audience. For Eve and her wider perspective about creation? Was there a need all along she felt to get out of the Garden? When nothing ever belonged to you of this creation until you had you firstborn child?

Passover. The unsettling story really more about the descendants of Sarai. With all of the work that went into this commemoration. The discomfort in the story about fertility. With the developing concept of sacrifice, of the best animal of the flock. Concepts over shared blood. Maybe why the blood of animals had been used in worship. To hear the story in Exodus, one year later, where the lamb was sacrificed and the people were to eat, “in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.”

Keeping kosher. The anguish of keeping kosher. To recall the time during those four hundred and some years when virtually every aspect of daily life was connected to your life being a slave. With the sprinkled blood on the doorstep, when you let your God into your home. When you tried to keep things somehow sacred. With the always present blood, and issues of orders, when you marry someone within your tradition. With an origin of Jewish people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. With the tradition of blood in animal sacrifice, the so very personal commemoration of Passover as a vehicle to celebrate the very nature of God, and His work in the world. Through fertility.. . shared.

With all of the anguish. Maybe like childbirth. Or in the 613 orders related to keeping kosher. With all of the dishes and pots and pans. The sacrifice that comes trying to maintain a tradition. With a certain amount of discomfort if not pain. When you work all week and came home to prepare the Seder. The anguish in being Chosen People, generation after generation.

Passing it on.  The work of deliverance of the next generation. Nietsche wrote that the meaning in life, the memory of loved ones, is conveyed only through real stories about palpable heart-beating pain. Stories of deep love, of deep hate, with layers of suffering that would lie in memory forever. Great literature of a civilization was based upon such stories carrying a people, somewhere.

The unstated part of Passover, in the setting, if you were lucky enough to have inherited a tradition, is in this unsettling.The Call to leave!

The carrying, of a people, like the ones you were related to by blood. Measuring the progress, one generation to the next. Passover was the paramount generational thing, THE family thing, not just a family thing. In the beginning. The movement in the great unsettling story. With all of the first born dead, and the blood on the doorstep saved you. On the original Passover. After Moses asked the the Pharaoh, at the Lord’s stated request. “Let my people go to worship me.” With all of the firstborn dead, concerned about the unraveling of the next generation – the one which seemed to be losing hope, or looking to the identity of the dominant culture, like in the Egyptian world.

For Chosen People, and the fertility part of the story. Generation after generation, in stories about this inheritance, carrying a family somewhere — with a way of life –not so much as protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship. To be deeply moved by worship by this God to whom you somehow were related. When children ask questions, to get things moving. To try and do right, generation after generation. With a certain anguish over knowing God. And to then try and do right, in virtually every aspect of daily life. Somehow carrying a burden of God, in a living tradition, with food. With a degree of anguish in being Chosen People, in trying to remain kosher, in the ever changing world. Not a story of survival, Passover was the story of freedom and salvation: how a people, in a story of first-borns for a people whose identity was repeated in the story of the first born sons of Abraham, of Isaac, were saved for history.

Passover. “And you shall tell your child,” …..about Passover and then this issue of inheritance. The reason why this night is different. Looking for meaning in it all.

The underlying tempo of movement, in all of these sacred stories, of the unsettling movement toward a freedom potentially as vast as all the stars in the solar system, against a conspiracy of the systems of the world they were born into. Children gradually learning to recognize a shame in living unquestioning lives. With memory of Passover conveying only through the personal anguish, the reason your were different. At one home defining Passover, the significance of a visible God and the significance – in bloodlines- of a Chosen People, to their God. And in the unsettling sacrifices freely given to this God.
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Looking for Meaning in Art

Tying it all together. Art. The power of art. The stated beauty in art. Like in the Pieta. With an intent to pass something on. Without words. To somehow move humanity forward, without words.

When you lost a generation. The excitement in recognizing the conflict in the story. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search. Wrestling with identity. TO move humanity forward.

Using words to try and get your arms around something. With the power of art.

Books and language and the future. Trying to understand each other. Telling stories, with such great themes. Through books and language and spirit and wisdom. On Opening Day, I was standing in Barnes and Nobles, grasping at the combination of sounds, into sentences, into paragraphs. Surrounded by all these books, not unlike all the stars in the sky, in the promise made by God to Abraham. About his descendants, and the stories thereof. The stories about the children of prophets. Stories of fertility and infertility. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. If they had been blessed with children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Because those children would one day have to go in search themselves. The movement in each story. The effort and study habits. That conflict written about in Genesis, which started in Chapter 2. About knowing God. The new struggle to know God. Once Eve and Adam had bit the apple. The struggle to keep in touch with God. For each generation. To move humanity forward. When we all were essentially cave men and cave women, going though different stages of learning. With all the the different stages of eating devices, and fire, and language. While learning a common tongue, to pass on whatever mental sharpness we had come to recognize on earth.

Dealing with insignificance, in a world with 7 billion people and you did not really know anyone. Because of the language barrier. The world with seven billion people, with one billion ideas per person. And the language of sex. The imperialism of the English language, imposed on another culture. Like the Irish. Or like Russian had been imposed in Czechoslovakia. Stealing something along the way. About the uniqueness about this part of the globe. Through the rag-and-bone shop of the heart. The emotions. Tying it all together.

Information. In the age of information, you could not get directory assistance at many companies. So more and more are headed in the wrong direction. In a world of domination and power. It was as if those alive had survived, based upon only their acuity and sharpness. Because of the greatness, for some, of the knowledge of past ancestors.

Language. Fertility and the future. The language of sex. Trying to understand each other. Trying to understand fertility, amid a population bubble. In the struggle to know someone. And the conflict in the story with other people and their one billion ideas.

Having to work to keep what your always had had. The artist taking something from the world outside, taking it to the deepest level within, and creating something out of it. When formal education was over. When my activity now, in my leisure or in my work, was somehow about finding my own goodness? To move humanity forward.

Attempting to grasp meaning. Over birthright and inheritance. Having sex. Again and again. When you were lucky, if you still were in a relationship. In a struggle of communication, with an authentic lover, over the deepest part of your being. Through the universal language of sex.

The choices of Chosen People. The anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within, God. And then creating something out of it. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God. When you began, after a while, to recognize...God, beyond the beginnings and the ends.

The conflict in the story which started in Chapter 2. The excitement recognizing the conflict in the story. Over knowing God. Eve. Adam. Cain and Able. The conflict over who knew God the best. In a relationship. And the witnessing the same struggle in your kids.

To know, love, and serve. With passion. Measuring it all. Recognizing it all. When you poured your heart into everything, at a price.

Noah ibn Lamik ibn Mitoshilkh ibn Enoch ibn Yard ibn Mahlabil ibn Qinan ibn Anoush ibn Seth ibn', “‘'We see you but a man like ourselves.' " [Al-Qur'an 11:27]

The power of art. With an awareness of. The stated beauty, taking it to the deepest level, in art. When I prove my holiness through a medium. Like you. The descendants of Noah, these pastoral semitic-people with their related languages, dealing with significance, living in community. With all the ideas about immigration and population control. And this new kind of climate change. Church and state, in union with my neighbor – or not – trying to maintain authority to regulate goodness and evil, in which everyone had a stake.

“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you.”

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In the Middle

Men who in the busy world did not understand women wanted company. Their company. There was a change in cognitive dissonance at my age. About feeling needed. After all of these years. And now a lot of young women were just as busy. And men and women understood each other less. If that was possible.

Primogenitor. In those romance novels, of princes and princesses. In a historical relationship like the House of Lords – that un-elected second chamber from the past. With the system in use at the time, from a time when the royal prerogative held rein, forever. Primogenitor. When only the first-born male was going to get the home loan. Historic primogenitor, to purchase a castle. Historic refers to what is important in history – what is interesting or famous because of its association in history with persons or events. Historical refers to anything concerned with whatever existed in the past or the study of the past, whether regarded as important or not. Such as historical novels, or the House of Lords.

Stories of power. As one man became a living being. Historical Power. Men who did not understand women wanted company. In a divine kind of way. Maybe as God did. In the power struggle of relationships. In a world where knowledge for many was turned into money. But at the end of life, as someone lost the breath of life, what happens to all the things that you have known? After all the things you spent time reading, the things you paid to be tutored in? When your mind dies, the patent was lost along with the chance to make profit. Unless you wrote it down. Unless you wrote it down, there was no guarantee you would be read by the next generation, if you made claim to the knowledge.

The journey from an existing present into a living past. Using words to try to move humanity forward. Using words to convey the most important parts about being alive. About the bonds which came out of stories. The bonds running through the story. About the breath of life and becoming a living being. The enthusiasm of youth, trying to figure out the meaning. For themselves. Being touched. Feeling touched.

And the relationship question: what are you doing to me? To allow unconditional acceptance, in the creation process. Creating something out of deep feelings….images of passion. Likeness. Like in a romance novel, only with the couple having to work at remaining sweet.


In the middle…in the story about the apple….in the middle of the garden stood the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was this tree which would decide the rest of the story. Once the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew, into his nostrils, the breath of life. And so man became a living being, with nasal hair. And, soon, woman.

Bloodlines. Reproductive care. Creating something out of deep feelings. And heavy breathing. Passion. DNA. The blending of the DNA of two people. When other people make us. Confronting the other people who make us. Working in the field of interpretation, addressing the answer to the question: What is this bond of family? Translating feelings of a dance-like art?

Bodies. In the body business of dance. In the vehicle of life called “body.” Disposing of, transporting, the bodies. From one generation to the next. In the ordering of society. When bodies had to be certified in birth. In the first stage of identification. And one day to find a formal cause of death, to certify life and death.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had. When a spark had been ignited. From a time so long ago. Before Eve presented the apple to Adam. “We need witnesses, to our fertility, to say we lived; the historians to record the deaths. The next generation to prove the difference fertility makes,” writes the poet Thomas Lynch.

And then the start of the relationship stories. Based upon tradition. Viewpoints, with all of the consciousness of transition, more from father to son. In a historical relationship like the House of Lord – that un-elected second chamber from the past. With the system in use at the time, from a time when the royal prerogative held reign: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, et al. And then Joseph. With no mention about what ever happened to THE TREE back in the garden. After the flood. But conscious of transition in the movement over land, with all the human construct, in words, in systems of male domination, between good or of evil in the story. The spirituality in transition, between the dry and the wet, in the ongoing story of creation.

About that time before Eve presented the apple to Adam – the apple which represented the different viewpoint of a man, of a woman, about God. Was the story any different than being in art appreciation class, hearing about the perspective of light used by artists? So, what was one bite? And then the forced migration. The two sons, of good people. The anger of the two sons over what they could have had for themselves. Without any sweat. In a world of just baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolets. Without a need for a bailout for GM. And then the floods, as the entire world became corrupt, and God lost his cool. Not unlike a divorce, from the first wife at an early age – then the second beginning, based upon the future movement of nomads. Semites in the dessert, like nomads in Russia, or in China, per the history. The movement in the story away, and then back home. In my tradition. Into civilization. After all the movement in the story, had you gotten any closer to God?

Once you know someone, once you loved someone, you somehow had to figure out how to respond. In your fertility? Like Sarah? And then the wives of Isaac and Jacob. Fertility was an important theme in such an underpopulated world. The same theme over and over, creating conflict for the ancestors of Israel: About that future movement of a nomad. Looking for fertile land. Looking for power.

Fertility. In the ordering of society, then came woman. With allegedly a noble male. In a relationship that took your breath away. With the insecurity about letting a man inside you. The fear over the self-destruction….of nomads who could leave at anytime. And reproductive care, or what would one day be called in the field of medicine, the old-fashioned method of sperm extraction, hopefully with relationship in some form.

It was a different world, when the world was so under-populated. With a different consciousness, especially among the women. Of ideals, and ideas….and, what seemed to be, your search for God. Because of animal-like desire from a historic — or was it historical — relationship, like the un-elected House of Lords in that second chamber? And so the human constructs, with the divine right of kings. Like in romance novels. It must have been so much easier for Adam. Adam who got to spend the original time alone with God. And then with Eve, who took his breath away.

Ah, the consciousness of nomads, over time. When sex led to union, but it disrupted the consciousness –so much. What was this power within? In the story about the Fall, and our many reproductions and replications, generation after generation. Was I just a perpetrator in another failed love story. With so many insecure people, how was it that I was so secure? About trust? With all of the variety of complications. With distance always a factor in a relationship, along with time and space. A woman with a goal to control her own fertility. And her children. With all of the variety of complications. And the fear which a young man carried around with him his entire life. In a modern democratic republic which mostly existed, seemingly in the age of media, to avoid the difficult issues. And hence, the borrowing against the future.

Translating feelings. Into kids. When neither I nor most of the audience had a clue. How astonishing life is day by day. Working in the field of interpretation. When you were young, bound by the family rules. Rules that started to look, oh, too confining. About the ordering of society, where families had been identified within a community. With rules about power. When busy men and busy women did not understand power. The power of just keeping company. And in the middle of the garden stood the tree. Still.

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Dust

Philanthropy—that you might have what I have. When I was in the process of giving away a book. About what seemed a normal way of life . The movement in the story. From a time so long ago. Before the mysterious disappearance.

Tradition: You had to be looking at what it was which you were about to give away. To appreciate the movement in the story.

Having to resume a life, as if nothing had happened. All the ongoing movement in the story. Over the inheritance. The land was still here. The children grown. With a growing numbness. To the inheritance. And working for a losing cause. Cognitively impaired. With anger.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had. What seemed a normal way of life. Like in the life of Cain and Able.

Having to resume a life, as if nothing had happened. After an injustice. Maybe after you have been forced to move. By the war. Or a sinking economy, with rising prices. Or by famine. Or just because your parents had shared one apple. And witnessing all of the truth which comes out of anger. With a demand for custody. Ask Eve. After she ate the apple. About the developing anger of her son, Cain. With his certain lack of self-worth which had developed. Working for a losing cause. A child of divorce asking about this all-loving God, with some doubts about the God of his father and of his mother. Over issues of fairness. And discrimination.

The Cain question: How can God not love my mother? Even if she had been, in an updated story, divorced? A child, wondering, how could such great parents be kicked out of the garden? For just eating the apple? And why should they lose custody rights? To the garden. Over a simple apple.

The Cain question: Waiting, to know more. About custody rights to God? On Ash Wednesday. Numb, at this point, about inheriting the earth. With an indifference in such a fast paced world. So, ‘Adios.’ To God. To the God of Adam and the God of Eve.

Wanting your own kids or grandkids to think. About their past. And the custody rights. To slowly think and understand. This creation. About all the problems in life. When both the giver and the recipient slowly thought about the great gifts.

Ashes. When you had to dispose of the ashes. What to do with the ashes? When one day you died. And the old-time costs of funerals were like the cost of health care. Just so prohibitive.

The old adage: Get lots when you are young. The anger over having been placed in a container of ashes, instead of in the ground. With all the expense of disposal.

The Nora Lynch story, by Thomas Lynch. To find me in his story. About ashes. What to do with our ashes. Mobile people wondering what to do with our ashes. In a society that spent so much to have mobility.

This western identity was so much about the mobility. Movement from one place. From home. With home security. With all the systems of home security and oil to keep warm. Oil to move around. Laws. Traffic regulations. Young people trafficked. Passports. Visas. Going to school. Junior year abroad. Going to work. Laws, to address the movement. The demand for mobility, and ‘destination’ weddings. With some sort of immigration policy. And caller ID.

Love. Coming home. Living with awareness. Nomads, with some degree of awareness, about all the movement. Awareness about how to position your feet. When you were not particularly aggressive about your personal life. But your wife was. About going places. About escapes.

The bonds which came out of stories. Using words to try to move humanity forward. Using words to convey the most important parts about being alive. Or, maybe Facebook. About true intimacy. Before people forgot.

Living with awareness. And how to position your feet. And learning how softly to hold the club. When a tradition was passed down to you, and it was your turn. But you messed up the mechanics, and due to a slice one day or a hook the other, you just were out of control of your intentions. And your short game. Oy-vey. Mobility. Distance. Speed. Maintenance. Having to be conscious about how close to keep the hands to the heart. The speed of understanding, when you were moving so fast, out of control. Compared to stationary people. The anger over having been placed in Group 2. As society distinguished the mobile from the immobile. Having been thought to be mobile, based upon your heritage. The anger at having been placed in Group 2, as immobile. With a dimming awareness —due to genetics, philosophy, or the environment. Which could not be my fault.

Escapism. Deep rooted self destructive behavior. The speed of anger. That never left. Below the surface. Lingering anger. The speed of understanding about the underlying anger. Over history. The self destruct in nature, that brings us to die each season. And then the ashes. With a slow speed in understanding. As your field lies fallow. Absorbing things, about the world. And the movement from one place. A lot like dust.

So, remember guys, that thou art dust.

The slow speed of understanding. About what to do with the ashes? Move to Phoenix? As a child of divorce. The anger over having been placed in this group. Separate. With pain. Because of some problems at home. With life. That had involved no choice by the kids.

Nomads. When you came from this tradition of nomads. Ah, with all the mysterious disappearance. Of nomads. With all the various degrees of understanding of God. But you should give thanks for all which you had. And for all the days of your life. And then start giving alms. To those who never had what you had. With various degrees of understanding, with the missing bonds, over the distance, which had never developed in relationship.

Love and mortality. Philanthropy. Passing it on, after your fertility was spent. Intimate sex and fertility, in such an unfair world. To somehow move a people in exile. Somewhere. The movement in the story. What had just happened here? Outside the garden. In this life? With all the need for numbers.

When you saw someone die. Or when you saw someone live. Demonstrating passion. To somehow demonstrate passion. Over the inheritance. The inconvenience in bad weather to demonstrate passion. Or in just bad times. Over a pregnancy. Or over the tradition. With the resources depleted. Money spent. And the growing pain. In a tradition.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I have. The slow speed of absorbing things, about the world as your field lies fallow. To drag a body out. To accept death. To start all over. In weakness to continue to accept yourself as you are. To finally feel moved. And to keep moving.

That you might have, that you could have, what I have. With the wise sincerity in content, Abraham and philanthropy. When on the surface Isaac seemed so undeserving. Like I was. Reading or hearing the stories. Of Abraham and philanthropy. That you might have what I have.

When you were moved by stories. Reading or hearing or witnessing one. About real life, freshly pressed. When I was in the process of giving one life away. A life that I never had been deserving of.

Sacrifice. For the slow. And all of this knowledge. And belief. And love. Based upon hereditary, or environment. The slow speed of trying to move humanity forward. In institutions. Or in other vehicles. Learning how softly to hold. When I was in the process of giving this gift away.

The slow speed of understanding. For nomads. When you were born into all of this. When you came from this tradition. Seeking, taking, sanctuary. With so many people indifferent, in good times. In such a mobile world. And seeing the passions become inflamed. Again. Over giving alms.

Remember man, that thou art dust.

So, with your slow speed of understanding, remember that thou art dust. Remember everyone, so that you might have what I have. And that you might keep moving. In alms-giving.

That you might have what I have. When you were moved to give alms. After reading or hearing the stories. About a real way of life. In real life. After reading or hearing the stories or witnessing one. When on the surface we were all so undeserving.

That you might have, that you could have, what I have. Life. From this God who was always involved in life issues. Giving life. Sustaining life. All the various varieties of life which, on the surface, seemed to be a losing cause.

And unto dust thou shall return.

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An International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran report published in mid-January 2011 said that Iran has hanged an average of one person every eight hours since the beginning of the new year. Amnesty International is very concerned that, after an unfair trial, Saeed Malekpour is facing a death sentence in Iran, with reports “he was tortured in order to confess to his crimes.” Last month Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami was executed, having been convicted of drug smuggling.

So what is worse, pornography or torture? A web programmer who had written photo uploading software that was used in a porn website, Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour was arrested in October 2008 by plainclothes officers . Kept in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for the past two years, Saeed Malekpour had been initially in solitary confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation. One year after his arrest, Saeed Malekpour was put on state television to confess to his crime of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam. “A large portion of my confession,” Saeed Malekpour wrote, “was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated.”

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), 121 people have been hanged between 20 December 2010 and 31 January this year. Saeed Malekpour has now been sentenced to death for running “indecent” websites. If these were porn websites, his wife claims, they were without his knowledge. Informed of the verdict, the 35-year-old Iranian born web programmer is facing imminent execution and has been transferred to solitary confinement, until the supreme court sanctions the administration of his execution.

The principles of Islam. Or the administration of those principles. Or the view into the administration of principle, in view of human rights. The human rights to communicate something about living free. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, as president, 26 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Khomeini government then had placed the Ministry of Culture in charge of reviewing all books before publication. With the imposition of strict rules on book publishing, which now under the current president’s regime, seem to threaten the life of a writer. A literary spring during the era of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency beginning in 1997 had once opened up the cultural atmosphere of book publishing.

The principles of torture that seems to be woven into the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which comes with the human desire for power. The power of one human to say who is stronger. The power of one human to say that he/she knows God best. The power of one human to say that he/she knows the manner to know God better. It all was the same conflict that Eve had with Adam, as she offered him the bite of the apple. It was the same conflict that had Cain kill Able. It all revolved around the first commandment relating to knowing God. That commandment was why Adam, why Eve, were not to eat the apple.

The power. Governments wanting power, cloaking police and secret police in plainclothes. Looking for challenges to power. Using torture to keep human power. Just as had been done following September 11th by the American government, distorting the principles of the American constitutions, when American power was challenged. Just as in Cairo, as plainclothes police arrest hundreds of demonstrating opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, placing them in detention, subject to torture. Since President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, he has his security services detaining, using various method of torture on people off the street. Like the CIA had kidnapped people and held them in detention. Not all that dissimilar to the three Americans arrested near the border of Iraq, while on holiday, when asked by Iranian authorities to come over. A man in authority, in the name of government, in uniform, with power. The two males were at least provided legal counsel, even if they did not get to talk to their attorney alone on the day of the trial, before or after the court proceeding, in their trial this week. Their attorney, Masoud Shafii has said that he had not seen his clients since Sarah Shourd was released, with requests to visit them repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.

When the government of law seemed subservient to government of men. The Iranian press reported the number of trial sessions will depend on the presiding judge. Did this all seem like a “show” trial, in a country with a religious state where you had to try to show others you prayed. In a system sounding a lot like a Communist regime, where you first had to belong to the Party. Only Communists had not been allowed to believe in God, publicly.

When absolute power corrupts, and provides distortions in concepts of fairness. The distortion that led Cain to kill Able. The distortions which lead to capital punishment, in the name of justice. The distortions which led governments to want to manipulate the news of the world, or just control the release of the Truth.

It was a challenge to governments to try and cover the news, based in Damascus, Syria. Where then 17-year old Tal al-Molouhi, a high school student has been under arrest since 2009, on charges of revealing information to a foreign country. In her blog. There was not much left in the rights of journalists as newspapers collapsed in the past few years. There was little left of the Society of Professional Journalists. Was this the same motivation behind the detention of Shane Bauer that no one writes about. A professional journalist based in Syria, with the 45-year ban on public demonstrations, state-run television, and all of the “security” forces, where the government goes looking for 17-year old bloggers. And graduates in journalism from Berkley are allowed to write freely, but just not hike on weekends?

When armed groups” in Iraq “receive financial and logistical support from Syria,” according to Iraq General Raymond Odierno’s previous comments to Al Hayat. Yet traditional media never really reports on the financial foundation of all these “insurgents” in Iraq. When the money for weapons, a great deal of money, most come from somewhere. Iran presenting itself as the natural representative of the non-Sunnis and non-Arabs nations, opposing both Israel and the West in the region, allied with Syria in support of Palestinian “resistance” to the supposed ambitions of the West and Israel in the region.

POST SCRIPT: On Valentine’s Day, chained and blindfolded, Tal al-Molouhi was brought into court and sentenced to five years in jail. In Syria. Where 80-year old Haitham al-Maleh has been incarcerated since October 2009 with a three year prison sentence for spreading”false information. About Syria, the recipient of Iranian oil money to prop up the power of the family of a long-time dictator.

Egypt. There no longer was a Society of Professional Journalists left. Not when their papers were on their last ropes. There were no labor unions offering protection. As governments smirked about it all. The news last week was about journalists being beat up and released. People like Hilary Clinton, who hated the press. AND it had been Obama who had kicked 3 journalists off a plane during the last campaign, because their papers failed to endorse him. On February 14th, the U S State Department in the way of Hilary Clinton has clamored for the rights to an internet connection, in the Middle East. The communication systems that could be bugged, or turned off or turned on. The ones which had been developed by the U S Military but became prevalent under the presidency of Hilary Clinton’s husband. Technology in which the location of every cellphone user could be found. The Clinton administration, not exactly the stalwarts of freedom, having set up the Joint Task Force-Civil Support in October 1999 as a “homeland defense command.” In 2002 this evolved into the establishment by the Pentagon of the U.S. Northern Command, charged with carrying out military operations within the United States. Up until the Clinton Presidency, the U S armed forces under Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 had been barred from domestic operations, except in specific, limited circumstances. There was a hollow ring to the words of the Secretary of State today, by a government which issued National Security Authorization letters which no one was allowed to talk to anyone about –not even a lawyer –under the terms of the Patriot Act.

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Té Tremble

In modern times, one universal truth since the French Revolution has included the anger and the fear that the young always directed at institutions which sheltered a civilization. Not at all unlike the anger and the fear that came out of slavery. Like in Haiti about the time of the French Revolution. Before the Louisiana Purchase. The anger and the fear directed at royalty and the clergy. At the time of the French Revolution, the anger at all of the estates, including the journalists covering the story.

The anger was over the powerlessness…. in the always and everywhere identity of being a slave — this powerful identity from the past in the New World based upon race that is not allowed in polite society to be discussed… Or about that anger from the past which had come of slavery.

I spent part of last weekend with the descendants of displaced slaves. I attended a program on Sunday about rebuilding Haiti. After waking earlier that day to “Speaking of Faith,” a National Public Radio program that morning which had discussed life in western Alabama where shelter had always been based upon a social order of the soul, with its burden of history. The houses of western Alabama always had had porches, in a day when air conditioning did not cut off a family from a neighbor, with a concern of long-term survival. Whereas part of the rebuilding process, part of the architecture included recycling building materials of the past, and an architectural teacher from the University of Auburn mentioned the slave houses in this part of the Alabama. As he was talking about the importance of an architecture that was committed and engaged, he asked who now could ever understand in this day and age slavery? “Either its social and/or cultural part at the time of slavery?” In western Alabama, where had been the descendants — with its displaced slaves and the slave masters still present. Architectural students from the University of Auburn had to find out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created.

The Saint Paul Public Library offered a panel discussion with sponsorship of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library with mostly Haitian people. Max Adrien is a Haitian-born Hamline University French professor with a Ph. D., from Tulane University in New Orleans where he helped establish a Haitian Creole program. In examining Haitian history, he told the story which began on December 5, 1492 in Haiti. Where Columbus sank the Santa Maria. Why Columbus came, with the late 15th century European God. Perhaps initially with a 16th century benevolence. To find a route to the east. To avoid the Ottoman Turks –those fierce Ottoman Turks. Adrian said he had a B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago, and knew well the theology of Columbus’s world. In a five minute history, he spoke of the arrival of the French who formally claimed control of the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. With the encouragement of Louis XIV, the French West Indian Company had begun to grow tobacco, cotton, indigo, and cacao under the labor of the enslaved Tainos who inhabited the island before Columbus’ gang arrived. With high Taíno mortality attributed to a missing immunity to Old World diseases, a French monsignor had suggested going to Africa to import replacement labor. And thus the history of African slaves from hundreds of different tribes, with hundreds of different languages. The estimated number was 790,000 African slaves in 1783-1791. And so the story of displaced slaves, from Africa.

Thirty years younger than the United States, Haiti was the first independent black nation in the Western Hemisphere. Adrien discussed Toussaint L’Ouverture’s revolution from France that caused enough fear to Napoleon for the United States to complete the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana, with its sugar base economy. Louisiana, with its same French connection. Louisiana, caught in the same slave trade triangle as Haiti. He made mention of crippling reparations paid to France after the country’s revolution in order to lift an embargo. And its history has shown the ongoing dependence ever since, based on reparations for the freed slaves, and with the old paradigm of slavery. In the 18th century, Haiti was the richest island in the Caribbean, with its economy based upon sugar.

Barbara Pierre-Louis, a Ph.D. candidate, gave a personal account of her Haitian history, where reference was made to Paul Farmer’s powerful book, The Uses of Haiti. Both of these speakers had been in Minnesota on January 12, 2010 on the day of Té Tremble. Roulio Lundy was a young Haitian who had married a Minnesotan in March 2009 but was home on the island. One of 19 children, he gave a moving account of visiting a neighborhood where a woman his own age had prepared him lunch as he readied to journey 60 miles in his car to return to his mother’s home on that Tuesday. After turning down an invitation to eat food three times, he finally took the food and put it in his back seat and set off for home. Five minutes down the road, there was upheaval on the road he was driving on. The sky turned black. And the buildings along the side of the road collapsed. It seemed the end of the world had arrived. He spoke of picking up 3 young men in his car as he resumed his travel, witnessing horror after horror of adult men sawing off their arms, to escape from the rubble of their buildings. Offers of all worldly goods were made by those trapped if somehow they could be saved. The four men distributed the food and water in the car as they came across horrific scene after horrific scene. And he found that the woman who had prepared his food had died in the earthquake. He had a flat tire later that afternoon, and took a wheel off another care to continue on, at one point abandoning his car. It took him until midnight on Thursday to complete his journey on foot to his mother’s home. He found that all of his family member were alive.

There were questions. One question was from a woman who had sponsored a child through the NGO called World Vision. The Minneapolis wife of Roulio Lundy suggested that the people in the audience take a different approach. She told of the dislike of non-government organizations (NGOs), who have been helping in Haiti for 50 years, with more poverty today than 50 years ago, with a greater number existing on less than $2 per day than ever before. The view there that the people were poorer, and the NGOs richer. Causing in the view of many locals, more damage than good. The NGOs that seemed to want to do something. That was the environment in Haiti before the earthquake.

Yes, I had spent part of the weekend with the educated descendants of displaced slaves. Maria Roesler-Lundy had married a descendant. Her husband was the only member of the panel who did not carry a post graduate degree from an American university. And all of the Haitians had spoken of the prestigious schools in Haiti. The few prestigious schools. Education maybe not unlike the air conditioning which had cut off so many from their neighbors. And there was this undertow of class, even among the descendants of displaced slaves, some who had gotten the chance to attend the prestigious schools, to pursue passing on the academics to the next generation. With or without the anger at the concept of the 16th century God.

The institutional advancement of a nation. Maria Roesler-Lundy came over to give a more explicit answer dealing with World Vision. She said her answer had not been about just World Vision. Her answer dealt with not giving just money alone to Haitian causes, but the need to get actively involved with the people in the nation. And when her husband compared this crisis of rebuilding to being about more than sharing money but similar to preparing food and then eating it with the people, and suddenly I was overcome with the realization that the only reason he was standing in front of me was because he had not stayed to share the food prepared by his former next door neighbor. And I understood the reasons hat he had wept at the conclusion of his speech delivered in Creole.

His answer was about creating a relationship. “Don’t try to change the Haitian people,” someone had opined on “This American Life.” The moderator had wrapped up the program quoting an American physician who had gone to Haiti long before the earthquake. He had commented upon all the Fixit types who come to town and get right down to work. Never starting the morning, as the locals ask each day, “How are you? How did you sleep?” There were now a lot of foreigners who skip the morning greeting each day. The advice of anyone going to Haiti who would deal with Haitians was “Try to understand their point of view.” Because in Haiti, there were some grateful and some ungrateful.

Institutional advancement in Haiti was a slow and cumbersome process, Apricot Irving reported on “This American Life.” The pitfalls of the old model of the 19th century benevolence could be seen over and over. Many Haitians were experts at receiving aid, but not changing their own lives, maybe attributed to a built up immunity to Old World theology, as some kind of remnant of an slave culture. Foreigners always in charge, with hope that the Haitians would catch on. Immunity maybe to the 16th century God of Columbus, who somehow had allowed slavery. And then the 19th century benevolence. As the slaves over time had become dependent on their slave masters. And now this cowboy culture from the US, when the problems are there to fix. The Fixit American Men from Mars, and their women, giving out of what these people did not have. Of technology. Of water. It was the social order of slavery.

The doctor that Apricot Irving interviewed said, “Build a citadel and you build another benevolent dictatorship. The cowboy to fix the problem. For efficacy, service and security…why not become a benevolent dictator?” The choice was to either continue the dysfunction, or to create a new model. To replace the old model in this slave culture. Of Papa Doc. Or the NGOs. Or think about the hard work of community building. When along the way, services in 2010 will not be provided. And that admittedly was a terrible choice. Building true community takes time….with a perseverance in a relationship. Between people.

So the reconstruction of Haiti. And the choice between the old model and the new. The old model which creates a new slave plantation, dependent on the masters. With all of the fruits just like before. . . With the distance. And the consequence. The ensuing anger, the violence…the discontent. Or the choice which comes with authentic generous sharing. When people gave, out of what others did not have, with a true caring. A never ending caring, which was seldom recognized when any people were enslaved. So the reconstruction of all of the shelter, in the New World, which always has been based upon a social order of the soul.

And so the spiritual architects, finding out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created. In the new discoveries of 2010, in the reconstruction of Haiti.

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As Eve Asked Adam About That Lump in His Throat

Creation. The Tree of Life stories. After Adam met Eve.

The first Tree of Life story. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. At the end of the stone age. Before the nomads set forth. From the garden. “God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.”

The apple. Adam. Eve. Adam was there first. In the story. And he DID seem to care. About God. And then about Eve. And she had wanted the apple. And so the story. About breaking the relationship with God.

And so there was this relationship. Cave men. Or men from Mars. In a relationship. Adam first with God. And then Adam with Eve. As she entered the story, the one commandment had preceded Eve. Just one commandment. The first commandment. About the apple.

In the narrative, the one commandment had never been given to Eve. But Adam seems to have passed down, to have explained, the one rule. Clearly he has explained the one simple commandment. When all humans, if actually acted upon to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, were doomed to die.

To know God. For cave men, it is not possible to like, to love anyone, unless you first know them. The greatest gift to be passed down was knowledge. So, did Eve know God? Directly? Before she ate the apple? I see no reference that they ever really met. Face to face. What happens in a relationship when only one party knows, works at knowing, God? What was this attraction, her attraction, to God?

And so the story. About God. About creation. Giving Adam and Eve everything. And about inheritance. Not so different than what I had given my own kids. Knowledge. Money. The ability to survive in the world. Beyond the lifestyle of just stone age men. And stone age women.

And so the story. Creation. The injustice of creation. From the perspective of a writer in the Land of 10,00 Lakes. In the location of the lake. When Adam, or someone, might end up living closer to the lake. Living in the age of hysteria, there was all the injustice of creation. Or since the injustice that Adam was closer to God? Eve and the perceived to be injustice. When Eve, who had never gotten to spend time alone with God, like Adam had. What was Eve’s perspective in all of this? Apparently, Eve did not really care too much about the one simple commandment. Clearly when it came to the one commandment, her actions bespoke her beliefs. Did Eve know God? About the one commandment, she more or less said, “I don’t care.” Maybe not much different than my kids, she was born into all of this, and never inquired as to from where everything had come. So what would be Eve’s motivation, concerning the one commandment? Born in His image. Formed in His likeness. In the perspective of a woman. In a world where Eve did not have a lot of choice. It was either Adam or no one? Or the apple? Was Eve silently unhappy with Adam? When two people always argued about the important choices. But born second. The second child. The unfairness of it all. In this arranged marriage. In a role of having to bear children. Of the timing. Of not really truly knowing –even in the garden – God. Not really seeing God directly, before she approached the Tree of Life. Maybe the original agnostic. Or not too unlike how an adopted child goes in search of the birth parent, in the search for the divine. “What’s He gonna do to me? Or what will your God possibly do to us, when I eat the apple? And you do likewise.”

And then seeing this tree. So was the demand for authority, establishing a degree of order, proof of love? “Don’t eat the apple.” Or was this just a sin of pride, similar to the stories about the serpent? In days when Adam and Eve had not figured out the equation. Of God. Of each other. Of conditional love versus unconditional love.

Somehow, this Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. Was the tree about Spiritual knowledge? Or simply the Truth? Or maybe the Tree of Life story was all about what was missing for Eve, and she wanted some knowledge of God, or desired to be like God.

Love and desire. Establishing the proper degree of order. What happens in a relationship over issues of sharing love? Or was it over issues of sharing authority? She only had wanted the apple? Or it was more than just an apple? Now in her desire to share in a relationship, with Adam, and with Adam’s God, there was this communal need for greater union, starting in her relationship?

In the love triangle of a man, a woman, and God, there was Eve. The text clearly states it was Eve who picked the apple. And she ate the apple first. But he did know from where the apple came, since Adam was with her at the time. He was an accomplice to picking the apple. Yes, Adam knew from where the apple had come. Poor Adam, having to decide between God’s authority, and Eve’s. Having to decide about actions out of love. Or actions out of fear. The fear of the Lord.

Eve broke the relationship with God. With the inheritance, the dowry in the Garden of Eden, lost.

Trying to understand order. Law and order. Or God, trying to figure out Eve. She must have been a lot more complicated than Adam. And if Adam wanted to help populate the earth, in his relationship with Eve….well, God and His one commandment had to play second fiddle. What could you do about it? In the perspective of Adam? If you loved this woman? Adam had already figured out not so much her mystery, but he was letting Eve decide everything. In the days before any guy ever had married. But if he was smart, and wanted to try to be happy. Because maybe the fear of the Lord was not proportionate to the fear of Eve.

Now Adam seemed honest. Real honest. And he said that he ate the apple, because the woman that he shared a relationship with had first eaten it. He seemed to have wished to have shared in all of her mistakes. In her human nature.

Cave men. In the stone age. How hard cave men had worked. With their clubs. Lovable stone men. And their women. Like the one who had picked the apple? In power struggles of knowledge. About the Tree of Life. When Eve was essentially saying, “I don’t care.” About that one commandment. Had she failed at the Tree of Life, in the challenge to know God? Cave woman with their power struggles with men, and with God. Or just their insecurities, in the days before make-up. And before matchmakers.

How hard people searched to find God after Adam and Eve. Because Eve ate the damn apple. When at that point, God had seemed pretty satisfied about His relationship with Adam and even Eve, even if Eve was not satisfied.

Maybe it was a lot like last night. Speaking of clubs. In the discussion who the Appleton minor league baseball club had been affiliated with. For the past 50 years. In Wisconsin. Adam’s noble human nature seemed greater than mine. I just offered the right answer. Never was there an affiliation with the Minnesota professional baseball club. NEVER. While the three women in the room talked to each other. And arrived at the wrong answer.

Presenting the hard work of the past. By cave men. With cave women. How hard cave men worked. For water. For cave women. In those Byzantine relationships. Before marriage. Cave men who did not even seem human. Compared to me. They did not seem real lovable. Compared to me. Until forced to choose, like I was forced to choose. In looking for union, with a woman not unlike Eve.

Such was this, the start of unconditional love. When Adam was forced to choose. Between God and Eve. And he knew enough to tell Eve she was right. On behalf of procreation. And the future of the world.

It was in January that I visited that 3,000 year old fort in the Aran Island. Amidst all the rock. And no real tillable land. How hard in the culture it had been then for the Irish. And then over time. In their hard, hard lives. How hard their lives were, compared to mine. How hard people worked for their food. My ancestors. The tour guide that day talked about Oliver Cromwell. Was he in the Aran Islands, I asked? Noel the bus driver said he had been. Then 6 weeks later, on a public television show with Rick Steves, it was stated Cromwell never was there. Last weekend, my friend with all the family in Ireland said, speaking about dealing with authority, Cromwell was never there. But Adam and Eve might have been.

Yes, how hard people worked for water. And the hard work to find food. That present day nomads took so much for granted. When man and woman had failed in the instruction to cultivate and care for the earth. And now doomed to die. God who made the heavens and the earth, now had an additional purpose for His heaven?

Afterward, the punishment. For those cave women, with their calculating stone hearts, about dealing with authority. Women who, similarly, since Eve had to carry Adam’s children within. Only now God would be intensifying the pangs of child-bearing. And Eve had in every day life an affliction of desire to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. With no mention if Adam was allowed to remind Eve of this.

So the theme of pain, along with human nature. In the beginning. It seems apparent that even Adam could never boss around his wife. Like you ever could in a true relationship, boss someone around. And when God never had much luck with Eve, either. In this chapter.

And so the story about breaking the relationship with God. Presenting all of the hard work of the past, but with this need for healing. With a need for healing, for the present day nomad doomed now to die. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with death. And relationships. And how hard relationships were. Especially for cave women, with their cave men. And how hard people searched to find union again with God, ever since the beginning.

So what had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? With the ensuing theme of pain, carrying something deep within, when it came to the kids. Eve, soon to be taking care of someone else, in those ensuing relationships, with her own kids, with their same kind of doubts over obedience and authority.

The memory of it all … with all the hard work required in relationship, did Adam ever get to ask God if relationships were harder than creation? And then dealing with loss. The irony that soon Eve was to be dealing with her kids who often, too, said, “I don’t care.” So the ongoing pangs of bearing with your sons, the one who looked a lot like Adam, physically. As the need for more commandments multiplied, until there were state legislatures.

So what else had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? After eating the fruit from the Tree of Life, Eve had this longing every day to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. And THAT was Adam’s punishment in all of this.

And so the theme for everybody of pain, with fertility, which, for the most part, had felt so good. At least in the beginning. And the irony of all of this apple business, which had started over the relationship. But finally, for the present day nomad doomed now to die, there was at least God, and the memory of it all. When it seems apparent that, in Adam’s view anyway, if Eve had never came around, no one believed how great it had been here. Between Adam and God. But with no real reason to write it all down. Not until there was such conflict, such pain. And women, with their viewpoints about the various degree of pain. Theirs was the worst. And to write it all down, otherwise no on would believe it, until they found out all the hard work required in relationship. Based, in different proportion, on love and authority. And the irony of all of this. That Adam never had an apple juice again. In his life.

And so the unimaginable, inconceivable, unthinkable story of creation and procreation ever since, before the editors and proof-readers were hired and got a hold of it, when, in the words of Picasso, every act of creation involves a form of destruction.

Copyright © 2015.

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天主教教堂

形成一种弥赛亚

目前的武器! 展示您的忠诚度。 如果不是对国家、对人民的精神,在人民的土地。

Simeon's Song of Praise 令人叹为观止。 离开时, 再试一次。 这孩子, 第一次出生于前往伯利恒。 而现在前往耶路撒冷。 离开、像亚伯兰, 只在回应另一呼叫。 每个国家的法律,每个第一次出生的男性必须是神圣的。这是主耶和华说的。 什么是查找想要的邻居们, 如果你没有将你的儿子到圣殿吗? 在第一次呼叫已从,具有讽刺意义的是,该国。 转到伯利恒。 你看连接的留下的祭品。 下一呼叫的教堂/神殿。 与所有的这种突发性的, 从的角度来看, 婴儿。 “来吧”。 让我们去! 牺牲的。 进入耶路撒冷。 ”。 .与该事项的紧迫性,作为背景。 就像另一适当的日期。 有一定的天数内, 约瑟和玛利亚邀请任何亲属? 类似的回伯利恒的吗? 或没有告诉他们的父母吗? 他们何去何从?

THE ART is “Simeon’s Song of Praise” by Rembrandt

“艺术是“西缅的歌曲赞美之泉”的伦勃朗

本演示文稿中进行介绍。 根据该法-最高法-关注纯度和门户网站,让我们的儿子。 这方面的各种障碍,搭建与613例。 证明你的价值,遵守摩西的律法。 在一定的天数。 和这样的故事作为家长需要耶稣在圣殿, 到目前他要在耶和华面前、按福音路加福音。 但很明显, 耶稣就不会是一种正统的犹太人, 至少在的角度来看, 所有这些外邦人接受到教会的使徒。 所以, 这是在第 8 天或第 40 天? 什么基督徒知道传统约到来的一天,以净化吗? 什么做的罗马天主教徒知道的重大意义的第4个快乐的奥秘,他们自己的玫瑰吗? 因为没有它,它自己飞到埃及之后,访问的漫? 但这是说, 即使是希律王的弥赛亚, 据《马太福音》、《家长信耶稣在耶路撒冷的存在他。 这是耶和华说的。 根据马太福音,约瑟夫·保持他的家庭在埃及,直到希律王死了——这是在公元前4的年龄为七十岁。 有个传道师, 就像是第二个表妹一次删除, 因为这两个案例不可能是正确的。

注意这两个故事中的演示文稿。 西缅是命名的第二个儿子, 雅各和利亚所生的。 并提供了一种牺牲、每个国家的法律,有一对年轻的白鸽。 现在这家伙命名为西缅-无论其名称来指的是-在耶路撒冷, 等候。 它已被西缅人先知约瑟作人质,使他的兄弟可能会返回与便雅悯。 到埃及。 如马利亚和约瑟, 不是已经有了足够的流离失所现象如果不中断, 因为概念的这个孩子, 在他们的生活中, 你看神秘的连接法和西缅人的宝宝放到他的手臂, 和股神! 在他的优良传统, 西蒙认为所谓的第二个圣殿的一天。 这样的老男人的名字的意思是“他听说了”扰乱了玛利亚和约瑟,因为他们试图满足所有法的规定。 真正意义的故事是有关耶稣的第一次在庙里, 在他们返回家园。 从伯利恒、耶路撒冷。 可能从埃及。 直到他看见弥赛亚、西緬未死,他认为,他说:“现在,主人,您可以让您的仆人’。”因此意义出生的是与他自己的死亡吗? 不知怎的。 约瑟夫·西緬人企图摧毁他的兄弟约瑟夫,在第一次出生的儿子,雅各,约瑟已保存。 在家庭中,对痴迷者如果不纯洁、执着的出生权,这已成为以某种方式连接到“保存”。这样西缅的存在,指出父母如何做个人的威胁,从被浸到了文化这个酝酿期,当纯度成为冲突中的私营和公共生活的执着比生命本身吗? 你看净化吗? 当局在神殿里。 你看庙。 你没有想过所罗门的智慧和他建造的第一座神殿, 建议要解决争论的孩子可能会被拆分吗? 找到亚伯拉罕的故事中两个妇女住在同一所房子里,两人都有一种婴儿的儿子,而是一名女子声称,其他,都声称是他母亲的生活的儿子,来到所罗门的判决。 之后意外地扼杀了她自己的儿子在睡觉的时候, 也交换了两个孩子, 使显示生活的孩子是她的。 经过审议后, 国王的一剑将其带进了他。

你看这快乐的奥秘、连接到敬畏耶和华的恐惧在这点的生活、创造、为每个父级! 与所有关注纯度? 因此,西梅是一种当代的法利赛人或是因为撒都该人不相信耶稣复活的吗? 什么已成为痴迷的法利赛人时,只有一种方式来思考、敬拜、会成为威胁的非常相同的人的条件,在纯洁的教会和国家现在共同存在的微弱优势,在罗马的帝国。 你看西缅人感到, 他可以采取的宝宝放到他的手臂? 你没有想回的故事中, 两个妇女住在同一所房子里, 两人都有一种婴儿的儿子, 而是一名女子声称其他后意外地扼杀了她自己的儿子在睡觉的时候, 声称这婴儿吗? 虽然该事件发生的第一座神殿。 怎么约瑟回应这西缅, 其名称也已连接的想法是, “iscegenation” 吗? 究竟这西缅的神的仆人,告诉玛丽,“和你自己的剑将刺穿”的最左的读卡器吗?喘着粗 在这一令人难以置信的故事的介绍,有她的同伴、Joseph、心里的冲突,您的儿子也属于,由谁保存的参与——某种个人的参与——作为形成过程的——“给定”根据什么你不知道或不相信,你的神秘感——《弥赛亚》开始。 所以从哪里起源的耶稣吗? 您是如何形成的弥赛亚吗? 作为我们中的一人! 和你的孩子看上去像你的邻居, 你回家吗?

认为,第一天回家的作业如父的弥赛亚。 与整个传统在纯度、清洗、餐具、器皿的血统,在这个令人不安的存在…的精神。这是主耶和华说的。 与您一起成长。

叙述性的紧张局势主要是预扣税信息。 在任何关系、作为您的出生地点百叶窗你到外面的世界, 语言针对寿终正寝的附件, 这种精神从哪里来的…基础上创办的牺牲。 有的问题是不可分割业权份数支持约瑟夫似乎被迫采取一种信誓旦旦的贞洁, 住在玛利亚和圣子的恩。 这神学的纯度、自时间的亞伯拉罕、撒拉、他半-姐妹、传上你的第一次儿子出生的。 出身于传统的大多是牺牲的故事, 同一种梦想是亚伯拉罕的后裔, 是约瑟的先知。 正在以某种方式保存的东西就像自己的儿子,有一定数量的这种保护状态…在一开始,靠近主页的某处在以色列。 在讲故事时玛利亚和约瑟的传统,命令给Adam劈吗? “因此,人要离开他的父亲和他的母亲、和劈到他的妻子,二人成为一体”。尽管约瑟在他的呼吁,代表整个传统,大卫的家,他在这里仍然是劈开他完美的妻子也许出的偏见,他了解外面的世界。 像亚伯兰。

当您离开家的普查,在一定的呼叫,当你的神是不受限制的,一地一地的边界。 然后,从这一传统的游牧、传递、保存后保存、发现的神秘,通过故事。 玛利亚和约瑟次漫,和陌生人在庙里的人都来寻找他们的儿子。 在他们返回的许诺的土地,看见了牺牲的恐惧的故事,总是怀疑是在中心的神秘或信仰使这些故事之外的想像力。

找到 “个人的边界的故事, 带有侵犯个人如果没有社区边界的故事中的演示文稿。 由西、一。 注意到冲突的权力的故事中, 当周围有很多的亲人, 同样的人的条件, 无论是作为最后一个人在地球上-或-第一次和感觉这样独自一人吗? 你看需要掩饰它们生活在异常的这些亲人, 与玛利亚和所有的陌生的她的处女的出生, 通过事情不物理共享-施加酷刑的她能活神, 亚伯拉罕给下一代的通过此子。

上帝的羔羊,查明的牧羊人,在一开始的! 你看所有的人的利益在困难时候,教会与国家之间,在时间的希律王已死,在分裂的两个王国的罗马人已经搬过来了。 生活的无形的损失,自己的语言,将是对你发生后要求你再次作为它的奴隶吗? 眼中的罗马人,他们的拉丁,如英文带来了自己的语言去爱尔兰吗? 这么老的人, 如何有盲目、如何受压迫的人的眼睛吗? 看这人的意义的故事弥赛亚在回家后的第一次在庙里。 如果您获取的小细节错误, 所有的恐惧的故事 power over me 涉及分割的土地, 债券是没有痛苦的, 而是来自于牺牲, 你会得到很大的图片错误的影响-如果没有你的土地和你自己的流离失所问题, 从您的原籍地, 至少在生活中的您的儿子。

呼吸-考虑! 本演示文稿中进行介绍。 注意这两个故事中的演示文稿的牺牲, 一对年轻的白鸽。 提供一种牺牲、每个国家的法律, 这种紧迫感, 若干天内。 有提到埃及的牺牲赎回第一出生的儿子。 “凡头生的男子,你的儿子、你要赎回。 和它来通过, 如果你的儿子问你在未来, 说: “这是什么?”。 您应向他说, “用大能的手神把我们从埃及为奴之家领出来。 和它来通过法老太顽固,让我们出,神的转换每个长子在埃及的土地上”。

以色列的逾越节。 为什么不了解,关于耶稣、马利亚和约瑟看不可避免的吗? 你为什么偷的神秘感,对仍然存在的冲突的权力和共享的dominion,另一故事的神秘吗? 在这些年轻的父母终于回家了。 你看系统替换, 亞伯拉罕、摩西? 注意包皮环切之后, 只有在亚伯拉罕也和父亲的孩子通过他的妻子的婢女。 因此在科学的后果, 他的第一次儿子是个奴隶。 如果您没有一代数, 并导致故事一代一代的仆人和靈澆灌、在埃及地作过奴仆。 在中的幽灵,有突然的意外,像是被放逐或想尝试真正的牺牲。 和所有的意外,这些故事似乎只是将重复自己,但是在鼠标悬停的鬼,对忘恩负义的使女夏甲,Sarah至少赶她的婢女和她的一半埃及人的儿子。

什么是明显的, 我对我的宗教传统的以某种方式获得通过亚伯拉罕是每个传统的宗教 Abrahamaic -犹太教、基督教、伊斯兰教-所需要的两个故事和一种真正的生活的人类的身体、为了传递方法的祷告。 夏甲承认永远的不只是她的状态的,不过是她的儿子,但在遥远的希望的东西总有一天会改变吗? 关于她的奴役吗? 要连接点关于夏甲、亲密关系、无条件的爱、对玛利亚和约瑟, 就像亚伯拉罕牺牲了他的纯洁的方式相同

亚当已经平息的夏娃。 将玛丽的牺牲她的纯洁,像夏甲,她自己的亞伯拉罕呢。 她的主人。


“大部分是它们是相同的生活。 同样的故事, 一遍又一”写信给 David Remnick 的编辑, 《纽约人》杂志上。 当我们使我们的生活与故事。 几乎相同的故事, 一代又一代。 当您的关系, 其基础是这样活着的, 但具有很大的焦躁不安。 当你祈祷是这样活着的…和你想要其他人再有同样的体验。 甚至有时你必须找地方逃跑。 在开始?

总有未知的存在年龄有关的所有“参量的”儿童的出生,喜欢的悬念失去了当你知道了结尾的故事。 “参量”失去了像一出生的儿子可能会认为他的遗产。 如果你花了时间来看,您是否注意到了更多的苦难的生活受害人失踪,数年,像在约瑟的先知吗? 有这么多的感情…你注意缺失的一部分,就像早已遗忘的第一次出生的儿子,以实玛利受割礼的吗? 当他离开了家, Sarah 和亚伯拉罕。 并不是有了相当程度的敬畏耶和华每当孩子缺失的吗? 谁能忘记的长子吗? 在故事的缺失才是最终的受害者, 罩-眨巴着眼睛的人丢失。 首先, 雅各从的角度来看, 以撒和雅各的儿子约瑟。 你看这一出生右键、连接到不可见的如果不能缺少的。 与所有的灵性连接到什么第一似乎缺失, 一时-就像在回应”的羊羔在哪里” 的问题。 在这些案例的缺失看見耶穌、要先知命名以色列、周围的人他从来就没有真正的信任——甚至是他的长子以利亞、他以为出卖了他。 你没有看到的故事,雅各的&儿子的所有暴力的尝试是一? 再试一次。 和这样的无形的恐惧已连接至的神、雅各的神、所以有别于上帝的亚伯拉罕的神、以撒的神, 耶稣的长大。

“故事的开头创建的, 正如我们所看到的, 是故事的行为加以区分的一件事。 它结束了话说到最关键的区分所有…” 丹尼尔写的核战争的丢失。 这是够硬的人的儿子在第一时间——只有完美的儿子这一次。

没有它,它害怕的东西,人们在这里的第一位? 要在某个地方崇拜自由吗? 什么是最真正的关于摩西的律法和犹太教神学的但在门户网站的生与死-谁属于。 他是我们中的一人吗? 与所有的亞伯拉罕的步行。 使用纯度为达到一种目的的手段的重要性的运动。 实现这一目标。 但牺牲纯洁的一天。 但在它的下面,还有基本的恐惧。 在门户网站,仍是关注的清纯和神学的纯度为您试图创建一种正常人的生活,与羔羊的血在阈值的按住,提供了一种身份,是连接至已保存的。 和现在生活在这纯洁的。 想笑, 可能是正常的。 后展示您的忠实于你的神。

“和在中心的所有的电视剧-Rashi转到不小的麻烦,说明它确实站在中心-神秘的和以某种方式移动符号中的花园,一棵树,代表着,我想起来,都很高兴和痛苦的事情。”——从Daniel核战争的丢失

或是它两个的快乐和痛苦,是从认识上帝吗? 毕竟,这是一种爱的故事。 自从时间亚伯拉罕的中心,所有的此剧的是爱和亚伯拉罕的处理性爱和生育的。 与根据《创世纪》或《瞩目的,这些关系的故事。 和所有的人类历史中, 从来没有人告诉的故事不具有某种议程-想通过关系, 与所有的快乐和痛苦的神或只是每个其他的, 当爱的分割。 有犹太人的祈祷关于生存的共同信念, 因为亚伯拉罕的牺牲叫 Akedah, 涉及他的儿子和未来的世界。 他说听到了, 一天的 Unetaneh Tokef 祷告的危险的一年来-的危险是我们周围的危险我的土地的价值在这块土地上的值的所有货币的东西, 有助于保持幻想、受到威胁.像犹太人, 所以许多地方, 基督徒在伊拉克? 或穆斯林人在美国:

有多少去多少应而生,
谁生谁死
谁应在和平和人应追求的
应是崇高的和谁应低…

如在具有象征意义的牺牲在演示-阿伯拉罕的特许权是爱的分割。 约瑟和玛利亚承认永远的不只是她的状态但影响的牺牲她的儿子,就像以往任何时候都更加自在的时间,莎拉和她的弟弟亞伯拉罕。 像什么有关的消息影响,牺牲是在警告、西緬的或想听到的结论Beautitudes。

这快乐的奥秘后所有的所谓的爱的故事,关于存在的。 神秘、喜欢 Sarah 的。 就像伊丽莎白的。 喜欢玛丽。 这些同学不得不表现出他们的爱心, 如亚伯拉罕所行的事。 在牺牲。 与生俱来的而不是死亡。 在另一端的一种牺牲。

在他们离开耶路撒冷, 恐惧相当于 10 多岁的年龄-雅各布, 你听到了没有 “穿透” 的神秘的先知撒迦利亚•: “…和他他们要仰望自己所扎的人, 他们须为他作为一名死难者的儿子, 他们将失去他的一桩婚事的长子”。

您将如何能够达成儿童或教导孩子的故事,以撒的背景的时间与所有等待的Sarah,以及随后的牺牲在远古时代? 有的秘密牺牲的父亲亚伯拉罕也告诉任何人吗? 真正的人不知道,奇怪,如果没有怀疑、困惑吗? 处理与永恒的、自…和所有的过去。

爱你吗? 牺牲我? 在关系中的故事无条件的爱、看孩子耶稣-太像一次男孩撒! 经过一段时间的等待, 所见的表姐伊丽莎白命名的。

“你是有福的。 当他们侮辱你、逼迫你…” 89 年-老女人怀孕吗? 然后是处女的出生! 谁会相信,当它将会通过-喜欢传统的,如果你的儿子问你在未来,说:“这是什么?”的哑口无言的心和 等待的思想,这是西缅的家伙达到您的婴儿。 ”。 ”在殿里,在所有的地方。 在这之后处女诞生了的未婚夫夫妇是什么人叫西蒙的代表,任何人名叫约瑟? 和生活在这片土地上, 你有感觉, 也许像是新近获得解放的成人, 关于传统的负担, 所以许多人放弃, 像之间的距离。 以色列和犹大众人、或两个父亲和儿子? 而对于那些想要保住的东西, 有一种感觉, 你真的不能移动, 但您不能入住。 和谁能相信孩子的父母有一天告诉他, 自己的女生吗? 如果他不敢告诉任何人。

“如果有人想要我的,——就像我来到了以实玛利之后,我来到了以撒之后——他必须拒绝自己…日常。 并按照我说的。 谁想要挽救他的生命将会失去它;谁为生命,牺牲他们的生命[给予]生命、将其保存的。”

这是所有在本演示文稿中,就像我的姐姐曾说过在读一本书——玛莎·斯图尔特。 有一定的喜乐。 在伦勃朗的“西缅之歌赞」、不看庙,是主要的特征,在演示文稿中的吗? 或是它的灯吗?

El Misterio Gozoso

‘El misterio gozoso’
Carravagio's The Visitation
“The Visitation”

Ayer como el recuerdo de “La visitación” según consta en la historia, en la Biblia cristiana. ¿Con palabras y fases que casi rima, cualquiera de las sucursales más de 20.000 del cristianismo nunca compararía a Elizabeth a Sara? ¿En la vejez? ¿Alguna de las ramas de más de 20.000 comprender mucho acerca de Judá y la división dada, en la historia, con el Reino de Israel? ¿Conectar cualquiera de las sucursales de más de 20.000 el ahorro.. .associated a Judá? Lo más cierto es la lealtad de Judá a Yahvé, después de la destrucción de Israel por los asirios en 721 de c.722, dejando a Judá como reino restante único.

  “La visitación” por siglo 17 pintor italiano Mattia Preti.

Ser un compañero, trayendo nueva vida, con Isabel, tan sola. En el “país de la colina”. Tenga en cuenta lo invisible en la historia – Zacarías y José. La tranquilidad en la casa. ¿En su mayoría, Elizabeth necesitaba a alguien para hablar? ¿Conoces la historia del país de la colina en Judá? ¿María incluso sabía Elizabeth estaba embarazada y ella sólo buscaba un lugar para escapar? ¿En el comienzo? Algunos estudiosos se refieren a este período como un reino independiente de Israel, completamente independiente. Tomar, según Wikipedia, el título de “basileus” y expansión en las regiones vecinas de Samaria, Galilea, Iturea, Perea y Idumea.

En toda historia hay tiempo y lugar, como el reino independiente de Israel, en una historia de libertad, justo antes de la llegada de los romanos, con la instalación de Herodes el grande.

Tomar aliento. Dejando. Como Abram, sólo más repentinamente. Motel Dejar ir! Sacrificio. He aquí la conexión de salida para el sacrificio. ¿Le dijo María a su prometido? ¿O sus padres? ¿Que se iba? ¿Qué pasa con la seguridad personal de María y el feto, en el país de la colina? ¿Fue esta la primera? ¿Había sido otra mujer en la historia de la Biblia hebrea en su situación, sólo para perder el feto? María estaba solo, viajando en Judá, bajo el liderazgo de los fariseos, con su constante observancia de los fariseos a las leyes de pureza y tradición. Huy!

Zacarías, un sacerdote en el templo en su ciudad, en Judá. Con esta había protegida estado… en un principio, más cercano a hogar. Con toda la historia, en el país de la colina, llegar con un silencio Zechariah. Cuando visiblemente embarazada, con otras mujeres visiblemente embarazadas, hay una emoción extra cuando faltó su período y quería a un niño. Sólo soltera María no, en este momento de su vida, quiso que un niño o ella habría sido lapidada hasta la muerte! ¿Entusiasmo? ¿Entusiasmo y felicitaciones mutuas? María salió de casa, para mudarse a la casa de Zacarías, un sacerdote, con todo el énfasis a las leyes de pureza y tradición.

Las fechas de vencimiento. María soltera sola. ¿Antes de la visita, fue la salida en la historia, por María, como la llamada de Abram? ¿O más como la salida repentina, como a Jacob? Ahorro o ser guardado, busque el sacrificio en salir, con el sacrificio de un estatus de protección, de la casa. ¿Dejando para el país de la colina, tan pronto como Moisés tenía los esclavos hebreos salir de Egipto, sólo de Judá? Donde prima Isabel vivió con el sacerdote Zechariah. No sólo una herencia pero su sacerdocio dado, basado en su sucursal de las 24 ramas de sacerdocio en su tiempo. [Como lo invisible se hace visible]. Así que ¿Zechariah convertirla?

Hizo la fetos escucha con los oídos pequeños, dispuestos a todas las inquietudes sobre la pureza?

Dado,” dependiendo de lo que no sabe o piensa que lo hace, sobre el misterio en la parte montañosa del sur de Israel. Siempre es lo desconocido de una presente era sobre todo los “givens” nace un niño en. Como los “givens” perdido sabiendo el final de una historia. ¿Cómo Elizabeth incluso sabía que llevaba un hombre? ¿Sobre el Profeta [hombre] y uno para ser proclamado, aún por nacer? Me imagino que [su propio embarazo] es similar a Mary y Elizabeth alegría y entusiasmo,”escribe Colleen Chiacchere en el sitio web de Creighton Online Ministerio que se me hizo difícil su perspectiva. Los fantasmas inquieto, “saltando entre y entre vosotros, los dos fetos juguetón.” ¿

Más como enfermedad de la mañana? Hay esta gran inquietante, con la pérdida del estatus de protección, cuando vives en una ciudad y su propio embarazo se hace más evidente con el tiempo. ¿Alguna vez aprendiste la historia de la tribu de Judá que seguía siendo leal, en primer lugar, a la casa de David, aunque la tribu de Benjamín se uniría a Judá?. Los dos reinos, Judá en el sur e Israel en el norte – según Wikipedia – coexistían incómodamente después de la división. Pero en un principio, de 60 años, los reyes de Judá trataron de restablecer su autoridad sobre el Reino del norte, con la perpetua guerra entre Israel y Judá. Lo que era más verdadera era la lealtad de Judá a Yahvé, después de la destrucción de Israel por los asirios – comparar la cautividad babilónica de la esclavitud egipcia, con el asedio de Jerusalén, incluyendo la destrucción liderada por el rey de Babilonia del primer templo construido en el cuarto hijo de Betsabé [era el undécimo hijo total, como José?] por David , nacido en Jerusalén, dejando a Judá como el único restante Unido en c.722-721. Según Wikipedia.

Hay el tema perdido — el mismo encontrado en el libro del Génesis — de separación mucho más tarde entrar en este reino completamente desarrollado cuando se mide contra el cultural-relacionadas-pero-políticamente-distinto Reino norte de Israel. Con la industria ACEITUNERA allí, en el país de la colina. ¿[El feto], pregunta Colleen Chiacchere en Creighton University Online Ministerio, nadan y se balancean con su voz? ¿Juan y Jesús? ¿Sienten el amor de su hospitalidad? ¿Siquiera sabes la historia, Colleen? ¿Por qué parece tan inevitable comprensión del pasado? ¿Por qué robas el misterio sobre el persistente conflicto poder y dominio compartido en Judá, en tener que elegir entre ser rey y sumo sacerdote? ¿Con la visitación, en el país de la colina, comprender el miedo repentino en tener que elegir, con el sufrimiento por venir? ¿Lo mismo hizo Zechariah incluso saber que María estaba embarazada, cuando llegó?

«¿Sabe él cómo estamos relacionados?»

Madre e hijo. Marido y mujer. Primo a primo. “¿Él sabe? Sobre lo que lleva?”

El Profeta. Preparar el camino. En un lugar con la tumba, así como una inquietante preocupación por pureza.

Después de izquierda Inicio, sería el día María tendría que volver después de la VISITACIóN. ¿Te has sentido la soledad compartida de María con Isabel? Ahorro o siendo salvado, localizar la remontada en la historia… Rodeado por saduceos y fariseos, así como de Zechariah. Y los saduceos no creían en la resurrección. En las historias de reapariciones, en las historias de sacrificio auténtico, con el continuo tema de separación, tenga en cuenta el tema de la competencia entre iglesia y estado por las leyes de pureza. Y María parece estar en violación de las leyes de pureza que Elizabeth seguramente.

La división entre Judá e Israel. El aire en la cima de la montaña. Aire de luz. País de la colina. Antes de la destrucción del templo, uno de los factores que distinguen a los fariseos de otros grupos era su creencia de que todos los judíos debían observar fuera del templo de las leyes de pureza (aplicable para el servicio del templo). Como Josefo, los fariseos consideraban a los expositores más expertos y precisos de la ley judía. Según Wikipedia, “durante el Hasmonean período, los saduceos y los fariseos funcionaban sobre todo como partidos. La principal diferencia era el cumplimiento continuo de los fariseos a las leyes de pureza y las tradiciones del pueblo judío frente a la asimilación. Los fariseos exigieron que el rey Alexander Jannaeus elegir entre ser rey y sumo sacerdote.”

He aquí la visita! En el país de la colina. En el conflicto entre iglesia y estado, la fidelidad de uno al otro, los fariseos exigieron que rey Alexander Jannaeus – el hasmoneo, elegir “entre ser rey y sumo sacerdote.” Según Wikipedia, Alexander Jannaeus echado a un lado abiertamente con los saduceos, al adoptar sus ritos en el templo que causó un alboroto en el templo y condujo a una breve guerra civil que acabó con una represión sangrienta de los fariseos. En su lecho de muerte, Alexander Jannaeus llamó para una reconciliación entre los saduceos y los fariseos; fue sucedido por su viuda, Salomé Alejandra, cuyo hermano era un líder fariseo. En el conflicto entre su hijo primogénito Hircano que buscó el apoyo de fariseo y un hijo menor, Aristóbulo que buscaban el apoyo de los saduceos, la nación fue dibujada dentro, después de 90 días de la regla de Hircano, guerra civil que terminó cuando el general romano Pompeyo capturó Jerusalén en 63 A.C. e inaugurado el período romano de la historia judía, con la infamia de Herodes. Herodes era victorioso en el año 37 AEC. Antígono fue entregado a Antony y ejecutado poco después. Los romanos persuadir a proclamación de Herodes como rey de los judíos, que sobre el final de la regla de los Hasmoneos sobre Judea, según Wikipedia.

Aristóbulo III, nieto de Aristóbulo II a través de s hijo mayor Alexander, brevemente fue hecho sumo sacerdote, pero fue pronto ejecutada, alegado debido a los celos de Herodes. En el año 36 AC. Su hermana Mariamne que estaba casada con Herodes, también fue víctima de los conocidos celos de Herodes, el autoproclamado rey de los judíos. Los hijos de Herodes por Mariamne, IV de Aristóbulo y Alejandro, estaban en su edad adulta, también ejecutada por su padre, según Wikipedia.

¿En historias sobre seguridad nacional, sobre todo los “givens” en Judá, después de las guerras perpetuas sobre pureza, sobre qué lado usted o su familia fueron, se anticiparía a alguna venganza por los vencedores, estos fariseos – en la elección entre ser “Judío” entre un rey y un sumo sacerdote? Así que Hircano II vivió en medio de los judíos babilónicos, que le pagó cada marca de respeto, como él se llevó a cabo por los partos… desde 40 BCE. Para los próximos cuatro años, hasta el 36 a. C., cuando “Herodes, quien temían que Hircano podría inducir los partos que le ayudara a recuperar el trono, lo invitó a regresar a Jerusalén. Los judíos de Babilonia le advirtió en vano. Herodes lo recibieron con cada marca de respeto, le asigna el primer lugar en su mesa y la Presidencia del Consejo de estado, esperando una oportunidad para deshacerse de él. Como el último restante asmonea, Hircano fue un rival demasiado peligroso de Herodes. En el año 30 a. C., acusado de conspirar con el rey de Arabia, Hircano fue condenado y ejecutado,”según Wikipedia. ¿

Hasta qué año María nacieron? Y desde el nacimiento de Zechariah, sus años tenían toda esta historia. El deber como personas de fe no es desconectar del mundo real, el Dios de Abraham, el Dios de Isaac, el Dios de Jacob, de su idea de María y Zacarías — como Colleen Chiacchere hizo ayer en la página web del Ministerio de en línea de Universidad de Creighton. Y salir de casa siempre es el primer sacrificio, aprovechando y enfrentar el gran sacrificio inquietante. Frente a la asimilación, en una sociedad como opresiva. Y la incondicional en esta historia, para aquellos que estén dispuestos a seguir, para empezar, no a convertir en una estatua. Con el comando, “¡ no tengáis miedo!”

Así en su mundo en el tiempo, ¿por qué María? Cómo supo ella que Elizabeth estaba embarazada, excepto de su propia llamada, como la de Abram. ¿O ella sabía? Pero la obediencia, para avanzar, si ella no sabe muy por qué. De lo contrario ….La amenaza era de otra manera en una creencia contradictoria – por aquellos que sabían que era betrothed a usted – entre la cuestión de la fidelidad y la traición, como se ve en el adulterio. ¡ Vaya! Al país de la colina. He aquí – para los relacionados con la pérdida de la independencia en el Reino de Israel, bajo el imperio romano, debajo de Herod el grande – la genealogía! En el conflicto sobre la pertenencia, en una sociedad como opresiva. Nota el conflicto con el poder en la historia, cuando rodeado de tantos de sus parientes, con la idea compartida de independencia y pureza. Pero, ¿cuál es la conexión de la pureza y dependencia – confiando en alguien o algo más para su seguridad? ¿He aquí a la esclava, con el reducido conjunto de circunstancias en la herencia, con… la pérdida de la pureza? Embarazada, viviendo en la casa de un sacerdote, con la tensión entre iglesia y estado. ¿Fueron los fariseos ahora aliados con Herodes, por lo que el Dios de Abraham puede sobrevivir? ¿Era el derecho de nacimiento por Sarah y Abraham se conecte a la pureza? He aquí toda la tensión sobre pureza, paternidad. Como María fue asunta como la información privilegiada, no exterior desafiando la ley de pureza, ¿ella ser apedreada? ¿Y así María saben Zechariah? ¿Era un fariseo? ¿O un saduceo que no creían en la resurrección? Lo que se había convertido en obsesiva a los fariseos, cuando había sólo una manera de pensar, de culto, se convertiría en la amenaza de la condición humana misma, ya sea como la última persona en la tierra — o la primera y sentirse tan solo.

Dios. Las historias. La inmensidad de secretos de la fecundidad de Dios. Gente le gusta leer acerca de ellos mismos, además de conocer qué horrores ocurrió ayer. Historia de cerca, en las noticias. Pero la historia no muy lejos. ¿Escuchaste alguna vez el comando, en el relato de la visitación, dado mucho, con sus propias hijas vírgenes? «¡ Huye por tu vida! No mire detrás de usted, ni parar en cualquier lugar en la llanura; huir a las colinas para no ser arrastrados.” ¿Las colinas guardan a María? Rodeado por la multitud de sus parientes.

¿En el conflicto sobre a quién pertenecería tu hijo, sobre la que se salvaría, con la participación – algunas implicación de personal – con el uso de su fertilidad, en tiempos de la aniquilación que fueron tan personalmente amenazados, de haber sido inmerso en una cultura en este período de gestación, cuando pureza se convirtió, en el conflicto de privada y vida pública, una obsesión mayor que la vida misma? Fariseos, pensando en el método de castigo que dejaron la mayoría de los lectores jadeando! En este increíble relato de la visitación, hay este compañero, Elizabeth también tan solo.

He aquí el llanto mencionado en “La visitación” en un poema de Joyce Rupp, de su libro fuera de lo común:


Elizabeth arrugada y sabia, cansada del niño pataleando dentro (ya un toque de rusticidad en él),
los dos de ustedes, reunidos en la puerta, llorando y riendo al mismo tiempo, cada uno JADEO en la fertilidad. 

He aquí, el jadeo, al mismo tiempo. Elizabeth sobre su fecundidad envejecido tanto como Sarah. He aquí al mismo tiempo, un jadeo sobre la pureza inocente de María! ¿En la primera mitad de la vida? ¿En la última mitad del proceso de creación? Traer nueva vida, en el ahorro conectado a Judá, ¿te has sentido el miedo en este momento de la vida, en la creación, para cada mujer? Con todo los “givens” a una mujer embarazada o a un sumo sacerdote — a cualquier creador, con un estatus de protección. Así como Moisés fue tomado en por la hermana del Faraón, María es llevada por Zechariah. En Judá. Lo que siempre fue cierto lo de Judá fue esta lealtad a Yahvé, como iglesia y el estado ahora coexistían incómodamente, el imperio romano. Donde prima Isabel vivió en Judá, con una necesidad basada en edad, mientras que llevar algo, para una esclava. He aquí este misterio gozoso, conectado con el temor de Jehová, temor en este momento de la vida, en la creación, para cada mujer! He aquí que cada mujer, encontrar un lugar seguro, para gestar, aunque al menos el primer trimestre, o el último trimestre, con Dios presente en el mundo, oculta a simple vista, en la casa de un sacerdote. Un hijo de Abraham que había obsesionado sobre pureza, en una obsesión para el nacimiento del derecho, que se convierte de alguna manera conectado al “ahorro”. Así que ¿qué sucede a quienes obsesionan, que no están abiertos a la modificación de sus vidas, sobre todo los “givens” de la creación? Tanto como Sarah, también dejó con saber humano. ¿Estaría allí el final, para lo que creó? ¿O que? En el país de la colina, donde Abraham enterró a Sara. En el país de la colina, en la primera parte del reinado de David, Hebrón alcanzó su cenit que sirve para los primeros siete y medio años de su gobierno como su capital. En el país de la colina, he aquí Judá y la división, en la historia, como el reino restante único, con la esclava quien dice: “mi alma proclama la grandeza del Señor!” En una historia, como el Señor se convierte en mucho más que simplemente mi Dios!

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POST SCRIPT:  Dios. La escritura de correos a las historias, con la inmensidad de la fertilidad del Dios Invisible, casi secreta. Antes del nacimiento. Antes de la separación “dada” de una madre, con la pérdida de este estatus de protección. Como los iniciados se convierten en forasteros. Como las mujeres se convierten en madres, con nueva identidad… da. ¿Siempre busque el ahorro invisible en la historia de la visitación? Antes de la salvación de otros, con el sacrificio para salvar a otros.

Así como el simbolismo de la vida de la remontada en las historias de las víctimas, para Isaac e Ismael después de su viaje al monte Moriah, habría, después de su viaje al país de la colina, María. Con estas reapariciones en el mundo real después de… en el mundo dividido entre iglesia y estado. Viviendo con el menor conjunto de circunstancias en la herencia, de la pureza. ‘Arriba’ y ‘ la siguiente,’ con la pureza todavía en algún lugar. A encontrarse. ¿

Lo hizo Zechariah saben cómo su silencio, impuesta, vino a salvar? ¿Como el período de gestación de su esposa sin duda interrumpió su vida de oración… en el principio? ¿Y entonces su hijo nació para salvar a otros, conectados a un ahorro de la madre de Dios? ¿La parte tranquila de la historia de la visitación fue como Zechariah el misterio en su mudez? Quizás con las palabras iniciales del Salmo 46.

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Forming a Messiah

Present arms! Demonstrate your loyalty. If not to the State, to the Spirit of the people of the Land.

Simeon's Song of Praise Breath-taking. Leaving, again. This child had first been born in a trip to Bethlehem. And now a trip to Jerusalem. Leaving, like Abram, only in response to another Call. Per the Law of the Land, every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord. What did it look like to the neighbors, if you did not present your son to the Temple?  After the first Call had been from, ironically, the State. To go to Bethlehem. Behold the connection of leaving to the sacrificial. The next Call was to the Church/Temple. With all of this suddenness, from a perspective of an infant. “Let’s go!” Move. Let go! Sacrifice. Get to Jerusalem . . . with The Urgency, as background. Like another due date. So within a certain number of days, did Joseph and Mary invite any relatives? Like the ones back in Bethlehem? Or did they tell their parents? That they were going?

THE ART is “Simeon’s Song of Praise” by Rembrandt

The PRESENTATION. According to the Law – the Supreme Law – with the concern about purity, and the portals, to let a son in. The barriers were erected with 613 laws. To prove your worth, observing the law of Moses. Within a certain number of days. And so the story as the parents take Jesus to the Temple, to present Him to the Lord, according to the Gospel of Luke. But clearly Jesus would not be an Orthodox Jew, at least in the perspective of all these Gentiles accepted into the Church of the Apostles. So had this been on the 8th day, or the 40th day? What do Christians know about the tradition about the arrival as the day came to purify? What do Roman Catholics know about the significance of the 4th Joyful Mystery, of their rosary? Because hadn’t it been their flight to Egypt, which followed the visit by the Magi? But it is said that even though Herod was looking for the Messiah, according to the Gospel of Matthew, the parents took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. And according to the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph kept his family in Egypt until Herod the Great had died – which was in 4 BCE at the age of seventy. And one of these Evangelist had to be like a second cousin once removed, because both stories could not be right.

Note the TWO in the story, of The PRESENTATION. Simeon was named for the second born son of Jacob and Leah. And to offer a sacrifice, per the Law of the LAND, there were a pair of young pigeons. Now this guy named Simeon – whatever his name had come to mean – was in Jerusalem, waiting. It had been Simeon that the prophet Joseph took hostage so that his brother might return with Benjamin. To Egypt. As if Mary and Joseph had not already had enough displacement if not disruption since the conception of this child, in their lives, behold the mystery connected to the Law and to Simeon who takes the baby into his arms, and shares his God! In his tradition, Simeon felt CALLED to the Second Temple that day. So the old man whose name means “he has heard” disrupts Mary and Joseph, as they tried to fulfill all the prescriptions of the Law. The real meaning in the story is about Jesus first time in the Temple, before their RETURN home. From Bethlehem, from Jerusalem. Maybe from Egypt. Until he set eyes on the Messiah, Simeon would not die, he believed, saying: “Now, Master, you can let ‘your servant’ go in peace.” So the significance of this birth is related to his own death? Somehow. Joseph with Simeon who had tried to destroy his brother Joseph, before the first born son of Jacob had saved Joseph. In a family that had obsessed over if not purity, the obsession to the birth right, which becomes somehow connected to “saving.” So Simeon’s presence was to point out to the parents how they would be so personally threatened, from having been immersed into a culture at the end of this gestation period, when purity became, in the conflict of private and public lives, an obsession greater than life itself? Behold the purification? For the Authorities at the Temple. Behold the Temple. And did you ever think of the wisdom of Solomon who built the First Temple, suggesting to resolve an argument over a child, a baby might be split? Locate Abraham in the story of two women who lived in the same house, both of whom had an infant son but one woman claimed that the other, as both claimed to be the mother of the living son, coming to Solomon for a judgment. After accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, one had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. After some deliberation, the King called for a SWORD to be brought, to him.

Behold this joyful mystery, connected to the Fear of the Lord – a fear at this point of life, in creating, for each parent! With all the concerns over purity? So had Simeon been a Pharisee or a Sadducee who did not believe in Resurrection? What had become obsessive to the Pharisees, when there was only one way to think, to worship, would become the threat of the very same human condition, over purity, as Church and State now co-existed uneasily, within the Roman Empire. Behold Simeon who felt that he could take the baby into his arms? And did you think back to in the story of two women who lived in the same house, both of whom had an infant son but one woman claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, claimed this infant? Though the event had occurred in the First Temple.  How did Joseph respond to this Simeon whose name also is connected with the idea of ‘miscegenation’?  How exactly was this Simeon God’s servant, telling Mary, “And you yourself a SWORD will pierce,” which left most readers gasping? In this incredible story of The Presentation, there is her companion, Joseph, wondering in the conflict over to whom Your son would belong, over who would be saved, with involvement – some kind of personal involvement – as the formation process of – a “given,” based upon what you don’t know or think that you do, about the MYSTERY – the Messiah begins. So from where did Jesus originate? How do you form a Messiah? As one of us! And what would your child look like to your neighbors, as you returned home?

Consider that first day back home on the job as the parent of a Messiah. With the entire tradition resting upon purity, washing, dinnerware, bloodlines, in this great unsettling Presence … in The Spirit of the Lord. With what you had grown up.

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. In any relationship, as your place of birth blinds you to the outside world, with language directed at intimations of attachment, This Spirit from where you come … founded on the back of sacrifice. There is the issue of undivided support as Joseph seems forced to take a vow of chastity, living in the house with Mary and the Son of Man. This theology of Purity, ever since the time of Abraham, with Sarah, his half-sister, passing on something to your first born son.  Born into a tradition, of mostly the Sacrifice in the story, with the same kind of dreams as Abraham, as Joseph the prophet.  Being somehow saved by giving up something like your own son, with a certain amount of this protected status … in the beginning, closest to home somewhere in Israel. In a story when both Mary and Joseph had the tradition, what has become of the command given to Adam to cleave? “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Though Joseph had, in his calling, representing the entire tradition of the House of David, here he is still cleaving to his perfect wife perhaps out of the prejudice that he had about the outside world. Like Abram.

When you left home for a census, in a certain Call, when your God is not restricted to one place, one land, with borders. And then, from this tradition of a nomad, passing on SAVING, after being saved, uncovering the mystery, through story.  Mary and Joseph meeting Magi, and strangers in the Temple who have come looking for their son.  In their return to the Promise Land, behold the sacrifice to come, with the fear in the story, as doubt always is at the center of either mystery or faith which moves THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination.

Locate the personal boundaries in the story, with violations of individual if not communal boundaries in the story of the Presentation. By Simeon, for one. Note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, whether as the last person on earth — or the first — and feeling so all alone? Behold the need for a coverup, living with exception to these kinsmen, with Mary and all the strangeness of her Virgin birth, through the things not physically shared – the torture of her ability to carry the Living God of Abraham to the next generation through this child.

Behold the Lamb of God, identified by the shepherds, in the beginning of! Behold all the human interest in times of trouble, between Church and State, at about the time Herod the Great has died, after the split in the two kingdoms as the Romans had moved in. Living with the invisible loss of your own language, as PLACE is used against you, after PLACE claims you again as its slave? In the eyes of the Romans, with their Latin, like the English brought their language to Ireland? So how old were, how blind were, how oppressed were the eyes of all? Behold the human meaning in the story about a Messiah in the RETURN home after the first time in the Temple. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about power over me involving splits, in the LAND, the bond which came not from suffering but from the sacrifice, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your land and your own displacement, from your place of origin, then at least the life of your son.

Breath-taking! The PRESENTATION. Note the TWO in the story, of The PRESENTATION with a sacrifice of a pair of young pigeons. To offer a sacrifice, per the Law of the LAND, with this sense of urgency, within a certain number of days.  There is reference to Egypt in the sacrifice for the redemption of the first born son. “Every firstborn of man among your sons, you shall redeem. And it will come to pass that if your son asks you in the future, saying, ‘What is this?’ you shall say to him, ‘With a mighty hand did God take us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh was too stubborn to let us out, God slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt.’”

Passover.  Why does understanding, about Jesus, Mary and Joseph look so inevitable? Why do you steal the mystery, about the lingering conflict over power and shared dominion, in another story with mystery? Before these young parents finally returned home.  Did you ever behold the System Substitutions, by Abraham, by Moses?  Note the circumcision, only after Abraham went and fathered a child through his wife’s handmaid. So in the science of consequences, his first born son was a slave. If you did Algebra I. And that led to stories of generations of servants and handmaids and slaves in Egypt.  In an apparition, there is suddenly the unexpected, like a banishment, or like an attempt at genuine sacrifice.  And with all the unexpected, these stories just seem to be repeating themselves, however with the hovering ghosts of ingratitude toward Hagar, as Sarah at least banished her handmaid and her half-Egyptian son.

What is apparent to me in my religious tradition somehow acquired through Abraham is that every tradition of the Abrahamaic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – has a need for both a story and a real living human body, in order to pass on the method of prayer. Hagar had conceded forever not only her status but that of her son, but with the far off hope that something would one day change? About her servitude? To connect the dots about Hagar, about intimacy, about unconditional love, to Mary and Joseph, like Abraham has sacrificed his purity in the same way Adam had, to appease Eve. Would Mary sacrifice her purity, like Hagar had her own, to Abraham?  For her Masters.  

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive, but with a great restlessness. When you prayers were so alive….and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Even sometimes you had to be looking for a place to escape. In a start?

There is always the unknown in the present age about all the “givens” a child had been born into, like the suspense lost when you knew the end of a story. “The givens,” lost like a first born son might think that his inheritance could be. If you ever spent the time to try and see, did you notice a greater suffering as the living VICTIM went missing, for over a number of years, like in the case of Joseph the prophet? With so much emotional attachment … did you note the missing part, like the long-forgotten first born son, Ishmael? When he left the home of Sarah and Abraham. And wasn’t there the fair degree of Fear of the Lord whenever a child went missing? Who could ever forget the firstborn son? In the stories of missing it is the ultimate VICTIM of hood-winking who goes missing. Like first Jacob, from the perspective of Isaac, and then Jacob’s son, Joseph. Behold this birth right, connected to the invisible if not to the missing. With all the Spirituality connected to what first seems missing, for a while – like in response to “Where is the Lamb” question. In these stories of the missing behold Jesus, like the prophet renamed Israel, surrounded by people who he could never really trust – even his eldest son by Leah, who he thought betrayed him. And did you witness in the stories of Jacob & Sons, all of the violence over trying to be One? Again. And so the invisible fear connected to the God of Jacob, so distinct from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, as Jesus grew up.

“The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all … wrote Daniel Mendelsohn in THE LOST. It was hard enough to be the Son of Man the first time – only the perfect son this time.

 

Hadn’t it been fear of something that moved people here in the first place? For a place to worship freely? What is most true about the law of Moses and Jewish theology but the portals of life and death – over who belongs. Who is one of us? With all of Abraham’s walking. Using purity as a means to an end. The importance of Movement. Toward a goal. But sacrificing purity one day. But underneath it all, there was still the basic fear. At the portals, with still a concern about purity, and the theology of purity, as you tried to create a normal life, with the blood of the lamb on your thresh-hold that provided a sense of identity, that was connected to having been saved. And now living with all of this purity. Trying to laugh and be normal.  After  demonstrating your fidelity to your God.

“And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Or is it both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing God? This is, after all, a love story. Ever since the time of Abraham, the center of all of this drama is love and the children of Abraham dealing with love and sex and fertility. With, according to the Book of Genesis or the Qoran, these relationship stories. And in all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda — like passing a relationship on, with all of the pleasure and the pain from knowing God or just each other, when love divides. There is the Jewish prayer about survival in the shared belief since Abraham about the sacrifice called The Akedah, involving his son and the future of the world. Were the words heard that day of the Unetaneh Tokef, the prayer about the perils of the year to come – the perils which are all around us, with the perils in my land and the values in this land, as the value of all currency, of the things that help sustain illusion, are threatened?   Like Jews in so many places, Christians in Iraq, or Muslims in the United States:

How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die…
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low…

Like at the symbolic sacrifice at The Presentation – the Abrahamic concession is that love divides. Joseph and Mary conceded forever not only her status but that affect of sacrifice on her son, like ever since the time of Sarah and her half-brother Abraham.  Like what the message about the affect of sacrifice is in The Warning, of Simeon or like heard at the conclusion in the Beautitudes.

This joyful mystery after all is called a love story, about existence. The mystery, like Sarah’s. Like Elizabeth’s. Like Mary’s. These Alumni who feel compelled to demonstrate their love, like Abraham. In the sacrifice. With birth instead of death. On a different end of a sacrifice.

As they left Jerusalem, with an equivalent fear to an over-forty year old Jacob stealing a birthright, did you hear the “piercing” in the cryptic words of the prophet Zachariah: “….and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.”

 

How would you reach or teach a child the story of Isaac, with all the waiting by Sarah, with then the sacrifice on Mount Moriah? With the covert sacrifice that the father Abraham would have told no one?  Real people wondering, puzzled, with if not doubt, perplexed?  Dealing with the Everlasting, since the beginning … and all of the past. 

Love? Sacrificing me? In the relationships, in stories about unconditional love, behold the boy Jesus – so much like once the boy Isaac!  After the long wait, as seen in the cousin named Elizabeth.

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you….” An 89-year old woman pregnant? Then a virgin birth!  Who would believe, when it would come to pass — like THE TRADITION on — that if your son asks you in the future, saying, ‘What is this?’  With speechless hearts and waiting minds,there is this Simeon guy reaching for your infant. . . in the Temple, of all places.  After this virgin birth had come between the betrothed couple, what did this man named Simeon represent, to anyone named Joseph?  And living in this land, did you ever get the sense, maybe like a newly emancipated adult, about the burden of tradition that so many were giving up, like the separation between Israel and Judah, or between a father and a son?  And for those who tried to keep hold of something, there was a feeling that you really could not afford to move, but you could not afford to stay.  And who would ever believe a kid whose parents one day told him of his own virgin birth? If he dare tell anyone.

“If anyone wishes to come after me – like I came after Ishmael, as I came after Isaac – he must deny himself … daily. And follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; whoever gives life, sacrifices their life [by giving life], will save it.”

It is all in The Presentation, like my sister once said while reading a book by Martha Stewart. With a certain amount of joy.  And in Rembrandt’s “Simeon Song of Praise,” doesn’t the Temple look to be the main character, in The Presentation?  Or is it the Light? 

Copyright © 2016.

Paying the highest price possible.

Larry Gillick, SJ

Related. https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/behold-the-handmaid/

Every Act of Creation Involves a Form of Destruction

Michelangel Overhead Ghosts writers – crime writing. As a detective, you had a past burden to be on the lookout – night and day – as the son of a famed detective, with all the personal threats afterward. For the substitute — stepping in where your predecessors left off — it is not as much a question of identity to the investigator, but proving “it.” As the editor saw it, the writer’s main characters — those with human power — just missed it.  Almost all of them.

To run and write down, after you have come out of the shower – maybe like having been baptized in the Jordan, which looked in Minnesota like the St. Croix as the border of Wisconsin, just too big for one religion – these Abrahamic religions – for one leader to handle. What is yours forever … so another system substitution.

With a worry about the old Cain and Abel story later. To hold something precious … rather than release.

Jacob. First born sons. Birth rights. The guides. The tour guide and the confessional, with Wisconsin over there. Barbarism which separated one side from another – like the River Jordan? And so place in the sibling group concerning what you were born into …. the followers of Jesus, responding to not a perceived hostility but a witnessed hostility. The enforcement of not love but law.  True law, with the borders … of good and of evil. As you begin to doubt the enforcers of the law.

Leaving. The main theme of Passover, in the beginning of, is leaving. So this story of The Passion was another Passover story with the same theme of leaving before anyone considered what would come next – like had come next for Moses and Joshua. After a brief period for grieving, what was to come …. just before the Roman destruction of the Temple … and the followers, leaving. And the unstated but the so apparent theme was the desire to leave the cruelty of the world? So get ready. Prepare. Rid your homes of leaven. Deflate your egos, as the firstborn son of Mary is struck down, do you feel the sacrifice of God in Passover? Why the leaving except because of evil? It is because of the separation, concerning all the separations in the Creation story? And here was a forgiveness over an indifference if not apathy about the separations?

The colt. The distance…. in the story. The Presence of the colt as the future? The movement, with the colt, to get somewhere, in the scene. The arrival. The escape … the separation, through death.

Roots. The opening of The Round House.   “Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation.” Roots. Looking down on others or looking up at the cruelty of the world, sacrificing the “Closest Relationship.” A new book by Stanford historian Allyson Hobbs is about the socially constructed concept of race and racial identity.  What about the socially constructed idea concerning religion, to move the world forward? Freely chosen roots, by Whom? Passing to freedom, so alone? Or like slugger Ted Williams, with the mystery of his own roots.

Note the exile because of racial ambiguity, about a time and a place in the land. There had been the importance of borders in the story in a racist society, between North and South.  What about the religious ambiguity about a real time and a real place in the land?  And this tethered colt, as the get-away vehicle, for those who “pass?” In disguise, like to escape discrimination in the United States?  Note the episode at the fire, with a comment about Peter’s accent, in The Passion Story.  Would Peter live through the night? (Men “passing” as women, like in the character in The Good Lord Bird. ) As the community of Jews – which Jesus, Mary and Joseph all belonged – sacrificed, in the story of The Passion – as Abraham tried to – a son.

Whether race, color, creed, find the invisible social act in The Passion: “Passing as white” is a social act. Those who collaborated – those left behind, no longer embedded in racial identity – no longer belonging and sharing memories of a past. Locate Jewish men, passing in the story – that the New Testament calls Apostles. Speak not a word to the white child as black mother, so the world never finds out that she is black. The comparison: Insiders to outsiders, slaves to masters.

Concerning the super power of invisibility, Stanford historian Allyson Hobbs writes about the loss to those who “passed” by walking away. A larger phenomena of “passing” in history is the totality of migration to a New World. The Noveau Riche, where they do not belong…..bringing the Asian and European if not African concepts of “class” to the New World.  Note the name changes, while “Passing” as white. What is the cost of “gain” other than greater capitalistic opportunity? The sea is parted, to egalitarian elites. Note the never-ending acting by real people in this hidden practice of exile, in choosing to leave what you were born into. Looking for ghosts of the unconventional, did you know that slugger Ted Williams was a Mexican-American?  There is a darkness of loss, living in solitude — giving in to the cruelty of the world? Ted never outright told you that he was Mexican-American.

The chapter. A long-unsolved crime. Cold Cases. Invisible and visible. Judas was nothing but a spy. Didn’t he feel, like Peter, the fear that all the Apostles would be tortured by the “powers that be?” And he had the age-old gift from Abraham to Isaac which came on Mount Moriah which was the gift of great restlessness. . . . . to change the world. Many think that Judas had hoped the Messiah would get involved in the political struggle that the Jews had under Roman domination.  (So many modern-day Italians who admire the Romans never see that part of the story?) In a scene where so many have but one perspective of ‘MY brand,’ about ‘MY GOD,’ was it a wonder that popes in days gone by separated the domiciles of Jews, in the ghetto?  So in what I think are the words of Larry Gillick, “All human beings desire safety and security in order to KNOW what to expect — how things are supposed to work, what people are like. With a knowledge to maintain a level of order in our lives.  Sometimes, I can become so set in my ways that I develop what Ignatius (the founder of the Jesuits) would call disordered attachments to what otherwise would be good and holy things. As I become so attached to a structure, holding onto it for dear life, no longer free to allow God’s grace to enter into my life.”

And so the Passion. With the tethered colt, either stolen or ‘borrowed’ by the two Apostles but to be brought back to the rightful owner. . . later, it is assumed.  And compare the age of Isaac and the age of Jesus in the stories of Abrahamic sacrifice, with the need to leave because of the cruelty of the world … and their “admission policies.” To warn the future, in sacrifice, by the father of faith – like my friend Tim, advising his son Tom not to become a lawyer, just as Tim was?  To warn, in the perspective of Abraham about the world he had traveled, after his very first sacrifice of a homeland!  How to warn the living, with outward signs?  Through, with, in …. Sacrifice. With bonds to belong.  This change is, by the end of the story, Jesus of Nazareth is the hero for surviving for the future. . . just like Isaac, Sarah’s first born son, had. In the denounement:  ‘we’ somehow survived …this operation.  And the invisible theme throughout the mystery is about the Love of God.  To come to know, over time, the main character through the Victim in the story (which mostly is a love story).

The cold cases. Not too far from the border with Canada – where borders always protect one side from what appears to be the unmanageable other; this, it is said, is where you are able to hear at the start of a pigeon race, the sound of time flying. The aim set forth at the Dormady Academy of Private Detection, known by its neighbors as an old pigeon farm in northern Minnesota, is to find the Victim in each story.  In the beginning of, a Victim always had to let someone else describe you.  Like in any theology class, it is said that those descriptions are only as good as someone had come to know You.  Whether letting someone else describe You, or describing Yourself to the missing, through a carrier pigeon.  In a world where so many are not seeing the beauty in the Mystery, in relationship with/to others, and so many people detest pigeons.

The cold cases. Finite thinking. When everyone at Mass already knows the outcome. But before the statues get uncovered, before the Sunday morning Gospel, not too far from the border with the Red Sea, there was the difficulty for the first to arrive.  As a result, too many forget the human part of the story, as there can be so little emotion reading history.  Why can’t a narrative tell of all the emotions living through the times?  This could only be a great story if you felt the emotions in the suspense, as the writer’s tingling can become more the editor’s numbness.  Note the difficulty for the first to arrive, like in the blindness for Cain and Abel and the struggle over seemingly being finite. Whoever knew that we were all finite, in the beginning?  After all of the separations, and the conflict over who among the characters was there first, separating the unmanageable goodness from invisible evil.  The theme based upon something stolen.  Like birth right ….. or a tethered colt.  Over who among the characters was there first, there is all the difficulty for the first to arrive, asking…. “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

Passing is not …. never has been … a solitary act. The difficulty for the first to arrive. Did you perceive the darkness at the time of day?  The dispute over who was here first, long before electricity was invented.  As if goodness is described by TIME  ….. or by just one PLACE?  When a greater ease came to those who arrive later.  Over innocence … IF they conformed to the image prevalent in a community.  This identity. . . based upon innocence, lost.  The theme based upon something stolen at the command of Jesus.  With the PROMISE to bring it back later to the rightful owner.  So how does the original ending of Mark’s Gospel tie into the Book of Genesis?  Over all the splitting and separation, when the mostly male spiritual leaders thought they knew – in a community.  The original ending – in the first Gospel ever written, by Mark – involves only the female characters present at the Crucifixion.  The original ending with these invisible women involves a silence and what is presumed to be fear. . . of the Lord?  And the tie-in to the Passover Feast, with always the gift of great restlessness to change the world?  For the finite in the story, “This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight.”

Barbarism which separated one side from another, if you were willing to sacrifice your son, but without ever informing his mother? So with the theme of a purity sacrificed and a purity shared in relationship, there was the forgiveness needed for Abraham, by Sarah.  What happens to the original separation theme in Genesis, yet while forced  to choose to keep growing … in the beginning of?  Do you feel the sacrifice, or only the emotions connected to the sacrifice?  Did you ever feel the Agony – the emotions – in the Garden?  Were God’s emotions like Jacob’s as he got ready to flee, after he had stolen the birth right? 

So had Jesus stolen the birth right, like Jacob?  With the help of his mother, by way of the great coverup of a virgin birth at the time. . . from all those who, in public service, were in the business of’ ‘saving?’  Or not?  These people of Church/ Temple and State all in the business of ‘saving’, either as Roman soldiers or the chief priest?  So who to save?  When there were how many left to bury in Egypt at the time of the original Passover? 

The original ending of the original Gospel of Mark involves only the invisible female characters who might have already come to know that you had to sacrifice your purity if your bloodlines would not become extinct.  Behold these women in the story!  Behold the great coverup by way of celebration of the Passover feast of The Akedah in the sacrifice!

Like Rachel as Sarah, Jesus was a man who was expected to somehow, in his very own way, to carry the Living God of Israel further in the world, beyond the tribes and the homeland where he was born.  As growth was so much the measure of success, even when you were forced out, like in the Tree of Knowledge story, like the native-born in the story — like the North American Indians so comparable to Eve and Adam.


And so the unimaginable, the inconceivable, the unthinkable story of creation and The Passion ever since when, in the words of Picasso, every act of creation involves a form of destruction. So in the ax-to-the-frozen -sea ending, did you ever feel the displacement in the story of Jesus, with the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize the Post Traumatic Stress disordering sustained by his mother after your own kinsmen tried to kill you? As the Messiah was seemingly forced out, note the movement in the story of belonging which came out of a displacement in the story of Jesus. Like the women of Jerusalem in the story of The Passion, in passing on your culture with passion, I think about my grandfather’s mother who died in trying to increase the numbers, not far removed from the Great Famine, in her attempt – like either Rachel or any great prophet, for the delivery of God to the next generation – to replicate God’s greatness. And there was this affect on memory where you had witnessed the torture to the Messiah.

Deliverance.  And so that colt tethered “on which no one has ever sat,” waiting.  Waiting for the change coming.  To settle down? With a control over, the concern about… power of mostly those who you know, or those who know, something to various degrees…… or thought that they did – that what is yours forever ..never becomes precious. Men not seeing that this was a love story.  So rather than try to describe infinity, use a love story to have the invisible become visible … because of allowing someone else to describe You? With real living people.  But as in trying to too quickly read a profile, online … missing the infinity in the stories.

The strangeness of it all, after the Great Flood — A SACRIFICE! What a bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, through a son of Abraham!  Sacrifice.  Imagine the reaction of the outsider, upon hearing the story. . . of sacrifice.  Imagine the reaction of an insider.  Hearing each other’s concern about the private lives of his sons, as if it was anyone else’s concern — as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private relationships of these men — about the depth of their relationships.  Or whether his sons, his descendants, his followers would adhere to the religious laws. . . and remain Kosher, based upon sacrifice.  Identity politics, directed at sacrifice.  The strangeness . . . saving something, with these identity labels, as the separation in brands.  The body.  The bond.  The sacrifice, for others.  The tree-like Cross.  The forever reason – sacrificed – not killed – for others.  Saving others.  People did not want them to save? And there was never a mention whether that parked tethered colt — clarified to be an ass, just like in the story of that trip to Bethlehem — had ever been returned.

Pieta-rome-cabs

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