Connecting a Glorious Mystery of the Past

Were you ever allowed to offer literary criticism of the writer of Acts of the Apostles? In English, any way? Literary criticism about the object in a sentence, per the rules of grammar. An antecedent for? In a personal pronoun which seem so impersonal? A reader will know the reference being referred … to? And if you ever read the Gospel of John, you might be shocked by the reference to “devout Jews” from every nation, mentioned by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, unlike in the Sunday Gospel reading on Penecost, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews….”

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, ‘they’ were all in one place together. Suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. And it filled the entire house in which ‘they’ were. Then there appeared to ‘them’ tongues as of fire … which parted and came to rest on each one, of ‘them’[which sounds wrongly impersonal in the use of the personal pronouns].”

“‘They’ were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled ‘them’ to proclaim.”[to whom?]

“Now there were ‘devout Jews’ from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, [an attribute which sounds wrong and too impersonal, as if “this sound” rather than the noise which came from the sky] ‘they’ gathered in a large crowd. But ‘they’ were confused because each one heard ‘them’ speaking in his own language. So ‘they’ [which sounds wrongly impersonal, as if each individual sensed and reacted the same] were astounded, and in amazement ‘they’ asked: ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia….’ ”

In the story of Firsts, like in the Book of Genesis, did you ever notice all the mistakes the first time? And, by the way of amazement, if ‘they” all were each so separated by language, how could ‘THEY” ever ask, ‘How then does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia….”

Yes, so the second time. “So Jesus said to them AGAIN: ‘Peace be with you!'”

And did you notice the chronology, in these new commandments about this living dynamic Peace that had been passed down since Abraham? About a closeness, along with a Spirit that came out of a Dynamic Peace. Forgive the ones you seemed closest, too! Like in Temple or Church and in families. And on matters of power and shared dominion, between Church and State, what had been the cause of your Crucifixion?

“And when he had said this, he breathed on THEM [which sounds much more personal] and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM. And whose sins you retain, are retained.'”

Somehow, I imagine it was a lot more personal than as recorded. For all these Jews in the world, who go out to share their inheritance. As “they” came to understand “it.” Like the Apostle John, who is NOT the evangelist writing the last Gospel, John, if you did the chronology, after the second Temple was destroyed.  Mostly, rather personally. To take that kind of destruction so personally, John is comparing the Temple to the Tower of Babel!  So is it the sins you forgive or THEM that sinned, John?

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.

Like in Psalm 104, concerning the face of the Earth.

When you send forth your spirit, ‘they’ are created, and you renew the face of the earth….

….stolen from Cecilia Wessels’ Facebook, like suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. Thanks Cecilia.


Did Abraham ever find God, like yesterday, in the emptiness of famine. At the end, in an Evangelical call for prayer together – as if he could convert me and this food through his prayer – The Muslims, and I along with them, left.

Abraham, trying to design God, through sacrifice, was like Alexander Hamilton, trying to design a nation, if you have seen the play or read the book by Chernow.

Money. The systems, created. With Land. Would there be land banks, since the currency was so worthless? In the beginning, inventing a national currency? Did you know all the Troubles in creating?

In post-Revolution, this first Civil War, Hamilton is manipulating George Washington? And then Jefferson – yikes! – with his thinking, and with his slaves.

Abraham. Count the moments of the Great Unsettlings. In his life. In contending with what is private and what is public, there is great irony in giving up the Land, as well as a home. In replicating the Great One, like Abraham, how?

With balance, in Somalia, Church/Mosque and State? Is there even a section of the news for today’s obituaries in Somalia. . . for the Somalis who are dying in hunger? There was at the end of the day, a photo projected of a mother of eight, now down to five.  In the photo, she had just received a box of food from the American charity, addressing famine. Of her future – should she lose five more, would she be a mother? And as she is all alone, where is her God of Abraham, for the mother?

Surviving, after every war, In a public sector?  Social justice, over who might stay there.  Taking what had been so public – in war – private?  Like The American Revolution, with the split.  On what side were you?   Loyalists, post-war?  Did you know the ongoing clash among the survivors, after every war in a public sector?  So, social justice?  That the Somalians might stay!  So, taking what was public, private, keeping their land in the hands of the Somalis like never has been allowed in Syria in the past six years?

Who might stay there?  “Why me? Why have I survived and my three children have not? Or all my relatives born in Somalia now in Minnesota?”

Goodness?  In invisible famine, feed MY starving Children, oh God!  Like in The Great Flood, there were the Loyalists who never moved from their lands, like Noah did.  Not unlike these times, with the oceans under threat like never before – defending much more than the fish, from rising temperature.

Humans living in denial.  Unable to look too close?  Leaving?  Staying? The Choice, for the wealthy?  Taking what was not yours to take?  Sacrifice, Abraham?  When there is nothing left, maybe like for you in old age? Taking what is private, so public. Group our kids by age…by place in neighborhoods, by gender – to hear, if not learn, stories!  But all  translators betray what they attempt to convey – this is a truism – as every reader comes to their Scriptures with a history.  And some with head scarves.

Did you ever consider the eight survivors eating during the Great Flood? Did you ever contrast dryness to a great flood? Like these days in Somalia. In the emptiness of famine, Feed My Starving Children, during Ramadan, was addressing the six million in Somalia this morning in need of food.  I gave some time yesterday to their cause which involved, for me, too much cheer-leading and too little humility. I walked home later wondering, why am I able to help the starving, in Famine? Like the one in Ireland, that seemed to teach a people, forever after, something about sharing. Why in Somalia is their Land like this and mine is not? Why are we not all starving? Together!

Valuations. Counting the cost, through sacrifice. And at the end, the representative of Feed My Staring Children, an Evangelical – part of The Evangelical Movement – wanted in a too loud moment of his prayer, over the just packed food, when the sun had risen at 5:30 am and would set after 9:00 pm, wanted the Muslims here to pray. With him over his food, while they fasted? Taking what was private a little bit too public, for me. This morning, I am considering, again, over breakfast, “the right hand of God” moment that both saved the first born son as well as split the son, along with that photo depicting the right hand of God, in the “why me?” moment, of what can come out of sacrifice. Given life… a second time, if I keep losing more, will I still be an Evangelical? As I ate my food and contemplated Grace, I wonder at what point I might stop being Irish, or a Somali, or even an American, after being given life a second time. 

Did you know all the Troubles that come in creating?  Like a Nation Once Again?

4 comments so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    “Altogether, I think we out to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.” —Franz Kafka, the son of a chamberlain

    Would you sell your brother into slavery, Reuben? What would you do, Abraham, with a son born half-slave? In Somalia, they are still contemplating in times of famine, selling their sons into slavery. Would this be the type of homeland, Abraham, that you would consider leaving? After what was discovered had happened in 2015, as The Somali National Army recruited and used children in armed conflict, per the United Nations audit, during the reporting period. And now?

    Were you ever allowed to offer criticism of the leader, at the assembly place created by tax dollars? Literary criticism about the object in a sentence, if not of a sentence, of the Ending to the day? In English, any way? Like in public school? Or at what was a large convention center located in Saint Paul, Minnesota? Like silent prayer, in the United States, with split belief? Yes, a very minor point if you lived in a place today where at least 6.2 million people — about half the country — were grappling with the second drought in six years, after more than 250,000 people died during a famine six years ago. In forty-eight hours at least 110 people die of hunger in just a single region, according to Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

    Cognizance, times three, in the Emergency Room. In dealing with loss – before you lose your sense of when? Before you lose your sense of ‘where’ – here in this land there is a greater appreciation for State over Church … on matters of identity. So contrast the meaning of “cognizance” versus identity, in your Land. Where Land is such a strong character in every life. Like, meanwhile in North Dakota, North Dakota, where extreme drought conditions have increased to nearly 36 percent of the state, with more than half of North Dakota now within an area of severe drought, as small grain crops fail, with producers selling off livestock. Of this serial character, like the Land, which will survive all of us, with all the character questions, of a good book. The Land, like Alexander Hamilton, in the Ron Chernow biography. How did he affect you? Did he frighten you? Did you love him? What was he after? Did he change much during the time that you knew him? What most impressed you about him ….and this Land?

    I sat next to a young Somli man, who left as I did at the end, at the announcement of an invitation to pray over the food. I knew the Somalia-based Al Shabaab made headlines a year ago with a recruitment video featuring footage of anti-Muslim sentiment and racism in the United States, venerating the “Minnesotan Martyrs,” a group of young, mostly ethnic Somali American men who joined Al Shabaab and died in Somalia.

    “Them:” For the mix of politics and religion, the third person accusative personal pronoun is a grammatical case, in context with sacrifice, used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb, with a noun that is having something done to it, usually used together. With the nominative case, for example, “they.” With the accusative case, “them.”

    In the “Why them?” moment, of what can come out of sacrifice if not Famine, why was an Evangelical professing with his type of people-fair-of-skin words of prayer which were directed at “them” while leading a prayer over food intended for Somalia? I witnessed people fair of skin, in their dominant role of the day, using evangelical prayer as an Invisible weapon, demonstrating how “the Feed My Starving Children” God was superior to the God to Whom the Muslims prayed? Over “them.” Why was not a Muslim leading the prayer over the food?

    All weekend long, all these people offering their time packing food – in a sacrifice connected to saving these lives in Africa. If you prayed through story, if you sacrificed time and contributed money . . so should anyone need pray further over the food? Maybe in an invisible way that is connected to the Abrahamic religions, while working together in simply the invisible part of time, sacrificing an afternoon, the food already had been prayed over.

  2. paperlessworld on

    Antisemitism is hostility, prejudice, or discrimination directed against Jews.

    The term Jew frequently has been avoided altogether, with the term Hebrew substituted instead. So how, John, does “when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…” relate to a story of the Hebrew Bible? From where did this label ‘Jew’ come into English but from Judah. Why would these Jewish-born men be afraid of the Jews, when they were surrounded since birth, with their very own bloodlines? When they themselves are Jews!

    In all the sacred text establishing stories connected to learning the manner how to pray, together, why are “the Jews” so clearly demonized in this Gospel of John? Note how all the believers who have descended from Isaac are named after Judah. Where comes this exhortation to “identify” these believers to what Judah came to represent to his brothers. So who was Judah but the fourth-born son of Jacob and Leah, after Reuben had been dispossessed of the birth right? And what is the birth right but connected to forgiveness involving pride in being a son of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob? So who deserved the birth right? Judah’s position had been enhanced through the downfall of his older brother, Reuben, as well as in the revenge by Simeon and Levi, Leah’s oldest sons, after the alleged rape of sister Dinah. So John the Evangelist was trying to do likewise?

    Speaking of antisemitism, antisemitic canards, or social stigma, the “fear of” Jews makes its first appearance in writing (in the book of Esther), as a meaning already expanded to include converts to the Jewish religion as well as descendants of Israelites, in the term Yehudi which occurs 74 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible; the plural, Yehudim, appears first in 2 Kings 16:6 in reference to a defeat for the Yehudi army. In 2 Chronicles 32:18, there is reference to the language of the Yehudim. the earliest singular usage of the word Yehudi is found in Jeremiah 34:9. Most European languages have retained the letter “d” in the word for ‘Jew.’

    To dovetail a definition by way of story is to perfectly fit together or to make two ideas fit together, with Judah speaking up against killing Joseph; Judah spots the passing Ishmaelites; on selling Joseph into slavery, who had brought the blood stained coat to Jacob but Judah? Who negotiates with his father regarding Joseph’s demand that Benjamin be brought down to Egypt but Judah; who pleads with Joseph after Joseph secretes the silver cup into Benjamin’s bag?

    Judah, after the conquest of the land of Canaan, with the reconstruction in the settlement of the Judah territory allocated to the tribe, until there comes this splitting of the united Kingdom of Israel. Judah is the name used for the southern kingdom. Judah encompassed the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon, with some of the cities of the Levites. After the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, until David unites the kingdoms. It is the kingdom of Judah which becomes the sole Jewish state with the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel. Judah suddenly faced the non-Israelite world on its own, in need of a defining and motivating text. The historical core of the Hebrew Bible, composed in Jerusalem in the course of the seventh century BCE, is that text.

    Behold the directed hostility, from a directed anger, from still the lack of understanding on Penecost Sunday about how the arc of these stories in the Hebrew Bible, discovered through Abraham and his descendants, led to the thematic purpose of this Messiah, connected to the story about the apple….in the middle of the garden stood the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When all of the characters have been, like I was, born in the middle of things. It is this tree – in the middle – 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.

    So is it hostility or the original Fear of the Lord that was felt after Eve and Adam shared an apple? Wasn’t the Evangelist John, in his narrative of the Mystery, out to dispossess the Jews of their birth right which he had learned about growing up? And he was writing with the perspective of the good guys? And what happens here is no different in what had happened in Sodom. With the mob. As the heart and soul of the majority takes over, in the climate of what happens with mob rule. With or without God.

    In the process, what had the Evangelist John, in his narrative, lost? Or did John the Evangelist write out of a resentment that he knew, like an Irishman in London. These Galileans spoke a distinctive form of Aramaic whose slovenly consonants were the butt of Judean humor. Religiously the opinion in Judah was that Galileans were lax in their observance of proper ritual, exacerbated by the distance of Galilee from the Temple and theological leadership which was focused in Jerusalem. Behold the Invisible divide in the story. And in the original ending of The Gospel of Mark, Mary of Magdalene and the other Mary were to inform the Apostles still left to return to Galilee and wait.

    And so in the major moment of the New Testament, as he stood in their midst, this son of David who had come to unite the kingdoms, killing the giants “… when he had said this, he breathed on THEM and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM.'”

    And for me, the tension, like the resentment in the Right to Life movement, of any female who is able to give birth, has been this innate hostility to their own Creator that their child would one day have. After a mother delivered the baby into the world. the inner tension is over extinction. For the newborn. Who, me?

    In the rhyme of history, after the kingdom of Judah which becomes the sole Jewish state with the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel. Judah suddenly faced the non-Israelite world on its own, in need of a defining and motivating text. The historical core of the Hebrew Bible, composed in Jerusalem in the course of the seventh century BCE, is that text.

    And what was this core of The New Testament? As The Temple is destroyed in 70 AD? What of the birthright, without a Land, suddenly faced the non-Israelite world on its own?

    So how could you hear all of the impersonal references to “they” at Pentecost, and not connect to the Tower of Babel? How could you not, as you listened to your own clergyman babble … with all his missed allusions to the past? Places that stir without stirring. To read out of context. To fail to connect the meaning of place and place names… Spirit and ghosts associated with a gathering space. Like the death of the movie theater, as another space to gather, behold the church closings, in the age of technology. Consequently, behold another
    generation which does not gather, in these Spaces. Behold the Missing. There used to be a ballpark right here. The important Landmark Centers, once outdoors, now indoors.

    In the rhyme of history, there is the danger when the whole world had the same language and the same words. When ‘they’ were migrating from the east, ‘they’ came to a valley in the land of Shinar* and settled there. ‘They’ said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”

    They’ used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then ‘they ‘said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky,* and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

    The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. Then the LORD said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another. So the LORD scattered ‘them’ from there over all the earth, and ‘they’ stopped building the city.

    That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. From there, the LORD scattered ‘them’ over all the earth.” –from The Genesis story just before the account of “Descendants from Shem to Abraham”

  3. paperlessworld on

    In the continual story of My God is better than your God, in the fiscal year 2016, 86.5% of all expenditures of SaveMyChildren went to program services. In comparison, in fiscal year 2015, 94% of the money Catholic Relief Services spent went directly to programs that benefit poor men, women and children overseas. In Somalia, Catholic Relief Service’s emergency response “focuses on the rural areas in south central Somalia and near the Kenyan border to help keep many farmers whose livestock are dead or dying from giving up everything and migrating to overcrowded, strained temporary camps for displaced people.”

    The “Catholic” translation of the Book of Genesis, is embezzled in a way. And how exactly did Jerome become this expert translator in his PLACE of residence, compared to the antiquity of the Hebrew text?

    All shall understand? Go save everything, once given the means– the software, the flash drive – to eavesdrop on everyone. Did you ever find a selfishness in your oh so personal cyberworld, with Followers, with Facebook friends? With how many songs on your iTunes? Are you claiming the same theology in the ‘right to be forgotten,’ in an unusual place called Paris?

    “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled?” What is this reference to? What does this mean? Where is the Roman Catholic scholar comparable to the 11th-century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak. Better known as Rashi, his concern for each and every word of the text he was studying is matched by only a cramped terseness of his style. So how could “the time for Pentecost” be fulfilled?

    The revolution is against the unfairness. You do not begin with this emphasis on The Law, in this Land! In the choices, you begin with showing love and forgiveness. Before addressing the contemplation behind the Law, what of inequality?

    To save everything, once? Given the means – to save in the third person accusative personal pronoun used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb, with a noun that is having something done to it, but usually used together, during the time of Passover? To save everyone! Behold the grammatical case, in context with sacrifice; with the nominative case, for example, “they.” With the accusative case, “them.”

    The blood at the entrance…. real blood. Of your ancestor. Not some fiction. The significance of Shavuot relates to Famine, in that the day marks the all-important wheat harvest for the Land of Israel, in that what had happened out of Passover but a people being saved! The significance of Shavuot – known as the Feast of Weeks in English and as Pentecost in Ancient Greek – commemorates the anniversary of when the Torah was given to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai, by God. It happened one day, though not explicit in Biblical text. When the day came, on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan May–15 June, the double significance changes for a culture, in the association between the giving from, to.

    “..he breathed on THEM and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM.’”

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