Archive for the ‘Eid-al-Fitr’ Category

The Initial Public Offering of Ishmael

 

Today is Eid al-Adha, an Arabic phrase for Feast of the Sacrifice. In all of human history, no writer ever tells a story except with a purpose. With a theme. In order to go deeper, back to the time when we were one. Before the split. To the root. This was a perspective of love. Deepest love.The Akedah

Anyone born after 1994 came to learn the story as a child.  About September 11th, like some kind of a new Halloween.  Perhaps as a consequence of what happened that day, the probability is greater than not for those born after 1980, somewhere in the Western World, that you are now Unaffiliated. Somebody perhaps who is living a provisional, disrupted life. Un-spoused. Uncovered, not incidentally, by your life as a freelancer. Even with the Affordable Health Act [which is costing me $800 per month as an unmarried man, with a $6000 deductible.]

For a freelancer, what defines life ? Race. Color. Creed. Gender. Or HOME?  Attached or unattached, there is the physics of sacrifice, after Abram’s first sacrifice of home.  So Abram had discovered the Spirit of a land, but only after he gave up the place called home. After he separated himself from home. And as a consequence, Abraham / Ibriham is the Christopher Columbus of the new world involving Church-from-State sacrifice.  Now depending on what book you subscribe to,with or without an acceleration of an importance, the finality of this discovery for all time was made as he tried to sacrifice his first born son. The Judeo-Christian world refers to the event as The Akedah. The Muslim world reads of the same story on Eid al-Adha. In either case, this is the story of the beginning of relationship. Humans with One God, in The Covenant based relationship. With real people.


Sacrifice is a violent act. What happens when the sacrificial act is not accepted by the community?  To begin with, at the time, by the mother of Ibriham’s son?  What cold shoulder of suspicion did Hagar give to both Abraham / Ibraham and Sarah after hearing of what had happened to Ishmael?  After Hagar had sacrifice her own purity out of her love for this couple?

What was Abraham / Ibraham doing with Hagar’s living loving visible innocence named Ishmael, at a time that Abraham / Ibraham had his other son named Isaac? Whereas at a point in the story where Hagar never had ‘lost my husband’, in a sense Ishmael, after he was set free, had lost his father? How old in the morning light of Eid al-Adha had Ishmael been, with the magnitude of human sacrifice, in these splits, with all of the tensions which start immediately after a split. Between family? In the hidden practice of EXILE. Forever. From your clan.

The hidden archives. What defines life but a mother? So when did the Western world discover from the hidden archives about the whereabouts of Ishmael? As if you too are entitled to have this protected status, carrying a name, as a descendant of the Prophet Abraham? Yes, over time a prophet becomes unwanted, like the presence of Ishmael is 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.  

By sacrificing Ishmael and setting his first born son free, Abraham/Ibraham seems to have taken measure to make certain that his two sons would not compete against each other to the detriment of the world. And this was the real invisible sacrifice never quite celebrated on the Feast of the Sacrifice.

Formation: You in the story either with or without a religious tradition somehow acquired through Abraham. The Divine Comedy ends with the character, in The Dénouement, as the next generation takes over, better off than in the beginning. Like in the story of Noah, deleting the First Creation, before taking it back.  Ishmael, better off than at the start of the story.  In word and deed, set free …. only in a place that he does not know. And what of the art of language, without any stories of your own – a freelancer – without any body, except Adam’s story about the Tree of Knowledge?

Without a known language of their own, babies cry? Ishmael, but with a language of his own. A language to measure my God against your God, over who is best? When a people first share a language, before they can express what they sense about their God. The art of language involves immersion in spelling, grammar, vocabulary. The PLACE that specializes upon teaching to pass on the art of language…. for a certain consistency in a culture, with the young and the old. The greatness of Islam, of Christianity and of Judaism – that not many imans ever reveal these days – is when the same father taught you? Like Abraham once taught his two sons. Ishmael, with the mother with the language of a strange land …. of Egypt. How would Sarah ever intimately communicate with Ishmael? Had she recognized the problem, long before the end of weaning her own son Isaac? What is most true in the story is the imposition of the God of Abraham on Ishmael … in the way of circumcision. So why wouldn’t Abraham do the same thing in the way of sacrifice with his first born son that the Judeo-Christian world hears was also done with Sarah’s first born son. In the chronology of Sacrifice, in gratitude which leads to a need for Mercy/Forgiveness before Atonement. How? How to atone? Reparations? Deeds? To do good. To balance the evil in the world that I have a share in, from my own inheritance.

To pray through stories alone does not feel like prayer. Behold the part of language! How can a human be spiritual, except with a language that is their own? In evolution of …..why the illiterate suffer in a culture based upon the law, not learning the art of language, if the people do not know the depth of language. How would you trust the law if you did not know the language or the stories? In the HERE, after Abraham is gone? To pray without sacrifice does not feel like prayer. And in the story of both Eid al-Adha as well as The Akedah, both sons of Abraham live. For all the sons of Abraham, sharing something in common – in prayer with sacrifice – does feel like a cause for celebration. In The Dénouement, young men who went away and came back.

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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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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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In Cairo: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Visitations. The wake. What was left in a wake, after death?

Homelands. The feelings which might develop seeing a loved one die, alone.

If Abraham wasn’t strange enough, planning to kill Sarah’s son, there was the strangeness of Isaac.

In all of the years that Jacob was away, did you ever notice that Isaac never once went to visit him? And if it had been simply a matter of anger at the stolen birthright, there is never mention that Isaac had ever met his in-laws. And as a consequence, if that had been me, I think I would have questioned exactly whether my husband or whether my father loved me. One of the basic tenets of love is the witnessed pursuit. And in the stories about Isaac, there was a missing pursuit about everything.

Isaac was a badly damaged man, after what had happened to him when Abraham took the knife in the name of God to him in that moment on Mount Moriah. His growth in the way of feelings which might develop out of what had happened on Mount Moriah seemed stunted. And as the sons of Isaac surely must have come to appreciate, it seemed perfectly reasonable for any man to lose trust not only in his father Abraham, but in the God of Abraham. So this guy Isaac suffered one of the first cases of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome ever recorded in history.

Invisible. Like you never even existed at all. The feelings which might develop if you came to wonder if your father ever loved you, as if you never even existed at all. Battle fatigue. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The hostility which came to someone forced to go to war, forced to annihilate another tribe. And afterwards, note the symptoms, reflected in a form of missing pursuit like Isaac showed in the search for a wife. And were there further symptoms reflected in a form of missing pursuit of the God of Abraham? Symptoms that were felt by anyone living in a home or a homeland with someone with Battle Fatigue or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

“You don’t care who I am.” Invisible. The feelings which might develop from the plumbing of the land, with so much Battle Fatigue Where the dead are buried like the unknown water and sewer pipes in the modern world.

Banked time: What went on here in this place in history? And as in all of these stories, to sense a lingering hostility as well as the inherited things which had gone before you. When you inherited so much in all of human history, with so many people who felt that they could annihilate other tribes.

Time quantified, neatly stacked away, wrote Louise Erdrich, banked in both history or on premises called institutions. Left in a wake, after death. Feeling loved? Was there a sense of missing love in these stories between the men – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob?

Concerning the mystery of the visitations, had Jacob also sustained a form of missing pursuit, by not ever going home? Was he bothered by having to live in a totally different environment from the one he was born into? With the feelings which might develop in such an environment. In an environment without much feeling except fear and hoodwinking.

Living in the wake. Of fear. Of mistrust. Of competition between brothers and sisters. With the pride over all of this craziness of religion — the “unbelievable most ticklish but loving form of destruction” as people quit believing in each other. To take a quote from Louise Erdrich. Chosen people who felt that they could annihilate one another. Before they considered the outside tribes.

Born into the holy land. Born into a time of annihilation, with fear of ending up with nothing in times of darkness, of war, of rebellion, of drought, of another war. What was it like waking up today in Cairo, in an atmosphere of another annihilation? There were so many badly damaged men living in the environment of war and rebellion, who wanted to extend the damage to another generation. And then there were the refugees, like the hundreds of thousand Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians, Kurds, all living life with their wives, as Jacob lived his life with his wives. Only now, if you note a certain irony, it was the hundreds of thousand invisible exiles like Jacob. With their dream about a Promise Land.

What was left in a wake, after death? Did you feel the same kind of invisible battle that the Muslim Brotherhood had, with their own brothers, so much like the same recorded struggle in the Hebrew Bible?

If Ibraham wasn’t strange enough, planning to kill Hagar’s son, there was the strangeness of Ishmael, per the reading on Eid-al-Fitr. Ramadan was over seven days ago. Muslims are recommended to use different routes to and from the prayer grounds on the day the end of Ramadan was celebrated — based upon the story read that day, and not for their own personal safety. When the young, when it came to the disoriented understanding of some kind of true sacrifice, an imposed sacrifice, were never going to exactly do as the elders were doing.

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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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I’d Like To Leave a Wake-Up Call For the Morning, for Iran….To Free the Hikers

Tree of Life stories.

Nomads and their survival in the inhospitable desert, with air as hard to breathe as the sand.

When you inherit the desert and its emptiness. Or, if you were in your 53rd week of detainment, involuntarily, amidst the emptiness. In Iran. Without any bubble bath.

Heredity and environment for the descendants of nomads. And so in the vastness of the desert comes the nomads. The Wasteland, T. S. Elliott called it. Devoid of inhabitants. Particularly nomads who had taken barren wives. The stories of barren women of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, dealing with their anguished loneliness. The conflict of the interior and the exterior worlds, amidst a fragile economic recovery. Awakening in that darkest part of a desert night with fears which bring me to the state of being desolate. Desolation, with fears about my own future; with fear of anguished loneliness living without the ones whom I love; with fear something important is due and is unfinished; and the one big surrounding fear of the human condition without borders–the fear in the silence and emptiness of a barren land of not having done enough, of being incomplete.

Formed in God’s image. The God of these nomads whose environment, in all of the time before the creation of the universe, was nothing but vast emptiness. His vast emptiness. And so out from the vastness of the desert comes stories of identity and purpose.

Barren women and the unanswered question of the timing. And all of the expectation for suffering. Looking for evidence. That God is love. In birth. In death. In desert desolation, devoid of inhabitants. With an emptiness so vast, the desert and its barrenness becomes you. Nomads and their fears in the barren desert, where the desolate imagination is given body. Anguished nomads at night, in the frigid and inhospitable desert. In the prison of desert desolation, where the only thing left for the nomad is to meet God, and find herself. Or himself. “Amid the anguished loneliness,” writes an author named Saldaña.

The choices of Chosen People. The stories about the children of prophets. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Or on issues of hiking.

The compelling stories of life’s ongoing intersection with the Tree of Life, and coming to know a Living God. Filling the emptiness. Coming to know God, in the desert. Where the desolate imagination in anguished loneliness is given body. Discovering that the only things left to meet here in isolation and silence are the self and God.

Trying to fill the emptiness. In the Wasteland. Looking for evidence. Devoid of inhabitants. With all of the missing visible goodness. And so little evidence of life.

Desert desolation. With an emptiness so vast, the desert becomes a prison. To nomads.

Belief in a lover. Belief in fidelity. In any land. Promises fulfilled. Belonging. To each other. Tree of Life stories about a Promised Land. With ritual and ways of life based upon belonging to one place and to one God. In any nation. To somehow find yourself in the Tree of Life story. With knowledge of God, some knowledge of God, in those Tree of Life stories about nomads and their barren wives. In the Book of Genesis. Overcoming their own barrenness. with some knowledge of God. To come somehow to know God, in both the interior and the exterior worlds, from the Tree of Life stories in the desert, devoid of life, in the Book of Genesis.

Knowledge and belief. In any land. Even when you were only 28-years old. Belief in the Supreme Leader’s Advisor for International Affairs, because you always ordered the supreme pizza when you were at home. Yeah, but you still were not home. But in your 53rd week of detainment. In an anti-semitic republic. But you were not Jewish, and you just dreamed of getting home for a pizza. And the Islamic provisional Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, seemed about as holy as Father Guido Sarducci, but not as funny. And you hoped someone still was at the front desk of this prison. With the keys. Because this place had long ago run out of bubble bath.

Free the hikers. One journalist who had moved to Damascus, Syria to convey personal stories which promoted justice and empathy for those of cultures different from his own, to improve relations with the Muslim world. One woman enrolled at the University of Damascus learning Arabic, writing articles which focused on the plight of women affected by the Iraqi war and upheaval in the region, as well as teaching Iraqi refugees English. One teaching fellow, part of a group of faculty and students with the International Honors Program in Boston, officially traveling to Asian and African countries.

POST SCRIPT:
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Iranian Labor News Agency on September 10, 2010, quoted Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, as saying the “legal procedure” to secure the release of 32-year-old Sarah Shourd as a gesture of goodwill to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at Eid-al-Fitr, was not yet complete and she would not
be released Saturday morning at what had been the Hilton Hotel in north Tehran that is now used as a protocol office by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The move suggests a kind of factional infighting within the political establishment under the jurisdiction of President Ahmadinejad that bedevils the Islamic Republic, with a judiciary under the control of Sadegh Larijani, whose brother Ali is speaker of parliament, opposing Ahmadinejad’s populist economic policies and locked in a political war with Ahmadinejad. Officials of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Foreign Ministry had earlier announced the planned release of Ms. Shourd. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast had said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervened to secure Shourd’s release because of the “special viewpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the dignity of women.” And currently, the internal struggle within Iran politically was over the volatile nuclear status of women in their society. When it might seem safe to conclude the Larijani family is not allied with the cause of the western concept of the rights of women, there is the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. In other news on September 8, 2010, an Iranian foreign ministry official confirmed that the sentence of stoning against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was suspended, though she still faced death by hanging. Reporters in Iran have been banned from reporting on the case. The conflict between performance versus ideology. In 2008, draft legislation was submitted by Iran’s judiciary to parliament for approval to scrap the punishment of stoning. In July 2010, the Iranian judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad was quoted as saying “Stoning has been dropped from the penal code for a long time, and in the Islamic republic.” Following the election of President Ahmadinejad, reports were of judges handing down stoning sentences in 2006 and 2007, and 2010. The Iranian judiciary has indicated that stoning will no longer be practiced in Iran. In Iran, the ancient form of execution punishment stoning did not exist until 1983, when the contemporary Islamic Penal Code was ratified.


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That Protestant Work Ethic

 

Money.  God.  Max Weber.  Money and social policy.  Politics.  Religion.  Social justice. 

 

Sociology:  the study of social policy as it relates to guidelines for  creating, maintaining, or changing the living conditions which are conducive to human welfare in the areas of education, labor,  human services,  inequality, criminal justice, and health care.

 

For the modern-day American,” to hustle and scuffle for a deal is something he cannot even imagine,” wrote Ben Stein about his son. “I wish I could teach that work ethic to those close to me.  I very much fear that my son, more up-to-date than I am in almost every way, ….”   

 

Ben Stein wrote in the New York Times,  “I wish I could teach that money is a scarce good, worth fighting for and protecting.”  Nations go to war over money?  Money and the work ethic?  Apples and oranges?  What about all those nuns who worked hard teaching me.  When tuition was $35 a year.  Now it was over $1,000 in a parochial grad school.  Or $2,000.  Had those nuns been missing a work ethic? 

 

The concepts of money and worth ethic were not tied together in every nation on earth.  In a few places, there is a need for an understanding about money.  Max Weber wrote The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  The historical materialism written about by Karl Marx held that all human institutions –including religion – were based on economic foundations.  Turning Marx’s theory on its head, The Protestant Ethic implied that a religious movement fostered capitalism, not the other way around.  Attempting to deepen the understanding of the cultural origins of capitalism,  Weber thesis was based on the idea the Protestant ethic was a force behind an unplanned and uncoordinated mass action which influenced the development of capitalism.  Religious devotion usually accompanied a rejection of worldly affairs, including the pursuit of wealth and possessions.  Why was that not the case with Protestantism?  To answer the question, wanting to explain the characteristics of Western civilization, Max Weber became the first sociologist.  He wrote:

 

“Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.”

 

Called a major scholar of religion, I wonder what his position was on birth control?  But money seemed to be a sign of holiness, in Weber’s view.

 

“It is particularly advantageous in technical occupations for workers to be extremely devoted to their craft. To view the craft as an end in itself, or as a ‘calling’ would serve this need well.  This attitude is well-noted in certain classes which have endured religious education,” Weber wrote.

 

Weber recognized the diverse aspects of social authority, including charismatic authority, traditional authority and legitimate authority.  His three main themes were the effect of religious ideas on economic activities, the relation between social stratification and religious ideals, and the characteristics which distinguished Western civilization.  The fact that he had lived through World War I, the German Revolution from November 1918 through August 1919, with the end of a monarchy followed by the institution of the Weimar Republic, might have affected his thinking.  His work on bureaucracies noted that institutions were based on legal (legitimate) authority, and he saw bureaucracies as mitigating the effects of “personalism” in organizations.

 

So if religious movement fostered capitalism, what happened in a secular society, Max?  And what happened in the world to religion when money becomes a scarce good?  When traditional Protestant churches were suffering a drought.  What would the affect be on American society?  That was the social question.  What would the affect be on, what the United States Jaycees called, “economic justice,” but really meant economic freedom? And what would the affect be on social justice?