14 August 2014

Not for sale: Brooklyn Bridge

I love this picture of the Brooklyn Bridge taken from the Manhattan side. It's a grand icon of New York City. I remember being there when the bridge turned 100 in 1983. I wrote a flyer/ tract that we distributed that day, all about the bridge. And with some significant facts which thankfully are still true.

Since 1883, its granite towers and steel cables have offered a safe and scenic passage to millions of commuters and tourists, trains and bicycles, pushcarts and cars. The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars). At least two dozen people died in the process, including its original designer. Now more than 125 years old, this iconic feature of the New York City skyline still carries roughly 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians every day.

On May 17, 1884, P. T. Barnum led 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that it was stable.

Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. His 32-year-old son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and had helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.

The jokes nowadays are often about someone buying or selling the bridge. "Have I got a bridge for you!"

To read the flyer, click Bridge flyer It's probable that it will download a copy onto your computer. Not bad, really it's not. Trust me. Oh wait, that's often the problem, isn't it? The guy who wants to sell you a bridge...can you trust him?

I guess today I want you to see the photo, consider the amazing feat which was the building of the bridge, and consider how far away you might be from the God who cares about your life and wants you to know Him personally. In fact, God personally built the bridge to get you back into relationship with Him. That's worth a read, isn't it? And maybe a prayer, too?

He's really listening. He cares.

I'm not selling you a bridge I don't own. I'm offering you to get to know the living God. Not a bad deal.

13 August 2014

Saudi king on the Gaza conflict

SAUDI KING PUBLICLY BLAMES HAMAS FOR GAZA WAR

Posted on 2 August 2014 by Thomas Rose

In a stunning five minute statement read on state television late Friday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, leader of Israel’s oldest and most implacable foe, called the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza a “collective massacre” caused by Hamas.

It is just the latest signal in a tectonic shift in Middle East geopolitics that has been largely overlooked by Western media seemingly still committed to building upon its decades-old narrative that Israel remains the united enemy of the Arab world.
In the 75 year history of conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, no state has been more consistently intransigent against the very notion of a sovereign Jewish presence in the region than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, founded by Abdullah’s grandfather, Ibn Saud, in 1923.

Just weeks ago, before Hamas’ current war against Israel, it would have unthinkable to suggest that a Saudi King would even hint that any entity other than Israel bore any responsibilities for actions perceived as harmful to Palestinians.
Abdullah’s statement, read by a news anchor on behalf of the ailing 90-year old Monarch, that the violence in Gaza has led to “various forms” of terrorism, whether from groups, organizations, or states, is seen in the Middle East and Arab states as a flat-out repudiation of Hamas.

Perhaps even more remarkable, while King Abdullah condemned the consequences of a war he termed “devastating” to Palestinians, he issued no demands upon Israel. As has been pointed out numerous times by Breitbart contributors, Saudi Arabia’s now open disavowal of any common cause with Hamas reinforces an emerging and wholly improbable new alliance uniting every Arab state save Qatar together with Israel and against the United States. 

As remarkable as was King Abdullah’s statement by itself, it pales in comparison with the transformation of the relationship between Egypt and Israel. From cold no-belligerents under President Mubarak, to near antagonists under the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi, today Israel and Egypt are tightly cleaved military allies.

In the harshest words ever used by a Saudi King to condemn any Palestinian “resistance” to what is routinely called “Zionist aggression,” King Abdullah’s statement said, “It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists are doing this in the name of religion, killing the people whose killing Allah has forbidden, and mutilating their bodies and feeling proud in publishing this.”

 The king went on to say of Hamas’ war against Israel, “They have distorted the image of Islam with its purity and humanity and smeared it with all sorts of bad qualities by their actions, injustice and crimes.”

06 August 2014

Conversation about Israel: An event

On Wednesday the 13th of August, at our monthly One New Man gathering in Waverley (Sydney), I will lead a discussion about Israel. A real discussion with real people who really have differing views. And we will be civil and listen to one another. And learn. And be surprised. You are invited. If you do not live near Sydney, we hope to live stream this on a video link.

What subjects would you like to include?

We will conclude with prayers for the peace of Jerusalem and the entire region.
Event info:
One New Man
Meeting at Jubilee Church building
30 Victoria Street
Waverley NSW

6 pm to 7:15 pm


05 August 2014

Peace rally

Now this is the kind of view you want to have at an attestation. Placards and panorama. Sweet. Patty and Margaret and I went to the announced location in North Bondi, and then we learned that the rally location had moved to a nearby park in Dover Heights. I'd not been to this park before, but when we arrived, along with the thousands of others, we were met with a tight security and police presence, and staged prayers, singing, speeches and photos. Balloons were sent into the air, and the rally went off without a hitch. 

This was not a protest, although there were tough words spoken about media bias. This was not an angry crowd, although when Hamas was mentioned, it was as if it were Purim and the 's' was an 'n'. (Only Bible people and Jews will understand that understatement.)  The real feeling was one of peace. The only conflicts happened when ultra-Orthodox Jews tried to get secularists to put on tefillin, but otherwise, it was a peaceful gathering. The police estimated 10,000 were there. The organizers were happy with that announcement.

 The people prayed for peace. They released the balloons for peace.


They prayed for soldiers, on both sides.

 This was not an angry crowd. This was a hopeful crowd.
They sang songs of peace.


They hoped for peace.




It was an attestation, not a protest.

There were signs about IDF and about Israel protecting itself. There were the signs of No Hamas and No Tunnels and such, but it was a peaceful crowd.

I was proud to be among them.

All the photos are in the album here Photos of Rally




30 July 2014

Is it a joke or what?

The umbrella body of the Jewish community in Sydney threatened to take action against a major newspaper for publishing a cartoon about Gaza that it claims “racially vilifies” Jews.

Yair Miller, president of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday claiming that the cartoon by Glen Le Lievre in the July 26 edition was in breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

“In our view this is racial vilification, not only in the sense of offending, insulting, humiliating and intimidating Jews as a group, but also in the sense of inciting third parties to hatred of Jews,” Miller wrote.

The cartoon, published alongside a virulently anti-Israel article by columnist Mike Carlton, showed a yarmulke-wearing Jew sitting in an armchair etched with a Star of David, using a remote control to detonate a collection of buildings, presumably in Gaza.

The Anti-Defamation Commission of the B’nai B’rith also lodged a formal protest against the “anti-Semitic” image.

“This is the venomous propaganda of Der Stumer recycled for a modern-day audience,” fumed commission chair Dr. Dvir Abramovich. “The cartoon portrays not just Israelis, but all Jews, as heartless, cold-blooded murderers.”

The furor comes as an Islamic leader called for a ban on Australians who join the Israeli army. Samir Dandan, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, claimed that Australians who fight in Iraq and Syria face prosecution whereas those who fight for Israel do not.

“It’s hard when you say something to one side and they look and say ‘how come we’re not being treated the same’ – it’s not fair,” he told the Australian Associated Press this week.

But Dr. Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, told JTA: “The law is to prevent
 Australians from going to fight for proscribed groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., who are trying to undermine established states or commit terrorist acts.”

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/203018/does-australia-gaza-war-cartoon-vilify-jews/#ixzz38wDMTOND

28 July 2014

Choices

The poem by Robert Frost is one of those I had to memorize in high school, and therefore despised then. Who wants to learn only for the sake of examination? But this one, The Road Less Taken, has been so instructive, and so pivotal in my life, that I read it with measured frequency and today share it with you.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,    

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What stands out to you in first reading? In second reading?

I really like "no step had trodden black." I had to make my own way. I'm not going to follow whatever is out there; I'm responsible for making 'my own way" Frost seems to be saying.

For me today however, the "knowing how way leads on to way" speaks. My choices from last month precipitate today's options. I can try to retreat to that month-ago option, but rarely make it back, as Frost says. What does that tell me? That what I do today will impact tomorrow. What I do this afternoon will actually limit the options I have next week. I am continually met with choices: people, time, resources to spend or not to spend. Events, activities, expenditures, sport, reading, writing, ... what are my choices? What are my options?

In the New American Standard Bible the word 'choice' appears 55 times. The word chosen 112 times. Chose 29 times. Choose 47 times. It's a big issue in Bible terms. For instance in Deut. 33.16 "And with the choice things of the earth and its fullness." This meaning is most often found in the Older Testament and carries the idea of 'best.'  In the Newer Testament the idea of election or option is most clearly seen in Romans 9-11. For instance, in Rom. 11.5 "In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice." Here the Apostle Paul is saying that when God chose the Jewish people (Genesis 12), and again in the time of his life (about 50 AD) when Jewish believers in Jesus like himself are present, that those folks are the remnant and that God chose them as well. Doubly chosen, I suppose. His choice of Abraham in Genesis impacted His choice of Jewish believers in Jesus ( Messianic Jews ) in Paul's day.

The 2nd choice, Jews to become followers of Messiah Yeshua, does not override God's first choice. All Jews are still God's chosen people. Paul says that later in Romans 11. "From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers." (verse 28) God's choice of Abraham continued to require the title 'chosen' on Jewish people in Paul's day, even if they rejected Paul's message of salvation in Yeshua. Because of God's love for Abraham and His choosing him back in about 2,000 BC, and because of God's loyalty to His own promises, Jewish people who reject our message of eternal life in Messiah are still chosen.

Why am I writing this today? Two reasons. One, I love Frost and want to remember that choices today impact tomorrow. And as a result I want to make very good and godly choices today. Second, I'm weary of the supersessionist viewpoints of some who tell me that the Church is God's new chosen people and thus, He is done with His promises to the Jews. If God were so cavalier to opt out of His choices and say, "Never mind" to all He has said before, then on what basis do we trust Him for tomorrow?

Make good choices. Today. Later today. Each one helps determine your life.

26 July 2014

Thoughts on Israel/ Gaza Peace: A conversation

I thought I would put in one compilation things I've written or others have written that may help in the conversation viz Israel and Gaza war 2014. Follow the links, come back here, follow more links, and then comment. I almost always (99% of the time) publish what others comment. I want to hear from you. That's truth. And truth matters. Let's discuss...

You might have to copy and paste some of these URLs. Sorry about that.

Civil tragedy.  21 July 2014  Civil?

Where is real peace?  19 July 2014 Real peace

A video from Dennis Prager, American talk show host. A calm evaluation

After three teens were killed Pain and grief

Israeli ambassador on weapons depots on CNN Weapons depots
Not about Middle East, but Senseless shootings

My Facebook updates:
#pray4jfjisrael Praying from Australia for the healing of a nation and the people of Israel and Gaza. Especially JFJ there. (26 July)

My friend Matt Darvas wrote this piece today. What is your response? http://mattdarvas.com/2014/07/24/israel-vs-palestine/ (25 July)

After FAA went back to normalcy? FAA (25 July)

J Hirsch writes (Tablet Mag) "Israel’s operation in #Gaza is not causing deep-seated prejudices, it is revealing them." (24 July)

Would you board the same airplane (as M Bloomberg)  (23 July)

After FAA cancelled flights to Israel,
Not an easy time for global travel, or for anyone with sanity to get near the Hamas-driven regime in Gaza. (23 July)
I'm all for peace; let's be realistic about the costs involved. (16 July)

 At a time when tensions and bombs are heightening, this is good news indeed. (a repost of Israel ) (11 July)

Bob Mendelsohn shared ‎Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו‎'s status. From the Prime Minister of Israel. (9 July)