I imagine we all have suffered this sometimes-crippling emotion. We anticipate something or long for it, or dream of it, put our time and energy into investing to make it happen, and for whatever reasons, it just doesn't happen. Johnny was supposed to call Sylvia back and he didn't do so. The boss told me he was going to give me a raise, and that never eventuated. Millicent promised her neighbor Maurice she would watch his plants and water and care for them while he was away on holiday, and she forgot. Several of the plants died. As a result, Sylvia, and I and Maurice all experienced disappointment. 
Psychology Today said in 2012 after love and regret it's the 3rd most commonly experienced emotion. According to the old adage, “disappointment is expectation divided by reality.” I visited the PT website to find some significant advice and some well-worn chronology to the emotion and consequences of disappointment. And I was not disappointed.  The trail is wide and the content…

A call to live wholeheartedly before God (a study on Malachi chapter 2)

Given at St Swithun’s Anglican Church Pymble (Sydney) NSW Sunday 13 January 2019
Introduction Shalom! Thank you to Peter Robinson, chairman of Jews for Jesus Australia, who is taking the communion part of the service, to Brian, with whom I had a good meet up on Thursday, and to Roger, your lead pastor, who trusted me enough to take the sermon part of the service, and then went on holiday. We’ve had a great relationship over the years, and I really value our friendship in Messiah. 
Thanks to each of you here in the nave as you have gathered to hear again from God’s Word, the Bible. Last week, you began a series on the Jewish prophet Malachi, as Roger spoke about God’s love and a call for each of us to respond to live in God’s love. This week, my assigned text is chapter 2, and the assigned topic is a call to live wholeheartedly before God. This is a great chapter in the Bible; full of pointed clarification, full of directed admonition. Not so great a chapter if you are living wrong, be…

Taking stock... ah, January

It's that time of year for keeping the shop open while we count everything, every book, every mezuzah, every prayer shawl, every candle... so that we can adjust our records to what is accurate and we can order what we need to re-stock. And all across the country, there are stock-take sales; I guess folks would rather sell items for a discount, than count those same items. And that makes sense to me in a way. It's all about saving time. 
We have 800 products in our little shop and they are diminished as a result of the end-of-year sales, and people who bought goods to give for Hanukkah or Christmas, or just to restock their anointing oils or CD collection. 
Stock. Goods. Inventory. I like taking stock. Not only here at the bookshop but also in life.  Lately, I've been making lists, all kinds of lists: gratitude lists, to-do lists, wish lists... you know, the kind of stuff that New Year's Resolutions are made of. But those aren't quite enough. I'm taking stock of m…

How to ditch the pitch on New Year's Resolutions

by Carolyne Rohrig

It’s that time of year again.
I don’t mean Hanukkah.
Or Christmas.
I’m talking about those pesky New Year’s resolutions.
This year I’m staying clear of them.
I’ll let you make them if you want. I’m not going to go on a diet, buy a gym membership, eat healthier, or be nicer to my brother.
I am staying just the way I am. Plump, self-indulgent, and cranky.
I don’t like failure. Who does? I don’t want to start the New Year in the negative. I want a few weeks of blissful self-illusion. Have you noticed as the year closes how your inbox expands with tips for improved living? How to speak Hebrew in six weeks. How to find the mate of your dreams online. How to improve your relationship with your therapist. How to write a memoir. All it takes is money. And sweat.
No thanks. You’d think everyone would see the hype, but every year there are enough desperate people who believe the gimmicks.
The truth is we all want hope. Every one of us wants to be thinner, healthier, younger, and wealth…

Will the real Christmas please stand up?

I loved this Christmas video today. I got a little dizzy as the camera almost sped around the speaker, but I listened and agreed. And I don't usually like rap-style communication!

Maybe you will like it as well.

Or maybe you have already chosen to disregard the stooper. I hope not. I hope you listen with both ears, and with the ears of your heart.

It can't hurt, you know?

Here's the video from the UK:

Then please, tell me, or better yet, tell someone else about your beliefs about Santa or about the Messiah. Which is the real Christmas? Will the real Christmas please stand up?

Welcome vs Accommodation ...Santa, Sweden, and you!

Welcome in English. Vilkommen in German. Bienvenidos (Spanish), and Baruch Haba (Hebrew)... it all indicates open arms and open doors. I like that. We have made welcome a major part of our activity and purposes here in Sydney at our bookshop. Welcome matters to those who often feel outside, whether being outside is real or imagined. Can 'welcome' go too far?

What about this which happened in Sweden in 2018? The Bishop of Stockholm has proposed a church in her diocese remove all Christian symbols including crucifixes and instead put down markings showing the direction to Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers.

Here's the article.

"The bishop indicated all airports and hospitals already had multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the dockyard church would only bring it up to speed. Regardless, the announcement has aroused protest." (from the article)

The difference, of course, is that a church is not a multi-faith prayer room. It's designed to represent. When…

Born is the King of Israel

"The first noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay... lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter's night that was so deep. Noel, noel...born is the king of Israel."

The Christmas carol is one of the most-often sung at Carols in the Domain. Each chorus ends with the phrase, "Born is the King of Israel."  But wait a minute, you say, Christmas is about Jesus and therefore Christianity. And the King of Israel sounds Jewish. What does Christmas have to do with things Jewish?

Look, Jesus (his name in Hebrew is Yeshua) was a Jewish boy in his youth. He never converted to Christianity. He led a Jewish life in Israel. Born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth up north, and when he hit 30 years old, he began to preach the Kingdom of God in public. How did he do that? As the King of Israel, he could do so.

Jewish people had kings from about 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Saul was the first king of Israel. Then instead of Saul's son,…