19 September 2006


Originally uploaded by bobmendo.

How great is our God to give us such beauty, in just one cloud! And what awaits us, in 5767, behind the dark clouds of war and rumours of war? Let us hope there is a ray of sunshine and sense. May men of good will find peace together and men who are endarkened with hatred and prejudice be tempered by justice and God's overwhelming love.

He loves us; he sent Y'shua to die for us to bring us back to relationship with him. What could be brighter than that?

16 September 2006

pam patty 06

pam patty 06
Originally uploaded by bobmendo.

My wife Patty and her good mate Pam in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa this July 2006. Others are riding; they seem to be having a good time resting roadside!

14 September 2006

Shlomi and a European Jewess

Shlomi and a European Jewess
Originally uploaded by bobmendo.

Some European Jewish lady has written me on her comments on my Flickr site saying this photo saddens her. She said that we should respect each other's beliefs and not try to 'lead someone to' another belief. That's always an interesting perspective, but I think a bit naive. If we find a good restaurant and want others to enjoy the food there, it doesn't matter if the person is an owner of another restaurant. What matters is finding good food and sharing it with others.

I believe Jesus is the Jewish messiah and I share that unashamedly with others. And so does Shlomi here from Israel and with us in Melbourne for a few weeks. Isn't God good? Isn't he worth sharing with others? No matter what people think or how they try to dissuade.

I'm respectful of other people and that they believe, but that doesn't mean I 'respect' every religion out there. Some are just dead wrong. And others have wrong in them. Respect for people, yes, absolutely. But agreement with their religion or politics or lifestyle or choices or ... that's silly. Respect is right; agreement is not required.

Truth is what matters and Jesus claimed to be just that.

09 September 2006

Farewells (Irwin, Webcke, Brock)

Farewells (Crikey, Steve Irwin, Peter Brock, Finals Footy)

The world moans at the news of Steve Irwin's passing. He lived with energy and died with energy as a stingray lashed out in a freakish accident ending the 44 year old's tenure as Crocodile Hunter, and father of two, husband of one, and legend to many. The accident took place at the Great Barrier Reef.

Irwin was on location in the area to film television segments, including material for “The Ocean’s Deadliest.” Witnesses on his boat, Croc One, and on a nearby diving vessel said that when he came close to a stingray, its barb pierced his chest and lodged in his heart.

Also Australia farewells Peter Brock, famed Aussie race driver and mentor of Australia's Olympic sides in Sydney and Athens. He also was on the Board of Collingwood Magpies football club.

Brock, 61, the son of a mechanic and a nine-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 during the 1970s and 80s, died instantly in the crash. He was the star attraction of the second Targa West rally, held in bushland near the small community of Gidgegannup, 40km east of Perth.

The accident happened about 10km into the 13km leg of the first stage of the rally, which started in the morning and was due to run all weekend.

In Brisbane, last weekend a massive crowd of 47,193 turned out in warm conditions at Lang Park for the match which was marketed as the fans' chance to say goodbye to veteran prop Shane Webcke. The Brisbane, Queensland and Australian prop announced earlier in the year that this season would be his last.

One of the most popular players at the Broncos, he received a standing ovation as he led the team out before the match. After the match, the big prop told ABC Grandstand he was humbled by the fact that so many fans had turned out for the match. "I'm just absolutely flabbergasted by it," he said.

Tonight at SunCorp stadium Brisbane welcomes the Dragons for Webcke's final final at the home ground.

We farewell those we love and we will not be seeing anymore. We attribute memorials to them and rename highways and trophies and even stadia in their honour. And all that is appropriate. After all this weekend marks the 5th anniversary of 9.11, the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the USA.

Probably the most notable memorial and honoured farewell symbol in the world, the most recognizable icon globally, is the cross. A simple two stick figure of varied proportions, but known worldwide as the execution location of the Jew Jesus.

It was about 2,000 years ago when the humble carpenter from Galilee was put on the cross by Roman soldiers and executed for sedition. It marked the end of a noble career in preaching by the almost-rabbi who preached about the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Then in a twist of history, after nearly 40 hours in the tomb, miraculously he arose from the dead. And appeared to 500 Jewish people over 40 days, who saw him, who ate with him, who received correction and forgiveness from him. It was amazing!

And it's believable.

We farewell the man who gave us the 'crikey' and adventure with snakes and crocs. We farewell Brockie whose family accepted the offer of a State Funeral today. And we farewell Webcke and all those for whom the 2006 season is their last.

And we thank God that Y'shua, Jesus the Messiah, for whom farewells were painful, rose from the dead and offers eternal life to all those who put their trust in Him.

Will you be one of those?

07 September 2006

Rabbis and Bishops Declare

Declaration of rabbis and bishops...they agree!

Today in the UK, rabbis and bishops agreed on some statements of joint affirmation. They published the declaration and the news immediately flew across the news wires and services. What shall we make of this?
The document is in full at the bottom of this commentary.

I believe that the peoples of the world will continue to merge and divide on the basis of good will or bad will. The gathering in Lambeth in the UK was one of good will and that's pleasing to see. Who wants enemies? We'd all rather have friends.

Second, when religions unite and share good will, that's much better than the historic dismissal and/ or torture, certainly by Christian England viz Jewish people. For a detailed yet encyclopedic report of the history of Jewish people in England, see British Jews

Third, I find some serious missing pieces. What they don't say might actually be louder than what they do say. For instance, Anglican Christians in particular, are working to kick against the Israeli government and her actions viz Palestinians. See
Anglicans divest or here from the NY Sun

What do they not say about evangelism? The declaration indicates a respect for Judaism and Christianity which "draws both on our particularity ...and which makes its contribution to the wider dialogue of the religions of the world." Now what is the particular distinctive of Christianity? And what did it contribute? Hospitals? Welfare? Educational institutions?

I believe the distinctive of Christianity is the Saviour, Jesus. Himself a Jew. And His claims to be the Messiah and Redeemer of the world. He as a Jew not only came for Jews, but He came for the world. He came to bring us back to relationship with the Almighty. How would He do that? By forgiving us our sins, known and unknown.

So what shall we make of the agreement then of clergy to cooperate? What does it do to works like Jews for Jesus? The declaration makes no mention of evangelism or proselytizing. The declaration merely puts both religions on equal footing, albeit the Jewish is the earlier version. "Christianity emerges from within Judaism" it says.

The Anglican "Church's Ministry among the Jewish people" (CMJ) expected the archbishop to sign patronage as every archbishop had from the organization's inception in 1809. That is, until Williams' predecessor. Now, due to the 'relationship' that the archbishop and the rabbis share, the evangelistic arm of the church is sidelined, or worse. The silence is deafening.

The representative of Anglican Friends of Israel had a reminder. Simon McIlwaine, the director of AFI, said: "We join with the chief rabbis in reminding the Church of the centrality of Israel, not only to the Jewish faith, but to the Christian faith too. "We also hope that this visit will remind the Church of the dangers of being swept up in an Islamic agenda to bring the entire Holy Land under Muslim control and may this visit strengthen the bond of interfaith fellowship and celebration of the common Biblical, theological and moral heritage we share with the Jewish people," he added.

All that said, may all people of good will find peace together. And may they allow us to share what we believe freely, that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and His love is for all people--including Jews, Muslims--all people.

The full text of the Declaration published today:
1. The Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger of Israel, met in friendship at Lambeth Palace on 5th September 2006/12th of Elul 5766, to commit themselves to a continuing relationship based on mutual trust and respect. They gave thanks to the Creator and Lord of the universe for their meeting. At the end of their meeting they made the following statement:

2. “We meet today as religious leaders, Anglican Christians and Israeli Jews, each part of the wider world community of Christianity and Judaism. We seek a dialogue which draws both on our particularity and also on the universal nature of our respective communities and which makes its contribution to the wider dialogue of the religions of the world in which we share.

3. Our meeting forms a further and hopeful chapter in the long story of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. It is a story in which Christianity emerges from within Judaism, but includes down the centuries all too many times of violence and persecution by Christians of Jews. It also includes significant signs of redemption and hope for a fruitful future together, not least in the United Kingdom where the resettlement of the Jewish communities after three and a half centuries of exile is being celebrated this year. The United Kingdom, encouraged by its Christian community, was involved in the origins of the State of Israel and the Church of England was instrumental in initiating the first Council of Christians and Jews in the dark days of 1942. Since those terrible times of the Holocaust a relationship between our communities, nationally and internationally, has grown from the steady work of encounter, discussion, reflection and reconciliation.

4. This relationship has not been without setbacks and difficulties, but for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion this is a commitment that reflects a continued determination to honour the covenant made by God with Abraham. The outworking of this determination is found in many places: in our welcome for the foundational document ‘Nostra Aetate’ [1] of our sister Roman Catholic Church in 1965 which has happily led to her present relationship of dialogue with representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel; in the recommendations of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998 and the document ‘Sharing One Hope’ [2 & 3]; in the joint declaration by the Presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews on anti-Semitism in 2001 [4]; in the work of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury towards the Alexandria declaration in 2002 [5]; in our strong support for the inauguration of a national Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom; and in the statements made by the Archbishop on those occasions [6]. Our prayer is that the Almighty will redeem our past and direct our future.

5. The dialogue between religions is an essential need of our time and requires that all people of faith bend their best efforts to this common task. In this connection we are sensitive in particular to the importance of continuing to develop our relationships of trust with Islam, nationally in our two countries and internationally. For Christians and Jews, however, the task of building mutual relationship has a different and prior basis than our dialogue with any other religion. Our relationship is unique, not only historically and culturally, but also scripturally, and for both religions, is rooted in the one overarching covenant of God with Abraham to which God remains faithful through all time. It is unique historically through the interaction of the Christian and Jewish communities, especially in Europe down to the Holocaust; and it is unique in the contributions made through the arts, science and humanities to a common culture.

6. Our meeting today builds also on the personal relationships which have grown between us from our previous occasions of personal meeting in Europe and in Israel and from our correspondence. We expect and intend that the friendship and respect that we hold for each other will continue to grow and provide an example to our communities.