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Showing posts from September, 2011

Lshana Tova

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LshanaTovaeCard, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. 5772 begins tonight. May you have a blessed and sweet new year, full of hope and joy. May G-d Himself reveal Himself to each of you in clarity and delight. Shana tovah um'tuka.

Jews, Gentiles, and Israel

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Back in the 1970s I ministered at a place in Lawrence, Kansas called The Mustard Seed. The church grew out of a Bible study group I started in 1972. I was the founding pastor but in 1977 left leadership and eventually left town in 1979. But I've returned every now and then and find it a wonderful place for the Gospel. A woman who was part of our group then was Valerie. And over the decades we have kept up and certainly so in the world of Facebook.

Today she and I wrote because her church in Oklahoma is asking her to bring some teaching about Israel. She's not Jewish, but her love for the Jewish people is clear and her desire for God's glory is sincere.

So Val and I messaged what she might teach and I thought I'd share it with you, if you are in such a circumstance at your church.
Maybe have a three-part series. Each would have plenty of biblical references and modern day examples. 1) God's plan for Israel (to be saved and to teach others about him) and 2) what God…

Hollow, void, and empty space

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I'm often amazed at natural phenomena. The way a bird soars above me near the cliffs of the sea, the erosion of massive rocks by gentle creeks, and such things as this hollowed-out tree. Thanks to SArcher for the photo. She lives in Arkansas in the USA.

What makes me look twice at this is the injured tree looks beautiful, but it's really harmed. That injury is what causes the tree to hollow. For much useful information about trees, especially for those considering buying a home with shade trees, see Tree Damage and get a pencil to take notes.

It's Spring here in Sydney, and throughout Australia, one of everyone's favourite times of the year. And back in the USA where SArcher lives it's almost fall. That's a time when things go into hibernation and slow down ...a lot! Many from Australia are traveling to the US now, to the Northeast where the autumnal colors are increasing and the yellows, reds, and browns all will highlight this slow down.

Eventually, of cours…

Shame...does it even exist?

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Here are some definitions to help, if you need them. These are from this website: Shame "Shame is closely related to, but distinct from guilt. While shame is a failure to meet your own standards of behavior, guilt is a failure to meet other's standards of behavior. Shame tell us “you have not done your best” guilt tell us “you have harmed another, you have not been compassionate, you have ignored the golden rule.” Shame is personal, while guilt is public. Shame reflects on the “human being”, and guilt reflects on the “human doing”.

Many words in our vocabulary describe forms of shame. They often differ in the intensity of the shame they express, but the basic archetype is the same. Here is a partial list, in approximate order from the most mild to the most intense: uncomfortable, uneasy, embarrassment, chagrin, self-blame, feeling guilty, humiliation, dishonored, feeling ridiculous, self-condemnation, self-reproach, mortified and “toxic shame”. Honor is the absence of shame.…

Going through motions

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This is known as 'air guitar.' For those who don't know this is a practice of appearing like one is playing a guitar, even with commensurate sound tracks in the background, but without a real musical instrument.

Today I'm thinking about going through the motions without real connection. The story is told of a new cocky hot-shot trying to make his way in New York City. He takes an office, barely bigger than a broom closet, on the 48th floor of the Empire State Building. He brings in his boxes of important papers and his university degree freshly mounted and framed. He's ready to go. He puts his phone on the desk. He mounts the degree. He affixes his name on the outside of his office door. Then it happens. A knock at his door.

He grabs the phone, and quickly sits behind the shiny desk. He yells, "Come on in." The door knocker enters. The executive 'continues' his conversation on the phone..."Yes, please, like I told you. $200,000 into the sha…

More Max Brenner

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Back in July I wrote about the boycotts on Max Brenner chocolate shops. It's outrageous that this activity continues in a free society. To read my blog then, see it Brenner here

Back in August the Australian ran a piece about this. They wrote, "MAX Brenner says he is a man of peace who hates all forms of violence. So how has this chocolate maker become the target of anti-Israeli protesters in Australia who accuse him of being complicit with the Israeli military?

It's a claim which has outraged many who see the campaign against the 24-store Max Brenner chocolate chain in this country as an ugly echo of the anti-Semitism of 1930s Germany when Jewish businesses were targeted...In 2001, the Max Brenner chain became part of the much larger Strauss Group, Israel's second-largest food and beverage company. But Strauss also provides food and care packages to Israeli soldiers. This, in the eyes of anti-Israeli activists, justifies a boycott.

Ms Bullimore, the co-ordinator of …

Rafael Nadal and others on 9/11

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Rafael Nadal on September 11: "It's a hard day for all the people here in New York, all the people in America. But I think for all the people around the world, too, no? Because this kind of tragedy for everybody is hard to accept, hard to understand. I am not an exception. I felt much pain and I suffered, too."

That's a key for us in Australia to understand. ‎9/11 changed the way we wait in travel, changed the way the West looks at the Arabs of the world... it's massive. It's not only the 2,900 who died in NYC, in DC and in the crash in Pennsylvania. Bali bombings, London trains, Madrid.. the West is different after 9/11.

A couple more things to ponder before I get on to 9/12 (or as we Aussies say 12/9). 2900 people dying is horrible. It was murder. It was not a tragedy. My friend Glenn Harris said, "9-11 wasn't a 'tragedy' and don't call it that. It was a MASSACRE perpetrated with malice aforethought; not by insane madmen, but by devo…

9/11+10

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Dateline 11 September
Where were you 10 years ago?

History buffs and those with good memory will tell you their thinking, their location, their conversations. Others will have a general idea. If you told the story to others at the time, you will likely have a better memory. If you blogged or journaled about your thoughts then, it's even more sure that you recall.

I took this photo of the Twin Towers in about 1983, off the ferry coming back from the Statue of Liberty. And when I think about the loss of those two buildings, and the resultant aftershocks, I still sit with sadness.

The night of 9/11/01 my wife and I were at home in Sydney. We watched the episode of the tv show "West Wing." Wikipedia reports about "18th and Potomac": In a brief conversation with Mrs. Landingham, directly before she goes to collect her new car, the President says he'd like to have a word with her on her return. Later in the show we find out that she was killed in a car crash tha…

Rugby World Cup

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You don't want to miss any of the action as tonight the Rugby World Cup launches in Auckland. The crowds of 50,000 have thronged around the city square and the harbour all day today. The hype is meeting the challenge. The noise is meeting the anticipation. Will the All Blacks get up and finally win, which although they've been the favourite most every tournament, have not done since the very first World Cup back in 1987? That was the year my adopted country Australia lost to France in a stunning upset, and allowed the Kiwis to triumph handily in the final over the French.

Some of you reading this will remember the movie from 2010, Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. That brought the excitement of the every-four-year battle to many in the Americas who didn't know much about it. This photo of the real characters that Freeman and Damon played might strike your memory. It's Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar in 1995. South Africa dominated in those days.

T…

Ned Kelly and the Missing Skull

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Big Ned Kelly, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Australia has many "Big" tourist things, like Merinos, Pineapples and Prawns, but this statue of Ned Kelly caught my eye at the servo named "Neds." Sensible.

I grew up in the US and had never heard of Ned Kelly before I moved here. We had our own with Jesse James and Al Capone and other lesser known bad-guys-we-want-to-know. For those outside of Aus, or at least outside of the awareness, Kelly's skull is the topic of late in science.

Born about 1854 to an Irish convict exiled to Australia, Kelly became a folk hero as a very young man. He took up arms against a corrupt British constabulary, robbed banks and wrote an explosive manifesto. He was shot and arrested in a final shootout in which he wore homemade metal armor (Hence the get up in the photo), and in 1880 he was hanged by the Anglo-Irish establishment he despised.

Legends, especially of anti-heroes, make for great stories, but most parents don't want their c…

Confined space

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Confined...really?, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I'm not sure what the city of Sydney was thinking when a law was passed that requires the labelling of this grate or this sewer cover with the words, "Confined Space." It seemed pretty obvious to me, but I've seen that kind of notification in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel where the 'north' and the 'south' directions are each labelled with dozens of arrows. Not really needed, but some legislator thought it a good idea also.

Confined space. I don't usually like those. I've walked on submarines in Virginia and in New York City and am amazed at the configuation of the bunks. I thought it was bad to sleep on bunk beds in Scotland last month, but for different reasons. There was a snorer in each hostel where I stayed, and that was terribly off-putting. Very noisy.

But the bunks on subs are crammed tighter than a drum. They are seriously confining. The sailors have to sleep in a stack of bunks in very litt…

Old photo: New Father's Day 2011

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Mendelsohns1984.JPG, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. 27 years ago we took a family photo in Kansas City. Things are different today as Mom and Dad both passed away a few years ago, Michael's family dissolved a bit, and we added Anne in 1990, and Booker joined in the fun a couple months ago.

It's Father's Day in Australia today. Over here we don't keep to the same dates as the US and some other countries. Guess it took longer for the Hallmark cards to make their way over.

So I'm reflecting on my dad and the impact he made in my life. Some of the characteristics and ways of my life that are most visibly owing to him. And I'm glad. Honestly I am. And proud to be called a Mendelsohn. And a son of Elic Mendelsohn.

Thanks, Dad, for 53 good years together. May I be a good dad in as many ways as you were. And may your memory continue to be a blessing to many.

Oxygen gathering

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Singing, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. This week I spent two and a half days at the Australian Technology Park. Next door is Channel 7. And the reason I was there had nothing to do with technology or television. It was a conference convened by the Katoomba Christian Convention folks.

The speakers included two major folks: John Piper from the USA and John Lennox from Oxford in the UK. Piper is a pastor and has been for over 30 years. He lives in Minnesota. Lennox is best known for his debates with Richard Dawkins. He challenges the New Atheists.

The program included major speeches, great coffee breaks, time for lunch and dinner with encouragement for mixing with others, and electives that covered heaps of topics including family relations, discussion with other generations, and the Q and A session with Dr Lennox. BTW, he's a professor of mathematics at Oxford University.

For many the highlight was not the teaching, nor the fellowship, although they were both wonderful. The highlight …