Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Truth telling and chicken...a joke for the end of the school term

Image
From my friend Martin Nyberg in the USA: 

My Favorite Animal

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."  She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.

I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

 She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doe…

Getting it right, again

This message was written and preached in 2007 but the message seems to still fill the bill. Even today.

Yom Kippur 5768
21 September 2007
Given at Jews for Jesus
Bondi Junction NSW AUSTRALIA

For those who are with us for the first time tonight, a hearty Shana Tova and a welcome to our public gathering. May your fast be easy tonight and tomorrow. We don’t have many of these gatherings a year, so each one is very special to our staff and to many of our constituency. Each time we gather we take a section or sections of the Bible and see if this Book has anything to say to us, as 21st century people.
Last week we began to consider again this New Year, 5768 and the desire of God to be in relationship with us. That in itself is an awesome point to consider.

Now tonight, we will look at the idea of getting it right…again. Some may grow weary of New Year talks. I never do. For many reasons the Holidays were always a time of good feelings for me. Maybe it was because I enjoyed getting ne…

Israel, homosexuality and freedom of speech

Image
This is from some messianic believers in Israel today.  I'm sure they would welcome some comment and some public outcry. What do you think?

"Dear friends in the Lord,
This is the third time I write a letter to all of you regarding the lesbian law suit against Yad Hashmona, and this time with a heavy heart over our loss in this case.
The judge ruled against us, claiming that our refusal to allow gay marriage in the Yad Hashmona guest-house is against the law. We were fined 80,000 shekels and together with our expenses in this case, its very heavy on us.

This is a quote from the ruling: "“Every person who opens a public business in Israel should know that they must serve the whole public equally, without discrimination... which covers sexual orientation as well. As soon as the defendants opened their doors to all, they cannot close them for those who they believe do not meet the requirements found in the Bible or New Testament."

Needless to say, we do not close our door…

Protest and violence

Image
Eight people were held in police custody after violent clashes between hundreds of police and protesters erupted in Sydney's CBD at Town Hall yesterday afternoon. Six police were injured and 17 others were treated for the effects of capsicum spray when a demonstration against an anti-Islamic video turned violent. Police charges include a range of offenses, including affray, assaulting police, resisting arrest and throwing a missile.
 Police said the group began walking along George Street towards Martin Place, where they attempted to enter the US consulate, located in the MLC Centre.

"They were aggressive and violent at times and came into contact with police."
Waving banners with slogans such as "Behead all those who insult the Prophet", protesters listened as one protester told the crowd: "We will never accept the assault on our prophet."
The rally was the latest in a spate of demonstrations at US embassies and consulates in the Middle East…

Jhan the creative (3rd in a series)

Image
hicksvillesunrise, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. It's been a week since my dear friend Jhan Moskowitz went suddenly into eternity. And the last week I've been pondering so many aspects of his life, and photos of our being together and songs he enjoyed and comments he made... you get it, I've been thinking and grieving. Shiva is a worthwhile and meaningful time for such.

If anyone knew Jhan, they would have known him to be a creative man. He and I used to give ourselves to writing projects. We would choose a topic and try our hand at writing some flyer or pamphlet which would take topics secular and move them to topics sacred. We rarely succeeded in our collaboration, but we gave it a go regularly. And the creative juices flowed.

One day Jhan and our friend Baruch Goldstein and I were doing this creative writing project and Goldstein said, "If this missionary thing doesn't work out, we can always move to Madison Avenue." Advertising was what we were doing, but …

Jhan the thinker

Image
LCJE Question Queue, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Auguste Rodin has an entire museum in Paris dedicated to the many replicas of Le Penseur, The Thinker. If Jews for Jesus creates such a museum in San Francisco or wherever we end up moving our headquarters, I'll hope there is a thoughtful mannequin (a la Madame Tussaud's) that somehow shows Jhan Moskowitz, who died on Tuesday at 63 years of age, as a thinker of modern times.

We don't know how well read he really was, but what we do know is that whatever he read, he was able to consolidate and appreciate. He was able to think and process his thinking in a way so few of us even imagine doing.

Maybe some will remember his malapropisms. He was often known for saying thoughtful comments but then dropping in a wrong word. Dictionary.com says this is "an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound." That said, what I appreciated was that although Jhan ofte…

Appealing (In memory of Jhan Moskowitz)

Image
Frivolity, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. This morning I'm gutted. My friend and colleague Jhan Moskowitz died yesterday and the news is riveting me to the realities of life and death. Jhan was born Alan Moskowitz and during his teenage years changed his first name to something quirky and it stuck. And quirky he ever was. And changing he ever was. He loved change and sought to keep things fresh and alive and renewed as often as he could. No doubt he had some things in mind about changing his situation when the doctors were working on him to the last.

The random fall in the New York City subway yesterday that caused his head to hit the stairs and his death seems so misfortunate. Yet, it's so terminal and so informing.

Death does inform us. Dying makes us ponder what is beyond the grave. Jhan's death will teach many how to live their lives in these days.

This photo was taken a little over two years ago at a memorial service for Moishe Rosen, Jhan's mentor and friend fo…

Empty space

Image
237/ 366 Graves and Mountains, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. One of the themes I see in my photos is 'emptiness.' Living in a suburb gives me time to ponder and space to do so as well. But city living crashes all around and the signage and the noise and the busy-ness continue to take away time to ponder. So the easy thing to say is that it's never empty space or empty time in the city. That's not true, but it's easy to say.

What is clear is that people tend to try to fill up what is lacking. There is an apparent need in humanity to fill space. Consider government access that the local councils or state have set aside for future roads or public parks. As I look at newer suburbs, the roads grab more and more area, the parks less and less.

In Seoul the river Han is the only real green space that I generally see. The crowded nature of city living and the multi-level office/ residence towers abound with advertising and people and noise all day and night. Empty space is a …

Blog collections

Image
This week I attended the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival and thought about the next book I need to write. I write regularly, of course, on the Blog, and in emails, and in Flickr, and articles for many sources. But writing a book, that's another story. I wrote my own testimony of faith into the booklet "Who ever heard of a Jewish missionary?" It was published in 1999 and I sell heaps of them annually.

Compiling a book from former writings seems easy, but also sounds disjointed and thus quickly uncomfortable for the reader. So, I'm pondering how to compile blog collections into an easy format. Perhaps if someone looked back through the years of blogging here, they would find a few themes which I regularly re-visit.  Then those would become chapters in this collection. But that sounds like a lot of work for someone.

I'm ever able to be inspired to put thoughts to paper. But what would a reader read, and keep reading, and what would make the reader ask for more?

Then…

Austen Tayshus and me

Image
Austen Tayshus and me, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. [At Sydney Jewish Writers Festival] Another comedian and I shared a moment yesterday. During his comedy act, Austen (probably not his real name), noticed my name tag, called me out and told me, "Mendelssohn converted." I was sure he meant Felix, the classical Romantic musician and composer. Still, what did Austen know?

The conversation from the stage continued, "Bob? What kind of Jewish name is Bob?" Of course, I didn't comment that Austen was not very Jewish, nor were half the Jewish names Jewish at the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival at which we were in Kensington.

Still, I was fascinated by his conversion comment to me. It was a bit incorrect, as neither Felix nor I ever left our Jewish roots. But both did and do believe in Jesus. We'll have to work on AT.

His Catholic friend Steve took the photo on my camera. Neither AT nor I are photoshopped in, but it looks like we both were.

Choose one or the other

Image
Wesley Mission, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I'm writing at 7 in the morning on a Sunday in Sydney. It's sunny outside and the winter weather has been mild to say the least in the last 3 days. I'm going to play tennis with my daughter when she arises, and then will be off to church as is my custom, the last 3+ decades. What will you do? What will most Sydneysiders do this morning?

This thought comes from this photo taken last Monday in Perth, out west. I had preached 6 times in the 48 hours from Friday night. Not at the Wesley (pictured), but my hotel was just next door to the Wesley. I passed it often in the weekend. I liked both the building and the starkness of it. What I mean by the building's starkness is that it was free-standing. Nothing blocked the site. Back when it was built, I imagined that it stood that much more alone, but the city developers have allowed it to be quite visible. Good for them, eh?

Historically in Europe and probably when Australia was young…

Emptiness

Image
Emptiness, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I was going to take a photo of a glass which was half full. But this lone tree seemed that much more stark, much leaner, much more empty.

In fact, no one would possibly confuse this with a half-full type of tree. This is an empty tree. Not even a possum nest or the beginnings of any (other) life form is visible. It's an empty tree.

On this golf course, Joondalup Golf Club and Resort, outside Perth, Western Australia, where so many beautiful bushes and flowers and trees abound, you have to wonder why the course designers and the course managers don't remove such an eye-sore.

But perhaps they don't consider this tree an eye-sore. Even as many people evaluate the 'not-yet' nature of so many others as yet undeveloped folks. I'm glad someone looked at me, in the beginning of my faith journey and didn't say, 'cut it down. It's no good." People saw good and goodness in me, and decided to be patient. They saw th…

Reality bites

Image
Master of Camden Lakeside, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. My friend, Ian Baker, played one of those rounds of golf about which we all dream and then with one blast of the alarm clock find that we have been dreaming. But last week at Camden Lakeside in Sydney's southwest, he had a spotless round of 18 holes ending with 50 stableford points. Usually a very good round would be a total of 36 points. But that day, he bettered par by more than 14 points, qualifying him for this award plaque that our Captain Rod Bailie made for him. Well done, mate!

Then he was presented with the award and some serious cheering at the Monash Golf Club where we played yesterday. 145 other guys played yesterday also, and many were there when Ian received his well-deserved praises.

One of the axioms by which I live on the links is "Golf has a way of reminding you who you are not." To be fair, this was an axiom I invented but which is duly informed by one of those Bible quotes, "Pride comes befor…

Is this necessary?

Image
222/366 Was there a doubt?, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. You've heard the phrase, "Stating the obvious" and this should be the poster for it. This shot, taken in Subiaco on Sunday startled me. Its simplicity was one thing, but it's waste was quite another. I wondered what the 'author' was thinking when he stenciled the letters onto the top layer of bricks. Maybe you have an idea?

But stating the obvious is something I hear often in radio and television interviews. Often it's the result of bad questions tossed up by the interviewers. They ask the pop star, "Are you proud of your latest recording?" What's the singer to say? They state the obvious, and someone thinks that's good television.

Or the opposition in a political debate is asked, "Do you believe that the government idea for (fill in the blank) is good for the country?" This is asked AFTER the opposition has made it clear that the exact opposite is true and useful and hel…

Jews, still Jews, in Messiah

Image
A dear Christian friend wrote me today, "How much time can a messianic Jew stay on the other side of the cross, when so much is shadow and all fulfilled in Jesus? a sincere question, Bob"

What is striking about this, is the 'other side' comment. I wrote some years ago about a diorama I saw in Tel Aviv, entitled "Bearing the Cross" which in visual actually asked the same question. (Here it is:  Bearing )

It's a worthy question. The obvious retort by a Messianic Jew is ...what makes you think that fulfillment means dismissal? That is, why is Passover to be relegated to 'back then' when Y'shua practiced it? When Paul said, "Christ our Passover" ... and not "Christ our Easter" or "Christ our Anzac..." In other words, the conversation in the 1st century would have been "Gentiles for Jesus? Crazy!" and now we are knocking around the idea of Jews not being Jews any more. Strange, eh? He replied, &quo…

BDS, boycott Israel. Really?

A few years ago, Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khomenei urged the Muslim World to boycott anything and everything that originates with the Jewish people.

In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, out of the kindness of his heart, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

"Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, Because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner.

"A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.

Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.

If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must no…

Basketball coaching

Image
I watched the men's final game at the Olympics late last night. It was on from about 11 pm until the Americans came through with 7 to spare for Gold medal honors. It was anyone's game throughout the contest, as 11 points was the maximum spread. And that not until the 4th quarter.

All through the game I kept shouting at the television, for Coach Krzyzewski to hear, "Get those boys moving!" I saw so much standing around, it looked like a Grade 8 Junior High School dance with boys on one side, staring at the other side of the hall.

To be fair, the "Dream Team" didn't really need much coaching. They are superstars, each of them, from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant to James Harden and Anthony Davis, who played the last minute or so. But what I noticed was that when they did play as a team, and moved a bit, even without the ball, they were unstoppable. Most of the game, they stood flatfooted, and it was a one-on-one game of 3 pointers or driving layups for…

If you see something, say something

Image
Anyone who lives in New York City and has ridden a bus or train in the last 10 years has heard this announcement. They have read it on signs and advertisements. If you see something, say something. It makes sense. It's about neighbours and neighbourhoods.

This may be why Voula Papachristou has been expelled from the Greek Olympic Team for a racist twitter comment, according to the Associated Press. The website Keep Talking Greece translated the offensive tweet by Papachristou (@papaxristoutj): “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!”

Papachristou tweeted an apology in English on Wednesday, but it was too late. She's gone.

So is the statue of Penn State icon Joe Paterno. Why? He didn't say anything. He had done no crime in terms of pedophilia, but he had turned a blind eye to the activities of his offsider. Joe Paterno was recently found guilty of concealing information. Wow, guilty for not saying something.

Thi…

What is a "new" testament?

From the Jerusalem Post today: "Many MKs opened their mailboxes on Monday morning and were appalled to find a New Testament inside, sent to them by a messianic organization. The Bible Society in Israel, a messianic Judaism institution for research, publication and dissemination of holy books, sent a “Book of Testaments,” which combines the Tanach and New Testament in one, leather-bound volume, published with references in Hebrew for the first time."

David Stern translated the New Testament into English in his Jewish New Testament a couple decades ago and still is the most popular of the Jewish views of the "New Testament" that is out there. It's English, though and the Hebrew version was sent to the parliamentary members.

Some Knesset members were not happy, but it's freedom of speech which allows such, isn't it?

Again from the Post: "MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) sent a letter of complaint to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, writing that “it cannot …

Did Jesus exist?

by Craig S. Keener
Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary, and author

Jesus Existed
Contrary to some circles on the Internet, very few scholars doubt that Jesus existed, preached and led a movement. Scholars' confidence has nothing to do with theology but much to do with historiographic common sense. What movement would make up a recent leader, executed by a Roman governor for treason, and then declare, "We're his followers"? If they wanted to commit suicide, there were simpler ways to do it. One popular objection is that only Christians wrote anything about Jesus. This objection is neither entirely true nor does it reckon with the nature of ancient sources. It usually comes from people who have not worked much with ancient history. Only a small proportion of information from antiquity survives, yet it is often sufficient.

We recognize that most people write only about what they care about. The only substantive early works about Socrates derive from his followe…
Image
On national holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July, patriotic Americans like to fly the flag. If my Manhattan apartment had a yard instead of a fire escape, I too would participate in this custom. (This article was originally written in June 1985)

Our flag—any flag—is more than just a brightly colored piece of cloth. It represents someone or something, and demands a choice from those who see it: whether they will give or withhold their allegiance from what that flag represents.

Although I love my country, the star-spangled banner is not the only flag I choose to fly. As a believer in Y'shua, I am also under his banner. As a staff evangelist here in New York I'm part of a team that is always flying Y'shua's banner before the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.

During Summer Witnessing Campaign many must be curious about us Jews for Jesus as they see us in our T-shirts of witness, distributing gospel literature and proclaiming our street testimon…
Image
Messianic Jewish Community (Part 2 in a series)

In this continuing series about the development of the messianic communities, I want to consider two problems (there are many) we have in such development. One of the preventions to community is the stain of bad relationships. A believer in the US wrote me on Facebook yesterday, “It seems here in (city) to be too many communities starting their own small groups, and no one wanting to reach out to the other groups because they have been offended or taken a grudge about someone or something. I hope yours is successful!” We might call these problems Offended Brothers and New Works. We’ll look at the first one today and the second tomorrow.

Offended Brothers
The Bible says, “a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong (fortified) city.” (Prov 18.19). And the verse continues, “And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” A castle is a fortress, usually high on a hill, and the bars make the castle that much more impenetrable. So …