Showing posts from 2010

Pick a little, talk a little

Today's Melbourne Age newspaper reported, "Melbourne's Catholic Archdiocese has failed to announce or fully implement changes requested by Victoria Police to the church's sexual abuse inquiry process, more than a year after serious deficiencies were exposed. The failure has sparked fierce criticism from victim groups and lawyers and comes with police recently launching two separate investigations into sexual abuse involving a serving and a former Victorian priest." (More in The Age here )

I'm pretty upset about any abuse to anyone. The Church, and any group in society has to protect its most vulnerable. Wives, children, widows...the Church needs to be on their side long before it's ever on its own protectionist path. Silence about this is not golden.

Ricky Ponting continues to insist the video umpire was wrong not to award Australia the wicket of Kevin Pietersen in the Boxing Day Test incident that prompted his $5400 fine yesterday. The Australian captain…


Photo of Adoration of Magi by Murillo.

The New York Times this morning reports about Iraqi Christians living in terror. Many are fleeing. The official numbers of Christians are down from 1.4 million (in a population of 30 million in country) to 500,000. What prompts this? The siege and bombing of a church in October during a service... and now some mis-information from a church in Egypt with Islamic threats.

The article is in full below:

Last night in Sydney, at our little Anglican parish, the assistant minister shared about a couple contrasts. One between a set of wise men viz other wisdom and the other contrast between two kings, Y'shua and Herod. I liked his sermon and the information.

One of his minor points was that the wise men of the story, the magi (See Matthew chapter 2 in the Bible) were not necessarily wise or royal men at all, but that they were prominent men who took a journey of hope.

Here's what it says, "Now after Jesus was (A)born in Bethlehem of Judea in…

Computers really do tell us what to do

I found this review (below) from a book I read in the 1960s. The book entitled Colossus by DF Jones, featured the first computer [used in WW2] which ends up dominating the world. [More on that computer below] Back in the 1960s people used mail and spreadsheets and designed artwork, all by hand. Mysteriously there was an electronic possibility called the computer, then only known to governments, military and mathematical and engineering university students and faculty. I learned computers at the University of Kansas, and taught computers in the 1970s in a high school outside Kansas City. Then it was Fortran and Cobol and BASIC languages and a bit of batch work that would take hours to formulate and moments to execute. It was all so unknown.

What prompted my recall of this book today was an online article in the New York Times. Found here The article "Wall Street Computers Read the News, and Trade on It" was written today by GRAHAM BOWLEY.

In the article Bowley reports, "…

12 days of Christmas...the back story

12 days of christmas in books
Originally uploaded by bricolagelife From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was the Messiah Y'shua. (Whose birth is the centre of this day)
-Two turtle doves were the Older and Newer Testaments (the Whole Bible). (which testify of the true faith)
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love. (See the chapter in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13.)
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. (calling for our response in faith)
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Older Testament.
-The six geese a-layi…

Clarifying video

Do you know Him?

(Facebook folks: Click on "View original post")

A Social Network Christmas

1 in 7 people on the planet are on Facebook.
Not very many really know the Christmas story.
But put this on, listen carefully, and then you will both understand Facebook and Messiah-mas.

Good work Igniter!

Celebrit-ism and cashing in on Oprah

Walter Cronkite was the newsman who brought me evening news when I was a child. Every weekday at 5:30 pm, after the school day faded into afternoon frivolity, Hebrew classes or quick school studies, I stopped to watch the CBS evening news with this icon of American journalism. We found out about international and national news from this trusted man. Never a whimsical sort, and always full of information that seemed reliable. That was news.

That, however, is not the way things are done anymore. Katie Couric, formerly of the NBC Today show, joined CBS and reads the news nightly. Her perky style and loyal following on the morning show gave CBS executives great hope that she would bring a boost in the ratings to the tired CBS program. That worked for a while, and whatever the numbers are today, this spoke to me those years ago when Katie jumped ship. And now things are even clearer.

I live in Sydney, home for the last 12 days of Oprahmania. I'm weary. It's almost like a hangover fro…

Israeli causes panic in New Zealand

A ferryboat captain called police after spotting a man described as wearing "boxes" with "wires taped to his leg and forehead."

An Israeli tourist visiting New Zealand caused a minor panic on a New Zealand ferry on Sunday after the captain reported to police that a passenger was carrying a "suspicious article," NZTV reported.

The incident happened on Sunday as the Interislander ferry Kaitaki sailed across the Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton. Some media in New Zealand even reported a hostage situation aboard the ferry, even though the passenger was cooperative with police, according to the report.

The man was described as wearing what appeared to be "boxes" with "wires taped" to his body. "One individuals had two boxes attached, one box taped to his leg and one box seemingly taped to his forehead," a transportation services spokesman was quoted as saying in the report.

Jewish websites described the man as having worn his te…

Build bridge, then cross it

Step one: Develop Design
Step two: Gather materials
Step three: Gather helpers
Step four: Build bridge

For many folks, that's enough. They have noted a great gulf and they want to repair the separation. The chasm is a hindrance to relationships and they want that hindrance removed. I say, good for them!

Those who know about my life or things about which I write will know that bridge building in religious terms is often related to people on apparently opposite sides of a particular issue. In my world of Jews for Jesus, it's usually related to those who are labelled Jewish and those who are labelled Christian. Of course, I never know on which side of the proverbial fence people would want me to reside. But that's for another blog.

The Great Divide of Jewish and Christian dialogue is a function of ruined relationships over nearly two millenia of religious conflict and warring. The bloodshed throughout history of one religious mob taking on the religion and the leadership of another…

WikiWhispers and Truth telling

Once again I'm happy to report on reporting and the desire of people to know truth. Of note this week is the chase for "Catch me if you can" Julian Assange. The Sydney Morning Herald this morning reported that the hiding Aussie is not welcome back in his native Australia. He said in a live Q and A session yesterday 'However … the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return impossible but they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people.''

Alas, he still calls Australia 'home' but is not welcome. What's the problem?

Something about 250,000 documents that were classified as private, or top secret were leaked via Assange's website Wikileaks. The WikiLeaks drop has caused enormous diplomatic problems for the US, with Senator Clinton describing it as ''an attack on the world''. Some senior …

Look Who's Coming!

The Big O could be a slur if she were still a large woman, but the larger-than-life appearances of Oprah Winfrey to Australia will leave her 'Big O' all over Sydney beginning in just 13 days. Amazing how much global awareness is centering on this American fixture of Daytime television. The Oprah Winfrey Show will be filmed for 2 days running at the iconic Sydney Opera House. New South Wales premier Kristina Kenneally said, ""We are delighted that The Oprah Winfrey Show has chosen NSW as the location for their ultimate adventure and Sydney's most famous icon will become known by Oprah show fans around the world as the Sydney Oprah House." Oy.

It's not the 300 fans whom Oprah is bringing with her that is causing all the chaos. It's the millions of loyal fans to the show and the generated income for tourism which is making us give up so much of our traffic ease and convenience to welcome the Queen of US Daytime TV to our shores. Macquarie Street will be …

What about Bob: The Life Story of a Jew for Jesus

Now the 12 minute version of my personal story of faith. Hope you enjoy!

A bit of photoshop fun

Originally uploaded by bobmendo What makes Hanukkah so fun is the latkes and the doughnuts and the dreidels and today, a bit of photo humor. I hope you smile as you find the menorah in the stripes and remember that God does miracles.

Even though the zebra has been photoshopped, God really does and did miracles for the Jewish people at this time of year. In about 168 BCE, the Syrian Greeks were having battles with the Ptolemies of Egypt. Their battlefield? What we know today as the land of Israel. A football pitch if you will, with the likes of Antiochus Epiphanes leading the charge.

One day a crew of the Greek king slaughtered a pig in the sacred Temple of the Jewish people in Jerusalem. That made a lot of Jewish people upset and over in Modi'in, a small village about 30 km from Jerusalem.

Here's the rundown from Wikipedia. (Seems like wiki everything is in our news each day): From the Hebrew word for "dedication" or "consecration", Hanukkah m…

Propaganda, Nuclear Energy, and Pop Culture

I enjoy listening to the radio on the way to the office of Jews for Jesus in the mornings. And usually I'm tuned to FM103.2 in Sydney, listening to Aaron and Dan. Today was no exception and their comments about nuclear energy spawned this blog. I had already heard Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson talk about the proposal by some in the ALP to put nuclear energy on their conversational docket in their 2011 caucus.

The Brisbane Courier Mail reports this morning, "Prime Minister [Julia Gillard] is under pressure to put the divisive issue [nuclear energy] on next year's ALP national conference agenda with MPs claiming voters care more about rising power bills than gay marriage."

Several people are cited including WA former frontbencher Mark Bishop, MP Chris Hayes, and Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson who said "those advocating nuclear power had as much right to have the issue debated at the showcase event as those backing changes to gay marriage laws."…

Fair Game-- Telling the Truth

My wife and I saw 'Fair Game" on the weekend. It stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. They play the power couple in Washington DC, Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson. And they play the couple very well. As protagonists they are searingly convincing and we cheer for them from the outset.

One blogger writes "The true story of former CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband retired diplomat Joesph C. Wilson is told in this thriller/melodrama based on Plame's book "Fair Game: My Life As A Spy, My Betrayal By The White House." Here is part of the review from Publishers Weekly, and I quote [...The problem with this book is that it has been heavily redacted by the CIA—and in parts is almost impossible to read.]" If only it were a true story. It is based on a true story, but there are some real problems.

Plame's status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece sa…

Christmas in an American Food Court

I always enjoy the fun of seeing people surprised. And this certainly happened in the US at this food court just a week or so ago. Maybe you will enjoy the video as well.

Beyond that, however, the song itself is one of my favorites. I first sang this in junior high school back in the 1960s at Meadowbrook Junior High School in Prairie Village, Kansas. My parents and I were Orthodox Jews and whenever our choir got to the point in the song (quoting John the Revalator), "The kingdoms of this world have become...the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" I would simply mouth the word "Christ" and not sing it. I felt that it was a bit of an honor to give the man Jesus, and I wasn't willing or ready to go there.

Things changed for me, of course, when I was 19, and the book of the Revelation from which this quote is taken became one of my favorite books of the Bible.

So much was this on me, that in 1977, when Patty and I married, I wanted this song sung during the cerem…

My own story... from 1971!

I hope you will enjoy the telling in just a few minutes of my personal story, how I came to believe in Jesus, although I was an Orthodox Jew. I grew up in Kansas City in the 1950s and 1960s. A peaceful time which became a turbulent time as hippies looked for peace and meaning. Surprises came to my family again and again...and for the fuller story, I'll be adding the longer version so you can see more details. Here it is Bob longer

Thanks for watching, and commenting if you'd like.

Journeys begin with one step

window jog.JPG
Originally uploaded by bobmendo The reality shows tire me. They feature stories of wayward youth and troubled pasts colliding with hopes and aspirations. The tears and the teary music remind us of 'not yet' dreams which just might be fulfilled if we vote for our candidate or vote someone else off the island.

And one of the tired words overused on each of those shows is the word 'journey.' Simply put a journey is a distance to be traveled or the time required for a trip. I would think the word emanates from the French for 'day' like journal or soup du jour. But let's not digress.

The producers of reality shows wear us down with stories, and the hosts and judges weary us further with epic journeys of their own.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” That quote is attributed to Lao Tzu (Chinese taoist Philosopher, founder of Taoism, wrote "Tao Te Ching" (also "The Book of the Way"). 600 BC-531 BCE)

As I walked i…

Every parent's boast

Every parent's boast
Originally uploaded by bobmendo Some people put their treasures into safety deposit boxes with jewels and important documents. Some put their treasures in their museums and offices in a gallery of artworks that span the decades if not centuries. I have three treasures, and they are not mine, in the same sense of ownership.

I love it when my children ring me or email me. I like it when they notice that I was gone for a few days. I like it that they want to hang out for a round of spades, double solitaire or Jeopardy on TV. We have fun doing crossword puzzles and eating out together. We especially like to share holidays together as a family.

When I was in Michigan 10 days ago, I saw this license plate on a car as I was racing into the rental car return area. And although I was a bit stressed by the lack of time I had misgauged, I had to pull out my camera and shoot this. Although the boast was not originally mine, I can appropriate it.

I have great kids.

Funny to c…

Keeping the Faith

Larry and Averie Alverson
Originally uploaded by bobmendo Keeping the faith. The year was 2000. Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, A story about two friends, a priest and a rabbi, who fall in love with the same beauty (Jenna Elfman). Fun movie, funny gag lines, but not the best of movies. Apologies to Stuart Blumberg who wrote the movie.

Is that what I'm picturing here? A minister, a rabbi and a woman? Good try, but nope. This is Pastor Larry Alverson from Trinity Assembly of God church in Flint (Mount Morris) Michigan and his wife Averie, along with me, of course.

What's with "Keeping the Faith?" Back in 1971, I came to faith in Jesus, the Jewish messiah. And wanted both to keep the faith and pass it on. And I was able to pass it on to my Jewish family, to other friends, and work colleagues, and then in 1972 I was privileged to start a congregation in Lawrence, Kansas, along with some other fellows.

From his website, we read about Larry. "Pastor Larry was born into an ar…

Buds in autumn?

Buds in autumn?
Originally uploaded by bobmendo I enjoyed our walk in suburban Detroit on Saturday. The chill was in the air, the sky was high and crystal blue. Autumn leaves abounded in piles in some yards and in disarray in most. Then above me, on the mighty oaks were buds. Thousands and thousands of promises, in the form of buds. I don't know that I ever really thought about them before that.

This from a nature center information document: "Winter branches are not bare! Winter twigs are studded with jewels. The tip of each branch contains the packaged promise of next year's growth. This package is called the bud.

A tree bud consists of next year's leaves, stems, and perhaps flowers, which are folded, twisted, crumpled, pressed together and covered by a waterproof coating of modified leaves called bud scales.

Buds are small. You have to be close enough to touch a tree to notice its buds. Take time to examine a twig in fall or winter. You will be amazed by the diversity o…

The Tragedy of Forced Marriages and Conversion of Christian girls to Islam


Shah Taj, a fourteen-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan, was on her way to school last year when a vehicle occupied by three men pulled up beside her, grabbed her, threw her in the car and sped off. As frightening as this may seem, her ordeal had just begun. She described what happened: “I was standing at the bus stop. Three Muslims came up to me in a car. They were armed with weapons. They pushed me into the car and took me to a hotel. While there, one of them raped me. Afterwards, at gunpoint they took my thumb impression and my signature, placing them on blank papers.”

“I tried to make noise; but they pointed their guns at me and threatened to kill my father and my brother if I make a noise.” Taj was forced to marry a Muslim man and convert to Islam. They had used her signature and thumbprint to create a document saying she had converted to Islam. Like Shah Taj, Christian girls throughout the Islamic world are being abducted…

Take time

Chris and Ywan Atkins are often seen together when the Sydney Veterans Golf Association (a gentelmen's association) welcomes their wives to medley days. This shot from this week at Richmond Golf Course, is one of my favourite couples. Chris and Ywan ride in the cart. Ywan takes photos. She drives Chris around since he has some serious hip and leg trouble. But he's a good golfer. And she's a terrific companion.

I like that they go together. The club has made an exception for them to go together. Everyone on the course is supposed to carry their own clubs. They are usually not allowed on the course if they are not playing. But I really appreciate the club's ruling that Ywan can go with her man.

Marriage is a function of the wedding in which we spend a lot of time, energy, resources and effort, to be sure. Without the wedding there is not marriage. Check.
But marriage is a function of much more than that. It's time together. It's life together. It's experiences t…

Homosexuality... the worst sin?

Bible class
28 October 2010

‘Go and sin no more’

The media is filled with tragic reports of late about gay bashing and gay bullying in the rash of teenage suicides linked with homosexuality.

I read a blog the other day which said just what I would say, only it said it much better. So I will quote from it. Then we will review some biblical texts and see a bit more on the subject.

All the while, homosexuality is not the only sexual sin I will address tonight. The Bible says that any sexual activity outside of marriage is not right. But let’s start with homosexuality and see how much time we can commit to further discussion.

“Some homosexual activist groups lay blame [for the gay bullying] at the feet of conservative Christians who teach that homosexual conduct is wrong, as well as pro-family groups (such as Focus on the Family) which oppose elements of the homosexual political agenda, such as same-sex "marriage."

The Christians and pro-family leaders I know are unanimous in believin…