Showing posts from February, 2013

Billowing clouds

Clouds, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. The turbulence in today's weather is not the substance of this blog, but the beginning of the thoughts that prompt it. I awoke at 4 am to massive rain storms and the heavy rain has continued throughout this Shabbat. We must have received over 3" already of rain and it's not done by a long shot. Up in northern New South Wales, they are talking about receiving over 10" in 2 days. Oy.

But that's part of the cycle of life. Rain comes and rain goes. And the rain brings needed relief to the dams and to the drought-ridden areas which characterized Australia for so long. Bill Bryson titled his book about our country "In a sunburned country" before they renamed it. Drought and sun baking, that's Australia, certainly the bush or outback, to be sure.

Clouds that bring rain are normal. Clouds that bring hope which doesn't produce anything...they are empty promises and frustrating. Imagine if you will, the parched land ou…

Prisoner X

Prisoner X, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. The story is unfolding here in Australia although it was well known to many the last 2+ years. Here from an email from Michael Danby, Melbourne Ports, sending out the information from Andrew Bolt.

Believing the worst of Israel: Carr and The Age
by Andrew Bolt

Knowing a little more three days later, let’s review the Age report three days ago of the death of “Prisoner X”:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to answer questions over allegations that an Australian citizen committed suicide while being held in solitary confinement in the country’s highest-security prison.

Fact check: ”Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to answer question” rather personalises the issue by focussing on a hate figure of the Left, but let’s move on…

The man known as “Prisoner X” was held in conditions of such strict secrecy in Israel’s Ayalon Prison that not even the jail’s staff knew his name or the crime he was alleged to …

Martin Luther, QandA Debate and public opinion

debate, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Last night I watched the ABC broadcast of a forum entitled "Q and A" here in Australia. Featuring the American scientist Lawrence Krauss and the Aussie apologist John Dickson and three other panelists, the issue of science vs religion popped up several times.

Krauss was forthright and brazen. He opposes anything divine being brought into the picture. Dickson was irenic and forthright. He landed the Jesus bomb several times, especially at the end.

The others weighed in, but really the issue revolved around those two. Tony Jones moderated well.

I so agree with Deakin University philosophy lecturer Patrick Stokes that Krauss evidenced the "new denialism." He says in his blog overnight,

"In response to a critical review by philosopher of physics David Albert, Krauss called Albert a “moronic philosopher” and told the Atlantic’s Ross Andersen that philosophers are threatened by science because “science progresses and philosophy …

Victory Cake...and disappointment

Victory Cake, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Yesterday morning I watched a university basketball game on tv. It was live in the US and I am living in Australia, so the timing is always different than back there. I did not have cake as pictured, but my thinking was triggered by this photo from last week's Super Bowl in the US also.

The basketball game featured the US #5 team, the Kansas Jayhawks playing in Norman Oklahoma against the Oklahoma Sooners. At times it was a close contest, but the Jayhawks were never really interested in winning and went down to their third defeat in a row. Ouch. I was wearing a KU t-shirt. Three other KU fans were in the living room of my home with me at the time. Two current students and my wife. Disappointment was the mood of the morning, no matter how close the boys on the court appeared to get. Failure. Sadness.

I watched last weekend in San Francisco when I was at my friend Susan's home. She is a keen 49er fan, and fully expected her side to get …

A man walks into a bar...

A certain psychiatrist had fallen into the habit, each day after work, to stop in the local bar for a drink to relax. Being a man of strange tastes, his favorite drink was a chicory daiquiri. Dick, the bartender, had only this one customer who requested this strange concoction, but because the doctor was a regular, he kept a supply of chicory, in the refrigerator.

The doctor always stopped in at the same time every day, so Dick was able to prepare the drink ahead of time and have it ready and waiting for this regular customer.

One day, as Dick was preparing for the doctors arrival, he discovered he had run out of chicory. He was frantic to find a solution to his problem. Then he noticed a bottle of hickory flavoring on the shelf. In the hopes the doctor would not notice, he prepared the drink and slid it onto the bar just as his customer sat down. After the Doctor took the first sip, he asked, " Is this a Chicory daiquiri Dick?" "No, it's a hickory daiq…


Lisa and me after the prayer for her, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. "You never know who is listening to you." That's what Lisa told me this afternoon in San Francisco. Seems that 25 years ago, in New York City, when I was preaching at our gathering, a place we called "Kehilat Y'shua." I was preaching about the binding of Isaac, what is called in Hebrew "the akedah." In the crowd that night was a Jewish woman from Brooklyn, named Lisa.

Was she a believer? Neither of us remembers, but what is clear is that what she heard she recalls and it impacted her that night.

You never know who is listening to you. So you speak and teach the Truth. You hope that people will hear. You hope that everyone will hear. You hope that anyone will hear. You hope that someone will hear.

Even if it takes 25 years to learn that they did, it's worth preaching and teaching the Truth. That's a great encouragement to me.

By the way, keep listening if you'd like to …

Purim 5 years on

The news from Israel in 2008 during the month when we celebrate Purim was shocking. Ami Ortiz, then a 15 year old, and son of a pair of New Yorkers with whom we used to worship, had opened a package. A bomb exploded leaving him almost lifeless on the floor at his home in the Land. After time, he is now up and about, alive again and a forgiver of the very man convicted this week of other murders.

Here is the story:
Here was a story back in 2001 from Time magazine:

I'm pleased that justice was meted out on American-born Jack Teitel.

I'm sad that justice was meted out on American-born Jack Teitel.

If it doesn't break your heart that someone is going to get penalized for crimes, if you only want pain inflicted on people, if you cannot wish for good for another human being--- something is desperately wrong with you.

God help us all to have such grace in our hearts.

For Jewish people or not?

Up out of the water, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Baptism is not to be a confusing thing. It is a ceremony like we did on Thursday in Balmoral Beach here in Sydney. It is an initiation rite of the believing community which has four reasons to be done. I will show you those in a moment.

But is it for Jewish people? Of course! Back in Bible days it was the last rite for a Gentile in their conversion to being a Jew. So it had to be Jewish. In modern days people go to the mikveh like i used to on Friday afternoon to welcome Queen Sabbath. Women go to cleanse themselves monthly after their period. Before a marriage, the couple will go to the mikveh for cleansing. So the use of the ceremonial cleansing pool for washing is very Jewish.

What makes this unique is that it is a one-off, not-to-be-repeated event. And there are four reasons to do it.

1) Y'shua did it. We read in Matthew chapter 3 verse 16 (Henceforth 3.16) After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and beh…