Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feds Couldn't Even Manage the Ranch?

The following is from a little local newspaper in Westfield, Indiana. It is not available online, so I am transcribing it here.

Back in 1990, the government seized control of the bawdy Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, attempted to run it. Alas, the feds failed miserably (surprised?), and the joint was shuttered. Fast-foward 18 years. Today, we are entrusting our nation's economy and $850-plus billion to a pack of nit-wits who couldn't make money running a whorehouse and selling booze. Now, if that doesn't make you nervous, what does?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox?

I have emailed this question to several friends, but have received surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) few responses.

I have been a Protestant my entire life, yet I acknowledge what R.R. Reno described as "the insanity of [the] slide into self-guidance." (Catholic Matters, Richard John Neuhaus, p. 65). I also whole-heartedly agree with Neuhaus himself when he says, "The allegedly autonomous self who acknowledges no authority but himself is abjectly captive to the authority of the Enlightenment rationality that finally collapses into incoherence." He adds, "Confronted by such truth claims, we necessarily ask, 'Sez who?' By what authority, by whose authority, should I credit such claims to be true?" (ibid., p. 70)

And so I ask: If you are Protestant, why are you Protestant and why are you not Catholic or Orthodox? If you are Catholic, why are you Catholic and not Protestant or Orthodox? If you are Orthodox, why are you Orthodox and not Protestant or Catholic?

Note that whatever question applies to you is actually in two parts, asking a positive affirmation of why you are what you are and an answer of why you are not what you are not.

Thanks in advance to all who search deeply and share good, honest thoughts.

The God We Pray To

V. Gene Robinson, the first openly sodomite Episcopal bishop, said in NY Times article that referenced Rick Warren's pick as the one to deliver the inaugural prayer, "[T]he God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know." I have never talked with Rick Warren, but I am under the impression that he worships the triune God of the Christian faith. If so, then Gene Robinson is admitting that he does not. Now, I had thought that the Episcopal church worshiped that same God. Would this statement alone not consitute grounds for Robinson's removal?

Then there is Timothy McCarthy, "a historian who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an unabashed Obama enthusiast who served on his campaign’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council." (See NY Times article.) He tells op-ed columnist Frank Rich in that article that Rick Warren should "recant his previous statements about gays and lesbians, and start acting like a Christian."

Don't you love it when non-Christians tell Christians how Christians should think?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Letter to General Motors

In this response to Troy Clarke, President GM, Greg Knox of Knox Machinery, Inc. hits the nail on the head.

His response echoes my letters to my Senators and Congressman. We must get out of this immediate self-gratification mindset. We are no longer a capitalistic country and have begun the nationalism of our country. We must stop this “Nanny State” the government is not our “Sugar Daddy.”

"But for some reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work - that we need the government to step in and "save us"...save us, hell - we're nationalizing...and unfortunately too many of this once fine nations citizens don't even have a clue that this is what's really happening...but they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams...yeah - THAT'S important..."

"Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins. Bad news people - it's coming whether we like it or not"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Final Thoughts on Advent Study

So what do we make of Matthew's genealogy? This "rogues gallery" of a family tree. Oh yes there is Abraham "father of the believers in the Old Covenant" through whom all of the families of the earth were to be blessed, the promise fulfilled in Abraham's greatest Son, Jesus and the new people of God, the Church.

Then there is King David mystically typifying the royalty of Christ and also the repentant sinner and a foreshadow of the King of the Church, whose kingdom cannot be destroyed.

We have Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the mentioning of Bathsheba, all women, sinners and gentiles showing God's graciousness and underscores the role of women in the history of salvation and anticipates the crucial role of Mary, the mother of Jesus. (Orthodox Study Bible)

We see evidence of God's forgiveness in his treatment of Manasseh. In the face of a life of evil, God responds to earnest repentance. It is never to late to turn to God.

We also see that , in His response to Manasseh's son, who tried to take advantage of God's grace and mercy and was cut down quickly, God will not be toyed with.

Still, there are some shady characters in this family at least those who are not completely swallowed in the anonymity of history. What do we make of this?

As I pondered on this I was drawn to an article from some years back over at Touchstone Magazine called God Rest Ye Merry. In the article the author talks about how every year certain carols seem to stand out in his mind:
...This year, somehow it’s been “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that has stuck in my brain, and particularly these words, in the first verse: “To save us all from Satan's power/ When we were gone astray.” We skip by these words so quickly. I always have. And yet how plainly those few words sketch in a somber background, a whole universe of presuppositions without which the song has a very different, and diminished, meaning. The merriness being urged upon the gentlemen (one should always remember that, in the lyrics themselves, there is a comma between “merry” and “gentlemen”—they are not “merry gentlemen” being encouraged to "rest") comes amid a great darkness, a darkness that never disappears, that always threatens to envelop us, a darkness whose presence is subtly conveyed by the minor key with which the song begins and ends.
...There are constant reminders of this darkness, if one has ears to hear them, running through the great liturgy of our Christmas carols, with their evocations of bleak midwinter and snow on snow....We are constantly reminded to “keep Christ in Christmas” and to remember “the reason for the season.” And of course that’s entirely right. But it’s also important, if I may put it this way, to keep Satan in Christmas, and not to skip too lightly over the lyrics that mention him. It changes the way we understand Christmas, if we also hold in our minds an awareness of the darkness into which Christ came, and comes, to save us. Later in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" the visiting angel tells the shepherds in the field that Christ had come “To free all those who trust in Him/ From Satan's power and might." We ought to remember that being subject to that “power and might” is, as we say these days, the default setting of our human existence. Which means that the “comfort and joy” of which the song sings is not merely some seasonal jollity, but the ecstatic gratitude of pardoned convicts, who suddenly, surprisingly, find themselves emerging out of darkness and into the light.
This year for me the carol that has stuck in my brain, ironically, is the same one he mentions at the start of his article: (I had forgotten until I recently went back to read it) Oh, Holy Night:
...Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. ...
...In all our trials born to be our friends. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger...
...Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease.
And what greater oppression is there than death? I'll end with an excerpt of the post over at MereComments today:
...Is there anything in the whole world that casts a darker shadow over man than death? Would not a God who loves man address the captivity of death? Again, there is only One who even makes a claim to have done so, before the eyes of many witnesses. That single life, that single death, that single empty tomb, has changed all of history? Are there not evidences from one end of the world to the other of the spiritual power of Christ working in the saints from the day of the first Pentecost?
It's a claim that reasonable men should consider on its own merits, not using the failures of Christians as excuses: even in Jesus' lifetime, while personally present with his disciples, he told them they would fail him often, that they would misunderstand, that they didn't get it. So why should now be any different? That's not an excuse for failure, and our failure to meet the standard set by Christ does not negate the standard. It is all about Christ, not us. We look to Him, who is God with Us, the Creator in our midst, in humility, confessing our sins, rejoicing in his fathomless love and mercy that bind up our broken hearts and set us free.
Fall on your knees!
I'm off to Missouri. See you next year.
Merry Christmas- Eutychus

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ave Maria?

I saw the post about the season for porn and couldn't help thinking of this recent article. Playboy Mexico has released its December issue. On the cover is a model wearing nothing but a head covering. The caption reads, "Te adoramos, Maria." Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Human Rights has raised the alarm. Playboy contends that this is not a reference to the Virgin Mary. Apparently Hef's PR people think that the public is as stupid as it is addicted to his smut.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A New Web Journal- The Christendom Review

MereComments has highlighted a new journal The Christendom Review. It is not light reading but it is thoughtful writing. Those of you poor souls with the philosophical bent (you know who you are) will no doubt enjoy it very much. Those of us who wish we were capable of such discussion will enjoy it as well but it just may take us reading it more than once and in the company of good beer. One of its first articles THE IRRATIONAL FAITH OF THE NAKED PUBLIC SQUARE is a good example. Enjoy!

Advent Study #13

The last in the genealogy of Jesus as given by Luke. Please refer to previous parts of this study for the focus questions. after this Sunday I will provide some notes and thoughts on Matthew's genealogy. I hope you will provide your own.

Joseph the husband of Mary

From Christian answers:

Joseph (the foster father of Jesus Christ)
Meaning: remover or increaser
Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23) livedat Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4).
He is called a "just man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55).
He is last mentioned in connection withthe journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2). His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.
Joseph's ancestry - Joseph was in the line of King David and therefore held a legal right to the throne. However, because he descended from Jechonias (Matt. 1:11-12) (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin, he would have been disqualified by God from taking the throne. However, Mary's son would not (see: Mary).

From the Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Matthew (1:16) calls St. Joseph the son of Jacob; according to St. Luke (3:23), Heli was his father. This is not the place to recite the many and most various endeavours to solve the vexing questions arising from the divergences between both genealogies; nor is it necessary to point out the explanation which meets best all the requirements of the problem (see GENEALOGY OF CHRIST); suffice it to remind the reader that, contrary to what was once advocated, most modern writers readily admit that in both documents we possess the genealogy of Joseph, and that it is quite possible to reconcile their data.

At any rate, Bethlehem, the city of David and his descendants, appears to have been the birth-place of Joseph. When, however, the Gospel history opens, namely, a few months before the Annunciation, Joseph was settled at Nazareth. Why and when he forsook his home-place to betake himself to Galilee is not ascertained; some suppose -- and the supposition is by no means improbable -- that the then-moderate circumstances of the family and the necessity of
earning a living may have brought about the change. St. Joseph, indeed, was a tekton, as we learn from Matthew 13:55, and Mark 6:3. The word means both mechanic in general and carpenter in particular; St. Justin vouches for the latter sense (Dialogue with Trypho 88), and tradition has accepted this interpretation, which is followed in the English Bible.

It is probably at Nazareth that Joseph betrothed and married her who was to become the Mother of God. When the marriage took place, whether before or after the Incarnation, is no easy matter to settle, and on this point the masters of exegesis have at all times been at variance. Most modern commentators, following the footsteps of St. Thomas, understand that, at the epoch of the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin was only affianced to Joseph; as St. Thomas notices, this interpretation suits better all the evangelical data.

The Incarnation
This marriage, true and complete, was, in the intention of the spouses, to be virgin marriage (cf. St. Augustine, "De cons. Evang.", II, i in P.L. XXXIV, 1071-72; "Cont. Julian.", V, xii, 45 in P.L. XLIV, 810; St. Thomas, III:28; III:29:2). But soon was the faith of Joseph in his spouse to be sorely tried: she was with child. However painful the discovery must have been for him, unaware as he was of the mystery of the Incarnation, his delicate feelings forbade him to defame his affianced, and he resolved "to put her away privately; but while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. . . And Joseph, rising from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife" (Matthew 1:19, 20, 24).

The Nativity and the flight to Egypt
A few months later, the time came for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, to be enrolled, according to the decree issued by Caesar Augustus: a new source of anxiety for Joseph, for "her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered", and "there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7). What musthave been the thoughts of the holy man at the birth of the Saviour, the coming of the shepherds and of the wise men, and at the events which occurred at the time of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, we can merely guess; St. Luke tells only that he was "wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him" (2:33). New trials were soon to follow. The news that a king of the Jews was born could not but kindle in the wicked heart of the old and bloody tyrant, Herod, the fire of jealousy. Again "an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee" (Matthew 2:13).

Return to Nazareth


Advent From MereComments and STR

Advent postings from MereComments:

19 December:

Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.
Isaiah 11:1 In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings will be glorious.

and 20 December:

And I will place upon his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. Isaiah 22:22

The Advent Antiphon for December 20:
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

With the added treat of having the audio link over at STR blog. This link will not last long so enjoy it while you can. Highly recomended. Also there at STR is an explantion of the O Antiphons

The top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year

It's from Australia but still is rather humorous. As is pointed out many of the alamist predictions can now be checked out (e.g. the so called increase in hurricane activity). But of course the weather guys will tell you we are now in a low period cycle...

From the Herald Sun:

GLOBAL warming preachers have had a shocking 2008. So many of their predictions this year went splat.
Here's their problem: they've been scaring us for so long that it's now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned.
And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer - the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year.
Read, so you can end 2008 with optimism, knowing this Christmas won't be the last for you, the planet or even the polar bears.

IN April this year, the papers were full of warnings the Arctic ice could all melt.
"We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time," claimed Dr David Barber, of Manitoba University, ignoring the many earlier times the Pole has been ice free.
"It's hard to see how the system may bounce back (this year)," fretted Dr Ignatius Rigor, of Washington University's polar science centre.
Tim Flannery also warned "this may be the Arctic's first ice-free year", and the ABC and Age got reporter Marian Wilkinson to go stare at the ice and wail: "Here you can see climate change happening before your eyes."
In fact, the Arctic's ice cover this year was almost 10 per cent above last year's great low, and has refrozen rapidly since. Meanwhile, sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing. Been told either cool fact?
Yet Barber is again in the news this month, predicting an ice-free Arctic now in six years. Did anyone ask him how he got his last prediction wrong?

Lesson: The media prefers hot scares to cool truths. And it rarely holds its pet scaremongers to account. ...read the rest of the top ten here

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tis the Season for Porn?

From Townhall:

...We all know how far the pornification has gotten. A mainstream movie apparently treats the subject as cute and fun ("Zack and Miri Make a Porno") and it runs at the multiplex next to "Four Christmases" and "Madagascar." Hotels offer pornographic movies and omit the titles from the final bill. Victoria's Secret graces every mall -- and its windows resemble the red light district of Amsterdam.....

...Last week the Witherspoon Institute convened a conference on pornography at Princeton University and invited scholars from a variety of fields to contribute. The statistics are mind-numbing. ...

...Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself," noted that pornography use actually changes the brains of consumers. Like other addictions, pornography use breeds tolerance and the need for more intensity to get the desired result. He quoted Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons," in which a college kid asks casually, "Anybody got porn?" He is told that there are magazines on the third floor. He responds, "I've built up a tolerance to magazines I need videos." Tolerance is the medically correct term, Doidge notes, which is why pornography becomes more and more graphic.
The men (and they are overwhelmingly men) who become hooked on this bilge are often miserable about it. They know that it affects their capacity to love and be loved by real women. As Doidge explained, "Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and a release from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction, tolerance, and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn't like it." Hugh Hefner, the godfather of mainstream porn, apparently does not have normal sex with his many girlfriends. Despite the presence of up to seven comely young women in his bed at a time, he uses porn for sexual satisfaction. Think about that. ..(more here)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent Study #12

Where is Advent Study #12? Good question.

After Eliakim we have Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, and Eleazar. Interestingly there does not seem to be any information on these individuals.
Then we have:


Meaning: gift
one of our Lord's ancestry (Matt. 1:15)

and then


A later man named Jacob was the father of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:15-16). Nothing more is known about him.

And so because I know you are going through withdrawal not having anything to read I offer these possibilities:

First, a chart of the Kings of Israel. Notice Matthew's genealogy goes through Judah. The chart outlines nicely whether the King did evil or good or some combination.

Second, I offer two Advent postings from MereComments which once again I don't think are entirely unrelated to our study:

First from December 17th this excerpt which includes canticles from the Orthodox : (you can read the whole posting here)

..Also from the Orthodox synaxarion: The "new martyrs" Paisius the abbot and Habakkuk the deacon: Saint Paisius was Abbot of a monastery in Serbia and Habakkuk was his deacon.
They were both impaled by the Turks at Belgrade on December 17, 1814. Dragging the stake on which he was to suffer through the streets of Belgrade, Habakkuk chanted the hymns of the Church. When his mother threw herself at his feet, begging him to adhere to Islam in order to save his life, he thanked her for her maternal solicitude, but rejected her advice as he recalled the great men of the Old Testament who suffered for the glory of God.

"Great men of the Old Testament"--like Daniel, and the Three Young Men in the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar. Habakkuk the deacon, in chanting the hymns of the church may well have sung one the traditional odes from matins before Christmas:

Scorning the impious decree, the Children brought up together in godliness feared not the threat of fire, but, standing in the midst of the flames, they sang: "O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou." (Canticle 7)

The furnace moist with dew was the image and figure of a wonder past nature. For it burnt not the Children whom it had received, even as the fire of the Godhead consumed not the Virgin's womb into which it had descended. Therefore let us sing: Let the whole creation bless the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever. (Canticle 8)

Take courage!

And this from today:

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,who to thy tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times did give the law,in cloud, and majesty, and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
(more here)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Campus PC Gone Crazy

From FrontPage:

Political correctness ran amuck in our nation’s school system this past year, and Young America’s Foundation has once again compiled our “best of the worst” academic abuses for 2008. From “free speech zones” to transgendered speakers at military academies, the following list may make you both laugh and cry in the same breath. That probably isn’t too surprising, however, since we are talking about academia after all…

1. The free speech “zone.” A student at Yuba College in California was sent an ultimatum by the school’s president: discontinue handing out gospel booklets or face disciplinary action and possibly expulsion. That’s right—gospel booklets. Ryan Dozier, the 20-year-old student, had the audacity to distribute Christian literature without a school permit, which restricts free speech to an hour each Tuesday and Thursday. Yuba College even directs students to where on campus they are allowed to exhibit free speech. In this case, it’s the school theater. Campus police threatened to arrest Ryan if he didn’t comply with the “free speech zone,” oblivious to the fact that students don’t need permission to exercise the First Amendment’s free speech and religious clauses.

2. Transgendered activists in, pro-life speakers out. Liberal administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution in Minnesota, censored the appearance of prominent pro-life speaker Star Parker because campus officials felt “uncomfortable” and “disturbed” by previous conservative speakers at the school. The University’s mission statement claims it values “the pursuit of truth,” “diversity,” and “meaningful dialogue.” Except, not really—or better yet, as long as the said “pursuit” doesn’t offend leftist predilections. Meanwhile, within the past year, the same school hosted Al Franken, the bombastic liberal comedian, and Debra Davis, a transgendered activist who believes God is a black lesbian. Realizing they had a public relations disaster on their hands, the head honchos at St. Thomas eventually reversed the ban on Star Parker....

the rest of the list is here

Haggai & the Persians- Just in Time for Study #11

Just in time for Study #11 is this fine post from over at MereComments. It is not entirely unrelated to our study and may help with some of our own meditations...or not. but I hope you'll find it interesting just the same...

Today the Orthodox church remembers the Prophet Haggai, who prophesized in the 6th c B.C. after the exiles returned to Jerusalem. The Persian King Cyrus sent Zerubbabel back to govern, and gave authority to the Jews to rebuild the Temple under Ezra the High Priest. Haggai spoke on behalf of the Lord, urging the Jews to get on with the rebuilding, scolding them for leaving the Lord's temple in ruins while "you busy yourselves each with his own house." He asks, "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?" The Lord notes that they harvested little, eat, but never seem to have enough. Why don't they put first things first? We know the Temple was built, of course.

Cyrus the Persian is spoken of in Scripture as the Lord's instrument in history when it came to the fate of the Jews. Fr. Pat Reardon reminded me of this story about President Truman recently:
Once, after his retirement, he was introduced as "the man who helped create the state of Israel." Without a moment's hesitation, Truman shot back, "What do you mean, helped create? I was Cyrus, I was Cyrus" - referring to the Persian monarch who enabled the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem after the first dispersion. [A websource for this here].

...At the close of the short prophecy of Haggai, the Lord reminds us of his Lordship over history: "I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations..." (2:21-22)..

You can read the entire post here

Advent Study #11- Finally

I got back from working the Christmas tree lot (in windy 32degree temps) with my son last night and crawled into my recliner and hacked and coughed the night away. In between coughing fits I napped. Alas, the Advent Study took a back seat. My apologies to the two of you who are reading it... Tonight we start back in earnest. Get your specs on...

Here is #10
#9 is here #8 can be found here

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Continuing with Matthews genealogy, the third group beginning in exile in Babylon:

All of the below information comes from ChristianAnswers


Meaning: asked for of God
father of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:2, 8; Neh. 12:1)

And then returning from exile:


Meaning: the seed of Babylon
theson of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Hag. 1:1; Zorobabel, Matt. 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chr. 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word "son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel.
He is also known by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8, 11). In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of servants,who returned from captivity at the close of the seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13; ch. 4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place, inasmuch as he was a descendant of the royal line of David.


Meaning: father (i.e., "possessor") of renown.
One of the sons of Bela, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:3); called also Ahihud (ver. 7).
A descendant of Zerubbabel and father of Eliakim (Matt. 1:13, "Abiud"); called also Juda (Luke 3:26), and Obadiah (1 Chr. 3:21).


Meaning: whom God will raise up
The name of four biblical men… Our guy is simply:
The son of Abiud, of the posterity of Zerubbabel (Matt. 1:13).

Monday, December 15, 2008

‘Layoff survivor syndrome’??

Organizational psychologists call it “layoff survivor syndrome,” the collection of emotional, psychological and physical reactions long documented in workers who remain on the job. Being left behind, they say, can sometimes be as distressing as being let go.

“In fact, the survivors are also victims,” said Harold G. Kaufman, a professor of management and director of the organizational behavior program at the Polytechnic University of New York.

No Laughing Matter

I am bewildered, as if stumbling around in a dream. Why is the throwing of shoes by an Iraqi reporter at President Bush not receiving more attention? Why is the attention that it is receiving limited to:
  • amusement over anything anti-Bush
  • amusement over a social curiosity
  • outrage, in the Middle East, over the detention of the reporter

Perhaps I have missed it, but there should be outrage over a physical attack on the President of the United States and questions as to why the Secret Service did not immediately put themselves between the projectiles and the President. The goofy nature of the event and the unpopularity of the President have obscured the more important facts. This is not about shoes or George W. Bush. A citizen of a foreign country directly and physically assaulted the person and therefore the office of President of the United States. It is utterly irrelevant that Mr. Bush himself laughed off the event.

It is troubling that our "entertainmedia" have obscured a serious event. Legitimate protest has its limits. It is one thing for someone to burn a flag or an effigy in protest and quite another to launch a physical attack, however harmless, at a person holding office.

I am fairly certain that no one would be laughing had an American reporter acted in a similar fashion when the President of Iran visited the U.N.

Advent Study #11- confession

I could blame it on the cold or something noble but the truth is I watched the Cowboy game last night instead of doing #11. Sorry- #11 will be posted this evening after I work the Cristmas tree lot....If I don't freeze or get blown away in the wind it should be up around bedtime (2200) (that would be 10 p.m. for those who might have a question...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent Study #10

My apologies. My excuse this week is a nasty cold. Ah well. What follows are the final two individuals in Matthew's second grouping of Jesus' genealogy taking us up to "about the time they were carried away to Babylon." (No "it's" here MW :-) I double checked.)

Advent Study #9 is here
#8 can be found
here Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Josias (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

(JOSIAH— Hebrew for "Yahweh supports"; Septuagint 'Iosías).
A pious King of Juda (639-608 B.C.), who ascended the throne when he was only eight years of age. He was the son of Amon and the grandson of Manasses. His mother's name is given as Idida, the daughter of Hadaia [IV (II) Kings, xxii, 1]. Of the actual influences under which he grew up nothing is known for certain. His reign of thirty-one years is recorded in the parallel and slightly divergent asccounts of IV (II) Kings, xxii-xxiii, 30, and II Paralipomenon (Chronicles), xxxiv-xxxv. The following is a summary of Josias's public acts as they are set forth in the former of these accounts. In the eighteenth year of his rule, the Jewish king undertook to repair the Temple with the help of the high-priest Helcias. During the course of this work, Helcias found "the Book of the Law", and handed it to the royal scribe, Saphan, who read it to Josias. The threats made therein against the transgression of its contents frightened the monarch, who well knew how often these had been disobeyed in the past, and who sent to consult the prophetess Holda then living in Jerusalem. Holda declared that the threatened punishments would indeed take place, but only after Josias's death. Whereupon the king assembled the people, published the Law in their hearing, and they all united with Josias in a solemn vow of obedience to its commands. This was followed by a drastic reformation of worship not only in Juda and in Jerusalem, but also in Northern Israel, which was not strictly a part of Josias's kingdom, but in which the Jewish prince could easily intervene, owing probably to the feeble hold of Assyria at the time upon this distant portion of its territory. The work of reform was concluded by a magnificent celebration of the Pasch.
Of the thirteen years of Josias's reign which followed this important reformation, nothing is said in the narrative of the Fourth Book of Kings. We are simply told of the monarch's exceeding piety towards Yahweh and of his death on the battle-field of Mageddo, where he perished fighting against the Egyptian Pharaoh, Nechao II, who was then on his way to the Euphrates against the Assyrians. Whoever compares carefully and impartially with this first account of Josias's reign the second one given in 2 Chronicles 34-35, cannot help being struck with their wonderful substantial agreement. Both Biblical records agree perfectly as to the age of the king at his accession and as to the length of his reign. Like the narrative of Kings, that of Paralipomenon refers to the eighteenth year of Josias's rule the discovery of the "Book of the Law", relates the samecircumstances as attending that event, speaks of a work of religious reform as carried out throughout all Israel on account of the contents of that book, and praises the magnificence of the solemn Pasch celebrated in harmony with its prescriptions. Like the narrative of Kings, too, that of Paralipomenon appreciates in the most favourable manner the king's character and describes his death on the battle-field of Mageddo when fighting against Nechao. In view of this it is plain that the differences, noticeable in their respective accounts of the reign of Josias by the authors of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, are only slight variations naturally accounted for by the somewhat different purposes which the two inspired. With regard to the exact extent and the Mosaic origin of the "Book of the Law", discovered under Josias, see PENTATEUCH.

From Christian Answers

Meaning: healed by Jehovah, or Jehovah will support

the son of Amon, and his successor on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chr. 34:1)

His history is contained in 2 Kings 22, 23. He stands foremost among all the kings of the line of David for unswerving loyalty to Jehovah (23:25). He "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father." He ascended the throne at the early age of eight years, and it appears that not till eight years afterwards did he begin "to seek after the God of David his father." At that age he devoted himself to God. He distinguished himself by beginning a war of extermination against the prevailing idolatry, which had practically been the state religion for some seventy years (2 Chr. 34:3; compare Jer. 25:3, 11, 29).
In the eighteenth year of his reign he proceeded to repair and beautify the temple, which by time and violence had become sorely dilapidated (2 Kings 22:3, 5, 6; 23:23; 2 Chr. 34:11). While this work was being carried on, Hilkiah, the high priest, discovered a roll, which was probably the original copy of the law, the entire Pentateuch, written by Moses.

When this book was read to him, the king was alarmed by the things it contained, and sent for Huldah, the "prophetess," for her counsel. She spoke to him words of encouragement, telling him that he would be gathered to his fathers in peace before the threatened days of judgment came. Josiah immediately gathered the people together, and engaged them in a renewal of their ancient national covenant with God. The Passover was then celebrated, as in the days of his great predecessor, Hezekiah, with unusual magnificence. Nevertheless, "the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah" (2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:21-27; 2 Chr. 35:1-19). During the progress of this great religious revolution Jeremiah helped it on by his earnest exhortations.

Soon after this, Pharaoh-Necho II. (q.v.), king of Egypt, in an expedition against the king of Assyria, with the view of gaining possession of Carchemish, sought a passage through the territory of Judah for his army. This Josiah refused to permit. He had probably entered into some new Alliance with the king of Assyria, and faithful to his word he sought to oppose the progress of Necho.

The army of Judah went out and encountered that of Egypt at Megiddo, on the verge of the plain of Esdraelon. Josiah went into the field in disguise, and was fatally wounded by a random arrow. His attendants conveyed him toward Jerusalem, but had only reached Hadadrimmon, a few miles south of Megiddo, when he died (2 Kings 23:28, 30; compare 2 Chr. 35:20-27), after a reign of thirty-one years. He was buried with the greatest honors in fulfilment of Huldah's prophecy (2 Kings 22:20; compare Jer. 34:5). Jeremiah composed a funeral elegy on this the best of the kings of Israel (Lam. 4:20; 2 Chr. 35:25). The outburst of national grief on account of his death became proverbial (Zech. 12:11; compare Rev. 16:16).


Also known as:
Jechoniah (in New Revised Standard Version)
Jeconiah (1 Chr. 3:16)
Coniah (an abbreviation of Jeconiah) (Jer. 22:24)
Jehoiachin Meaning: _____________ -->
one of the Israelite kings in the legal ancestry of Jesus Christ, through his foster-father Joseph, a descendant of King David (Matt. 1:16)
See: Matthew 1:11-12
"It was Jechoniah whose sins caused God to cut his seed off from ever sitting on David's throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). …Jechoniah's royal line of descendants is listed here [in the genealogy of Matthew 1] to show the legal right of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, to David's throne (Matthew 1:16). Neither Joseph nor any others of Jechoniah's seed could ever have the spiritual right to the throne. That right must be carried through Mary's ancestry" (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Study Bible, note for Matt. 1:11.).
See: Mary, mother of Jesus
"Coniah is an abbreviation of Jeconiah (1 Chronicles 3:16), which is another form of the name Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6). Coniah was the last king of Judah in the direct line from King David. When he was deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:10), Coniah's uncle Zedekiah was assigned to rule Judah for a brief reign, but he also was put down, and no later king was ever able to regain the throne" (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Study Bible, note for Jer. 22:24.).
See Jeremiah 22:24-30 and 33:15-17.
For more information about this man, see Jehoiachin.

Biblical Illiteracy, Magisterium, and Newsweek

Several comments have referenced the general lack of biblical knowledge, even among Christians. As Mark Bauerlein observes, and proves with exhaustive research, in his book The Dumbest Generation, this is to be expected in a digital age. I love email and blogs...look at where you are reading this post...but the sound-bite generation lacks the sustained engagement with primary and significant secondary sources to be well informed about anything.

A troubling parallel would be with the Eloi in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Remember those happy-go-lucky folk who had lost the capacity to read and therefore to reason?

But this raises another issue. Even among the biblically literate, we have to face the question of whose exegesis, whose interpretation? Clearly the Miller piece was more on the lines of screed or rant, but there can be found other, more sound attempts at proving something like her thesis. Mind you, I am not saying such other attempts are persuasive, but the point is this. If person A pursues a legitimate form of argument and says X, and person B does the same and says Y, then who is right?

Some will say that the Holy Spirit will lead a given person into the truth. Yet many can say that they were led by the Holy Spirit. How are the rest of us to know?

And is the idea that the Holy Spirit will lead each individual person into the truth flawed, or at least not complete? Could it be rather, or along with this individualistic approach to truth, that the Holy Spirit leads the body of Christ at large into the truth?

Now we are thrown back upon the idea of a magisterium or teaching authority. As troubled as I am that our widespread bibilical illiteracy makes us unable to understand why a piece like Miller's is laughably flawed, and as bothered as I am that even those who sense that something is amiss lack the logical and rhetorical skills to combat blatant error, I am perhaps more concerned that Protestants who have the raw knowledge to take a stand cannot do so, for they have no appeal to authority. If a well-meaning, intelligent, liberal-mainline-Protestant makes a cogent argument for the legitimacy of sodomite union, and a well-meaning, intelligent, Protestant-of-a-different-stripe makes a cogent argument against such, is truth simply determined by who wins the debate? And of course, who would arbitrate?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Additional Thoughts On Newsweeks Bad Theology/Journalism

This excerpt from over at MereComments:
....If secularists are going to increasingly take Christian Scriptures and doctrines out into the public square for either a flogging or a makeover (for their agenda), then articulate Christians are going to have to bring their Bibles back into the public square lest innocent and/or uninformed bystanders get the wrong ideas. We were told for years to keep the Bible out of it: this a public square under the supervision of the secular state...More

Within the comments there are some nice links to discussion of the above over at GetReligion:

What's the Standard:

It is no exaggeration to say the piece was an embarrassment. My analysis of the belly flop is here. On a radio show yesterday, the host asked me whether the piece was more offensive to my sensibilities as a journalist or a Christian. I went with “journalist” since the piece wasn’t anywhere legitimate enough, theologically speaking, to be considered seriously. As a journalist, it violated almost every rule in the book. It failed to accurately represent the viewpoint being scrutinized. It was riddled with errors. It was driven by emotion. More than a few journalists — one at a competing weekly news magazine — wrote to me yesterday asking, “Where was her editor?”...
...Yes, that’s right. The editor of Newsweek thinks that argument from the Bible is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” Can you believe that? Can that be serious? Proper exegesis is difficult and requires a great deal of understanding of languages, types of writing styles, history and tradition — but determining what the Bible teaches is very serious work. Lutherans such as myself believe that Scripture is the only divine source and the norm for our teachings. That may be shocking to a liberal Episcopalian but to call such exegesis intellectually bankrupt is ignorant. And Biblical exegesis sort of defines the “great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Perhaps Meacham’s focus on civil religion and American history has made him blind to this fact.
We’ve noticed the tendency of the media to use the term “fundamentalist” to describe any conservative Christian. There was a particularly bad example of this in the
Los Angeles Times earlier this year when I think the author was using “fundamentalist” to mean “people whose politics I disagree with.”
But if the worst kind of fundamentalist is someone who quotes Scripture in a policy discussion, the word fundamentalist has no meaning. I also question whether, say, Meacham considers
religious liberals who use, say, the Sermon on the Mount to argue for domestic policy to be the worst kind of fundamentalists. Based on past coverage, I’m going to say no. In fact, this piece — and Miller’s — basically skirt the fact that the vast, vast majority of religious groups share a support of heterosexual marriage.
But apart from that, this bizarre preachment suffers from the same ignorance of the Miller piece — that opposition to same-sex marriage is based on Scripture instead of a wide variety of sources and tradition. Opposition to same-sex marriage is mostly based in Natural Law. I feel as if I’m doing a public service by repeating this for journalists but conservatives support defining marriage as a sexual union between a husband and wife, based around the ideas that babies are created via intercourse, that procreation is necessary for the survival of society and that babies need fathers as well as mothers.

The next one deserves its own post: Sola scriptura minus the scriptura

Sola scriptura minus the scriptura

From Mollie over at GetReligion:
Newsweek’s cover story when I read the first line. It was just that bad. It was written by senior editor Lisa Miller who oversees all of the magazine’s religion coverage. Which is pretty shocking when you look at the unbelievable ignorance on display in her grossly unfair first paragraph:
Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
How many things are wrong with that opening line? (Beyond the junior high-worthy snarkiness of the “let’s try” opening, I mean.) How about that “religious conservatives” don’t argue that civil marriage should be defined “as the Bible does.” I mean, it would be nice if Newsweek or other mainstream outlets took the time to learn what religious conservatives have to say about marriage before they attack it. Is that so much to ask?

Biblical Blessing of Sodomite Unions?

I can only imagine how a classically trained and well-spoken person would respond to the brazenly shallow cover story in the December 15 edition of Newsweek, available here:


If the Bible is nothing more than a human creation, then these authors are right. If Christianity is nothing more than a social construct, then these authors are right. But if the Second Person of the holy Trinity did indeed become flesh, revealing the truth of the Godhead in a way that no human could ever devise, and if that Word made flesh did indeed through the breath of the Holy Spirit inspire the biblical authors, then this warping of Christian understanding to suggest that sodomite marriage and activity is endorsed by an overarching umbrella of inclusion is nothing short of blasphemous. At its very least it is staggeringly condescending toward the idea that our faith is not eternal and unchanging, but is simply a product of the times.

Advent Study #9

Regarding the geneaology of Jesus as recorded in Matthew Chapter 1
#8 can be found here
Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

For Discussion
Manasseh spent a lifetime dedicated to evil, including many murders, and even the human sacrifice of his own sons. Then when he repented, the LORD forgave him. Will God forgive someone who has committed extreme evil?
Manasseh repented, changed his entire life, and made great strides in doing right. Still, his primary legacy was one of great evil. Even though we know God will forgive, can we justify continuing in sin, even one more day?


Summary (more here)
Hezekiah's great grandfather King Uzziah and grandfather King Jotham were godly and wise men who had increased Judah's prosperity and influence to levels unknown since the days of David and Solomon. Then Hezekiah's father, King Ahaz, through evil practices and poor leadership, lost all the two previous generations had gained, and lost national sovereignty as well, leaving Judah a vassal of Assyria.
King Hezekiah came to the throne in the wake of his father's disasters, and with the memory the glory days of his grandfather King Jotham, who still reigned when Hezekiah was a child. Rightly concluding that these hardships had come upon Judah because they had abandoned the LORD, Hezekiah instituted the most sweeping religious reforms of all the kings before or after him. As a result, during his 29-year reign he was successful in everything he did — no small accomplishment, given the very difficult times during which he reigned.
Hezekiah's lifelong ambition was to regain national sovereignty, willingly surrendered by his father Ahaz as a convenient solution to a relatively minor invasion. He ultimately achieved this, facing extreme crisis with the help of the LORD.
While this crisis was still fresh and his newly won independence still fragile, Hezekiah became deathly ill. No doubt worried how the nation would fare after his death, he prayed for healing, and God granted him another 15 years of life. Unfortunately, during these years Hezekiah's pride overpowered and drowned his love for the LORD. During this time he also fathered his heir King Manasseh, a man of extreme evil.
Where to read Hezekiah's story: 2 Kings 18 - 20; 2 Chronicles 29 - 32; Isaiah 36 - 39

Notes from JewishEncyclopedia- on Hezekiah:

—In Rabbinical Literature:
Hezekiah is considered as the model of those who put their trust in the Lord. Only during his sickness did he waver in his hitherto unshaken trust and require a sign, for which he was blamed by Isaiah (Lam. R. i.). The Hebrew name "Ḥizḳiyyah" is considered by the Talmudists to be a surname, meaning either "strengthened by Yhwh" or "he who made a firm alliance between the Israelites and Yhwh"; his eight other names are enumerated in Isa. ix. 5 (Sanh. 94a). He is called the restorer of the study of the Law in the schools, and is said to have planted a sword at the door of the bet ha-midrash, declaring that he who would not study the Law should be struck with the weapon (ib. 94b).
Hezekiah's piety, which, according to the Talmudists, alone occasioned the destruction of the Assyrian army and the signal deliverance of the Israelites when Jerusalem was attacked by Sennacherib, caused him to be considered by some as the Messiah (ib. 99a). According to Bar Ḳappara, Hezekiah was destined to be the Messiah, but the attribute of justice("middat ha-din") protested against this, saying that as David, who sang so much the glory of God, had not been made the Messiah, still less should Hezekiah, for whom so many miracles had been performed, yet who did not sing the praise of God (ib. 94a).

Manasseh (from the kingsof Israel)

King Manasseh came to the throne at only 12years of age, when his father, the good King Hezekiah, died.
Manasseh made it his mission to undo the good reforms instituted by his father, and to do a great deal of evil. Hezekiah had destroyed shrines of pagan worship throughout the land; Manasseh rebuilt them, adding also shrines to Baal and Asherah. He desecrated the LORD's temple by putting altars for idol worship in it. He sacrificed his own sons, burning them to death in worship of the idol Molech. Manasseh murdered so many people that the historian wrote that he “filled Jerusalem from one end to the other” with innocent blood.
The LORD sent prophets to warn of the disaster that would come because the people followed Manasseh in his great sins — Judah would be destroyed by their enemies. But king and people ignored the warnings.
Late in Manasseh's 55-year reign, Assyria attacked Jerusalem, captured Manasseh, and placed him in a prison 1,000 miles away. Humiliated and powerless, he sat in his cell and remembered his father's days. He began to pray, confessing his sin and asking the LORD's help. The LORD heard Manasseh's prayer, freed him, and returned him to his throne in Jerusalem. The no doubt fascinating details of how this happened are not given.
This was no foxhole conversion. Back in power, Manasseh was a new man. He destroyed all the idol shrines he had built, removed his desecrations from the LORD's temple, and restored the temple worship.
Unfortunately, Manasseh's conversion came too late to have any lasting impact on his kingdom. When Judah fell, the LORD blamed it on the sins of Manasseh.

Where to read Manasseh's story: 2 Kings 21:1-17; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20

From Christiananswers:

The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. “The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red with blood.” There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been called the “Nero of Palestine.”
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads that Esarhaddon “took Manasseh among the thorns;” while the Revised Version renders the words, “took Manasseh in chains;” or literally, as in the margin, “with hooks.” (Compare 2 Kings 19:28.)
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the “garden of his own house” (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is “Moses,” and not “Manasseh.” The name “Manasseh” is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an idolatrous religion.Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor. -->

Amon (From Christiananswers)

The son of Manasseh, and fourteenth king of Judah. He restored idolatry, and set up the images which his father had cast down. Zephaniah (1:1,4; 3:4, 11) refers to the moral depravity prevailing in this king's reign.
He was assassinated (2 Kings 21:18-26: 2 Chr. 33:20-25) by his own servants, who conspired against him.
Where to read Amon's story: 2 Kings 21:19-26; 2 Chronicles 33:21-24

Little is known of King Amon. Scripture sums up his time as king with these words:
2 Kings 21:19-20 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

From the Jewish Encyclopedia:

—In Rabbinical Literature:
The fact that Amon was the most sinful of all the wicked kings of Judah (II Chron. xxxiii. 23) is brought out in the Talmud (Sanh. 103b) as follows:(Sanh. 104a)
Ahaz suspended the sacrificial worship, Manasseh tore down the altar, Amon made it a place of desolation [covered it with cobwebs]; Ahaz sealed up the scrolls of the Law (Isa. viii. 16), Manasseh cut out the sacred name, Amon burnt the scrolls altogether [compare Seder Olam, R. xxiv. This is derived from the story of the finding of the Book of the Law, II Kings, xxii. 8]; Ahab permitted incest, Manasseh committed it himself, Amon acted as Nero was said to have done toward his mother Agrippina. And yet, out of respect for his son Josiah, Amon's name was not placed on the list of the kings excluded from the world to come.
A midrashic fragment preserved in the Apostolical Constitutions, ii. 23, which appears to follow an account of the repentance of Manasseh according to a lost Jewish apocryphal writing, reads:
"No sin is more grievous than idolatry, for it is treason against God. Yet even this has been forgiven upon sincere repentance; but he that sins from a mere spirit of opposition, to see whether God will punish the wicked, shall find no pardon, although he say in his heart, 'I shall have peace in the end (by repenting), though I walk in the stubbornness of my evil heart'" (Deut. xxix. 19). Such a one was Amon, the son of Manasseh, for the (Apocryphal) Scripture says: "And Amon reasoned an evil reasoning of transgression and said: 'My father from his childhood was a great transgressor, and he repented in his old age. So will I now walk after the lust of my soul and afterward return to the Lord.' And he committed more evil in the sight of the Lord than all that were before him; but the Lord God speedily cut him off from this good land. And his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house, and he reigned two years only."
It is noteworthy that this very midrashic fragment casts light upon the emphatic teaching of the Mishnah (Yoma, viii. 9): "Whosoever says, 'I will sin and repent thereafter,' will not be granted the time for repentance." K.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent Study #8

Our focus questions:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Uzziah (from christiananswers)

Meaning: the Lord is my strength; a contracted form of Azari'ah
One of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his father's stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of about fifty-two years was “the most prosperous, excepting that of Jehoshaphat, since the time of Solomon.” He was a vigorous and able ruler, and “his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt” (2 Chr. 26:8, 14).Jehovah, and “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life “his heart was lifted up to his destruction,” and he wantonly invaded the priest's office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar.
Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and, with a band of eighty priests, he withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, “It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense.”
Uzziah was suddenly struck with leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19-21), and he was drivenfrom the temple and compelled to reside in “a several house” to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3).
He was buried in a separate grave “in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings” (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23).
“That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God, which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true High Priest and >King for evermore” (Dr. Green's Kingdom of Israel, etc.).

from the kings of israel
Uzziah became king at 16 when his father, King Amaziah, was assassinated following a military disaster. Uzziah was faithful to the LORD for a long time, and during that time he and his nation prospered. Rising to power after a long period of decline, he restored to Judah much of the strength and influence that had been Israel's in the days of David and Solomon. He had a series of military successes against the Philistines, the Gurbaal, the Mehunims, and the Ammonites. He fortified Jerusalem, whose walls had been broken down just before he took office, and he built military outposts throughout the land as well. Being an inventor, he constructed turreted crossbows and catapults, mounting these in towers at his outposts. He was also active in agriculture, digging wells and planting vineyards throughout the land.
Unfortunately, later in his 52-year reign Uzziah presumed to alter the worship of the LORD, placing himself in the spotlight by entering the temple and burning incense, a duty reserved by the LORD for the priests only. A group of 81 priests confronted the king, informing him of his violation — a courageous act, given the unquestioned power of the king in those days. Uzziah became furious. While he raged at the priests, the LORD showed his support for the priests by afflicting Uzziah with leprosy, which became immediately visible on his forehead. As no leprous person was permitted in the temple, the priests began urging the now-unclean king to leave. Uzziah, himself in a panic, rushed away.
Uzziah never recovered from leprosy. For the rest of his life he lived in seclusion, and his son Jotham acted as king during his absence. Where to read Uzziah's story: 2 Kings 15:1-7; 2 Chronicles 26

Jotham (also from the kings of Israel)

King Jotham ascended to become Judah's eleventh ruler while his father, King Uzziah, still lived, this unusual arrangement being necessary because of Uzziah's medical retirement. Jotham apparently reigned for 13 years while his father lived, then three more years after his death.
Jotham lived a life of steady integrity and success. His activities include rebuilding portions of the temple and the city wall of Jerusalem, building towns and military posts throughout the land as Uzziah had, and suppressing a rebellion by the Ammonites upon his father's death. Where to read Jotham's story: 2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 27

From Christian answers
The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah. As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age, administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1).
After his father's death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years (B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2 Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).


King Ahaz devoted himself to pagan worship and its associated evil, touring the nation building shrines, and seeking the aid of every powerless religion he knew of. He even sacrificed his own sons, burning them alive in a ritual to the idol Molech. As a result of his infidelity, the LORD opposed Ahaz' administration, and during his 16-year reign Judah lost the empire built by his grandfather King Uzziah and his father King Jotham, suffered constant military raids by neighbors, and even lost national sovereignty, becoming a vassal to Assyria.
On one occasion, Israel invaded Judah and took 200,000 wives and children of Judah's warriors to be slaves. The LORD, unwilling to abandon Judah in spite of Ahaz' commitment to evil, sent a prophet to meet the conquering army, threatening them with the LORD's anger for kidnapping their brothers' families. Alarmed, the Israelites escorted the captives back to Jericho, where their husbands and fathers could recover them, even giving supplies and medical care to all who needed them. Yet in spite of this act of compassion prompted by the LORD, Ahaz refused to trust the LORD.
Later, when Judah was invaded by the combined armies of Israel and Syria, the LORD spoke through the prophet Isaiah, promising that the attack would not be successful — and within a couple years, both enemies' lands would be laid waste. But in spite of the LORD's offer of a miracle to verify the prophecy and aid Ahaz' faith, Ahaz wouldn't trust the LORD. He plundered the LORD's temple and his own palace to send a payment to the king of Assyria to rescue him. In response, Assyria captured Damascus, Syria's capital, and killed Syria's king. So Ahaz was rescued, but at a great cost: Judah became a vassal to Assyria.
After this incident, Ahaz visited defeated Damascus. Still refusing to turn to the LORD, he imported the idols of Damascus into Judah, building an imposing altar near the LORD's temple, after the pattern of the altar in Damascus. He even closed the LORD's temple, which was not opened again until Ahaz died.
In recognition of Ahaz' terrible leadership and its great cost to the nation, Ahaz was buried in a commoner's grave rather than the royal cemetery. Where to read Ahaz's story: 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7:1 - 8:4

Notes on Advent Study #8

King Uzziah
energetically and faithfully pursued the welfare of his people, being especially active in the military and in agriculture. His administration was marked by revival and restoration of the military and internal security that had been lost in recent generations.
Late in his life, Uzziah's pride drove him into sin, and he violated the LORD's temple. Since we are never told he repented, one might argue that we should judge Uzziah “did right in youth, evil in old age,” as we did with some kings. However, a courageous group of priests withstood the king's evil act, and the LORD himself supported them by afflicting Uzziah with leprosy. As a result, even though Uzziah perhaps never repented, he retired from office, and the impact of his sin was thereby limited.
For this reason, we feel justified in agreeing with the scripture's assessment that “Uzziah ... did that which was right.”
2 Chronicles 26:3-4 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.

King Jotham
Little is known, except that he was faithful to the LORD all through his life.
2 Kings 15:32-34 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign. Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

Scripture says this about King Ahaz' reign:
2 Kings 16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
The above characterization is an understatement. Ahaz steadfastly determined to reject the LORD, in spite of repeated acts of mercy and aid on the LORD's part. Not merely dabbling in evil, Ahaz went the whole distance, even to the extent of sacrificing his own children to idols. The effects of his actions were felt brutally throughout his kingdom.

The Jewish encyclopedia might be an intersting to do additional reading

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Will the U.N. Chill Out on Climate Change?

From NRO:
...Since Kyoto in December 1996, a very funny thing has happened to global temperatures: IPCC data clearly show that warming has stopped, even though its computer models said such a thing could not happen.According to the IPCC, the world reached its high-temperature mark in 1998, thanks to a big “El Niño,” which is a temporary warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that occurs once or twice a decade. El Niño years are usually followed by one or two relatively cold years, as occurred in 1999 and 2000. No one knows what really causes these cycles but they have been going on sporadically for millennia.Wait a minute. Starting an argument about global warming in 1998 is a bit unfair. After all, that’s starting off with a very hot temperature, followed by two relatively cool years. Fine. Take those years out of the record and there’s still no statistically significant warming between 1997 and 2007. When a scientist tells you that some trend is not “significant,” he or she is saying that it cannot mathematically be distinguished from no trend whatsoever.More importantly, there’s not going to be any significant trend for some time. Assume, magically, that temperatures begin to warm in 2009 at the rate they were warming before the mid 1990s, and that they continue to warm at that rate. The world has to warm in such a fashion through 2020 before there’s a significant trend reestablished in the data. That’s a full quarter century for any discernable trend of global warming to emerge. (more)

Nothing can contradict Global Warmism

And I've seen nothing say it better than this article over at Sense of Events: Especially the update...

...Fred pearce writes elsewhere in the Guardian,
Recently I attended a conference in Reading where some of the world's top experts discussed their failings. How their much-vaunted models of the world's climate system can't reproduce El Niños, or the "blocking highs" that bring heatwaves to Europe - or even the ice ages. How their statistical mimics of tropical climate are "laughable", in the words of the official report.This sudden humility was not unconnected with their end-of-conference call for the world to spend a billion dollars on a global centre for climate modelling. A "Manhattan project for the 21st century", as someone put it. No matter what the climate does contrary to what they predict, we still need to ka-ching a billion dollars to keep climate scientists well provisioned.
Warming is evidence of global warming. Cooling does not mean that global warming is not happening, just that it hasn't yet...but it might, still..and then the theory will be right again...except if its not, and then it will be because something has temporarily interfered with the theory working, like cooling, but that doesn't mean the cooling has replaced the warming -- its just hiding it, for now. We know this because the models tell us. Can't be anything else happening like the sun, the oceans or any of that stuff. Why? Well, because that's why. Isn't science awesome?

Advent Study #7

We continue with our study of Matthew's geneaology of Jesus
here is Study #6-.
here is #5.
Notes on #5 are here.
Study #4 is here
#3 can be found here
#2 is here
#1 is here here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here.The intro to the study is here .

Our focus questions:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Are there other thoughts and questions as we read these lists?
Anyone else notive that there seems to be a recurring theme of idolatry in the shortcoming of these.

Asa (from christiananswers)

Meaning: physician
Asa was a son of Abijah and grandson of Rehoboam, was the third king of Judah. He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities, out of the land (1 Kings 15:8-14). The Lord gave him and his land rest and prosperity. It is recorded of him, however, that in his old age, when afflicted, he "sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians" (compare Jer. 17:5). He died in the forty-first year of his reign, greatly honored by his people (2 Chr. 16:1-13), and was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat.Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor. -->

Josaphattt (from Catholic encyclopedia)

(Hebrew for "Yahweh hath judged"; Septuagint 'Iosaphát).
Fourth King of Juda after the schism of the Ten Tribes. He was the son and successor of Asa, whose virtuous reign had established good traditions to which the new king endeavoured to remain faithful. He ascended the throne at the age of thirty-five and reigned twenty-three years (914-889 B.C.; 877-53 according to the Assyrian chronology). His zeal in suppressing the idolatrous worship of the "high places" is comm
ended (2 Chronicles 17:6), but it was only partially successful (1 Kings 22:44). In the third year of his reign he sent throughout the country a missionary expedition to instruct the people in the Law and exhort them to its faithful observance. He is reproached with contracting an alliance with Achab, King of Israel, the results of which were disastrous for the Kingdom of Juda. In the eighteenth year of his reign Josaphat visited Achab in Samaria, and nearly lost his life accompanying his treacherous ally to the siege of Ramoth Galaad (1 Kings 22). He subsequently continued his policy of reform, exercised a personal supervision over its execution, and established for the same purpose in the royal city a tribunal of priests, levites, and elders (2 Chronicles 19:4-11). About the twentieth year of his reign he repulsed more by prayers than by force of arms a formidablearmy of the Moabites, Maonites, and the Children of Ammon (2 Chronicles 20:1-30). Ochozias having succeeded Achab in the Northern Kingdom, Josaphat joined him in a mercantile enterprise having for object the construction of a fleet at Asiongaber, but the project was displeasing to the Lord and proved a failure (2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

Joram (Jeho'ram) (christiananswers)

Jehoram, the son and successor of Jehoshaphat on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 8:24).