During excavations of Jerusalem in 1871, two archaeologists discovered what is known as the Soreg Inscription. Written in Greek, the sign warns non-Jews to keep out of the temple area. It states: “No foreigner is to enter the barriers surrounding the sanctuary. He who is caught will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.” This was the heritage of the Gentiles to whom Paul was writing in Ephesus: held in contempt by the Jews and cut off from the life of God. The story is told of a Gentile woman who wanted to become a Jew so she went to the Rabbi to confess her sin and ask to convert. “Rabbi Eleazer,” she said, “bring me near.” The Rabbi shut the door in her face. Continue reading “Who Moved the Fence?”
I started writing this blog just before the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Wherever you turned, the pundits were talking about what Obama needed to do to win this debate after the great “debacle in Denver.” One writer said, “Every turn of his head, every extra blink of his eye will be subject to withering scrutiny.” Oh give me a break! Do you realize what that says about our culture? It says that looks matter more than substance and image matters more than reality. We have become a nation of illusion and equivocation designed to supplant the importance of truth and clarity. The Proverbs warn that a “malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit; though his speech is charming, do not believe him” (26:24, 25). I am not saying that either candidate is malicious, but both produce charming speech that can be misleading. Most polls have the candidates neck and neck and the argument rages whether Romney’s gains are due to a bounce from his strong first debate performance, which may recede, or whether they reflect a fundamental change in relative positions. I suppose this would make more sense if you had two men with the same political platforms and you were trying to make up your mind as to who you liked better or trusted more. However, how can this be the case when the candidates offer a completely different view of America? An article in the British magazine The Economist said that “The gulf that separates the policies of the two candidates and their parties seems wider than in any election in living memory.” How can it be that anyone would remain unconvinced as to who they are voting for this late in the game? We are in dangerous waters when the future of our country is based upon the outcome of a debate which is scored by such issues as the turn of the head or the blink of an eye. I am finishing this blog after watching the second “town brawl” debate where these two alpha males went at again. I really don’t care which one was more aggressive or looked more presidential or appealed to the sensitivities of women or men. What I do care about is who will lead this country in the paths of justice and righteousness for all (including the generations to come), and whose moral and economic policies are more in line with the values of God’s Kingdom. I believe that God will either give us a President we need or a President we deserve. He will either give us mercy or judgment. Your vote counts, so make sure it is based upon substance not style.
“How does your Catholic Faith shape your personal belief on abortion?” That was one of the questions asked Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in their Vice Presidential debate last night (and their response was not mentioned at all in the Chicago Tribune this morning). Biden stopped smiling (for once) and said that he personally agreed with the Catholic Church’s view on abortion but would not impose it on anyone else. His response reflects not only the realism of politics in a post-modern culture, but also the recognition that (to Biden and others) abortion is not a moral issue. I am sure that he would have no difficulty legislating morality on other issues in which he personally believes, such as health care for the uninsured and higher taxes for the wealthy. Continue reading “VP Politics”
Last week (September 25, 26) was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, celebrated by Jews world-wide. Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year and was instituted in Leviticus 23:26-28, In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work … For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the LORD. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. In the Old Testament, it was a day when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and made atonement for his sin and the sins of the nation with the blood of sacrificial bull. Today, with no high priest, Holy of Holies, or sacrificial system, it is a day set aside to afflict the soul, “to atone for the sins of the past year; sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. Continue reading “Once Again, Politics Trumps Religion”