Monday, July 21, 2014

You're The One Who Can Put Out The Fire hit 1980s

Hello Grafted in Reader,
-As I write this in my corner of blog land it is July 21st.
Celebrate National Junk Food Day on July 21 and every food holiday all year with recipes and ideas from Food.com.

-I was listening to morning radio today from CHOK in Sarnia, OT Canada where the radio personality made mention of this day being National Junk Food Day, and a 8-year study that pointed out the different personality types that like cheese, chips, beef-jerky and two other snack or junk food choices. There are a few sites on the world wide web that detail this particular occasion and have one listed at the outset of this blog.

I suppose with the different seasons of life, different national days come to mean more as it relates to our particular life season. I am thankful for those that have endured the test of time and remain at least for now etched on our calendars year in year out.

-On other fronts, as a writer, there are two stories by me that are included in the newly released, Dangerous Days Book 4", by Heather M Schuldt. Details at amazon.om or in the hallowed halls of facebook. These particular stories are no more than 1000 words maximum, and are great for middle school readers and older.

On the tech front, I feel very much like a beginner: learning the ins and outs of MS Word, looking for tutorials on how to utilize google plus as a screen reader user, and giving some consideration to learning how to do copy writing as my next "job" on this life journey. The "retirement" word will unlikely be in my practical life experience, just because.....

Let's continue the visit in the near future. If any writers, other bloggers, or interested readers want to have more dialogue with me:
-Leave a comment,
-Send me an email if you have that address,
-Contact me on LinkedIn.
-Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us just where we are in this thing called life.
David Russell
or, Mellow Roc

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

(Tie) Leadbelly "Midnight Special" 1970s TV theme

Hello Grafted In Reader,

I posted a couple days ago and today find myself having time to post again, and tend to some things that have been on the side burner for a little while. I was just at the Acousticity link on the public radio channel glt.org to jot down some folk song titles to use for future posts here, i.e. mellow roc? Some of my focus is on America the beautiful as I am reading "The Overton Window" by Columnist Glenn Beck. It's an interesting novel how a culture gradually shifts from one set of ideals to another. The key words being "gradually shifts".

I appreciate the conservative voices in our culture that collectively urge us to count the cost in anything done before impulsively embarking on something. There is a time and season for everything as the author of the Tanakh book of Ecclesiastes reminds us.

There are writers and people with whom I hope to connect with in my very near future. Hopefully the contact will be of mutual benefit to all concerned!
Let us visit again soon, and thanks for sharing this time together!
Kevod Yeheveh, His presence embrace us today in our life circumstance!
Mellow Roc (David)

Monday, July 14, 2014

You Can't Hide Your Lying Eyes by Eagles 1970s

Hello Grafted in reader,

We are almost midway through July as I formulate this visit with you. The 2014 World Cup is history, The Major League Baseball Summer All-star Game is slated to occur within 48 hours, major conflicts exist globally, and so it goes.

-Much of this post is going to contain an article by Jewish Roots writer, Lonnie Lane of the web site and ministry, sidroth.org, discussing in some details the parables, (stories) by Yeshua to his first century audience of listeners and hearers. I think once this is considered, you might share with me the sentiment all is not well in the western church and what is espoused today by its administrators, pastors, priests and the like. Please consider the following pasted article, rather lengthy but nonetheless instructive.
Kevod Yeheveh, His presence protect us in all spheres of life.
The parables were meant to bring us into a confrontation with our attitudes, our values, our prejudices. Yeshua was looking to provoke them to reconsider what to them had been the norm until then. The premise is if there wasn't change, they didn't hear! When change takes place, they (we) got the message. The mindset of the Bible is not concerned with cognition as it is with behavior. Because that is how God thinks, and that was how He brought the Hebrews to think. Keeping God's commandments isn't about understanding them and wrestling with what they really mean (as the Greek minds would tend to do as we will see), it is about obedience.
The parables impacted (or didn't) those who heard His voice. For us today, to read them without allowing the historical context to shape our understanding of them is to miss much of the relevance of the stories. On the other hand, the gospel writers somewhat adapted the stories in order to contextualize them without doing injustice to the basic parable itself. Matthew speaks of a thatched roof while Luke says they removed the tiles. No meaning of the parable is changed through this simple adaptation to what the respective readers would have related to. Understanding that His hearers were often displaced persons who had lost their land due to overbearing taxation by the Romans or knowing that the Hebrews despised the Samaritans as half-breeds because they had returned after being captured by the Syrians and had intermarried with them and even though they still wanted to follow Yahweh, they were in violation of much of Torah, gives meaning to the stories without which much impact is lost. The emotional force of His words to the hearers may be vague to us, but to understand their visceral responses is to relate it to our own feelings of displacement or cultural alienation and to get inside the parable with them.
The parables weave together. A unity exists between them. There's a natural flowing harmony between the outer and the inner, between the spiritual and the natural, between the moral and the practical. The things of everyday life can easily be related to the affairs of the Kingdom of God. This holistic perspective very much defines the way life was for the Hebrews. Very feet on the ground, involved in the earth, while aware of God in their midst and of His requirements of them morally and spiritually. Later, interpretations which were based on more Greek Platonic thought than on a Jewish integrated life-style introduced more obscure meanings to the parables. Seeing them as allegories to which any meaning could be applied removed them not only from their Hebrew mind-set but often rendered them anti-Jewish.
Allegory in general was initiated by Origin and Clement, men classified as church fathers, in the early third century. But it was Augustine who was the first to apply it to Scripture. His intent was to rescue those whose Christianity was shot through with paganism. But in doing so, he introduced a tragic "illness" to Biblical interpretation. He believed that no one could understand the Bible just by reading it. There is our first clue that he may not have been reading by the understanding of the Holy Spirit but more on that thought later. Like the philosophers of his day, he was always searching for deeper meaning, as if the meanings in Scripture aren't deep enough when understood through revelation by the Spirit. So he read the stories as a series of moral narratives in which the characters have deeper meaning, and by doing so he rejected the obvious meaning in the texts. He sought to discover deeper and multi-layered meanings that only the initiated could discern. His goal was to rise above the ordinary understanding of the material practicalities of life and to rise above to God, to the "ineffable presence in the minds of the wise men, when their spirits are souring above matter" (The City of God" 9.16).
Herein lies a foundational error that went against the very heart of God. Since "God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34), His intention was and is that all Scripture could be understood for just what it said so that it could be put into practice in the practical life of anyone who reads it. There is no hierarchy of any kind intended by God among those who wish to know what His Word says or within His people. But Augustine's use of allegories increased the separation which had already begun to exist between the church leaders and the ordinary people. It was what contributed to the enormous schism between the laity and the clergy which had formed, the very thing which Yeshua said He hated which He identified as the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:6, 15) which refers to a hierarchy of the ruling class over the rest of the people giving rise to a "pecking order" of fleshly and eventually abusive leadership.
Augustine promoted another heresy that is with us today and which has brought about untold suffering and error into the church. He introduced the idea of "supersessionism" which had a very negative affect upon the Jews. This was the theory of substitution whereby the church became the substitute of "ancient" Israel. We would call it "replacement theology" today. When this idea was introduced, it presented a problem for the church. If the church was the new Israel, then what was the purpose for national Israel to have existed in the first place? Augustine had an answer: The Jews witnessed to the prophecies that foretold of Jesus and of divine judgment. The Jews reveal the validity of Christianity, he said. "The Jews who slew Him...are thus by their own Scriptures a testimony to us that we have not forged the prophecies about Christ." The Jews, therefore, protected the Christians from being accused of inventing the prophecies that would validate Jesus. The ironic twist of fate was that this very issue protected (some of) the Jews initially when the Crusades began in Western Europe and the church began to persecute "heretics."
But what he did by interpreting parables allegorically is a travesty, that is to say he presented them as an absurd caricature or imitation, a mockery or a perversion of what Yeshua intended. What Augustine accomplished, as has been said about his treatment of the parables, was that it was more of an avoidance of them rather than insight into them. If you were to take the parable of the Good Samaritan, for instance, you would find, he constructs an entire "other" scenario that can't possibly have been what Yeshua meant.
Here's what he sees: A certain man (being Adam) went down from Jerusalem (the place of peace or Eden) to Jericho (which means the "moon" and signifies our mortality because it wanes), this journey supposedly signifying the Fall. The thieves are the devil and his demons who stripped man (of his immortality). The priest and the Levite are seen as representing the priesthood of the Old Testament (which could profit nothing for salvation and are definitely labeled as the bad guys.) The name Samaritan in Augustine's language of the day meant "guardian" and was therefore interpreted as being the Lord Himself. The binding of the wounds is seen as restraint of sin and the oil is comfort of good hope; wine is the encouragement to work with a good spirit. The donkey or beast is the flesh in which Jesus humbled Himself to come to us. The Inn is the church where weary travelers are refreshed. The "morrow" or day when the traveler would return is the resurrection and the coins are the promise of life to come. The Innkeeper is the Apostle, presumably John. As you can see, one could really apply anything one wants to any symbol as there's nothing objective or concrete in it. One wants to say, "How did you get THAT out of this story?" But nonetheless, the parables have been thusly interpreted for centuries, with the result that they leave people with a distorted idea of God, and a very confusing set of subjective applications, not to mention a considerable amount of anti-Semitism.
All this brings up some interesting questions, at least to me. If Augustine didn't believe the Bible could be understood except as interpreted by what was entirely antithetic to God's entire premise, was it possible that Augustine wasn't born again? Could it be that through all the respect that his works have been given that he did not have the Spirit of God to interpret the Words of God as God intended? Was he perhaps just a product of his own Greek culture - just a really good philosopher - so that he was unable to see God's ways clearly through his Hellenistic glasses, so to speak? Perhaps, like those who were offended by Yeshua's stories and took offense because they did not have ears to hear, for whatever reason among Yeshua's initial hearers, Augustine was not a man who could really discern God's voice. It would appear that he either didn't have ears to hear or his determination to come up with a higher (non-Hebrew) interpretation blocked out the voice of the Spirit to him. Either one would scare me. Is it possible, that in his quest to rise "above matter" he was even given demonic insights to present another gospel than the one Yeshua preached? The fact that he contributed to unbiblical rhetoric by interpreting parables as being anti-Hebrew could not possibly have correctly represented the "God who is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). Yeshua warned us that "false prophets shall arise to seduce...if it were possible, even the elect" (Mark 13:22). Evidently it's possible.
Upon concluding His parables, Yeshua doesn't ask, "So, what's your conclusion?" Regardless of whether He asks for a response or not, questions come to the mind of the hearer: What would you do? How would you respond? What have you done in the past that tells you who you are in the story? The requirement for a response does not come to the hearer out of some complex intellectual judgment or by his or her perceiving some esoteric symbolism in the story to find its true meaning. It comes because one cannot avoid visualizing what He's just described and from that will come a value judgment, a conviction, a response. Ether what He said revealed the truth in my own heart and I capitulate and own the condition of my heart before God, or I don't. How His hearers respond to the story inevitably results in how they respond to Yeshua Himself.
Augustine removed the stories from their reality and in doing so, introduced absurd applications that distanced the parable from our gut response to it and therefore to God. He explained away the conviction to present a theological treatise that had little to do with the individual's heart response to God. He eliminated the parables' value by solving the problem, by providing an answer to a puzzle that wasn't really there in the first place. And in doing so, he introduced to the church a concept of God that removed Him far from the personal response that the parables were designed to bring to those with ears to hear. Another unfortunate departure from Hebrew roots that brought a great misrepresentation not just of the Hebrew but of God Himself! Here's yet another place where the restoration of Hebrew roots to the body of Messiah will bring about truth and will provide for us a correction to any misunderstandings we may have of the Person of God.

The parables brought to us an "in touch" sense of the Kingdom being present with us now, even while we wait for Yeshua's return. They deal with the "now" and the "not yet." They also let us know that while we wait for the fullness of the Kingdom, God is not passive or absent but is in our midst actively involved in every practical aspect of our lives. The parables are "apocalyptic" in that they say to us, "Be aware of the end, the yield, the harvest, the judgment... God is involved." But they also tell us that for which we yearn, of the presence of God, the justice and the peace, is also available to us now. For those who were victimized by injustice and unrest, that was a profound revelation to find out that, even while under Roman rule, peace and justice are available in God now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tell Me When That Breeze Is Blowing Taking Me Home To My Town 1980s lyric

Hello Grafted in Reader,
Today is a wonderful summer day in my corner of blog land, mostly sunny and mildly warm, low 20s centigrade or high 60s Fahrenheit.

I just finished reading a memoir by young author Deborah Feldman titled "Unorthodox" where she takes the reader through her young life being raised by her Hasidic grandparents in Williamsburg, a part of Brooklyn NY, to her life-altering decision made in 2009 to break from those things seen as entrapment by her. I hope to figure out a way to commend her on this journey, and to thank her for this writing!

I will close this entry with two quotes from the epilogue portion of this 2012 title.
"God is no longer a prescription for paradise, but an ally in my heart."

"I own myself and so I have full power to make decisions that concern me. If you want that too, that's okay, because that's something we all deserve." Deborah Feldman, Author, "Unorthodox", published 2012.

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be ever near us and ours ever near the Almighty..
Mellow Roc