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Wednesday … The Past, The Present, SnowMageddon, Ants and Life

yellow_star_of_davidIn my studies of Religion, I spent a great deal of time, studying the Holocaust. I took specific classes taught by men who were there, and men who’s family were lost in the camps. I took a Master Class on the Holocaust as well.

We also have a Holocaust Museum here in Montreal, that I have visited on several occasions. And on this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I post these words written by Primo Levy, in honor of all those who were lost, those left behind and words to future generations to never forget.

People who forget the past, are destined to repeat it …

  • If This Is a Man
  • You who live safe
  • In your warm houses,
  • You who find, returning in the evening,
  • Hot food and friendly faces:
  • Consider if this is a man
  • Who works in the mud,
  • Who does not know peace,
  • Who fights for a scrap of bread,
  • Who dies because of a yes or a no.
  • Consider if this is a woman
  • Without hair and without name,
  • With no more strength to remember,
  • Her eyes empty and her womb cold
  • Like a frog in winter.
  • Meditate that this came about:
  • I commend these words to you.
  • Carve them in your hearts
  • At home, in the street,
  • Going to bed, rising;
  • Repeat them to your children.
  • Or may your house fall apart,
  • May illness impede you,
  • May your children turn their faces from you.

**** **** ****


Canadians, for the most part, are hearty, strong people, who take what ever Mother Nature throws at us. Snow, for many parts of the country is a norm for at least six months out of the year. Love it or hate it, it is part of our daily lives. The snow storm is one thing, a blizzard is a whole other kettle of fish.

I haven’t seen a blizzard here in Montreal is some time. And since Winter began, our weather forecasters have not really hit the nail on the head when it comes to knowing what the weather is going to do. Several times, we have been warned over the air to expect significant snow fall, that never materialized. So this past week when weathermen in the U.S. were warning people to run to the hills, take cover and hunker down for a historic blizzard ever, I kind of rolled my eyes.

Let’s incite fear and insanity into the lives of millions of people. Let’s shut down the city from top to bottom and turn people’s lives upside down. “because of some snow …” UGH !!!

… Momentary pause to fold laundry …

It was “Do things Wednesday” today. The confluence of many things coming together meant busy busy from early on this morning. Our management takes very seriously, the threat of bugs or any kind of creepy crawly infestation.

Our latest threat is ants … Several apartments have seen more bugs lately, than we have seen in years. I’m not sure where they are coming from, but they made their way all the way into the tower into apartments high up. With a list of affected apartments, they came this morning and tore the apartment apart, taking all the electrical sockets apart and putting poison in the walls.

I had cleaned in anticipation of this coming, and we were told that no prep would be necessary, they lied … So that was this morning.

I needed food, so I went to Provigo and packed a cart full of stuff. I also needed to do laundry, and it seems they have changed the rules in the store, and are no longer giving change at the cashes. I did, in fact get change, but that might change the next time I need it. Which means a trip all the way up the road to the bank, which is a real pain in the ass, when Provigo is right there on the corner.

Just another pain in the ass decision.

I usually do laundry early in the day, to avoid the dinner crush for machines. Most folks are at work or school during the day so I get my machines without waiting. I was the only one up there today, and just finished laundry a short while ago.

Last night, we sat a small group for the meeting. We are listening to the Joe and Charlie Tapes that cover the Big Book. It is a 35 week adventure. The talks run from ten to twenty five minutes with a discussion that follows. It has been hit and miss. People (read: some people) find it annoying. And some stopped coming all together. But after last night’s meeting, and after hearing what our old timers said about … Sometimes you just have to sit down, shut up, and listen, we decided to stick to our guns and not cave because of criticism.

I went ahead and sent notices to our Area Web administrators, and the literature counter as well, notifying them of the format change. That will definitely drum up some more business. We barely hit our monthly cash expenses, with less people, the seventh is less as well, and we have to pump money in to pay our rent and buy coffee.

We are expecting snow for tomorrow and Friday …

More to come, stay tuned …

Day of Remembrance …


The international Day of Remembrance has begun in Israel. The day that we remember the 6 million Jews, and many others that went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.


big1402 KL Auschwitz Work makes free Arbeit macht frei Today

Nazi Records

These – Bad Arolson is where the millions upon millions of files for Nazi records have been kept and for years now been open to the public for research purposes.

yad vashem 2008


Yad Vashem. The Holocaust museum in Israel.

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Chanukah …


Courtesy: Sam Kittner NatGeo

For our friends who celebrate Chanukah … A very blessed holiday to you.

The Festival of Lights …

Courtesy: Sam Kittner – Nat Geo Photography

We wish all of our friends, family and colleagues a wonderful Hanukkah. May it be filled with laughter, love and life.

Happy Hanukkah …

“We light these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hanukkah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them except for to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.”


Your Coffee’s too Strong !!!

Israel, Hamas announce deal to trade captured Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners …

“Netanyahu said the captured soldier, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, would return home within days. Mashaal, portraying the agreement as a victory, said the Palestinian prisoners would be freed in two stages over two months.”

I have been following this story for years since Gilad Schalit was captured. Finally this young man is coming home. Well done… It is about time he was returned to his family and country. This is fantastic news.

*** *** *** ***

Today October 11 – Is National Coming out Day

A big decision in any gay person’s life is the decision to come out. It marks the day that we come to terms with who we are and where we are in our lives to come out and openly declare what we are to the world. It doesn’t happen over night and is a process that takes a lifetime. Times have changed in the past 20 years for the LGBT community.

But teens and young people have been targets of concerted bullying and demeaning behavior by family, peers, conservative media and countless numerous Christian communities and their preachers and bullies.

This behavior must not go unpunished.

There should be definite consequences for bullying.

Today we celebrate all those who have decided to make a stand and share with the world that the LGBT community is expanding. Where ever you are and who ever you are, take your time, and do it on your own timetable. We are here for you every day and any day.

*** *** *** ***

Courtesy: Flickr Jamescg

We now we return to our regularly scheduled programming …

Good evening Peeps !!!

We are sitting at a cool 14c. One more day of clear skies and rain is to follow for later in the week. The trees are turning. Our neighborhood is covered in a fine layer of yellow leaves. Some of the maples by the church have begun to turn.

It was a beautiful day today. It was an early start out to the church. Have tunes will crank out chairs and tables. I was done by 5:45, and people started arriving soon after. We gained another member tonight rounding out the member count at ten. We had visitors from the U.S. at the meeting tonight. Our women take really good care of visitors. Our visitors go home with more than they came with which is a good thing.

So I make 40 cups of coffee every week in the big industrial coffee pot. There is a cup count of how much coffee I put in the hopper each week. And people rave about how good the coffee is. I had to step up the amount of coffee I make when the numbers spiked over the last month.

Tonight, I was sitting at table and a woman who rarely comes to the meeting, who never participates when it comes around to her, goes to get a cup of coffee and she says to anyone who was listening, “You need to put water in the coffee pot to weaken the mix because I can’t drink this strong coffee!”

What do you mean, put water in the pot? Everybody in the meeting already have their cups and I haven’t heard one person complain in all the years I have been making coffee that there is anything wrong with it. I grabbed the tea kettle and poured half the kettle into the top of the pot, sending coffee grinds all over the place. Like that was going to make a difference in HER cup of coffee.

I said to her … You know nobody ever complains about coffee, they are grateful that we even make coffee. You are the first person I’ve ever heard complain! If your coffee is too strong then put some water in your cup and water it down. Sheesh !!!

When it came time for her to share, she sat there silent and passed. God grant me serenity !!!

Our topic for the night:

“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.”  Big Book, pg. 24

With some sober time under my belt, most of my own personal observations come in hindsight. When I was first sober, I got to a point that I was free falling. I did not have a sponsor and I made a fateful decision that took me out the door.

In hindsight, during my slip, I drank and drugged. First I put down the drugs and I left them by the side of the road, I walked away, and never picked up another drug again. The funny thing was that it was easy to put down the drugs. I changed geography, I moved away from those people and places. So even if I went looking for them again, I wouldn’t necessarily find them.

But it was very different with alcohol. I could have put down the drink. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t know that I needed the alcohol. But it was wired into my system. I don’t know why I needed that weekly binge. And it wasn’t until I hit the wall and my bottom, that I decided that I didn’t WANT the alcohol any more.

I walked away from alcohol. The club I drank in closed its doors shortly after I got sober. And I did not go looking for another drinking establishment, oh, they were out there, how could you miss the myriad of clubs on South Beach.

I had my meetings. I had new friends who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me. Over the last 10 years I have worked on that buffer zone that now exists in my field of vision, that keep me from ever having to take another “First Drink.” Because we all know that if I take one, more will follow…

We read, we go to meetings, we work with others, and we work on our spiritual condition. Because nothing guarantees me sobriety than working with another alcoholic. I do service every week. I follow the same routine every week, week in and week out. I’ve followed the same path for the last 10 years, and to date I have never had the compulsion to even contemplate a “first drink.”

And for that I am grateful.

Two more months and I hit double digits. One day at a time.

More to come, stay tuned …

Yom Hashoa … 4-11-10

What did you do today to remember ???

It kind of slipped my  mind, the day and all. I spent the last 2 days typing out my Old Testament Samuel Diachronic Presentation into my computer 32 slides in all and I finished it earlier tonight. Now I can get to bed at a nominal hour and listen to my over night radio show.

I have three papers to write in the next seven days. In order not to be tossed from the M.A. program. The fourth paper isn’t due until the 29th and that should not be a problem. I have to get Sophia and Origen written by next Tuesday. God give me strength…

I spoke to my friend down in Florida, the lady keeping an eye on Louise. She is home now, and was sleeping when I called earlier today. Things must be going very well that they discharged her so soon after surgery.

That’s all I have for you at the moment. So from Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, I remember …

“You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.”

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

On the Third Day …

John 20:1-18 – Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.


Our service at Christ Church Cathedral was beautiful. Everyone gathered and sang songs and rang bells to announce the “Risen Christ.” Where ever you are I hope you have a great Easter celebration or what ever celebration you might have on this day.

Hubby will cook a tasty dinner for us tomorrow, and it will be grand.

Are we there yet???

We are halfway through the weekend, and I am still hacking and coughing. This cold is not going without a fight. I’ve been warned by my medical team to keep an eye out for fever. Haven’t had any of that yet. Just a lot of headaches and chest congestion.

Today I worked on David and Samuel. I got 6 pages written for my presentation and I have one more text to go through. Writing on the two David and Saul stories is very interesting. Each of the texts I have so far written on share different takes on the stories. I am supposed to stick with the text itself and not go outside (diachronic), I have to maintain a (synchronic) vision of the text.

The relationship between David and Saul is troubling. They are running after each other through hills, caves and fields. Saul wants to capture and kill David, and his minions want to help Saul do the deed, yet David continues to escape him by mere seconds and definite divine intervention.

Saul, on the other hand falls into the hands of David, not once but twice. And David is loathe to kill him because Saul is king and God’s anointed. David’s men step up and offer to kill Saul, yet David cautions them not to. There are conversations between David and Saul. The use of covenant language are apparent. It is all very tasking. Saul knows that pursuing David is wrong even if he keep on hunting him down. Then they meet, and David makes his pronouncements to Saul about being “anointed and king” and Saul weeps and humbles himself and repents of his evil ways and speaks wondrous words about David and they go their separate ways.

Both men have issues. Neither are perfect in the sight of God. Both have done dastardly things throughout the books of Samuel. But David will be king eventually, he may not be a perfect king, but king nonetheless. I wanted to share one perspective on the stories with you from my research.

The Open Rupture Between David and Saul.
The Forms of the Old Testament Literature. Vol. VII.
Antony F. Campbell, S.J.

Saul’s return to fight the Philistines is one of the few points in these stories, apart from his death, where we see him fulfilling his royal function. It also gives a momentary pause in the narrative, before the episode at the cave, in the wilderness of Engedi.

Early in any discussion reflection on the relationship between chapters 24 (the “cave in the daytime” story) and chapter 26 (the “camp in the nighttime” story) is unavoidable. There is widespread agreement that one tradition is coming to expression in both stories. That one tradition is present seems clear. Saul, in pursuit of David, is found in David’s power and is spared by the man whose life he seeks; full-bodied reconciliation ensues. More and more, commentators are agreeing that the interpreters task is to find a meaning for these stories in their context, rather than to debate their mutual dependence and age.

The version in chapter 26 is ready-made for performance. It is night. David and Abishai penetrate Saul’s camp and stand over Saul’s sleeping body. One spear thrust will kill him. David takes the spear, disappears into the night, and cries out from across the intervening valley. The version in chapter 24 requires a lot more work on the part of the storyteller; there is not a close fit between the deed and the drama. Saul has three thousand men with him as he pops into the cave – surely in daytime.

Why use a cave if it was night? David emerges from the cave, a bit behind Saul, and cries out to him. the storyteller has to make two aspects plausible. Saul, in broad daylight, asks the nighttime question: “Is this your voice, my son David?”

David in broad daylight, is not seized by the three thousand who are out hunting for him. A storyteller would have to have David slip out of the cave unseen and gain a vantage point where he could not be trapped and would not be visible. After has Saul “blinded with tears” ; but in the text the weeping comes after wards, at the end of the verse, and the three thousand are still there to be dealt with. (Alter) wrestles with the three thousand earlier, the text does not attend to them. The biblical text reveals faithfully where it has come from; Alter reveals brilliantly where it might be taken.

Inside the cave, there is a pointer to the complexity in the telling that again leaves options open for the storyteller. David’s men in the rear of the cave, seeing Saul in the light at the mouth of the cave, urge David to seize this God-given opportunity to do to his enemy Saul as it seems good to David – in a word, kill him! According to the text, David crept up sneakily and “cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak” The next verse is odd: “Afterward David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak.”

This is stretching credulity a but far. The guerrilla chief has remorse over a bit of royal garment snipping. Appeal to royal mystique and the sacredness of all that is associated with the king is a distraction; the central issue is life or death, to kill or to spare. Later David will wave the corner of the cloak at Saul as proof of his goodness.

The remorse is badly out of place in this context. But worse is to come. Having spared Saul’s life and cut the corner of his cloak off instead, David is portrayed berating his men for their wickedness in wanting to attack Saul. If Joab were present with a speaking role in this story he might well have pointed out to David that the heroics were in place before the garment snipping; they were completely out of place after it. So there is more to this scene than meets the eye. Storytellers, start your imaginations! Was there a version with no incitement to kill expressed in the cave? Was the incitement to kill Saul an extra option offered by the text?

There is little point in looking for a relationship of dependence between the two tellings. It is enough that there are two tellings of one tradition, each quite capable of standing on its own. As will be emphasized under “meaning” the involvement of both traditions in this narrative heightens the intensity of Saul’s enmity toward David and maked David’s move into exile utterly inevitable.

Exile among the Philistines is dangerous for David’s reputation as a loyal Israelite. We will look at this in treating chapters 28-31. For Davidic supporters, it is important that David had absolutely no choice and was forced into this exile. Reconciliation with Saul could not be trusted.

As to the episode in the cave, it is storytelling and popular storytelling at that. Such storytelling requires plausibility; it is unlikely that a performance had all David’s band lurking in the cave or conducting a noisy debate followed by a voice vote on the issue of killing Saul or snipping his cloak. As noted above, the implausibility inside the cave lies with David’s reproach to his men after he himself has done the deed for which he later takes moral credit. Outside the cave, the storyteller has to deal with the major difficulty that David peaceably discourses with Saul as though the three thousand chosen troops had never been mobilized.


In chapter 24: As told, this story moves a stage beyond its predecessors. The introduction sets up the preliminaries. Brought information, Saul’s force camps in the area where David is reported to be (“on the hill of Hachilah,”) We do not know exactly where David was (“in the wilderness”) apparently David did not know exactly where Saul was, but he was aware of Saul’s arrival.

The story proper starts with David sending out spies, moving in on Saul’s camp, and even observing precisely where Saul was sleeping. This information was is repeated in vv.5 and 7; v.7 specifies that it was night and that Saul was asleep. A storyteller might stress that, before night fell, what David saw in v.5 was the layout of the camp, the “place” where Saul slept, with the army camped around him.

The story moves in two stages: inside Saul’s camp and outside it. The first allows for the demonstration of David’s refusal to kill the Lords anointed. The second allows for both an insistence on David’s innocence and for Saul;s final commendation and blessing of David.

The story holds a challenge for both its hearers or readers and for its storytellers. The parallel story in chapter 24 in quite different. There Saul walked in on David territory. There. following the present text, David’s men urged him against Saul. David approached Saul stealthily, and then David was stricken to the heart. The problem at issue were discussed in chapter 24 and need not be repeated here. That Saul walking in on David’s territory is unproblematic. That David was “stricken to the heart” is equally clear, but its context is quite uncertain. The present text says because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. The context suggests because he had entertained the thought of killing Saul.

The story of chapter 26 is quite different. David intrudes on Saul’s territory, his camp. No mention whatsoever is made of David being repentant or “stricken to the heart.” The challenge of the story: Why did David risk his life penetrating Saul’s camp by night and putting himself at risk in the middle of Saul’s army? Certainly not with a view to killing Saul. That may have been Abishai’s intention; in the story, it certainly cannot be David’s, for two reasons.

First, the narrative so far has been insistent that Saul is the aggressor and David the innocent victim. Second, and paramount for the telling of the story, we know and all Israel knew that Saul died in a battle on Mount Gilboa. Why then did the story have David risk his life entering Saul’s camp at night? Certainly not to kill Saul. instead it has David risk his life to demonstrate his innocence and, within the story, to receive Saul’s blessing and commendation. The challenge of this story is to make this plausible.

In the context of Chapters 24 and 26, we need to recognize how inauspicious a start to royal reign it would have been to have killed a king who crept quietly into a cave, urged by a need of nature. How much more inauspicious to pin the sleeping monarch to the ground with his own spear in his own camp – not in battle but in bed. Neither matter, since Saul was to die on Mount Gilboa. Neither is likely to have been told at the royal court of Saul’s heir, King Ishbosheth (2 Sam 2:8-10a), or at the hearth of the last known claimant to Saul’s throne, the crippled Mephisbosheth (cf. 2Sam 9:16:3)

Oh Boy it’s 4 a.m. I’ve been typing for a long time…

More to come, stay tuned…

Samuel …

I turned in my bibliography for my final paper tonight. I am writing on 1 Samuel Chapters 24 and 26. The stories of the two times David and Saul meet and David spares the life of Saul. Hopefully the paper I turned in is acceptable to my prof. I am on track to completing this project, and I feel confident that I can write an acceptable paper. We have been parsing Samuel chapters 1 through 11 in class. It is very interesting looking at the Hebrew translations of the Old Testament and reading from our own texts to see how words and phrases are translated.

Just a short note for now, I will write more tomorrow. My day off… We will talk sobriety and recovery… until then … toodles…

1 Samuel 24 –
David Spares Saul’s Life

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.  The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.  He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”  With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.  He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’?  This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’  See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.  May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.  As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.

“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?  May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud.  “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.  You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me.  When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Monday Thoughts …

Monday has been exciting … The mail woman brought me a HUGE box this morning and I was all excited. Who knew boots could be so big, yet feel so snuggly and warm.

I went to class tonight and we talked about Biblical History and we also talked about the book of Samuel. I have to get used to reading code and learning what all the biblical codes mean when reading source material and commentaries.

We took a look at the Periods in Biblical History:

  • Patriarchal Period – 1800 bce Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • Pre-Monarchic Period 1200 – 1000
  • United Kingdom (Monarchy) Whole of Israel N&S 1000-922
  • Divided Monarchy North falls South a Davidic Dynasty 922-721
  • Judah Alone – Babylonian conquer of Judah 721-587
  • Exilic Period – 587-540 (539) Cyrus the Great
  • Post Exilic Period – 539 – on Persians conquered by A. the Great

Some Manuscript Notes:

  • LXX – Septuagint
  • Q – QumRan
  • MS – Manuscript
  • MT – Masoretic Text
  • GR – Greek
  • Masoretic Texts – 1000 common era (most bibles come from here). 7th to 10th centuries Oldest MT 9th c.
  • Codex Vaticanus – LXX-b Greek 4c. common era Translation of Hebrew into Greek, unique manuscript, closer to old Greek tradition, escaped many revisions (haplographies are numerous)
  • Codex Alexandrius – LXX-a Evidence of systematic revisions, considered less value to Vaticanus
  • Lucianic Codex – LXX-l Close to Qumran Manuscriot 300 c.e. Old Greek manuscript, second strata worked into it. series of additions by Lucian and influenced by Josephus
  • Old Latin Translation – (OL) 2/3c. c.e. original readings from the old Greek, Proto-Lucianic second strata
  • Targum Jonathan – Aramaic version of the prophets. Middle ages
  • Syriac Versions – (Peshitta) 2c c.e. in Syriac close to MT translated from Hebrew. 250 manuscripts – Peshitta
  • Vulgate – Latin Translation by Jerome. Early 5c. close to MT. Proto-Masoretic text vowels not added yet.
  • QumRan – 3rd c. to 1c. Found 2 manuscripts of Samuel in the 4th cave 4QSamB – end of 3rd c. bce affinity to vulgate of old Greek translation into Hebrew. 4QSamA (B was studied before A) Close to MT – expansionist tendency affinities to Lucian codex
  • Quotes from Scripture – Josephus 1c. ce Textual tradition from 4QSamA this is not so reliable.

My prof is big on writing, she hopes that by writing I will memorize more.

Chanukah …

May your holiday be blessed as we light the first candle…

Mischief, Mayhem and Make Believe…

theology.jpgDon’t you just love that title? Mischief, mayhem and make believe…

I had a friend when I was growing up who named her cat Mischief. There was also trouble and woe. Mayhem, I don’t know if I am causing mayhem tonight but there is mayhem in my head over studying for this midterm exam tomorrow night.

I’ve kept to a nightly reading schedule. I have read over all my slides from the power point presentations and I have read my book, chapter for chapter. I am hoping that my ability to retain information will work with this much information that needs to be reviewed. The prof said that he might split the exam in two giving one exam to the undergraduates and one to the graduates, and that makes me very nervous. I am hoping, and praying that he doesn’t bang us with an exam that will be harder than his usual essay exam.

I have to say that Gnosticism is a very interesting topic because when one reads the different writers and what they spin off of Christianity it makes a little sense. When you read the mishnas that deal with early Judaism and apocalyptic texts and old testament scripture, questions do come up.

Questions like:

  • Who was God talking to in the garden?
  • Was the serpent really wise and not so sinister?
  • What is meant by the fact that there are 2 creation stories?
  • What was up with God?
  • If God is omniscient then he should have known already that Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree, and were naked? He did not have to ask the questions…

Genesis 3:8-13

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

If God was God. He would have known the answers to these questions before he asked them. If you take scripture line for line and you ask the right questions of them, you come up with some pretty interesting observations.

There are a lot more questions to look at, I just thought I’d share a few with you here. I am going to go back to my books now and continue reading for the rest of the night.

I may not fail after all, but I am unsure of just how well I will do tomorrow.

More to come, stay tuned …

Prayers …


Not a lot going on here. Lots of studying, and tomorrow I am attending a funeral for my friend Carmi, his dad died last night. We offer our prayers and condolences.

John The Baptizer … Thoughts

Do you believe in Love

I’m in the process of reading “John the Baptizer” by Brooks Hansen and last night I hit a point of question. I know this is based on several ancient texts compiled to produce a story so here is where I reached my point of question.

Even though different texts are used in the writing of fiction or stories about extra biblical sources – one always must read with a skeptical mind so as not to be coerced into wrong belief or to warp ones belief system.

There is mention of the Star, The Magi and the decree of Herod. But no mention is made about Joseph, Mary or Jesus. In this telling, the writer is telling short stories about the life of John the Baptist. The birth of Jesus is intimated by the story surrounding the Star, but no direct mention of them.


Elizabeth is concerned that Zechariah does not take the child to the Temple for presentation which goes on for weeks and week, and eventually does not happen. *** (See Below) John is neither circumcised nor named or presented in the Temple.


In the book, Zechariah goes to the Temple – which he does every morning and is accosted on the steps by several people asking him if he is the “father of John.” He neither denies or confirms his role in the child’s life.


Elizabeth had been warned by Tab-Zumin to flee her home and go to a place where they were not known, but Elizabeth counters this warning and threatens them with telling Zechariah what they have said. The appearance of the star in the sky is trigger that is putting into motion several things all at once.


Herod is on his deathbed, giving orders for the first born male children in the kingdom to be killed. Mysteriously, Elizabeth takes John into the hills, by way of unmarked paths and finds a cave to hide in. She is met by a golden light and by two people. A woman called “The Lilith” and an “angelic being that had light coming from within him.”

They pledged to protect Elizabeth and John and Elizabeth goes to sleep and falls into a deeper sleep than she had ever known. When she awoke, she found that all three people, the man, the Lilith and John were gone.

Zechariah disappears from the Temple, his absence from the celebrations are marked by those who have witnessed a stain on the Temple floor. Zechariah never is seen again. Nor does he know where his wife and child had gone.


Par ‘am is a man who belongs to a tribe of people called “the Subba.” The most learned and holy members of the tribe were called Nasurai. The man named Par’am was one of these. Par’am worked to become a Perfect. He accomplishes this task and becomes a spirit of sorts where others cannot see him, or they don’t acknowledge his presence any longer.

He had found a place called the “Mshuni-Kushta, the land of life itself.” He was welcomed by Zahara’il, the bride of Hibil-Ziwa who first divided the heavens and the earth. He meets “The Lilith” who takes him to the cave where Elizabeth was, there with the child, The Lilith lets Elizabeth glimpse the mystery. Then Par’am took the child’s hand, and together with the Lilith, they departed.

They took the child to the white mountains of Parwan, there in the river waters Par’am baptized him. He let the water wash over him. He spoke the word of life upon him and kissed him on the forehead, to seal and protect him.

The Lilith blessed the child as well, and then she left them there. Only Par’am remained, both as guardian to John, and as earthly vesture – the Uthra Anush (a figure of light that never died but walked with God), who was to be the child’s spirit guide and light.

For one more night John nursed from the fruit of the Thadi tree, then the following morning Par’am took him on his arm, and together they started east.


It fell to the nursemaid Battai to offer the neighbors in Ein Karim an explanation for what happened to John. (Ein Karim is where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived). Elizabeth was in mourning for her son. The town did not hold a feast, and finally it was Elizabeth who entered the circle and told all to go home. She was reconciled: Her husband was not returning.

Par’am took John all the way through the wilderness  to the far side of the Jordan, all the way to the hidden wadi and the little tribe of potters who lived among the caves there, the Subba.

Par’am took to teaching John all the things he needed to know. John knew he was blessed, not just because of what Par’am was teaching him but because of what the uthra let him see.

John forgets in time, the mother who bore him and the father who doted on him, in opt for the new family with the Subba.

*** This is the point I am at tonight ***

In Anne Rice’s – Christ the Lord out of Egypt:

The families of Joseph and Mary and their familial counterparts have gone to Jerusalem for the Passover, where there was a massacre of worshipers. The people flee Jerusalem and end up at the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Page 85- onwards:

Elizabeth tells the family that she has made a decision that John is to go to the Essenes. Elizabeth continues …

We have brethren with them, grandsons of Matthias and Naomi, who went out long ago to the desert to live with them, and I’ve spoken with them and they will take him, even now…

I have already provided for John with the Essenes and they wait for my word, or for him to come to those that live on the other side of the Jordan and they will take him far away from here to where he’s to be brought up removed from the affairs of men.

In this telling Elizabeth and John are amongst the family at the Passover. Yeshua actually meets and spends time with the boy John. Although John speaks very little to Yeshua, they sense something big about him.

Elizabeth recounts Zechariah’s accosting in the Temple:

Now they accosted him in the temple (Herod’s men), these soldiers, as he came out of the Sanctuary where he had fulfilled his duty as it was him time as a priest. And do you think he would tell them where to find his son? He had already hidden me away with the baby. We had gone into the caves near the Essenes and they had brought food to us. And he wouldn’t tell these soldiers where we were.

They pushed him and knocked him to his knees, and this right outside the Sanctuary, and the other priests could not stop them. And do you think they even tried? Do you think the scribes came to his defense? Do you think the chief priests came to protest?

The beat Zechariah. They beat him because he would say nothing, and with one fine blow to his head, they killed him. Right before the Lord.

The kinsmen of Zechariah, all of them priests, saw to his burial with  his ancestors.

In the Baptizer, there is no mention made of the Essenes, yet so far. And here we have two conflicting stories about what really happened to the little family and where John ended up to be raised. I find it particularly interesting because I enjoy reading side literature. Like I have said, side literature gives voice and narration to the bible that one might not necessarily be aware of and I think it is good to have these stories floating in ones head when reading scripture. It is enlightening, to say the least.

Here are two very different accounts of what happened to John the baptist as a child and what became of his parents. This is what happens when you study scripture and the stories written around them.

There is not much mention of John the Baptist as a baby and growing up in biblical sources. Except for the passages in the Gospel of Luke. Here is that passage which tells the story – a short story.

The Birth of John the Baptist – Luke 1:57-80

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Zechariah’s Song

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Teaching on the Gospel of John…

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus – Jn. 3:1-8

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”


In the Gospel of John, there is no mention of miracles, as in the other Gospels. Miracles in John are called “signs” and we can see here in this reading from today that John is telling a story of Jesus evident here is the High Christology of John. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Jesus is talking about things above, not things of the earth.

The narrator gives an explanation of ambiguous statements. There are literal and non-literal understandings, and also spiritual meanings. In John 3:1-3, we have the statement being born from above or born again, this is a spiritual or celestial birth. Nicodemus misunderstands Jesus, and the author of the Gospel plays on this passage.In this discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus (1:21) (3:28-30, 36) the information is not adequately integrated. (11-13 – 31-36) there is an opposition between earth and heaven.

Let us look further into the Gospel of John:

There is a difference between John and the synoptic Gospels.

  • John the Baptist’s witness of Jesus (1:19-34)  John the Baptist is never named “The Baptist” in John
  • Jesus’ purification of the Temple (2:12-22) this is placed at the beginning of John, but is found further on in the synoptics
  • The feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-13)
  • Jesus walks on water (6:16-21)
  • Peter’s confession of Jesus (6:66-71)
  • Mary’s anointing of Jesus at Bethany (12:1-8)
  • Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (12:12-19)
  • Jesus’ last supper (13:1-30) Jesus washes feet
  • Passion and Resurrection Narratives (Jn 18-20)  The discussion between Pilate and Jesus’ crucifixion scene

Miracles in the fourth Gospel:

Only 2 of the 29 synoptic miracles are found in John. The feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water. Five other “signs” are absent in the synoptics

  1. Water into wine (2:1-11) Mary is named Mother of Jesus
  2. Healing of the Royal Officers son (4:46-54) maybe (Mt 8:5-10)
  3. Healing of the man at Bethzada (5:1-9) on the sabbath
  4. Healing of the blind man (9:1-7)
  5. Resurrection of Lazarus (11:33-44) This action seals the death of Jesus

Chronology of the Fourth Gospel:

There is one journey to Jerusalem in the synoptics (1 year) yet John mentions 3 passover feasts (approximately 3 years) John (2:13, 5:1, 6:4, 7:10, 10:22-23,11:55 and 12:1-12)

  • Jn 2:13 – The Purification of the Temple  in Jerusalem
  • Jn 5:1 – The festival of the Jews – Jerusalem visit once again
  • Jn 6:4 – Passover mentioned – Jesus feeds the 5000
  • Jn 7: 2-11 – Jesus goes to Jerusalem
  • Jn 10:22-23 – Feast of Dedication (In the Temple) Jerusalem
  • Jn 11:55 – Passover
  • Jn 12:1-12 – Jesus is going to come to Jerusalem

John has access to other materials. There are tensions in John (problems) it’s not about chronology but Theology in John.

Johannine Double Christology: everything that pertains to the identity of Jesus Christ. Christology much more present, not so much ethics of the kingdom of God, focuses more on faith, the only prerequisite for eternal life.

John 20:30-31

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This you see the Subjunctive aorist – “That you may come to believe”
Here you see the Subjunctive present – “These are written so that you will continue to believe”

There is something more in John about Jesus. (Jn:1-18) refers to Jesus divine origin – this inclusion refers to Jesus having a divine origin with God which comes back at the end of the Gospel, on the part of the doubter (20:28) “My Lord and My God.”


The Gospel of John was written in stages or redacted in stages.

  1. Pre-Johnannine (John) traditions were independent traditions from the synoptics (record of sayings and deeds)
  2. Kernel of the Johannine traditions basically is or represents expansion of stage 1. They added Joahnnine theology also from the people who were preaching at that time.
  3. The actual redaction of the Gospel – the writing
  4. A second edition of the Gospel
  5. And we end up with the final edition of the Gospel (chapter 21)

From a Source perspective John was not a one shot writing. The prologue in John is the interpretive key to John. There is the community of the Beloved Disciple.

AUTHOR – is not necessarily the writer (21:24) from whom received the tradition – the message giver.
EVANGELIST – The writer composes the work elements of tradition recording of the author and put tradition in narrative form this adds theological flair.
REDACTOR – is the one who completed the editing work of the evangelist, there may be more redactors.

The authorship of the Gospel of John: Was the Gospel of John written by the Disciple whom Jesus Loved?

Jn 13:23 – Only the Beloved Disciple knows who will betray Jesus
19: 26-27 – He was at the foot of the cross
20:2 – At the Tomb
21:7 – Redactional chapter – fishing with Peter
21:20-24 – Testimony of this person – person who wrote the Gospel received testimony from the Beloved Disciple.

The Disciple whom Jesus Loved:

13:23 The Beloved Disciple
19:26-27 – Beloved Disciple identified with Mother
Jn. 20:22-23 The Outpouring of Spirit – Johannine Pentecost, the result will be the mission.
Jn. 19:30 – Jesus Giving up his Spirit – the Gospel is written for “insiders”

The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple are representative of the Johannine community. The symbols of water and the symbols of the spirit (Jn. 7/ 20:20-23) When Jesus dies – he gives up his spirit. Everything happens at the Cross – The cross is the moment where Jesus dies and returns to the Father. When the Son of Man will be lifted up (on the cross) The Christology of the Son of Man ( refers to Daniel chapter 7 ).

Christology of the Son of God

Jesus is more than the Messiah, carries attributes that traditional Jews would have given to the Messiah. The Son of God carries glory and power of the Father and the only begotten son.

Johannine Christology of the “agent of the Father” Judicial clauses – Jesus is the plenipenitentiary – the mediator. Someone sent with the power of the one who sent him.

Jewish law elaborated a Charter of Rights, responsibility of the one who was sent. Responsibility clauses are discernable (sender and agent) the relationship between Jesus and the Father – Judicial Christology.

Mandate Clause:
The existence of the mission. Choose the right representative – the son or elder son. The person invested with full rights and the same authority of the sender, the Father in John is the sender – Jesus is the one who is sent. (Jn. 3:31-34, Jn. 5:21-23, Jn. 6:39, Jn. 13:3, Jn. 17:10)

The Judicial Equality Clause: (Jn. 10:30,38, 12:45)
There is a judicial equality between the sender and the agent this explains a series of passages – (Jn. 5:23, 12:44, 13:20, 15:23 ) There is an equality between Jesus and the Father. (Jn. 13:16, 15:20, 14:28)

We would never know the Father except through Jesus

The Obedience of the Agent Clause:
The agent had to be faithful and obedient. (4:34, 6:38) “I come to do the will of him who sent me” (7: 16-18, 18:28-38, 12:49-50, 14:24, 5:43) Jesus only teaches what he receives from the Father.

The Return and Reckoning Clause:
Mandate – equality – responsibility – return with an account. This is the theme of the return of Jesus to the Father. (13 – 17) (13:3) In John 17:1-4 Jesus knows his work is done, Jn. 17:6 it is made known to the Father.

Why is Jesus the Plenipenitentiary – to introduce the Father

Prologue 1:1-2 and the word was turned to God (in the Greek) There is an auto revelation of God – seen through the prophets of the Old Testament. This word will become incarnate. Jesus will be the one to incarnate the word – the culminating point – that Jesus comes from the Father. The word (Divine Autorevelation) Christology of the Son of Man.

The Son of Man differs from the Son of God

Daniel 7:13 apocalyptic literature. Designates Jesus as eschatalogical judge – (Synoptics – Divine Heavenly Being)

John – Son of Man titled 1:50-51 The ladder of Jacob in Genesis – the some of man is associated to heaven, ascending and descending. (3:11-15) Son of Man related to heaven because he is descended a heavenly being.

Numbers 21:4-9 – The Son of Man will be lifted up, believe in him (the Son of Man) elevation of the Son of Man. The source for eternal life. John 3:11-15 (Born from above) (2Cor 5:17, Gal 5:6) Being someone new. John 6:61-62 Ascending to where he was before. The elevation of man has to be seen, taken note of. John 12:20-36 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

John 12:31-33 Eschatalogical judgment coming. The Prince of the earth (the devil) will be debunked.

We have here the double existence of lifting up the Son of Man. Lifted up on the cross – The cross as way to return, to ascend – everything happens at the crossas supreme king. (the crucifixion and elevation)

This is a realized eschatology – In John the eschatological moment comes at the cross. The elevation is the death. Why does the writer need a second Christology?

The cross is a shame ( Deuteronomy 21:22-23)

Various Laws

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Cursed be the one who is hung on wood.

Here the cross becomes a participant – not a scandal for the Son of Man. The two Christologies integrate the cross, the Son of Man is returning to God to give a report. For the Son of God – the cross is a problem.

Jesus is in total control of his destiny. John 13:27 …

We find a lower Christology in the Synoptic Gospels Mt, Mk, Lk – The Son of God is linked to the Messiahship. in John Jesus is the plenipenitentiary of the Father. Jesus the Son of Man is lifted up – The death of Jesus with his elevation is Glorification encapsulated in the Crucifixion scene. It is a relaized eschatology – at the cross.