Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Israel, What Are Christians to Think?

Some good sound opinions at Derek Leman's website on the current uproar regarding Israel. On one side are the Christian Zionists, who would shout "Yeah Israel" no matter what they did, for good or for bad; on the other, those who won't ever give Israel the benefit of the doubt about anything, and even begrudge them the right to exist as a state.

Here's what Derek has to say:

Let me suggest a Jewish view, a biblical view of the situation:

1. Israel is the people elected freely and irrevocably by God, whose destiny and purpose serve as the forefront of God’s plan of world redemption.
2. Israel’s relationship with God is one of unconditional love and favor, but its temporal fortunes are tied to the covenant relationship through Torah.
3. The state of Israel is a secular government with little regard for Torah, which is obligated to follow the divine commandments and is not, and which is not guaranteed peace or success in any generation until there is renewal.

Read here for more...

Friday, June 18, 2010

William Gibson, on the "future" of Science Fiction

To some, "future" is what science fiction is all about. William Gibson begs to differ. His last few books have been set in the present (as for myself, at least one of my SF books is set in the distant past, during Earth's recorded history).

The blog post I'm highlighting here is that of William Gibson, himself, and it's a transcription of a luncheon talk on the release of his latest novel, Zero History. He starts by giving some current events which, I must admit, do sound like SF:

Say it’s midway through the final year of the first decade of the 21st Century. Say that, last week, two things happened: scientists in China announced successful quantum teleportation over a distance of ten miles, while other scientists, in Maryland, announced the creation of an artificial, self-replicating genome. In this particular version of the 21st Century, which happens to be the one you’re living in, neither of these stories attracted a very great deal of attention.
It's a great talk for anyone interested in the genre of science fiction. Read the rest here...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

twinkle twinkle giant star...

sung to the tune of a familiar nursery rhyme:

twinkle twinkle giant star
now i understand what you are
many light-years up so high
nuclear furnace in the sky ...

do you wish upon that star?
please, oh please, stay where you are!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Jewish Prophecy

For the last six or seven years, I've been on the list of a Yahoo Group called . I'm not sure how I got the invitation to join, but I got it and I did. Many on the list appear to be Zionist radicals of the non Messianic sort -- a few of them, militant. Now and then I've found a gem. I believe I've found one just now. It would be easy, of course, to take the following the wrong way, but I believe there's something there.

This is not the usual sort of thing that a nice Christian boy like me would post on a blog, but here goes:


Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Many Jews talk about the need to make Israel an authentic Jewish state, and of course they know what is an authentic Jewish state. It's a state based on the Torah, on the Sinai Covenant. It's a state whose ultimate purpose is to sanctify the Name of God by revealing His infinite Wisdom, Power and Graciousness in every domain of existence.

But if we understand what an authentic Jewish state is, why don’t we have a road map to such state? The basic reason is because we have focused our attention and energies on the “Arab problem,” more precisely the “Palestinian problem.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only is entire world is focused on the Palestinian problem, but Israel's Government is committed to the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state on Israel's own territory! Let's try to get to the bottom of this bizarre situation.

(1) Israeli governments have focused the world’s attention on the Palestinian problem because these foolish governments have failed to address Israel's most fundamental problem the Jewish problem!

(2) Stated another way, every Israeli government has been focused on the territorial-
cum-security issue. So lo and behold, Israel is losing territory and has never been more insecure!

Want more? Okay.

(3) Israel’s (paranoid) prime ministers are always preoccupied with Israel’s image in the media or among the nations. This is precisely why Israel has never had a more horrible image among the nations.

Are you getting the message? You all know that the Zionist enterprise had two basic goals: to provide for the security and restore the dignity of the Jewish people by establishing a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. Right?

But where was God in this scenario? Do you find God mentioned in Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State—Herzl, the only name mentioned in the document now called Israel’s Declaration of Independence?

So, instead of God, what does Israel look up to—because if a people have nothing to look up to, it’s on the way to looking down on its feet. Instead of looking up to God it will look up to man. It’s called "humanism." But inasmuch as biologists such as Richard Dawkins have shown that man is descended from the apes, an awful lot of Israelis have discovered that Israel has no statesman at the helm—just apes!

Let me put it another way. What do Israel’s decision-makers and opinion-makers exalt? But of course—DEMOCRACY! Everyone knows this. Everyone knows that the paramount concern of Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—is to secure Israel’s reputation as a Democracy. This is what gives Israel's government Legitimacy and Israel's elites with Respectability. Right? But notice that the nations are now seeking to delegitimize Israel despite its vaunted democracy! Sort of ironic, no?

But where is the Torah in this Israeli scenario? Wasn’t it the Torah that preserved the Jewish people and endowed them with personal and national dignity?

Will someone tell me what would have happened to the Jewish people after the destruction of the Second Temple without the Torah? Why they would have become as extinct as the dodo. Which means that had Israel been led by the likes of Yitzhak Rabin (read Shimon Peres), Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Binyamin Netanyahu—and let's add that "everything-is-justiciable" jurisprudent Aharon Barak—the Jews would have suffered the fate of the Neanderthals.

Poor Israel! Having abandoned the God of Israel and the Torah, various leaders of the so-called Jewish state are so desperate that they solicit the political support of Christians! Christians may think this is the fulfillment of prophecy.

But the Jewish sages knew that in the end of days, Israel would be ruled by paltry governments. That's where Israel is today. Like the foolish governments of Europe and the United States, they are succumbing to Allah and the Quran—to barbarians. But don't despair. The Jewish sages saw the current state of affairs as a preliminary to a renaissance of Hebraic civilization.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Jesus Manifesto: The Interview with the Authors at Next Wave

With all the perceptions of what "Emerging Church" stands for (ie: neo-liberal, social gospel, etc), I find this a breath of fresh air. It's written from what I would broadly refer to as Emerging Church, and it brings an emphasis that many see as lacking, namely, the centrality of Yeshua -- thus, the title Jesus Manifesto. Here are some quotes from the interview that stood out to me:

Frank: We believe that the Jesus disclosed to us in the New Testament is the same Christ whom the Holy Spirit reveals today. He is the Christ of the cosmos, the Christ of Eternity, the Alpha and the Omega, as well as the Christ who lived on this earth as the quintessential human – the second Adam, or more accurately, the Last Adam – who then died, rose again, was glorified, ascended, enthroned, and now lives in His people...

...Scholars have spent a lot trying to figure out the exact nature of the erroneous teaching that captured the minds and hearts of the Colossian believers.

One of the reasons why there is so much debate over it is because Paul never directly addresses the problem. Paul’s primary way of dealing with church problems is to give God’s people a stunning unveiling of Jesus Christ. (Therein lies a valuable lesson for all church leaders.)...

...One side argues for the Jesus of justice – who is largely derived from the Gospel accounts. The other side argues for the Jesus of justification – who is largely drawn from some of Paul’s statements in Galatians and Romans.

While Len and I embrace the Jesus of justice and the Jesus of justification, our book attempts to present a Christ who is far greater, far more glorious, and far richer than simply being the Justice-Giver or the Justifier.

We feel that this third vision of Jesus is sorely neglected in our time. It’s possible to put justice and justification on the throne, and leave the living Christ out in the cold....

...With respect to your last question, I am of the opinion that the driving force of much of the house church, organic church, simple church, and missional church movements is not Jesus Christ. And so I’d like to see this changed. Hopefully, God will use the book toward that end...

Read the whole interview here...