Trump & Israel: A Jewish Perspective

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Heroin overdose victims being cannibalized for organs

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cannibalize – to remove parts, equipment, assets, employees, etc., from (an item, product, or business) in order to use them in another: to cannibalize old airplanes for replacement parts.

“An unexpected benefit from the opioid epidemic. The jump in overdose deaths has dramatically increased the number of organs available for transplants…” Continue reading: Drug Overdose Deaths Mean More Organ Transplants http://www.healthline.com/health-news/drug-overdose-deaths-cncrease-organ-transplants

Organ Donations Spike In The Wake Of The Opioid Epidemic https://n.pr/2dMdwpp

I didn’t realize this was going on until I watched the video(s) below this morning.

I realize people who lose a loved one, especially a child, want to think their loved one’s life had meaning.

In the video below, saying this woman saved eight people’s lives by shooting up heroin and overdosing is ridiculous.

She didn’t save anyone. She killed herself and her body was cannibalized for organs.

The (first) video is, to me, very disturbing, because of the way it turns bad behavior into a virtue.

You can be a junkie and save lives!

This is pure nonsense. It appears to be some sort of behavior modification and social engineering, which is designed to get us accept evil, and worse: to embrace evil as good.

What are heroin addicts going to think when they see this sort of thing? Does this give them an incentive to quit shooting up? No. It lets them know some good can come of their addiction. That even when they throw their lives away they can still be heroes.

Are lives lost to heroin overdoses making a difference?

Can you die from a heroin overdose and your life still have meaning?

Did one woman’s heroin overdose save 8 people’s lives?

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The Judgment of Jonah

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“That the conversion which God accepts is an interested one is self-evident. Every conversion is interested. Who can dare to say that his own life and death are of no concern to him? What ridiculous idealism would make us so pure, so spiritual, so objective that we could be converted for any other reason than because we are in danger of death and dangers of all kinds? To claim for oneself an abstract and idealistic conversion of this kind is to pretend to bring to God a valuable sacrifice, a perfect man. It is to want to replace Christ. It is to reach the summit of arrogance. The cry which God hears comes from the depths of the abyss, from sickness and suffering, from the heart which is humbled, bruised, and despairing. This is the cry which produces conversion because things cannot stay as they are, and conversion is a change of route for man. The moment a man decides to change his style of life in this way, the moment he remembers God again, his way which was plunging more and more deeply into the dark is suddenly directed to the light in a dizzy reascent. The truth is that God responds, not to our better feelings, but to the desperate cry of the man who has no other help but God. God responds just because man is in trouble and has nowhere to turn.

“Obviously, when man has somewhere to turn he does not pray to God and God does not come to him. As long as man can invent hopes and methods, he naturally suffers from the pretension that he can solve his own problems. He invents technical instruments, the state, society, money, and science. He also invents idols, magic, philosophy, spiritualism, and all these things give him hope in himself that he can direct his own life and control his destiny. They all cause him to turn his back on God. As long as there is a glimmer of confidence in these means man prefers to stake his life on them rather than handing it over to God. When the sailors tried to save the ship by their nautical skill, Jonah slept. All these aids had to be shattered, all solutions blocked, and man’s possibilities hopelessly outclassed by the power of the challenge, to cause Jonah to return to God. Only when man has lost the vast apparatus of civilization, in personal response, does man remember God.”

Jacques Ellul, The Judgment of Jonah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971) pp. 56-57

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Utilizing new media to speak directly to the people

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Newt Gingrich on Team Trump breaking the elite media in order to speak directly to the American people (after 1:26 in the video below):

“They can close down the elite press… They can create entirely new venues to inform the American people… They can go to Facebook and to YouTube…”

January 15, 2017 Sunday Talk | Who will win the war: Donald Trump or the media?

 

Newt knows what he’s talking about, because he’s done it before, using C-SPAN…

December 14, 1994 New York Times | Gingrich First Mastered the Media and Then Rose to Be King of the Hill https://nyti.ms/1Lg5DF1

Newt Gingrich Explains The Donald Trump Phenomenon (1:07:29) https://youtu.be/h3NN8-hXqCs

Donald Trump interview 1980 (Rona Barrett) [Reelin’ In The Years Archives]

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Can you imagine following Jesus apart from your politics?

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From Keith Giles’ blog

As we look forward to the release of my new book, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” on Jan. 20th, here’s a quick test to find out how entangled you are and where you might need help getting untangled.

Ask yourself:

Can you imagine following Jesus apart from your politics?

Do you find it intolerable to listen to anyone who disagrees with your political convictions?

Are you more upset when someone disrespects your nation’s flag than you are when they misrepresent the teachings of Jesus?

Does it offend you that the American flag is always flown above the Christian flag?

Would you give up being an American for Jesus?

If Jesus asked you to give up being an American and to stop pledging allegiance to your nation’s flag, would you do so? How would that make you feel?

Do you believe that God has blessed America more than any other nation on earth?

Are you convinced that America is a Christian nation?

Are you willing to fight a war in order to defend your nation, even if you know that doing so may result in the death of other Christians who happen to live in the nation you’re fighting?

Have you ever argued with another Christian about differences in politics and decided not to fellowship with that person due to your differing views?

Do you believe that one political party is more “Christian” than others?

NOTE: If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you might be entangled.

Hopefully my new book will help identify entanglements and clarify how best to navigate your way towards more freedom in Christ.

What do you think of these questions? Can you think of any other ways we can test our entanglements?

Please share in the comments below. [Link to Keith’s original post here]

Thanks,
kg

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Revelation and the End of All Things

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Jan van Eyck’s Adoration of the Lamb

I’ve finished reading Craig Koester’s book Revelation and the End of All Things and I thought I would share my opinion of his book.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be both informative and edifying. Oftentimes books written by scholars are pedantic and needlessly verbose but Koester’s isn’t. I appreciated his clarity, economy, and insight… all of which is presented in an easy to read format. This would be an excellent book for a Bible study group or a Sunday school class.

All too often books about Revelation are complex and complicated, because Revelation itself appears complex and complicated. In fact, when you read the book as a whole, which is the way Koester presents it, the book becomes a simple, repeating cycle of encouragements and warnings concerning our present situation.

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of Revelation, but you haven’t studied it because you think it’s too complicated to understand, get yourself a copy of Koester’s book, a copy of the Bible, and read through Revelation along with Koester’s book. You’ll be glad you did.

Craig R. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (2001) 223 pages

From the book:

“Reading Revelation as a whole shows that the book moves in a nonlinear way. This insight goes back to the third century, when Victorinus wrote the earliest existing commentary on Revelation, and many recent interpreters have found this approach quite helpful. An outline of the book looks like a spiral, with each loop consisting of a series of visions: seven messages to the churches (Rev. 1-3), seven seals (Rev. 4-7), seven trumpets (Rev. 8-11), unnumbered visions (Rev. 12-15), seven plagues (Rev. 15-19), and more unnumbered visions (Rev. 19-22). Visions celebrating the triumph of God occur at the end of each cycle (4:1-11; 7:1-17; 11:15-19; 15:1-4; 19:1-10; 21:1-22:5). This pattern, which provides an outline for the remaining chapters of this book, looks something like this (A. Y. Collins, Apocalypse, ix-xiv):

spiral-2

“Those who read Revelation as a whole encounter visions that alternately threaten and assure them. With increasing intensity the visions at the bottom of the spiral threaten the readers’ sense of security by confronting them with horsemen that represent conquest, violence, hardship, and death; by portents in heaven, earth, and sea; and by seemingly insuperable adversaries who oppose those who worship God and Christ. Nevertheless, each time the clamor of conflict becomes unbearable, listeners are transported into the presence of God, the Lamb, and the heavenly chorus. These visions appear at the top of the spiral. Threatening visions and assuring visions function differently, but they serve the same end, which is that listeners might continue to trust in God and remain faithful to God.” (p. 39)

“Two reasons why Revelation can and should speak to people today can be summed up around the poles of Christ and culture. First, readers often find that their cultural situations are analogous to those of the seven churches. Although Christians in the West may not be preoccupied with questions about eating meat offered to idols, many are aware of contemporary pressures to relinquish one’s faith commitments because of the appeal of assimilating into the wider culture, the complacency that arises from prosperity, or the threat of violence. As modern readers confront such issues, Revelation continues to challenge and encourage them. Second, Revelation speaks not only of relationships to culture, but of relationships to God ‘who was and is and is to come’ (4:8). Because God and the Lamb are not confined to one period of time, Revelation’s call to fear and hope in God and the Lamb are not confined to one time period either. Whether readers live in the first century or the twenty-first century, God and the risen Christ are there.” (pp. 202-203)

++++

Having finished Revelation, I’ve decided to begin reading through the gospel of John.

I’ll be reading the English King James Version, the Greek Textus Receptus, and Craig R. Koester’s Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community (Augsburg Books; 2 edition (2003) 368 pages

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America: The Seduction of Wealth and the Threat of Violence

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December 27-28 nonviolent witness at the Pentagon

I was reading Koester’s brief commentary on Revelation this morning and, again, I came across a passage that accurately describes the nation and culture in which I, as an American Christian, live:

“John sought to startle his readers into a greater awareness of the situation by depicting the counterpart to the community of faith as the harlot, who uses both the seduction of wealth and the threat of violence to extend her control over the peoples of the world (17:1-18:24).

What better description of the USA than as a harlot who uses the seduction of wealth and the threat of violence to extend her control over the peoples of the world?

One of the things I like about Koester’s commentary on Revelation is that it presents the book as a message of hope, encouragement, and warning to those who first read it and to those of us who read it today.

I’ve really enjoyed reading Koester’s book. It’s given me a much better understanding of Revelation. I highly recommend it.

The passage quoted above is presented in context below:

Holy City — Holy People

“Revelation addresses readers who are pulled in two directions, toward faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Accordingly, John wrote what might be called “A Tale of Two Cities,” because he identifies faithfulness with the holy city and unfaithfulness with the harlot city. Recall that in an earlier vision, ‘the holy city’ and its temple represented the people of God, who were oppressed by the nations, and yet preserved so that God’s witnesses could testify before the peoples of the world (11:1-3). Also recall that the people of God were pictured as a woman, who was pursued by the dragon and yet preserved by God in the wilderness (12:1-6, 13-17). The vision of the holy city and the vision of the woman both depict the same thing: the situation of the people of God on earth, as they live among the powers that seek to overwhelm them and to end their existence as a community of faith.

“Not all of John’s earliest readers would have seen their situation in such stark terms. In the cities where they lived — Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Philadelphia, and Laodicea — conditions varied. In some cities, Christians were threatened with violence, but in other cities the danger was a more subtle pressure to enhance their position by assimilating to the wider culture, or to find security in prosperity. John sought to startle his readers into a greater awareness of the situation by depicting the counterpart to the community of faith as the harlot, who uses both the seduction of wealth and the threat of violence to extend her control over the peoples of the world (17:1-18:24). John is aware that wealth and power are alluring, and that many are willing to compromise their integrity for the sake of comfort and prestige. Therefore he seeks to bolster his readers‘ will to resist by portraying the seamy side of the worldly powers that find violence intoxicating and reduce human relationships to a commercial transaction. He also presses upon readers that the harlot may seem alluring now, but her future is bleak, for the way of harlotry leads to destruction…” (Craig R. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (2001)  pp. 194-195)

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Jan van Eyck’s Adoration of the Lamb

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