Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Chag Kasher Vesameach!

In case that's a bit obscure, let me repeat the greeting using some Yiddish: May you have a kosher un freilachen pesach. There are of course two Hebrew words even in the Yiddish but the middle bit is plain German: und froelichen in High German. People sometimes grumble at me when I say that Yiddish is a German dialect with a few Hebrew words thrown in but you have just seen an example of that. Anyway, I am wishing my Jewish readers "a happy and kosher passover"

Curiously, Passover and Easter coincide closely this year. Passover is this Thursay and Good Friday is this Friday. The dating of Easter is loosely based on the Jewish custom but the two days can still fall quite a way apart.

It always amazes me what a hash Christians make of Christ's commandment: "This do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22: 19). They just don't do it. Easter is supposed to be the Christian remembrance of the Last Supper but no Christian service is anything like a Passover Seder. And, even more strangely, instead of the taking of the bread and the wine being an annual event, some Christians do it daily! Even Presbyterians do it once a quarter. And most services are in the morning instead of in the evening!

If there really are any Christians around who try to remain faithful to the Bible, they should be arranging with a local Jewish community to attend a seder this Thusday. I am not the one commanding it. Christ commanded it!

I have not this year made any arrangements to attend a seder myself but I may drop in to the Good Friday service at my old church if I wake up early enough. But I only go to church for sentimental reasons these days. I don't believe in any of it any more. And Good Friday is normally the one day of the year when I do like to renew my connections with the great Protestant traditions and thinking that remade our world. Getting out of bed in time for a 9am service is a bit of a challenge, though. That's normally when I wake up! Retirement has its advantages.


My Annual Visit to a Mainline Protestant Church

The following is from someone else who rarely goes to a mainstream church -- for reasons quite different from mine. I share his heartache, however. It is painful to have empty twaddle preached from the pulpits of a once great faith. The "ministers" concerned defile the religion they purport to represent. Fortunately, in my old church the old faith is still preached. I am as comfortable with that as I am uncomfortable with the theological prostitutes who have taken over many modern churches

I made my annual visit to a Sunday morning service in a "mainline Protestant church" a couple weeks ago. It is an eerie experience. Heart-wrenchingly eerie.

A magnificent building.

A magnificent choir singing, "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of he world, have mercy on us" (in Latin).

A closing hymn, "Lord, I want to be a Christian."

Three women pastors on the platform and two men.

Pews filled with well-to-do looking folks.

The reason I say it was eerie is that much of this religious language means something totally different in their minds from what I mean by it. There is a keeping of the language and a demythologizing of the original meaning.

On one of our earlier visits No. l recalls the pastor saying that when he was a child he used to read stories like the one about Jesus walking on the water as if they were literally true.

What made my visit heart-wrenching was that the children's choir sang these words-trust me, I am copying them from the bulletin-"Birds and trees, people and plants, dolphin and whale all lives are equal. . . . Sister Rain, Brother Stone bring us back to our true home."

So when I stand at my study window that looks out over the downtown cityscape of Minneapolis, I pray: "O God, have mercy on us. Send a shocking revival to the churches-and a great awakening to this city. In Jesus' mighty name. Amen."



Warnings on Iran

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the nuclear threat from Tehran

Benjamin Netanyahu formally became Israel's Prime Minister last week, and he could not have been blunter about the strategic challenge ahead: "It is a mark of disgrace for humanity that several decades after the Holocaust the world's response to the calls by Iran's leader to destroy the state of Israel is weak, there is no condemnation and decisive measures -- almost as if dismissed as routine." He added, "We cannot afford to take lightly megalomaniac tyrants who threaten to annihilate us."

Americans in key positions have noticed this Israeli message. In a meeting Thursday at the Journal, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told us that "there is a leadership in Israel that is not going to tolerate" a nuclear Iran. Tehran's atomic designs, he said, were a matter of "life or death" for the Jewish state. "The operative word is 'existential.'" When we asked him whether Israel was capable of inflicting meaningful damage to Iran's nuclear installations, his answer was a simple "Yes."

The Admiral was also clear about Iran's challenge to the U.S. "I think we've got a problem now. . . . I think the Iranians are on a path to building nuclear weapons." For the time being his counsel is diplomacy, noting that "Even in the darkest days of the Cold War we talked to the Soviets." But, he added, "we don't have a lot of time."

If Israel decides to strike Iran the consequences -- intended and unintended -- will be felt far and wide, including in Iraq where, Admiral Mullen says, Iran's ability to cause mayhem "has not maxed out at all." We thought readers might like to know how the Chairman sees the threat, and how well he appreciates Israel's peril.




Portugal's drug decriminalization success: "Champions of harsh drug criminalization laws as the best solution to curbing drug use will be chagrined to find that Portugal's eight year history of decriminalization has led to lower drug usage rates. According to a new report entitled, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies, while drug use across the European Union has risen steadily since 2000, Portugal, which has the most liberal drug laws of any country, has actually seen its prevalence rates decrease in various age groups since it decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Prevalence rates measure how many people have consumed drugs over the course of their lifetime."

AP would "rein in" sites using its content : "Taking aim at the way news is spread across the Internet, The Associated Press said on Monday that websites that used the work of news organizations must obtain permission and share revenue with them, and that it would take legal action against those that did not. A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds. They said they did not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it."[I would be delighted to give AP half of my revenue from my blogs. 50% of zero is still zero]

Don't leave the driving of GM to them : "Anyone who's a car buff ought to get a hearty laugh out of the Obama administration's insistence that Chrysler's ultimate survival is based on its willingness to merge in the next 30 days or so with Fiat, the maker of notoriously unreliable cars. The rumor is that Fiat is not really an Italian acronym for Italian Automobile Factory of Turin (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino), but is an English acronym for Fix It Again Tony. The president has told Chrysler that it must make nice with the Italians or lose its enormous taxpayer-funded allowance. . You have folks who can't master $50 tax software thinking they can solve the enormously complex financial problems of one of the world's most significant industries. Would you trust the Treasury secretary (or most anyone in this administration) to fill out your taxes correctly?"

The growing chorus against foreign aid: "She may be speaking of Latin America, but the problem is true everywhere Western donor nations ladle dollops of aid to poor countries. The notion that public policy problems cannot be solved by throwing money at them should not be controversial - yet when it comes to poverty in developing countries, that remains the largely dominant approach. Thankfully, however, Mary O'Grady's critique appears part of a growing chorus, as the media attention that Zambian author Dambisa Moyo is receiving for her new book Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and Why There is a Better Way for Africa."

Government stimulus packages are attempts to deny reality : "Government demand-management policies aimed at stimulating economic activity do not and cannot create any new wealth - economic stimulants will not succeed. Government stimulus proposals are illogical. The government cannot inject money into the economy without first removing it from the economy. The government can distribute funds only by collecting more taxes, borrowing from the private sector, or printing additional money. There can be no stimulus if the government increases the ability of some people to spend by decreasing other people's ability to spend. When a government taxes or borrows it simply transfers spending power from private owners to political spenders."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)



Robert said...

Thanks for the "Government Stimulus Packages are Attempts to Deny Reality" article. I finally got a clear explanation of Say's Law from that. The paragraph that said:

"Demand (i.e., consumption ) follows from the production of wealth. People demand from the wealth their production created. What a person demands is predicated upon what he supplies. Say thus recognized that all men are both producers and consumers and that if a person wants to obtain a good he must provide something in return that is desirable to another.... No one can legitimately demand something before first supplying a product or service of value to others."

explains it better than "Supply creates its own demand." Glad I found this.

Anonymous said...

About the Christian communion service. It's not a Passover feast even though it was first initiated during one and it was not a Passover feast that was commanded.

The practice of the congregations of the early church was to have communion whenever they gathered together and not just once a year and it's another failing of the mainstream churches that they've let that slide to an infrequent observance.

Many of the mainstream churches had their hierarchy taken over by the left long ago so their eventual demise became inevitable.