Monday, September 05, 2016

Did Jesus really speak in the mystical manner portrayed in John 14?

I must say initially that I am not challenging Christian faith here.  Christians believe that God used men to express divine truths in their own way so the narratives from Apostle John can be seen as just another way of conveying important truths.

But most of John 14 is rather a gabble.  Christ constantly speaks of being IN the Father and the Father also being IN him.  He is quite repetitious about it.  He also however speaks of the disciples being in him and he being in them so an allusion to the Trinity doctrine cannot be read into it.  If there were any doubt about that, verse 28 puts it as rest.

As far as we can tell Jesus was a popular preacher so it seems unlikely to me that he spoke in a gabble that would do a French philosopher proud.  So it seems unlikely that John was trying to present the actual words of Jesus.  My view is that he was trying to present very emphatically something that Jesus taught.  And what that is is fairly clear.  He was trying to emphasize a unity of belief and purpose between himself and the Father.  He felt that he was so close to the Father that to see him was to see the Father.

So the passage is sensible enough if you allow for John's Gnostic way of writing. And from the opening verses of John's Gospel we have it made clear that John likes to present truths in that way.

Jesus also emphasises in the passage the importance of keeping his commandments -- so he was emphasizing the importance of his  commandments by saying that they were also the commandments of the Father.

The major puzzle in chapter 14, it seems to me, is what we are to make of the Paraclete (helper) that Jesus will send when he is gone. Again I think we have to look for a figurative meaning rather than accept some sort of "Holy Ghost" story.  And I think that the Paraclete must be the whole body of his teaching which will live on in the disciples.  That Christian teachings can indeed be very sustaining, we now know.  The way the Bible Students (Ernste Bibel Forscher) went to their deaths for refusing to bow the knee to Hitler is just one example of that strength.


Trumping The Establishment

The Washington Establishment hates Trump, because he promises to put them out of business

By Scot Faulkner

Why does The Washington Establishment hate Donald Trump? It is not because of his positions on immigration or trade. Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot advocated similar stands in 1992, and they did not generate the obsessive hatred being displayed in 2016.

Trump has declared war on The Establishment itself. In his June 16, 2015 Presidential announcement he asserted:

“So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life…. They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests…. It’s destroying our country. We have to stop them, and it has to stop now.”

So in a nutshell, The Washington Establishment has a visceral hatred for Donald Trump, because he promises to put their system out of business.

The Washington Establishment sees Trump as serious about them being the primary impediment to making America “great again.” He sees The Establishment as lining their pockets, and their friends’ pockets – as beneficiaries of the status quo. As long as nothing changes, The Establishment will have their mansions, limousines, VIP tables and ego trips.

There is much at stake.

Think of Washington, DC as a mass of “cookie jars,” each containing delicious treats. There are those who control the cookie jars, those who want the cookie jars, and those who can get the cookie jars.  Officially, these treats are distributed based on legislative mandates, open competition, and documented needs.

In fact, the treats are almost always handed out to friends, and friends of friends. Friends can be purchased. Friends help friends get reelected, and gain power, and get treats. It is Washington, DC’s “golden rule” – those with the gold rule.

Welcome to “crony capitalism”.  Someone knowing someone who can hand out favors has been around since the first tribes shared the first harvest. The term “lobbyist” came from favor seekers hanging out in the lobby of Washington, DC’s Willard Hotel during the Grant Administration in the 1870s.

In 1905, George Washington Plunkett, a ward boss in the Tammany Hall political machine, coined what could be the motto of Washington, DC: “What is the Constitution among friends?”

Today, things have gotten way out of hand. Spending for Washington lobbyists has tripled since 1998 to over $3.22 billion a year. Favor seekers spend $24 million on lobbyists each day Congress is in session.

Campaign fundraising is another dimension of how The Establishment stays in power. Over $750 million has been raised for House races and $520 million for Senate races this election cycle. Leaders of Political Action Committees (PACs), and individual bundlers who raise funds, dominate this ultimate game of “pay for play.”

Those brokering power become gatekeepers for funding and favors throughout the Federal Government. This power comes from a truism overlooked by everyone in the media: all discretionary federal money is earmarked. The popular myth is that earmarks vanished once the Republicans banned them when they returned to power in 2011.

In fact, they only banned legislative earmarks, and there are still ways to work around that system. The President, and his appointees, earmark funds as standard operating procedure.  Even career bureaucrats play favorites.

Favorites can be based on institutional, Administration and ideological biases. Favoritism can also go to the highest bidder. This is federal money flowing out the door as grants, programs, contracts, buildings, leases and employment.

Other “treats” to be dispensed include regulatory relief, tax waivers and subsidies. Favoritism is rarely purchased with money directly changing hands; that kind of corruption occurs more in state and local government. Washington level corruption is true “quid pro quo.”

The Washington Establishment swaps favors more insidiously. How many times does a military officer get a major position with a defense contractor years after he favored them with a multi-million dollar contract? A Reagan aide granted a building height waiver near the White House and quadrupled his salary when hired by the developer.

Grant and contract officers obtain slots at prestigious colleges and prep schools for their children for making the “right” choices or being a little lax on oversight.

Bush era National Park officials refused to prosecute the destruction of park land in exchange for Redskins tickets. Obama era Fish & Wildlife Service officials give wind turbine companies 5- and 30- year exemptions from endangered species and eagle protection, so they can slaughter eagles, hawks, falcons, other birds and bats by the hundreds of thousands year after year – while “commoners” get fined or jailed merely for “possessing” a bald eagle feather.

Hillary Clinton gets exonerated from a host of transgressions, in exchange for who knows what.

Everyone has their price, save for “true public servants.”

Trump promises to smash the cookie jars and end the reign of The Establishment.

Normal Americans are rallying around Trump. They are enraged at the lies and duplicity of those in power. Many see a reason to vote for the first time since Reagan. They want November 8, 2016 to be America’s “Bastille Day,” marking the end of Washington, DC’s arrogant and unaccountable ruling class.

Billions of dollars are at stake. Perks, prestige and power are at stake. The future of representative government is at stake. Is it any wonder that The Establishment is doing everything and anything to stop Trump?



Trump boosts minority outreach with Philadelphia visit

Donald Trump was met with tears and gratitude as he sat with African-American supporters Friday, including the mother of a slain young woman who was killed by a man living in the United States illegally.

The back-to-back meetings, held in a ballroom in Northwest Philadelphia, underscored the balancing act the Republican nominee is playing as he tries to expand his support in the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

While Trump works to broaden his appeal among more moderate and minority voters, he is also working to maintain his popularity with his core GOP base by pressing his hard-line views on immigration.

At the invite-only roundtable discussion, Trump met with a dozen local business, civic, and religious leaders who praised him for coming to the city as part of his outreach efforts.

Trump was warmly received by the group, including Daphne Goggins, a local Republican official, who wiped away tears as she introduced herself to Trump, saying she has been a Republican for years but, ‘‘for the first time in my life, I feel like my vote is going to count.’’

Renee Amoore, a local business leader, assured Trump that he has support in the black community, despite his low standing in public opinion surveys.

‘‘We appreciate you and what you’ve done, coming to the hood, as people call it. That’s a big deal,’’ she said.

In a separate development Friday, the Commission on Pr esidential Debates announced that NBC News chief anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first of three scheduled debates between Clinton and Trump scheduled for Sept. 26.

The first and third debates will be question-and-answer sessions, with a journalist choosing the topics. The third session will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News on Oct. 19.

ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will team up for the second session on Oct. 9, a town hall-style meeting with half of the questions to be posed by audience members.

Each of the debates is scheduled for 90 minutes, with a 9 p.m. EDT start time.

The commission also said Elaine Quijano of CBS News will lead the vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine on Oct 4.

Trump’s meeting in Philadelphia also showed the challenges he faces making inroads with African-Americans and Latinos.

Protesters gathered in front of the building where he appeared, and a coalition of labor leaders met nearby to denounce Trump’s outreach to black voters as disingenuous and insulting.

Ryan Boyer of the Labor District Council said Trump ‘‘has no prescription’’ to help inner-city people. ‘‘He did nothing for African-Americans in 30 years of public life,’’ he said. “We reject his notion that we have nothing to lose by supporting him.’’

The next stop for Trump is Detroit on Saturday, where blacks make up some 83 percent of the population.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: