AFN – National Day of Action

Today (June 29) was the National Day of Action as called by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Canada. I was in Regina, SK for the event and I decided (previously) to attend the event they hosted here – a march.

Part 1: March of Solidarity

We did a march from the First Nations University to the Legislation building in Regina – which is a fairly nice walk. Leading the group was a band called ‘Red Dog’ – a drum group that plays the drum and sings Aboriginal cultural music. They were followed by the dignitaries, the elders, the veterans, and then the crowd. I really enjoyed it – had a great time with everyone else in the march.

Part 2: Legislative Building Speeches and Lunch

After the march we heard from a lot of speakers including the FSIN (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations) chief, the vice-chiefs, the premier of Saskatchewan, the opposition leader, and a few local Liberal party leaders (no Conservatives attended). Then we had lunch. The whole thing was televised and will hit the airwaves throughout Canada today – and I think I made the local news.

What was it all about? A few issues were discussed but they all focused around the appalling conditions First Nations people are dealing with (thus the need for solidarity) which includes gang problems, suicide issues on reserves, poverty, treaty rights educations, education funding, housing, and employment/economic opportunities. Here are few examples:

(a) Kelowna Accord: Was a bill that was almost passed under the Liberal party that would of seen 6.1 billion dollars go to the solution of poverty within Aboriginal communities – this bill has since been scrapped by the Conservative government and has never passed.

(b) Education Funding Cap: Currently the Canadian Government has a cap on funsing to Aboriginal education funding of 2% (since 1996 and was even lower prior to this) and has not changed even with the rising Aboriginal population. The problem is the Aboriginal population is the youngest in the country and could desperately use that funding to allow for more economic participation – top that off – this is a highly regaded area by Aboriginal communities as a ‘treaty right’ (a contract from the late 1800’s – around 12 of them were signed in Canada).

That is what I did this morning – I showed my solidarity to the movement (a peaceful march in Saskatchewan) since I believe in the actions being called upon – namely with regards to ending poverty in my community…I really have little choice in that matter…it affects me deeply. So I did what I could – support the people around me and the issues at hand that need to be dealt with – in a participative way amongst all communities in Canada (this being an awareness issue). That was my morning today!


Peak Oil – A Change is Gonna Come

The world supply of oil is slowly diminishing – and by ‘slowly’ I mean within our lifetime…and this could/will get ugly (‘end of suburbia’ – movie I just saw). We need to wake up and start challenging our gov’t to take this plight seriously.

The America’s absolutely rely on oil as a way of life and economy. The peak time of the use of oil is actually happening right now – and may even be slowly in decline (ie: this rising gas prices/energy prices). This doesn’t seem like much of an issue (except for our cars) but once one considers that oil is used in every aspect of the society we live in – and there is no replacement at this point – we might see an economic crash similar to that of the 1920’s.

The problem with the issue is it so overlooked and not taken very seriously – yet financially – this is the worst nightmare any of us can dream of in a capitalistic society. This economic collapse will destroy life as we know at (well the convenience of it). We could be looking at lack of electricity and energy (to heat homes), cars will no longer be the main mode of transportation, housing markets will deplete and lose their value, big business will lose it’s ability to transport things so it will eventually ‘crash’ and ‘destabilize’, and the value of our money might not be worth a dime.

It’s a little gloomy and a little doomy – but hey – we built this city – we have to live with it. The film gives some clues to making life easier in this peak oil crisis. Neighborhoods need to ban together and start working towards viable clothing and food options within their sphere of living (ex: gardens and the return of the local small business owner). Business needs to be localized to make travel to work affordable and possible (no more 1 hour drives). There are small answers to big problems.

But this is a lesson we learned so damn late at the local ‘hoe-down’s’ of big business’ profit driving machine – they played and played and we danced and danced – this is a ‘pied piper’ type thing – in this ‘rat race’ someone has to pay (drown). Take a good hard look at the reality of life as you know it – see the kingdoms big business has built for us to live in – the convenience – the cities – the infrastructure – the toys – the technology – the happiness. You know I almost think they know we are ‘as stupid as we look’.

Who do you think walks away with hope in an economic boom and an economic crash? We needed to start making these businesses accountable for their greed and stripping of the world resources for our happiness – but the media machine and politicians make this impossible (they limit our knowledge). I believe the saying is ‘we reap what we sow’ – well we live in a country that has effectively undermined the stability of this planet and something strange is going to happen – we are going to realize forms of poverty for the lack of compassion we had on other impoverished nations and for our greed.

But if you think I am yanking your crank – go check it out and see how dependant America is on oil and our viable options for energy (in the future). I had never really thought about this but I knew the ‘good times’ couldn’t last forever (economically). This issue is worth a look into and worth your examination – so you can both condemn the practices of big business (call for accountability) and see what you can do before the oil drains to a screeching halt.

It’s only fitting I grew up poor.

Let Me Tell You ‘A Secret’

My wife and I finished watching the DVD about ‘The Secret’. I thought some of the idea’s about positivity work real well in life. Here is my take.

The idea behind the secret is the ‘law of attraction’ – meaning you attract what you want from life (via thoughts and feelings). I think the basic premise makes a lot of sense – if you think a certain way then those same things you constantly focus upon will likely become you. If you are a very negative person then you will likely draw in negative energy – and vice versa for being positive (based on the premise we are beings of ‘energy’). A lot of this stuff also shows up in Quantum Physics, Philosophy, and Religion.

The things I take away from ‘the secret’ are:

(1) Nothing is impossible – what you think is possible just might be.

(2) Doubt is the biggest enemy between us and the life we seek to live.

(3) Reach for the stars and don’t let your dreams by squashed

(4) You control your destiny – and you control your perspective on life – what you want from life is what you will get

(5) We need to learn to see ourselves as very ‘worthwhile’ people and not undermine that

To be perfectly honest, some of this stuff is just second hand news to me – as I have read the teachings of Jesus for sometime and many of these ideas about ‘asking and believing’ are within those teachings also.

All the secret is saying is ‘life has a spiritual component’ to it – I agree. In my culture we are 4 components (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) and the sum of all these things provides balance and health to life. What you actually want from life is possible – but this takes a lot of mini-steps before we realize some of those goals we grasp at…but life is a series of ideas we make real.

If your goal is to own a home – and your completely broke…come up with a plan (idea). Go to school to earn a top-rate education or work your way up in a company. Keep your eyes and ears open to the market and build your credit. At some point owning that home just keeps moving closer and closer (step by step). But it all started with a ‘dream’ an ‘idea’ and nothing more. This is how life really does work. You had an idea – then believed it – so as to committ actions to the endeavor – then in the end – you realize you got what you ‘asked for’ (or what you truly believed was possible). That’s simple – that’s too easy – but that’s all we are – an idea (a thought).

Where does God fit into this for me? He is – it all flows under His guidance – and He respects our choices – He wants the best for us – but most of the time we are not sure if we want the best for ourselves. In the end, you are a series of choices/directions – and you can change every single thing about yourself – but it’s a step here and step there (there is no giant step for humankind) and things progress accordingly.

There is no secret or ‘mystery’ to a better life – it’s all rather quite simple – we need to take control of our lives and determine what we want from our ‘living’. You can ask God for a way out of poverty or depression – but if you just leave it at that – then your missing the essential piece of that puzzle – ‘ask and YOU will recieve…’.

Exodus: A Jewish Viewpoint

This article was published in the Spring 1995 issue of Jewish Action (e-mail from rabbi’s at

The Exodus and Ancient Egyptian Records

“And Moses said unto the people: Do not fear! Stand and see the deliverance of Hashem which he shall do for you this day. For as you have seen Egypt this day, never will you see it again.” (Exodus 14:13)

When was the Exodus? The Exodus from Egypt was not only the seminal event in the history of the Jewish People, but was an unprecedented and unequaled catastrophe for Egypt. In the course of Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal to let us leave and the resultant plagues sent by Hashem, Egypt was devastated. Hail, disease and infestations obliterated Egypt’s produce and livestock, while the plague of the first born stripped the land of its elite, leaving inexperienced second sons to cope with the economic disaster. The drowning of the Egyptian armed forces in the Red Sea left Egypt open and vulnerable to foreign invasions.

From the days of Flavius Josephus (c.70 CE) until the present, historians have tried to find some trace of this event in the ancient records of Egypt. They have had little luck.According to biblical chronology, the Exodus took place in the 890th year before the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 421 BCE (g.a.d. 587 BCE) [1]. This was 1310 BCE (g.a.d. 1476 BCE). In this year, the greatest warlord Egypt ever knew, Thutmose III, deposed his aunt Hatshepsut and embarked on a series of conquests, extending the Egyptian sphere of influence and tribute over Israel and Syria and crossing the Euphrates into Mesopotamia itself. While it is interesting that this date actually saw the death of an Egyptian ruler – and there have been those who tried to identify Queen Hatshepsut as the Pharaoh of the Exodus – the power and prosperity of Egypt at this time is hard to square with the biblical account of the Exodus.

Some historians have been attracted by the name of the store-city Raamses built by the Israelites before the Exodus. They have drawn connections to the best known Pharaoh of that name, Ramses II, or Ramses the Great, and set the Exodus around his time, roughly 1134 BCE (g.a.d. 1300 BCE [2]). In order to do this, they had to reduce the time between the Exodus and the destruction of the Temple by 180 years, which they did by reinterpreting the 480 years between the Exodus and the building of the Temple (I Kings 6:1) as 12 generations of 40 years. By “correcting” the Bible and setting a generation equal to 25 years, these imaginary 12 generations become 300 years.

Aside from the fact that such “adjustments” of the biblical text imply that the Bible cannot be trusted, in which case there is no reason to accept that there ever was an Exodus, Ramses II was a conqueror second only to Thutmose III. And as in the case of Thutmose III, the Egyptian records make it clear that nothing even remotely resembling the Exodus happened anywhere near his time of history.

We appear to be at a standstill. The only options are to relegate the Exodus to the status of myth, or to conclude that there is something seriously wrong with the generally accepted dates for Egyptian history.

In 1952, Immanuel Velikovsky published Ages in Chaos, the first of a series of books in which he proposed a radical redating of Egyptian history in order to bring the histories of Egypt and Israel into synchronization. Velikovsky’s work sparked a wave of new research into ancient history. And while the bulk of Velikovsky’s conclusions have not been borne out by this research, his main the-sis has. This is that the apparent conflict between ancient records and the Bible is due to a misdating of those ancient records, and that when these records are dated correctly, all such “conflicts” disappear.

Both Thutmose III and Ramses II date to a period called the Late Bronze Age, which ended with the onset of the Iron Age. Since the Iron Age has been thought to be the time when Israel first arrived in Canaan, the Late Bronze Age has been called “The Canaanite Period,” and historians have limited their search for the Exodus to this time. When we break free of this artificial restraint, the picture changes drastically.

According to the midrash [3], the Pharaoh of the Exodus was named Adikam. He had a short reign of 4 years before drowning in the Red Sea. The Pharaoh who preceded him, whose death prompted Moses’s return to Egypt (Exodus 2:23, 4:19), was named Malul. Malul, we are told, reigned from the age of 6 to the age of 100. Such a long reign – 94 years! – sounds fantastic, and many people would hesitate to take this midrash literally. As it happens, though, Egyptian records mention a Pharaoh who reigned for 94 years. And not only 94 years, but from the age of 6 to the age of 100! This Pharaoh was known in inscriptions as Pepi (or Phiops) II [4]. The information regarding his reign is known both from the Egyptian historian-priest Manetho, writing in the 3rd century BCE, and from an ancient Egyptian papyrus called the Turin Royal Canon, which was only discovered in the last century.

Egyptologists, unaware of the midrash, have wrestled with the historicity of Pepi II’s long reign. One historian wrote: [5]Pepi II…appears to have had the longest reign in Egyptian history and perhaps in all history. The Turin Royal Canon credits him with upwards of 90 years. One version of the Epitome of Manetho indicates that he “began to rule at the age of 6 and continued to a 100.” Although modern scholars have questioned this, it remains to be disproved.

While the existence of a 2 kings who reigned a) 94 years, b) in Egypt, and c) from the age of 6, is hard enough to swallow as a coincidence, that is not all. Like Malul, Pepi II was the second to last king of his dynasty. Like Malul, his successor had a short reign of 3-4 four years, after which Egypt fell apart. Pepi II’s dynasty was called the 6th Dynasty, and was the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Following his successor’s death, Egypt collapsed, both economically and under foreign invasion. Egypt, which had been so powerful and wealthy only decades before, suddenly could not defend itself against tribes of invading bedouin. No one knows what happened. Some historians have suggested that the long reign of Pepi II resulted in stagnation, and that when he died, it was like pulling the support out from under a rickety building. But there is no evidence to support such a theory.

A papyrus dating from the end of the Old Kingdom was found in the early 19th century in Egypt [6]. It seems to be an eyewitness account of the events preceding the dissolution of the Old Kingdom. Its author, an Egyptian named Ipuwer, writes:
*Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
*The river is blood.
*That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin!
*Trees are destroyed.
*No fruit or herbs are found…
*Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
*Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.
* The land is not light [dark].

Velikovsky recognized this as an eyewitness account of the 10 plagues. Since modern men are not supposed to believe in such things, it has been interpreted figuratively by most historians. The destruction of crops and livestock means an economic depression. The river being blood indicates a breakdown of law an order and a proliferation of violent crime. The lack of light stands for the lack of enlightened leadership. Of course, that’s not what it says, but it is more palatable than the alternative, which is that the phenomena described by Ipuwer were literally true.

When the Bible tells us that Egypt would never be the same after the Exodus, it was no exaggeration. With invasions from all directions, virtually all subsequent kings of Egypt were of Ethiopian, Libyan or Asiatic descent. When Chazal tell us that King Solomon was able to marry Pharaoh’s daughter despite the ban on marrying Egyptian converts until they have been Jewish for 3 generations because she was not of the original Egyptian nation, there is no reason to be surprised.

In the Wake of the Exodus: It was not only Egypt which felt the birth pangs of the Jewish People. The end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt preceded only slightly the end of the Early Bronze age in the Land of Israel. The end of this period, dated by archeologists to c.2200 BCE (in order to conform to the Egyptian chronology), has long puzzled archeologists. The people living in the Land of Israel during Early Bronze were the first urban dwellers there. They were, by all available evidence, primitive, illiterate and brutal. They built large but crude fortress cities and were constantly at war. At the end of the Early Bronze Age, they were obliterated.

Who destroyed Early Bronze Age Canaan? Some early archeologists, before the vast amount of information we have today had been more than hinted at, suggested that they were Amorites. The time, they thought, was more or less right for Abraham. So why not postulate a great disaster in Mesopotamia, which resulted in people migrated from there to Canaan? Abraham would have been thus one in a great crowd of immigrants (scholars of the late 19th and early 20th centuries often felt compelled to debunk the idea of divine commands).

Today, the picture is different. The invaders of the Early Bronze/Middle Bronze Interchange seem to have appeared out of nowhere in the Sinai and the Negev. Initially, they moved up into the transjordan, and then crossed over north of the Dead Sea, conquering Canaan and wiping out the inhabitants. Of course, since we are dealing with cultural remnants and not written records, we don’t know that the previous inhabitants were all killed. Some of them may have remained, but if so, they adopted enough of the newcomers’ culture to “disappear” from the archeological record.

2 archeologists have already gone on record identifying the invaders as the Israelites. In an article published in Biblical Archeology Review [7], Israeli archeologist Rudolph Cohen demonstrated that the two invasions match in every detail. Faced with the problem that the 2 are separated in time by some 8 centuries, Cohen backed down a bit: “I do not necessarily mean to equate the MBI people with the Israelites, although an ethnic identification should not be automatically ruled out. But I am suggesting that at the very least the traditions incorporated into the Exodus account may have a very ancient inspiration reaching back to the MBI period.”

The Italian archeologist Immanuel Anati has come to similar conclusions [8]. He added other pieces of evidence, such as the fact that Ai, Arad and other cities destroyed by Israel in the invasion of Canaan were destroyed at the end of the Early Bronze Age, but remained uninhabited until the Iron Age. Since the Iron Age is when Israel supposedly invaded Canaan, we have been in the embarrassing position of having the Bible describe the destructions of these cities at the very time that they were being resettled for the first time in almost a millennium. When the conquest is redated to the end of the Early Bronze, history (the Bible) and physical evidence (archeology) are in harmony. Anati goes further than Cohen in that he claims the invaders really were the Israelites. How does he get around the 800 year gap? By inventing a “missing book of the Bible” between Joshua and Judges that originally covered this period.

Both Cohen and Anati are in the unenviable position of having discovered truths which conflict with the accepted wisdom. Their “tricks” to avoid the problem are lame, but the only alternative would be to suggest a radical redating of the archeology of the Land of Israel. And there is good reason to do this. It is not only the period of the Exodus and Conquest which suddenly match the evidence of ancient records and archeology when the dates of the archeological periods are brought down:

1. The Middle Bronze Age invaders, after some centuries of rural settlement, expanded almost overnight into an empire, stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates. This empire has been termed the “Hyksos Empire,” after a group of nomads that invaded Egypt, despite the fact that there is no historical evidence for such an identification. History knows of one such empire. Archeology knows of one such empire. The same adjustment which restores the Exodus and Conquest to history does the same to the United Kingdom of David and Solomon.

2. The Empire fell, bringing the Middle Bronze Age to an end. Archeologists and Egyptologists are currently involved in a great debate over whether it was civil war or Egyptian invasions which destroyed the “Hyksos” empire. The biblical accounts of the revolt of the ten northern tribes and the invasion of Shishak king of Egypt make the debate irrelevant.

3. The period following the end of the Empire was one of much unrest, but saw tremendous literary achievements. Since this period, the Late Bronze Age, was the last period before the Iron Age, and since the Iron Age was believed to have been the Israelite Period, the Late Bronze Age was called the Canaanite Period. Strangely, these Canaanites spoke and wrote in beautiful Biblical Hebrew. Semitic Canaanites? Did the Bible get it wrong again? But then, coming after the time of David and Solomon, they weren’t really Canaanites. The speakers and writers of Biblical Hebrew were, as might have been guessed – Biblical Hebrews.

4. Finally we get to the Iron Age. This is when Israel supposedly arrived in Canaan. But it has been obvious to archeologists for over a century that the archeology of the Iron Age bears little resemblance to the biblical account of the conquest of Canaan. There were invasions, but they were from the north, from Syria and Mesopotamia, and they came in several waves, unlike the lightning conquest under Joshua. The people who settled the land after the invasions also came from the north, though there is much evidence to suggest that they weren’t the invaders, and merely settled an empty land after it had been destroyed by others. The south remained in the hands of the Bronze Age inhabitants, albeit on a lower material level.

The conclusions drawn from this evidence have been devastating. The people in the south, who constituted the kingdom of Judah, from whence came the Jews, has been determined to be of Canaanite descent! If not biologically, then culturally. And the people in the north, the other 10 tribes of Israel, have been determined to have been no relation to the tribes of the south. The idea of 12 tribes descended from the sons of Jacob has been removed from the history books and recatalogued under “Mythology, Jewish.”

What is most strange is that multiple waves of invasion followed by northern tribes settling in the north of Israel is not an event which has gone unmentioned in the Bible. The invaders were the Assyrians. The settlers were the northern tribes who eventually became the Samaritans. And if the people in the south were descended from the Late Bronze Age inhabitants of the land, why, that merely means that the kingdom of Judah was a continuation of the kingdom of Judah. The only historical claims which are contradicted by the archeological record are those of the Samaritans, who claim to have been the descendants of the 10 tribes of Israel.

A simple redating of the archeological periods in the Land of Israel brings the entire scope of biblical history into synchronization with the ancient historical record. Only time will tell whether more archeologists will follow Cohen and Anati in their slowly dawning recognition of the historicity of the Bible.

[1] Contrary to the Jewish historical tradition, the generally accepted date (g.a.d.) is 166 years earlier, or 587 BCE (see “Fixing the History Books – Dr. Chaim Heifetz’s Revision of Persian History,” in the Spring 1991 issue of Jewish Action). This difference applies to all Mesopotamian and Egyptian history prior to the Persian period. The dates for Egyptian history given in the history books are therefore off by this amount. For our purposes, we will use the corrected date followed by the g.a.d. in parentheses. return to text
[2] Some people have been excited about the generally accepted date for Ramses II coming so close to the traditional date for the Exodus. This is a mistake, as Egyptian and Mesopotamian histories are linked. If Ramses II lived c. 1300 BCE, then the destruction of the Temple was in 587 BCE, and the Exodus was in 1476 BCE. return to text
[3] Sefer HaYashar and The Prayer of Asenath (an ancient pseudepigraphical work) contain this information, though Sefer HaYashar only gives the 94 year reign length without Malul’s age. return to text
[4] Egyptian kings had a vast titulary. They generally had at least five official throne names, not to mention their personal name or names, and whatever nicknames their subjects gave them. return to text
[5] William Kelly Simpson in The Ancient Near East: A History, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1971. return to text
[6] A.H. Gardiner, Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a hieratic papyrus in Leiden (1909). Historians are almost unanimous in dating this papyrus to the very beginning of the Middle Kingdom. The events it describes, consequently, deal with the end of the Old Kingdom. return to text
[7] Rudolph Cohen, “The Mysterious MB I People – Does the Exodus Tradition in the Bible Preserve the Memory of Their Entry into Canaan?” in Biblical Archeology Review IX:4 (1983), pp.16ff. return to text[8] Immanuel Anati, The Mountain of God, Rizzoli International Publications, New York 1986. return to text

Feast of Remembrance

This lunch hour I attended my first feast – for a former school teacher who passed away 1 year ago (yesterday). I thought the event was very interesting and fun.

The feast started with approximately 1 hour of prayer and ceremonies – via the elder. All the men sat down by the food (in the middle of the room) and we did 2 things:

(a) Smudged: It was the passing around of the sweetgrass and we motion the smoke over ourselves to ‘cleanse ourselves’.

(b) Peace Pipe: They passed the peace pipe to all the men and we took some puffs of it – then smudged with the smoke – and passed it to the next person. This happened 4 times as it circled the room.

We then had the feast – made a plate for the person that passed away 1 year ago – and we served by a few people until all the food was gone (needless to say we all took some home of which we are required not to waste).

What I truly enjoyed about the whole thing was the ‘remembrance’ aspect of the ceremony – sort of like communion in a way. I found that aspect of it very cool and included all members of the community in the feast. I think this is just another great example of how First Nations ceremonies can be incorporated into the symbolism of the Christian faith – ‘do this in remembrance of me’. You really felt a great passion of that feeling in the ceremony. I wonder why we don’t do this in ‘remembrance’ of those who walked and talked with us? Maybe some of the communion we share needs to recognize this aspect of community.

Food for thought.

Laughter – What is the Biblical Ideal?

I would like to thank Burning Bush for bringing this to my attention – this idea of the biblical approach to laughter. It really gave me something to think about.

Luke 6:21-25 mentions laughter as the antithesis of mourning/weeping 2X in a matter of a few verses – making one ponder what ideal is being taught there. Is laughter a bad thing? I don’t think so.

I think the verses reitterate an obvious idea about dealing with our pain/hurts in our own lives – so that we can laugh again (have joy in our lives). The teaching is this:

(a) If you do not deal with your pain (and the seriousness thereof) and hide behind laughter – later on you when it all wears down – you will weep/mourn for the state of affairs you might be found in.

(b) If you deal with your pain/hurts (face them head on) at some point you will heal – and later on you will be able to enjoy life and have joy/laughter/gladness.

Laughter is not a bad thing. Actually, I find it one of the greatest human traits we share one with another (can put a smile on our face). I am reminded of a few biblical examples:

(1) In Gen 21:5-7 Sara names her son Isaac (which means laughter). She attributes her laughter to God and thinks people will laugh with her – for this birth at such an age. Sara see’s her laughter as a great thing (names her son it).

(2) Psalm 126:1-3 talks about laughter in a similar fashion as I see in the Luke verses. We see the captives are freed and this erupts in ideas of joy, laughter, and gladness. I see this as the same idea about dealing with our pain, getting healed (freed), then we are free to have the joy we desire.

(3) Ecclesiastes 3:4 mentions the idea – where Luke would of framed the teaching from about Jesus – since it so similar. Solomon says there is ‘a time to weep and time to laugh’ (there is a time for everything). Laughter is not seen as bad here – but in the right context – can be seen as something healthy – a part of normal life. Again weeping is the antithesis of laughter.

I think laughter is a great gift we have been given – and we share it with one another. Yes we must mourn and weep (deal with pain) but we also can heal and have joy – laughter is an expression of that. I think if we laughed a little more and were a little less serious – think of the ramifications on one’s life. We might just find we are ‘happy’ after all?

Theological Retardation – Blood/Body

I got up this morning and as is the usual habit I thought upon a biblical teaching I have heard plenty of times – transubstantiation. I began to wonder – where did this idea really come from?

Transubstantiation really is about the idea of the body of Jesus and the blood of Jesus in the communion service becoming the actual blood and body of Jesus. I think the Catholics still believe this is how it works but it’s funny that for many a year in Christendom this was the actual belief about the communion service. Isn’t that odd?

I think we have to come to a finer and deeper understanding of the communion service (symbolism and use of the service) and that in looking back we can see the theological weirdness of this old view. It would point to the idea that maybe we are looking a lot deeper into the scriptures and actually viewing them more appropriately – as in interpretation in these days. Maybe as a Christian society we have ‘grown up’ and are starting to use our ideas about literature when reading the bible – to both scope out literalness and creative symbolism in passages.

This is one of many examples that have been taught as literal at one point but appear to be not quite when done in reality. I cannot imagine actually eating flesh and drinking blood – regardless if it’s our Messiah we are doing it to (ie: literal view). It actually makes no sense since the disciples are pretty sure Gentiles should abstain from ‘drinking blood or eating it’ within Acts. So how can a church become so quick to look at this idea from the disciples yet not use this in regards to communion – simple answer – misunderstanding.

It’s really too bad too – since this is only one of the many ideas the church has thrown around as fact and found to be not quite that. One could make a proverbial listing of many of these mis-interpretations that still exist – ex: word of faith ideals, tongues, and judgement to name a few. Let’s not move backwards in our understanding of these scriptures – but forward – we know the literature motifs much better now and the use of context – let’s apply it. Let’s not pretend that something has to be literal to have meaning.

Goodbye to Romance

I have been running a thing called the Action Group for about a year and a half…I have decided to call it quits. It’s strange but I really think this is the right thing to do.

The idea was to help the church develop into a community that actually lives up to biblical precepts/teachings about helping the ‘poor’. I have become very aware that this is not the focus of the church and likely never will be. The idea was way ahead of it’s time and the church is not prepared to become a community of people that work on behalf of society to help reduce the suffering of people within their communities. The church is just to concerned with salvation and that aspect of the gospel – weird that salvation wouldn’t be an all inclusive term for betterment as Jesus used it (here and now) – but that’s just my opinion (apparently).

I was not a good leader and I failed in a lot of aspects – and I admit that. My group never really got an acceptable level within the church – it became so marginalized it became something I did not envision…thusly I am dropping the vision altogether. Maybe some other day things will be different – and that’s the path I will now trod – awareness.

I need to move forward in life – and this group was not something I was prepared to handle anyways. I can live with failure – I find no problem with that – I will merely learn from it. So where to for me now? I haven’t a clue – but that’s the genius of life – it’s goodbye to romance today – finding another love tomorrow.

Figuring Out The Term ‘To Judge’

I have recently given this some thought – this term that is thrown around in Christian circles – ‘judgement’ and I think it is being used all wrong. I think a careful look at that term might reveal a little more than meets the eye.

The term ‘to judge’ actually means to make a ruling (ex: to sentence or to free) – in relations to the law (torah) or a law. In this country (or any country) we have a court system that makes rulings about aspects of the law – and keeps ‘law and order’ around us (ex: if you steal you might have to pay reperations). This is how I have also come to see the term ‘to judge’ within the bible, but on a more personable level.

Jesus teaches ‘do not judge…’ – and I think that means just that – don’t cast your sentences about the ‘teachings’ you follow upon others – to somewhat ‘punish’ them. But if you have to judge then measure yourself in accordance to the ‘teachings’ – and make that judgment a personal one (within yourself). In essence, judge the ethics/values you will adopt against a backdrop (teachings + experience).

I see many Christian folks using the term judgment wrongly (I think) when referring to judging situations – like we have the right to judge one of God’s creatures – over-ruling the Creator (who is the only real judge of any situation). No, I think we can make those judgements on values within ourselves and to go beyond that is quite atrocious (or can be). Like I have the right to call you ‘this or that’ because I have different values than you – I should just keep my yap shut and follow the ethics I believe and hope that others will emulate it (that’s how I measure it).

Our measurement is in regards to what we follow (teachings) and not in regards to what we say to others about what we follow (since in judging them we make no real in-ways). But Jesus was not too much a stickler on this – if you have to judge (sentence or free someone) – pick the path which is ‘righteous’ (mercy/forgiveness). Let’s start freeing people from the labels we put upon them – we had no right to do so. Let’s treat them how we want ot be treated – with equality and respect. Or as I have thought ‘I shouldn’t have to ask for your respect, if you respect yourself’.

I am not your judge, your jury, or your prosecuter…I am your friend. If you ask me about something I will tell you what I believe but that is the nature of discussion. What is not the nature of discussion is pointing fingers and making blatant calls on someone’s life – that’s making a label for someone to live down (which can really drag some people into various crisis’). Let’s free them.

Coup D’etat (or something like it)

I was at church today and I got some rather odd news from my older brother (who pastors the First Nations church I attend). This person who has been attending the church for a while (he’s from Korea) wrote a letter to the person above my brother at the Alliance to usurp authority.

I read the letter and basically it was all about this Korean dude becoming the ‘head pastor’ and my brother becoming the 2nd pastor (although my brother has pastored the church for like 7 years or so). I read it and thought this is a regular ‘coup d’etat’.

I was kinda miffed about the whole thing and wondered why the Korean dude (who hadn’t even attended the church for 6 months) wanted to usurp power? I thought the letter spoke volumnes about how he saw my brother’s skills in the ministry – which is run by a First Nations person and geared to First Nations people. Needless to say, the letter was just another attempt to back-door someone who was doing a fine job – but not as fine as this dude would of liked (by not fine I mean – not Christian enough).

The Korean dude was not at church today – apparently he won’t be coming back (as he stated). Reminds me of a line from the Big Lebowski ‘somtimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you’. Well, you can guess who the bar ate up.

**I wasn’t offended by the Korean dude but if I had to say some words to him – they wouldn’t of been to kind and I woulda called him on this tactic he used.