Archive for September, 2010

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My views on touchy issues, politics, etc

September 30, 2010

A funny thing about me is that I tend to annoy everyone when it comes to touchy issues. Take homosexuality for example. Some people I know tend to be annoyed that I believe that homosexuality is a sin (one would think that my opinion on premarital sex being a sin would be a more relevant thing to be annoyed about for them, but never mind). Most Christians however get annoyed with me when I state that homosexuals have civil rights just like anyone else, and that homosexual marriage should be allowed if Muslim and Mormon and Buddhist and Atheist marriages are allowed. I even agree to the fact that there is such a thing as homosexual Christians – just as there are catholic Christians. There are many heretic sects that call themselves Christians. That doesn’t mean I think they are my brothers in faith.

In general I am against state involvement in religious affairs and religious involvement in state affairs. Jesus said that “my kingdom is not of this world”. So why do so many Christian politicians think it is? Why are they trying to force Christian rules and Bible on people who are not interested? We all know that no one can see God’s kingdom if he’s not born again, so why are you bothering? Rather concentrate your efforts on sharing the gospel, than on trying to force your laws onto others. Why do religious ministers still have marriage licenses? Revoke them all. Let everyone get married in civil court for it to be valid by law, and if you also want to make vows to God, not only to the state, then have any minister, pastor, priest, rabbi, sheikh or witch doctor you want. Why is Israel forcing atheist Jewish couples to get married in a rabbinate? And why do Jews marrying gentiles have to go to Cyprus to do it? It’s absurd!

Why, oh, why are people bothered that schools teach evolution?? School will always teach our kids a bunch of crap together with the good things, it’s our responsibility as parents to teach them the truth at home. To teach them not to listen to everything they hear. To teach them critical thinking.

Yes, you heard me. Teach your kids critical thinking before they learn critical thinking in school. If your faith can’t hold against a critical examination, you need to reexamine your faith. Don’t teach your kids that “this is how it is, and that’s it, questioning is forbidden and heretic”. Because the they will be guaranteed to question it and find it false. I teach 12-year olds in the Shabbat school in our congregation that they need to “disconnect” from their parents and “connect” directly to God. Read the Bible on your own, examine what you’ve learned from your parents in light of the Bible, and ask them questions. That is critical in developing a personal faith that will stand the test of time.

Death penalty should be abolished everywhere. Can’t believe the US still lives in the medieval times there.

Abortion is murder. It should be allowed, but not encouraged. Abstinence should be taught as the only way to 100% avoid  unwanted pregnancies, but contraceptives should be taught too. The rest is up to the parents.

Women and men are equal. Still can’t believe that so many Christians are hesitant as to if women should work or not. Of course they should! And they should be able to be pastors and leaders and everything else! Anything else is apartheid. I agree that it is desirable to stay home with a newborn baby (I stand by the statement “Don’t have kids if you’re going to pay someone else to raise them”) But if the woman wants to work and the husband wants to stay home, and they both choose to, they should be allowed to do so. Where in the Bible does it say that the woman can’t work? I see quite the opposite in Proverbs 31. A woman who wants to make a career should not be hindered, just as a man shouldn’t. Why, oh, why, is having kids seen as an obstacle to a career with women, but not with men?? It should be an obstacle for both because both should devout a lot of their time to be with their kids! Otherwise, don’t have kids! On the other hand, women who choose to stay home should not be looked down on either! I’m more liberal than the liberals when it comes to this because liberalism and feminism looks down on women who choose to stay home, labeling them a victim of patriarchic system and calls the home a “woman trap”. Who is better to define what a woman trap is, the woman or the politicians? What if for that specific person, work would be a trap? I hate any law that says A about women and B about men. Words like women or men shouldn’t even be in the law’s vocabulary. In Israel, women with children get more tax benefits than men with children. Where’s the justice in that? Why does the thing between my leg define if I get tax benefits or not??

Ok, that was a long rant… sorry.

I’m done now. Goodnight.

Next time – socialism and capitalism.

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Shmini Atseret and Simchat Torah

September 30, 2010

Scroll_yad_2 Happy Holiday! Enjoying the last holiday for this holiday season. This holiday is on the eighth day after Sukkot has started and is mentioned briefly in Leviticus 23:36 and in 1Kings 8:66.

Atseret menas “stop” – it’s the last holiday of the season, we stop celebrations after this. It also means “assembly” – a large gathering. The only thing the Bible says about it is “On the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly (atseret); and ye shall do no servile work therein.”

We can draw two important conclusions from this – since it is the last holiday it will be “with us” as our last holiday memory during our day-to-day life afterwards. To keep our eyes on God, it is therefore important that this holiday is on the one hand connected to the Bible, but also that it is joyful – to bring the happiness of the feast with us into the civic day-to-day life. This is why the Jewish tradition has put “Simchat Torah” on this holiday – the day when we finish reading the last part of the Torah – we read the last Parasha and we rejoice in the Word that God has given us. As we know that Jesus is the Word of God, we must also remember that this is a holiday of Jesus – celebrating Him who is God’s Word that became flesh. We will also read the first chapter of the Bible – to remember that once we’ve finished reading the Bible we must directly start over again – because there’s no such thing as “finished reading the Bible”.

Also, if Yeshua was indeed born on Sukkot, as some NT-maths indicate, then that means that he was circumcised and received his name Yeshua on this day. “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)

This is the holiday when we celebrate the Torah – but also the day we celebrate Yeshua. It is the Yeshua-day! And there’s really no difference, since Yeshua is the Word of God! Not only did he give us his Word to live through, but he also sacrificed his Messiah on the cross so we can get forgiveness since we can’t keep the Torah on our own.

I hate when Christians look at the law as a curse that Jesus freed us from. We need to rejoice in the holy law – the Torah – that he gave us. It is a blessing that God cares about us enough to let us know his will for our lives. But we must also know that without Yeshua, the law condemns us – because we can’t keep it on our own.

Happy holiday!

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Theology of five year olds

September 29, 2010

My 5 year old daughter threw a sheet over my head and said “Yeshua can still see you, dad!”. She is developing theological doctrines! =)

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A great day

September 29, 2010

Had a great day. Lot’s of self-set goals accomplished at work, including paying everyone’s salary. Worked till later than usual, and wonderful wife made the dishes at home, freeing me from it.
Now it’s 45 minutes past midnight and I need to get in the shower and catch a few hours of sleep before tomorrow. Working half day, since it’s an erev chag. It’s hoshana rabba too. Tomorrow is the day of the water, when Jesus stood up in the middle of the water ceremony in the temple and shouted “I am the water of life”.
He was really awesome.
Goodnight.

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Spurgeon on The [Post]modern Missional Strategy

September 27, 2010

This is amazing. I had to check again to make sure this was really written in 1888 and not 2010! He describes so accurately exactly what’s going on today!

My source is the airo-follow blog at http://airo-cross.blogspot.com/2010/09/postmodern-missional-strategy.html

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This is the suggestion of the present hour: if the world will not come to Jesus, shall Jesus tone down his teachings to the world? In other words, if the world will not rise to the church, shall not the church go down to the world? Instead of bidding men to be converted, and come out from among sinners, and be separate from them, let us join with the ungodly world, enter into union with it, and so pervade it with our influence by allowing it to influence us. Let us have a Christian world.

To this end let us revise our doctrines. Some are old-fashioned, grim, severe, unpopular; let us drop them out. Use the old phrases so as to please the obstinately orthodox, but give them new meanings so as to win philosophical infidels, who are prowling around. Pare off the edges of unpleasant truths, and moderate the dogmatic tone of infallible revelation: say that Abraham and Moses made mistakes, and that the books which have been so long had in reverence are full of errors. Undermine the old faith, and bring in the new doubt; for the times are altered, and the spirit of the age suggests the abandonment of everything that is too severely righteous, and too surely of God.

The deceitful adulteration of doctrine is attended by a falsification of experience. Men are now told that they were born good, or were made so by their infant baptism, and so that great sentence, “Ye must be born again,” is deprived of its force. Repentance is ignored, faith is a drug in the market as compared with “honest doubt,” and mourning for sin and communion with God are dispensed with, to make way for entertainments, and Socialism, and politics of varying shades. A new creature in Christ Jesus is looked upon as a sour invention of bigoted Puritans.

It is true, with the same breath they extol Oliver Cromwell; but then 1888 is not 1648. What was good and great three hundred years ago is mere cant to-day.

That is what “modern thought” is telling us; and under its guidance all religion is being toned down. Spiritual religion is despised, and a fashionable morality is set up in its place. Do yourself up tidily on Sunday; behave yourself; and above all, believe everything except what you read in the Bible, and you will be all right.

Be fashionable, and think with those who profess to be scientific—this is the first and great commandment of the modern school; and the second is like unto it—do not be singular, but be as worldly as your neighbours. Thus is Isaac going down into Padan-aram: thus is the church going down to the world.

Men seem to say—It is of no use going on in the old way, fetching out one here and another there from the great mass. We want a quicker way. To wait till people are born again, and become followers of Christ, is a long process: let us abolish the separation between the regenerate and unregenerate. Come into the church, all of you, converted or unconverted. You have good wishes and good resolutions; that will do: don’t trouble about more. It is true you do not believe the gospel, but neither do we. You believe something or other. Come along; if you do not believe anything, no matter; your “honest doubt” is better by far than faith.

“But,” say you, “nobody talks so.” Possibly they do not use the same words, but this is the real meaning of the present-day religion; this is the drift of the times. I can justify the broadest statement I have made by the action or by the speech of certain ministers, who are treacherously betraying our holy religion under pretence of adapting it to this progressive age.

The new plan is to assimilate the church to the world, and so include a larger area within its bounds. By semi-dramatic performances they make houses of prayer to approximate to the theatre; they turn their services into musical displays, and their sermons into political harangues or philosophical essays—in fact, they exchange the temple for the theatre, and turn the ministers of God into actors, whose business it is to amuse men.

Is it not so, that the Lord’s-day is becoming more and more a day of recreation or of idleness, and the Lord’s house either a joss-house full of idols, or a political club, where there is more enthusiasm for a party than zeal for God? Ah me! the hedges are broken down, the walls are levelled, and to many there is henceforth, no church except as a portion of the world, no God except as an unknowable force by which the laws of nature work.

This, then, is the proposal. In order to win the world, the Lord Jesus must conform himself, his people, and his Word to the world. I will not dwell any longer on so loathsome a proposal.

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Happy 5th Birthday to my beautiful daughter!

September 27, 2010

She is 5 years old today. She is the second of four kids. Today we celebrated her birthday.

A really great Swedish tradition that we are maintaining is that the entire family gets up early, arrange the presents, and wake up the birthday girl with Happy Birthday songs and presents on the bed. (And all those american movies and tv episodes with “did they forget my birthday or not” go straight over our head).

Here are the presents she got:

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Here’s how we decorated the living room

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After we got up we ate breakfast in the Sukka, and immediately afterwards we had cake. Here’s the set table with the cake.

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And here’s how I dressed for the occasion…

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Happy Birthday, my beloved daughter! Daddy loves you very much!

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You can’t keep the Torah on your own

September 27, 2010

This message is 100% founded and rooted in the prophets.

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2), “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

And then we know that the angel Gabriel said to Daniel:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26)

Seventy weeks. Seventy times seven. 490 years after Daniel. And the Messiah will be killed – cut off. And after that the city – Jerusalem – will be destroyed (as it was in 70 AD).

 

The Torah is perfect and holy. But we can’t keep it on our own. Have you ever loved God as much as he deserves to be loved? Have you ever given him the fullness of the glory as he deserves? In the Nishmat prayer in the sidur we acknowledge that we can’t.

“Were our mouth as full of song as the sea, and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitude of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the breadth of the heavens, and our eyes as brilliant as the sun and the moon, and our hands as outspread as the eagles of the sky and our feet as swift as hinds — we still could not thank You sufficiently, HaShem our God and God of our forefathers, and to bless Your Name for even one of the thousand thousand, thousands of thousands and myriad myriads of favors, miracles and wonders that you performed for our ancestors and for us”

That’s why we need the Messiah! He who took our iniquity upon himself and gave us everlasting salvation!

 

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