Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who is this that darkens counsel without knowledge?

I sometimes regret that we have no concept of the time which elapsed during the trial of Job.
I think that the reason that this was excluded from the Bible is the same reason we are not told when Christ will rapture his church.
The temptation to measure our troubles against time would be irresistible. If only we can hold out as long as Job . . .
I imagine Job would be eager to point something out, My friend, do you imagine that time healed the wounds of the loss of my children?
And again, Did you think that God simply made it all better by restoring my wealth and giving me more children?
The exact purpose behind Job's ordeal I think he is still in the process of discovering, but I imagine the first thing he learned was that his protestations of innocence in the face of accusations had the same quality of frustrated ignorance that grips a child when the needle inoculates him against small pox.
I think that what dawned on Job as he listened to God speak from the whirlwind was a fleeting but profound glimpse of God's transcendence.
Nowhere in God's response to Job will you find an apology or an explanation for what Job had suffered.
In essence, God was saying, "Child, you don't need a reason, you just need to remember who I am."
Another reason I search for a calendar in the life of Job is not so much questioning how much pain and suffering Job endured, but wondering how long Job spoke to God before God answered?
I believe that this was the greatest pain Job endured. The brassy heavens.
Job didn't long for recompense as much as he longed for reassurance that his tormentor was God and not fate.
I reflect on the terror that filled Job's soul as the Voice overwhelmed from the whirlwind. I think it must have felt something like letting go of the cliff's edge.
I think it must have felt something like surrender, and I think it must have felt like being swept downstream in a raging torrent into the arms of God.
I think it must have felt like being sanctified; the terror you feel of laying your will down on an altar to be brutally sacrificed only to awaken to a sweet realization as the thing lies in death throes that you have been rid of a killing cancer.
I wish to know how long the patron saint of suffering suffered before the breathtaking rebuke of God carried away all his care and all his questions.
Empathy for Job comes not as first-hand knowledge of such grief and pain, but identification with the wait.
Oswald Chambers writes, "There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God's way of saving us between our times of inspiration."
Hear, hear . . . . . .
. . . . . how long in between inspirations?
I remember the tempestuous relationship with emotion, good and bad, that I rode out during the first year after my conversion. I remember the storms, and I remember Jesus walking on the water in the dead of night. I remember so much breathless fear, and such sweet reassurance.
The caveat of maturity, however agonizingly slow, is the loss of a childish innocence.
Read the word carefully, childish, not childlike.
The innocence I speak of is naivete, not faith. But naivete and helplessness has its benefits. God pampers babies.
When you come to recognize Satan's exploitation of an over-active conscience, you don't require the calm reassurance, Yes, you're doing fine.
The waves don't get so big, but I haven't seen Jesus walking on the water in the night for a long time.

More later . . .

Note: Reflection is good for the soul. Whether or not it comes with a cute, tidy little conclusion. . . .well. . . .Job?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

. . .and Jacob have they hated, continued.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a treasure trove of background information regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. He makes no pretense of objectivity and he points out that the term "Zionist" once had a positive connotation.
It is now spoken with the same derisive judgemental ism as the "neo-con" label and also has some additional connections.
Neo-cons, (neo-conservatives) are johnny-come-latelys, according to the context. They are ex-liberals who had the unmitigated gall to change their minds. Or, according to the father of neo-conservatism, Irving Kristol, neo-cons are "liberals mugged by reality." Either way, the sneer is that the change of heart was gratuitously motivated, and had nothing to do with a desire for truth. It is also interesting to note that application of the label, "neo-con" more often than not refers to Jewish ex-liberals, and once again we see anti-Semitism haunting the halls of liberal dogma.
Tracking the Jew-hating phenomenon elsewhere follows the liberal Democratic global peace aspirations straight up the glass doors of the United Nations, which has its own record of anti-Semitism. It has a history of reducing the fever-pitched anarchy in the Middle East to one cause, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and is solidly on the side of the "Palestinian refugees" against the imperialism of the vast expansionist Israeli empire. "Peace, not apartheid," after all.
The fact is that if you took the Jews out of the picture, the Arabs would only fill the void of peace with vicious infighting, as they have done again and again. Their history of nomadic violence is blamed on the time-honored clan structure of the Arab world. Clan loyalty supersedes national or racial loyalty and is supposedly the justification for their blood lust. Heaven forbid we view them simply as power-hungry racist thugs.
An American, an Englishman, and an Israeli were captured by cannibals and placed in a giant pot to be boiled alive. They were, of course, given a last request. The American asked for a steak, which he was given. The Englishman, in keeping with stereotypes, asked for a shot of whiskey and a smoke, and was obliged. The Israeli then asked for the chief to give him a good swift kick in the pants. The chief initially balked at the strange request, but finally reluctantly complied. Whereupon, the Israeli drew a pistol and shot every last one of the cannibals dead.
The American and the Englishman looked first at each other and then at the Israeli in complete disbelief. After a stunned silence, the Englishman asked incredulously, "Look here, chap, did you have that gun all along, or did you just conjure it up out of thin air?"
"Oh, I had it all along." replied the Israeli.
"Then why in blazes didn't you use it a long time ago?" growled the American.
"What," said the Israeli, "-and have the UN brand me an aggressor?"
With some liberties taken, this joke was included in a letter written from the front lines in the days preceding the Six Day War by Benjamin Netanyahu's brother Jonathan to his family back home, as a way of explaining why Israel stayed their hand in the face of massive troop buildups along the Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian borders. Only after Egypt committed an act of war by closing the Straits of Tiran, a strategic life flow for Israel, did Israel respond, and then only to Egypt. They continued to wait for Syria and Jordan to join in, and then proceeded to overwhelm it's enemies with the total efficiency that characterizes most of the tiny country's combat operations.
The U.N., true to form, proceeded with a series of resolutions chiding the Israelis for their aggression against the poor, defenseless Arab coalition.
The media seems to have almost ordered an all-out blackout on the connection between modern-day Palestinian "freedom fighters" and Nazi ideology, but the Arabs make no effort to hide their open admiration for Hitler's solution to the "Jewish problem," which means that perhaps those referring to Iranian President Ahmadenijad as "an Arab Hitler" may be exercising more than exaggeration. The connections between Nazism and Arab anti-Jewish terror are many and well-documented. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and Yasser Arafat's inspiration and mentor was a close friend of Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler. He advised them on their campaign to rid Europe of Jewry, and even visited Auschwitz accompanied by Eichmann. Following World War II, Arab nations welcomed escaping SS officers into their governments. Many Palestinian leaders even adopted Hitlerian nicknames, such as Abu Hitler, a senior commander in Arafat's personal escort.
In the 70's, members of the German Neo-Nazi faction "Adolf Hitler Free Corps" were trained by the PLO to wage terror, and members of the same group collaborated with Black September, the terror arm of Arafat's Fatah, in the assassination of Jewish Olympic athletes in Munich.
If it appears to you that I am saying that there is an anti-Semite behind every bush, that is not precisely what I am saying. I am saying that if there is no anti-Semite behind any given bush, it is because they are hiding in the bush. Hyperbole notwithstanding, the hatred for God's chosen people grows not only in Palestinian or German soil. Like a dandelion plucked by Satan and blown into the wind, the unreasoning prejudice these people inspire has been carried to the four corners of the earth and springs up through the baked desert soil of the Sudan, flourishes in the frozen tundra of Russia, and juts up through cracks in the concrete jungles of North America.
More later. . .