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Marcus J. Borg : The Heart of a Christian

Marcus-Borg-3-10-2014-2ndThis past Wednesday evening, January 21,2015, my wife Janie and I along with countless others were saddened to learn of the death of noted follower of Jesus, theologian, professor, author and speaker Marcus Borg. Author of countless books on Jesus and living the Christian life, Mr. Borg has been a huge influence on my wife’s and my life. Of his many books, my favorite is The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, published in 2003. On the first pages, Marcus writes: “I write with both conviction and passion. The conviction: Christianity makes sense….The passion: to communicate this way of seeing to those for whom an earlier understanding of Christianity makes little or no sense. They number in the millions. Some have left the church, the so-called ‘church alumni association.’ …Others remain within the church but struggle with the beliefs they learned in childhood… And some,especially many under forty, have never been very involved in the church and find little in Christianity that attracts them, but often are hungry for a source of meaning and values….To use words I owe to my wife, Marianne [an episcopal priest], this is a book ‘for lovers of faith and those seeking a faith to love.’  ”  In other words , on both counts , this is a book for me, and is why I return to it over and over again.

In a heart-felt tribute to Marcus, his friend Brian McLaren speaks for many of us when he says:

it also gave me the chance to eavesdrop on what people were saying to Marcus. Person after person said almost the same words, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a Christian today … I dropped out of church but came back after I read one of your books … I’m still a Christian because of you … I became a Christian because of your books.”

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Lamentation for Gaza and Rabbi Brant Rosen

gaza-destruction-boyGaza Shuja'iyya destroyed

Last Thursday a small group of us gathered at Lakeside Park in Ft. Wayne for a commemorative lamentation for the dead children slaughtered in the latest brutal attack on Gaza by the State of Israel by its Israeli “Defense” Force or I”D”F. [ I think I will put quotes around the “D” of IDF, because it’s not really about “defense ” as the Israeli hasbara, propaganda would have us think.] This public mourning was organized by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace. Using their abhorrent metaphor, it was time to “mow the grass” again in Gaza, for it’s all about “defense” and “security” in Israel and their goal was to seek “peace and quiet ” in Israel, not a real , just, and lasting peace. Now of course it must be said that firing rockets upon a civilian population, however ineffective they may be, by the military wing of Hamas, is against international law. But a greater violation of such international law is the besieging and continued brutal, oppressive, occupation of the Palestinian people of Gaza and the West Bank. This latest  brutal “mowing of the lawn” (that applies to the Gazan people in the State of Israel’s mindset)  called “Operation Protective Edge” has left over 2,100 Gazans killed, 578 of them children, 11,000 wounded; 70% civilians. 66 Israeli soldiers killed, some by friendly fire, 5 Israeli civilians killed. 17,200 Gazan homes destroyed. The previous destruction of Gaza by the I “D” F in 2008 called “Operation Cast Lead “, was found by the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the 2008 Gaza conflict, called the Goldstone Report to be highly critical of the I “D” F’s disproportionate use of overwhelming force, including white phosphorus. It concluded:

 that Israel violated the Fourth Geneva Convention by targeting civilians, which it labeled “a grave breach”. It also claimed that the violations were “systematic and deliberate”, which placed the blame in the first place on those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.The report recommended, inter alia, that Israel pay reparations to Palestinians living in Gaza for property damage caused during the conflict.

[Note: Jurist Goldstone was pressured by the Israeli’s to amend his report in 2011 and not be so harsh on the State of Israel, “the only democracy in the Middle East.”]

This year’s version of the lawn mowing has been even worse.

gaza-destruction-dead-toddler-

As Roger Cohen of the NY Times ( whose Israel/Palestine coverage is headed by self-described Zionist Jodi Rudoren ) recently stated in a column called A War of Choice in Gaza :

Another round of violence is over in the Holy Land. More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians and many of them children, have been killed. More than 70 Israelis are dead. The grass, in that appalling Israeli metaphor, has been mown (and will now start growing again). Hamas, through its resistance, has burnished its reputation among Palestinians. Israel is angrier. Nobody is better off.

And:

Periodic eruptions are intrinsic to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of maintaining the status quo of rule over millions of Palestinians, expansion of West Bank settlements and maneuver to deflect American mediation. Oppressed people will rise up. Israel’s anemic embrace of a two-state objective is the best possible cover for the evisceration of that aim. Still, the question arises: Was this mini-war necessary? I think not.

You can read the rest of this article through the link above, including several lies the Netanyahu government perpetrated to stir-up Israeli rage to justify the war.

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