Saturday, February 19, 2011

Magnolia Weekend 2011

Began 2 weeks ago:
A week from tonight, I will be enjoying a girlie-girl play date with 7 women I have never met. It will be the 3rd night of my 5-day weekend. I had originally planned to go and meet my online friend for the first time face-to-face this time last year, but my sweet Mom got sick in January and passed away a year ago today.
I want to record my impressions of these friends for them and for you, and tell you a little about what we've "been through" together the last few years.
First acknowledgement goes to Yana Berlin, founder of It's the site where I first got to know most of these friends. My husband had been diagnosed with cancer just about the time I came across the site and jumped in to freely share my days' experiences with them. Yana won't be joining us, but I know that we are all sincerely grateful for what she created.
The fascinating hostess of our upcoming weekend was recognized as a truly kindred spirit...not because I'M so fascinating ;0), but simply because we had so much in common. Laurie is a unique and most gifted woman, a caring and passionate person who puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She is a heart-taught artist, musician, deft writer, instantaneous philanthropist and true believer in Jesus Christ, and is not ashamed to say so! She has transparently shared her gifts and her life with me and hundreds (probably thousands) of others over the last few years through her website, her online radio show and her generosity. She is a wise and loving mother, wife, sister and daughter, and I am proud to call her my friend and sister in Christ.

Then there is Lu(cinda)...former member of the radio industry who graciously agreed to produce and co-host Laurie's online show. Lu has rubbed shoulders with lots of famous people, but what impresses me about her is that she is so in love with her husband and family. She possesses a fierce wit, and is still hard-working and dedicated to what she does...when I first met her, a candle maker, Her newest venture is Travelling Teaparties for Girls.
Ruby is a sometimes deep and always sharp blogger to adults. Her use of metaphor, simile and humour noir is a force to be reckoned with. Living with her disability while raising her sons on her own has made my admiration for her increase with every post I read. If you are sick and tired of PC communication, she's your girl! Please visit her and if so inclined, and as she says..."Help a cripple" by clicking donate to her Paypal account.

I'm home now, and I can tell this is gonna need to be posted in more than one post.
I have WAAAAAY too much to say!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What About Jesus?

Matthew 5:33 Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord [as a religious duty].

34But I tell you, Do not bind yourselves by an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is the throne of God;

35Or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.(H)

36And do not swear by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black.

37Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.(I)

From Biblegateway Commentary:

Oaths Are a Poor Substitute for Integrity
When Jesus quotes his Bible as prohibiting false vows and other oaths (Deut 23:23), he probably also has in view the Ten Commandments, as in Matthew 5:21, 27. In this case he alludes to the third commandment: a false oath "misuses" or takes in vain God's name, since oaths by definition called on a deity to witness them (Ex 20:7). Breaking an oath was dangerous, for in all societies oaths contained curses that deities would avenge if the person who swore by them broke the oath. The Bible's point in prohibiting false oaths, however, was that one should tell the truth and keep one's promises. The Hebrew Bible approved of some oaths and vows (as in Num 5:19-22; 6:2), but Jesus again summons us beyond the law's letter to its intention. His own point is not so much that oaths are evil as that the motivation for engaging in them is; one should simply tell the truth (Mt 5:37).

Although Jesus' position on oaths is not wholly unique, it was rare enough to be distinctive. Although some Jewish teachers warned against customary oath-taking, nearly all accepted oath-taking as valid; in daily life, it was surely common in the marketplace. Some groups of Essenes may have avoided oaths altogether (Jos. War 2.135), except for their initiatory oath for joining the sect (Jos. War 2.139-42; see also 1QS 5.8). Josephus declares that one could trust an Essene's word more than an oath, however (War 2.135); Philo indicates that their abstention from oaths declared their commitment to truth (Every Good Man Free 84; also Vermes 1993:35). Jesus and the Essenes probably intended the same as Pythagoras: let your word carry such conviction that you need not call deities to witness (Diog. Laert. 8.1.22; compare Philo Spec. Leg. 2.2; Isoc. Nic. 22, Or. 2).

The point of this passage is integrity. Jesus observes that since God witnesses every word we say anyway, we should be able to tell the truth without having to call God to witness by a formal oath. Jesus is addressing a popular abuse of oaths in his day. To protect the sanctity of the divine name against inadvertent oath-breaking, common Jewish practice introduced surrogate objects by which to swear (Vermes 1993:34-35). Some people apparently thought it harmless to deceive if they swore oaths by something like their right hand (t. Nedarim 1:1; cf. Jos. War 2.451). The further removed the oath was from the actual name of God, the less danger they faced for violating it (Schiffman 1983:137-38; E. Sanders 1990:53-54). Jewish teachers had to arbitrate which oaths were actually binding as allusions to God's name (m. Sebi`it 4.13; see also CD 15.1-5). Jesus teaches that all oaths invoke God's witness equally. Just as heaven, earth (Is 66:1-2) and Jerusalem (Ps 48:2; Mt 4:5; 27:53) belong to God (Mt 5:34-35), so do the hairs on our heads (5:36); although we can dye our hair, we have no genuine control over its aging (compare 6:27). All oaths implicitly call God to witness, because everything that exists was made by him. For Jesus, no aspect of life except sin is purely secular.

Avoiding oaths is thus inadequate; the issue is telling the truth, because God witnesses every word we speak. Although many passages in the Bible allow some degree of deception to preserve life (Keener 1991a:22), such exceptions are rare in our daily lives. When we lie to cover our own wrong motives from those we think would disdain us, we forget that one day God will expose all the secrets of our hearts anyway (Mt 10:26). When we lightly commit ourselves to meet people at particular times and then unnecessarily delay them (as if their time were a commodity less precious than our own), we treat them unjustly and deceitfully, even if in a relatively minor way. How much more when we make promises in business deals or make still more lasting vows (such as the marriage covenant-5:31-32).

Making vows (promises) to God lightly is a severe offense (compare Acts 5:1-11). Although Jesus' first followers continued to call on God to witness the truth of some of their statements, apparently taking Jesus' words as rhetorical overstatement (examples appear in Rom 1:9; 9:1; Gal 1:20), they seem to have refrained from more overt oaths (2 Cor 1:17; Jas 5:12). Oaths that invite penalties on oneself for violating them ("cross my heart and hope to die") are unnecessary for people of truth.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What about Jesus

Oh boy! Maybe I'll get some comments on this one!

Amplified version: "31It has also been said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.

32But I tell you, Whoever dismisses and repudiates and divorces his wife, except on the grounds of unfaithfulness (sexual immorality), causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.(G)"

My thoughts are the same as I've had for a while now...marriage and divorce aren't just about a piece of paper. That saying cuts both ways. The NIV calls the poor, discarded woman (I think Jesus would say spouse now, since women have become more like men than ever!) a "victim" of adultery. The faithful divorced one has been ruined, spoiled, physically and emotionally, by the selfish one, making it difficult to impossible to ever have a healthy loving relationship again. Any faithful spouse knows that, like Jesus said, to even entertain the thought of committing adultery produces some guilt even in a non-believer. A true believer and lover may be tempted with a thought, but will experience Holy Spirit conviction, making it feel like a saddening shock. Most married people have experienced sadness and loneliness of unmet expectations in our spouses eventhough we have that marriage license. Emotional divorce is real divorce according to Jesus; and He's saying that the faithful heart makes a true marriage. A divorce decree comes much too little and too late.