September 18, 2014

In Jail in Mexico

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 12:36 am by gruundehn

Marine Andrew Tahmooressi is in jail in Mexico on weapons charges and has been for months. He brought a few guns into Mexico in violation of their law. He claims that it was an accident and a photo of the crossing point supports his claim that he could not see the signs for the last turn-around which would have kept him out of Mexico if he had taken it.

For those who are too young to remember it, there was a song in the early to mid ’60s entitled “Send my Mail to the Tijuana Jail.” Because back then you had to prove that you were innocent your guilt was presumed and the Mexican Government imposed harsh sentences. You could receive long sentences for meaningless crimes, much like the War on Drugs in America today. My Father, when we were living in San Diego in the early ’60s was visiting Tijuana and fled to the border at high speed and in violation of most of the traffic code when he realized that a pair of Federales were coming for him. He had no idea what he was going to be charged with but he knew that as a “rich Americano” he was a prime target (my Father was an electrical engineer), so he fled. The Mexican judicial system is reformed, in theory, but the fact that Mr. Tahmooressi is still sitting in jail waiting for his trial leads me to believe otherwise.

Indeed, Mr. Tahmooressi has been in jail longer than many who were convicted to the crime of bringing guns into Mexico. What usually happens is the individual is convicted and for one reason or another either the sentence is for time served or the convict is allowed to leave for some reason and never returns to Mexico (as was probably expected at the time). The prosecutor and judge in this case are being “hard-ass” for some reason. Perhaps because Mr. Tahmooressi was caught in some lies during the investigation. Given what I know about the Mexican judicial system I’d lie too if I thought it would help get me away. Like Mr. Tahmooressi I have to take medication, he for PTSD and I for diabetes. Since the Mexican Government has refused to let him have his medications, I could expect a painful death from uncontrolled blood sugar, with blindness and neuropathy and a host of other issues coming first. Mr. Tahmooressi is lucky in that PTSD is not a progressive disease as I understand it.

The American government has done nothing for this Marine, nothing for a citizen. And yet look at the millions of dollars spent on criminal immigrant children and families this last year. Toys, food, clothing, shelter, legal advice, and so forth are showered upon these who have broken our laws (not that I agree with the specific laws in question) but will do nothing for a citizen who is in trouble and who aid would cost almost nothing in comparison.

I urge you to put pressure on our government to do something. If you live near a Mexican Embassy or Consulate I urge you to contact them and put some pressure to get Mr. Tahmooressi released and his case finished. I also urge you to buy nothing made in Mexico, nor visit there until this issue is resolved.

September 15, 2014

14th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 1:59 am by gruundehn

Sunday night and I’m feeling nice: I watched the Bengals-Falcons game (I recorded it and watched after I got home from church) and my Bengals won. The team is now 2-0. A lot of people do not like Andy Dalton because he hasn’t won a playoff game yet. I have been a fan since the start of the team and my favorite quarterback is Kenny Anderson and it took him a while to get the team to the heights so I’m not that worried about Andy Dalton. I’m just glad I can afford to subscribe to NFL Sunday Pass on Direct TV and watch the games. I’ll watch all the games this season which is something I’ve never been able to do before. I like it.

I got an email from the Guardians of the Community of Solitude CAM with a request for information about my spiritual journey to this point. Well, it was one of the three but I gather my information will get shared. So far everything is looking good and I am pleased. I just wish I had someone to help me with my spiritual journey, I am kind of sorry I never married. A spiritual director is a good idea but having someone with me to help me over a small hump in the middle of the week, or the middle of the night, would be nice. However, there are others who are not married I presume since the Discernment Questionnaire covered the idea. I’ll get through this and go along this path to the end.

The Election Integrity Commission met and some progress was made on some of the issues we are dealing with but it is slow since not everyone sees the issues the same and the Board of Supervisors seems to look for reasons to ignore us. I can understand why the one member quit in frustration.

Other than that, last week was pretty uninteresting. I watched some music videos on the internet and decided that the addition of pictures (or a mini-movie) does increase the enjoyment of the music. Now I just have to find music videos of the sort of music I enjoy: Gregorian Chant, symphonies, Scottish Bagpipes, classic Rock and folk music. I doubt that there are many videos for those genres, if any. I guess I’ll just have to learn to like Jazz and more modern Rock. Come to think of it, I don’t know if there are any jazz music videos. I have been wanting to study jazz a bit to see if I like it but didn’t think to look if there were any jazz music videos while I was searching last week.

However, that is a side issue – I need to get back to Magic in the Monastery and my upcoming D&D 3.5 campaign. It is just too easy to decide to look at just one more video. I need to focus more, I did it while I was on active duty and I can do it now.

A question about the B-58 was asked of me today and I had to really think about the answer, and I got it wrong at first. I had to look at pictures of the B-58 to be sure. My memory isn’t as good as it should  be and I worry a bit about that. However, I don’t see my VA doctor until the end of October and I have other issues to raise then. I might raise that one if I remember to write it down and take it with me. I don’t mind getting old but I do mind getting decrepit.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Wendy, John & Lu Pipentacos, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Dorothy & Marilyn, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini, Emma; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Eva Pipentacos, Brian K. Arsenault; for animal companions who have died. I also ask your prayers for the millions of people who are being persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma for the most part, those are some interesting stories. I am also reading various religious books.

What I’m watching: Not much, news and football and the occasional DVD and that is about it. I’ve been too busy watching music videos – those things are addicting.

What I’m writing: I did get some done on Magic in the Monastery.

September 11, 2014

What is a Christian Leader

Posted in Politics, Religion tagged , , , at 12:04 am by gruundehn

Reading the New Testament I notice the Jesus gives forth some very strict requirements for being a leader amongst his followers. To be a leader amongst his followers you cannot be a traditional leader, you must be a servant (slave). Since slaves had no power to give orders, especially to their masters, I take from this that a Christian Leader is not to give orders either. Persuade not dictate is the rule for Christian Leaders.

But far too often someone having the position of Leader in a Christian Church uses that position to dictate and command. Anytime a Christian Leader says to the congregation: “You must” then that person should no longer have any position in the Church but far too often, they retain that position and perhaps even enhance it. Instead of trying to influence people and guide them into doing what Jesus would expect of them, they take the easy way and dictate. You can see it when someone puts up a billboard with a command from Scripture or a Council of Bishops makes a pronouncement setting forth what must be done on any issue.

The problem is that rarely is Scripture unambiguous and when it is unambiguous, or nearly so, it is often contradicted by some other passage. And in the New Testament there is very little in the way of real moral guidelines on specific issues; just the three basic Commandments: Love God, Love your Neighbor, Love one Another as I (Jesus) have loved you.

So, what to do? What moral strictures should we place upon ourselves and others? Very few I think. The Ten Commandments are useful as a starting point but most of the code found in the Old Testament is out of the question, even as guides. Those strictures were put into place, I believe, in order to differentiate Hebrews from various other nearby cultures. The Council of Jerusalem was wise to eliminate that purity code and the other restrictions on personal behavior. And the Council of Jerusalem was composed of disciples who had known Jesus and understood his teachings better than probably anyone. We don’t need to force menstruating women outside of the camp (city) because they are unclean, we don’t need to avoid dealings with Gentiles (we are all Gentiles now it seems) and so forth. The Mosaic Code was set forth at a specific time in history and for a specific purpose and is no longer applicable to living a life with God.

But various Christian Leaders try to impose that Code, stating that it shows God’s desires if not God’s commands. These Christians use this outdated Code in order to establish themselves as rulers of a part of the population. Since they can find nothing in the New Testament to support their claim of authority they adapt the Old Testament to claim the4 authority of Moses or one of the other Patriarchs and rule. And that isn’t Christian.

In the Episcopal Church the local priest in charge of the parish is called a rector – a word derived from an old word for king. But the rector is not a king, although I have known some who thought they were, but an administrator for the most part. When they give a sermon they rarely take an absolute position but usually offer advice and persuasion. I have been in the more fundamentalist type of church wherein the preacher does act more like a king than servant. Were I to go to one today I believe that it would be the same, the same rules being laid down and the same dictates given to the congregation. And I would find that person just as much a Christian leader as some atheist.

September 8, 2014

13th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 12:23 am by gruundehn

Well I have taken a couple of steps along my path with the Community of Solitude. I have been reading the Rule and the Customary of the Order and now I am hunting a spiritual director. The Rector of Grace-St. Paul’s, Father Steve Keplinger, suggested a specific member of the congregation and I met him this morning and we discussed the matter. He attends one Sunday service and I attend the other so it was lucky that I was able to meet with him. Anyway, he suggested a few others and I had an idea for someone. I then spoke with Brother Chuck, our Franciscan 1st Order, and he suggested someone that the first person had also suggested. That was the nuns at the local Benedictine convent close to GSP. I’ll have to attend a few of their open services and see how I fit. I also described the Community of Solitude to0 a few of the congregation members, maybe I’ll print out the Rule and Customary and take a few copies to church next week, probably not though. I did refer people to the website though, so there is that.

At church today I announced that I was now a Postulant in the Community of Solitude but I got drowned out by a child who decided to scream at that moment. Such is life.

This week coming up the Election Integrity Commission will meet on Tuesday instead of Friday the 19th so I’ll lose a change to chew out the Board of Supervisors. Oh well, life goes on.

Other than that, I don’t have a lot going on this upcoming week so maybe I’ll get some writing done. I’ve gotten too lazy as regards my writing and need to get back on track. Magic in the Monastery is not going to write itself. And neither are any of the other stories I have in mind or have started.

I need to get my life back under control, my diabetes is out of control, my arm isn’t healing properly, I’m not getting my writing done, I’m not getting my studying done. I have about 40 books that are in my reading list and I am not making progress on that. I am focusing on the Sister Fidelma books but I have other subjects I should focus on and am not doing a very good job at that.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine that Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kit Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Margaret Neal; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Christians, Yazidis, and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims around the world.

What I’m reading: The Sister Fidelma books and some religious books.

What I’m watching: I watched the Bengals play the Ravens and enjoyed the win but otherwise I just watch the occasional news program.

What I’m writing: I didn’t get anything done last week. I need to get cracking.

September 4, 2014

War is an Ugly Thing

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:56 am by gruundehn

I spent twenty years on active duty and have close brushes with war. Like most military, active duty and retired, I hate war. But unlike some people who think that war can be abolished by “playing nice” I think I understand human nature enough to realize that there will always be those who are willing to use violence to get what they want. And pious talk and intense longings for non-violence will do nothing to stop them. Either we have to eliminate that part of human nature or accept it and sometimes use violence to stop violence.

It is good that war is so ugly otherwise we would grow too fond of it. These words are often attributed to Robert E. Lee and if he did not say them whoever did say them was a very wise person. We should never accept war as the first alternative but a last resort; usable only when all else has failed. To those who say that war has never accomplished anything the standard response is: Nazism. World War 2 eliminated Nazism as a major threat to the peace of the world. It exists today only as small groups without power and little chance of obtaining power since history still remembers what the Nazis were like in power. It is only in the Middle East where Islam, with its close ties to Nazism, has a chance of bringing Nazism back to power or something near it. This is not to say that Islam is the same as Nazism, just that Muslims allied themselves whenever they could with the Nazis because of several aspects in common such as genocide of Jews and an authoritarian mindset.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed moral and political values that say nothing is worth fighting for is much worse; for people who hold such values cannot be made free or kept free except by the exertions of those better than them. I forget which philosopher I am misquoting here but the idea is sound.

Many “moderate” Muslim leaders clearly state that Islam has nothing to do with Democracy because Mohammad led as an autocrat and did not allow anything close to democracy in his governance. And since Mohammad is the person that all Muslims try very hard to emulate, democracy, being rejected by him, is to be rejected today. And yes, some Muslims say that they are for democracy – if they are, then it is without theological foundation.

War may be on the horizon and coming closer. A war that will match, if not exceed, the scale and effort of WW II. Radical Islam is a serious threat to our existence as a democracy, as a republic, as a caring people. Look at the way the Qur’an and the hadiths depicts Mohammad and realize he is depicted as a liar, thief, murderer and pedophile. And this is the sort of person that faithful Muslims want to emulate. This is the sort of government that they want to establish over us. We cannot let this happen. And religious faithful are rarely, if ever, talked out of fanaticism. Talking, even with proof that they are wrong, merely hardens their position. Some few might be talked out of fanaticism but those numbers will be meaningless compared to the numbers that will be strengthened in their fanaticism.

We will need to fight sooner or later, and it is best to get it over with. A full-scale war with rationing, the draft, and all the other hardships we undertook during WW II. We need to awaken and mobilize and end this as soon as we can so we can enjoy peace again. Negotiations will not work when one side refuses to budge from their position. War is coming, let it be on our terms.

September 1, 2014

12th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 4:33 am by gruundehn

This is later than I usually do my Sunday evening posts. I’ve been reading some of the Sister Fidelma mysteries and lost track of time. I enjoy unusual detectives such as Sister Fidelma, Brother Cadfael, Nero Wolfe, Hercule Peroit, etc. I have some Sherlock Holmes but never read them anymore, I’ll probably get rid of them as I finally get around to reducing my personal library from over 4,000 books to a smaller selection that I will read and re-read. I don’t know how many books will be left when this is done, but there are a lot of books that will be gone and a lot of space opened up on my bookcases.

The high point of last week was my visit to the kidney doctor. A couple of years ago my kidney showed up badly on one test, if I remember right I was not filtering out and returning to my body a certain chemical, salt I think it was. But all subsequent tests have shown normal so it looks like that one test was just a glitch. How many more of these follow ups appointments I will have I don’t know but at least one in five months or so. But what made it the real high point (NOT!!!) was that I had to have some blood tests done and the technician had trouble getting blood from me. I have a phobia (that is what others call it, I think it is perfectly normal) about needles and it is getting more severe as time goes by. Anyway, a second technician had to come and draw the blood. It was over an hour before I recovered – normally I recover once the needle is in and the blood is being drawn.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors returns to their normal schedule – the first three Tuesdays each month – and I am going to have to speak out again on the election equipment they intend to buy. I’ll have to write out what I’m going to say tomorrow so I get my points across without wandering and wasting my three minutes.

I am now part of the Community of Solitude, and have started my (I hope) lifelong journey down that spiritual path. One nice thing about modern communications is that I can be at home and have a conversational relationship with another person hundreds if not thousands of miles away through the miracle of email or Skype. So I have my solitude and community at the same time. This should be interesting.

If you wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Catherine Brown, Jane Click, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ray Hickey, Chris LaBour, Gwen McCaffery, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Philips, Doree Ramey, Barbra Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Emma Aird, William Brown, Steve Fahrendorff, Nicholas H., Marilyn Heath, Ray Hickey, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Nichole Wiggins, Cassie, Flo & Joe, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rebecca, Ruth, Sid; for animal companions in need especially Poochini; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Christopher W. Mulalley, Matthew I. Leggett; for animal companions who have died. I also ask yor prayers for a young Afghanistan veteran who needs surgery for a medical problem obtained in Afghanistan but who cannot have the surgery due to another medical problem also from his service in Afghanistan. I also ask your prayers for the millions of Jews, Christians and Yazidis murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma mysteries and various religious books. I try to get some D&D reading done but the other two categories are the vast majority of what I read.

What I’m watching: I’ve been watching a documentary series on WW I.

What I’m writing: I got a little done on Magic in the Monastery but if I don’t get more done I’ll forget what I want to do with it.

August 28, 2014

Vetgerans and Immegrants

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:36 am by gruundehn

I saw a political cartoon that made me want to weep because of the truth of it. Perhaps you’ve seen it. It showed a school bus labeled “Immigrant Children” speeding past an older man in a wheelchair labeled “American Veterans” with his hand out thumbing for a ride.

A word of disclosure here – I am a veteran – twenty years on active duty in the USAF.

I get my health care from the VA Medical Center here in Tucson – the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center – and I will state quite clearly that the treatment I get is first rate. I have not always gotten an appointment quickly but I have always been told why and I have not been put on some secret waiting list. When I get told that I will have to wait, I have been given an approximate date for my appointment and that is kept. But there are thousands if not millions of veterans who cannot get such good care. And the reason is political will. There are almost no members of Congress who are veterans and obviously President Obama is not a veteran. As a percentage of the population veterans are shrinking every day, the end of the draft back in 1973 ensures that. But America owes a lot to its veterans and has made a commitment to them. A commitment to care for them who have born the burden and their widows and orphans to use President Lincoln’s phrase. A commitment made 150 years ago, a commitment in place for over 63% of the life of this country. A commitment dishonored today.

I served in the Viet Nam War, albeit not in Viet Nam itself – if I had, then many of the problems I have now concerning my disability rating would be gone, or never have had existed. If I had set foot in Viet Nam proper, the VA would presume that my ailments are service connected relating to Agent Orange. However, serving in Thailand, I do not get such presumption and have to fight to prove that I was exposed to Agent Orange (proven in government records that have been hidden for decades) before I can get my disability rating changed. And the toxic cocktail of chemicals I was exposed to because of my service in an electronics shop and the flight line are meaningless to the VA in terms of my disability rating, but are not meaningless for my health problems. And I am but one of how many thousands in similar conditions?

And yet this Administration can find millions of dollars to house, school and otherwise care for thousands of children here in violation of our laws. Yes, those children need care but compare their treatment to the treatment given to those who have risked their lives for America. The Federal Government has a lot of useless programs and agencies, most without Constitutional authorization, that can be gotten rid of to free up money to care for veterans.

The immigration laws of America are out of date – first created by Progressives in order to restrict undesirables (what they considered undesirable), along racist lines. Those laws should be replaced with a simple law: If you want to emigrate to America you just need to pass a criminal background check and a health check and you can enter if you pay your own way. Once here, if you wish to stay permanently then you have to make a sincere effort to assimilate. That’s it. Look at all that can be saved in terms of money and effort on our part and all the deaths that will be prevented.

August 25, 2014

11th Sunday after Pentacost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 3:58 am by gruundehn

I am extremely tired. I haven’t slept properly for over a week and perhaps closer to two weeks. Since I have gotten home from church I have been napping and am still tired enough so that I just might get a good nights sleep regardless of how much I napped. Just typing this is hard.

I goofed up, although given how tired I am perhaps not, if I had not bought so much stuff that, although needed, could be put off until next payday, I could have gone to the NFL game in Glendale and watched the Bengals play. Figure $100 (slightly more) for travel there and back, $100 for food and drink and maybe a souvenir and whatever the ticket would be – probably less than $100, and I could have sat down and watched an NFL game live and rooted for my team. I haven’t been to a live football game for decades. The Copper Bowl was here in Tucson for a short time and I went to some those games and that ended in 1996.

My screwed up sleep patterns have screwed up my life so I got very little done last week. And having my debit card hacked was no help. Because of bogus charges my debit card was cancelled and a new one issued. It took about a week to get it all straightened out.

I did attend the Election Integrity Commission meeting Friday and we got little done. Not that what we have done in the past has be paid attention to, but we were discouraged enough so that we got little done. I’m going to hang on and try to make a difference. One of the members who had been with the EIC from the start got discouraged enough so that he resigned. He stayed for six years, I can do that much time at least.

I am too tired to write out the prayer list, so if you which to do so please use last week’s prayer list for your personal prayers. I ask that you add a young man wounded in Afghanistan and who needs surgery, but his lungs are not strong enough for anesthesia. I do not know his name, I was told of him by a member of my reunion group wh hadn’t permission to use the name.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma.

What I’m writing: I got nothing done last week.

What I’m watching: Finished Mythbusters and have watched a bit of a DVD collection on WW I. I just bought it and so far, it is interesting.

August 21, 2014

Allah and God

Posted in Politics, Religion tagged , , , , , , at 12:58 am by gruundehn

It is often said that Allah and the God of both the New and Old Testaments are the same. I disagree.

Allah has, other than being a lone deity – not in a pantheon, nothing in common with the God and Father of Jesus. Read the Koran and compare the depiction of Allah with the depiction of God in the New Testament, two different people. Saying the two are the same is like saying that I and Eric Holder (the Attorney General of the United States of America) are the same because we are both humans. Allah has some similarity with the early depictions of YWH but only the oldest depictions, wherein YWH is something of a warrior god and that depiction was at least a thousand years out of date when the Qur’an was written.

Robert Spencer has, in his book Did Muhammad Exist? makes a case that Muhammad was an invention created after the Arab conquest of the Middle East in order to create a political religion. I find that case interesting. If it is true then Allah is a created warrior god, one designed to give morality to a bunch of savages taking over a civilized region. Savages taking over a civilized region is nothing new, look at the history of China. The Mongols (as one example) were a savage, primitive people who after their conquest of China became a very cultured and urbane people, a credit to their teachers the conquered Chinese. The Arabs in the Middle East are similar. Once they conquered the civilized regions they adapted to the civilized culture and grew a hybrid culture much like the Mongols in China.

But the Middle East in the middle to late seventh Century AD was a region of religious turmoil as well as a civilized region. The Eastern Roman Empire was trying to deal with various religious issues in Christianity as well as various non-Christian religions from Persia and various other peoples, including the Mongols. Christian heresies that should have been dealt with at the various councils, such as those at Nicaea, stayed stubbornly alive and continued to pester the region because pressures on the Eastern Roman Empire in other regions prevented a strong hand to deal with the problems with the Levant.

So, according to Robert Spencer, the Arabs entered this region that was in religious turmoil, noticed that the Orthodox Christian Faith was a unifier for the Eastern Roman Empire and decided to create a unifying religion of their own. They took their savage warrior god, mixed in various religious beliefs running through the area at the time, latched onto a relationship with the Hebrews and mixed it all together and came up with Islam. So, other than the tradition that they were descended form Abraham through Ishmael and perhaps some scraps they might have picked up after the Conquest (if Robert Spencer is right) there is no connection with the Hebrew religion. He does point out a strong connection with the Arian heresy which was part of the religious turmoil in the Levant at the time of the Conquest, believers having fled Constantinople to the region because the Eastern Roman Imperial officials were doing their best to stamp it out in the capital.

Allah does come across in the Koran as a bit of a hodge-podge and this may be why, but the main attribute of Allah is that he is a vicious deity more concerned with the Arab people (in Islam the belief is that Allah speaks only Arabic is a common one) instead of being a more universal deity. In the Old Testament YWH is shown as a deity just for the Hebrew people, except that there is also quite a bit showing YWH as a more universal deity. The Hebrews are to be apart from the rest of the world but also they are to be a shining light and a blessing to all the world. By the time of the Roman conquest the Hebrews, specifically Judah but not Samaria, were seeing themselves as a more inclusive people willing to admit anyone into their faith. The Samarians did not have this belief and part of the reason is, perhaps, that their Scripture contains only the Five Books ascribed to Moses which is the most exclusive part of the Old Testament.

Other than declaring Jesus to be a Prophet and thus acknowledging His existence, Islam takes very little – if anything –  from the New Testament and Orthodox Christianity. A Christian understanding of God is definitely not part of any heritage from Orthodox Christianity. So, other than propaganda, is there any connection between Allah, YWH and God? Not enough to matter. The connection between YWH and God is much stronger as the Christian understanding of God is derived from the Jewish understanding of YWH prevalent at the time. The Islamic understanding of Allah is not.

Thus I believe that the statement that Islam, Christianity and the Jewish faith worship the same deity is false and designed to further the interests of political Islam.

August 18, 2014

The 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , , at 12:44 am by gruundehn

My arm is not getting better, at least I don’t think it is. There is always a low-level ache in my upper arm. I don’t remember where the unhealed gap is, top or bottom of the break, but I imagine it is at the bottom and the funny thing is, that is not where the ache is; it is more towards the upper part of my arm. And looking at the scars where the rod and screws were installed, the ache does not match where the screws are holding the rod against the bone, the ache is about a third of the way down from the shoulder, where the rod is the only metal and I remember the rod being fairly smooth except at the ends where there are flattened sections to hold the screws. This ache may have something to do with the bone stimulator as this is where it rests when it is on my arm (unless it slips, it doesn’t fit secure enough for my mind) so when I next see the surgeon, in a month or two (I forget) I’ll have to ask. Maybe the ache is the result of the bone healing, I hope so.

I have not been sleeping well for the last couple of weeks so I finally bought some sleeping pills. I would have preferred to never have had to buy them but I need sleep and I need to get up early (so to speak) sometimes and not sleeping well makes it hard to get up early and be awake. Anyway, the suggested dose is two pills taken about an hour before sleep. So Monday night I took two pills about an hour before I wanted to get to sleep as the instructions said. Four hours later I fell sleep and woke up later than I had wanted to, luckily it wasn’t a problem since I had nothing scheduled for that day, and I was drowsy all day. So Tuesday night I took one pill well ahead of time and fell asleep when I wanted to and slept well. I though I had things in hand – I took one pill Wednesday night and had a horrible night, just like the recent nights without a sleeping pill. I sk ipped Thursday night as I did (and do) not want to get used to these pills. Friday night I took two pills early and slept well. Saturday night, because of when I got home, I didn’t take any and got no sleep at all. Tonight I plan on taking two pills and doing my best to make sure I do not oversleep. If I could get the pattern right I might be able to use these pills long enough to break my bad sleeping pattern and return to something normal. I do not intend to use sleeping pills for any length of time. Even if they do not break the bad pattern I am not going to buy a second bottle anytime soon.

My debit card got hacked so the bank cancelled it and is going to send me a new one. All those accounts wherein the card number and data will have to be changed. Another problem that will mess with my life.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors normally meets on Tuesday mornings, three weeks of the month; but during the months of July and August they meet for a regular meeting only once per month and they have a special meeting on the third Monday to set the tax rates. I’ll be speaking for the Libertarian Party against some of the practices the BOS does that might result in a higher property tax rate. Pima County has a property tax rate that is too high anyway. And the Supervisors do not manage the money they take from the taxpayers very well.

The Election Integrity Commission met last Friday and there wasn’t a whole lot to get done, except prepare for some items we are getting ready to do. We had made two recommendations to the BOS and both were shot down so there was some discouragement, especially with one specific member. But we march forward, having honest and transparent elections is too important.

The Pima County Libertarian Party will be meeting Tuesday evening. The restaurant we normally met at closed unexpectedly last month but we have found a new place to meet. We are setting up a publicity and education campaign in order to get more people interested and registered as Libertarians. This should be fun and interesting.

For those who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ray Hickey, Chris LaBour, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Emma Aird, Betsy Bret Harte & family, William Brown, Griffin Carter, Steve Fahrendorff, Nicholas H., Ray Hickey, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & family, Ruth; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially William H., Sheila H., Sebastian H., Vincent H., Samuel C. Hairston; for animal companions who have died.  I also ask that you pray for the millions of Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Yazidis who have been murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m writing: I got nothing written last week due to my sleep problems, in part, and meetings.

What I’m reading: I have started the on the Sister Fidelma series and enjoy it.

What I’m watching: I’m finishing off the Mythbusters collection I have. I like that program.

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