The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Warfare and Conflict

The End of Exclusion (Sermon of 8 Feb 09)

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Isolation Room
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With the casting out of the demon on that first Sabbath afternoon of Jesus’ public ministry, his obscurity vanished. Like a cannon shot, news of it exploded through the villages. Here’s what happens next.

Mark 1:29-39 (MSG)

29-31Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.

32-34That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn’t let them say a word.

35-37While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. Simon and those with him went looking for him. They found him and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.”

38-39Jesus said, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come.” He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

From The Historical Atlas by William R. Shephe...
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About Peter’s mother-in-law:   Actually, she deacons to them.  For reasons of their own (that look a great deal like gender bias!), translators treat the word to mean “became a deacon in a church” when it applies to men, but “waiting tables” when it applies to women (See Richard Swanson: Provoking the Gospel of Mark; A Storyteller’s Commentary, p 108). “In the context of Jewish understandings of the abundance that God created when making the world, the deacon was in charge of enacting God’s created intentions.”  Peter’s mother-in-law was in charge of enacting God’s created intentions.

Likely she was well known for helping others.  Is this why the crowd knew where to show up at sundown? Some think the women who followed Jesus were the reason women dared approach him. Think of the women at the cross who ministered to Jesus all the way through – perhaps greater heroes than we know, and greater shapers of the story than we know.

She’s up, she’s deaconing, and at sundown, a throng gathers at the door. Who can tell me why they came at sundown? Because that’s when the day after the Jewish sabbath began. Jesus had no problem healing on the Sabbath, but the crowds apparently assumed he would. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s enriched uranium ready for bombs? Not by a long shot.

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Iran does not have the capability of making weapons-grade enriched uranium.

I know, you heard that there was more enriched uranium there than previously thought. But there are, apparently, many grades of enriched uranium, and bomb material is far cry from what Iran has.

Here’s U of Michigan Prof. Juan Cole:

clipped from www.juancole.com

Pie-graphs showing the relative proportions of...

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Iran Nuclear Program Hyped again

Note to mainstream media:

Iran cannot construct nuclear bombs with uranium enriched only to less than 4%.

It needs to be enriched to something like 90% to make a bomb. Iran is not known even to have that capability, and no it cannot be done in 2 months (try a decade), assuming they were trying to do it, which our $40 bn. a year intelligence agencies say they are not.

So all the silly articles on Friday about how iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb are just illiterate.

Moreover, the report in question actually says that Iran is slowing its enrichment activities.

h/t Jay McDonough.

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Reason for panic? Threat to world peace? Justification for a strike from Israel?

Hardly.

Why is it “reasons for war” stories are so rarely true?


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Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address

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President Obama, perhaps the premiere American orator of our day, could have thrilled the million on the Mall to goose-bumps.  That he chose a different approach suggests to me that he was after something deeper: words of substance rather than words of emotion alone.  Let’s see how they read.

The Speech
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My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation…

(APPLAUSE)

… as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

Obama Inauguration
Image by john w via Flickr

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Palestinian Loss of Land and American Manifest Destiny

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If it were, say, Iowa, and Century Farmers had been evicted at gunpoint since WWII by more recent immigrants, things would look mighty different. (h/t Clipmarks friend Jimbo1000)
clipped from www.ifamericansknew.org

Palestinian Loss of Land 1946-2005

four maps of shrinking Palestine
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Native Americans flee from the allegorical rep...
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Tragically, Israelis may owe much to an American model. Their expansion so reminds me of the American doctrine called Manifest Destiny. It assumed all the territory that would become the USA was divinely given to white people. MD was used to justify the moving, killing, containment and lasting impoverishment of Native Americans. Indeed, westward expansion’s completion and total dominance of the indigenous people of the contiguous United States (not to mention Hawaii and Alaska) was only thirty years old at Israel’s birth in 1946: about as recent in American memory as the Vietnam conflict is today.

I would guess that the writings of the Hebrew Bible were used to encourage westward expansion in the USA; they are still, of course, the claim some Zionists stake (and some evangelicals support) to all the territory in and around Israel.

Such dominance—in either American or Israeli history—is starkly at odds with the ways of Jesus Christ, of course.


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Why I’m more vocal about Israel’s actions than Hamas’s

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Simply put, Israel has given much more suffering than it’s received.

Robert Fisk writes it in TruthDig (originally published in The Independent) like so:

clipped from www.truthdig.com
< Tonight Israeli troops are poised on the Gaz...
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It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies …don’t realise the horror of 12 (now 20) Israeli deaths in 10 years and thousands of rockets [...]

[M]y favourite journalistic justification for this bloodbath [is] “The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable … Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way.”

Get it? The massacre in Gaza is justified because Hamas would have done the same if they could, even though they didn’t [...]

I’m waiting for the same writers to ask how we’d feel if we … came under sustained attack from supersonic aircraft and Merkava tanks and thousands of troops whose shells and bombs tore 40 women and children to pieces outside a school, shredded whole families in their beds and who, after nearly a week, had killed almost 200 civilians out of 600 fatalities. [since the original article, the numbers have risen to almost 500 civilian deaths out of 1000 Palestinian fatalities - M.] [...]

I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer [...]

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The death toll today since this conflict began?  Israelis, 13.  Gazans, 1,000.

Murder is murder,” some will say.  Yet the two are not the same.

The slaughter of hundreds of defenseless, malnourished people is a crime of a different order.


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Written by Monte

January 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

“They are bombing 1.5 million people in a cage”

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A Norwegian doctor in Gaza describes serving 2500 wounded, 50% of them women and children (naturally:  half the Palestinian population is under 15 ).  He has seen only one military casualty. Surgery goes on around the clock.
clipped from www.juancole.com

“It’s Hell in Here”
“They are Bombing 1.5 million People in a Cage”

He says he has seen one military casualty come into the hospital. Of 2500 wounded, 50% are women and children. Doing surgery around the clock. There are injuries you do not want to see– children coming in with open abdomens, with injured legs, we had to amputate both of them. This is a war on the civilian population of Gaza. It is a very young population. They cannot flee. They are fenced in. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.

Also please write your representative and senator, send this link, and demand that the US intervene diplomatically to stop this atrocity.
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(NO SALE, NO ARCHIV...

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FAR FROM IT: Rather than working on a plan for intervention, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is planning a resolution of support for Israel.


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Young heroes of peace in Israel – in prison

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They’re called Shministim – Israeli teenagers who refuse conscription into the Israeli army because of its apartheid treatment of innocent Palestinians.  Listen to their voices in this quiet and moving two-minute video:

I have signed the letter they mention; I invite you to, as well, by going to Tell Israel – Free the Shministim!

Let’s change the world.


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