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And contrary to many popular conceptions of Christianity, the spiritual practice of doubt is central to the Christian tradition. To name only the most prominent example, according to Mark, the earliest of the canonical Gospels, Jesus cried out in existential despair during his crucifixion, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Indeed, the poignance of these words from Jesus is underscored by them being rendered not in the language of common Greek (as is most of the Christian Scripture, due to its context of being written in the Greco-Roman Empire), but instead in Aramaic, the language a Jewish peasant such as the historical Jesus would have spoken. Mark 15:34 says explicitly that, “ Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” That cry of doubt is at the heart of the Christian tradition. — Carl Gregg

* Large scarlet red “A,” playing on Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, but intended here in the twenty-first century to mark not a shameful “A” for adultery, but a proud “A” denoting that one is “out” as an Atheist. * * * … Continue reading

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I suppose the assumption by the consultant was that Jesus simply couldn’t compete. Instead of drawing minds and hearts into the cause, his name would push people away. — Mark Hanlon

  * * * * The marketing consultants sat across the table from the Compassion clients they were about to pitch. While nobody actually documented the exact words the consultants uttered, their recommendation and the seismic crater it … Continue reading

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Exacting/thrusting (verbs) vengeance are negative energy — bad for the soul (which aspires to altruism/purity). Mary McNamara: Which isn’t surprising as it’s a remake of a British TV trilogy of the same name. Like that series, “House of Cards” tells the tale of an ambitious but behind-the-scenes politician who, after being passed over for promotion, resolves to bring down the government he helped elect. And in the second season’s first four episodes made available for review, Frank continues to drive the series’ A-plot with his ruthless determination to replace the president he feels has disrespected him.

* Robin Wright and  Kevin Spacey are the power couple in “House of Cards.”                                                (Nathaniel  E. Bell, AP ) * * *,0,3657138.story#axzz2tKSfmx45 * * * * The second season of the dark and dastardly inner-Beltway drama “House  of … Continue reading

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Negative/minus “leader” Bob Gates: From LA Times — Gates is less critical of Bush overall (vs. Obama), saying they were “in lockstep on strategy with respect to Iraq, Iran and other important issues” after Bush named him to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld as Pentagon chief in late 2006. Obama worried that top Pentagon officers, including Petraeus and Adm. Michael Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, were giving him “the bum’s rush” in pressing for more troops in Afghanistan early in his first term, Gates says. — David Cloud LA Times

  * Robert Gates, the first who will be the last * *,0,1276282.story?page=1#axzz2rkQfvUy7 *–who-knew/2014/01/27/0244f1c4-838b-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html * Gates devotes nearly half of the 594-page book to his two years (actually, 25 months) at the Pentagon during the Bush administration. … Continue reading

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Men who can’t cry are the most fragile men I’ve ever known. Whereas depressed men often are sitting on grief, I find that depressed women are sitting on anger. Anger they can’t or won’t “own.” A woman’s rejection of anger often is argued as “I don’t want to hurt people,” or “It’s not a loving way to treat people.” These women are afraid of hurting, that is, not being loving to the people with whom they are angry. But I’m here to tell you the exact opposite is true. An angry woman who does not yet know she is angry must hurt you. Grief and anger are the names of two crucial intimacies. Until we are willing to be intimate with those emotions in ourselves, we will always be impeded in our ability to be intimate with others. — Steven Kalas

  * * * * * *,0,2605342.story * * Men as likely to suffer from depression as women – they just show it differently, study finds * Our findings showed that men are willing to endorse the … Continue reading

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After four hundred years of slavery in America, we can name but one slave-become-artist who bequeathed the American public a sizable body of art. On the surface, Bill Traylor’s drawings appear to be largely optimistic, sometimes giddy cartoons of people busying themselves with work, ritual, and play. But the history of the artist who came into the world as an Alabama slave, remained on the plantation of his birth as an emancipated sharecropper for six decades, reared 25 children in abject poverty, and only in his mid-eighties turned to art-making without training or presumed ambition, together suggests that the drawings he made at their core embody a more deeply affecting archetypal art — the kind affording Americans, and in the universal sense audiences around the world, something approaching a collective catharsis for the historical and ongoing crimes of human slavery and exploitation. At least that catharsis is potentially offered us once we free Traylor’s work from the denigrating status of “Outsider Art” with which the present-day art market has saddled it, and which persists in diminishing Traylor’s import both as an artist and as an historically significant person of color. — G. Roger Denson

  * * * * Bill Traylor, born a slave in 1854 and died a free man — as much as he was free to do what his race and poverty allowed him — in 1949, has been somewhat … Continue reading

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Musica amore! Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lennon’s “I Call Your Name”

* Lennon’s best version/cover was done by Cass Eliot, my  “slim shimmy,” baby!!       😉 * * cover by Lennon’s fan, the great vocalist Cass Eliot    — * * * * * * Musica amore!  Celebrate the 56th … Continue reading

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Vashti said “no.” Though God’s name is nowhere to found in the Book of Esther, her act proclaimed a word of justice and dignity and respect and strength that ought to echo through the memory of every generation! — David A. Davis

  * * * * There’s nothing men want to forget more than a strong woman who said “no.”  So few will remember the name Vashti. But when her husband asked her to parade in all of her glory … Continue reading

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What Snowden was discussing was the way in which analysts at the NSA can place such things as names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses on target lists, thus causing communications containing those “selectors” to be intercepted. He seemed to be indicating—although this remains to be officially confirmed—that while under FISA, a court order would be required to enter an American on a target list, analysts have the capability to unilaterally bypass the procedure by simply listing a name or e-mail address on the target list. — James Bamford

  * * * * * Accessing this data is possible through a combination of techniques. Through the most effective of them, the NSA can gain direct access to the fiber-optic cables that now carry most kinds … Continue reading

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Acts 4:36-37 tells us that a man called Barnabas sold a field and gave the money to the apostles so that it could be used for distribution among the believers who were in need. His action must have brought Barnabas much praise and thanks among the believers. In fact, his name was actually “Joseph”, but the apostles called him “Barnabas” which means “Son of Encouragement”. It is this event at the end of the previous chapter which now leads into our text. Acts 5:1-11 is not an interruption in the flow of the book, rather, it is an integral part of the narrative. Ananias, moved by what he has just seen Barnabas do, decides along with this wife, to do the same thing. The only difference is, his action is motivated by a completely different spirit than that of Barnabas. If Barnabas was moved by the Holy Spirit to do what he did, and for that he won much praise and favour from God and men, Ananias has done the opposite. Moved by a different spirit, an unholy spirit, he received no praise, but only severe judgment. Ananias was not even given a chance to repent before he was struck down. Then the apostles didn’t even have the courtesy to inform his wife about his death and when she came looking for him, she was also struck down for participating in the lie. What kind of pastoral care is that? God will not be mocked by human sin, particularly premeditated deceit! (unlike Eli’s sons, who had open orgies in the temple, manifesting hormonal urges, with no aforethought deceit) — Mark Verbruggen

  * * * *’s+wicked+sons&qpvt=images+eli%27s+wicked+sons&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=3A89D66468E215743EC9D09A23B3BD8637580CD7&selectedIndex=7 * * * * What do you do with a text such as Acts 5:1-11 which tells us about the deaths of Ananias and his wife Sapphira? * So why were they … Continue reading

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