To Gethsemane

jesus-in-gethsemane[I wanted to say something about Maundy Thursday but, I found whatever I tried to write just wasn't coming out right. So, we'll share in Jessica's from last year, which I think to be excellent.  Neo]

There they had been, camping out as they usually did. We don’t get much of a sense of the daily life of Jesus as He and His disciples tramped the roads of Judea, but the Gospel narratives give us some insight. They settled down for the night in Gethsemane. They’d had a good evening, and only one person at that supper knew why Judas had left early. We get a sense of companionship, and we can grasp something of the feeling of love which Jesus inspired in those close to Him. They were calm and rested, so much so that when Jesus asked them to watch with Him, they fell asleep. Like us all, they had no idea that the their world was about to be torn apart – and that the world and history would be changed forever.

How small a series of events came together that evening as they camped in Gethsemane. The Jewish High Priest had enough. The events of what we call Palm Sunday had warned him that the ever volatile population of Jerusalem might be roused to rebellion – and he knew what the consequences of that would be. Within a generation of the crucifixion Caiaphas’ fears had come to pass, and in AD 70 the Temple would be destroyed and thousands of Jews killed or dispersed; it is easy to dismiss Caiaphas, but he was, by his lights, doing his duty. How often do men of power think it better than one man should die than thousands suffer?

Judas had clearly had enough. Though the Synoptic Gospels tell us he betrayed Jesus for silver, John gives us the clue that it was Mary’s use of expensive oil to anoint Jesus’ feet which pushed him over the edge. It might, of course, be, as John said, that he had been tipping into the till and helping himself to money, but his taking offence was clear enough evidence of what type of man he was.  He was a zealot, a puritan – how dare Jesus allow people to waste oil which could have been spent to help the poor. He, Judas, knew what was right, and he had lost patience with Jesus.

Simon Peter was headstrong, and didn’t always get it right. After supper, when Jesus had said He was going to wash the feet of the disciples, Peter protested and said He wouldn’t allow it. But when Jesus told him that if he didn’t, he couldn’t be with Him, Peter didn’t ask for an explanation, he told Jesus he wanted to be washed all over.

Caiaphas and Judas reasoned their way through to a conclusion based on their own insights, and they saw, as we all do, only so far. Peter also reasoned his way to what seemed to him a sensible conclusion, but the love he felt for Jesus opened his heart and he saw further than he had with his intellect. Jesus warned him that he had been handed over to Satan to be ‘sifted’. Peter declared he never would deny Jesus – but Christ knew what was coming.

As the disciples slept and the Romans and the Jewish guard came closer, the silence of that dark night was broken only by the anguish of Jesus. His time had come.

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Cliven Bundy and Brendan Eich

Compass_integrityI’m referencing two articles today, on two seemingly different subjects. But are they? If you read these two outstanding articles, I’ll think you will agree they are two facets of the same subject. That subject is the integrity of a man (or woman). These are both heroes for our time.

Cliven Bundy managed to stare down the Bureau of Land Management, for now. The best summary of this I’ve seen is from John Hinderaker of Powerline, here’s bit of it:

Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy

On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

via Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy | Power Line.

As near as I can tell Mr. Hinderaker has it about right. There is no way that Bundy is going to win in court, it’s going to cost him at least money and likely his way of life, and could cost him his freedom as well. I do sympathize with him, not least because I’m rather the same sort of hard-boiled, do the right thing sort of guy myself. Good Luck to him, and I’m afraid he’ll need it.

But there is also this, long ago, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, said this:

There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

Then there is the case of Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, who was forced to step down because he would not recant his opposition to same-sex marriage. Mollie Hemingway wrote an outstanding article the other day in The Federalist on this story. And here is a piece of that article as well.

The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents


At the end of the day, they’re all wrong. Or at least not even close to understanding the problem with Eich’s firing. Political differences with CEOs, even deep political differences, are something adults handle all the time. Most of us know that what happened held much more significance than anodyne market forces having their way. And Eich shouldn’t be protected on the grounds that one has the right to be wrong. See, Eich wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.

What we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident.

And what we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident — one that forces those of us who are still capable of it to pause and think deeply on changing marriage laws and a free society.

via The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

Are you starting to see the parallels here? These are both men of conviction, doing what they think is right. And they are willing to pay the price that goes with standing up to be counted as men of conviction and integrity. We shouldn’t be hounding these men, Like Dr. King, these men should be heroes for out time, spoken of with, if not awe, with respect.

St. Augustine also said this:

Hope has two beautiful daughters.

Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.


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Palm Sunday

And so it is Palm Sunday, the day of our Lord’s triumph. We all know the story. I have a serious article up about it this morning at Jess’ All Along the Watchtower, but I wanted something here as well. I suddenly realized the other day that I hadn’t heard this in years. I loved Jesus Christ, Superstar back in the day when I was in college, and you know, it holds up fairly well still.

The theology may be a bit suspect, but I like to think of this as a Passion play for our time.


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Saturday Music and a Bit

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so I thought I would share some of my favorite music, with a little bonus at the end. I doubt anybody will be surprised that my first love in classical music was Wagner.

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An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come

Garrison Keillor closes the news from Lake Wobegon with the sentence:

“Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

Like a lot of you, that is the society I grew up in, and to a large extent still live in. As I’ll bet you all know, it’s three lies for the price of one. Sure we tend to think our town is different, but it’s not really, we all know weak women, ugly men, and below average children. Today we’re going to talk about the children, and Common Core.

You see the thing is exactly half (± 1) of the children are above average, the other half are below average (again ±1). By definition, that’s what average means. it doesn’t mean they are better or worse, more or less equal, or anything beyond what is being measured. All it means is that by whatever measure we are using half are above average and half are below. Note that I’m talking about objective standards here that we can measure, preferably with a test. What you end up with is this:


That’s from Wikipedia Commons, and I make no claims for accuracy but, it does seem reasonable. The thing is it is a statistical distribution, and that makes it pretty limited, because everybody is different. Me, for example, I know what my IQ is, and based on that I’m an exception in four of the six lists. That’s probably true (more or less) for most of us. It’s like the metrics on our blogs, we have some idea of what brings in readers but every article we post is different.

My real point with this though is that bell-shaped line at the top, in a significantly large survey size, that is the distribution you will find. Probably for any of the lines in the chart.

And that is the problem with Common Core. It presupposes that all children are the same, with the same goals in life, and the same abilities. And it just ain’t so. Read more of this post

Hang in There

I’ve got quite a lot coming up but, none of it is going to make it today. So enjoy a film, that will make you think a bit as well.

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