Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bad Move

There is a lot of talk about a vote coming up at the UN to create a new state, a Palestinian state. Much of this is happening because President Obama endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state. Bad move Mr. President.

Just how bad?

Ask yourself how many Jews live and work in the area that wants to become a Palestinian state? Take your time, actually look it up.

Okay, time is up. The answer is zero, none, nada.

If you are a Jew in Egypt it is not as bad, but you are actually subject to attack at any time. And if you are attacked because you are mistaken for a Jew, the response is, "Sorry, we thought you were a Jew" as if that explains everything and makes it alright.

It doesn’t .

Since turnabout is fair play, let’s ask how many Palestinians or Arabs work and live in Israel, homeland of the Jewish people?

The answer is approximately 20% of the population of Israel is made up of Arabs or 1.5 million. They live in freedom under the protection of the Jewish state, they and their families living in peace.

And it is Israel that is reviled, not Palestine.

Bad move Mr. President.

“Retreat, Hell!”

Not too long ago my bride and I watched a movie at home that was so bad we almost wanted too … well I don’t want to say, but it was really, I mean really, badly done. I posted on Facebook about it and our son agreed, but recommended Battle Los Angeles.

So to get the last movie out of our minds/heads, we decided to watch Battle Los Angeles. Not bad, not great, but real entertainment with real (albeit fictional) heroes. We enjoyed it on a few different levels. Especially the acts of heroism within the film, but they seemed somewhat overacted.

Still, we learned a new wartime phrase, “Retreat, Hell!” In the movie it was explained as a USMC motto, especially for the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines according to Wikipedia, when a Marine officer was ordered to retreat and replied “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”

“Retreat, Hell!” and the movie theatrics had me looking at the movie as a recruiting film for the US Marine Corp and a bit for the US Air Force. The real focus of the movie was clearly on the USMC throughout and the brotherhood of the Marines. Was it overdone? I thought so then but no longer.

Why not any longer?

Well, this past week I read about a real life USMC soldier who has become the first living Marine in 38 years to win the Medal of Honor. Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer while a Corporal serving in Afghanistan, from his citation, received this Medal “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 28, Regional Corps Advisory Command 37 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September, 2009.”

That doesn’t tell the half of it, read the citation here or here and find out what conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty really is.

One thing that jumps out at you in reading the facts within the citation is an understanding of why no living Marine has received the Medal of Honor in 38 years. It is nothing short of a miracle that Sergeant Meyer is with us today. The facts of going into battle solo against overwhelming odds three times, the last two while wounded, in the same battle with three different vehicles, gun trucks, saving two dozen Afghan soldiers, is almost too much to believe.

Corporal Dakota Meyer is an incredible embodiment of the spirit of “Retreat, Hell!” I hope you take the time to read the full citation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Live in Love, Live in God

1 John 4:16b reads “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (NIV). The version you choose doesn’t matter much as the clear thought here comes through in each one, if you “Live in Love, you live in God, and God lives in you.”

But John is here stating the inverse of the truth he first stated eight verses earlier (1 John 4:8), “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

So how do we go about living in love? A few other verses provide a glimpse at the answer. For instance, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” and “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself” (Hebrews 5:28 and 33a). The more I love my wife, the more I live in love, the more I live in God.

Then there’s “love your neighbor as yourself” first in Leviticus 19:18b as a commandment from YHWH and then from Jesus, his second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” in Mark 12:31. This is not just for the neighbor I like, but also for the neighbor who has done me wrong, who I could reasonably bear ill will towards. This is not near so nice or as easy as loving my wife as myself. Still, if (big IF) I persevere and “love my neighbor as myself” – the more I do so the more I live in love, the more I live in God. Not so hard if I remember my wife, my bride of 40 years, is my closest neighbor and I begin there.

Finally (for the purposes of this entry) there is the command to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” or “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” first in Deuteronomy 6:5 then in Mark 12:30. Note the addition of “all your mind” in Mark when Jesus give this as his first command.

How can we do this, “Love the LORD our God with all of our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength?” Deuteronomy 30:6, provides a clue, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts … so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

But that was Old Testament, how do are we to do this now, circumcise our hearts? I don't know, but I think Jesus provides the answer in Matthew 18:3, when “he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

As an adult, I need to somehow circumcise my heart to have a heart like that of a little child. I think that is the answer. The first disciples, hard bitten fishermen, did this when they dropped everything to follow Jesus. They, at that time, had the hearts of little children.

With the LORD circumcising my heart, I become like a child living in love, living in God, with God living in me.

Too Good Not to Share

Wednesday night, September 14, 2011 it was a “Movies and Matches” night. No one showed up to play any match chess. However, there were a few of us for the “Movie.”

To be sure, this was not a movie in the normal “movie” sense. Instead it was a selection from that was free for public consumption. I titled it “Knightmare!” as it was a case of an eventual good Knight against a bad Bishop where the play with the Knight resulted in a Knightmare for the player with the bad Bishop

Peter Lumbaers with the Black pieces provides solid instruction on how to win with the smallest of advantages – in this case a good Knight vice a bad (but not too bad) Bishop – against Anne Haast with the White pieces.

He is very frank about the position being a draw, until Ms. Haast made an error resulting in amplifying Lumbaers’ Knight’s mobility as well as that of his King.

If you care to watch 25 minutes of quality instruction for free, you may find the game here. I have seen it three times and enjoyed it each time as well as learning something each time.

Watch, learn, enjoy, and be entertained - all at the same time.