Archive for June, 2012

Typology and Foreshadowing–Some May Not Agree

June 30, 2012

Even though I’ve never left the Catholic Church, there was a time in my youth that I studied the Bible under nondenominational leadership.

They found me through the love they had for my dad, who sold their ministry mountains of candy for a snack bar they ran at their school in Lenox.

They could not help but be ignited by the burning fuse of devotion to Christ that my father’s life exemplified.

One of the things they loved to do was teach the Bible using a comparison method called “typology” and “foreshadowing.”

For example, Abraham and son Isaac, who was almost killed on the altar by His father, were a “type” of God the Father and Jesus the Son, a “foreshadowing” of the atoning death of Christ on the Cross.

Simple enough…right?

In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 8, I could not help but sense typology and foreshadowing being used by the writer as he described the story of Peter and his very sick mother-in-law.

Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him.

My evangelical friends, who I know love me very much, might want to go and make popcorn for this part, I’m about to take a wild swing at Marian theology.

Peter, the Rock, is a “type” of the Church.

His mother-in-law, not his biological mother, but the one who becomes his mother by him being grafted into his wife’s family, is a type of “the Virgin Mary,” who Christ emphatically commands from the Cross, shall be our “grafted-in” mother, when He says to her and the Apostle John “woman behold thy son.”

If you think I’m making this up, here’s the K.J.V. from John 19:26-27. (Notice the exclamation marks.)

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Here’s the bottom line. 

The Apostle–“whom Jesus loved,” was a foreshadowing “set up” all along. 

Jesus “loves” all Apostles.

Jesus then tells “all Apostles” to take Mary into their home.

Remember, if you’re an evangelical, you believe Mary had other sons…if so, where the heck were they that day, and why did Jesus instruct her to live with someone else, other than to demonstrate “typology and foreshadowing”?

What then does Peter’s mother-in-law do when she rises?

Does she attend to anyone but Christ?

Never.

Our mother is Christ’s number one servant, as she is the one who said, “behold I am the handmaiden of the Lord.”

When we bring our prayers to her, we are not ignoring Christ, or God the Father, we are in fact receiving preferential treatment, as our prayers are washed and prepared by a tender-hearted mother, who is the heart of any home.

Our rosary, which yes, is repetitive, is no different from the Children of Israel who repetitively marched seven times around the walls of Jericho.

What did they hold up when they did that?

The ark of the covenant–that’s what.

What was safely stored in that ark?

The Word of God–that’s what.

What was safely stored in the Virgin’s womb?

The Word Incarnate…now I’m getting a bit repetitive.

O.K. friends–you can come back from your popcorn break now.

The Bible speaks to us in many ways, but none is more mystical than when it asks us to see with enlightened eyes.

A Mother and Child–Translation Not Needed

June 29, 2012

I’ve recently been trying to practice my Arabic.

It’s never been very good, but, every once in a while, when traveling through big cities, I like to try and say hello to cab drivers and bell hops.

Those times are too rare to help me make much progress.

I also thought, if I could find children’s videos in Arabic, on YouTube, that too might be a good learning aid.

I soon noticed that in the Arab world, they highly revere young singers and provide them numerous opportunities to be young role models for the rest of their community.

It has an almost “Shirley Temple” feel to it.

One such young lady is named Hala from Bahrain, who competed and won the “Arabs Got Talent” competition.

I hope you enjoy this very catchy video and if you have little ladies in your home, either daughters or grand daughters (my great niece loved this song) please share this with them.

Even though the song is in Arabic and the subtitles are a bit hard to read, one can easily tell this is tale about a young girl who’s afraid to go to sleep without her mother by her side.

That’s a bedtime story that needs no translation.

Obama’s Judgement Day–Compared to Mine

June 28, 2012

I read with interest how the media seemed to claim that yesterday, June 27th, was supposed to have been judgement day for Obamacare.

It was on that date that political pundits universally predicted the Supreme Court would strike down either all or part of the new Health Care Law.

Well…the day came and went.

No decision yet.

Here’s the bottom line.

You and I–and even the President, still have to live through each day.

Everything we did yesterday and will do today, will come under some form of judgement.

We’re judged by our co-workers.

We’re judged by our bosses.

We’re judged by our wives…(God don’t I know it…note on our refrigerator this week…’Jim please hang two picture’s in bedroom–40’th request.’)

Check out an excerpt from today’s Old Testament reading in 2 Kings 24;

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
He did evil in the sight of the LORD,
just as his forebears had done.
At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.

When we do evil of any kind, we’re always doing it in the sight of the Lord.

Whether you say you believe in God or not–evil is evil.

A lie is a lie, a theft is a theft, an unfair criticism is a…you know what I mean.

God, who loves us enough to have sent His Son to die on a cross for our sins, still must allow our mistakes to take their course, so that we learn from them.

When a toddler tries to reach up and touch a hot stove, is a parent being cruel if they swat at his fingers, just seconds before he reaches the burner?

The child, in his limited understanding thinks so, because he saw his parent strike him.

God, in His omniscience and endless love for us, cannot help but correct us when we sin. 

If He didn’t He wouldn’t be God.

When we do right, (learning from and then correcting our mistakes) like when I hung those two pictures last night, it might cause God to smile with approval.

That’s as gratifying as a nod from our domestic bosses…even though those are much harder to earn.

Hidden Treasures Uncovered

June 27, 2012

In today’s Old Testament reading from 2 Kings a servant stumbles across Holy Scriptures that were hidden in the Temple and then reads them to the King.

It’s not clear how long the Book was lost, but what is clear is that the people of Judah had strayed far from the Lord and what had been written in it.

Sometimes Truth may seem to be on hiatus, when in reality it’s just waiting for the right opportunity to inspire.

Go, consult the LORD for me, for the people, for all Judah,
about the stipulations of this book that has been found,
for the anger of the LORD has been set furiously ablaze against us,
because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book,
nor fulfill our written obligations.

Last night my son and nephew became members of the Knights of Columbus.

I was there in attendance, to watch the private ceremony, as I too am member.

My father was an extremely active Knight and when he became ill with cancer and knew that he could no longer go to work, he had my mother buy him a kit so that he could lay on the couch and hook rugs.

The first one he did was of a flower pattern.

My mother found out that you could send the rug company symbols or patterns and they would send back everything you needed to hook a rug that emulated it.

When the ceremony ended last, Bernie, who recruited my son this year and me 14 years ago, asked me if I wanted to see that rug.

I had donated it to the Knights the evening I was initiated and since I’m not a very active member I was unclear if they still even had it.

Thank you Lord for men who care enough to stand up for the weak (unborn) and who, even when things aren’t going so well, find time to praise you with their hands, their hearts and their very being.

 My dad’s rug, Bernie and son Marc

Losing a Pet–God Understands

June 26, 2012

Recently my wife’s sister had to put down her little dog.

Coincidentally, I stumbled across this YouTube video below, which is of a young boy who had to do something similar on his farm.

It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest and seemingly least significant things can bring us closer to our Father.

This blog post today is dedicated to those who’ve had to say goodbye to pets that brought them joy and peace.

Thank you Logan Henderson for hearing God speak to you and for calling a Christian radio program to tell your story.

You’ve touched millions of lives because of your obedience.

God Bless you Barbara…we’ll miss Gizmo too.

Kevin Youkilis Being the Man-ny

June 25, 2012

One thing true Red Sox fans will never forget is how Kevin Youkilis played his heart out.

He’s the guy in the dugout every manager dreams about.

He hated losing and always did whatever it takes to win.

Now that he’s been traded to Chicago, a team in first place, but in need of run production from third base, I predict a resurgence for the guy that fears no man.

I’m happy for Youk, whose diminished role this season was painful to watch.

My favorite memory is him confronting Manny Ramirez in the dugout for not hustling to first base.

Manny Ramirez was one of the bigger than life stars of the two Red Sox World Series runs; ’04 and ’07.

Youk’s tongue lashing was an expression of what every Sox fan had been feeling for a long time.

In spite of those credentials, Manny’s bad attitude and poor sportsmanship probably made Ted Williams head spin around in his icy grave.

The Red Sox owe Youk a giant douse of gratitude for not allowing punk behavior to go unpunished and for protecting our famous work ethic.

That shout and shove in the dugout was very Yaz-like.

Thanks for the hundreds of memories Kevin, and especially the one where you were beating down Manny being Manny.

Glad you’re sill in the American League too, it will be great to see you around now and then.

Iron Lady Review–Hollywood Succeeds by Failing

June 24, 2012

I have no idea what Meryl Streeps’ politics are.

What I do know is that no other actress could’ve played Margaret Thatcher as well as she did in the movie Iron Lady; not now; not ever.

Natalie and I had the opportunity to rent it this week, and, since I remember just about every political drama during the 70’s, it was refreshing to see Mrs. Thatcher again, almost in the flesh, thanks to Meryl.

If one needed material for a conservative blog, he could go back to that movie 100 days in a row and find something to write about.

If you’re a woman, but not sure what a real conservative female leader is all about, please, if you rent nothing else, see Iron Lady.

She is the Conservative party ideal.

Mrs. Thatcher was a fearless woman who had no sympathy for those who felt big government could solve every problem.

Also, because Hollywood by its very nature, always tries to taunt conservatives, their attempt to exploit her current bout with Alzheimer’s failed miserably.

Thanks to Ms. Streep, in Margaret’s weakness, her accomplishments seemed even more incredible.

I can’t say for sure I know Hollywood’s motivation with regard to Mrs. Thatcher’s private battle, but I can say, if they made a movie about Ronald Reagan and focused 50% of the film on his final days, conservatives would be in an uproar.

It’s no wonder this movie was not embraced by many of Margaret’s supporters in the U.K.

Hollywood did the same thing to Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.

Instead of focusing on his recovery and Christ-centered renewal, they skipped over that and made him seem like a drug addict that never found peace.

My favorite scene in Iron Lady was when Mrs. Thatcher quoted the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Rent this movie and watch it while you’re having afternoon tea.

Donations in Lieu of Flowers–Obama’s Death Bed Wish

June 23, 2012

I’ve been trying not to pick on the President for the past few weeks.

After reading today’s headline on the Drudge Report, and verifying the facts, I couldn’t help it.

There’s a relatively nice tradition here in the U.S., where, if someone dies the bereaved family will ask, in the departed’s obituary, that donations can be made to the deceased’s favorite charity, in their name–in lieu of flowers.

Bouquets are nice, as they help gardeners and local shops, but, since it happens to be ones dying wish, the idea of where donations go seems like one we as friends and family can’t refuse.

In the “I can’t believe this is happening category” the President’s campaign has set up an online registry for folks getting married, so that their friends and family can make cash contributions to Obama’s campaign, in the happy couple’s name–in lieu of a wedding gift.

I’m not joking.

Here’s the link to the Obama campaign website if you think I’m kidding.

http://www.barackobama.com/news/entry/the-obama-event-registry?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

I remember how desperate Natalie and I were for anything and everything when we first got married.

Yes Mr. President–we even needed a gravy bowl.

I guess the only way this overreaching money grab would be “O.K.” is if the event were the President’s wake and not his re-election campaign.

We don’t want you to die Mr. President, but your prospects for a second term definitely appear to be on life support.

I Like a Clean Shaven Man

June 22, 2012

Here’s the deal with the three-day beard every male model on TV and in Print is wearing…it’s not real.

What do I mean by that?

I tried it 30 years ago.

My own father told me I looked like a terrorist on the first day.

Have you ever seen James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder?

He’s only 22 and he looks like a 50-year-old Osama Bin Laden.

My brothers and I were so trained by our dad that leaving the house unshaven was a sin, that I found myself shaving at 3 am when the hospital called to say my dad was about to breathe his last.

I couldn’t bear the thought of him seeing me like that, especially as I said goodbye.

Getting back to why it’s not real…lately I’ve noticed young guys around town trying to make it work, but with little success.

There must be some type of  salon or makeup trick in Hollywood that the rest of America hasn’t figured out yet.

Instead of looking rugged and mature, most of these amateurs look more like a 15-year-old boy trying to force out a mustache.

I can still see my friends in 10th grade constantly stroking their upper lip, as if their fingers could inspire thickness.

I have no major Spiritual point today, or lesson about life you can glean…I just wanted to spout off a bit about something that needed commentary.

Father’s Day Oxymoron–38 Waste/Slim Fit

June 21, 2012

Now that Natalie and I are in our 50’s, certain things are starting to happen that make life just a tiny bit more challenging.

The day before father’s day I got a call that went something like this.

Jim…I’m at Macy’s…what color pants do you want and what’s your size again?

Sounds simple enough right?

For the first 15 years of marriage my pants size was very easy to remember….34 Waist, 34 Length.

About 10 years ago one of those numbers changed to 36.

About 3 years ago it changed again–38.

Simultaneously, my wife started to need reading glasses.

Sadly for me, on father’s day, she came home with pants that were just a bit off.

Since when did you become a 38 waste?

Not too blunt was she?

I told you 38…you just didnt’ allow it to register when I said it.

One of the most admirable things about a great shopper is their willingness to return things.

If it were up to me, I’d be like Jerry Seinfeld…treating clothes like fruit.

You can’t return it…it’s the chance you take.

Round two of the pants saga?

…another misfit.

I have no idea whose idea this was, either Macy’s, or the clothing manufacturer, but whoever thought there should be a “38 waste/slim fit” ought to have their head examined.

There’s no way you can get there, unless you could somehow combine Wimpy’s belly with Olive Oyl’s legs.

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 6 is the Lord reminding us how to pray.

We always called it the “Our Father,” other’s the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Either name is fine.

What Jesus teaches right after that prayer is even finer.

If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Lord, I forgive everyone with whom I may have a grudge, that includes Macy’s, my wife and the clothing company for pant size impossibilities.

Now please forgive me for all the fat mistakes I’ve made, that got me where I am today.