Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where Did Paul Go?

One of the great mysteries of the early Christian Era [C.E.] is where did Paul, “the Apostle”, go. That follows one of the other great mysteries of the time—Why was he called an “Apostle” and by whose authority, independently verified other than by Paul’s own stipulation.

The “Acts of the Apostles”, purportedly authored by Luke, a scribe of Paul, begs the question of the final disposition of Paul. Paul, after a long evangelistic mission abroad, has AGAIN been summoned to Jerusalem by James [The Just] and the irate hierarchy [The Disciples, as named by Christ and are independently verified, by and amongst themselves] for preaching a false message. This summons was the final of many known summons of Paul for taking license with the actual sayings of Christ--Christ was clear in his reinforcing the Law.

Sensing trouble, Paul’s followers admonished him not to answer the summons. Paul however, relents and appears. Meeting with James and other members of the leadership, Paul is again castigated for laxity in his observation of the Law. Acts does not record Paul’s response [Most likely excised] to these charges but it would appear from what follows that he perjures himself, denying the accusations, which his own Letters reveal to have been justified. See 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

Paul then submits to a compromise – a 7-day “purification” procedure. Despite his “self-purification”, Paul continues to inspire enmity in those “zealous for the Law” and a few days later, Paul is attacked in the Temple. “This, they proclaim, is the man who preaches to everyone everywhere against the Law” [Acts 21:28]. The ensuing riot is no minor disturbance:

“This roused the whole city: people came running from all sides; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were closed behind them. They would have killed him if a report had not reached the tribune of the cohort that there was rioting all over Jerusalem [Acts 21: 30-31].”

The cohort is called out, 600 men [Roman soldiers], and Paul is rescued. Having rescued Paul, he is arrested and marched off to prison, asking permission to make an exculpatory speech. Inexplicably, he is allowed make his case, serving only to further incense those in attendance. Paul is then carried off for torture and/ or interrogation.  Paul is then removed, under escort, out of Jerusalem to Caesarea, where he invokes his right, as a Roman citizen, to make a personal appeal to the emperor. It is in his exculpatory speech that he admits to his leading role in the stoning to death of Stephen, a named Disciple of Christ by Jesus himself.
It is in Caesarea that he spends time, in a congenial and intimate fashion, with the Roman procurator, Antonius Felix and his brother-in-law, Herod Agrippa II and the King’s sister, later the mistress of Titus, the Roman commander who will destroy Jerusalem and eventually become Emperor. In addition, Acts 13:1 refers to one of Paul’s companions in Antioch as Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch and in Romans 16:1, Paul speaks of a companion named, Herodian.

What is most striking of all however is that, following his sojourn in luxury at Caesarea, he mysteriously and utterly disappears from the stage of history? The Acts of the Apostles ends abruptly without any further word on Paul. In fact, there is no further record in any writing, canonization writings or non-canonized writings, regarding Paul. Number one, it is simply not plausible that Acts would end in such a manner. Number two, for someone who is singularly responsible for establishing what I call the Pauline Church to disappear without any further trace is just not possible. Did the Acts end like the Gospel of Mark, with part of it excised and a new and different ending spuriously added?

Another great question that might be posited here is why was Paul called on the carpet by James, who was in fact one of the 12 named Disciples? That answer is clearly laid out, in the words of Christ just before his departure, in the Gospel of Thomas, saying # 12: “No matter where you are, you are to go to James the Just.” This was in response to a query by the Disciples while in their audience prior to the Crucifixion. Paul was clearly proselytizing a false and unauthorized message and was called on the carpet by none other than the afore-named successor and brother of Christ, James the Just. James was the recognized head of the new church in Jerusalem until he personally suffered a great attack in AD 62.

In finality, where did Paul go and what did he do after his mysterious disappearance from the face of the earth? A better question might be posited: Who was this Paul? Or, by what/ whose authority was he proselytizing ANY message on behalf of the Christ? He was a Roman citizen, unlike the Disciples. He was a very wealthy man, unlike the Disciples. He was well known to the Herodian line, which brought down the early church, the Temple and finally, the battle and mass suicide at Masada, certainly unlike the Disciples.
Why was it that the letters and other writings, attributed to Paul, were canonized and books attributed to actual Disciples were pronounced “heretical” and were omitted from the canonization? That to me is the central question--and, by what/whose authority? No living person, at the time of the canonization had the authority to decide for anyone, what was the inspired Word of God and what was not. Absolutely, NO ONE!

Pursuant to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the 52 texts discovered at Nag Hammadi, it is clear the canonization was a farce and a fraud. These recently discovered texts are in the actual language of the inhabitants of the Holy Land, not the Greek translations, but in Old Hebrew, Coptic and Aramaic, the language of Christ and the Disciples. Fortunately, these texts, hidden from mankind for two millennia, had not been edited, adulterated, or tampered with by any “heretical” hand. They are the pure inspired Words we were meant to be given in perpetuity.

The 52 texts discovered at Nag Hammadi, although found in 1947, were only recently removed from the clutches of the church and made public. They have been translated and are now available to anyone who wishes to study them, as it should be. It is up to us, as Christians, to discern that, which is the inspired Word of God, not men in a “smoke-filled” room, dedicated to some contrived dogma, having nothing to do with the Word of God. It is especially egregious to declare “heretical” the Gospel of Thomas, which contains 114 quotes from Jesus Christ. I have as much authority to decide for myself, what is the truth of the matter and what may be “heretical”, no one else.

It is clear to me that the real fate of Paul was excised from the written Word, in time for the canonization. It is also clear that he had been castigated, exposed, shunned, discredited and removed by those who were authorized, as the Disciples of Christ, led by James the Just.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Politicization of Theology

I just heard a thoughtful characterization of something I have long felt. Somewhere along the way, and it has been gradual and insidious, we in America have politicized theology. There are a number of "political" issues that, in my opinion were formerly only questions of theology, not to be politicized. Theology has gradually been hijacked/ politicized. I have resented it all along but this is the first time on TV that I have heard it articulated in the manner just heard. For some reason[s], since the '50s, the political agenda and discourse have drastically changed. I'm not sure the tipping point or the catalyst but I am sure that it has been partly cause and effect as to why we now seem to be dysfunctional, politically and otherwise. It is the political system that has hijacked theology and not the reverse, quite the opposite of Jefferson's fear. Theology, in my opinion, is hands off, especially with respect to the federal government. Being Jeffersonian, I believe in a distinct separation of church and state. "Church", in Jefferson's mind [and mine], had nothing to do with religion or religionists.  It had to do with Theology -- the domain of the Creator, something for which we mortals have NO qualifications. I would assume the "political" issues of which I speak would be obvious. However, with the lack of a moral compass extant, seemingly, I probably should not even assume that. Just some thoughts...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Immigration Reform

If you watch any news at all you will likely hear the words, "Immigration Reform". Usually, you also hear that the majority of Americans are for it but you NEVER hear the details of what that "reform" would constitute. Keep in mind, we are NOT a homogeneous society--Japan is. Thus, "reform" is in the eye of the beholder [Interest Group, class, ethnicity, etc.] If your poll got into specifics, which would likely be impractical, what would you think reform would be to the average citizen? My 37 years of political life say that 99% of polls are useless, useful only in tracking trends - that is it! My experience also tells me also that 99% of those polled, who are for "reform", have NOT a clue what they would be reforming--they have NO idea what is in the present law [INA]. It too has also been my experience that, although Congress polls quite low in Popularity Polls, that to a man/ woman, these Members of Congress fairly and accurately reflect their constituencies. Thus, if you don't like Congress, walk over to the nearest mirror and smile like a monkey eatin' bumblebees. Here is a link to a pretty good summary of the INA. Ask yourself, rhetorically of course, what is it in the present law that you would "reform". Having a pretty good idea what is in the INA, I will just tell you I would not "reform" but one thing. Some A$$HOLE has a job to do--enforce it! Until such time, I'd just soon not hear that damn word again--REFORM! Unless and until we, the constituents, can find our respective butt with both hands, please do not expect Congress to do the same.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Federalist 47

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
James Madison—The Federalist #47
As Madison wisely observed, citing the insights of Montesquieu, a clear separation of the powers of government is essential to prevent the rise of tyranny.
It was also no accident that the very first article of the Constitution deals with the legislature, which was designed to be the most powerful of the three branches.
This was due to the fear of Kings and usurpers, e.g. King George III.

In our system, the president’s role is to carry out the laws that the Congress passes, not to write his own laws, not to rewrite the laws that do get passed, and not to issue executive orders that bypass the rest of the government entirely. This president makes a mockery of the checks and balances Madison and the other Founding Fathers carefully put in place.

Free and Independent States

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. 
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

While the above was written by Jefferson, into the Declaration of Independence, with King George in mind, it is as applicable today with respect to the current occupant of the White House, no less a DESPOT than King George himself. He is no less a burden to our pursuit of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I too, will not mince words nor bend to despots.

Eternal Enmity of Despots

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Knowing quite well the writings of Jefferson, I will stipulate that "by any means necessary" is understood, following, "to throw off such government". Period! He did NOT mince words or thoughts and never cowered. Nor should WE.

Natural Laws of Man and God

"...and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, ..."

Please note that it states, "God", not Karl Marx, Lenin, or any other fascist or despot. You don't like it, get over it; you may have all of Europe, Latin America or whatever else your pleasure. Our founding was in, of, and by, GOD. No man can change that by executive order or fiat, no matter what he or others consider.