Monday, January 12, 2009

Temple Mount / Noble Santuary Compromise

With all the current bloodshed in Israel/Palestine these days, I am thinking of the future. Where do two cultures, political states, religions go from here?

I do not wish to document past hopes or failures. I wish to consider how hard it will be for both sides to sit down and negotiate in good faith for the future of the immediate nation state and the greater region. Examples about the end of the cold war between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. or the falling down of apartheid in South Africa are not good examples to use or learn from. Those scenarios fit other times and places in other parts of the planet.

I have pondered this situation and think that some symbolic gesture(s) by both sides could pave eons of highways to the future. I use one example here. I am certain that those directly responsible will have better and more practical ideas than my own. That is okay. The important process is the beginning of visualization of a peaceful, prosperous Israel/Palestine in the future by all parties concerned.

I do not wish to intrude on the two cultures and religions but I have some observations. I do not think that a bi-cultural country is immediately possibly. In a global village sense, maybe a hundred years from now nobody will care who your neighbor is across the street in terms of culture or religious background. In an immediate sense I see a divided geography perhaps with walls but a reduction of violence and an escalation of trust between all parties of the region. A successful peace in Israel/Palestine will deflate political agendas in the region and hiding behind religious masks at the present time.

Picture Israel/Palestine or Palestine/Israel whichever way you want to look at the coin. Picture joint economic ventures, common public utilities, high standards of living.

The thing that sticks in a lot of Israeli throats is the division of Jerusalem with a joint political state sharing a joint capital. This is something nobody from the outside can impose. This is something the two parties have to agree upon and work together on to make it work. It is not impossible but it will be extremely difficult to maintain if the current levels of friction and mistrust continue.

I say take the Temple Mount or Haram-esh-Sharif (noble sanctuary) and borrow a page from the wisdom of Solomon. If there is to be a divided capital of Jerusalem then I think that this elevated property gets cut down the middle. The price for peace for the Palestinians should exact a price or such. They at the moment do not have the upper hand in the military equation of the situation. The Israelis are looking at their enemies, though in facts their neighbors, getting up front and personal in a very ancient symbolic piece of Israeli identity in the form of the city of Jerusalem.

This is not easy. But what if the Palestinians say okay, cut Harem-esh-Sharif down the middle if that is what it takes to make a permanent, stable, universally recognized state and capital for Palestine. I think that the Palestinians will opt to keep the half of Temple Mount that has the most symbolism in a structure for them, the Qubbat al-Sakhra or Dome of the Rock. If that happens, then the plain structure or Al-Aqsa Mosque is now on Isreali territory. I do not think that the Israelis will stop the function of this mosque but what if in the terms of binding eternal peace treaty Israel can turn the mosque into a synagogue or even tear it down to build a Third Temple.

A lot of hot points here. Al-Aqsa mosque is the big work horse mosque of the Noble Sanctuary area on Temple Mount.

Israel, if you look close enough, is more a secular state than a theocracy that it had ideally been in the ancient past. A Third Temple is only a dream for a handful of the extreme religious community. If we cannot do these things mentioned above, what can both sides do to show good faith, both literally and symbolically.

I believe that the two mosques could stay in place. A joint police force in the city of Jerusalem could administer control the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary and - and somewhere in the middle of this joint historic site, archeology and research could start on a small scale, a few square meters a year, and could go on for decades and fill a yet to be built museum for artifacts found that touch the history of two nations, two cultures, and two religions on common ground - the Earth.

It is just a thought for a possible win-win compromise for peace to accidentally break out and spread throughout the region and on to the planet as well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Anti-Semitism, Mel Gibson Style

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I am not comfortable talking about anti-Semitism. I do not feel qualified to talk about the subject and will not attempt to do any lengthy essay. I would like to focus on one slice of publicly displayed anti-Semitism and surrounding the public figure of Mel Gibson with his remarks in July 2006.

Without even going after remarks by his father Hutton Gibson or his own words in a drunken stupor, the basic fact of Mel's anti-Semitic remarks originate with the Constantine Bible - a bible written for a Roman General/Emperor and for the political agenda of that political person - written, assembled three hundred years after the death of Jesus. The Jews and not the Romans supposedly killed Jesus. Whatever.

What I attack here in my simple Christian belief system is the logic or lack of it regarding what this Jesus story means in terms of hating a race for the actions of some individuals, the high priests in Herod’s temple bureaucracy.

My argument is this. Who did Jesus preach to in his three year ministry? I have to say mostly Jews. They were poor working class Jews. Oh there were a few Romans and a few Samaritans but 100% percent of Jesus’ ministry on earth was to 99.9% Jews.

Did Jesus preach his Sermon on the Mount to an empty mount? Did he feed 5,000 non-Jews with loaves and fishes? Did he go to Roman wedding to change water into wine? NO! There were a few Jews present at all these mentioned events. If you look at the Gibson family mindset, they must wonder why Jesus wasted all his time with the - the - the Jews!

How do you separate Jesus from his roots and then say that his roots were not the important part of his ministry? It is all a bit twisted.

Jerusalem and Judea as a political state went out of existence about forty years after Jesus’ time.

Christianity as it got recycled with Greek and or Roman religions lost its Jewish flavor or origins. Or did it?

Did Jews who became slaves after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. go to Rome and then buy their freedom after they helped build the Coliseum in Rome? Did they stay in Rome? This scenario has been suggested by the TV history presenter Simcha Jacobovici.

Jesus planted the seed of faith and of the new faith through Jews who ended up on the other side of the planet and without a homeland.

There are so many rich possibilities for the flowering of faith and continuation of tradition and even with paradigm shifts on a religion and a culture in transit in the first century of the common era.

When some ignorant Irish Mick spouts his mouth off and reiterates the hate of his parents, well maybe that is anti-Semitism.

I think the religious ignorance of who and what Jesus was - and was about for his people, the Jews, is something greatly monumental in the depth of stupidity and vice.

And then again maybe the anti-Semitic remarks were solely and conveniently used as a deal breaker on the proposed Gibson movie about the Maccabees. He just did not have it in him to do a great movie or do justice to that historic era.

Forget about the ministry of Jesus. Just hate a race that everyone wants to make extinct. Well, I do not think that will ever happen. There is something internal about the nature of man and culture and this indirect hated of the imperfectly formed and recycled religion called Christianity. Better to hate its origins than reform its present mess.

As for the Maccabee Movie, better that old Mel could not do it. Who would want to watch Apocolypto with a yamaka on it?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prayer for a New Year

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May the power above
Grant you a new year
a new start if needed
filled with many blessings.

Days come and go.
Blessings come and go.
Both can be sorely missed
When unnoticed or gone.

Keep in mind perspectives.
The need to live, work, play,
Reflect, construct, learn-
Take some time to pray.

We are not alone.
And yet we can be lonely.
Patience, courage, love,
Are virtues needed these days.

Touch nature and its beauties.
Bring the richness of creation
Into your daily living and drink
Freely of the waters of life.

Always remember,
Never forget,
Count your blessings
All of the time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Prize is the Journey

Caroline Kennedy recently said that an event like 911 made her want to get more involved and have a more active part in the whole fabric of American life. Good for her.

Myself, looking back, I see how 911 poked a hole in my political view of the world. I also had to stand back and decide what I believed in terms of religion. The other side was using, misusing religion as an arm of some political agenda.

This blog, with its readers, has been an education. In terms of my spiritual progress, I have figured out at where I might be at this present time on the road of life.

Perhaps I am more a nineteenth century Unitarian in my private belief systems on more things than anything else. I elect to change my opinions and beliefs as I go along if I so choose. Nothing, like beliefs, in this modern age should be set in stone.

Heaven and hell are here upon this earth. Some of us are lucky enough or blessed to have a choice to seek the former.

I am not a religionist. I do not addicted to religion. I do recognize that religion has been part of the social glue for thousands of years. Secular functions have replaced many previous sacred functions in society. Where religion stands in the rest of the world is entirely different than the way it is going along in the United States.

I am a secularist. I believe in the separation of church and state. I am saddened that so few in America have a rich appreciation or knowledge of true or good religion practice. While I know the average evangelical is probably a good intentioned Christian, I also know that the road to an imagined hell is often paved with good intentions.

That to burn books, symbolically, or in reality, of science is the worst kind of fascism. That this wanting to return to an early nineteenth century mentality whereby the only book in town is a bible is a path that leads to the disasters and misused emotions that turn to anger, hate and days like 911.

I recently got some feedback that said that religion is very, very dead in Europe or at least the organized Christian form is quite dead. We in America do not know or taste and feel our European brothers’ and sisters’ culture unless we travel and experience from those travels. I have to travel more.

That the only energy in religion in Europe these days may ironically be Islam and of the faith of so many immigrants to that social political economic state.

Where religion goes I do not know. I am an anti-religionist. I have my private beliefs but think that in out global mindset, which is the future, the secular side of the equation blots out any or all religious calculations.

Luckily. I have enriched myself and I hope you too the reader by what I have said in writing this year. It has been an interesting year.

The journey is the prize. The prize is the journey. For those of you lucky enough to enjoy thinking, march on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Age of a Coming Rainbow


For forty years
I repeated the tape
I sat and saw TV -
shadows -
the human struggle
its rise and fall, on
black and white and
then color TV.
The rainbow was gray
on the little b & w TV
in the high school
music room (1968),
no music that day.
Only the echo of
thunder.
Those who would, could
move us - lead us
to a better place
their voices were stilled
- silent.
And the music teacher
procalimed "Gentlemen,
we are living in very
sick - sick country".
Rainbows of the human spirit
fled - ran - hid away
that day, not to be
seen since.
Oh color survived
but the techno rainbow
is not a child of nature.
Forty years of color TV.
Forty years of b & w
memories.
Gray silence gave way,
witness in fact, to a
rage of a man
not a sage of a man
with new (low) standards

of leadership met, set for
decades to come.
Rage on tapes,
still spewing hate,
rave on beady eyed man -
leader - the world survived
without you - Thank God!
But it was still
an age without rainbows until
the drought of the human heart
persuaded a cleansing rain
to descend here below.
And to some it might
seem a flood -
the people's age
to replace the corrupt
Age of the CEO.
Obama -
stands to be sworn in (2009).
Blessings upon us all
(we deserve them, earned them).
Forty years of no rainbows.
(Era sin arcos iris)
Gives way to great floods
("Et Grands Deluges"...)
of the human spirit.
Life giving water descend.
Purify a bygone age.
Arrive to announce
not a golden age
but a rainbow multi-colored
age of mankind. (dawning)
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(My thanks for inspiration to Michel de N. Century One, Quatrains 17, 76)