Lalibela: Bet Giyorgis The best known, and last to be built, of the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela is the one dedicated St George, the patron saint of Ethiopia. The church is a near perfect cube, 12 meters on edge, carved into the shape of a cross. The church is set in a deep pit with its roof, which has three concentric equilateral crosses as a relief, roughly even with ground level. Access to the church is via a narrow passageway carved out of the rock that begins at some distance from the church.
On the cover of this newsletter I have pictures of the amazing rock carved churches of Lalibala in Ethiopia. Since I was 19 years old I have been fascinated by Syriac-Aramaic, Coptic and Ethiopic Christianity. I have been to the Middle East and to Uganda in Africa-but I would love to see Coptic Ethiopia.
As we enter the Hanukkah ("Dedication" in Aramaic) season in which the battles of Judah Maccabee ("Hammerer" in Aramaic) and his struggles for religious liberty-we look at the contemporary relevance of Hannukkah and the continuing struggle for religious liberty today. Christianity is under attack in America-as never before.
The War Against Religious Freedom: Fox News-"The Five"
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Some people call it the war on Christmas. But tonight, the focus is on every American's right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion. It doesn't matter if you're Christian, Jewish or of no faith at all. In 2012 and right now, it is the Christians who are under siege by government officials and anti-religion groups who think Christmas and Christianity have no business in the public arena. Exhibit number one. In Kansas, the city of Buhler has been forced to remove the cross from the city seal after an atheist group complained. Exhibit number two. In North Carolina, at Western Piedmont Community College, students were told they couldn't sell Christmas trees if they were called Christmas trees. They wanted to call them holiday trees until their school finally caved. And finally, in Rhode Island, exhibit number three. Lincoln Chafee is not backing down. The liberal governor refuses to call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. Once again, he wants the holiday tree and his office didn't even want a holiday lighting this year. He caved only after enormous pressure. So, Eric, this is turn of play now, because for years, the liberals have said, oh that the right, the conservatives are against First Amendment, are against freedom of expression. But we're seeing quite the contrary at play right now. ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Right. And we'll do it again. Let's read the First Amendment to the Constitution. Should we do that? DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: The whole thing? BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Do we have to? BOLLING: Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof -- or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. It's groups like Freedom from Religion that are a problem. Wisconsin- based group that finds different municipalities around the country and they go and make it their project. They go try to get on TV, make enough ridiculous noise so that when people pick it up and say, hey, really, would this fall under the First Amendment of the Constitution? Free speech, free religion, First Amendment. Back off Freedom from Religion. I can't stand that group, by the way. GUILFOYLE: All right. Dana, we're going to talk about the situations that are illustrating this point of what's going on across the country right now, we're all watching it. They continue to blame the right. But, in fact, when you look at who is culpable -- we'll start with Kansas. Now, this is in the city of Buhler, they're going to remove the cross from their city seal and from all the city properties because this group, Freedom from Religion Foundation complained that it violates the establishment cause of the Constitution. PERINO: So, one of the things that I look in to with this is that the seal was redesigned 24 years ago. That's when a these lot of lawsuits happened. What they were trying to do here, not make a religious point, they were making a historic point because the city was established by Mennonite immigrants who were seeking refuge from religious persecution. This is an historic point and what marks the town and makes it different. And that they have a point of history to look to. I don't think that anyone who puts the cross on there was trying to make a religious point, necessarily, though they might be faithful Christians. But the fact that their town was founded -- you can't run away from your history. No one does that. GUILFOYLE: Now, Brian, the mayor there, Daniel Friesen, says that concerns over the lawsuit were a deciding factor in deciding to remove the cross from the city seal and redesigning it. BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST: I blame your people, and not the Irish people or the Puerto Rican people. I blame the legal people. The hiring of the legal people of this world, it's a fear of using taxpayer money to defend the right to show the cross that's having everybody cave. In this town of 1,350 people say, all right, we'll take it off. It's just too expensive to fight. We need people to donate their legalese in there --GUILFOYLE: You're right.
An Aramaic Name of God Omitted in the "Names of God" study Bible
This annoyed me-so I had to complain:
Could you pass on this observation to Ann Spangler? In her "Names of God Bible" she missed the name of God "Maran" Aramaic for "Our Lord" in the conclusion of 1 Corinthians where we have the
Aramaic prayer "Maran-atha"-meaning Our Lord, Come. I think it is odd that she missed it-but it seems like the "God's Word Translation" omitted the Aramaic in 1 Corinthians16:22. I discuss this name of God in my book "The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic." It's important because Jesus is the "Lord" to whom the prayer is addressed. This means that Aramaic speaking Jews of the land of Israel in the first century included Jesus in their concept of who the Lord was. I like the Bible and find it helpful, but I find it unfortunate that this name of God was left out.
Stephen Andrew Missick
Dear Mr. Missick,
Thank you for contacting Ann Spangler regarding the omission you discovered in the Names of God Bible. I have passed on your comment to Ann, and she will look into it for possible inclusion in another edition of the Bible.
Blessings, Administrative Assistant to Ann Sprangler
"The Left's War on Christmas: The Big Picture"
By Bill O'Reilly
Whenever the far-left viciously attacks you know you are on to something. Every year when we report Secular Progressive assaults on the traditions of Christmas, the crazy left loons begin a vitriolic campaign to diminish me and this program. There is a reason why they are doing that. And it has nothing to do with Santa Claus. Let's take it step-by-step. No one tells you a person could possibly see a secular display of Christmas as an imposition of religion. When the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree here in New York City was lighted last night no one threw themselves to the ground screaming about Jesus. That did not happen. New York City police did not round up the onlookers and force them into Saint Patrick's Cathedral a block away. Nothing religious happened at the tree lighting. It was just a fun occasion. Also you heard an atheist on this program last night say the federal holiday of Christmas imposes religion on him. What religion would that be? He says Christianity. But Christianity is not an organized religion, a church that can be imposed. There are many different churches that promote the Christian philosophy in many different ways. Does the atheist think the federal government is promoting Mormonism? Lutheranism? Catholicism? What? After that interview the crazy Web site People emerged screaming that I'm wrong. Christianity is indeed a religion. This people are so stupid, it's painful. Christianity is a philosophy. You don't have to believe Jesus is God in order to admire his view on life. Millions of Muslims admire Jesus as a prophet. In fact the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy, that's what shaped our constitutional tenets. Again if you are stone-cold dumb and don't understand the difference between an organized church and a philosophy, I cannot help you. In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge made my point when he sent this Christmas message to the American people, quote, "Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things there will be born in us a savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world", unquote. That's from my private collection, by the way. Is Calvin Coolidge promoting religion in that Christmas greeting? Of course not. He is promoting a mind set of goodwill. Now the more intelligent far-left people realize that what I'm telling you is absolutely correct. Historically and theologically but many of them don't care, they want any hint of spirituality out of the public square. Earlier this week, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee was asked by a reporter exactly why he will not call the state Christmas tree a "Christmas tree."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Do you understand how some people feel like you have somehow negated their traditions? CHAFEE:
Yes. You're absolutely right, either its gay marriage or accepting immigrants. You're absolutely right. They don't want to believe this is -- time are changing. (END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Times are changing are they? The Governor told you the truth. He is tying the Christmas situation into secular progressive politics. Mr. Chafee wants to ignore traditions of America and build a more inconclusive nation where Judeo-Christian philosophy is tamped down. That's the big picture here. That's the big picture it's what it's all about. The secular progressives want a new America and traditional Christmas isn't a part of it. And that's "The Memo." - You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEMITIC SPEAKING DWARVES IN THE HOBBIT AND LORD OF THE RINGS
Dwarves in Hobbit and Lord of the Rings speak Hebrew!
The version of Hebrew spoken by Tolkien's dwarves is called Khuzdul. Tolkien noted some similarities between Dwarves and Jews: both were "at once natives and aliens in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue…".Tolkien also commented of the Dwarves that "their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic." Tolkien based Dwarvish language on the Semitic languages. Like these, Khuzdul has triconsonantal roots: kh-z-d, b-n-d, z-g-l. Also other similarities to Hebrew in phonology and morphology have been observed.
DO YOU THINK CHRISTIANITY IS DYING? Tell us what YOU think!
The above advertisement-put out by GodTube and Christianity.com says a lot
I believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible. I am a Conservative Evangelical Christian. But the fact remains: Christianity is dying-in America, in Europe and in the Middle East. Elsewhere-it is not. In my opinion (shared by Franklin Graham), by re-electing Obama (which I was afraid was going to happen) America has "turned her back on God." Jesus Himself once said, "When the Son of Man (Bar Nasha in Aramaic) returns-will he find the Faith on the earth?" The re-election of Obama has emboldened the Atheists and Secularist-and Christians don't want to be confrontational. Either we do become more confrontational or we will find ourselves in the same situation that Christians found themselves in Russia for seventy years during the 20th Century. Of course, after the fall of Communism in Russia (it is obviously emergent in the United States), Christianity emerged again, scathed and not quite triumphant.
Syria readies Chemical Weapons
A senior U.S. official told Fox News Wednesday that Syrian forces had loaded bombs with components of sarin gas, a deadly nerve gas. They have 60 days to use these bombs until the chemical mixture expires and has to be destroyed. NBC News, which first reported this latest escalation in the Syrian civil war, cited sources saying bombs filled with a sarin component have not yet been loaded onto planes, but the Syrian military is prepared to use these chemical weapons against civilians pending orders from Assad. The sarin could be delivered in several ways but is believed to have been placed in fracturable canisters that can be dropped from planes, according to a senior US military source. "We think they have it in aerosol form," the source told Fox News. The United States has said chemical weapons use would be unacceptable and would trigger greater Western intervention in the conflict.
Women's war on men
Women complain that there are no marriageable men-but could the problem be that radical feminism drives men away? See the provocative new book by Suzanne Venker: It's been forty years since the sexual revolution, and the women of America have everything they want. Everything, that is, except a husband. Women may be schooled in the art of sex, but they have failed in the art of love. That isn't surprising. The modern generation is living in a culture that isn't the least bit interested in helping them get hitched. For decades women have been taught to sleep around indiscriminately, to pursue an education and career at all costs, and to never depend on a man. As a result, women delay marriage indefinitely or ignore it altogether -- as though marriage has no bearing on their happiness. As though it were a nice idea, or nice accompaniment, to an otherwise satisfying life. This is an unprecedented worldview. Until recently, women have always mapped out their lives according to what they considered their most important role: wife and mother. Today, women plan their entire futures around big careers. Husband and children come last. In How to Choose a Husband, social critic and bestselling author Suzanne Venker says American women need a detox. If they want to be happy, or just plain satisfied, they must do a 180 when it comes to their attitude toward sex, courtship, and married life. If they do, marriageable men will reappear -- and women will find the love that eludes them. What if everything you've been told about women in America is wrong? What if what your college professors taught you - along with television, movies, books, magazine articles, and even news reports - have all been lies or distortions? Since the 1960s, American feminists have set themselves up as the arbiters of all things female. Their policies have dominated the social and political landscape. The "spin sisters" in the media (aptly named by Myrna Blyth in her book of the same name) and their cohorts in academia are committed feminists. Consequently, everything Americans know -- or think they know -- about marriage, kids, sex, education, politics, gender roles, and work/family balance, has been filtered through a left-wing lens. But what if conservative women are in the best position to empower American women? Forty years have passed since the so-called women's movement claimed to liberate women from preconceived notions of what it means to be female -- and the results are in. The latest statistics from the National Bureau of Economic Research show that as women have gained more freedom, more education, and more power, they have become less happy. Enough, say Suzanne Venker, an emerging young author, and veteran warrior Phyllis Schlafly. It's time to liberate America from feminism's dead-end road. Cast off the ideology that preaches faux empowerment and liberation from men and marriage. While modern women enjoy unprecedented freedom and opportunities, Venker and Schlafly argue that this progress is not the result of feminism. Women's progress has been a natural evolution - due in large part to men's contributions. American men are not a patriarchal bunch, as feminists claim. They have, in fact, aided women's progress. And like women, they have been just as harmed by the feminist movement.In The Flipside of Feminism, Venker and Schlafly provide readers with a new view of women in America -- one that runs counter to what Americans have been besieged with for decades. Their book demonstrates that conservative women are, in fact, the most liberated women in America and the folks to whom young people should be turning for advice. Their confident and rational approach to the battle of the sexes is precisely what America needs. The authors advocate a common-sense approach to the issue of marriage and motherhood. Rather than belabor the tired notion of balance, they provide a step-by-step guide for how women can embrace their maternal desire, maintain strong marriages and also carve out a life of their own. The answer lies in a concept known as sequencing.
THE HAMMER OF GOD
As we enter the holiday season, please remember my "Hammer of God" series. This series of books and comic books (written and illustrated by me) tells the story of Judas Maccabeus (Judah the Hammer in Aramaic) and Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer in Latin) and their battles for religious freedom. The Maccabee fought the Greek Hellenizers, the ancient equivalent of today's "Secular Progressives" and Charles Martel fought Muslims terrorists-the medieval equivalent of Muslim terrorists-and stopped their conquest of France in the year 732 and thus saving European Christians from the fate that the Aramaic and Coptic Christians have suffered. The books are available at Amazon-the comics at www.comixpress.com.
Muslim Brotherhood gang rapes women
Egypt's embattled Muslim Brotherhood regime is paying gangs of thugs to rape women and beat men who gather in Tahrir Square to protest the power grab of President Mohamed Morsi, say activists. In a bitter replay of the Arab Spring protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago, protesters have flooded the Cairo square to denounce Morsi, who has stripped the judiciary of power and is rushing through an Islamist constitution. And while Mubarak is now in prison for using violence to quell protests targeting him, Morsi's regime is now accused of doing the same. "This is still happening now," Magda Adly, director of the Nadeem Center for Human Rights, told The Times of London. "I believe thugs are being paid money to do this ... the Muslim Brotherhood have the same political approaches as Mubarak." A protester the newspaper identified as Yasmine said she was attacked while videotaping demonstrations. She said about 50 men surrounded her and began tearing off her clothes, grabbing her breasts and sexually assaulting her. She said she suffered internal injuries and was unable to walk for a week.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/05/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-accused-paying-gangs-to-rape-women/#ixzz2EF8pvQSH
These people are worse than animals-and wouldn't be in a position of power-had not Obama helped to bring it about. PRAY for Egypt-the Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, has had to flee protestors, he is trying to impose a radical Islamist constitution upon Egypt, which the Coptic Christians, and 1/3 of the population which is moderate, does not want. Morsi is trying to break up the pro-democracy protests.
RINOs Attack Conservatives
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp said Wednesday that House Speaker John Boehner removed him and other conservative Republicans from key committee posts for conservative votes against House leadership this term. The allegations mark the second straight day the Tea Party-backed Huelskamp has lashed out at Boehner and other House leaders for perceived punishment when they return next year for another term. "The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions," said Huelskamp, who was elected to a second term in November. "This is clearly a vindictive move." Huelskamp says he has been ousted from the chamber's Budget and Agriculture committees but has yet to be told directly. In addition, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina was taken off the chamber's Financial Services Committee. Freshman Rep. Dave Schweikert of Arizona also was removed from the Financial Services Committee, while fellow freshman Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan was taken off the Budget Committee. Boehner's office did not return a call seeking verification or an explanation of for the changes. Earlier this week, Huelskamp alleged House leaders made their decision based on "secret" criteria and suggested Boehner's moves were similar to the those Newt Gingrich exerted on committee assignments when he was House speaker from 1995 to 1999. Huelskamp cited in particular his commitment to the Republicans' "Pledge to America," which he said Republican leadership made before he was elected. Signers agreed to cut $100 billion in 2011 and to restore transparency and openness in the legislative process. Huelskamp also said Boehner's decision went beyond punishing him to hurting his voters. "It punishes my 700,000 constituents," he said. "Someone from my district has been on the Agriculture Committee for 151 years."