Monthly Archives: October, 2015

Keep Those Problems Coming

October 29th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 9 comments

Recently, my husband and I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Ben Carson speak. For the moment, I’d like to put aside his presidential aspirations to focus on one insight he gave us into his life. 

Speaking of his adolescence, Dr. Carson told us how closely he came to succumbing to an explosive temper and badly hurting or even murdering someone. By God’s grace, his blows were deflected and the horror at what had almost happened propelled him to put himself in God’s hands and ask for His help. 

Just imagine. Instead of becoming a world-famous pediatric neurosurgeon, saving lives and being a blessing to so many, Dr. Carson could have been one more inmate of juvenile hall, on a path to a life either wasted or a curse to those around him. 

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Should my daughter nanny for a lesbian couple?

October 29th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

My daughter has been calling me to ask my opinion about working for a married lesbian couple as a nanny to their child. I quote scripture to dissuade her, however she says they are so nice to her and Christians are being unfair to their lifestyle and the couple can’t help who they are, etc. 

Could you please address this situation and help me explain this from God’s point of view. Anything will help because political correctness is so pervasive in our society.

Thank you for your consideration,

∼ Jo

Answer:

Dear Ann,

It’s wonderful that your daughter is calling to ask your opinion. This suggests that she values your thinking. You should be proud. It also suggests that she is conflicted about this job opportunity and willing to think independently rather than flow with her peer group. That is a good thing.

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Joy and Heartbreak

October 15th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 17 comments

My husband and I were blessed once again to be in Jerusalem for the chock-full month of holidays that just ended, as we have been for the past few years. This trip was different. 

The month tends to be packed with seeing family and friends, celebrating the Festival days and Shabbat, and keeping up with our ministry work. We aren’t looking to run around the country (though there is much we would love to see). There is much joy in living in Jerusalem, visiting the cafes and restaurants within a few blocks of the apartment we rent, being able to walk or take a short bus ride to the Western Wall, drinking in the unique aura of the city and spending as much time as we can with our Israeli daughter, son-in-law and grandson.  Each year, however, we do try to set aside one day for an outing. 

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How could Boaz do such a thing?

October 15th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

God said the Moabites could not join with the Israelites yet Ruth was a Moabite. Did Boaz disobey, and what happens to Obed, Jesse and David?
It is difficult to believe Boaz did anything against God’s will.

∼ Vanaly P.

Answer:

Dear Vanaly,

There is a theme that runs through King David’s life of the despised becoming the elevated. He expresses this in Psalms 118:22, “The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone.”

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Should Israeli Lives Matter?

October 8th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 19 comments

I saw something on Facebook the other day that rubbed me the wrong way.   Now, depending on who your ‘Facebook friends’ are, you can encounter lots of disagreeable material on Facebook, but this was different. Many people whom I like and admire reacted to the increasing number of Arabs brutally murdering Jews on the streets of Jerusalem and its outlying areas by posting, “Israeli lives matter.”  

I love and appreciate that these people, both Jewish and Christian, want to show support for Israel and the Jewish people. Social media, with its hashtag and slogan mentality is largely where our society interacts today. My instinctive, negative reaction may be completely wrong. Still, “Israeli lives matter,” doesn’t resonate with me.

Politicians regularly exaggerate and speak in hyperbole. America’s current President goes beyond that; he blatantly propagandizes. He talks of  things like building a transparent administration or about working across the aisle that he knows are untrue. HIs stock in trade is disinformation, reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. One of the damaging effects of his presidency is an increase in the corruption of language. 

When, back in 2014, Michelle Obama held up a sign reading, “#Bring back our girls,” that was a way to do nothing while getting kudos for being sympathetic.  Boko Haram still has the girls and the First Lady’s sign leads overseas to mockery of America. Secular liberalism speaks of universality while pigeon-holing everyone by race, income, gender and a constantly  increasing list of criteria. It pits people against each other while piously decrying bigotry.  

Michelle

The ‘Black Live Matter’ movement enriches demagogues and empowers politicians while impoverishing and destroying African-American communities. It is easier to make people angry and to convince them that they are blameless victims, rather than to have serious and uncomfortable conversations. Discussing corruption and decay among the police, corruption and decay in teachers’ unions and the public education system, self-destructive cultures that produce fatherless boys and dozens of other issues all get pushed aside while shouting three obfuscating words.

‘Black lives matter,’ inevitably produced ‘Police lives matter.’ I understand the impetus for a counter-slogan, but in the final analysis, exchanging buzzwords promotes conflict while ignoring the real work that needs to be done. ‘Israeli lives matter’ encourages the growth of a ‘Palestinian lives matter’ movement, supporting the concept of moral equivalence. 

For this reason, I am uncomfortable with joining the ‘X lives matter’ movement. Our culture loves to sound virtuous without the messy business of acting virtuously.  I know that those who are saying, ‘Israeli lives matter’ are appalled, as I am with the world’s double standard. Like me, I hope they are horrified at Europe and America’s inviting refugees carrying suitcases full of hatred and violence into their countries. I’m sure that most of these people support Israel with money, time and their votes. Still, I worry that adopting mantras reduces us as a society, allowing us to pretend we are reacting to serious issues with an ephemeral tap of our fingers.

Yet, social media is where our society interacts. I may be completely wrong. What do you think? 

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Rabbi, there’s a conflict in your teachings.

October 8th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I’ve noticed two major themes in your writing and speaking that, when taken together, create a dilemma. These are the themes of income being associated with the production of value for others, and the fact that the values of society are becoming less and less moral as civilization has deteriorated recently.
 
So this would mean that people who have the same values as the rest of the world will be more successful and make more income. How do we therefore live our lives conscious of the monetary implications of what we choose to provide for other people, while at the same time holding firmly to generally unpopular biblical principles?

∼ Isaiah

Answer:

Dear Isaiah,

We love this question and especially from someone with your name. The prophet Isaiah spoke the truth, yet God’s prophets were frequently rejected both by Israel’s enemies and by most in ancient Israel as well.

If we read you correctly, you are integrating our main principle with the increasingly degraded condition of society.  Taken to its extreme, we think you might be asking, what if, for instance, society wants degenerate entertainment and by delivering to society exactly what it desires, you would make money?

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Full Circle with John Boehner

October 1st, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 9 comments

The first Musing I wrote in 2015 was an open letter to John Boehner. Had he taken it to heart, he might not have needed to resign. If I was the only voice expressing the sentiments I wrote, I could understand his missing the message. However, way more articulate, intelligent and popular voices than mine broadcast similar views. 

While I admit to a whoop of delight when news of the impending resignation scrolled across my computer screen, I am not breaking out the champagne. The speaker’s own comments on Sunday talk shows as well as opinion pieces by other Republican stalwarts suggest a fear and loathing of the party’s conservative base, amid confusion that they (we) actually are having an influence. 

One thing that Speaker Boehner never seemed to understand—and Mitch McConnell doesn’t either—is the importance of taking control of the message. Liberals understand this only too well. Consider how poorly gun control has fared for them. Many people feel that this was the issue that handed the Presidency to George W. Bush. Yet they don’t say, “We can’t win this one.” They simply press the message harder, work on permeating the culture and wait for the day when enough people of voting age will have been influenced by them. They did this with homosexual marriage for years, sometimes soft-pedaling the marriage aspect, but constantly pressing the false civil rights message. 

If public opinion polls decided policy, the United States would still be a British colony. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense among other writings and statements changed sentiment. “There’s no way we can win this,” the mantra of the Boehner/McConnell contingent, is not a rallying cry. 

The men who “pledged their sacred honor,” did not suggest waiting until their odds looked good. They did speak of the principles in which they believed with inspiring, ennobling and electrifying words.

This election season, I have heard such words from various candidates, including Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee among others. Whether or not I think they are the best choices for President, anyone who cannot rouse others in defense of this country, her founding values and Constitution, should take a cue from John Boehner and step aside.  

P.S. Not ten minutes after writing this Musing, a new article by Thomas Sowell appeared in my inbox. As usual, he articulated my thoughts better than I did, so I am delighted to share his piece

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My daughter is marrying out of the church

October 1st, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I brought up all my three children in the church. My daughter is is getting married very soon, and will not have a clergy or a pastor officiating at the wedding. I am hurt that God will not be at their wedding.
 
How can I come to terms with this? It is as if she is turning her back on our Lord.

∼ Fran F.

Answer:

Dear Fran,

Even before we give birth to our children, we give birth to hopes and dreams for their lives. We pray for their physical health and safety and for their spiritual health and safety as well. We do more than pray; we buy car seats and bike helmets, we bring them to church or synagogue, celebrate holidays and speak to them of God. Yet, despite our efforts, we are not able to control events or them.

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