Sunday Spin: Fellowship V

sunday’s Spiritual Spin

I am thankful for Fellowship. What is called the Communion of the Saints in many of Creeds. You may have noticed that.

What you may not know is that most Believers spell Fellowship this way: F O O D*

With a potluck lunch after service today, what can I say?

Om, nom, nom, nom…

*And for good cause. For those so inclined, try doing a bible study of all the things God does around food or the table. From eating the Fruit in Genesis, to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Revelation, God says a lot when there’s food around…just sayin. Almost like He invented the idea…


Culture Shock

I am thankful for books like Culture Shock: Korea. For  me, it was a relatively quick read, about a half a day, but it has all manner of cultural information that I’m sure I’ll be looking up again before and after I get to Korea. Some of the information wasn’t new; the internet is a wonderful thing, don’t ya know.

Some of it wasn’t new, per se, but offered some insight as to why–and that kind of info makes it well worth the extra shekels for real hardcopy (paperback).

And, since I don’t spell my name G O D (‘cuz I really don’t know much of anything, being a pieriansipist and not all knowing), there was a lot of goodies that were new to me. Thus adding value to my purchase.

I have no doubts that I will have my feet both firmly planted in my mouth on more occasions that I care to imagine, but I’m also thinking that it probably won’t be as bad as it could be, due to the information available in this wonderful little cultural guide.

Makes me wonder what parallels I’d find in a book called: Culture Shock: America-A survival guide to customs and etiquette in the USA. I doubt it would be so compact…


Just Plain Saturday, a prelude to Holy Week

A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manusc...
A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript. Found in the Cairo Genizah. From the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, now in the public domain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am thankful for my faith as a Believer. And, no, it has nothing to do with Justin, although we just might have a commonality in terms of faith. But I digress.

Faith is important to me. Well, to everyone really, but many folks don’t see it that way. Yet again, I digress. Today’s focus is a glimpse of how I perceive my faith.

The essential difference between Christianity and Judaism  I think it is this: Christians believe The Messiah is come and Jews are still waiting for Him. All subsequent differences follow from this point. Oh, there are myriad misunderstandings and all the bad blood that comes with them. All manner of bad theology to support prejudices and just plain evil (on both sides) as well as polemic stances to combat the bad theology  Add a couple of millennia for all this and it’s no wonder, or shouldn’t be anyway, that there are such differences between these faith systems.

Both faith systems have the same set of books at their core: called the “Old Testament” by Believers and TaNaKh by Those Who Wait. Both faiths have a commentary system to explain these books. The former call theirs the “New Testament” and the latter have the Midrash and Talmud. There may be others, but these suffice to illustrate the point.

The so-called New Testament is so called because it explains how the Covenant the Lord made with Himself for His people changed, was made complete/perfect/fulfilled with the Messiah’s arrival, death and resurrection and how that impacts the Believers life. I am no expert by a long shot and wasn’t raised in a Jewish home, so please forgive me if I err, the Midrash is a series of stories used to explain the Scriptures (I often pretend to be a storyteller–so this method resonates with me–and the Messiah often used this method as well) and the Talmud is a now written Oral commentary.
Both of these commentary systems date back thousands of years. And both of them are somewhat polemic, that is, they set out to teach and defend the perspectives to which they hold. After all, we’re talking about understanding the Word of the Most High, right? And rightly understanding what He has specifically told us should be pretty important, right? Lots of differing opinions on how to go about this and the differences have become heated and violent at times over the centuries.
That’s ultimately why, in my VERY humble opinion, there is such a rift between these two faiths. We are both determined to be right. And while I understand the “necessity” of it, it saddens me. It seems to me that  we are so much more invested in being right than being related. It also seems to me that the whole of these Scriptures, whatever you want to call them, are all about relationship, either vertically (The Most High and His creation Mankind) or horizontally (one person to another). It is sad that we, I, often forget this tidbit. I can only fall back on the overwhelming abundance of Grace and Blessing with which He continuously showers me.

Thoughtful Friends

I am thankful for my small group that meets Wednesday nights, usually for a bible study.

Tonight, we did our (roughly) quarterly dinner. And since I am gluten intolerant, they got me some Chinese take out instead of the pizza & salad they all had. I had offered to bring my own to save them the trouble–I do it all the time.

It was pretty tasty. And I am thankful for that too. Lots of “healthy gluten free” foods (mostly the processed crap) are extremely bland. Flavorless, if you ask me. And I know you didn’t ask me, but there it is.

I am blessed by such thoughtfulness…



I an thankful for THON–aka Penn State Dance Marathon, a philanthropic phenomenon that raises funds to fight pediatric cancer care of The Four Diamonds Fund.

Forget about the so-called scandal of last year. This is what Penn State is about. I  am thankful for a community that cares about children and is motivated to do something–40 years of community service. From 38 students dancing 30 hours and raising $2000 to last year’s 708 dancers pulling a solid 46 hours and $10,686,924.83 raised For The Kids. To date, THON has raised over $88 million.

I encourage you to dig into the phenomenon that is THON on their website:

From the website:

“THON was first organized in 1973 by a group of students looking to add excitement to a dreary February in central Pennsylvania, and for a way to give back to the community. Today, Penn State’s THON continues to be the longest dance marathon in the country lasting 46 hours. THON has grown to engage more than 15,000 students each year and has inspired other university, high school, middle school, and elementary school students across the nation to start dance marathons of their own all in the hopes of conquering pediatric cancer!”

Then watch this video (make time–it’s nearly an hour) to learn…


Mirror, Mirror III

sunday’s Spiritual Spin

I am thankful for friends, real, honest friends. Friends who can act like mirrors to show you things you can’t see for yourself. Light in dark places. Eyes for the blind spots.

Blessed is he who has friends.

Blessed is he who has a Friend Who sticks closer than a brother.