Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Down in the River to Pray--Take 2

It's difficult to decide which version of this I like best. Posted one by Allan Hall here.

Here is Alison Krauss's version from a concert of the music from O Brother, Where Art Thou?. (Embedding disabled on the video.) Alison's voice is perfect. It's just...there.

There's something about this song that gets to me. It reminds me of the Flannery O'Connor story "The River." A disturbing and powerful story about a little boy who gets baptized.

Looks like a great concert (though I haven't had time to watch it) is available here on Youtube with all the music from O Brother. (Strange-looking movie, but wonderful music.) (Link HT: Southern Gospel Yankee)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Palestinian" "police" are terrorists

If you're an Israeli Jew and you have the audacity to try to go and pray at Joseph's tomb without carefully coordinating your visit with the IDF, you might just get gunned down by Kalashnikov-wielding "Palestinian" "police" shrieking, "Allahu akbar!" They can't just have people promiscuously praying at a Jewish holy site without special permission, can they? Obviously a highly dangerous activity justifying the immediate use of deadly force. And why not praise Allah while killing a Jew? Especially a Hasid? Sounds like a win-win from their perspective. (See also here.)

This is what the Israelis get for treating the "Palestinians" as a quasi-state entity in Judea and Samaria, aka the "West Bank." No good deed will go unpunished. Except that I'm not at all sure that giving the "Palestinians" partial control over Judea and Samaria was a good deed, if we include "wise, prudent, and good for all concerned" in "good."

Alleluia! He is risen!

The Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia! Never has there been such joyful news proclaimed throughout the earth, for because He lives, we too shall live. Our sins can be forgiven, we can be reconciled with God. Here is a link to my post today at W4 in which I give an interesting little evidential argument--just something extra on top of the massive testimony of the witnesses.

If the claim that Jesus rose from the dead is not true, really true, literally true, then we are still in our sins. In which spirit, I give you (not for the first time and probably not for the last) Updike's Seven Stanzas:

"Seven Stanzas At Easter"

By John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that--pierced--died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday: Behold and see

...if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow. From Psalm 69, which also contains a remarkable prophecy: "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." I am amazed to report, what I had never noticed before: None of the evangelists even draws attention to this parallel. Maybe they thought they had enough already otherwise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday Passion--"Ah, Holy Jesus"

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

St. John's Episcopal Church sings these words (not the messed-up modern version) here.

And when the Passion of Our Lord is read, and the person who has agreed to play Pontius Pilate asks what shall be done with Jesus, the whole congregation joins in crying out, "Crucify him!" It's not something one wants to do, somehow. But it does drive home the point: "I crucified Thee."

Got 'em

Two "Palestinian" young men, entirely unrepentant (of course), have been arrested in the slaughter of the Fogel family. Thanks to Malcolm and Yaacov for the links (here and here). Kudos to the Shin Bet.

It appears (from last names) that they are related to the two Fatah men whose arrest was earlier reported in WorldNet Daily. In fact, it looks like a whole lot of people in the village of Awarta are related to one another and like covering up this particular massacre was something of a family affair. The young murderers may have dreamed up the idea on their own, but their uncle and other family members helped them hide and dispose of the evidence afterwards. Charming people. But give them a state, and I'm sure all will be well./sarc

I continue to say: May the Israelis vote in a death penalty, and may their courts not strike it down. It would be a real advance.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A possibly offensive post

My Catholic readers may want to skip this post. At the risk of offending, but hoping that I will not:

I do not believe that the Scriptures have been written for the purpose of inducing in men a great fear of being damned while at the same time hiding from them the knowledge of what they must do to be saved, which vital knowledge they must then seek from some other source. Yet a certain argument for Catholicism concerning our supposed need for a guide to essential doctrine asks that we take this possibility with the utmost seriousness.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

"Journey's End"

This song is on a new album by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Yet it's not just by EHSS. For this album, producer Wayne Haun took the voice of the late George Younce off of old masters, extracted it from its background, and added new music and background vocals by the present EHSS. Very impressive, very classy album. The song below was new to me but is wonderful. Here's a review of the entire album. Lyrics for "Journey's End" to follow.

Verse 1

There is a land I long to see
It's across the river wide
It is there my Savior waits for me
Just on the other side

And his gentle calls encourage me
Not to fear the river's bend
But to steer the course he's given me
'Til I reach my journey's end

Verse 2

There is a place I long to be
It is by my Savior's side
He has there prepared a place for me
In his presence to abide

And he navigates my ship for me
Through the storms that life may send
And though the water's deep and wide
He'll be there 'til journey's end


Oh I need not fear the wind and rain
As they wash away the sand
It is on the solid rock I stand
Waiting for my Lord's command

There is a land I long to see
It's across the river wide
It is there my Savior waits for me
Just on the other side

And his gentle calls encourage me
Not to fear the river's bend
But to steer the course he's given me
'Til I reach my journey's end