Sunday, June 2, 2013


Restore the altar of your heart with burning faith!

Rebuilding the Altar at Mt Carmel
1 Kgs. 18:20
Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel.

Ahab had married Jezebel, a Phoenician. Faith in Melqart became fashionable in the kingdom. Melqart represented prosperity by military conquest (rule of law with weapons) and commerce. The prosperity was developed by the exploitation of conquered people.
Elijah represented faith in Nature's God with a rule of law based on relationship by agreement. Prosperity was part of providence by the promise. Sadly, cruelty had not been ruled out.

The killing of the prophets of Ba’al after the competition did not show respect for freedom of religion. Cruelty in the name of sectarian competition still hasn't been ruled out as much as possible. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were promoted by sectarian discrimination against Islam.

Freedom of religion has been put into the constitution for nations that had had Islam as the only state religion.
“Establishment” is not a necessary part of Islam as a religion. Let a religion establish itself as a religion by the persuading people that the faith has respect for the rights of others. Using the law to establish one religion as legal is the same as saying weapons are necessary to force people to worship God. God does not need weapons for worship. Defense is the only justification for the use of weapons. Defense is the only justification for war.

Concession to the aggression of imperial expansion by military conquest was regarded as wrong by the prophets of Israel. It was an expression of support for the risk in military action when the prophets of Ba’al danced around and cut themselves with weapons, but it wasn’t an act punishable by death.

Having the prophets of Ba’al put to death was a criminal offense. It violated the commandment against murder.This said, it may have been a fictional element in the story. It is not likely that Elijah could have had the 450 prophets put to death. It is more likely that the restoration of faith in the promise had eliminated the influence of their promotion of "prosperity" at the expense of conquered people.  
Elijah’s act of sacrificing a bull for a feast did not endorse war. The sacrifice celebrated the union of communion with God. People joined together to celebrate life by eating an animal that was given for the occasion.  They didn’t join together to say that killing others was necessary for prosperity.
As a Sacred Location
"According to the Books of Kings, there was an altar to God on the mountain, which had fallen into ruin by the time of Ahab, but Elijah built a new one."

1 Kgs. 18
Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, "Israel shall be your name"; with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD...At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you are God, and that you have turned their hearts back."

A burning faith was restored to the people. :-)

Burning Faith
Fm Ps.96

Say, yea Yah!
Yea you!

Rays of faith
burn from this heart as sun
shines star fire as light
to sight for sound
in song.
Life loves to learn
to live past
time in the gift
of the present.

Now is the time
to seize that which
can be seized
about tomorrow
from the past.

Cease seizing the day
by violent aggression with weapons.
Invasion is a high crime
against the community of nations.
The agent for organization
needs to be charged
for the crime.
The limits for knowing
are set to extend beyond
what had been known.
Exploration is necessary
for growth but,
science limits knowledge
to that which can be acknowledged
as known to investigation
in the due process of law.

Propaganda writes
the story before and after the event
to defend the sale of weapons.
Truth for justice does not condone
killing for propaganda.

Learn to know
what had been the case
for reason and agreement
to see what can
be seen in sowing seeds for
peace and prosperity for living
where discord and poverty
had been the order
for things in dying.
Proclaim the good news
of salvation from day to day.
Declare growth for the economy.
Share resources for the production
of products and the cultivation of service;
risk safety only to protect health.

Insure fairness in commerce
with pricing that is regulated
for consumer consumption;
not the inflation of personal gain
by corporate greed.
There is majesty in the dignity of your presence.
There is splendor and might in the power
of your protection.

Ascribe gratitude for creation
to the Creator.
Ascribe honor and majesty
in achievement to the Performer.
Ascribe to the individual
the Personality of respect for others.
Bring offerings to celebrate community
in the presence of love.

Worship God in the beauty of holiness.
Let the whole earth shine
with the exchange of energy.
Warmth, light and moisture
cause hearts to glow
and help plants to grow
from the dark womb of soil.

The constancy of the law
makes the world as firm as earth.
It cannot be moved
without growth
in progress
for respect.
Let the heavens rejoice.
Let the earth be glad.

Let the thunder rumble
as water dives with droves of drops
from clouds to bodies on the ground.

Then the trees in the forest will shout for joy.
Light will dance on leaves for branches
to drink deeply for life;
liquid substance is shared
with the wind.
The world will be judged for righteousness.
Respect for others will be shown with truth.

Say, yea Yah!
Yea you!


Justin Martyr, the Philosopher (100-167)
Justin was impressed by the steadfastness of the martyrs at Ephesus. He met an aged Christian man by chance while walking on the seashore. The man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises made through the Jewish prophets.

Christ as Truth
Justin said, "I fell in love with the prophets and these men who had loved Christ; I reflected on all their words and found that this philosophy alone was true and profitable."

Later he moved to Rome. He founded a Christian school. He wrote two bold apologies (i.e., defenses—from the Greek apologia). Justin's First Apology, addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius, was published in 155 CE. He explained the faith. Christianity was not a threat to the state. He asserted that it should be treated as a legal religion.

The proposal to accept Christianity as legal did not rule out acceptance of other religions as legal. While polytheism was flawed insofar as emperor worship was included as a requirement, it allowed for a multiplicity of faiths. The cult for each god or goddess was an expression of faith for a different religion. The greatest flaw for monotheism as a state cult was that it increased the risk for violence against those who did not belong to the cult.

The argument for Christianity as a legal religion however did not go as far as the provision for freedom of religion. This provision clearly affirms each person has the right to free exercise so long as the establishment of a religion for the state is not being promoted. The role for the state in terms of religion is to defend the right for an individual to participate in a community of faith. Respect for the right of others to the same freedom is a requirement by law.

Justin was asked by the prefect to denounce his faith after he was arrested in Rome by making a sacrifice to the gods. Justin replied, "No one who is rightly minded turns from true belief to false."

It was an easy answer. Justin had spent most of his adult life discerning truth from deception. Freedom of religion asserts that it would also be wrong for the state to ask anyone to denounce the right to another faith by claiming allegiance to Christ, God, monotheism or any particular religion.

It is also wrong to force a suspect to confess to a crime with the threat of violent force.

Suspect Killed During Interview
"Ibragim Todashev, who died during the interview with authorities, not only confessed to his direct role in slashing the throats of three people in Waltham, Massachusetts, but also fingered Tsarnaev in the deaths, the official said Wednesday."

How convenient. The suspect died after confessing to a triple homicide that implicated Tsarnaev as a murderer before the Boston bombing.

Todashev was shot seven times. One shot was delivered to the back of his head. It was reported that he attacked the FBI agent with "some kind of weapon." He had turned over the table after signing the confession. Doesn't the excessive use of force scream “forced confession”? How many times does someone without a gun have to be shot to stop the perception of a threat?

The song “Baba O’Riley” sings.
"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right."

The statement is very true, but the corollary is not:

            I don't need to fight to prove that civil and human rights are just.
            They are natural. They don't need to be defended.
            They don't require argument for justification or proof.

Thanks to the cruel dehumanization presented throughout the history of civilization as "justice," the defense of rights is a constant struggle. It is not the defense of my rights that transcends and promotes progress as evolution in the process.
Each elitist defaults to his or her right to accumulate capital despite the cost to others. It is the defense of rights for others that wins respect. This defense earns respect for individual rights in the life of each person.
I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right, but I will use truth to defend freedom with justice.
Steve K.

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