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Friday, October 23, 2015


Over the years of this journey I have found such colorful differences in our languages and cultures. The most obvious and easiest to spot are those in English, since obviously that is my first language. The manners of speaking, idioms, etc. in the American South are not quite the same as in California, nor are they in Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English speaking areas of our world. In Great Britain, someone might say, "Put it in the boot." Confusing to a Californian who pictures the ones that go on the foot. But over there it means in the car's trunk. Or they might say "I'm going to buy a jumper." A what??? A sweater. There are tons of examples as you know, but I imagine you get the idea.

This is leading up to the Bible. The language in Bible lands was Aramaic. Jesus spoke it, his disciples spoke it. The account of Jesus' teachings was written first in Aramaic, but apparently the West did not know this for many centuries. From Aramaic, it was translated later into Greek as the Jesus Movement spread out. The people in the Bible lands did not speak Greek but spoke Aramaic, and the Romans spoke Latin and some Greek. The Western people somehow thought the New Testament was originally written in Greek and took the versions translated into their own languages from the Greek as the absolute correct versions. Meanwhile, the Peshitta (the original Eastern text of both the Old and New Testaments) continued to be the scripture of the Eastern Church. Because of the quirks of history, its tyrants and movements, the Eastern Church in the Near East and the Western Churches went on unaware of each other.

One can immediately imagine the problems of someone translating the Peshitta into Greek +1900 years ago without knowledge of the customs and idioms of the Aramaic speaking peoples.

So, for example Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. Let's say, I say to you "I'm in a pickle." If you take that literally, you will mentally see me in a giant cucumber - which we know is ridiculous. You have to know our idioms to know what I mean. Well, in the Aramaic, a pillar of salt is an idiom for having a heart attack or a stroke (they didn't know the difference way back then). It is equally ridiculous for us to think that she was actually turned into a pillar of sodium chloride. That was not what was meant.

Back in the 70's, I became acquainted with Dr. Rocco Errico (in fact he was one of the 3 who laid hands on me and ordained me in 1978). Rocco was carrying on and expanding the great work of Dr. Lamsa, the Aramaic Bible scholar. I hope you'll get some of their books either on Amazon or from the Aramaic Bible Society.

Anyway, Rocco introduced me to the knowledge of what was spoken and what was meant, especially in the New Testament from his study of Aramaic. It was way beyond eye-opening for me. Just to be clear, I'm in no way an expert, just a student and reader of their various works.

The first I studied was Dr. Errico's book on the Lord's Prayer. Right from the beginning it was/is stunning. For example, the Aramaic word Abba is usually translated "Father." It is sort of Father, but it is actually not gender specific. It is more like Beloved because Abba is used by spouses to one another, to children. to those friends who are close. I just re-read this book last week on my Kindle, and enjoyed it once again. (I read Lamsa's book on the 23rd Psalm this week too, soooo good and soooo helpful). Also, Rocco has some Youtube videos on the Lord's Prayer from Aramaic. You might look at them if this is of interest to you.

In storage, I have Lamsa's Bible, his Bible Commentaries, his book on idioms, and some others plus some of Rocco's books. I've downloaded several to my Kindle and bought a paper copy of the New Testament translated by Dr. Lamsa because I got tired of waiting for the time to come that we can unpack and be home again. I pray that this time in the wilderness for us is about to conclude.

Anyway, if we want to take the Bible seriously and honor those who lived it and wrote it down, it seems to me we need to do a little scholarly digging on our own. I hope many, many Christians will do some study along the vein of study I have been mentioning in this little article.

I'll share some more along this line in coming days. Please let me know if this interests you. I know people are reading my posts because of the statistics that show up, but people don't speak to me or write to me about the ideas usually. I'd love feedback if you feel so led.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sermon on the Mount

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has always been special to me. In fact, when we were in Israel, I read it aloud on THE Mount, and was deeply moved. There are Franciscan Nuns who live there now, and one came to me and told me she was moved by my reading (I didn't know there was anyone there except my husband). It was a profound day for me.

Scholars do not know if the Sermon on the Mount was given in one day, over several days or a composite of sermons over a longer period. Nevertheless, it is deep and incredible. Some say that it is Jesus' modern interpretation of Moses' 10 Commandments. I have read that it is the constitution for the Kingdom of God here on earth, and I really like that idea. If lived as reported, the world would be an entirely different place.

I guess what troubles me about it, is that there are billions of people now and over time who identify themselves as Christians. Yet, there is so little action in line with this Constitution of the Kingdom of God.

It seems to me that saying one is a Christian implies that there is sincere attempt to follow Christ by doing everything possible to live as he outlined and modeled. It is not about words. It is not about spouting theology. It is not about being a modern Christian version of the Sadducees and Pharisees. It is about being on fire within with the walk. It is about that immediate and personal life in God that speaks to God as Papa, Beloved, Abba. It is about shining love and forgiveness, about being a peace maker. It is about living the Kingdom of God.

It has often been said If you were hauled into court and accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Perhaps we could add, Is there evidence to show that you live a life in line with the Constitution of the Kingdom of God?

Some days I weep for the strange and awful ways of this world. I ache over the judgmental and angry "Christians" and the loss of the meaning of what it means to follow Christ. I don't know, but it may be that those on this planet are not able to live the divine constitution. Perhaps we are yet too primitive. But, wait, there are glimmers. There are scattered across the centuries and the planet those who did "get it." So then the question might be What needs to happen to spread that fire in the belly to quicken the hearts and minds and to establish life in alignment with the Constitution of the Kingdom of God?

Let's contemplate this and listen for the Holy Presence whispers. There is an answer. In the meantime let's you and me do our very best to emulate Christ and walk with fire in our belly's. Let's be contagious with goodness.

Oh God, today is the day You have chosen for me to turn even more to You and to the life of Christ. Lead me to walk and talk and be a person who upholds the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. Show me The Way Beloved Presence. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


If you know me, you know I am patriotic and deeply care for our nation and our freedoms. I have just finished the 1st reading of "A More Perfect Union" by Dr. Ben Carson. I am officially impressed.

I hope you will read it! He goes through the Constitution in a deep, but easy to read and comprehend, way. He has a great grasp of our history and our founding document.

It seems to me that we are on a precarious position, and need to be very careful.

Much of the Constitution is being overlooked currently. In our case, it seems to me that the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments have been severely violated so that we experience tyranny. I am told that this is because of the Patriot Act, which allows and maybe even encourages these violations. It makes me think that this act is itself Unconstitutional.

The Constitution tells us to be vigilant. Now is definitely the time.

P.S. - A long time ago in school, we had to memorize the Preamble, and we loved it and took it into our hearts:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And the words of Thomas Paine that inspired Washington's troops of 4,000 to win a victory over 20,000 Hessian fighters can inspire us today to stand for our Constitution and our Freedoms:

These are the times that try men's [women's] souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country, but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly regarded.

This day, this Columbus Day, this patriotic holiday, Guide us Lord and Strengthen us. We are grateful to have been born in this amazing nation. We are thankful for the many blessings that have come to us by virtue of being able to live here. Give us courage to stand up for what our nation stands upon, the values, the freedoms our founding documents that underlie it all. Open our eyes and ears so that we know what is really going on and give us the guidance to address it in such a way as to preserve for generations to come what we love and cherish here in the United States. We fully open ourselves to You and to be led in Your ways. Glorious Holy Presence, we give thanks that You hear us and answer. We seal this in the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thomas Jefferson

I am reading Dr. Ben Carson's newest book, and finding it fascinating. A quote from Thomas Jefferson comes early in the book: "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted into tyranny."

Anyone paying any meaningful attention to the current state of affairs in our world can see the truth of this statement. However, I don't want to dive into the murky waters of politics here. I saw some other ramifications in this statement.

I was thinking about the human condition, morals, spirituality, etc. I want to note here that I was raised in a middle class environment in a lovely town, so not the same as many others.

When I was a girl, everyone I knew went to church, had high moral values and tried to be helpful not only at home, but also in the world by participating in various worthy causes. We wanted the adults in our lives to be proud of us. We wanted to do well in school. We could see the values echoed in music and television (which was new when I was young -we got the 2nd TV set in our neighborhood in 1952). There was a certain goodness in the various television shows and in the music we danced to and sang.

Somehow we shifted to anything goes. We became somewhat free from the bounds of social morals, church, family, etc and became as if individual governments of our own lives. And in many cases, the lives of individuals under their own rule sank to the opposite of my youth. Now many are under the tyranny of their own perversions.

Behaviors absolutely unthinkable in the 40's and 50's are now displayed as if normal. It is mind whirling to try to understand some of the currently "all right things." Actually, I am horrified at some of the drift I see in the world.

It is said that one cannot put Pandora back in the box once Pandora is out and free to wreck havoc. But I believe with God all things are possible. Perhaps the ship has sailed on the more innocent 1940's and 1950's kind of life, but there must be a way/ways to shift the idea of what is normal back towards what is wise, what is moral, what is for the highest good, what glorifies God. These should be our governors, in my opinion not the unbridled binges into darkness, ugliness and horror.

Guide us to live as You would have us live. Guide us to be governed by wisdom, morality, the highest good, and what is spiritual and glorifies You. Lead us out of this valley of darkness back into Your Light. Show us the Way. We are ready to follow where You lead.