Monday, August 28, 2017

"Monday Moment

So a few weeks ago, there was violence literally in my backyard, of Maryland, in Charlottesville,Va. which translates into about a 2-3 hour drive depending on traffic. It was a Sat, and busy for me, but I remember turning on my computer and the first thing I saw was crowds of people with what looked like flags, or sheets. A car had just drove into a crowd, and later we all found out that a woman had been killed. I thought , wow this is just too close to home.. But I remembered a larger riot that happened in Baltimore in 2015. Now that was close, and the distance from there to where I lived amounted to another 1-2 hr drive depending on the traffic. These were just two "events" as the media likes to call them, that happened in "my backyard". What to do , what to do?
Both of these were motivated by hate, fear and frustration and literally helplessness. One of my greatest concern is that someone would attack in my workspace, in my church, in my very own neighborhood. A lot of people were shocked and horrified by this and there was buzz for about a week and then the next week was the Eclipse and the totality thingy and it was pushed to page 2. I heard someone ask to no one in particular,"Where are the peacemakers", where is a "Martian Luther King" when you need Him. Remember, they killed all of the prophets. Some jokingly said, "Where is Underdog when you need him?" Gallows humor. A Mormon prophet said these words:
"Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think that the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church.(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it. There is no escaping from that. No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received. We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth. That involves our family history and temple work. We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work. And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth” (Church News, 3 July 1999, 3)". President Gordon Hinckley
Can a church save the world? How does that work? The Bible says that if we "stand against or resist our Adversary, he will flee". A friend and I were talking about the state of things and she said this verse: "Your adversary, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour". We don't want to be food for evil do we? Contrary to what most people think, Satan is not the boogey man, we have met the enemy and he is us. There was a war in heaven and Satan managed to convince a third of the heavenly host to defect. Now the scriptures will sometimes describe the host of Heaven as "numberless concourses of beings", what is one third of a numberless entity? I feel that this representation is God's way of bringing our attention to the fact that evil is incarnate, and no one is immune in certain circumstances.
So my Monday moment is this, don't stand by when you see a wrong. Say something, call 911 because it could be you. Find a way to fight against evil by doing all the good you can, in whatever manner that you can. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone, say hello, even smile. Start a conversation and don't be upset if maybe they don't want to talk, its okay, Someone else wants to talk. It is about all of us.
Doctrine & Covenants 38:30: I tell you these things because of your prayers: wherefore treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear......

You should not stand by”: Holocaust survivors speak out against hate

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday: you say you want a revolution

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
Charlottesville, Va. right at my backdoor

Doctrine & Covenants 38:27-31

27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
29 Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
31 And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless—

Alicia Keys - Holy War (Lyric)

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will not be no rerun brothers
The revolution will be live

Friday, August 4, 2017


Oh my Gosh, it is Friday, again. So today I am presenting yet another throwback blog post. I am trying to find a better word than "throw back" because it seems to imply that these posts were not worth reading. But they were, and if you are just reading them, or missed them the first time around, then they are new to you. So today I asked the question: What would you do for Love?    
We are all looking for love, and even if we are in relationships, or marriage, or even looking. The world makes it so hard to love doesn't it? The most benign but no less powerful love is that of a seemingly simple friendship. Remember when we were kids, and it was so easy to make friends, right.? 
Oops I feel a story coming. When I was a kid, I tended to attract other (interesting) kids to me, particularly one kid named Gregory. He was such a poindexter, he had a habit of "biting". I dunno why, maybe he was teething, even at the age of five. He was psychotic when it came to biting. All of us kids would be having fun at the park, swings, slide, teeter totters. We would play "car". You know, with a big box and a homemade steering wheel, and we would be just "play" driving along and he would haul off and bite your neck, This was not just a nibble, it was a full on bite, that would draw blood. After that every body out of the car, we all ran home crying to tell our moms. I was done with that, and I felt I had to put a stop to it. My mom advised me to "bite him back", but my Dad, well he was the diplomat. He had been teaching me how to box, and particularly how to land a punch right where you wanted. He suggested that I "land a punch". So the next time we were all playing "car", and Gregory started in with his "fangs" . I took up my best Muhammad Ali stance and landed a punch right in the "kisser". Of course I was the bad guy, but that is another story. 
My post today is from the book of Genesis, concerning the family of  Issac and Rebekah, and even the in-laws Sarah and Abraham. Infertility in a covenant marriage. Sometimes infertility is not the absence of babies, but the absence of faith. After all , faith in one another builds trust, and trust builds love.

ISAAC AND REBEKAH...infertility in a covenant marriage
Brian Kershisnek
Fertility in a covenant marriage; you could say that the obvious evidence of fertility in any marriage is children. But I would raise that bar and say that the evidence of fertility is also spiritual “off spring”.
In Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived
(What does it mean to be entreated? It means to be kind and just and reasonable and self-sacrificing in one's attitude toward others.)

Isaac married Rebekah when he was 40 years old, there was no age given of Rebekah, so it is always assumed that she was at least 20 years younger. For the first 20 years of their marriage, Rebekah was unable to conceive. The scriptures seem to designate this condition as “barren”. It is such a harsh word, and the connotations imply an unfillable emptiness or a void-like a black hole, something that can’t be filled up without divine intervention.  

I don’t think that Rebekah was initially infertile, this was her blessing as she left her home to marry Isaac: Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Sarah and Abraham also struggled with “temporal” infertility in their marriage, in the context of their respective biology. There is an emphasis on how old they were, and specifically in a post menopausal Sarah.  And in light of Abraham and Sarah’s promises of “posterity” that would equal the stars in the sky, and the grains of sand. Their faith was stretched to the breaking point. Abraham complained to God that “he wasn’t getting any younger, and if he had to wait any longer, he would have to legally adopt his most senior servant “Eliezer of Damascus”. Sarah had to take matters into her own hand, and had enacted or acted on a Hammurabi law:  “Throughout the Ancient World childlessness was considered to be a serious problem.  If a wife failed to bear children she might give her maidservant to her husband.  If the maidservant produced a baby it counted as the wife’s child.  If such a maidservant started to take on airs and act the equal of the wife she could not be sold but she would be kept strictly as a slave.  If neither wife nor maidservant produced a child a man was permitted a second wife but again she was not allowed to be equal in status to the first wife.  If his wife acquired a long-term illness he could take a second wife but he must continue to look after his first wife for as long as she lives.  She could take her dowry and return to her father’s house if she wanted to do so: the choice was hers.(144-149). 

Sarah gave her slave Hagar to her husband Abraham, to act as surrogate for her. And the plan was to raise the child as her own; sounds like a soap opera. Abraham’s response was conspicuously ambiguous. When he was confronted by a desperate Sarah concerning the behavior of Hagar; (it seem s that Hagar was aware of her rights in the law also), his response at first seem’s flip, but in accordance with the “temporal” law of procreation they had invoked, his reaction was according to that law: He said, “She is your hand maid, do with her what you will.” 
This caused a delay of about 25 more years before Sarah would become pregnant. ( Yes 25 years, meaning that Hagar's son was at least an older teen, around 19 to 20 years old when they were cast out into the desert. There is  pattern here, Issac was also a young man between 25-30 when he was almost "sacrificed. There is a pattern here) 

Where is the infertility? It is not so much in her body or in Abraham’s body; because the Lord promised that “nothing is impossible for Him”. But the infertility represented here is that barren seed of faith, and the “stony unfertilized” ground of the heart, where the sower can’t sow the seed of faith.   

In this infertile moment; Abraham and Sarah decided to “fall back” to a different time and place and in their life, and utilize it to bring about a wished for event.  Many years before, Abraham and Sarah made a brave decision to serve the Lord at all cost. They were told to “leave their fathers house because he was an idolater”, and they were told to leave their “kinfolk” because they too were idolaters and would only hinder their goals. And last, the Lord “entreated” them to come to an unknown land, and live there, and start a family, and become a people; and they were entreated. They were to leave the prescribed laws of the land, and follow the law of God, no shadow of turning.

So, back to Isaac and Rebekah, who seemed to be going down that same road of barrenness. But their approach was one of faith. The Bible does not mention any sister wives, or concubines. Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  I think that Isaac’s prayer, a husband’s blessing; where they both knelt together; gave Rebekah a spiritual boost to her faith. More than babies were conceived, the faith that with God all things are possible, was born also.
 Psalms 113:9 Amplified version: mentions this concerning the “barren” woman:  He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of [spiritual] children. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
I really love this record, because lately I am those women. I am Sarah, even Hagar. Hagar I a sure willing agreed with Sarah, they were friends after all. Maybe she wanted a husband of her own, and not to have to share with Sarah. Rebekah, her husbands first love, loved her  so much that he entreated the Lord so that she could conceive. That implies a sweet and tender love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son...
This is an example of a divine entreatment.
NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love - 7/21/2016 - Paste Studios, New York, NY
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