Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Canadian viewers may help to determine the fate of the Hour of Power

Have you noticed that the "Possibility Thinking" promoted by Robert Schuller didn't seem to work anymore for the Crystal Cathedral when the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008? As reported by Dave Halliday in the Edmonton Journal, February 25, 2012:

Canadian viewers of the Hour of Power television show from Crystal Cathedral will play a role in deter-mining the future of the program.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, Crystal Cathedral's senior pastor, said in a telephone interview that Canadian donations declined when the church encountered financial problems and her father and church founder, Dr. Robert Schuller, was less involved in the Hour of Power.

"We've seen a serious drop in revenue in Canada," Coleman said.

The donations pay for the airtime on Global and Vision TV to broadcast the Hour of Power. If the donations don't rebound, the church will have to look at other options.

"One of the things we can do in Canada is go to a half-hour," said Coleman, adding that the program could also be reduced to a half-hour in some areas of the United States. But she makes it clear that the pro-gram will continue.

"I want to assure you the Hour of Power will remain on television as an avenue for bringing hope to the world," she said.

Crystal Cathedral, located in the Los Angeles area community of Garden Grove, a few kilometres from Disneyland, encountered financial difficulty that forced it into bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy court judge approved sale of the 12.5-hectare church property to the Catholic Diocese of Orange County last fall for $57.5 million US.

The sale process was completed in early February when ownership formally changed hands.

"I'm pleased to know that our creditors get 100 per cent of what we owe them," Coleman said.

The Catholic Diocese won a bidding war for the cathedral property with Chapman University largely because Schuller made it clear he wanted the iconic structure to re-main a church. In addition to the cathedral, the property houses several other buildings including a welcoming centre.

Terms of the deal give the Crystal Cathedral congregation three years to find a new home.

Coleman said she expects that the search for a new location within a 16-kilometre radius will take 18 months to two years. Among the possibilities the church is considering are vacant warehouses.

A vacant warehouse would be a blank canvas that would give the church the opportunity "to create whatever we want," Coleman said. Moving the Hour of Power doesn't present large problems.

"The Hour of Power is one of the easiest to move to a new location," said Coleman, pointing out that the program could be produced in a television studio...

...Schuller, ordained as a minister in the Reformed Church of America, arrived in Garden Grove with $500 to set up a church in 1955. The only location he could find was a drive-in theatre - he preached to parishioners in their cars from a pulpit on the roof of the snack bar.

Eventually, the church moved to the current site where the glass-walled Cathedral was ready for services in September 1980. The Cathedral's distinctive spire was constructed later.

While the local congregation grew, the Hour of Power television program gained strength with an estimated audience of 1.3 million in more than 150 countries at one point.

Coleman said that the program will aim to attract a younger audience and will make use of the Internet and other technology to improve accessibility to the program.

"For example, the Hour of Power released its own app in December and already a member of our staff saw someone watching the show on his smartphone while waiting in line at the airport."

When the Crystal Cathedral congregation moves to a new home, the Catholic Diocese will take possession of a building completely unlike most Catholic cathedrals. But the famous building will not undergo major alterations.

"While renovations are called for, not much deconstruction would be required and the iconic personality of the original architecture and design would, for the most part, be retained," the diocese said.

The diocese notes that the cathedral organ is one of the finest in the country, the quality of light and its allegory in the building is consistent with the enlightenment of Christ and there is ample space for worship and celebration.

However, some changes are required such as installing a central altar, adding the bishop's chair, a baptistery, baptismal font and a tabernacle to house the Blessed Sacrament. Once the changes are made and a dedication ceremony is conducted by the bishop, the cathedral will become a Catholic place of worship.

Before winning the bidding war for Crystal Cathedral, the diocese considered building a cathedral at a cost of $200 million US. The diocese has announced that the Crystal Cathedral will be renamed.

March 12, 2012 update: Three members of Robert H. Schuller's family have been fired the ministry's board, as reported by Roxana Kopetman in the The Orange County Register, March 6, 2012 (updated March 7, 2012):

GARDEN GROVE – Three family members of Crystal Cathedral Founder Robert H. Schuller were fired from their leadership positions in the ministry, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Schuller’s daughter, Gretchen Penner, was terminated from her job as one of the producers of the Hour of Power television show, according to a cathedral spokesman. Her husband, Jim Penner, was fired from his post as executive producer of the Hour of Power. And Jim Coleman, the husband of Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, was also fired from his job as director of creative services.

Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella abstained from voting with the board on the terminations, according to the spokesman. “So this isn’t a family dispute,” he said.

But Schuller and his wife abstained without knowing who was being terminated, their daughter Carol Schuller Milner said Tuesday. And when they asked during the meeting held by teleconference who would be affected, board members said, 'they'd rather not say,''' she said.

"They would have appreciated some dialogue on the matter," Schuller Milner said. She said her parents felt "grieved" by the board's decision.

On Sunday, Sheila Schuller Coleman is expected to give the sermon.

Meanwhile, the Hour of Power program, which once reached millions of viewers across the world, will replay previous episodes for the next few weeks while leaders “determine a new direction for the show.”

“Organizational changes affecting ministry leaders are never easy to make, especially when it involves individuals who have devoted their lives to this ministry and have served with great distinction,” John Charles, president of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision the Crystal Cathedral Ministries board of directors prayerfully deemed was necessary in order to make a change in direction for the ‘Hour of Power’ and reverse recent declining donations and viewership.”

Five other individuals were expected to lose their jobs in the reorganization.
“Because of privacy concerns, we won’t identify them,” the spokesman wrote in an e-mail.
This is the latest shake-up for the troubled ministry. Last month, Schuller Coleman was removed as the chief executive officer and president of the Ministries and replaced by Charles, who had previously held different positions with the Cathedral.

At the time, Cathedral leaders removed both Schuller Coleman and Penner from the board of directors, but Penner continued in his role overseeing the television program.

The board voted Thursday to fire the Penners and Jim Coleman, the spokesman said. The Penners were told on Monday and Coleman was told Tuesday, according to the spokesman...

...Robert A. Schuller, the senior pastor for nearly three years until his forced
resignation in 2008, sees the changes in leadership as a smart move.

“It’s normal business practice to change leadership when the leadership leads an institution into bankruptcy,” Schuller said Tuesday. “My hope is it will breathe some life into the ministry.”

Schuller said he was unaware of the terminations. He is not in touch with his two sisters — Schuller Coleman or Gretchen Penner -- or their husbands, he said. But he saw his parents over the weekend and they didn’t say a word about the board’s vote, he said.

“I had no idea,” he said.

As for the Hour of Power television show, Schuller said re-runs might just be the thing to pump some additional interest and donations to the Protestant ministry.

“I think it can be a very positive situation for the church because my understanding is the reason people stopped supporting the ministry is that they don’t care for the music and the preaching. So if you give them some music and preaching they want, they’ll come back,” he said...

...The elder Schuller, now 85, founded the ministry some 50 years ago and became a well-known television figure with his weekly sermons. Today, however, he and his wife "really don't know what their plans are" regarding the Hour of Power, daughter Schuller Milner said.

"They've kept the Schullers in the dark," she said of the board.

Michael Nason, a former aide to Robert H. Schuller, said the latest developments — including the sale of the church and the dismantling of the Hour of Power leadership -- signify “the end of an era” and leaves no clear direction for the once-popular television show.

“If I were to look ahead, say a year from now, what do I see? I think they, the remaining board, would like to see the program continue on television. But they have lost its face. And the face is Crystal Cathedral,” Nason said Tuesday.

“People tuned in from all over the world to see this extraordinary building and they loved (Robert H. Schuller’s) message. The Crystal Cathedral was the face. Schuller was the voice,” Nason said.

In the wake of the bankruptcy and the sale of the iconic building, the ministry will have a difficult time continuing the evangelical television show using the same format, Nason said.

“The face and voice of the Hour of Power have passed,” he said. “If they want to continue the Hour of Power, who will be the voice and where will it be?”

On March 10, 2012, Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella announced their resignations from the Crystal Cathedral board of directors. As reported by Roxana Kopetman in the The Orange County Register, March 10, 2012 (updated March 11, 2012):

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, announced "with great sadness" their resignations Saturday from the Crystal Cathedral board of directors.

"We cannot continue to serve on the Board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere, especially since it now seems that it will not be ending anytime soon," Arvella Schuller was quoted as saying in a news release...

..."(Robert and Arvella Schuller are) removing themselves from the governance of the ministry," Carol Schuller Milner, their daughter, said in an interview Saturday. "They're not cutting all ties. They're still planning on worshipping in the congregation..."

...Cathedral representatives could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The elder Schullers have been embroiled in a legal battle with the board of directors regarding intellectual property and copyright infringement claims as well as back payment for services rendered, Schuller Milner said.

The exact figure for how much is claimed was not available Saturday. Attorneys for the Schullers have made almost weekly offers to the Cathedral's board to settle the claim, which includes a $120,000 annual housing allowance, a $198,000 annual payment in license fees and additional medical benefits, according to Schuller Milner.

Last Tuesday, "the board said we're ending all negotiations. We don't want to negotiate any further and want to go to court," according to Schuller Milner.
"Particularly in these difficult times for the ministry, the ministry's decision to spend its money on attorneys and court proceedings is bewildering to us," Arvella Schuller wrote in the statement. "We cannot continue to serve on the board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere especially since it now seems that it will not be ending anytime soon."

The pending claims by the Schullers have been cited as the reason creditors in the bankruptcy case have not been paid by the church. Schuller Milner disputed that complaint, saying her family "made an offer that would have allowed (the creditors) to be paid in full" but the board rejected the Schullers' offer.

"Our proposals have always been structured in a way that would allow full payment to creditors to go forward without delay while leaving the ministry with more operating capital than originally contemplated in the court approved bankruptcy plan," Schuller family attorney Carl Grumer said in the news release. "We were optimistic that a solution was close at hand which would be mutually beneficial to the Schullers and the ministry. What motivated the board's decision to make a sudden shift after it had seemed that we were so close to a positive conclusion, we do not know."

The news release concludes with a message the founder of Crystal Cathedral posted on his Facebook page: "No matter what, God is still God. No matter what, God is still a good God. God loves you and so do I."

For congregants, the latest development is another painful reminder that the church is on its way out of the cathedral Schuller built. Congregants can lease back the building from the Catholic Diocese for up to three years.

"We truly have lost our church and we know that. Most of us are in mourning," said Anne Waltz, a member since 1956 who still attends a Sunday morning bible study class with other seniors. "A lot of my friends still can't believe it's happening."

Ken Waltz, Anne's husband, said the Schullers' resignation was unavoidable.
"It was inevitable because they lost control," Ken Waltz said Saturday. "The whole thing was controlled by Robert and Arvella. For some reason, they allowed the kids to get in there and reorganize it poorly. The thing was managed so badly financially and spiritually that it fell apart."

And on March 11, 2012, Sheila Schuller Coleman announced that she was leaving the Crystal Cathedral and moving her congregation to a new location. As reported by Roxana Kopetman in the The Orange County Register, March 11, 2012 (updated March 12, 2012):

GARDEN GROVE – Sheila Schuller Coleman delivered her last sermon at the Crystal Cathedral on Sunday, announcing she is breaking away and taking the congregation to a new location under the name Hope Center of Christ.

But moments after her surprise announcement, a Crystal Cathedral pastor told congregants that regular Sunday services will continue in the striking building, leaving congregants to make a choice on where they will be next Sunday morning.

"We are very sad, very sorry about this," said Pastor Emeritus Juan Carlos Ortiz, who began the Hispanic ministry for the Crystal Cathedral. "I hope they both have success – those who stay and those who leave."

Her departure came one day after her parents, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, resigned from the Crystal Cathedral board of directors – leaving behind a church Schuller founded in 1955, preaching Sundays atop the snack shop of an Orange drive-in theater.

In a news release Sunday afternoon, the elder Schullers said they support their daughter but they "will not be moving with her to the new location" or worshipping at the Crystal Cathedral.

"How we will express ourselves in worship remains up in the air," Robert H. and Arvella Schuller stated in the release.

Instead, the elder Schullers said they plan to focus on "securing and stewarding our legacy that has been our message for almost 60 years."

The Schullers and the Cathedral's board of directors have been fighting over intellectual property and copyright infringement claims and other payments.

No Schuller family members are left with the Crystal Cathedral, some ousted recently by the board majority in the wake of a bankruptcy, sale of the grounds to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and bitter controversy over money.

Schuller Coleman's announcement surprised congregants who sat through both Sunday morning services.

In both services, the senior pastor read from a book she's writing, with the working title "Fall From Grace, Fall Into Grace." She mentioned her father frequently in both readings, talking about his influence on her life and work.

In the 9:30 a.m. service, attended by some 300 people, Schuller Coleman focused on passages she'd written that deal with the October 2010 bankruptcy and her reaction to what was happening at the Cathedral. While at first she was crushed by the bankruptcy filing, Schuller Coleman said she later came to see it as "an opportunity" and not a failure. She acknowledged her family had "made our fair share of mistakes." And she blamed the recession as "the final blow" that led to the bankruptcy and the sale of the cathedral campus.

Schuller Coleman also said in the first service that the church would be renamed Hope Center of Christ.

But it wasn't until the second service, at 11 a.m., that Schuller Coleman told the congregation that this would be her last sermon at Crystal Cathedral and the congregation would be moving to a new location.

Moments before her announcement, she proclaimed: "I am not resigning. I will not quit." The audience applauded. "I will not quit," she repeated louder, and many of the 400 in attendance – a sparse crowd in a sanctuary that holds thousands – stood up and applauded louder.

Schuller Coleman and her brother-in-law Jim Penner, fired as executive producer from the Cathedral's once-popular "Hour of Power" television program, said after the services that they expect to find a new location in the next few days. They said they have the support of the Cathedral's Consistory, the ruling body of the congregation.

She indicated she had received a $50,000 donation from a supporter to help with the move – "a heck of a lot more than what mom and dad" had when they started, she said.
On their new website, hopecenteroc.org, Penner said they will soon be "praising the name of Jesus ... around the world by television and the Internet."

Schuller Coleman said she is leaving a "hostile work environment" to start anew with Jim and Gretchen Penner, as well as Scott Smith, who headed the church's music program.

On Sunday, morning services featured the Cathedral's organist and an a cappella performing group from Biola University, but none of the usual choir or other performers under Smith's direction.

Jenny Oh, a member of the choir, said she received an email saying the choir would not be performing Sunday because the church was heading in a new direction and leadership.

Like many congregants, Oh will have to pick between staying or following Schuller Coleman.

"I like this campus. I will continue to come here. I like Sheila (Schuller Coleman) and Jim Penner. I will pray for them," said Oh, a member of three years.

Some other congregants said they were surprised and happy to hear of their senior pastor's departure and the apparent return of more traditional music to the Cathedral.

"We're going to have our church back, with good music and good sermons" said Bob Canfield, of Yorba Linda. "They're gone. The Penners are gone. Sheila is gone. (Jim) Coleman is gone. Praise God. We're rid of them. They're the ones who took the Crystal Cathedral down."

It is unclear who will lead services at Crystal Cathedral next Sunday. Ortiz, the pastor emeritus, filled in once before after the younger Schuller, Robert A., was forced to resign. Ortiz said he was asked again this week to fill in as interim pastor, but he declined, he said Sunday night.

"They asked me and I said no," Ortiz said. "It's an embarrassment with what is happening in the church."

Friday, February 24, 2012

25 years ago: Church of England General Synod votes in favour of ordaining female priests

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. I Timothy 2:12

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. I Corinthians 14:34

On February 26, 1987, the Church of England General Synod provided evidence of apostasy by voting 317-145 (68%) in favour of the ordination of female priests. Two of the C of E's three houses--bishops and laity--provided the required two-thirds majority for the measure to pass, but the other body--the House of Clergy--passed it with less than the required two-thirds vote in favour. However, the feminists refused to give up, and they obtained the required support in all three houses in November 1992, with the first woman "priest" being ordained in March 1994.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Very Large Telescope captures infrared view of Carina Nebula

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 8:3-4

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

See a photo and read about it here.

"Waterworld" planet discovered orbiting red dwarf star

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 8:3-4

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

As reported by Space Daily, February 22, 2012:

Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have come up with a new class of planet, a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. It's smaller than Uranus but larger than Earth.

An international team of astronomers led by Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) made the observations of the planet GJ 1214b.

"GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," Berta said. "A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water."

The ground-based MEarth Project, led by CfA's David Charbonneau, discovered GJ 1214b in 2009. This super-Earth is about 2.7 times Earth's diameter and weighs almost seven times as much. It orbits a red-dwarf star every 38 hours at a distance of 2 million kilometres, giving it an estimated temperature of 230 degrees Celsius.

In 2010, CfA scientist Jacob Bean and colleagues reported that they had measured the atmosphere of GJ 1214b, finding it likely that it was composed mainly of water. However, their observations could also be explained by the presence of a planet-enshrouding haze in GJ 1214b's atmosphere...

..."The Hubble measurements really tip the balance in favour of a steamy atmosphere," Berta said.

Since the planet's mass and size are known, astronomers can calculate the density, of only about 2 grams per cubic centimetre. Water has a density of 1 gram per cubic centimetre, while Earth's average density is 5.5 grams per cubic centimetre. This suggests that GJ 1214b has much more water than Earth does, and much less rock.

As a result, the internal structure of GJ 1214b would be extraordinarily different from that of our world.

"The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," Berta said.

Theorists expect that GJ 1214b formed further out from its star, where water ice was plentiful, and migrated inward early in the system's history. In the process, it would have passed through the star's habitable zone, where surface temperatures would be similar to Earth's. How long it lingered there is unknown.

GJ 1214b is located in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), and just 40 light-years from Earth. Therefore, it's a prime candidate for study by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch later this decade.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan Jews raise money to plant acacia trees in Negev Desert's Arava Valley

As reported by Myron Love in the Winnipeg Jewish Post & News, January 25, 2012:

The acacia tree, mentioned often in the Torah, is a native variety that grows in Israel in the hot areas of the Judean Desert and the eastern Negev. It is from the wood of the acacia tree (shittim wood) from which the Ark of the tabernacle was made.

And it is the acacia tree which is the focus of this year’s Jewish National Fund Manitoba and Saskatchewan region annual Tu B’Shevat campaign. Over the years, Tu B’Shevat has become synonymous with the Jewish National Fund’s annual campaign that supports reforestation projects and community development in Israel. JNF Manitoba and Saskatchewan region has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been spent to green deserts, build playgrounds and develop advanced agricultural techniques which produces rich farmland...JNF Manitoba and Saskatchewan region has chosen to promote the Adopt an Acacia Project for the 2012 Tu B’Shevat campaign as part of its efforts to green the Negev.

“This project is aimed at developing the Negev’s Arava Valley and enhancing the quality of life for the people living in the region,” says Rob Berkowits, the JNF Manitoba and Saskatchewan region’s still relatively new executive director, who recently returned from his first official visit to Israel much enthused by what he saw.

The acacia trees in the Arava flower in April through December. The white to pale yellow flowers later develop into bunches of pods. The pods contain several hard seeds, high in crude protein (38%) and phosphorus and are very nutritious for human as well as animal consumption. The foliage is also edible and provides food and shade for animals, insects and insect-feeding birds whom nest in its branches.

By planting acacia trees in the Arava Valley, the JNF will be working to rehabilitate the valley’s landscape, enhance sustainable agricultural opportunities in the area and enable researchers to explore the factors that determine how an acacia seed grows into a healthy tree.

See Exodus chapters 25-27 for the account of the building of the tabernacle.

More discoveries in nature that show God's greatness as Creator

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

The Epoch Times has recently published a number of articles on discoveries in nature that show the complexity to be found even in the smallest things, providing more evidence of God's wonderful creativity and attention to detail. Click on the links to read the articles.

Jurassic Cricket Croonings Resurrected From Fossil

Just one question, Chief: If evolution had produced this level of complexity 165 million years ago, why hasn't evolution kept up the pace since then?

A Spider Web's Strength Lies in More Than Its Silk

I particularly like this quote from Massachusetts Institute of Technology civil and environmental engineering associate professor Markus Buehler: "...we have little insight into how the molecular structure of silk uniquely improves the performance of a web."

Tarsiers Communicate Using Ultrasound

Better-Fed Ladybirds Redder and More Toxic

Miniaturized Leaf Chameleons Found in Madagascar

Deepest-Living Terrestrial Invertebrate Found Near Black Sea

Fruit Flies Poison Parasites With Alcohol

Sugar From Injured Fish Signals Danger to Shoal

Migrating Squid May Fly to Conserve Energy

30 years ago: Syria’s government faces a rebellion

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Those who think that civil unrest in Syria is just a recent development may be interested to know that the same thing was happening exactly 30 years ago. However, as recently as 1982, the Internet was unknown outside limited circles of insiders--and social media and YouTube were many years in the future; the fax machine hadn't yet been invented; and there was an almost complete paucity of cable television networks (CNN had been on the air only since 1980, and viewership was limited). As a result, civil unrest in Syria was largely ignored in the rest of the world; I don't remember hearing about it at the time, and I wasn't aware of the 1982 events until recently, when looking for events of the year in the 1983 World Almanac and Book of Facts. As taken from that source:

On February 2, 1982, a revolt against the government of Syria began in the city of Hama. The rebellion apparently originated with tensions between Sunni Muslims, who comprised 65% of the city’s population, and the minority Alawite sect, who dominated the government and army. The rebellion wasn’t widely reported until February 10, when it was also reported that about 8,000 soldiers were laying siege to Hama and had levelled part of it with tanks and artillery. Diplomatic sources indicated that there may have been as many as 360 military casualties and more than 1,000 civilian casualties in Hama. Syrian officials, however, denied that there even was an uprising.

On February 11, Syrian Information Officer Ahmed Iskander Ahmed, announced that Hama had indeed been cut off from the rest of the country, but that the reason was that the government was conducting a campaign of searching for weapons. The target of the search was the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed the government of President Hafez al-Assad. By February 14, the main highway running through Hama had been reopened, and troops were carrying mop-up activities. By February 18, much of the old city of Hama had been reduced to rubble, and as many as 12,000 troops were seeking members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

40 years ago: Diplomacy and war in the Middle East

February 1972 was a busy month for both diplomacy and war in the Middle East. On the diplomatic front, Israel agreed on February 2 to a U.S. proposal for indirect talks with Egypt on reopening the Suez Canal, which had been closed since the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel in 1967. On February 5, sources inside the U.S. administration of President Richard Nixon said that the United States would sell Israel 42 Phantoms and 90 Skyhawk jets over the next two to three years, beginning in March.

On February 15, France agreed to reimburse Israel for the 50 Mirage jets it had purchased, but which had never been delivered to Israel because of the embargo imposed by French President Charles de Gaulle during the Six-Day War. The same day, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir disclosed that Egypt had rejected an Israeli offer for high-level talks.

On February 20, Israeli civil aviation authorities revealed that Israel and Jordan had made a treaty of cooperation calling for radio communication between the israeli airfield at Elath and a new Jordanian airfield near Aqaba to prevent air collisions.

On February 25, United Nations envoy Gunnar Jarring outlined his plans for a Middle East peace settlement during an eight-hour visit to Jerusalem, two days after he had visited Jordan to talk with King Hussein. The talks had been deadlocked since late February 1971, when Israel had turned down Mr. Jarring’s proposal that it withdraw from all occupied territory. On December 13, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly had voted 79-7, with 36 abstentions, in favour of a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab territories, and instructing UN Secretary-General U Thant to reactivate Mr. Jarring’s mission. The talks had been resumed on December 15 and 16, when Mr. Jarring had held preliminary discussions with the foreign ministers of both Israel and Egypt.

However, February 25 wasn’t a peaceful day in the Middle East. Israeli air and ground forces attacked guerrilla bases up to 20 miles inside Lebanon; Israeli officials described the attack as “the largest against any Arab country since the 1967 Mideast war.” The attack was a retaliation for attacks by Lebanon-based terrorists that had killed two Israeli civilians and an officer in upper Galilee. On February 26, the Soviet Union demanded that the United Nations expel Israel. On February 29, the Israelis voluntarily pulled back their forces, about 12 hours after the UN Security Council had called for an immediate withdrawal, in a resolution that a Jerusalem official termed “cynical and one-sided.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Christian" play The Big Picture reduces the Bible to a two-hour production

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18

For some strange reason, many in evangelical Christianity seem to think that we have to improve on God's means of communicating with man, i.e., the complete text of the 66 books of the Bible. Some think that the written word that God has given us is an insufficient and/or an ineffective means of communication with Western culture in the 21st century, so they decide to make it more "relevant" by adapting it for theatre or cinema. I don't know if I need to remind anyone that God gave us a book (actually a collection of books), not a play or a movie script.

I decided to pass on The Big Picture, not least because the production took place at the increasingly liberal King's University College, and I regard with suspicion anything taking place there. If I had gone to see it, I suspect my reaction would have been about the same as the lady mentioned in the article below who said, "That's not my Bible!" Please note the comment by the director, Tom Carson, that the goal of the play isn't to convert anyone to Christianity, but “if anything, it’s about converting Christians to art.”

As to the play's being "contemporary in its visual style and form," the people responsible for The Big Picture should keep in mind that the events recorded in the Bible took place in a certain time and place and can't just be transplanted into modern settings. For instance, there was a very narrow window of history in which the dozens of Old Testament prophecies of Israel's Messiah could have all been fulfilled, and they were all perfectly fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ when he was on Earth--during that very narrow window of history. You can't transfer the Messianic prophecies to another time and place and have them be fulfilled; those who try to "modernize" the Gospel narrative in such a manner (often placing the events, for some reason, in the southern United States, e.g., the musical play Cotton Patch Gospel and the movie The Judas Project) are unwittingly (or maybe wittingly) undermining some of the best evidence for the truth of the Bible.

And what right does anyone have to edit the Bible down to a two-hour production, and claim that what is being offered is still the Bible? Some "scholars" thirty years ago thought the Bible needed to be shortened (they apparently thought that God had made it too long to be suitable for the attention spans of 1980s readers), and gave us the Reader's Digest Bible, which attracted much publicity and controversy, but sold few copies when it arrived in bookstores in the fall of 1982. As far as I know, most of the copies were returned unsold to the publisher, and I don't think it even had a second printing. The Reader's Digest Bible, one of the biggest publishing fiascos of the decade, failed because people weren't interested in an abridged Bible. The apostate "scholars" assumed that shortening the Bible would make it more popular, and missed the point that the reason the Bible is unpopular isn't because of its length but because unregenerate sinners are offended by the content. The Lord Jesus Christ, in the passage from Matthew cited above, upheld the entire Law, even including the jots and tittles.

Here's a review of The Big Picture by Liz Nicholls of the Edmonton Journal, February 14, 2012:

The show that alights at King’s University College Wednesday is an epic act of theatrical creation that redefines stage chutzpah for our time. Dennis Hassell’s The Big Picture tells the storyline of The Bible, Genesis through Revelation. In two hours. With five actors — make that four really really busy actors plus Jason Hildebrand, who plays God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New.

“The, uh, genesis of this project?” Tom Carson laughs. He’s the director who shepherded a 2000 incarnation of The Big Picture and now this much-applauded touring production by Toronto’s The Arts Engine, which arrives here from a run in Calgary. “Our impulse was to see the whole Bible in the context of a single narrative.... It’s informed our culture and literature in such a rich way. But we tend to think of it in little snippets, truisms taken out of context. We were exploring what the whole narrative arc of the Bible might be.”

In this, The Big Picture takes up a challenge akin to Peter Brook’s celebrated theatricalization of the Sanskrit epic The Mahabarata. “We’re exploring the narrative between the Judeo-Christian god and humanity,” says Carson. As world history continues to demonstrate, there’s a certain continuity challenge between the two Testaments. What Hassell’s play discovers is that “the main moments are all tied to God’s promise to humanity,” Carson argues. “That’s the ‘you aren’t lost forever; I will bring you back to me’ promise.... Every story ties onto that pretty neatly. Noah and the ark, and the rainbow. Abraham and Isaac. Joseph and his bros. Right back to Adam and Eve.”

When you’re doing the Bible in two hours, with five actors playing hundreds of characters, you can’t be dithering around with stage gak, set pieces, major costume changes. “We don’t build the ark onstage,” laughs Carson. “No ark, no camels. No bathrobes, no manger.” The Big Picture is strictly contemporary in its visual style and form. And that, along with a general lack of both awe and “traditional language,” puts some people off. In addition to ovations, “we do get walkouts,” says Carson. “One lady stomped out in Calgary saying ‘that’s not my Bible!’ We’ve had a lot comments on both sides.”

What Carson and his Arts Engine colleagues, Christians all, are after is the narrative. “Considering the impact the Bible has had on literature and culture, it’s striking how weak the work is that comes out of that,” he says. “As soon as you say you’re working with a bunch of Christians, (it conjures) such cheesy images, propaganda, no depth, bad art. As Christian artists we’re fighting that.”

The Arts Engine archive includes The KJV: The Bible Show, which links the 1611 King James Version to the period from which it dates, “the heyday of Shakespeare.” Two Thousand Candles is a Christmas show that wonders about the season as a cultural phenomenon: “why do we put a pine tree in the living room, anyhow?” The goal, says Caron, is that “the voice of the Christian community should speak with an intelligent, deep voice to the mainstream.” It’s not about converting people to Christianity; “if anything, it’s about converting Christians to art.”

Theatre is a natural for this, he thinks — in its liveness, its “roots in worship.... Theatre has always been about incarnating spirits, or the forces of nature, etc., and making them visible for people.”

25 years ago: A prominent Canadian rabbi teams up with a Ku Klux Klan leader to fight racism

An item I should have posted a few months ago: There have been some unlikely fellowships in recent years, but it's hard to top one between a rabbi and a Ku Klux Klan leader. As reported by Gordon Lee in the Calgary Herald, November 19, 1986:

Leaders of Calgary's Jewish community were stunned Tuesday by Rabbi Lewis Ginsburg's announcement that he is joining hands with the head of Alberta's Ku Klux Klan to form a provincial organization aimed at fighting racism.

"I guess I have mixed views," said Bruce Libin, past-president of the Calgary Jewish Community Council.

"Anything anybody can do to combat racism is a good thing, (but) I guess I'm a little bit skeptical about whether this organization will get off the ground."

Libin said he hopes Ginsburg and Tearlach Dunsford Mac a'Phearsoin, the Klan's "imperial wizard" in Alberta, are sincere about their stated intention of battling racism through a newly-incorporated group called the Alberta Fellowship for World Peace.

Ginsburg, 62, retired last week after two years as rabbi of the Beth Israel Synagogue on Glenmore Trail S.W. Since arriving in Calgary in 1967, he has become the city's best-known and best-loved religious leader, widely sought as an after-dinner speaker for his outspoken and humorous views.

Once dubbed the "Catholic rabbi" for his involvement in inter-faith activities, Ginsburg has been a familiar Christmas sight on downtown street corners for the past 15 years, manning fund-raising kettles as the only Jewish officer of the Salvation Army.

Libin said he finds Mac a'Phearsoin "a bit of a strange one" because "on the one hand he professes not to be anti-Semitic, yet anti-Semitism is a fundamental part of the Klan's regime."

Mac a'Phearsoin has refused to discuss his new organization.

"You don't really know Tearlach," Ginsburg said when questioned Tuesday about his unlikely alliance.

"He is a lot different than what the average member (of the community) would conceive of as a member of the Ku Klux Klan," the rabbi said. "I have found him to be a person of the first order and he is prepared to work toward a common cause."

Morris Dancyger, newly-elected president of the Calgary Jewish Community Council, said he, too, was surprised by Ginsburg's announcement but would not comment until he learned more about the new organization.

Another Jewish leader, who declined to be identified, questioned what any member of his community would "go around with somebody calling himself a Klansman."

According to a Canadian Press report published in the Edmonton Journal the same day:

...The new group, called the Alberta Fellowship for World Peace, was incorporated with the Province Oct. 28...

...Both men said Monday that they share a common goal, although they may seem like strange bedfellows.

"The key word is peace," said Ginsburg. "The whole world could use peace."

Ginsburg said he's not worried about teaming up with a member of the Klan.

"I'm not worried at all," Ginsburg said. "I've known him for a long time and I have not found him to be a typical Klansman. He's really a very nice person."

Mac a'Phearsoin said he hopes to get all racial groups into the organization--including Palestinians in Calgary.

"If Rabbi Ginsburg can sit down with a Palestinian representative, then we can show everyone we're ready to work towards harmony," Mac a'Phearsoin said.

The Alberta Fellowship for World Peace was officially dissolved on the appropriate date of April 1, 1996. I don't know if Rabbi Ginsburg is still alive, but Rev. Tearlach Barra Eoin Ros Dunsford-Mac a’ Phearsoin has compiled--according to his web page--a most interesting resume as a New Age masseuse, herbalist, and elder in Native spirituality (a career which was interrupted in the mid-1990s by a two-year spell in prison resulting from a conviction related to a homosexual relationship).

Radio waves may eliminate the need for conventional batteries

Another item that may or may not be prophetically or biblically significant (probably not), but I find it interesting, as reported by BBC News, February 11, 2012:

Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire have developed a new technique for powering electronic devices.

The system, developed by Prof Ben Allen at the Centre for Wireless Research, uses radio waves as power.

Believed to be a world first, the team claims it could eventually eliminate the need for conventional batteries.

The university has now filed a patent application to secure exclusive rights to the technique.

The new technique uses the "waste" energy of radio waves and has been developed as part of the university's research into "power harvesting".

Prof Allen said that as radio waves have energy - like light waves, sound waves or wind waves - then in theory these waves could be used to create power.

"The emerging area of power harvesting technology promises to reduce our reliance on conventional batteries," he said.

"It's a really exciting way of taking power from other sources than what we would normally think of."

The team are now waiting for the results of the patent application to secure recognition of the technique...

..."Power harvesting has a really important part in our future because, just in this country, we dispose of somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes of batteries in landfill sites every single year - that is toxic chemicals going into the ground.

And now: Naked yoga

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Genesis 2:25-3:1-7

I wonder how long it will be until we get "Christian" naked yoga. Cary Castagna of QMI Agency reports on the worldly version in his column of February 13, 2012:

Jennifer Kries invites you to shed your inhibitions, doff your clothes and "celebrate the body in its most sacred form."

The New York City fitness expert is talking about naked yoga...

...Naked yoga is like skinny dipping, Kries explains, except you're swimming in air.

"It's really liberating -- not having any constraints and really being able to feel your body as you move through the poses," she tells Sun Media in a candid phone interview.

"It's not a sexual thing. It's much higher than that, and deeper. It's very sacred, reverent and spiritual. It's really about self-acceptance and love."

Kries, perhaps best known as a trendsetting Pilates master, is launching Yoga Undressed: The Goddess. The series of four DVDs -- beginner, intermediate, advanced, and duet -- features several female yogis (aka yoginis) in their birthday suits performing what is described as "a flowing Vinyasa Tantric practice combining Kundalini and Hatha styles."

The nude stars of the DVDs aren't models, Kries emphasizes, but they are extremely fit.

"We wanted to showcase women who have dedicated themselves to the life of the body," she adds.

Kries isn't in any of the videos herself because she was too busy producing and choreographing the project.

But the naked-yoga practitioner did pose for promotional shots. A G-rated pic of the Yoga Undressed creator appears on the website at yogaundressed.com.

Kries credits yoga-- whether it's with or without clothes -- for keeping her body and mind flexible.

"Aside from keeping my body in beautiful condition, and really maintaining strong health ... I derive a very deep, energized calm," she explains.

"For me, yoga is my spiritual practice. It's my lifeline to my innermost self and my connection to spirit -- whatever we consider to be the great beyond, whatever that means, a God consciousness or God."

Kries teaches yoga classes -- of the clothed variety -- at large wellness centres around the world.

Despite receiving a "ton of requests," she has no plans to start teaching naked yoga classes, which have been offered for years in major U.S. cities.

"The DVDs are intended for people to discover themselves in the privacy of their own homes," she notes.

The Yoga Undressed DVDs will be out next month.

A series catered specifically for men is slated to be released this fall. It will be called Yoga Undressed: The Hero.

"It's all about being able to love and accept yourself whether you feel a little overweight or not exactly as fit or as buff as you'd like to be," Kries says.

"The whole series is intended to help people feel good about themselves."

Of course, Kries knows that not everyone will feel good about the DVDs. She accepts that there'll be critics.

"I think there are people who are secretly wishing they could liberate themselves and be naked, and be open and strong," she says.

"A lot of the haters, a lot of the people who judge, really wish they could be that courageous."

The perceptive reader will note--and those with less perception and discernment, such as those who promote "Christian" yoga, should note--that Ms. Kries emphasizes yoga as a spiritual practice, her way of connecting to "the great beyond, whatever that means, a God consciousness or God." Please note also that Ms. Kries equates nakedness with liberation, whereas the passage in Genesis cited above equates nakedness with shame, after the fall--and for those who aren't aware, humanity is still fallen.

March 12, 2013 update: Go here to see video of a naked yoga class in Edmonton.

120 years ago: Rev. Charles Parkhurst denounces New York City's corrupt civic administration

Unlike so many of today's Romans 13 extremists who view all officeholders as being placed in their positions by God and must be obeyed without question in almost all circumstances, Rev. Charles Parkhurst, pastor at Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City from 1880-1918, made no attempt to curry favour with those in power and didn't mince words in denouncing politicians he regarded as crooked.

On February 14, 1892, Rev. Parkhurst, from his pulpit, denounced the Tammany Hall administration of Mayor Hugh J. Grant as "a lying, perjured, rum-soaked, and libidinous lot" of "polluted harpies," and offered additional comments, such as:

"While we fight iniquity, they shield and patronize it; while we try to convert criminals, they manufacture them..."

"Every step that we take looking to the moral betterment of this city has to be taken directly into the teeth of the damnable pack of administrative blood-hounds that are fattening themselves on the ethical flesh and blood of our citizenship."

When challenged to produce evidence, Rev. Parkhurst hired a detective, and delivered a message on March 13 that included documentation. The allegations subsequently led to the appointment of the Lexow Committee (1894-1895) to investigate corruption in New York City, and the 1894 election of reformer William L. Strong as mayor.

30 years ago: A future pope becomes the Grand Inquisitor

On February 15, 1982, it was announced that Pope John Paul II had relieved Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of his pastoral duties in the Diocese of Munich and Freising, calling him to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As reported by L'Osservatore Romano, February 15, 2012:

On the previous 25 November, in fact, the Pope had appointed the 54-year-old German Cardinal as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most important dicastery of the Roman Curia. So it was that Ratzinger moved to Rome in those days of February, having remained for almost three months longer at the helm of the large Bavarian Archdiocese...

...At the first Conclave in 1978 Ratzinger became personally acquainted with Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the Metropolitan of Krakow, and at the second one he contributed to the latter's election, convinced – as he wrote in 2004 – that he would be “the right Pope for the present time”. Only a few months later, in 1979, John Paul II summoned him to propose that he assume the office of Prefect of the Curia's Dicastery for Catholic Education, but the Archbishop of Munich did not want to leave his diocese after only two years of governance. However, the Pontiff wanted Cardinal Ratzinger at his side and in February 1981, informed the Cardinal of his intention to appoint him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but only managed to overcome his resistance in the following autumn.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith certainly sounds much nicer than Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, which was the body's title from 1542 to 1904, when it was renamed the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. The body assumed the title Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 7, 1965, at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, and dropped the word "Sacred" in 1988. "Prefect," the title of the body's leading official since 1968, sounds much more benign than "Grand Inquisitor," the title belonging to the body's leading official from 1542-1602. From 1602-1965 the leading official's title was "Secretary," and then "Pro-Prefect" from 1965-1968.
HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Madonna's fans in Israel obviously have their priorities in order

More evidence that you can't be a satirist anymore, as reported by David Hinckley in the New York Daily News, February 10, 2012:

Israeli Madonna fans are asking their country to give peace a chance — at least until after the Material Girl's late-spring concert there.

They're rallying around, what else, a Facebook page, called "Bibi don't start a war with Iran until after Madonna's show on May 29."

Translated, that message suggests that Israel will eventually attack Iran if Iran doesn't back off on its nuclear development program.

But it asks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delay any such action until after the Madonna show, because of the likelihood that foreign artists would not want to play in a country with a war in progress.
Israel, like other countries with a history of military tension, has been a nervous gig for some artists over the years, going back to the 2001 cancellation of a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

Compounding the issue now are calls from advocacy groups outside Israel, asking that musicians boycott Israeli shows to protest Israeli policy toward Palestinians.

That was apparently the reason Cat Power has canceled her planned weekend show in Tel Aviv.

She tweeted Friday that felt "much confusion" and could not play for her Israeli fans because she felt "sick in her spirit."

Elvis Costello and The Pixies have previously canceled Israeli shows.

No response so far from the Madonna camp, which is basking in the afterglow of her Super Bowl performance last weekend.

No word, either, on whether the Madonna show has been on the agenda when Netanyahu and the Israeli cabinet meet to discuss their Iran options.

HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Friday, February 10, 2012

More Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel

1And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
Deuteronomy 30:1-5

As reported by Ynet News, February 5, 2012:

Seventy-one olim from Ethiopia arrived in Israel on Thursday accompanied by lay leaders from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

Included in the delegation are 20 lay leaders from UJA-Federation of New York headed by Alisa Doctoroff, Chair of the Board, UJA-Federation, and John Ruskay, executive vice president & CEO of UJA-Federation.

The olim arrived in Tel Aviv at 2:30 am and were chaperoned to their absorption center in Kiryat Gat, where they will begin their absorption process in Israel.

The mission traveled to Ethiopia to meet the remaining members of the community and visit the Jewish Community Center and school in Gondar before escorting the olim to Israel.

In Israel, the delegation plans to engage in discussions on the future of Ethiopian olim with Jewish Agency and JDC representatives. They also plan to celebrate early Tu B’Shvat festivities.

The UJA-Federation generously donates over $3 million annually to Ethiopian aliyah and absorption in Israel, as well as medical and educational services for those still in Ethiopia. At the moment, there are more than 6,000 Ethiopian Jews (Falash Mura) seeking to make aliyah to Israel.

“Seeing first-hand the hardships that the Jews of Ethiopia face, and joining them as they come home to Israel, truly illustrates why making the dream of aliyah a reality is such an important part of our work,” said John S. Ruskay.

“But our obligations go much deeper than simply bringing them to Israel. We believe it is our responsibility to give the Jews of Ethiopia the tools to succeed once they arrive.

"Multiple UJA-Federation initiatives, done with our overseas agencies, help ensure these new olim are able to put down roots in Israel and lead full and productive lives.”

However, it seems that Ethiopian Jews who are already in Israel aren't necessarily happy with the way they're regarded by the Israeli government, as stated by Efrat Yerday in Ynet News, January 18, 2012:

The Knesset Committee on Aliyah and Absorption recently held an urgent meeting where the absorption minister declared that Ethiopian Israelis should be thanking the State of Israel. This outburst is a telling indication of the minister’s perception about the government’s and citizens’ obligations and duties to their country.

The notion that Ethiopian olim should thank the government is a patronizing attitude coming from someone who herself is a new immigrant. It also took the minister of absorption about a week to officially condemn the racism exposed in Kiryat Malachi; moreover, she did it only when the situation got out of control.

The minister’s patronizing attitude towards Ethiopian Israelis apparently trickles down to her Ministry. Just look at the official guidelines adapted solely for Ethiopian immigrants, whereby government housing grants are permitted to Ethiopian Israelis only on condition that their apartments are purchased on designated, predetermined streets and addresses (in impoverished and weak neighborhoods, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty.)

As spokeswoman for the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ), I often encounter obstacles in our work with the Ministry of Absorption. For example, our ongoing challenge in grasping the Ministry of Absorption’s procedures that would allow immigrants to receive housing grants have been met with a closed door at the Ministry’s offices...

...The absorption minister loves to emphasize at every opportunity that we are supposed to be thrilled by her visit to Ethiopia - as if it was a personal visit paid from her own pocket. At the same time, she emphasizes that the distance between Ethiopia and Israel is 300 years - implying that Ethiopia, and thus Ethiopian immigrants - are backward and caught in the past.

In light of the above, the minister of absorption can’t possibly faithfully represent Ethiopian Israeli immigrants whom she is supposed to serve.
See also 20 years ago: Thousands of Ethiopian Jews are airlifted to Israel

December 17, 2015 update: As reported by JNi.Media, November 16, 2015:

The Netanyahu cabinet on Sunday approved unanimously to fly to Israel the remaining Falash Mura who are still in transit camps in Ethiopia. Then those camps will be shut down and there will be no more organized aliyah from Ethiopia to Israel.

Falash Mura is the name given to Ethiopian and Eritrean Jews who converted to Christianity under pressure from the missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. The term refers both to Jews who did not adhere to Jewish law, and Jews who converted to Christianity, either voluntarily or by force.

Beta Israel (Hebrew: House of Israel or Community of Israel) are Jews who lived in North and North-Western Ethiopia, in more than 500 small villages. They renewed contacts with other Jewish communities in the later 20th century, and following halachic and constitutional considerations, Israel decided in 1977 that the Israeli Law of Return applied to them. The Israeli and American governments launched operations to transport the Ethiopian Jews to Israel from 1979 to the 1990s.

Today, Ethiopian Jewry is still not fully integrated into Israeli society. They remain on a lower economic and educational level than average Israelis, and marriages between Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian Jews are not common. According to a 2009 study, 90% of Ethiopian-Israelis are married to other Ethiopian-Israelis. As many as 57% of Israelis consider a daughter marrying an Ethiopian unacceptable and 39% consider a son marrying an Ethiopian unacceptable. A 2011 study showed that only 13% of high school students of Ethiopian origin felt “fully Israeli.” (Wikipedia)

In May 2015, Israeli Ethiopians demonstrated in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem against racism, after a video was released, showing an Israeli Ethiopian soldier being brutally beaten up by two Israeli police.

However, according to Ha’aretz, 90 percent of the younger generation of Ethiopians in Israel have high-school education, almost the same percentage as the Jewish population in general (93 percent). The rate of matriculation is “only” 53 percent, but that is almost four times the figure for the first generation (16 percent). And 20 percent of second-generation Ethiopian Israelis have higher education (a number becoming doctors), almost four times the rate of the first generation (5.7 percent). Employment among Ethiopians has jumped from 50 to 72 percent in 12 years, with women rising from 35% to 65%. And the percentage of Ethiopian Israelis working in janitorial services has fallen to only 5 percent.

Seven Ethiopian-Israeli have gone on to become Knesset MKs, and Ethiopian Jews have risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: “Today we have taken an important decision, to bring to Israel within the next five years the last of the communities with links to Israel waiting in Addis Ababa and Gonder.” The PM noted that this is an important move for Ethiopian families in Israel who have been split up.

The newcomers would have to undergo a conversion, as well as be taught Jewish values and the history of the Zionist movement.

Chairman of the Committee for Immigration Absorption and Diaspora, MK Avraham Negusa (an Ethiopian-Israeli), who has been in the forefront of the fight to bring remaining Jews of Ethiopia for the past 25 years, congratulated Netanyahu and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom on today’s decision.

“This is a great day for the Jewish people,” Negusa said. “For thousands of years Ethiopian Jewry prayed to return to Israel and waited for nearly a decade torn from their families. Today their prayers were answered.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

60 years ago: The surveillance society already exists in Britain

Unlike the U.S.A. and Canada, in the United Kingdom and many other countries, one is required to pay a fee for a license in order to own a television set. In the U.K., the fee is used to subsidize the British Broadcasting Corporation. However, as might be expected, there have always been people who've attempted to obtain television sets without paying the fee for a license. On February 1, 1952, a "television detector" was unveiled in London. As reported by BBC News:

A new method for tracking down users of unlicensed television sets has been unveiled in the UK. The first TV detector van was demonstrated in front of Postmaster-General, Lord De La Warr and Assistant Postmaster-General Mr Gammans...

...The units consist of three horizontal loop aerials fixed to the roof of a van which receives signals from TV sets and converts them to radio waves to give audio and video information.

Its inventors insist the system is sensitive enough to pick up the vast majority of television receivers, whether the aerial is external or internal.

Detector vans will pass slowly along roads and will be able to pin-point where receivers are in use. TV detection officers will make doorstep inquiries as they go along.

Monday, February 6, 2012

50 years ago: The birth of the Antichrist?

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
II Thessalonians 2:7-9

According to American astrologer and psychic (and false prophetess) Jeane Dixon:

A child born somewhere in the Middle East shortly before 7:00 A.M. (EST) on February 5, 1962 will revolutionize the world. Before the close of this century, he will bring together all mankind in one all embracing faith. This will be the foundation of a new Christianity, with every sect and creed united through this man who will walk among the people to spread the wisdom of the almighty powers.

I included the simply because it cited Mrs. Dixon's prediction; I reject the idea that she was a "prophetess of God." Is the Antichrist someone who matches the criteria laid down by Jeane Dixon? Possibly, but since her record of fallibility marked her as a false prophet, I'm not taking her word for it. Is the Antichrist alive today? I believe that may be the case, but he hasn't yet been revealed. In any event, I accept the Bible as my only authority on prophecy, and I'm looking for the coming of the Lord rather than the coming of the Antichrist.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Clergy rebel against Church of England's ban on sodomite "marriages"

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-28, 32

Walter Martin has been credited with saying, "Bad exegesis leads to bad theology, which leads to bad morality." The item below is an example; the C of E's faulty approach to the Bible has led the clergy to embrace perversion that's condemned by God. Could their rebellion have something to do with a disproportionately large percentage of C of E clergy being sodomites and lesbians? As reported by Agence France-Presse, February 2, 2012:

The Church of England faced a rebellion from its clergy Thursday over a ban on gay civil partnership ceremonies on its premises.

Nearly 100 clergy from the London diocese, which has 470 stipendiary priests, signed a letter to The Times newspaper urging that priests be allowed to follow their individual conscience on whether to hold civil partnership ceremonies in their churches.

The Church of England said in December it would not permit civil partnership ceremonies on its premises without the express permission of its general assembly.

New laws allowing same sex “weddings” in places of worship in England and Wales came into force that month, though no religious group is obliged to host them.

Civil partnerships for same-sex couples were introduced in Britain in December 2005, giving them similar rights to married heterosexual couples. However, the partnerships cannot legally be referred to as marriages.

The Times said the letter illustrated the growing anger running through mainstream Anglicanism on the issue and the scale of the protest would likely be mirrored in many of the church’s 44 dioceses, creating tension between ordinary priests and the church leadership.

“We, the undersigned, believe that on the issue of holding civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches, incumbents/priests in charge should be accorded the same rights as they enjoy at present in the matter of officiating at the marriage of divorced couples in church,” the letter read.

“Namely, that this should be a matter for the individual conscience of the incumbent/priest in charge.”

The Church of England is to review its approach to same-sex relationships this year to clarify its position on an issue which has threatened to tear the worldwide Anglican communion apart.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Church of England leader and the Anglican communion’s spiritual head, has struggled to maintain unity amid disagreements over the consecration of female bishops in Britain, and of openly gay bishops in the United States.

Brian Leathard of St Luke’s in Chelsea, west London, was among those who put their names to the letter.

“Our motivation in sending this letter is pastoral,” he told The Times.

“For those of us at the front line, there is no sense of hiding behind a blanket ban on holding civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches.

“More and more people are coming to us, and feel that we are turning them away without actually being able to hear their story. They have a genuine desire for the Church’s fullest ministry, for us to bless their loving relationships.”

Rabbis argue over "Kosher Jesus"

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 16:13-17 (see also Mark 8:27-29)

As the old saying goes, where there are two Jews, there are three opinions. In this case, both rabbis are wrong. As reported by Randy Boswell in the National Post, January 27, 2012:

Two of North America’s leading orthodox rabbis — including a prominent Jewish scholar in Canada — are facing off over the proper place of Jesus Christ in the teachings and traditions of Judaism.

Sparked by the publication next week of the book Kosher Jesus by the high-profile and controversial U.S. rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Immanuel Schochet of Toronto is calling it “heretical,” after apparently seeing an advance copy.

“It is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book, or give its author a platform in any way shape or form to discuss this topic,” he said.

At the centre of the debate are questions involving Jesus’s roots as a Jew, and whether “the Jewishness of Jesus,” as Mr. Boteach puts it, should lead modern Jews to “rediscover” and celebrate the extent to which the Old Testament books of the Bible shaped the thinking of Jesus.

“It’s time these universal Jewish ideas that have so influenced the world be traced back to their original source,” he has written in defence of his book.

“It’s time that the Jewishness of Jesus be rediscovered by Christians.”

But Mr. Schochet, a strong critic of Christian evangelizing of Jews and whose writings often highlight the divide between the two religions, struck back last week. “While it is not normally my style to write letters of condemnation, having read the book, I feel it poses a tremendous risk to the Jewish community,” the emeritus professor of philosophy and religion at Toronto’s Humber College and rabbi at the Congregation Beth Joseph wrote in a posting on the Jewish news website The Algemeiner.

“I have never read a book, let alone one authored by a purported frum [religious] Jew, that does more to enhance the evangelical missionary message and agenda than the aforementioned book.”

He added: “The grossly distorted message of the book violates basic premises of original and authentic Jewish tradition, thus unavoidably must be rejected for being heretical. It is my sincerest hope that the author recognizes the error of his ways and looks to make amends by retracting the book.”

The Swiss-born Mr. Schochet, who emigrated to Canada in 1951, was not available Friday for further comment.

For his part, Mr. Boteach defended himself, also online at the Huffington Post.

While describing Mr. Schocet as “someone whose writings and lectures I have long admired,” he said, “I must retain the right to defend myself against the appalling and libelous charge of heresy.”

He said his book “goes back to the original Gospel source materials to uncover the real story of Jesus,” as he was “prior to later Christian editors significantly modifying the story to accommodate the Romans.”

March 14, 2012 update: Rabbi Boteach has announced his intention to run for the United States House of representatives in 2012. As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 14, 2012:

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the author and media personality, announced his candidacy for a New Jersey congressional seat.

In a statement Wednesday, Boteach announced that he will be seeking the Republican nomination in northern New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District. Boteach had said previously that he was considering a run.

The Democratic-leaning northern New Jersey district has a fierce redistricting-induced Democratic primary battle taking place between two incumbents, Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman.

Boteach’s stated platform includes support for school vouchers, a flat tax and making marital counseling tax deductible in order to lower the divorce rate. He has criticized what he sees as an excessive Republican focus on sexual issues such as gay marriage.

Boteach, who once was affiliated with the Chabad movement, bills himself as “America’s Rabbi.” He hosts a show on TLC called “Shalom in the Home” and is the author of several books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Adultery,” “The Kosher Sutra” and, most recently, “Kosher Jesus.”
May 12, 2012 update: Jewish Christian apologist Michael Brown has written a book rebutting the position of Rabbi Boteach. The Real Kosher Jesus (2012) is available from Chosen People Ministries.

Muslim and Jewish scholars hold dialogue in Calgary

As the Lord Jesus Christ's return draws nearer, the world's religions are increasingly finding fellowship with one another, but not on the basis of truth as revealed in the Bible. As reported by Mario Toneguzzi in the Calgary Herald, October 15, 2011:

Rabbis and Islamic scholars in Calgary are meeting to discuss their views on the meaning and relevance of their religion's holiest scriptures.

They will be presenting their views on their holy books and what makes them holy and what the holy books say about peace and interfaith relations.

The Word of God for Divine Guidance will be held Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6: 30 p.m. at the Beth Tzedec Congregation, 1325 Glenmore Tr. S.W., and is free and open to the public.

Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, of the Beth Tzedec Congregation, said the idea came following an Ahmadiyya conference last spring of Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars.

He extended an invitation to have the next conference at his synagogue.

"It will be the first such conference at a Jewish house of worship and is intended to draw a large number of Jews and Muslims into a constructive dialogue about their respective traditions," he says.

The topic of the conference will explore questions about the nature of the sacred texts of the two religions - the Torah and the Qur'an.

Osadchey and Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman of Temple B'nai Tikvah will discuss this topic with Islamic scholars Maulana Mahmood Butt and Mualana Mukhtar Cheema.

There will also be time for questions following the panel presentation.

Conference organizers Mohammed Atif and Osadchey say this is a step forward in Jewish-Muslim relations by noting "that education and dialogue offer the best opportunities for Jews and Muslims to better understand each other and to eliminate myths and stereotypes..."

"...The intensity of the conflict in the Middle East emanates from a variety of complex historical, political, economic, social and religious factors," says Osadchey. "The heat from that strife fans out globally until the embers land in local communities. However, Jewish and Muslim communities in Calgary, for example, lead lives in which the political and economic issues in the Middle East are not directly pertinent to their daily lives. Only the social and religious aspects remain as potential obstacles for interfaith co-operation.

"The goal of the Ahmadiyya-Jewish conference is to douse stereotypes and misinformation about our respective religions to find common ground to forge a peaceful relationship. In turn, the local level can serve too as a type of interfaith model that can be emulated in the Middle East.

"To date, I am unaware that such a Muslim-Jewish dialogue in Calgary has taken place, let alone in a synagogue. Members of the host congregation Beth Tzedec and members of B'nai Tikvah will have the opportunity to welcome Muslims into a Jewish institution and within the comfort of their sacred space hear about the values and teachings of Muslims. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community will similarly be exposed to a Jewish house of worship and to thereby demythologize their perceptions."

A special tour of the synagogue is planned by Osadchey for the Muslim guests. A followup conference is being planned at the Ahmadiyya mosque to bring the Jewish community into their Muslim holy space.

For a positive view of antichrist "interfaith" activities in Calgary, see the blog That We May Know Each Other: Calgary Interfaith Initiatives

Lutheran pastor assumes important Anglican post in Canada

The movement to unite all religions seems to have superseded--at least in the amount of attention it receives--the ecumenical movement of liberal "Christianity," but liberal "Christian" ecumenism is still with us. As reported by Brenda Suderman in the Winnipeg Free Press, October 1, 2011:

The first Anglican church in Western Canada, St. John's Anglican Cathedral is poised to make history again with the appointment of a Lutheran pastor as priest of the cathedral and dean of the diocese.

Rev. Paul N. Johnson, an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, takes over as incumbent priest of the cathedral and dean of the diocese of Rupert's Land in January 2012, becoming the first Lutheran minister to hold those offices in Canada and perhaps the world.

"This is the first time, as far as we know, that a Lutheran will be serving an Anglican diocese as dean," says Johnson, 56, who spent seven years as assistant to the national Lutheran bishop and is now interim priest at All Saints Anglican Church.

"To me it's a very positive sign of movement in the right direction between the churches."

Johnson's posting comes a decade after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada signed the Waterloo Declaration, which provides for full communion between the two denominations. Both groups recognize each other's baptisms, sacraments and ordinations, which means a Lutheran pastor can serve in an Anglican parish and an Anglican priest can be called to a Lutheran church.

"We are delighted to hear of this appointment, especially as it indicates another step in deepening our full communion," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson.

Nationally, a dozen Anglican priests work in Lutheran churches and nine Lutheran pastors are serving Anglican congregations.

In Manitoba, two Lutheran pastors in addition to Johnson are serving in Anglican parishes in the diocese of Rupert's Land, says Bishop Donald Phillips.

As dean, Johnson becomes senior clergy in the 65-parish diocese and would take over administrative duties if the bishop became incapacitated, says Phillips.

He says naming Johnson to the post demonstrates how trust and familiarity have developed between the two denominations over the past 10 years...

...The Waterloo Declaration outlines how the two groups can work together, but it also represents hope that Christian denominations will continue to find more common paths, says the head of the Anglican Church of Canada.

"It's been about working closer together, not so much for the sake of the (two) churches, but for the sake of the world. And a common witness is a stronger one," says Primate Fred Hiltz, who visits Winnipeg on Sunday for the installation of Maylanne Maybee as principal at the Centre of Christian Studies.

Finding a common witness is what motivates Johnson, a past vice-chair of the Canadian Council of Churches and a committed ecumenist. He says he comes to his new post not as a Lutheran pastor serving an Anglican congregation, but as a minister of the Christian church.

"I don't want them to all become Lutherans, I want us all to be Christians together," says Johnson, who was born in Papua New Guinea, where his parents were Lutheran missionaries.

"Theologically, spiritually, ontologically, God has made us one in Christ."

For the people of St. John's Cathedral, hiring a Lutheran pastor for an Anglican congregation is more than another footnote in the history books.

The people of the cathedral are confident that appointing Johnson as priest of the cathedral and dean of the diocese is noteworthy beyond the Anglican Church.

"This signifies to other churches to be looking beyond themselves," says Peter Moodie, the people's warden of St. John's.

"I think we need to look beyond ecumenical issues to interfaith issues. So I see this as moving in the right direction."

United Church of Canada minister welcomes yoga into his church

The falling away from the true Christian faith prior to the return of Christ continues to gather momentum, as exemplified by the hopelessly apostate (i.e., not "Christian") United Church of Canada. As reported by Mario Toneguzzi in the Calgary Herald, October 1, 2011:

A Calgary Christian church and community is embracing the tradition and practice of yoga.

"I went to yoga and I thought I was going for a workout but what I realized, it was a workout for your body, yes, your mind and your spirit for sure," says Rev. John Pentland of Hillhurst United Church.

"And as I listened to the conversation of the instructor, I was really struck with the similarity in language between the language we might use on Sunday and language she uses in a practice.

"And even the word practice. I love the word practice. I often will say on Sunday morning, 'We come to our practice,' as a way of thinking that worship is a practice. It's something we're learning all the time."

While in the yoga class, Pentland listened intently to the speaker use language the Christian language is familiar with.

Awakened.

Opening your heart. Practice.

Breath.

"Those are all words we would use in a Christian worship service," says Pentland. "I was intrigued with that."

Pentland, along with congregation member Hillary Higgins, delivered a sermon during the summer on yoga.

Starting this morning, Kriyayoga Meditation Calgary is renting out space at the church for its regular practice group meeting on Saturday mornings. And many members of the Hillhurst congregation have taken up yoga practice, as well.

"The world has become smaller. We are starting to see the connections in all the world religions and even in the practices," says Pentland. "I don't think (yoga) is antithetical. I think it actually complements Christianity.

"And one of the key aspects I hear in yoga which I think is true in Christianity is the phrase 'opening your heart.' When I heard that phrase, I started to figure out what it means theologically. I called a Jewish rabbi and asked him about it. He said the heart was central in Jewish tradition. It wasn't just a place of emotion, it was a place that contained the intellect, the psyche, the whole understanding of who you are. Knowledge. So the opening of our heart to me is what any good religion does.

"The Scriptures will talk about a closed heart. Fat heart. Hard heart. I think spirituality is about cracking the heart or hatching the heart is a better word. So the way I like to think of it is there's stuff around our heart and the spirit is trying to hatch it open and that's what I think is a common denominator with the Jewish faith, the Christian faith, the yoga tradition and practice."

Beth Workman, a member of the Hillhurst congregation, is a yoga teacher and is studying yoga therapy at Mount Royal University. She teaches yoga out of her home, attended by many members of the congregation.

"Most people are coming for stress reduction. They're looking for ways of getting some ease from the stress in their life and some practices around that," says Workman, "but they're finding a lot more. They're entering with the bodywork, then getting experiences with the breath work, and then they're finding some peace and some relief from the noise in their heads, which is opening a space for other to come in."

Higgins says yoga unites our full spirit, mind and body which allows us to come into the full potential of ourselves.

"Yoga has given me a space to identify the many masks I wear throughout the day," she says. "Although these masks or personas can serve us well, sometimes they can disguise our authentic self.

Yoga gives me a tool box to shine who I am forward in this world. Yoga gives pause to the world around us, and just for a moment allows us to connect with that which was, that which is and that which will come."

She says that when we have an experience in our life, we sometimes store that energy in our body which manifests in muscle tightness, stress or pain. And stressful encounters will be held in the heart. Yoga gives people a space and physical practice to open the heart.

"We find space and openness by not only relaxing the body but allowing the mind to release the past," explains Higgins. "Through pranayama (breathing exercise) and flow of prana (energy), we can find letting go of the past opens us to the present."

Pentland says he has no concerns about incorporating yoga within the Christian tradition. Jesus Christ talked about the body, mind and spirit. He spoke of the body as the container of a person's spirit.

"So I think practices like meditation, which is part of what yoga is, the physical exercise and the thinking of opening your heart is profoundly spiritual," he says. "I would say that we're going to find that connection more often than we think. The way I define spirituality is seeing the sacred connections in all of life. Whether you're Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, a yoga practitioner, it's about seeing the connections, and yoga helps you do that."

When Pentland looked up the meaning of the word yoga, he found a definition regarding union. Another one was yoke. He thought of Jesus' phrase in the Bible of asking people to come to Him - all those who are weary. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

"I thought about it in the sense that often we create religion that is burdensome or heavy-laden. Bondage. Jesus using the word yoke was actually not to be about a burden, but to be about a freedom, a lightness. I really like that when I think about yoga."

Another important connection between yoga and Christianity is the aspect of letting go.

"The church has always been about it, but the church has been perceived about achieving something. Yoga is about letting go and that letting go is embodied in Jesus. Jesus let go all the time."

For another article on this subject, see Many yoga practitioners find spirituality — and some religious leaders object by Douglas Brown, published in The Denver Post on April 4, 2011. For a biblical examination, see Dave Hunt's book Yoga and the Body of Christ (2006). See also the Sola Sisters post Yoga Alliance Shows Its Hindu Teeth, and click on the links at the bottom of the article for further reading from Christian Answers for the New Age.