… the elderly in ameriKKKa …

“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ” ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

 

… how long oh LORD?…

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
“They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
They are blessed who grieve,
for God will comfort them.
They are blessed who are humble,
for the whole earth will be theirs.
They are blessed who hunger and thirst after justice,
for they will be satisfied.
They are blessed who show mercy to others,
for God will show mercy to them.
They are blessed whose thoughts are pure,
for they will see God.
They are blessed who work for peace,
for they will be called God’s children.
They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.

(Matthew 5:1–12, NCV)

θλῖψις μεγάλη …
great affliction … great tribulation..

“ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.” (Mark 13:19, SBLGNT)

“For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” (Mark 13:19, ESV)


“καὶ κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ἐκείνην παρελεύσεται Μιχαηλ ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας ὁ ἑστηκὼς ἐπὶ τοὺςυἱοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ σου, ἐκείνηἡ ἡμέρα θλίψεως, οἵα οὐκ ἐγενήθη ἀφʼ οὗ ἐγενήθησαν ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης, καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὑψωθήσεται πᾶς ὁ λαός, ὃς ἂνεὑρεθῇ ἐγγεγραμμένος ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ.”(Daniel 12:1, LLXXI)

“And at that time Michael the great prince shall stand up, that stands over the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not been from the time that there was a nation on the earth until that time: at that time thy people shall be delivered, even every one that is written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1, Brenton LXX En)


“ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν οὐδʼ οὐ μὴ γένηται.” (Matthew 24:21, SBLGNT)

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matthew 24:21, ESV)


“καὶ ζητήσετε ἐκεῖ Κύριον τὸν θεὸν ἡμῶν, καὶ εὑρήσετε, ὅταν ἐκζητήσητε αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου ἐν τῇ θλίψει σου· (Deuteronomy 4:29, Lexham LXX Int Swete)

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” (Deuteronomy 4:29–31, ESV)


“καὶ εἴρηκα αὐτῷ· Κύριέ μου, σὺ οἶδας. καὶ εἶπέν μοι· Οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης, καὶ ἔπλυναν τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐλεύκαναν αὐτὰς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ ἀρνίου.” (Revelation 7:14, SBLGNT)

“I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14, ESV)


“καὶ ἐγένετο θλῖψις μεγάλη ἐν τῷ Ισραηλ, ἥτις οὐκ ἐγένετο ἀφʼ ἧς ἡμέρας οὐκ ὤφθη προφήτης αὐτοῖς.” (1 Maccabees 9:27, LLXXI)

“So was there a great affliction in Israel, the like whereof was not since the time that a prophet was not seen among them.” (1 Maccabees 9:27, Brenton LXX En)


“ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ εἰρήνην ἔχητε· ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θλῖψιν ἔχετε, ἀλλὰ θαρσεῖτε, ἐγὼ νενίκηκα τὸν κόσμον.” (John 16:33, SBLGNT)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33, ESV)


θλῖψις, εως, (s. θλίβω; on the accent s. B-D-F §13; W-S. §6, 3c; Mlt-H. 57.—KLipsius, Grammat. Untersuchungen über d. bibl. Gräz. 1863, 34f, prefers to write θλίψις; so also W-H.) rare in extra-Biblical Gk., and there lit., ‘pressing, pressure’ (Aristot., Meterol. 4, 4, 383a, 13; Epicurus p. 45, 9 Us.; Ps.-Aristot., De Mundo 4, 394a, 29; Strabo, Galen).

① in our lit. (as in LXX, En, Test12Patr, JosAs cod. A; Just., D. 116, 2; Mel.) freq. and in the metaph. sense trouble that inflicts distress, oppression, affliction, tribulation (so Vett. Val. 71, 16; Cat. Cod. Astr. VIII/3 p. 175, 5; 178, 8; pl. 169, 2 [s. Boll 134f]; OGI 444, 15 [II or I b.c.] διὰ τὰς τ. πόλεων θλίψεις; BGU 1139, 4 [I b.c.]; POxy 939, 13; PAmh 144, 18). Of distress that is brought about by outward circumstances (Jos., Ant. 4, 108; En, PsSol, Mel.; Did., Gen. 116, 10), in sg. and pl. Ac 11:19; Ro 5:3b; 12:12; 2 Cor 1:8; 6:4; 8:2; Rv 1:9; 2:9, 22; 1 Cl 22:7 (Ps 33:18); 59:4; 2 Cl 11:4 (quot. of unknown orig.); Hs 7:4ff. ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θ. ἡμῶν 2 Cor 1:4a; 7:4; 1 Th 3:7; ἐν πάσῃ θ. (TestGad 4:4) 2 Cor 1:4b; ἐν (τ.) θ. Ro 5:3a; Eph 3:13; 1 Th 1:6; 3:3. ἐν πολλαῖς θ. καὶ ποικίλαις Hs 7, 4. θ. μεγάλη great tribulation (SibOr 3, 186) Mt 24:21 (1 Macc 9:27); Ac 7:11; Hv 4, 2, 4. Plural Hv 3, 2, 1. ἡ θ. ἡ μεγάλη the great tribulation Rv 7:14; τὸ ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θ. slight affliction 2 Cor 4:17. ἀνταποδοῦναί τινι θλῖψιν repay someone w. affliction 2 Th 1:6. W. ἀνάγκη (q.v. 2) 1 Th 3:7. W. διωγμός Mt 13:21; Mk 4:17; Ac 8:1 D; 13:50 D; pl. 2 Th 1:4. W. δεσμά (TestJos 2:4) Ac 20:23. W. ὀνειδισμός Hb 10:33. W. στενοχωρία (q.v.) Ro 2:9. W. στενοχωρία and διωγμός 8:35 (w. λιμός and στενοχωρία Hippol., Ref. 5, 26, 12).—On the catalogue of hardships (peristasis) cp. 1 Cor 4:9–13; 2 Cor 4:8f; 6:4–10; 11:23–28; 12:10; Phil 4:11; s. FDanker, Augsburg Comm. 2 Cor ’89, 89–91; 180f; idem, The Endangered Benefactor in Luke-Acts: SBLSP ’81, 39–48; JFitzgerald, Cracks in an Earthen Vessel ’88; MFerrari, Die Sprache des Leids in den paulinischen Persistasen-katalogen ’91; MEbner, Leidenslisten u. Apostelbrief ’91.—ἡμέρα θλίψεως day of affliction (Gen 35:3; 2 Km 22:19; cp. En 103:9; TestLevi 5:5) 1 Cl 52:3 (Ps 49:15).—Of the tribulations of the last days (as Da 12:1) Mt 24:21, 29; Mk 13:19, 24. ἡ θ. ἡ ἐρχομένη ἡ μεγάλη the great tribulation to come Hv 2, 2, 7; cp. 2, 3, 4; 4, 1, 1; 4, 2, 5; 4, 3, 6.—Distress caused by war 1 Cl 57:4 (Pr 1:27). θ. θανάτου affliction of death B 12:5. Difficult circumstances 2 Cor 8:13; Js 1:27; συγκοινωνεῖν τῇ θ. show an interest in (someone’s) distress Phil 4:14. Of a woman’s birth-pangs J 16:21.—ὅταν γένηται θ. when persecution comes Hv 3, 6, 5. θλῖψιν ἀκούειν hear of persecution Hs 9, 21, 3. θλῖψιν ἔχειν J 16:33; 1 Cor 7:28; Rv 2:10; Hv 2, 3, 1; Hs 7:3. ἐὰν ὑπενέγκῃ τὰς θλίψεις τὰς ἐπερχομένας αὐτῷ Hs 7:4; cp. 7:6. ἐξείλατο αὐτὸν ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτοῦ Ac 7:10. διὰ πολλῶν θ. εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τ. βασιλείαν 14:22. τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν Mt 24:9; cp. B 12:5. ἀποστήσεται πᾶσα θ. ἀπὸ σοῦ … ἀπὸ πάντων ἀποστήσεται ἡ θ. Hs 7, 7.—Of the sufferings of Christ θλίψεις τοῦ Χριστοῦ Col 1:24 (s. on ἀνταναπληρόω and πάθημα 1).

inward experience of distress, affliction, trouble (Gen 35:3; 42:21 θ. τῆς ψυχῆς) θ. καὶ συνοχὴ καρδίας trouble and anguish of heart 2 Cor 2:4. θλῖψιν ἐγείρειν τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου cause trouble for me in my imprisonment Phil 1:17. Ἅννα … περιείλατο πᾶσαν θλῖψιν ἀπʼ αὐτῆς GJs 2:4 (cod. A, not pap; s. περιαιρέω 1).—DELG s.v. θλίβω. M-M. TW.

 

B-D-F B-D-F = FBlass, ADebrunner, RFunk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature—List 6

W-S. W-S. = GWiner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms, ed. PSchmiedel—List 6

Mlt-H. Mlt-H. = JMoulton/WHoward, A Grammar of NT Greek II: Accidence and Word-formation—List 6

W-H. W-H. = BWestcott/FHort—List 1, beg.

Gk. Gk. = Greek

lit. lit. = literal(ly); literature (refererences to [scholarly] literature)

Aristot Aristot , various works, IV b.c.—List 5

Epicurus Epicurus , IV–III b.c.—List 5

Ps.-Aristot Ps.-Aristot , s. Aristot.—List 5

Strabo Strabo , I b.c.–I a.d.—List 5

Galen Galen , II a.d.—List 5

lit. lit. = literal(ly); literature (refererences to [scholarly] literature)

LXX LXX = Septuaginta, ed. ARahlfs, unless otherwise specified—Lists 2, beg.

En En = I Enoch—List 2

Test12Patr Test12Patr = Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, with interpolations II b.c.–III a.d.—List 2

JosAs JosAs = Joseph and Aseneth—Lists 2, 5

Just. Just(in) , II a.d.—List 5

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

Mel. Mel. = Melito of Sardis, II a.d.—List 5

freq. freq. = frequent(ly)

metaph. metaph. = metaphor(ically)

  1. pl. = plural

Boll Boll = FB., Aus der Offenb. Johannis—List 6

OGI OGI = Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae—List 3

BGU BGU = Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden—List 4

POxy POxy = Oxyrhynchus Papyri—List 4

PAmh PAmh = The Amherst Papyri I–II—List 4

Jos. Jos. = Josephus. This abbr. used when follow by title; I a.d.—Lists 5

En En = I Enoch—List 2

Mel. Mel. = Melito of Sardis, II a.d.—List 5

Did. Did. = Didymus Caecus (the Blind), commentator on OT books, IV a.d.—List 5

  1. sg. = singular
  2. pl. = plural

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

2 Cl 2 Cl = 2 Clement—List 1

quot. quot. = quotation

orig. orig. = original(ly)

Hs Hs = Similitudes

TestGad TestGad = Testament of Gad, s. Test12Patr—List 2

Hs Hs = Similitudes

SibOr SibOr = Oracula Sibyllina, II–III a.d.—List 5

Hv Hv = Visions

Hv Hv = Visions

  1. w. = with

q.v. q.v. = quod vide (which see, see that which has just been mentioned)

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

  1. pl. = plural

TestJos TestJos = Testament of Joseph, s. Test12Patr—List 2

q.v. q.v. = quod vide (which see, see that which has just been mentioned)

  1. w. = with

Hippol Hippol , II–III a.d.—List 5

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

idem idem = the same (in ref. to the person just mentioned)

SBLSP SBLSP = Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers—List 6

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

En En = I Enoch—List 2

TestLevi TestLevi = Testament of Levi, s. Test12Patr—List 2

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

Hv Hv = Visions

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

B B = Barnabas (the Letter of), II a.d., except in series of uncial witnesses, in which case B refers to Codex Vaticanus (s. also Vat.). When the abbrv. B would ambiguous, Vat. is used for the codex.—List 1

Hv Hv = Visions

Hs Hs = Similitudes

Hv Hv = Visions

Hs Hs = Similitudes

Hs Hs = Similitudes

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts
  2. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

B B = Barnabas (the Letter of), II a.d., except in series of uncial witnesses, in which case B refers to Codex Vaticanus (s. also Vat.). When the abbrv. B would ambiguous, Vat. is used for the codex.—List 1

Hs Hs = Similitudes

GJs GJs = Gospel of James (Protevangelium Jacobi), II a.d.—List 1

pap pap = papyrus, -yri

DELG DELG = PChantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque—List 6

s.v. s.v. = sub voce (under the word, look up the word)

M-M M-M = JMoulton/GMilligan, Vocabulary of Greek Testament—Lists 4, 6

TW TW = Theologisches Wörterbuch zum NT; tr. GBromiley, Theological Dictionary of the NT—List 6

 

#MeTooMen #ChurchToo

… on my Twitter feed the other day, there were many stories about a ‘pastor’ of a mega-church, Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN, who confessed to a ‘sexual incident’ that involved a teenager that he abused when he was a youth pastor many years ago.  the girl was 17 yrs old at the time.

… as i am very concerned for the condition of the universal church and body of Christ, i was curious to find out what this particular ‘church’ was saying.  i looked up their Facebook account and started reading the feeds.

… what i read shocked me.

…  people were writing that they were driving hours and hours to come to this weeks service in support of Andy, the man who admitted that he had sexually assaulted a 17 yr old girl 20 yrs earlier.

.. i read comments like; “she’s lying, Andy is a good guy.” and “she’s just looking for attention.”

.. i responded that maybe she was looking for the attention she should have received when she was abused 20 years ago.  and i posted a scripture.

Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; who make darkness light, and light darkness; who make bitter sweet, and sweet bitter. Woe to them that are wise in their own conceit, and knowing in their own sight.
Isaiah 5:20–21

… when i went back i found that they had blocked me.  i find it interesting that the church would block me for posting words from the Bible that they claim they follow, but it is not the first time, and i doubt it will be the last.

… the thing is …

“i believe her.”

… and why shouldn’t i?  Mr. Andy only gave a public apology in front of the ”whole’ church’ AFTER she had made a public post as part of the #MeToo movement against the sexual abuse by people in power.  it was only AFTER Mr. Andy had posted on his social media in support of Matt Lauer, another sexual abusing man who also said he was sorry, (but i didn’t do that).

… and you see, i am a 52 yr old man, and i have a story from when i was a 15 yr old freshman in high school myself.  i already hear the screams ‘get over it.’ and i have, but just because 37 years have gone by, doesn’t mean i have forgotten, or that it hasn’t played an effect on different decisions i have made throughout my entire life..

… in 1979 i was a freshman in high school, attending a private boarding school called St. Paul’s College High, in Concordia, MO.  when i was in 7th grade, i had an encounter with the LORD that dramatically changed the course of my life.  i was only 12, but i was happy and content, and i loved people.  i spent a lot of my spare time reading my Bible, and although my mother and step father took us to our Missouri Synod Lutheran Church every Sunday, they weren’t happy with my new found happiness. 🙂

… so they took me to our pastor so that he would straighten me out.  the pastor had suggested that i was called into the ministry, and he suggested that i look into this High School that also had a two year College on the same campus whose entire focus was pre-ministerial.

… due to a law suit where my father didn’t pay my mother any child support for like 7 years, he agreed to pay for my 4 years of private boarding school education and she agreed to not pursue the entire debt.  i enrolled and started classes – wonderful classes in Old Testament studies, Greek studies, Hebrew studies, New Testament, Geometry,  – anyways, i though i was close to heaven.  remember, i’m just 15 at the time.

… i found out that the majority of High School students were rich kids who were trouble makers, whose parents sent them to this school so that the school would deal with them.  the High School was supposed to be geared towards the ministry, but it seemed that only the college students were actually serious about the things of God.

… there were some extra-curricular activities of praise and worship, Bible studies, etc. that some of the college students were leading and i and one other HS student got permission to hang out with the college group.  the college group had plans to travel to Chicago, IL around Christmas time and attend a conference called Evangelism Explosion.  we were going to spend a day of ‘door to door’ evangelism, and spend some time at O’Hare International Airport, busiest in the world at that time, doing ‘evangelism.’

… the plan was that the students would all break up into two’s and be assigned to different host houses from the church we would be visiting for the seminars.  me being the youngest person in the group (5 years younger than most) i was assigned to a big house that had enough room to house 4 people, 2 rooms with bunk-beds.  and it just so happened that i was assigned with the 3 male college sophomore leaders of the entire group from St. Paul’s.

… when we broke into rooms, i was in a room with the assistant to the assistant.  he took the bottom bunk and we went to bed.  as i remember it was cold, it was Chicago in December, and he asked me if i wanted to get into bed with him as we could stay warmer.  my 15 year old self thought this college man made sense so i did.  today, in 2018, it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but back in 1979 Mid-Western America, to even consider that something was wrong – was just wrong.

… i’m not going to go into details, but lets just say that after numerous attempts to say no (not verbally as i recall, just no consent) i ended up doing things i did not want to, and when he went to the restroom to clean himself up, i got dressed and ran to the room of the two head leaders and told them what had happened.

… they told me i was wrong, that the guy who just abused me was engaged to be married, and i must have misunderstood the whole thing.  they sent me back to the room, where i got back into the top bunk and waited for my abuser to come back to the room.

… of course i’ve never mentioned this before.  why would i?  but 37 years later, i can think of thousands of things in my life that were forever changed on that night, mostly because people with authority over me, abused me twice.  once physically, the second time mentally – by victim blaming.  the shame, “how dare you say something so evil against such a good person!”

… and so i will loudly now say, that

I believe Jules Woodson. STOP the victim blaming.  SHAME on you who call yourself the Church of Jesus the Man called Christ.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:12–13

… what if we applied the “golden rule” to abortion?

… on a post on Twitter the other day, a man who claims to follow the Man Who was called “The Prince of Peace”, “The Lamb of God”, “The Bread of Life”, “The Living Water”, “The Chosen Servant”,

“The Christ”

.. was posting some things that i found extremely foul and abusive.  intermixed in his foul comments were praises of adoration for President Donald J. Trump.

.. when i told this gentleman that

you can’t serve The Christ and Trump,

he slapped me with THE whopper of all whoppers …

“I suppose you voted for Abortion?
What’s God say that He hates?”

… and i think of “the golden rule.”

… this was the primary lesson of the Man called Christ.  it is recorded in the Book of Matthew, that He said;  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

… this is recorded in two of the books of the New Testament as being taught by Jesus to the people who had gathered to hear him teach and has been taught as a central and core doctrine of every Christian Church since the beginnings of what was first called ‘the church’ in the English translation of the book of Matthew, where Jesus said;

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15–17)

… and then i think about ‘abortion.’

… i think about the woman who must consider this option.  i can’t think of a single circumstance that would be anything but at the least scary to consider going through an embarrassing and sometimes quite painful operation as a remedy.

… in the case of something as horrific as a rape, i could not imagine being forced to live with the memory of the pain every day for nine months, if i did not want to.

… every day a reminder that the horrific violence perpetrated against me was actually growing inside me.

… don’t get me wrong.  i support anyone who would also want the keep the product of this evil event, but i am truly thankful that i will never have to face that.

… i am a man.

… and i am a follower of the Man Who was called the humble servant, Who was recorded as saying,

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:35–37)

… and i can hardly believe the deception of these days …

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12)

… prophets …

… i was reading in The Shepherd of Hermas, which is purported to have been written by a church leader around the year 95 AD or so.  he had some interesting things to say about prophets..
MANDATE 11

43. He showed me men seated on a bench, and another man seated on a chair. And he said to me, “Do you see those men seated on the bench?” “I see them, sir,” I replied. “These,” he said, “are faithful, but the one seated on the chair is a false prophet who destroys the mind of God’s servants; that is, he destroys the mind of the double-minded, not of believers. (2) These double-minded ones come to him as to a fortune teller, and ask him what will happen to them. And that false prophet, not having the power of a divine spirit in himself, answers them in accordance with their questions and their wicked desires, and fills their souls just as they themselves wish. (3) For since he himself is empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers, for no matter what is asked, he answers according to the emptiness of the man asking. But he does speak some true words, for the devil fills him with his own spirit, to see if he will be able to break down any of the righteous. (4) So, those who are strong in the faith of the Lord, having clothed themselves with the truth, do not associate with such spirits, but have nothing to do with them. But   P 407  those who are double-minded and frequently change their minds practice fortune telling like the pagans and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatries. For the one who consults a false prophet on any matter is an idolator and lacks the truth and is senseless. (5) For no spirit given by God needs to be consulted; instead, having the power of deity, it speaks everything on its own initiative, because it is from above, from the power of the divine Spirit. (6) But the spirit that is consulted and which answers according to the desires of the people consulting it is earthly and fickle, and has no power, and does not speak at all unless it is asked.” (7) “So how, sir,” I asked, “will a man know which of them is a prophet, and which is a false prophet?” “Hear,” he said, “about both the prophets, and on the basis of what I am going to tell you, you can test the prophet and false prophet. Determine the man who has the divine Spirit by his life. (8) In the first place the one who has the divine Spirit from above is gentle and quiet and humble, and stays away from all evil and futile desires of this age, and considers himself to be poorer than others, and gives no answer to anyone when consulted. Nor does he speak on his own (nor does the Holy Spirit speak when a man wants to speak), but he speaks when God wants him to speak. (9) So, then, when the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the assembly of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit which is assigned to him fills the man, and being filled with the Holy Spirit the man speaks to the multitude, just as the Lord wills. (10) In this way, then, the Spirit of the Deity will be obvious. Such, therefore, is the power of discernment with respect to the divine Spirit of the Lord.”
(11) “Now hear,” he said, “about the earthly and worthless spirit, which has no power but is foolish. (12) In the first place, that man who thinks he has a spirit exalts himself and wants to have a seat of honor, and immediately is arrogant and shameless and talkative and well acquainted with many luxuries and with many other pleasures, and receive money for his prophesying, and if he does not receive money, he does not prophesy.   p 409  Now, can a divine spirit receive money and still prophesy? It is impossible for a prophet of God to do this, but the spirit of such prophets who do so is earthly. (13) Next, he never comes near an assembly of righteous men; instead he avoids them, and associates with the double-minded and the empty-headed, and prophesies to them in a corner and deceives them; everything he says is in accordance with their own desires and characterized by his own empty manner, for he is answering those who are empty. For the empty vessel placed together with other empty vessels is not broken, but they match one another. (14) But when he comes to an assembly full of righteous men who have a divine Spirit, and intercession is made by them, that man is emptied and the earthly spirit flees from him in fear, and that man is rendered speechless and is completely shattered, unable to say a thing. (15) For if you store wine or oil in a storeroom and place an empty jar in among them and then later you wish to clear out the storeroom, you will find that empty jar you placed there still empty. So it is with empty prophets; whenever they encounter the spirits of the righteous, they are found to be just as they were when they arrived. (16) You now have descriptions of the life of both kinds of prophets. Therefore test by his life and his actions the man who claims that he is spirit-inspired. (17) Put your trust in the Spirit that comes from God and has power, but do not trust in any way the earthly and empty spirit, because it has no power, for it comes from the devil. (18) Listen to the parable I am about to tell you. Take a stone and throw it toward the sky; see if you can reach it. Or, for another example, take a water pump and squirt it toward the sky; see if you can penetrate it.” (19) “How,” I asked, “can these things be, sir? For both these things you just said are impossible.” “Well then,” he said, “just as these things are impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless and weak. (20) Now take the power that comes from above. A hailstone is a very small pellet, but when it falls on a man’s head, what pain it causes! Or, for another example, take a drop that falls on the ground from the roofing tiles, and wears a hole in the rock. (21) You see, then, that even the smallest things from above falling on the earth have great power; so also the divine Spirit that comes from above is powerful. So put your trust in this Spirit, but have nothing to do with the other one.

Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Updated ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:26 AM April 01, 2017.

 

Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them.” (Jeremiah 14:14–16, NLT)

.. why so many in the Middle East might have a problem with the West

…. while they pull their babies out of rubble caused by our bombs, we pay $65 an hour to put their babies at the spa …

.. investment bankers for The Kingdom of Heaven..

.. it’s hard to get away from advertisements about saving money for retirement.   a good investment banker will help you make ‘purchases’ of ‘stock’ which will produce more money to be able to pay for the things you think you might need when you retire and stop working.  there are many huge investment corporations where CEO’s make annual compensations of upwards of $1,600,000 annually, who will help you invest whatever portion of your $51,000 a year compensation (average USA annual income) that you don’t need to use to survive; pay rent, utilities, food, entertainment, etc…

… if you are a ‘good’ person, you will probably go to a church, or at least watch one on tv, where many rich men in business suits, (gotta dress up nice to impress their god) will tell you that you have to “tithe” and give their god 10% of whatever gross amount of money you can manage to bring in.  ‘pastors’ like John Hagee with a $1.23 million compensation in 2001 and $5 million net worth, Joseph Prince with a $550,000 a year salary and $5 million net worth, Franklin Graham $622,000 a year salary and his $25 million net worth, Kenneth Copeland and his $25 million net worth, Creflo Dollar and his $27 million net worth, Benny Hinn and his $42 million net worth, Bishop TD Jakes and his $147 million net worth, and others; will tell you that you need to give in ‘good soil’ so that your money will grown. (source) (source) (source)

Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.” (Proverbs 22:16, ESV)

… both of those groups, the rich investment bankers, and the rich ‘pastors, teachers, prophets, apostles, bishops’ and whatever else they want you to call them, all of those people “oppress the poor to increase their own wealth” and you shouldn’t “give to the rich” because it will “only come to poverty.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21, ESV)

… it is recorded that Jesus taught us to ‘lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven’, but how do you do that?

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:32–34, ESV)

.. in order to get ‘your treasures’ into eternity, you have to do some creative financing today.  get with your local “investment banker” for The Kingdom of Heaven, plant your seed and wait for the harvest.  the returns on those investments are eternal…

As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23, ESV)

… blasphemous mouth …

The beast was given a mouth speaking
proud words and blasphemies,
and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority
for forty-two months. So the beast
opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—
to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place,
that is, those who dwell in heaven.

(Revelation 13:5–6, NET)

Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

… 21seconds in “the second time I was great.”
“We’ve done very well with the Evangelicals, and with religion generally speaking.”
4.20s “… the happiest people are the people that have that great religious feel, and that incredible marriage …”
5.19s “We must continue to forge our partnership with Israel, and work to insure Israel’s security.”

.. at 6.34s President Trump says that his opponent in the election wanted to increase the number of refugees coming to this country, at which the ‘good christians’ booed, except for one lady who shouted over and over “refugees are welcome here”, mostly drowned out by people shouting “Trump, Trump” and “USA, USA”, who was quickly carried out of the room …

15.09s “I’m going to turn things around.”

17.42s “We will put America first.” to cheers and applause.
19.15s “We will respect and defend Christian Americans, Christian Americans.”

Family Leadership Summit

“But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?”

“I’m not sure I have, I just try to do a better job from there, I don’t think so.” President Trump  “I don’t bring God into that picture.”

2.07s “Straight question; what is your relationship with God?”
“Well I pray, I go to church, I do things that are wrong, I guess.  You know I’m a business person, I really do well at business, I’ve done great, I’ve made some of the great deals, I own some, I own some of the greatest properties of the world … I think god helped me.  You know, God helped me by giving me a certain brain, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you know I went through a phenomenal school…”

Anderson Cooper Interview about Repentance

“I had the biggest standing ovation, the biggest standing ovation.”  “… when you don’t make such bad things that you have to ask for forgiveness…. I try to lead a life where you don’t have to ask God for forgiveness.” “Why do you have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?  I work hard.  I’m an honorable person.”

The David Packman Show

.59s “…Proverbs, the chapter, never bend to envy, I’ve had that thing all of my life.” President Trump

“… it is confusing that the Bible is Donald Trump’s favorite book, second favorite book, but the one Bible verse he refers to doesn’t seem to exist.” … “It is obvious to me that Donald Trump does not care about the Bible.”

Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble.” (Proverbs 24:1–2, ESV)

 

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8–10, ESV)

 

blas•pheme  \blas-ˈfēm, ˈblas-ˌ\  verb
blas•phemed; blas•phem•ing
[Middle English blasfemen, from Late Latin blasphemare — more at BLAME]
(14th century)
transitive verb
1 : to speak of or address with irreverence
2 : REVILE, ABUSE
intransitive verb
: to utter blasphemy
— blas•phem•er  \-ˈfē-mər; ˈblas-ˌfē-mər, -fə-mər\  noun

blas•phe•mous  \ˈblas-fə-məs\  adjective
(15th century)
: impiously irreverent : PROFANE
— blas•phe•mous•ly adverb
— blas•phe•mous•ness noun

blas•phe•my  \ˈblas-fə-mē\  noun
plural blas•phe•mies
(13th century)
1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolab

(Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996).)

βλασφημέω impf. ἐβλασφήμουν; 1 aor. ἐβλασφήμησα. Pass.: 1 fut. βλασφημηθήσομαι; 1 aor. ἐβλασφημήθην (s. next two entries; Pla. et al.; PSI 298, 14; LXX; Alex., Ep. XVI 2f; TestJob 16:7; AssMos Fgm. j p. 67 Denis; Philo, Joseph., Just.) prim. ‘to demean through speech’, an esp. sensitive matter in an honor-shame oriented society. to speak in a disrespectful way that demeans, denigrates, maligns
ⓐ in relation to humans slander, revile, defame (Isocr. 10, 45 w. λοιδορεῖν) τινά someone (Socrat., Ep. 22, 2; Chion, Ep. 7, 1 ἡμᾶς) μηδένα (Philo, Spec. Leg. 4, 197; Jos., Vi. 232; Hippol., Ref. 7, 32, 6) speak evil of Tit 3:2. Pass. Ro 3:8; 1 Cor 4:13 v.l.; 10:30 (ὑπὲρ οὗ = ὑπ. τούτου ὑπ. οὗ); Dg 5:14. Abs. Ac 13:45; 18:6.
ⓑ in relation to transcendent or associated entities slander, revile, defame, speak irreverently/impiously/disrespectfully of or about
α. a Gr-Rom. deity (for Gr-Rom. attitudes respecting deities Ps.-Pla., Alc. II 149c; Diod S 2, 21, 7; Philo, Spec. Leg. 1, 53; Jos., Ant. 4, 207, C. Apion 2, 237 [s. βλασφημία bγ]; Orig., C. Cels. 8, 43, 27; s. bε below and at the very end of the entry) τὴν θεὸν ἡμῶν Ac 19:37.
β. God in Israelite/Christian tradition (4 Km 19:4) τὸν θεόν (cp. Philo, Fuga 84b; Jos., Ant. 4, 202; 6, 183; Hippol., Ref. 7, 11) Rv 16:11, 21. Abs. (2 Macc 10:34; 12:14; Orig., C. Cels. 8, 43, 31; Hippol., Ref. 1, Pr. 2) Mt 9:3; 26:65 (JKennard, Jr., ZNW 53, ’62, 25–51); Mk 2:7; J 10:36; Ac 26:11; 1 Ti 1:20; 1 Pt 4:4 (the last 3 passages may be interpr. as not referring exclusively to God). βλασφημίαι, ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν whatever impious slanders they utter Mk 3:28 (cp. Pla., Leg. 7, 800c βλ. βλασφημίαν; Tob 1:18 S).
γ. God’s name Ro 2:24 (contrast the approval expressed OGI 339, 30); 2 Cl 13:2a; ITr 8:2b (all three Is 52:5); 1 Ti 6:1; Rv 13:6; 16:9; 2 Cl 13:1, 2b (quot. of unknown orig.), 4; Hs 6, 2, 3 v.l.
δ. God’s Spirit εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10. On impious slander of the Holy Spirit s. WWeber, ZWT 52, 1910, 320–41; HWindisch, in Porter-Bacon Festschr. 1928, 218–21; EBuonaiuti, Ricerche Religiose 6, 1930, 481–91; OEvans, ET 68, ’57, 240–44; GFitzer, TZ 13, ’57, 161–82; JWilliams, NTS 12, ’65, 75–77; CColpe, JJeremias Festschr., ’70, 63–79.
ε. Christ Mt 27:39; Mk 15:29; Lk 23:39; ἕτερα πολλὰ β. 22:65 (cp. Vett. Val. 67, 20 πολλὰ βλασφημήσει θεούς). τὸν κύριον Hs 8, 6, 4; 8, 8, 2; 9, 19, 3; ISm 5:2; εἰς τ. κύριον Hv 2, 2, 2; Hs 6, 2, 4; τὸν βασιλέα μου MPol 9:3.—The name of Christ Js 2:7.
ζ. angels δόξας β. 2 Pt 2:10; Jd 8. Angels are also meant in ὅσα οὐκ οἴδασιν β. Jd 10 and ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν β. defaming where they have no knowledge 2 Pt 2:12 (B-D-F §152, 1; Rob. 473). S. δόξα 4.
η. things that constitute the significant possessions of Christians τὴν ὁδὸν τ. δικαιοσύνης ApcPt 7:22; cp. 2 Pt 2:2. Here and elsewh. pass. ὁ λόγος τ. θεοῦ Tit 2:5; ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν Ro 14:16; τὸ ἐν θεῷ πλῆθος ITr 8:2a; τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν μεγάλως β. 1 Cl 1:1; τὸν νόμον τοῦ κυρίου Hs 8, 6, 2.—In our lit. β. is used w. the acc. of the pers. or thing (Plut.; Appian [Nägeli 44]; Vett. Val. [s. bε above]; Philo [s. bα and bβ above]; Joseph. [s. bα and bβ above]; 4 Km 19:22) or w. εἰς and acc. (Demosth. 51, 3; Philo, Mos. 2, 206; Jos., Bell. 2, 406. Specif. εἰς θεούς and the like, Pla., Rep. 2 p. 381e; Vett. Val. 44, 4; 58, 12; Philo, Fuga 84a; Jos., Ant. 8, 392; Da 3:96; Bel 8 Theod.).—S. βλασφημία end. DELG. M-M. s.v.-ος. TW.
 
βλασφημία, ας, ἡ (s. βλασφημέω; Eur., Democr., Pla.+; LXX, Philo, Joseph.; Just., A I, 26, 5; Ath. 31, 2, R.72, 27; AssMos Fgm. j p. 67 Denis; loanw. in rabb.)  speech that denigrates or defames, reviling, denigration, disrespect, slander
ⓐ gener., of any kind of speech that is defamatory or abusive, w. other vices Mk 7:22; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8. πᾶσα β. all abusive speech Hm 8:3; cp. Mt 12:31a. Pl. (Jos., Vi. 245) Mt 15:19; 1 Ti 6:4.
ⓑ specif., against humans and transcendent entities
α. humans (Cleanthes [IV–III B.C.] 1 p. 135, 21 [in Diog. L. 7, 17, 3]; Polyb. 11, 5, 8; Jos., Ant. 3, 307, Vi. 260) β. ἔκ τινος slander of (i.e. emanating from) someone Rv 2:9; cp. IEph 10:2.
β. the devil κρίσιν βλασφημίας a reviling judgment Jd 9 (but s. Field [Notes 244], who favors ‘accusation of [the devil for] blasphemy’).
γ. God and what is God’s (Comp. II 153f [Menand., Fgm. 715 Kock] ἡ εἰς τὸ θεῖον β.; Ezk 35:12; 1 Macc 2:6; 2 Macc 8:4; 10:35; 15:24; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 368) Mt 26:65 (OLinton, NTS 7, ’61, 258–62); Mk 2:7 v.l.; 14:64; Lk 5:21 (pl.); J 10:33; Rv 13:5 (pl.); 2 Cl 13:3; D 3:6; β. πρὸς τὸν θεόν (Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 32, 216; cp. εἰς τὸν πατέρα Hippol., Ref. 9, 12, 19) Rv 13:6. βλασφημίας ἐπιφέρεσθαι τῷ ὀνόματι κυρίου 1 Cl 47:7; προσέθηκαν κατὰ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου βλασφημίαν Hs 6, 2, 3; β., ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν Mk 3:28, s. βλασφημέω bβ; ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος (obj. gen.) β. Mt 12:31b, s. βλασφημέω bδ. ὀνόματα βλασφημίας (gen. of qual.) Rv 13:1; 17:3. ῥήματα βλασφημίας Ac 6:11 v.l.—The passages in β and γ generate an emotive aspect associated with denigration of a prestigious entity (cp. Origen’s rejoinder to Celsus: C. Celsum 8, 38 with reff. to Ex 22:27; Ro 12:14; 1 Cor 6:10). Hence the caution about denigrating the devil. Impious denigration of deity is esp. heinous and many translations reflect this emotive value in the loanword ‘blasphemy’. But Greco-Roman and Semitic minds would first of all, as Ac 19:37 and Rom 2:24 indicate, think in terms of disrespect shown or harm done to a deity’s reputation, a fact obscured by the rendering ‘blasphemy’, which has to some extent in Eng. gone its own emotive way semantically and has in effect become a religious technical term, which is not the case with βλασφημέω. On the range of expressions for denigration of God s. ESanders, Jewish Law fr. Jesus to the Mishnah ’90, 57–67.—DELG s.v. βλασφημέω. M-M. TW.

βλάσφημος, ον (s. two prec. entries; Demosth. et al.; Plut., Herodian; LXX; JosAs 13:9; Just.) defaming, denigrating, demeaning ῥήματα β. demeaning words Ac 6:11, 13 v.l.; cp. Rv 13:5 v.l. (Dio Chrys. 3, 53 τὶ βλάσφημον περὶ τῶν θεῶν; Herodian 7, 8, 9 βλάσφημα πολλὰ εἰπὼν εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην καὶ τὴν σύγκλητον; Philo, De Ios. 247; Jos., Vi. 158; 320). β. κρίσιν φέρειν pronounce a demeaning judgment 2 Pt 2:11. Of pers.: slanderer (Wsd 1:6; Sir 3:16; 2 Macc 9:28; 10:36) 1 Ti 1:13; 2 Ti 3:2; Hs 9, 18, 3; w. προδόται 9, 19, 3; β. εἰς τὸν κύριον 9, 19, 1.—DELG s.v. βλασφημέω. M-M. TW.

William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 178.

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

by Nick Cooper, nick@nickcooper.com •  originally printed in Free Press Houston (freepresshouston.com), April, 2012

On March 2, Hank Rush, the CEO of Star of Hope Mission, who makes a quarter-million dollar salary for his work with the poor, joined several other homeless service leaders in signing a commentary in the Houston Chronicle.  They gave their support to a new law that would impose a $2,000 fine on unpaid volunteers for sharing home-cooked food with the needy in public.

Going so far as to criminalize bringing a box of fruit into one’s house, to keep it out of a hot car for a few hours before going to share it, the law would have been laughable if it weren’t a threat to the food supply of a vulnerable population.

Wondering why homeless service providers might consider supporting a law that was so potentially devastating to Houston’s homeless population, activists began researching Star of Hope.  The first news item that came up, was that Mayor Annise Parker had announced a massive public / private partnership with the Star of Hope, just four days before the commentary was published.  $3 million initially, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, was planned for a “Sobering Center” for people found drunk in public.  Touted as a cheaper and less punitive alternative to incarceration, the project would benefit Rush and other signatories to the commentary.

    The Mayor, ‘Balance,’ and Her ‘Emergency’

    The Mayor and Council Member James Rodriguez began promoting the new ’emergency’ law, though the nature of the emergency seemed to be constantly in flux.  First, council members were told there was a crisis of food poisoning of the homeless, but the Mayor dropped that argument after being forced in open session to admit that there was no info to back up her claims.  Next, they switched to talking about trash being left by organizations feeding the homeless, but apparently there was no study of that either.  Eventually, Parker and Rodriguez seemed to settle on the main issue at stake here: the property rights of downtown business owners.

“I perceive this ordinance as trying to balance the rights and the needs of different groups of people,” said the Mayor.  Apparently, for her, the homeless are the ones holding the upper-hand in this imbalance, and the victims, the downtown business owners, require the City’s emergency help.  The ‘need’ of property owners is being trampled by the need of the homeless to eat, sleep, and excrete.

She compelled city council to act urgently to control trash and excrement, not by putting out more receptacles and toilets, but by policing the food supply.

“While the Mayor professes to try to help the homeless,” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, “she’s done nothing to put in sanitary facilities that the homeless might be able to use.”

After years of ‘civility’ ordinances which criminalize homeless people for lying down, Houston City Council moved quickly towards enacting this new level of oppression.

The open secret here is that the only urgent matter is the opening of the new Dynamo soccer stadium.  With homeless sleeping nearby, the Mayor wanted one more tool to evict the homeless encampments.  As if to confirm this, City Council passed another urgent measure in March: drinking alcohol in public would be legalized in lots owned by, and at times set by sports venues.  Without even an acknowledgement of the irony and scandalous timing of these two amendments, the City granted sports fans an exemption to an anti-homeless law that had been on the books for almost 20 years.

While of course, ‘property rights’ doesn’t seem like an ’emergency’ issue, the Mayor didn’t let that slow her down. She ramped up pressure on the council to pass this law to force volunteers to show police specific prior written permission to share food.  Coalition for the Homeless President / CEO Marilyn Brown supported the law as “a good first step,” despite the fact that she had just personally conducted a Faith Initiative focus group in which every single participant opposed mandatory requirements for those sharing food in public.  Any council member considering voting for the law had to ignore the opinions of the hundreds of homeless and others who came to speak against the law over three sessions of City Council.

The public pressure forced the Mayor to change the law, stripping it of the important details.  It no longer explicitly criminalized things like the sharing of home made food, but since the process for obtaining permission was never disclosed, it was anyone’s guess what the criteria she or subsequent Mayors might choose to use for granting permission.  Home made food might be illegal, it might not, it just depended on the unwritten criteria of whatever agency has the job of granting permission.  The new version of the law temporarily hid the most egregious details, and the Mayor falsely and unilaterally declared that a compromise had been struck.

Some of the most important voices against the law were those of the homeless themselves who arrived to speak to City Council on April 3, the day before the vote.  The Mayor and the majority of City Council instead favored a small group of downtown business representatives, bumping them to the front of the queue to speak.  A few Council Members lobbed soft-ball questions to their powerful friends, filibustering until the news cameras and many City Council members had left the room.  One homeless man waiting for his turn to speak was so frustrated that he yelled out and was escorted from the chambers.

When it was finally their turn to speak, the homeless opened up their hearts to a City Council that had probably already made up their minds.

“If it weren’t for these truly gracious people, I would not eat,” 58 year old James Lira told City Council.

“I’ve been homeless 15 years due to my mental illness… If they make it more difficult for me to get food, then I would be starving,” were the words sent to City Council via the Voice of the Homeless Awareness Project from Alfred White, 51.

“I would like to see you in our shoes for one week and not have anything,” said Michael Horn.

“When has America stopped being the land of the free and the home of the brave, and become the land of the oppressed, and the home of the economic slave?” asked Maurice Samuel O’Neal, who identified as being on and off the streets for the last 40 years.  Many in the audience were affected, hearing the comparison to slavery by an older Southern African American man.

The most devastating critiques of the Mayor’s proposed law came from the kids.

“If I see one, or five, or twenty people in need, I should be able to help them without fearing punishment,” said an 11 year old girl, Makota Ashé.

Next, the Mayor’s entire argument was deflated in two short questions by 13 year old Dylan Cash.

“Mayor Parker, did you eat breakfast this morning?” he asked.  “Did you have to get permission from the City?”

    Why Don’t you Just Shut Up and Get a Permit, It’s Easy!

    Requiring permission for groups to serve has precedent. In San Francisco in 1988, the permit requirement was used to criminalize and arrest hundreds of food sharing volunteers. The Mayor then, like Annise Parker now, described the process as easy, but that was not the experience of volunteers in San Francisco.

“It was clear that the purpose of the permit process was to make it impossible for Food Not Bombs to share food and information in public,” said Keith McHenry, the co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement.

In November of 2011, a U.S. District Judge denied the city of Dallas’ motion for summary judgment and ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a similar law there.  On the basis that spontaneous and unregulated feeding is part of their religious freedom, a church has a good chance to demonstrate that these permitting laws violate the Texas Religious Freedom Act.

“There are also Constitutional concerns about not requiring property owners to give notice by posting “no-trespassing” signs,” said Daphne Silverman with National Lawyers Guild.   “It’s my position that this law also violates other first amendment rights of expression, religion, and assembly.”

   Cashing In

    On April 4, the amendment passed 11 – 6.  Council Member Bradford joined the five Republican-leaning Council Members (Brown, Pennington, Sullivan, Christie, and Hoang) to oppose the hastily written, vague, punitive, and repressive law.  Not only did the ‘progressive’ Council Members vote with the Mayor, but even Wanda Adams joined in.  Though Adams repeats often that homelessness is an extremely personal issue for her, she is in need of support for her candidacy in the race for Texas House District 131.

“Mayor Parker is very well connected and supported in the local Democratic party scene,” explains local political activist and Democratic state delegate Benjamin Franklin.  “Wanda Adams’ chances of advancing to the State House require many of the same institutional supporters, and thus she needs to demonstrate that she’s a team player.  She can work to mitigate or soften the impact of a policy she disagrees with, but can’t openly defy and vote ‘no’ to what’s apparently a core priority for the Mayor.”

Adams was taken aside for several arm-twisting sessions to vote for the anti-homeless law.  Though unable to stop the law from passing, and apparently incapable of standing up to even vote against it herself, she was able to pass an amendment to give volunteers a three month reprieve before the law went into effect.

Council Members need money to be re-elected, and non-profits need grants.  Star of Hope wasn’t the only agency to benefit from new funding, and wasn’t the only organization whose leader signed onto the Houston Chronicle commentary to support the original extremely draconian version of the law.  The Coalition for the Homeless is at the center of an influx of cash to Houston that is so big that it makes the millions involved in the Sobering Center look like chump change.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) channels 1.5 billion dollars a year into programs and non-profits.  This month, Houston and eight other cities with large homeless populations begin getting big Obama dollars for the express purpose of “ending homelessness” in a few years through “Rapid Rehousing.”

Sam Tsemberis, CEO and Founder to Pathways to Housing, who helped to create the Housing First model, which is similar to Rapid Rehousing, points out that “Housing First is not really about housing.  It’s about listening to the person who is homeless.  The way we invented HF was by listening to people in the street.  When you ask what do you want most urgently, people say ‘housing first.’  It’s not about buildings or structures, it’s about listening to people.”

Nick Flynn, U of H professor, and author of the book which inspired the film “Being Flynn” starring Robert De Niro, has been a long time supporter of the Housing First model, but questions the nature of the program coming to Houston, asking, “is it driven by listening to the homeless, or listening to the powerful interests downtown?”

To kick off this program, the Coalition for the Homeless, launched a series of breakfasts for Houston’s homeless providers.  Titled “Take Your Seat at the Table,” the participants were welcomed to carve their pieces of the pie of all this funding coming to Houston.  Participants in the breakfasts were told that along with the money comes an entirely new system.  Houston’s homeless services are being rapidly transformed into a system with centralized intake for all homeless, a new authority that links funding with performance evaluations, and a constantly expanding database called the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).

    Just Follow the Bacon and Eggs

    “The Coalition for the Homeless has friendly political ties to the agencies who will end up with the HUD money,” said Jeff Lyons from Houston Solutions for Housing.  “It’s all political. The City founded Coalition for the Homeless, and appoints the people to the Board.  As the designated agent for the national programs like HMIS, they decide where HUD money goes when it comes to Houston.”

Shockingly, the underwriter for the first of the two Coalition for the Homeless breakfasts was Brookfield Office Properties, which, owns twelve skyscrapers downtown.  Paul Layne, the regional head for Brookfield Properties’ Houston operations also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for the Homeless.  As the largest commercial real estate owner in Houston’s downtown, Brookfield is notorious for its central role in perpetuating the below poverty wages among downtown custodial workers, who make an average of $8,600 a year.

“It’s ironic,” said Laura Perez-Boston, director of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center.  “Instead of investing their money in promoting a breakfast, they should be investing in ensuring that human rights are upheld for the janitors in their buildings…”

Brookfield also happens to own Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street activists were encamped for months (the park is named for Brookfield co-chairman John E. Zuccotti).  In October, Brookfield wrote to New York Police Commissioner Kelly demanding the eviction of the activists.  This connection seemed to confirm the suspicions of many involved with Occupy Houston that the law was intended to target them.

“This whole issue may have never been about ‘feeding the homeless’,” said longtime community activist and Democratic State Rep. candidate Ray Hill.  “It may have been about shutting down the Occupy movement that has done more than anything else to put a light on the injustice and excesses of big business greed.”

Many Houston activists who assume that Brookfield doesn’t value the needs of the homeless any more than the custodians working in their own buildings, are outraged to discover their participation in Coalition for the Homeless programs.

“Now it comes to light that there are big bucks in the pipeline from the federal government around homelessness,” Hill continued.  “The poor and the powerless are not players in the passing out of public funds into the private hands of the real players.”

    And Meanwhile… What About the Volunteers About to Be Criminalized?

    Food sharing volunteers like myself sit in these meetings a bit baffled.  On July 1, the volunteer work of dozens of organizations in the streets of Houston will become a crime.  We don’t have salaries, budgets, or pieces of the pie.  We don’t need money, bureaucracy, and we certainly don’t need to be permitted.  We do want to see homelessness eliminated, but not by punitive measures.

We found ourselves sitting at the Coalition for the Homeless breakfast table with others who were urging us to get iPads so that we could log all of the homeless, every time we serve, into the HMIS database in order to increase funding for the groups that need it.  Long time friends and allies within the homeless services sector seem to have been convinced by the power structure of absurd scenarios — people we had trusted explained to us their sincere belief that the homeless downtown are practically drowning in healthy food and need less not more.

My group, Food Not Bombs was the first group sharing food with the homeless after Ike, Rita, and Katrina.  FEMA referred people to us.  If this law is enacted in July, and by late August a hurricane comes through, even under emergency conditions, it will still be a crime for us to go out and share food.  Even if police were willing to look the other way during a hurricane aftermath, we might no longer have the intact relationships, food supply, and internal structure to resume our operations after months of being criminalized.  We rely on an influx of new high school volunteers, and parents might think twice about having their children participate in a group that might be illegal.  Making volunteerism a crime will damage Houston’s infrastructure.  Volunteers are a vital part of a system that helps nourish a vulnerable population, that without our efforts, would turn to increasingly to shoplifting, dumpster diving, and panhandling.

There are over sixty local groups speaking out against these laws. From the conservative Houston Area Pastors Council to the Catholic Worker Movement, from Occupy Houston to the Tea Party, from the Harris County Republican Party to the Green Party, from the Nation of Islam to the Hare Krishnas, the diversity of this loose coalition may well be unprecedented.

… politics disguised as prayer..

.. this morning, another ‘good christian friend’ on Facebook ‘copied and pasted” a post about a ‘prayer’ given in the Kansas State Senate,on January 23rd, 1996.  this ‘prayer’ has been shared over and over again by many, many people who are terribly deceived.  this was political posturing disguised as prayer and is biblically inaccurate.

… we only need to read what has been recorded that the Christ said to see that the original intent was not prayer at all, but a demonstration of pure hypocrisy.

“And when you pray, YOU MUST NOT be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Jesus (Matthew 6:5–8, ESV)

… if we do something that Jesus specifically said “you must not” do, then we ARE what He said we are “hypocrites.”

… and then Jesus spoke about judging when it is recorded that He said,

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42, ESV)

… even if we ignore what the Bible specifically says that Jesus said, what about the content itself?

… of course, the political rhetoric is disguised as a plea for God to forgive us.  pastor Joe wasn’t actually seeking forgiveness but was going through a list of items with the intent of shaming anyone who voted for the things he is against.   when he says “We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.” he does not mean we but they, unless he is blaming himself for ridiculing the Bible, which i am pretty sure he is not doing.

“We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.”

… Pastor Joe thinks things like food stamps and medicaid are ‘rewarding’ people for being lazy, regardless of the fact that 70% of SNAP households have children, and MOST people on any type of ‘welfare’ already have jobs.

… and then there is what Jesus said again,

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. – Jesus (Luke 6:30–31, ESV)

… i am writing this on a Sunday morning when thousand upon thousands of ‘good christians’ will put on their diamonds and gold decorations, adorn their designer suits and dresses and jump in their luxury automobiles to go listen to pastors, many who are on their second or third marriages, who live in mansions tell them what the Bible says.

… what does the Apostle Paul say?

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”” (1 Corinthians 5:9–13, NLT)

.. this wasn’t a prayer it was an attempt to publicly shame people into doing what the pastor wanted.  it wasn’t a cry for forgiveness, but an attempt to intimidate people into supporting a political agenda and is shameful, at the least…