zenpundit.com

These are the days of Elijah

October 23rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- a Youtube video of Marines singing a praise song goes viral, some love it, some hate it, what is it? ]
.

Here’s a Christian “praise song”, These are the days of Elijah, sung by Donnie McClurkin:

I love me some good, rousing gospel music.

**

Here are the lyrics:

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trial
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord

CHORUS:
Behold he comes
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice
It’s the year of jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding the temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in your world
And we are the laborers in your vineyard
declaring the word of the Lord

CHORUS 2X
Behold he comes
Riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet call
Lift your voice
It’s the year of jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

There’s no God like Jehovah (x8–modulate)
There’s no God like Jehovah (x8–modulate)
There’s no God like Jehovah (x7)

CHORUS X2

**

Please note the end times references here, particularly in the chorus:

Behold he comes
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet’s call

These four short lines manage to plait together:

  • Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him (Revelation 1.7),
  • and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (Revelation 1.16), and
  • for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible (I Corinthians 15.52)

The writer of the song, Robin Mark, writes:

The chorus is the ultimate declaration of hope – Christ’s return. It is paraphrased from the books of Revelation and Daniel and the vision that was seen of the coming King and refers to the return of Christ and the year of Jubilee. Theologians and Bible commentators believe that Israel never properly celebrated this particular 50th year jubilee, and that it will only be properly celebrated when Christ returns. That might be true but I reckon that a Jubilee is an apt description of what happens when Christ comes into anyone’s life at any time; debts are cancelled and a captive is set free.

Similarly, Similarly, these lines:

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in your world
And we are the laborers in your vineyard

braid together:

  • Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest (John 4.35),
  • The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10.2), and
  • the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard (Matt 20.1-16)

Robin Mark’s comment here is:

Finally the “days of the Harvest” point towards what is the purpose of the Christian to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. By the way “The fields are as white in the world” is from the old King James version and means, their ripe for harvest.

Those lines at least overtly reference the end times — but Mark does not see the entire song in that way. In fact he suggests the phrase:

“Days of great trial, of famine, darkness and sword” is a reflection of the apparent times in which we live when still thousands of people die every day from starvation, malnutrition and war.

— not necessarily describing the “great tribulation” — and indeed, further specifies:

Firstly the song came from watching a television “Review of the Year” at the end of 1994. This was the year of the Rwandan civil war tragedy which claimed 1 million people’s lives, and also when the first ceasefires in N.I. were declared.

So it’s the song of a soul distressed at all the destruction, not at all a militant cry. And he goes on to note that his own interpretation may not be the final (authorial) one:

There is a post script to this story for those who (by letters to me!) believe the song means something entirely different. A few years ago I was privileged to be in Israel at Yom Kippur for a celebration with hundreds of Messianic Jews. A very kind, gentle and humorous messianic brother had a bit of fun arguing with me that I, as an Irish Christian, could never have written a song which explores some of the themes that many (non-replacement theology here!) Jewish believers believe are the themes and indications of Christ’s return. The Spirit and Power of Elijah in the Church, The restoration of Israel to righteousness in Christ (David’s fallen tent), The restoration of praise and worship (David’s tent also!) and the unity of the body particularly with a renewed and redeemed Israel under Christ.

For me, I only know what I wrote. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it was His desire to say something more than I personally intended and to do more with this song than I first considered.

**

So that’s the song, and there’s quite a bit of nuance to it, and to its interpretation.

Here is the same praise song, sung by a congregation of US Marines from Camp Pendleton at a “Faith Warrior service”:

This version of the song has recently gone viral, and is giving great delight to those who view it as “this bunch of Marines unabashedly praising the true living God” and “Holy Spirit takes over, Oorah-style!” — and considerable to concern to those who see in it more “crusade” than “praise”.

**

Two comments on YouTube illustrate the way in which this overtly apocalyptic battle song can be interpreted as supporting the notion that the war agsinst jihadist terrorism is a spiritual clash between the Christian and Muslim Gods — something the jihadists are at pains to convince their followers of.

It’s wonderful to see our troops worshiping the one, true God with such fervor. Despite the fight for political correctness and the squelching of faith under the current leadership, nothing can hold back the praise of Yahweh. This is the only thing that will strengthen the military and give them power in the fight against ISIS and the other evils that threaten us.

and:

The Game is now over for the Taliban, Isis and all the rest who want to challenge our God! These boys and girls just invited Jehovah to the fight! This battle is not ours, but the Lords! If 1 can put 1000 to flight and 2 can put 10,000 to flight what about a whole company of Marines! So lift your voice (hoorah) this is the year of jubilee out Zion’s hill salvation comes!

**

You might say I have me some mixed feelings about that video.

From my own perspective, viewing the fight against IS / Daesh as a war between apocalyptic Islam and apocalyptic Christianity is:

  • a permissible religious position for a US citizen to hold
  • a dangerous position to the extent that it influences US foreign policy

And I’m sure those Marines at Camp Pendleton, who had presumably signed up for that particular worship service, thoroughly enoyed themselves — and felt uplifted and bonded by their praise song.

**

Then again, I wonder if those who dislike it, fearing the impact of a hard Christian dominionist right American military, would have similar qualms about a Catholic Mass celebrated at Pendleton — or the one depicted here, in which Fr Charles Suver SJ celebrates the Catholic Mass Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, at about the same time the famous flag was raised…

Chaplains WWII Mass on Mt Suribachi
Source: http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Chaplains/Chaplains-WWII-110605.jpg

uti accepta habeas et benedicas haec + dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrificia illibata

Share

The fissiparous schismatics of splittism

October 21st, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- it seems only natural that extremist factions should be fractious, no? ]
.

ocarina zelda

**

It not infrequently happens that two items crop up in my RSS feed as though RSS itself could tell I’d be distracted into a DQ post if they followed one another closely enough — and so it was with these two recent pieces, each of which describes a schism in what might be termed our “enemies, foreign and domestic”:

SPEC splits

You can read up the details of these rivalries here:

  • Jihadica: A Jihadi Civil War of Words
  • SPLC HateWatch: Eating Their Own: Several Feuds Erupt Among White Nationalists
  • The enchanting image at the top of this post comes from the SPLC’s piece, where it carries the legend:

    Colin Liddell playing a magic flute he will use to open a portal to a wizard realm, wherein he will steal a secret potion which will save the White race

    I gather the original image shows Flute Boy, a character from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

    Share

    DQing my way towards Arabic, one letter at a time

    October 21st, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- also the Latin Breviary in 24 letters, and the meaning of blood and dots ]
    .

    I was aware of the Arabic letter nun:

    but not until the last few days, the letter ra:

    **

    The letters that comprise alphabets, and the words, phrases, sentences and books that are built of thedm, are capable of enormous meaning…

    The banging of a judge’s gavel can be a death sentences, the pillars of a door painted in sacrificial blood can cause hamash’chit — the destroyer angel — to overfly a house in which there are Jews, thus saving them from the destruction of their first-born, a yellow six-pointed star painted on a house or shop indicate its Jewish ownership — and the Arabic letters nun and ra serve similar purposes, signalling both a threat from ISIS and a mark of pride and solidarity…

    **

    For those with hermetic and kabbalistic tastes, I’d like to take this a little further.

    A single dot can have powerful meaning…

    In Judaism:

    bereshit

    Although the Torah itself suggests that certain hylic entities co-existed with God at the beginning (water, darkness), by separating out the diacritical dagesh from the word [it is the dot in the first letter]:

    Beginning with a point… b • reshit (Zohar I:15a)

    the Zohar finds the philosophic principle creation ex nihilo [from nothing] in the first word.

    In Islam:

    dot_under_ba

    And know that all of Allah’s secrets are in the heavenly books, and all of the secrets of the heavenly books are in the Qur’an. And all of which is in the Qur’an is in al-Fatihah, and all of which is in al-Fatihah is in bismillah, and all of which is in bismillah is in the ba’ of bismillah, and all of which is in the ba’ in bismillah is the dot (nuqtah) which is under the ba’. Imam ‘Ali said: “I am the dot which is under the ba’”

    first finds the saying I am the dot which is under the ba’ in al-Ghazali, where it is attributed to Abu Bakr al-Shibli, disciple of the great Sufi al-Junayd

    and comments:

    We can not understand the Quran properly without dots, or if we can know the point (Nukta) of a thing we understand the reality of the whole matter.

    In Hinduism:

    black-aum-sign-on-white-background

    The symbol of Aum contains of three curves, one semicircle and a dot. The large lower curve symbolizes the waking state; the upper curve denotes deep sleep (or the unconscious) state, and the lower curve (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies the dream state. These three states of an individual’s consciousness, and therefore the entire physical phenomenon, are represented by the three curves. The dot signifies the Absolute (fourth or Turiya state of consciousness), which illuminates the other three states. The semicircle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. The semicircle is open on the top, which means that the absolute is infinite and is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. In this way the form of aum symbolizes the infinite Brahman and the entire Universe.

    **

    And the entire elphabet?

    Here’s the Shortest Rite for Reciting the Breviary, for Itinerants and the Scrupulous, as transmitted to me by Dom Sylvester Houédard, priest, poet and scholar:

    RITUS BREVISSIMUS RECITANDI BREVIARIUM PRO ITINERANTIBUS ET SCRUPULOSIS

    Dicitur: Pater et Ave

    Deinde:

    A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    V. Per hoc alphabetum notum
    R. componitur breviarium totum (Tempore paschali, dicitur Alleluia)

    Oremus.

    Deus, qui ex viginti quatuor litteris totam sacram scripturam et breviarium istud componi voluisti, iunge, disiunge et accipe ex his viginti quatuor litteris matutinas cum laudibus, primam, tertiam, sextam, nonam, vesperas et completorium. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

    Signat se dicens: Sapienti pauca.

    V. In pace in idipsum.
    R. Dormiam et requiescam.

    If my rusty, Google-assisted Latin is to be believed, the gist of the central prayer here reads:

    O God, who hast chosen to compose the entirety of sacred scripture and this breviary out of twenty-four letters, separate, join and receive from these twenty-four letters Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline, through Christ our Lord. Amen..

    That’s the complete Holy Office as recited by Catholic monks — Dom Sylvester was a member of the Benedictines — in just 24 letters.

    Which is less than it takes to type:

    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

    Share

    New Book: Warrior Diplomat by Michael G. Waltz

    October 20th, 2014

    [by Mark Safranski, a.k.a "zen"]

    WARRIOR DIPLOMAT: A Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan by Michael G. Waltz

    Just received a review copy of this yet-to-be-released memoir from Callie at Oettinger & Associates, which I have thumbed through ( formal review coming soon).

    The author,  Michael G. Waltz has had a very interesting career arcGreen Beret officer, Commander of multiple SF and SOF teams, Afghan combat veteran with valor awards, DoD counter-narcotics policy adviser, counter-terrorism adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, Senior National Security scholar at the liberal New America Foundation, Co-founder of Askari Associates and President of Metis Solutions.

    Waltz , it must also be noted, is donating 100% of the proceeds of this book to veterans charities.

    An active commenter on FP and .mil affairs, Waltz most recently opined on ISIS here:

    Ten Lessons from the Afghan War about how to fight ISIS 

    ….There were over 40 nations involved in the ISAF coalition, which caused numerous functional and strategic issues.  Even base terms such as “counterinsurgency” (COIN) were interpreted very differently by every partner.  For the French, COIN, invoked memories of their brutal campaign in Algeria; while for the Dutch, the military focus of COIN was to provide security for development projects.  These differences led to years of 40 countries going in as many different directions to little strategic effect.  In the ISIS campaign, the U.S. should start with ensuring all members of the coalition have the same understanding of the President’s stated goals of “degrade” and “destroy.”  These terms are more than just rhetoric in military circles and will have different meanings to each contributor. 

    ….Coalitions are difficult to assemble and even more difficult to maintain when the going gets tough.  Too often ISAF’s military failings would be swept under the rug in Washington and Brussels for the sake of preserving the political unity of the coalition.  It reflected the view of many in U.S. and European circles working the NATO portfolio that the war in Afghanistan was good for NATO; as it would force the alliance into shape rather than forcing NATO to confront its failings for the good of Afghanistan.  The coalition against ISIS must be good for winning the war effort against Islamist extremism, not the other way around.

    Read the rest here.

    Warrior Diplomat falls into the same military genre represented by American Spartan, About Face, A Bright Shining Lie and to a lesser extent, classics like Street Without Joy and Diplomat Among Warriors - books that integrated “the fight” with the political, bureaucratic, policy context in all of the latter’s monumental dysfunction. For example, writing of the Tagab District, where the Bagram air base is located, Waltz lamented:

    ….Though we had information about the HIG broadly as an organization and about some of their commanders in the area, I was bothered by our lack of knowledge about Tagab and the people of the valley. We knew little beyond the very basics of local government, the police, or the local economy. We also knew little to nothing about the tribal make-up of the area or which tribes had aligned with the HIG. most important, we had no idea why certain locals were supporting them. Was it ideological? Tribal rivalry? Abuse from local officials? I hoped our patrol would answer these questions, but I was astonished that we didn’t know more about an area so close to our main base in Afghanistan. Four years into the war, in 2005, we were going into the area partially blind because of our lack of meaningful intelligence

    This passage would probably ring true with Major Jim Gant. Or with friend of ZP blog Pete Turner,  who spent so much time in Zabul. Or with most of the soldiers and Marines who went on patrol in Afghanistan any time in the past decade.

    Warrior Diplomat is scheduled for release November 1, and I will try to have my formal, full review posted that week.

    Share

    More twitter gratitude: once and future cars, Mozart and more

    October 20th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- it's been a long and wonderful day with my younger son, I'm getting sleepy, midnight approaches, and my leaps are getting longer and looser -- g'night! ]
    .

    Flintstones Jetsons cars

    **

    Today was my day to discover Digital Tonto, aka Greg Satell: cause for rejoicing. I can seldom retrace more than a few of my online steps, it’s a nimble dance we do here on the net, but somehow i wound up reading three of his pages before clicking myself off on another leap of faith & inquiry…

    How The Future Is Really Built is great on Einstein, Wittgenstein, and all them ‘steins.

    The Visceral Abstract begins with this killer paragraph:

    Last week, Paul Broun, a US Congressman on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, asserted that evolution, embryology and big bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.” A recent Gallup survey suggests that 46% of Americans agree with him.

    Why 140 Characters Are Better Than A Flying Car brought me a image of the Jetson’s car, and I started thinking about the Flintstones, and soon I saw at the “once and future” automotive image at the top of this post.

    **

    Okay, let me take off on a tangent here. Digital Tonto writes:

    Does a banker with a multimillion-dollar bonus really represent a greater contribution than Tim Berners-Lee or Linus Torvalds?

    As for myself, I am biased in favor of Tim Berners-Lee. In the same post, DT also quotes the much tougher to read Martin Heidegger:

    However hard and bitter, however hampering and threatening the lack of houses remains, the real plight of dwelling does not lie merely in a lack of houses. The real plight of dwelling is indeed older than the world wars with their destruction, older also than the increase of the earth’s population and the condition of the industrial workers. The real dwelling plight lies in this, that mortals ever search anew for the nature of dwelling, that they must ever learn to dwell.

    I believe the difference between “houses” and “dwelling” is a pretty fundamental one, close kin to the difference between denotation and connotation, or the time as pronounced by a mechanical clock, perhaps, and the time uttered by an impassioned, urgent human voice — thing and life, metronome and heartbeat, quantity and quality.

    And that’s the great koan again, right there: quantity and quality.

    Which brings me by my own leap of logic to Cornelius Castoriadis, and a quote I’ve dropped before:

    Philosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table. What does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night. What does this show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let the Mozart’s Requiem be a paradigm of being, let us start from that.” Why could we not start by positing a dream, a poem, a symphony as paradigmatic of the fullness of being and by seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way round, instead of seeing in the imaginary — that is, human — mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being?

    [ aha, Scott -- the Mozart Requiem! It's already Monday where you are, so I'll just drop in a link to the video this time... ]

    **

    BTW, I’m assisting noted futurist Jamais Cascio editing a book on privacy, currently in prospectus mode, and invite any ZP readers with an interest in the matter, to comment below.

    Share

    Switch to our mobile site