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Home arrow Blog arrow February 2009 arrow February 25, 2009

February 25, 2009
February 25, 2009: "To Gaza, With Love" and a Call to ALL who claim to be Christians
Today begins the 40 days known as Lent; a time for Christians to reflect and repent!

The term "Antichrist" only appears five times in the Bible, but a cult not based on sound theology has created an urban legend that seeks Armageddon. The term "Antichrist" never appears in John's Revelation or Daniel, two disparate works of literature written three centuries apart and under very different circumstances, yet the Left Behinder's weave them together.


The small texts that mention the "Antichrist" were written to attack the Gnostic understanding of who Christ was. A Gnostic relies on intuition and not on dogma and doctrine. Gnostic's were most certainly free spirits and most all of the writings we have about Gnostics, have been the attacks upon them. That all changed when the Nag Hamadi Library was translated and published, for what had been deemed heretical by those in power in the fourth century can now be read in most every language.

Biblical scholars today agree that many books of the Bible were written by others in the name of an apostle, for the quickest way to gain credibility is to trade on another's reputation.

We may never know if the author who coined the term "Antichrist" was actually the apostle John who wrote I John and 2 John-the only sources where the term appears.

John also say's much more:

"Dear Children,
...as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming; even now many have come..."- I John 2:18

"This is how we know who the children of God are not: anyone who does not do right; nor anyone who does not love his brother."-I John 3:10

"If anyone has material possessions and see's his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? ...let us love with actions and in truth."-I John 3:17

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:16,18

The theology promoted in the Left Behind fiction is a theology based on fear and punishment.

The followers of this heretical theology worship a false god: a punitive father, who seeks obedience, is patriarchal, demonizes woman, gays, lesbians, and seek empire on this world and care naught for the fragility of Mother Nature. They resist what science offers, in particular they are antichristic in their refusal to see that stem cell research could lead to actual HEALINGS of diseases, and JC was very big into healing.

I cite John 5: 1-6, which in some readings is prefaced with an angel from heaven, would descend and agitate the waters of the Pool of Bethsaida. Only the first leper, blind, or invalid who made it into the water would receive a healing. One day while Jesus was there, he walked by a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” The man answered he had no friends to help him get into the water first. Jesus asked him again, “Do you want to be healed?”

JC is always a gentle man, he never pushed anyone into anything!


The Antichrist theology is the opposite and in the 21st century, these fundamentalists among are seeking theocracy based on fear of others and seek empire in this world.

Not at all what JC was about; he was about liberation from the bondage of corrupt teachers of The Law, that God loved ALL and the Kingdom of God is NOT of this world.

 Antichrists do not have eyes to see that nature is God's primary temple, and war the greatest abomination.

During the time when the writer of John was writing about the spirit of antichrist, Gnosticism was still in its evolution and far from the intricately developed system of the second and third centuries when the church and its institutional hierarchy became firmly established. During the time John was writing against the false teachings, the Gnostics were by and large libertines who denied Christ's humanity. Some said that Christ only appeared to have a body; others said the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at his baptism and left him when he died.

The Gnostics left no testimony in their behalf, so all we have to go on is what was written against them and the texts that survived and are now the Nag Hamadi Library. These texts offer no new information but prove that early Christian's were just as diverse as Christians today.

The Armageddon groupies believe they will be lifted out of the misery of the world, and neglect to reflect upon the antichrist within, which is how centuries of theologians understood the term.
For many, the term anti/against Christ means to be anti/against his teachings. Christ was ALWAYS pointing to the Father, saying he only did what the Father wanted, and the prophet Micah summed it up best:

"What does God require? He has already told you o'man! Be JUST. Be Merciful! And walk humbly with your Lord."-Micah 6:8

The antichrists take certain scriptural passages literally, and totally neglect those they do not want to see or hear. Such as, Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29, and Luke 12:10 which are simpatico with Gnostic Thomas saying 44:

Jesus said: "Whoever blasphemes against the father will be forgiven, whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven."

The Holy Spirit, AKA the spirit of God is within all created things.

One should wonder what spirit is driving those that torture and bomb another, for just who would Jesus torture and bomb?

No religion owns God and no church owns Jesus.

Jesus has been hijacked by the right wing fundamentalists and the time of his liberation from the Antichrists is NOW. Christ was no Christian, that term was not even coined until three decades after he walked the earth. But JC was a social justice radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who challenged the job security of the temple priests and disturbed the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces for teaching subversive ideas such as all people are equal and valuable.

The Antichrists of today, neglect the non-negotiable's that JC commanded that his followers must do: LOVE, pray for and forgive your enemies, treat all people the way you want to be treated and remain NONVIOLENT, even if nailed to a cross.

Christ dealt compassionately with sinners and outcasts, but hypocrites received his wrath.

Compassion, which is sorrow for the suffering of others, is accompanied by the urge to help. This should define the Christian attitude.

If there is no compassion within a Christian, then it is the spirit of the Antichrist that rules and I THANK GOD that spirit is alive and vocal in those who are NOT Christian!


To Gaza, With Love
By Medea Benjamin
Feb. 17, 2009

 
When I traveled to Gaza last week, everywhere I went, a photo haunted me. I saw it in a brochure called "Gaza will not die" that Hamas gives out to visitors at the border crossing. A poster-sized version was posted outside a makeshift memorial at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. And now that I am back home, the image comes to me when I look at children playing in the park, when I glance at the school across the street, when I go to sleep at night.
 
It is a photo of a young Palestinian girl who is literally buried alive in the rubble from a bomb blast, with just her head protruding from the ruins. Her eyes are closed, her mouth partially open, as if she were in a deep sleep. Dried blood covers her lips, her cheeks, her hair. Someone with a glove is reaching down to touch her forehead, showing one final gesture of kindness in the midst of such inhumanity.
 
What was this little girl's name, I wonder. How old was she? Was she sleeping when the bomb hit her home? Did she die a quick death or a slow, agonizing one? Where are her parents, her siblings? How are they faring?
 
Of the 1,330 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military during the 22-day invasion of Gaza, 437 were children. Let me repeat that: 437 children-each as beautiful and precious as our own.
 
As a Jew, an American and a mother, I felt compelled to witness, firsthand, what my people and my taxdollars had done during this invasion. Visiting Gaza filled me with unbearable sadness. Unlike the primitive weapons of Hamas, the Israelis had so many sophisticated ways to murder, maim and destroy-unmanned drones, F-16s dropping "smart bombs" that miss, Apache helicopters launching missiles, tanks firing from the ground, ships shelling Gaza from the sea. So many horrific weapons stamped with Made in the USA. While Hamas' attacks on Israeli villages are deplorable, Israel's disproportionate response is unconscionable, with 1,330 Palestinians dead vs. 13 Israelis.
 
If the invasion was designed to destroy Hamas, it failed miserably. Not only is Hamas still in control, but it retains much popular support. If the invasion was designed as a form of collective punishment, it succeeded, leaving behind a trail of grieving mothers, angry fathers and traumatized children.
 
To get a sense of the devastation, check out a slide show circulating on the internet called Gaza: Massacre of Children (www.aztlan.net/gaza/gaza_massacre_of_children.php). It should be required viewing for all who supported this invasion of Gaza. Babies charred like shish-kebabs. Limbs chopped off. Features melted from white phosphorus. Faces crying out in pain, gripped by fear, overcome by grief.
 
Anyone who can view the slides and still repeat the mantra that "Israel has the right to self-defense" or "Hamas brought this upon its own people," or worse yet, "the Israeli military didn't go far enough," does a horrible disservice not only to the Palestinian people, but to humanity.
 
Compassion, the greatest virtue in all major religions, is the basic human emotion prompted by the suffering of others, and it triggers a desire to alleviate that suffering. True compassion is not circumscribed by one's faith or the nationality of those suffering. It crosses borders; it speaks a universal language; it shares a common spirituality.

Those who have suffered themselves, such as Holocaust victims, are supposed to have the deepest well of compassion.
 
The Israeli election was in full swing while was I visiting Gaza. As I looked out on the ruins of schools, playgrounds, homes, mosques and clinics, I recalled the words of Benjamin Netanyahu, "No matter how strong the blows that Hamas received from Israel, it's not enough." As I talked to distraught mothers whose children were on life support in a bombed hospital, I thought of the "moderate" woman in the race, Tzipi Livni, who vowed that she would not negotiate with Hamas, insisted that "terror must be fought with force and lots of force" and warned that "if by ending the operation we have yet to achieve deterrence, we will continue until they get the message."
 
"The message," I can report, has been received. It is a message that Israel is run by war criminals, that the lives of Palestinians mean nothing to them. Even more chilling is the pro-war message sent by the Israeli people with their votes for Netanyahu, Livni and anti-Arab racist Avigdor Lieberman.
 
How tragic that nation born out of the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust has become a nation that supports the slaughter of Palestinians.
 
Here in the U.S., Congress ignored the suffering of the Palestinians and pledged its unwavering support for the Israeli state. All but five members out of 535 voted for a resolution justifying the invasion, falsely holding Hamas solely responsible for breaking the ceasefire and praising Israel for facilitating humanitarian aid to Gaza at a time when food supplies were rotting at the closed borders.
 
One glimmer of hope we found among people in Gaza was the Obama administration. Many were upset that Obama did not speak out during the invasion and that peace envoy George Mitchell, on his first trip to the Middle East, did not visit Gaza or even Syria. But they felt that Mitchell was a good choice and Obama, if given the space by the American people, could play a positive role.
 
Who can provide that space for Obama? Who can respond to the call for justice from the Palestinian people? Who can counter AIPAC, the powerful lobby that supports Israeli aggression?
 
An organized, mobilized, coordinated grassroots movement is the critical counterforce, and within that movement, those who have a particularly powerful voice are American Jews. We have the beginnings of a such a counterforce within the American Jewish community. Across the United States, Jews joined marches, sit-ins, die-ins, even chained themselves to Israeli consulates in protest. Jewish groups like J Street and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom lobby for a diplomatic solution. Tikkun organizes for a Jewish spiritual renewal grounded in social justice. The Middle East Children's Alliance and Madre send humanitarian aid to Palestine. Women in Black hold compelling weekly vigils. American Jews for a Just Peace plants olive trees on the West Bank. Jewish Voice for Peace promotes divestment from corporations that profit from occupation. Jews Against the Occupation calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
 
We need greater coordination among these groups and within the broader movement. And we need more people and more sustained involvement, especially Jewish Americans. In loving memory of our ancestors and for the future of our-and Palestinian-children, more American Jews should speak out and reach out. As Sholom Schwartzbard, a member of Jews Against the Occupation, explained at a New York City protest, "We know from our own history what being sealed behind barbed wire and checkpoints is like, and we know that â??Never Again' means not anyone, not anywhere - or it means nothing at all."


On March 7, I will return to Gaza with a large international delegation, bringing aid but more importantly, pressuring the Israeli, U.S. and Egyptian governments to open the borders and lift the siege. Many members of the delegation are Jews. We will travel in the spirit of tikkun olam, repairing the world, but with a heavy sense of responsibility, shame and yes, compassion. We will never be able to bring back to life the little girl buried in the rubble. But we can-and will--hold her in our hearts as we bring a message from America and a growing number of American Jews: To Gaza, With Love.
 
For information about joining the trip to Gaza, contact
 
Medea Benjamin ( ) is cofounder of Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) and CODEPINK: Women for Peace (www.codepinkalert.org).
 



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The Paradoxical Commandments
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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
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The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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