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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2008 arrow December 14, 2008

December 14, 2008
WAWA Blog December 14, 2008: Why I am WAWA/WeAreWideAwake and how I became 'The Agitator'

In May of 2005, just prior to my first [now 6] trips to Israel Palestine I phoned Mother Agapia Stephanopolous, a Russian Orthodox nun and the administrator of the Orthodox School of Bethany in Jerusalem, to schedule an appointment for Spiritual Direction and to discuss our mutual feelings about The Wall.


Mother Agapia is the sister of ABC News commentator, George Stephanopolous, and she had recently and passionately informed Congress about the fact that, “Israel is destroying the local Christian community.”



On April 18, 2005, Robert Novak’s article “Walling off Christianity” reported on the nun’s letter to Congress and how East Jerusalem had been cut off from the rest of the West Bank. Mother Agapia predicted, “It is only a matter of time before Christians and Muslims will be unable to survive culturally and economically.”


Mother Agapia spoke bluntly about the nine yards high wall of Israeli concrete that have “shattered” the Christian communities.

She told Novak, “I witness the strangulation of East Jerusalem, and the deprivation of her non-Jewish residents’ religious rights every day. Even the United States seems to have been taken in by Israeli spin.”




On my very first afternoon in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2005, the nun met me at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem and I told her that I hadn’t been taken in by the spin, but what could I possibly do? She had no answer-but when I returned to USA I established WAWA:WeAreWideAwake.org to raise awareness of what USA media was not reporting and what USA government was not wanting USA citizens to know about-such as the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land!




I also told Mother Agapia of the surreal experience I had that very morning while wandering around in the Old City.

I had landed in Tel Aviv with ten other members of the interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace just a few hours before dawn on that Sunday morn. We all checked into our rooms at the Ambassador; they all crashed, but I was wide awake.

As soon as the sun rose I began to explore, and after attending mass at St.George Cathedral I wandered around the Old City, which was eerily empty.

I stumbled upon the site of the Pool of Bethsaida and experienced déjà vu, which was more real than imaginary.


Between 2000 and 2001, I was a first year student in the Episcopal Diocese of Orlando’s Formation Program for Spiritual Directors. I knew going into the program I would never be hanging out a shingle as a Spiritual Director that I was there for other reasons. I was drawn to the program because of the curriculum; to deepen my prayer life and study the lives of the saints. During the first year all the students attended three weekend retreats.

On the second night of the second retreat, we had a guided meditation on the story of Jesus at the Pool of Bethsaida.

I remember it as clearly now as I experienced it then.

There were seven of us in the class and we were instructed to close our eyes, listen to the story and allow our imagination to lead us to respond to the character that called to us.

Our leader prefaced the story from John 5:1-6, by telling the legend of the angel from heaven who 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?”

Our leader then went silent, and in my imagination I was immediately upon the back of that agitating angel.


I hadn’t thought of that experience until four years later when I found myself at the site of the Pool of Bethsaida.

What triggered the memory of that guided meditation was the recollection of a dream I had had a few weeks after that day we call 9/11.

In my dream I had stood at the edge of a dried up pool where crumbling stone columns were overgrown with vines and weeds and scores of doves and pigeons nested and flew. To my right was a large shade tree, but to my left I saw a few square squat dwellings with large satellite dishes attached to them. I remembered thinking the moment I woke up from that dream what a strange place it was, but then I quickly forgot all about it.

That is, until the afternoon of June 12, 2005, four years later, when I found myself standing at the edge of a dried up pool where crumbling stone columns were overgrown with vines and weeds and scores of doves and pigeons nested and flew. To my right was a large shade tree, but to my left I saw a few square squat dwellings with large satellite dishes attached to them. What a strange place I thought, how could it be that I had seen this scene in a dream a few weeks after that day we call 9/11?


On the afternoon of my very first day in Jerusalem, I told Mother Agapia about my dream and what I had seen at the Pool of Bethsaida.

She shrugged and smiled, then told me about the Jerusalem Interfaith Peace Conference with satellite link to the world that was happening the Sunday after the Thursday I was scheduled to return to the USA. I knew immediately that I needed to attend and after saying goodbye to Mother Agapia, I phoned my husband to get his OK.


On June 26, 2006, I attended the world wide satellite linked Interfaith Peace Conference at Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Cathedral. Dan Rather moderated from Washington DC and the Holy Land interfaith panel were all moderates attempting to reclaim the battlefield of ideas from extremists on both sides.


Reverend Theodore Hessburgh, President Emeritus University of Notre Dame began the evening with a pledge and a summons:

“The Peace of the world begins in Jerusalem.”

Dr. Tsvia Walden, Board of Director of the Peres Center and Geneva Initiative stated, “There is a need for a third party in the negotiations that could enable both sides to trust each other. There are more people in this region interested in making concessions, they all want peace so desperately.”


The Coordinator of World Bank emergency services to the PA, Rania Kharma informed the world, “We all need to be the bridges to our leaders that justice, equality, and human rights will bring peace. Give people justice and they will reward you with peace.”


Sheik Imad Falouiji warned, “Religions must go back to their origins. God commands us to love each other and live together. This Holy Land was given to all people. This land is on fire. There is an occupation that must be removed. The language of peace cannot succeed without justice for all.”


The Rt. Rev. Bishop Riah Abu Assal affirmed, “Peace is an act. Blessed are the peacemakers not the peace talkers. Peace is possible in the Holy Land. The root cause for the lack of peace since 1967 is the occupation. For peace to make progress in the Middle East we need to deal with the root cause...Religion was not meant to bring death. All those involved in searching for peace should commit themselves to work for justice and truth.”


Throughout the entire evening, I kept remembering what President Bush promised in his Second Inaugural Address:


“In the long run, there is no justice without FREEDOM.There can be no human rights without LIBERTY. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we stand with you.”


Within three weeks of returning to America after my first trip to the Holy Land, I established WAWA:WeAreWideAwake which is a .organism and fully accepted my calling as an Agitator for Jesus, the Great Physician and Gentleman, and he does not force himself on anyone, but continues to ask:

"Do you want to be healed?"



Discerning the Spirits:

To be anti-Christ, is to be anti/against what Christ taught.


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, they seek empire in this world and care naught for the fragility of Mother Nature. They even resist what science offers, an example being they are antichrist in their refusal to see that stem cell research [currently unused eggs are being dumped down drains!] could lead to actual HEALINGS of diseases, and Jesus 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, for it is driven by FEAR and seeks empire in this world.

Not at all what JC was about; he was about liberation from the bondage of corrupt teachers of The Law and turned the world upside down with the understanding that God loved ALL his creatures and creation and The Kingdom of God is NOT of this world; but that it comes from within and that we are to bring it in as we do the Beatitudes-bless the poor, oppressed, outcast, refugee, widow, orphan, prisoner.


Antichrists do not have eyes to see that nature is God's primary temple, and war the greatest abomination which creates ever more poor, oppressed, outcasts, refugees, widows, orphans and prisoners.


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.

Christ was no Christian, that term was not even coined until three decades after he walked the earth.

Jesus 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 concepts such as all people are equal and valuable and loved by God.

The Antichrists of today, neglect the non-negotiable's that Jesus 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.



"The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures." - William Fulbright


"We have seen the enemy and he is US"-Pogo


A Little History:


The Bush Administration convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a newly formed political organization that tells its members that supporting Israel's expansionist policies is "a biblical imperative."
The Nation reported that CUFI's pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, to refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah.

The White House has not revealed the names of the officials who met with CUFI lobbyists which is a tentacle from the Armageddon-based foreign-policy views of its founder, John Hagee.

Hagee is a fundamentalist, fire-and-brimstone preacher and a leader of the fastest growing cult in America: Christian Zionism, which is inherently anti-Semitic.

While Jewish Zionism began with the hope that all Jewish people would have a safe and peaceful dwelling place, these corruptors of the gospel Christ preached, adhere to a 200 year old mis-interpretation and mis-reading of disparate scriptures that they have weaved together to support their fear based doctrine.

Hagee has captivated nearly 18,000 misled Christians at his Cornerstone Church with his take on who the anti-Christ is, and he also hosts a major TV ministry where he explains his views of how the end times will unfold. He blatantly corrupts and denies the message that Christ preached. Hagee, Hal Lindsay and the Left Behinder's are doomsday false 'prophets' who believe that the only way to defeat "Islamist fascists" is with a full-scale military assault.

I contend that the cult of 'Christian' Zionism is what the concept of the Anti-Christ is all about; against Christ's teachings, for he promised it is the Peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God-NOT those that bomb, torture or occupy others.

This heretical theology of Premellenial Dispensation worships a god of Armageddon and not the God of love, forgiveness and compassion that Jesus/AKA The Prince of Peace taught and modeled with his life.

Christian Zionists desire to convert the Jews to Christianity or leave them to perish in a nuclear holocaust, for they believe that is Gods desire.



In 1891, Christian fundamentalist and lay-preacher, William Blackstone appealed to President Benjamin Harrison to help establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Blackstone was a disciple of Dwight L. Moody and they both were influenced by the father of premillenial dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby.

Darby had great success in connecting with the post-Civil War survivors and was able to transmit his new theology into the heartland of America. Despite the horrifying news of Czarist pogroms that could have been the catalyst to establishing a Jewish state before the Holocaust, the fundamentalists moved onto the Scopes Trial and forgot about the Jews for a while.

Fifty years later and after six million innocents were cold bloodedly murdered, and then only after the British Mandate ran out, Israel was born.

Many evangelicals interpreted the establishment of Israel to be the fulfillment of -how they understood and interpreted- certain prophetic scriptures. They interpreted the Israeli victory in the 1967 War and the capture of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights to be an act of God and not because of Israeli superior military might.

The American Bi-Centennial in 1976 was a watershed year for the religious right. While mainline churches declined evangelical fundamentalist churches became the fastest growing sector of American Christianity. TIME magazine named 1976 as The Year of The Evangelical and suddenly they became a legitimate political and religious force.

"Following the War of 1967, Israel gained an increased portion of USA foreign aid and military budgets, becoming the 'western pillar' of the USA strategic alliance against Soviet incursion into the Middle East...During this period AIPAC and other pro-Israeli lobby agencies began their ascent to power in shaping USA foreign policy. The Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations began to develop a more balanced approach to the Middle East, bringing them closer to the international consensus on the Palestinian question. Pro-Israel organizations interpreted this shift as being Anti-Israel and in turn began to court the conservative Christians."-pg. 35 Challenging Christian Zionism


In 1977, when President Carter stated "The Palestinians deserve a right to their homeland." The Christian fundamentalists and Israeli lobby responded with full page ads stating: "The time has come for evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel's divine right to the land...and affirm our belief in the Promised Land to the Jewish people." [Ibid]


The Reagan White House hosted a series of seminars from the Israeli lobby and Christian right. This was when Hal Lindsay, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fawell and the Moral majority infiltrated the West Wing.

"Fawell received a Lear Jet from the Israeli government for his personal travel...When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, Prime Minister Begin called Jerry Fawell [ before he called Reagan] to ask him 'to explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombings.'" [Ibid pg. 37]

In 1996, Netanyahu and Likud ideology dominated Israeli policy and 17 evangelical USA pastors pledged their support of illegal colonies in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and full support for a Jerusalem under sovereignty of Israel.

The Christian Zionists launched a PR campaign under the banner: "Christians Call for a United Jerusalem."


They ignored the fact that they were in conflict with American policy and the Oslo process as well as a direct attack on Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant unity with the Churches for Middle East Peace that called for a Shared Jerusalem.


What Hagee and the Left Behind crowd have left behind is that Christ promised: "The Peacemakers shall be called the children of God."- Matthew 5:9


"The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty," Hagee wrote this year in the Pentecostal magazine Charisma. "Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide."


The theology of the fictional Left Behind series is the epitome of the spirit of the anti-Christ: FEAR of the other that drives one to violence.


Christ taught that the only way to resist evil is with good and modeled that one must always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness, as Jesus did when nailed to a cross for he prayed:

"Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."



PS-My Palestinian friends tell me WAWA is also Arabic for a boo-boo.

   
 
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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.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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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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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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