Posts

Showing posts from 2011

Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes

Two notes. Two notes in a symphony ended one era and began another. The first two notes of Beethoven’s third symphony marked the end of the Classical period of music and began another—the Romantic; a highly formalized art form gave way to one rooted in emotional expression.

That’s how revolutions begin: a student dreams of changing history; a composer is hammering at his piano in a hidden room; a single gunshot ignites a battlefield. In 1880, when Edison got the first contract to electrify homes in New York City, he hadn’t yet solved the problem of the light bulb—and then he also had to invent the whole system of generating and delivering electricity to homes and streets. Two years later, in September 1882, they turned his system on at 3 in the afternoon. Within a few hours, the city watched as darkness fell and never came, pushed back with a steady, unblinking light unlike any that had come before.

Today, it’s hard to recognize when such a transformational event takes place anymore…

Entebbe: Thirty Five Years Later

“My life and death belong to me,” Yoni Netanyahu once told his younger brother, Benyamin, during an argument. Their unit was assigned to an operation and Yoni argued that he should take part—despite strict orders prohibiting brothers from joining in the same dangerous mission. Yoni lost that fight; it didn’t happen often.

As a rule, Lt. Col. Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu did not yield authority easily. Although we don't know how he might have deferred to a brother who became Israeli Prime Minister—twice. Not that Yoni lacked authority or power. He rose to command Sayeret Matkal, the elite corps of the Israeli army. And his death, which he contemplated with the same cool frankness that he used to measure any other enemy, gave his life a resonance that has been a touchstone for a generation.

Netanyahu might have remained unknown to the world. The crisis that vaulted him to fame was not unusual for its time. On June 27, 1976, an Air France jetliner on its way to Israel had been commande…

When Did the Church Stop Being Jewish?

When and how did the church lose its original identity as a Jewish religious sect? This is a question that attracts more and more attention from Christians, but the answers are often wrong or misleading. The essential question is this: what happened to the Jewish followers of Jesus and their congregations? They wrote almost all the books of the New Testament (except for Luke/Acts); they planted all the first congregations. Where did they go and why did they disappear?

Recently, a pastor who is a friend of mine sent me this quote. One of his elders had used it during a Bible study in order to explain why the Jewish followers of Jesus faded out of Church history:

“Although persecuted by the Jews (I Thess. ii, 14) the Christians in Palestine long remained a group within Judaism. But the break became inevitable. A sentence in Suetonius' Life of Claudius could mean that as early as 50 AD rioting between Jews and Christians had broken out in Rome. In Judea the Jewish Christians kept …

The Stuxnet Virus—A Hidden Battle for the Future of Israel

(The information below is largely based on an article that appeared beginning on page one of the Sunday New York Times, Jan. 16, 2011.)

Background

In the 1970’s, the Dutch were working on a new machine to enrich uranium. A Pakistani metallurgist working on the project, Dr. A.Q. Khan, stole the design and returned home to build his country’s first generation of uranium centrifuges which led to their development of an atomic bomb. Afterwards, Khan sold similar technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Iran’s development of a nuclear program has been in the works for at least a decade, but came under new pressures with the rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected president in June 2005. He has, of course, repeatedly voiced his determination to destroy Israel and even suggested he’s a divine instrument for that purpose. No threat is more intimidating to Israel than Iran’s attempt to build a nuclear arsenal under the direction of this ruthless, single-minded fanatic.

Repeated attempts to rest…