Friday, December 30, 2011

Ineligible Bachelorettes


Too bad it's not this easy for me to spot a prospective companion:

Caption she provided: "First place at the costume relay race!"

Definitely my type in this photo, but simply not my type overall (& not just because she has no idea what the significance of the # 484 is). This next one was my type in the photo AND overall.

I wrote to her explaining my interest in that particular tattoo with compliments galore. Her reaction? She canceled her membership! I know I'm not Brad Pitt, but it's pretty sad when a lady would rather not date anyone if there's a chance she might receive a friendly message from me. And she listed herself as a Christian too!

Both women were from online dating services. I originally began visiting these websites thinking it would help me sort out all the chronological systems that have been proposed for the Israelite monarchy... Okay, just kidding. Too bad it's not that easy to tell when ladies aren't serious, because usually they are!

In my Nov. 5 blog, I published an actual conversation I had with a beautiful 42-year-old atheist named Sue, who bragged about being logical & true, only to reveal herself to be an intellectual 4- or 2-year-old. This past week I had another hard-to-believe-she-said-that encounter with a Jewish lady (different than the one I've mentioned a few times in recent months):

GMG: "Dear Margarita, first I want to say that I like you, otherwise I wouldn't be writing to you. How can you write so eloquently about the virtue of being 'a loving mom', & tell others that 'Nothing could be compared to the level of satisfaction you get from being a parent', yet simultaneously say you consider abortion to be an option in case you yourself acted irresponsibly (i.e., an 'accidental' pregnancy)? As someone who practices Judaism, who presumably sees Nazi Germany as evil for killing Jews, how would you be able to justify your own killing of a Jew?"

MARGARITA: "Hi George. The answer is very simple. I don't consider that abortion as [sic] killing a human. Rather removing a piece of meat. Its [sic] like your eating an omelet (eggs r [sic] similar case). There's no soul there yet. In Judaism, for boys for example, the soul meets the body on his 8th day of birth, during circumcision. Before that, - it is not a human. I also believe forbidding to make a personal choice for a woman will lead to a dictatorship, military-like society. And as someone who grew up in such society, I can tell you - America is the most wonderful country with the most freedom. Trust me on that! Move to Russia for a few years and you'll see how lucky we are! Happy Holidays!"

GMG: "Thank you for clarifying your position on this issue, though I must confide that your response startled me. As a Christian, I'm not that knowledgeable on the varieties of Judaism present in today's world, ranging from ultra-orthodox to ultra-liberal; however, I have never heard of the 8th-day status you mentioned. Most of what Christians believe is based on the same Torah passages that mainstream Jews cite (Exodus 21:22). For example, consider this statement from 'Abortion in Jewish Law' written in 2004 by Daniel Eisenberg, M.D. on the moderate Jewish 'Aish' site:

'[O]nce the baby's head or most of its body has been delivered, the baby's life is considered equal to the mother's...'

"If what you have been taught is true, I would very much like to know what it is based on, since I see no basis for it anywhere in the Tanach. For example, in Judges 13:5, an angel of God refers to Samson as being a Nazirite (specially dedicated in service) to God 'from the womb', not from circumcision 8 days after the womb. Ditto for the inspired writer of Psalms 22 & 71, who hoped in God 'from the womb', not from his 8th-day circumcision. And the great prophet Jeremiah, whom God formed, knew, sanctified, & ordained before he even came out 'of the womb' (1:5), not from his 8th-day circumcision.

"If a Jewish boy is not human till circumcision, it raises these immediate questions:

"1) When does a Jewish girl become a human?

"2) Are non-Jews non-humans?

"3) If non-Jews convert to Judaism, what were they prior to conversion, just a soulless piece of meat, even when they made the conscious, voluntary decision to convert?

"4) In all the above cases, do you really believe it's okay to kill anyone who is not a Jewish human just as you would kill an animal for omelet meat?

"This flows into your second statement I'm having trouble understanding, namely that forbidding a human to make a personal choice will lead to a dictatorship. Isn't that what our police officers are paid to do (arrest suspicious people to forbid them from making certain personal choices that harm others)? If you argue that abortion is legal, that would be circular because that's the very issue we're discussing. In other words, if slavery were still legal, would you show the same support for it by arguing that slaves are not humans?

"I agree that America is better than Russia, but from the baby's perspective, an abortion leaves him/her just as dead in either country. Shouldn't each baby be given the chance to live & enjoy the same freedom as you have in America?"

MARGARITA: "I most likely misunderstood something about circumcision :) Please forgive me. I think it means the boy becomes a Jew, but not necessarily have to do with soul. So sorry - I never studied the Torah, because I grew up in USSR where religion was forbidden. So, - please do research on that, but don't trust my words. As for your other questions, - ask the Rabbi!"

At least we aborted our brief relationship on a pleasant note. Most ladies who support abortion are just like Margarita, having no idea what they're talking about, or the reasons for what they believe. Some other ladies I've questioned either don't respond at all, or avoid the issue by saying they can believe whatever they want to believe. True. Everyone has the freedom to be as irrational as they like. It's a good thing not all mothers have shared such a view on pregnancy...

[composers: Chris Eaton, Amy Grant]

I have traveled many moonless night
Cold and weary, with a babe inside
And I wonder what I've done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now
To carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness
For You are holy
Breath of heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

"Open thy mouth for the mute, in the cause of all helpless children."--Proverbs 31:8 (Note that "helpless" is my own translation of Hebrew "HLUP", which is what aborted/destroyed children are.)

G.M. Grena

P.S. Queried this beautiful Catholic lady in January 2012 about her intersting jug, but never received a reply (& yes, I made it clear that I was primarily interested in her "jug" [singular]):

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Praises to the King

While searching for a song to accompany my roof article last month, I came across one titled "Me & My House" on YouTube, performed by Heritage Singers. The song didn't quite fit, but it led me to other tunes by Heritage, & I quickly became a fan.

Formed in 1971 by Max Mace, who still leads & sings with the group, Heritage has recorded over 100 albums & performed in over 65 countries. Other members of the Mace family contribute: his daughter Val has sung soprano with them since the early years, his son Greg has been their sound engineer, Greg's wife Adriane has sung alto with them for more than a decade, & Max's wife Lucy sang alto during the 1970s & now manages their Gospel Heritage Foundation & works behind the scenes at shows.

Although I'm just beginning to get acquainted with their discography, 2 tracks stand out: "Peacespeaker" & "Strike Up the Band". As best I can tell, Heritage has not composed any of their own songs, but they add a distinctive touch to each Gospel classic they sing, marked by a mellow, soothing, harmonious blend of vocals & instruments. Their pure talent shines in an "a cappella" performance of "Gentle Shepherd" at a spacious cathedral during their summer 2009 tour of the Czech Republic (Mikulassky kostel, Znojmo):

During their concerts most of their background music is pre-recorded, but their singing is all live, karaoke style. "Peace Speaker", spelled as 2 words by its original composer (Geron Davis), features lead verses by alto Shani Judd-Diehl, & tenor Tim Davis. This clip was recorded on the occasion of their 35th anniversary at the Crystal Cathedral:

I was thrilled to learn that every year they perform at the Loma Linda University Church of Seventh-day Adventists the first sabbath after Thanksgiving. I enjoyed the long but pleasant ride to this lovely town I had never been to before, the performance was a blessing, it was so touching to hear each of the members introduce their family & share a little of their Heritage history. Afterwards I had the honor of meeting Mr. Mace, as well as several other members of the group. I must look like a photographer (or like I'm dating a professional one) because I was asked by some fans to take photos of them with the singers, so then I asked one of them to reciprocate & take my photo with Mr. Mace & Mrs. Judd-Diehl, which I had hoped to include in this article, but alas, she never E-mailed them to me. (Marjorie, are you out there? What happened?)

This afternoon I discovered that somebody had posted 6 tracks from the show (the entire concert lasted about 100 minutes, not counting the intermission). Aside from their performance of "Peacespeaker" that evening, I was thrilled to hear them perform "Strike Up the Band" (composed by Dianne Wilkinson). Tim Calhoun is the featured lead singer on the verses, Tim Davis gives a rousing improvisation during the final chorus, & bass Dave Bell bellows out his magic harmony at the very end ... & I really enjoy the false ending with repeated chorus (a better quality version from their Prague DVD is also on YouTube, but it doesn't include this awesome ending)!

Strike up the band, that angel band, assembled now and ready
To proclaim heaven's praises TO THE KING,
That music's planned, prepared for those who come by way of Calvary,
It's a song that the angels cannot sing,
The redeemed of all the ages will be there to sing along
On a brand new song never heard by mortal man,
Oh I'm longing for the day when I hear KING JESUS say,
"Welcome to the Promised Land, strike up the band!"

G.M. Grena