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Posts Tagged ‘Benny Thomas’

What are nations but entities determined in terms of geography? Julius Caesar in his Gallic Wars writes of a tribe named Helvetii of Celtic origin occupying the Swiss plateau. In the first century BC they found the Alps on their back did not allow them any room for expansion. So they fanned out into other areas towards Germany on the east and towards the west. It set the whole region and beyond with alarm. So the notion of geographical confines are determined by people whose idea of increase can only be at the expense of decrease to great many in their path. Nations as such are paper tigers given claw by people. Borders of people with peaceful intentions are no threat to their neighbors similarly given to peace. Only when nations are weighted disproportionately and people are given to the notion of might is right the problem of friction arises. In short where all things being equal, peaceful disposition of people itself is a guarantee for each nation to live in amity.

Unless individual know what it is to have peace and actively pursue to possess it as quality above all, -such notions of national identity are vague, he merely toys with a pipe dream. He who places his life on peace as essential must bet on his life that it is an inalienable right in every other. So the golden rule of doing unto others what he would wish others do unto him must be his credo. No question of nationalism can be discussed intelligently without holding this principle as axiomatic. We can see anti-Semitism in Post-WWI was contributed by endemic practice of Jew-baiting from Portugal to the outer reaches of Russia. Prejudices of individual know no boundaries so rulers of petty kingdoms and principalities of Medieval Europe cashed in on it as a matter of policy. When Papal authority instituted Inquisition it gave it a cover that never weathered the passage of time. Prejudice of man was all too potent a cauldron into which the Church’s moral authority simply evaporated,

Until the 15th century, some Jews occupied prominent places in Portuguese political and economic life. But Manuel I in 1496 showed his hand. The first decree of expulsion followed with forced conversion in 1497: He finally let them leave after the Lisbon massacre of 1506. Meantime he had swindled all their wealth legally. What the Jews faced in other kingdoms was more or less the same. In France l’affaire Dreyfus was a fever breaking out in their national life. In Germany smarting under the ignominious defeat of the war and Red scare the private fears of the kleine burgher played into the hands of Hitler and it was a two way street. This prejudice of every man became the mortar for state policy; and history of centuries old misinformation peddled from Portugal to Siberia had coalesced into something palpable that must be got rid of and it became very German thing! Within 13 years the misbegotten Nazism what one would call banality of evil would be finished. Like the daesh too costly to put up the nuts and bolts of actual edifice but not so easy to keep its dust from getting into the eye. Hitler and his 1000-year Reich is gone but its silly ideology  is found still raising the stock of white supremacists in USA what shall we conclude?  National identity is a lie that knows no boundaries. If anti-Semitism works name your prejudice and it shall fit every poltroon who is pushed into the highest office by every fair and foul means. His private vices shall become the national tragedy.  This is what happens when people are deprived of a level playing field, and no access to education healthcare and support for the vulnerable.

Benny

 

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Honor and Duty are noble currency with which nations buy man and his institutions. It was thus wars were won. Here let me quote a passage from Seven Pillars of Wisdom:

“(The account) It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake for history the bones from which some day a man may make history, and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt. We were fond together, because of the sweep of the open places, the taste of wide winds, the sunlight, and the hopes in which we worked. The moral freshness of the world-to-be intoxicated us. We were wrought up in ideas inexpressible and vaporous, but to be fought for. We lived many lives in those whirling campaigns, never sparing ourselves: yet when we achieved and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to re-make in the likeness of the former world they knew. Youth could win, but had not learned to keep: and was pitiably weak against age. We stammered that we had worked for a new heaven and a new earth, and they thanked us kindly and made their peace.

All men dream: but not equally, Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did. I meant to make a new nation, to restore! a lost influence, to give twenty millions of Semites the foundations on which to build an inspired dream-palace of their national thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made them play a generous part in events:….. “( selected: introductory chapter)

Remember the big gestures are made by those who stayed home while the youth and hopes  of ordinary folks were sent to be cannon’s fodder. Did the world fare any better? One evil was replaced by their villainy who have the power to lay down laws and redraw maps and demand restitution from losers. These men deluded by a new ideology, threat of which was alone in their foggy minds unleashed yet Korean War, Vietnam War and much more. Why praise the dead if the living have no desire to change their ignoble mentality?

Benny

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The world is is often compared to a ship for a very good reason. Ingenuity of man works with several abilities to which every one can claim in some measure certain flair. So much as every rivet driven to make up a ship stands testimony to man. He is handyman, the mapmaker,  helmsman and a mechanic, all of which requires several abilities.  So a ship as with the world is a combined effort each contribution being absorbed in the whole. Head is not everything, nor are the hands. Intellect without working hands shall be like a ship left dry docked. When a ship is put to sea it must be clear that with so much ingenuity and daring the master shall have no problem reaching the desired port. It has however never shown to be true. Ships flounder like Mary Rose the Tudor warship did. A storm is no respecter of Royal person. Mary Rose, Vasa are all but names stamped with glory of man but perfectly useless when sent out in their business. They were all seaworthy but did not measure up to expectations.  Nations are like names of ships and sound great but has any nation found prosperity for all her passengers or found a safe haven?

How ships weather considering the wear and tear upon their inbuilt weakness none is perfect. Titanic was a wonder but she was no exception. Ships when old they need their parts replaced and refitted and such is the glory of man and it is a transient glory. Think of ship as having several decks and what are nations and races of men but all part of one entity. When we speak of racial profiling and merits of civilization we can be sure we belong to the ship of fools. For instruments to chart the celestial object have been bequeathed to us by man who never thought in terms of race and color. The entire ship is by courtesy of men of old. The nameless inventor must have been our ape-ancestor who if he had come in our time dressed in football jersey to play football can you imagine the scene? Uncouth beer swilling pigs would jeer from their stands for his color. Who but a fool would think of shit-hole countries but the very scion of man who made fortune  selling hooch and on white slavery? If the ship stinks it must be the bad odor of nationalism.

Without respect for man what nationalism one can speak of and when disaster strikes the vessel all such claims to color or nations are empty prattle.

Sin found Jonah out because he was running away from God.  It was the world as a ship that took the prophet as a passenger. His presence made the entire ship into jeopardy. God had prepared a tempestuous wind to get the malefactor out. Now we are similarly traveling among fools,- traitors, turncoats and arm merchants who has made wealth from wholesale slaughter. No one thinks of disaster by way of climate change, folly of men who are itching to go into a war they cannot win.  Unless you shape up don’t expect some one else will do it for you. Be wise knowing the times are bad.

Benny

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The other day I celebrated my 76 th. birthday and I treated my banker to a 8-course dinner- it set me back by a fortune which I shall of course recoup. It is not about my gambler’s instinct but my choice of company I woefully regret. Who but a loser will have a loan shark for company?  After stuffing tutti di mare and a night tossing around in bed  set me thinking of my family zoo.

If you choose a shark for banker it is de rigueur  to end up with a leech for physician. My ancestor Daddy Oddlegs, once, while on his grand tour was in Venice. He missed a gondola and where does he end up but in the jungles of Colombia!  After he had got back he never lost a moment to enliven his friends with his anecdotes. Crossing the Amazon with a personal physician in a dug-out canoe serenaded by a school of piranhas always had its charm.

His grand father a scapegrace for sure ran off from home and wanted to be a street Arab on the seamy side of Paris during the barricades. At the end he ended up in a leaky tub cooking for a sea dog who dubbed him sea cucumber. It is a family tradition since, no cumber is served unless it is salted. You see, he later made good as Sea biscuit and kept a healthy reverence for salt. His father was a Commodore of the Imperial Navy. When five he was taken by his father and after presenting to the old Admiral he stunned all by model behavior. At the end Admiral Pettifog pressed a bunch of flags into his hand. Pocketing them he stamped his foot and asked rather loudly, “Can I have my flagship, please?”

Benny

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Out of the blue these lines came into my mind “What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio. Look upon thy death. (Ac.1sc.1)”
Writing a whole play is not worth my while. You cannot improve upon a rose any more than a play of the bard.
So I shall do a sketch; what if Benvolio had put up a fight?
B:
Shears of hell thy blade be-
But what fear hold I,
you wretched Tybalt?
(Drawing a stiletto from the folds of cloak),
This short but nasty
steel knows no fear;
nor my wrist hurt of insults
hurled at me.
(Lungest at Tybalt and wounds him)
Caught you in midst of
sins unconfessed
Didn’t I?
And begone!
Hounds of hell yelp at the gate.
At the gate already!
You shall sup with  worms tonight “
Benny
Afterall the BBC 2 program ‘Pointless’ has a point. This evening I watched the contestants having to fill the blanks of the lines from the Bard. It set me thinking.

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With Moses came the law to which the Jews agree wholeheartedly. “For the law was given by Moses…. (John1:17a)” St John’s gospel does not contradict the claim.  We all know how God visited Moses by the burning bush while he was tending the flock of his father-in-law by the Mount Horeb.(Ex.4:1). God had seen the misery of the Israelites and was concerned.

God has always shown his concern for people at their wits’ end.  Hagar the bondswoman of Sarai endured harsh treatment and she could not take any more. She fled from her face not knowing where to.  But God knew and found her by a fountain on the way to Shur. He was concerned with her advanced pregnancy and He promised to bless Abraham’s seed in her womb. So Ishmael is a sign of God’s sovereignty. His Sovereign Grace or Mercy runs consistently throughout His domain. Ishmael is a heir to God’s promise as Isaac is.”He shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” So in the eyes of God the nation of Israel having law merely speaks of circumstance, but it does not mean the law has made the nation exclude others. God has a way to deal with the Jews from what has been revealed to them. Let us grant Power and Wisdom to Him.

So the eternal God has infinite ways to execute justice and preserve His creation. He is just and impartial so heaven and earth reflect his Goodness as intended.The God is a Spirit so the Christians have as much claim for God’s Mercy as the Jews Ishmaelite, or any other. Let us not intrude upon the office of the Lord God.

Here we shall consider only the Jews and the Christians in order to differentiate what law does and what means by ‘being led by the Spirit’.  When Jesus came to Nazareth on the Sabbath day as his custom was he went into the synagogue.The book of the prophet Esaias was delivered to him. We shall compare this with how God sent Moses. He said,”Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say,,,(Ex.4:12). God is a Spirit. Moses was yet unwilling to take such a burden considering merely his physical shortcomings. “I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Ex.4:10). In short he had no ‘gift of the gab’ and consequently Aaron was pressed into service and with it eventually Levitical priesthood also would come into the original Association of God and Moses.  Here we shall consider Moses as representative of law.

Moses as forerunner of Jesus Christ was determined by God the Spirit. But his overtly sense of inadequacy brought his brother Aaron along. Holy Spirit while organizing the Father Son relationship indicates thereby two Orders one of Levitical Priesthood and the other after the order of Melchizedek,(He.7.11).  One is of the flesh and the law while the latter is the Spirit. So when Jesus read the passage given to him to read ‘ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;’ was no coincidence but the fulfillment of the divine Law. Just as God chose Moses to deliver the Israelites from under the bondage in Egypt we find the Son of man presenting his credentials to the world. He ushered in the Acceptable year of the Lord. One year is according to Time determined by God the Spirit and not by flesh. Compare this with “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years…(2 Pe.3:8)”

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

We have been fighting for our beliefs and  it is illustrative of our flesh. We want to prove our religion than establish God’s Nature. Holy is his Name but do we appreciate Him to see Him as He is from the Word? John’s Gospel also writes in the same verse quoted above, ” ….But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John1:17b)”

Law of the flesh is to be bound by fulfilling all its provisions. The history of the nation of Israel has hitherto shown its failure. Destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 is a proof, Loss of identity associated with tribalism of old. Without relying entirely on what His Nature has revealed religion itself become less than what was clear and God-given. God is a Spirit and Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Having a common ground to know where our blessings come from. It s what the Word becoming flesh would mean. God sent his only begotten Son and freedom of the Spirit does not imply freedom to do whatsoever you may. Instead to live in the example showed by Jesus Christ. Moses represents the flesh and Jesus the Spirt. So when he quoted the passage from Isaiah he presented the arrival of the Savior of the World and not any particular nation.

Benny

 

 

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