Comfort, O comfort my people… Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Isaiah 40:1-2
From the Washington Post:
Despite no real pressure from the Israeli government nor unanimous clamoring in Washington for the move, Trump threw decades of long-standing U.S. policy up in the air. He embraced Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without making any nod to Palestinian claims to the eastern part of the city, prompting analysts and former diplomats to write obituaries for the two-state solution. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson then told reporters that the U.S. embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv would probably not happen next year, raising even more questions about the timing of Trump’s statement.
This is a sticky situation and this minion is ill equipped to venture into the politics of the Middle East right now and Trump and the animosity and history between groups in the area. Suffice it to say, it’s a shit show, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating.
protests continued in Palestinian areas and a number of Middle Eastern and Muslim-world capitals over the weekend. At least four people have been killed following Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip. On Sunday, demonstrators in Beirut clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy; at least eight people were hospitalized in the aftermath.
Joyce Rupp ignores politics completely in the devotion on page 31 of her book Inviting God In (find the rest of my related posts under the tag “inviting god in”) and I will confess that in my younger, stupider days, I thought the best approach would be to nuke the whole area so it’s useless to everyone.
There are difficult moments in our lives when we need comfort. There are tough times when we yearn for consolation. The suffering people who looked for the long-awaited Messiah were given a hope-filled image of God … a shepherd, lovingly looking for and gathering up wandering and homeless sheep in loving arms.
A lovely visual.
I’ve been working my way through the back catalogue of a podcast called History Today and an article they were featuring in 2015 from their journal at the time about religions at risk of extinction. I admit to coming out of listening to that one a bit depressed.
Holy men of the Yazidi, the religious minority suffering terrible persecution at the hands of Islamic State, are forbidden to eat lettuce. That may sound like a nugget from Monty Python’s Hackenthorpe Book of Lies, but it is actually just one of many extraordinary facts garnered from Gerard Russell’s brilliant history-cum-travelogue, Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East, published last November by Simon & Schuster.
Library has that book, too. Impressive. Hold requested!
As an aside, friends of mine have started a podcast called Occultae Veritatis. I’m tempted to ask for a guest invite to add some content to their fledgling ‘cast. (I’m enjoying some Boxer Hard Blueberry beer right now, Ood and Sage.. if you want moss green pee and purple poop, this is the bevvie to poison yourselves with!) Delving into a chapter or two of these books I’ve found lately would be right up their alley, I’m sure.
Back to Rupp. Reminders of sheep and God and deep love and “the lap of a parent” — but what about these poor people growing up in a very minor faith that they can’t admit to believing in anyway and what comfort can they find as the world marches over their traditions and belief systems? They are evacuating their homelands with little hope – or faith – that they can marry a like-minded believer.
Mandaeans, who once prospered in the southern marshes of Iraq, are now more likely to be found in Canada or Australia. Others, such as the pagan Kalasha of the Pakistan-Afghan border or the Druze and Alawites of the Levant, cling on precariously, their future barely more assured than that of the rhino.
But who cares, right? Either Islam wins or Christianity does. Who cares about the small gods lost in the shuffle…
Next time, do not fear…