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  • ivanildotrindade 10:13 pm on March 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anwar el sadat, easter, friend of sinners, , izaq rabin, , jesus drunkard, jesus glutton, jfk, john lennon, martin luther king jr, pope francisco, , ronald reagan, tax collectors   

    Jesus, John Lennon & Other Martyrs 

    I haven’t posted here in ages but it is Easter weekend, how can I not speak of something I feel so passionate about?

    I met a couple from a western European country in my local Starbucks here in Lititz today. We had a delightful conversation which lasted a little over 30 minutes. During that time we talked about a variety of subjects, among which the newly elected Pope. These folks are not religious people but they both expressed a certain degree of fascination with Pope Francisco, and especially how he comes across as a common man who is passionate about the poor and so far has said no to some of the luxuries of the good life afforded the “Prince” of the Roman Church.

    The lady made a comment that I thought was very intriguing. She said, “If other Popes and religious men had been that way, it would probably have impacted my life differently. I think I would have gone to church then.” Interesting.

    I guess few people dwell on the fact that contrary to many of the religious leaders of today, Jesus Christ was meek, compassionate, and irrevocably drawn to the poor and downcast. He was accused of being a “glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners,” a libel leveled against Him by the religious leaders of the day, who felt threatened by the fact that Jesus was radically different from them. Many of today’s religious leaders, by the way, don’t stand a chance of being even falsely accused of such things, because they endeavor not to be seen anywhere near such people or things (or, if they do, they make sure it is in secret…).

    Think about this: Jesus loved the poor and those who were considered “the least, the lost, the last” were attracted to Him like a magnet. He was killed. Gandhi was in favor of non-violent protest. He was killed. Martin Luther King Jr. was willing to dialogue with his “enemies.” He was killed. JFK was a Catholic President. He was killed. John Lennon imagined a world without class or war. He was killed. Ronald Reagan dared to talk to the leader of the Soviet Union about ending the Cold War. Someone tried to kill him. Izaq Rabin was willing to hold direct talks with the PLO. He was killed. Anwar el Sadat achieved an armistice with Israel. He was killed. And the list goes on and on…

    One has to wonder what might happen to this Pope… It seems like every time someone of prominence establishes himself against the status quo, they come gunning for him.

    But back to Jesus Christ. All the other men listed above died for a political cause (except maybe John Lennon?). Jesus died for a cause that was outside Himself. In biblical terms, He died a substitutionary death — His body and blood in exchange for the sins of the world to satisfy God’s justice. Jesus said that nobody took His life from Him, He voluntary gave it. Jesus didn’t die just because He was different; He died so YOU could be different.

    And most of all, all the other men above are revered today for what they did while living and maybe their heroic death. But there is a tomb somewhere where you can honor their memory. Jesus, on the other hand, though revered for His divine words and deft miracles is revered primarily for what happened AFTER He died. According to Scriptures, He rose again on the third day, and thus accomplished the greatest feat against the greatest enemy of mankind — death itself. And that is why we celebrate Easter this Sunday.

    “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died… Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (Paul in 1 Corinthians 15).

    Happy Easter, everyone!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    PS.: I am blogging more often here.

  • ivanildotrindade 5:01 pm on March 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AIDS cure, anti-retroviral drugs, children and AIDS, HIV cure, , miracle and science, science and bible,   

    Miracle or HIV Cure? 

    Today is a great day for those who have lived with the scourge  of the HIV virus for their entire lives. Up until now there was only a couple of known “cures” for patients carrying the virus and they were all adults. Their circumstances were so rare, though, that no doctor would recommend anyone to go through what those few had to endure (plus the fact that it would be nearly impossible to replicate their situations).

    But today the first cure among children was announced. A little 2.5 year-old Mississippi girl has been declared cured from the HIV virus. No traces of the virus have been found in her system, even after a good amount of time has elapsed since she stop receiving the anti-retroviral medication.

    And what is unique about this situation? Well, it is unique!  Again try as they may (and scientists now have the capabilities of running tests that detect even an infinitesimal amount of the virus in a person’s system), doctors who conducted the studies are baffled at the reasons why this girl was cured. One doctor calls it a “miracle.” There is a word you don’t usually hear associated with the medical field. But the circumstances are so unusual, this doctor had to use the “m” word.

    I don’t know about you, but if I were among those doctors, I would be moving heaven and earth to find every little details about what mother and child were doing the time they went under the radar and were nowhere to be seen for six months, thus unavailable to continue the treatment the girl had started since before birth.

    Could they be receiving alternative treatment in a clinic in Ukraine somewhere? Or better yet, maybe the doctors should simply check where they went to church for that period of time.

    Yes, sometimes the answer is closer than you think. Be that as it may, I wish this girl and all other children who suffer this virus due to no choice of their own the best of luck. And more miracles to boot.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 4:37 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: african salves, end times, french colonial rule, haiti, papa doc, point of no return, slavery, tolkien, voodoo, wandering souls, wraiths, zombies   

    Are “Zombies” Stealing our Religion? 

    I read an article recently in which the author was arguing that the preponderance of ghost-zombie-themed movies in our society was one of the evidences that America was reaching what he calls “the point of no return” after which God’s judgment is supposed to fall hard on the nation. Now I have no way of knowing whether he has a point but it is true that Zombies are more popular today than princesses and fairies in Halloween customs. Need I say more?

    Zombies indeed have an ominous beginning in the history of mythology and cult. According to another author, the full-blown concept of the zombie comes from the African voodoo ideas collapsing with the evils of slavery. He says that “[The Zombie] is a New World phenomenon that arose from the mixture of old African religious beliefs and the pain of slavery, especially the notoriously merciless and coldblooded slavery of French-run, pre-independence Haiti.”  You should try to read the full article here.

    As this narrative goes, Africans were familiar with the concept of souls of the departed that were never totally released from this world and wandered around following the will of another who took possession of them. But according to this writer, the full Zombie came as a result of sheer religious manipulation on the part of the oppressors.

    Here is how this might have worked. In order to escape the horrors of slavery, the Africans began to resort to suicide. Suicide was the way for them to achieve heaven, or lan guinée, to use the expression still used today in Haitian Creole to refer to “heaven.” Suicide is the only way a slave could show that she was still in control of her body and it deprived the slave owner of both the labor and the sensation of being the proprietor of “goods.”

    But the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? In order to exploit the fear of death to their own advantage, the oppressors used something that was familiar to the slaves to make sure that no one would wish upon himself the curse of being a slave forever, even in the afterlife. Suicide was the surest way to become a zombie and “The zombie is a dead person who cannot get across to lan guinée. This final rest — in green, leafy, heavenly Africa, with no sugarcane to cut and no master to appease or serve — is unavailable to the zombie.” 

    Check mate. Right? Not quite. There is a way for a zombie to have his will and soul returned to him and that is by eating salt, so a smart zombie master will make sure that he keeps the creature’s food tasteless. So you have to wonder if the kids sporting the Zombie Halloween wouldn’t mind if you gave them a little salt instead of candies…

    More importantly, from a commercial standpoint, the author brings up the fact that “Zombies” are the ultimate work machine — never tiring, never going on strike, never complaining. Like so many workers who labor in mindless, mass production today — the clothe industry in India and Bangladesh, the computer copy cat shops in China, etc. But is that just equally a stretch as the article I just read equating the increase of “Zombie activity” to the end of the world?

    I don’t know. All I know is that the concept of wandering aimlessly without a soul is so prevalent in our society many people believe it is true. Some people think they are zombies; others believe they have met zombies.

    I actually reject both ideas. Increased emphasis on Zombie “activity” as sign of the beginning of the end relies on proving that this stuff is really increasing. From my perspective, I think we simply are more aware of this because information technology allows us to have more access to this stuff at a more rapid pace. And as far as the full Zombie concept being a result of the French colonial rule mixed with old African religion in Haiti, this is tempting but doubtful. I suggest that the Nazgûl or wraiths were Zombies in the imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien in Middle-earth Legendarium.

    Be that as it may, I just have to wonder: just like the oppressors of slaves in mid-20th Century Haiti, who manipulated religion to bring confusion into the minds of the simple, could we be witnessing the reverse of that in our culture? In other words, could fictitious notions of wandering souls be also manipulated to confuse us about religion? Could our fixation with Zombies obscure from our minds the biblical narrative which is as simple as we die once and after that we have to give an account of what we did while on earth?

    Ah, the simplicity of the biblical text sometimes baffles me. And pass the salt, please.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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