Category Archives: Uncategorized

Choose Life

choose life
Found at the Stanton Healthcare website.

The other day at the church I take my elderly Mom to, the Pastor talked about something called the Stanton Healthcare Baby Bottle Drive. Apparently it’s a fundraiser for our local Stanton Healthcare, but I’ve discovered that they have locations in multiple cities.

One of the arguments the pro-abortion folks use against Christians and pro-life people is that if a woman doesn’t have an abortion to get rid of an unwanted baby, the woman is “stuck” with the child without any resources whatsoever.

That’s apparently not true, because Stanton specifically provides resources for such woman to give birth to and raise their children.

The baby bottle drive videos, one of which the Pastor showed in church the other Sunday, are particularly heartwarming and sometimes heartrending, but worth the watch.

I also hear a lot from the pro-abortion set how abortion is “healthcare” and is a “right.” Well, arguably it might be considered a medical procedure but what about the baby’s right to live? A pregnancy isn’t just a bunch of random cells in a woman’s body and an abortion is not like having your appendix removed. Your appendix can’t grow into a fully realized human being and neither can “random” cells.

All I’m saying is that there are options. Abortion isn’t a virtue. Obviously, I can’t make decisions for another person as to what they do or don’t do, but I can suggest that if a woman becomes unintentionally pregnant, abortion isn’t the only choice. Don’t let anyone sell you that lie.

Read Stanton’s about us page. It says in part:

The mission of Stanton Healthcare is to offer life-affirming solutions and resources to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy; provide hope to those struggling from the pain of a past abortion; and share the message of sexual integrity in a confidential and professional environment that promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

Yes, they help women who have had abortions and require medical services because of it. I really encourage people to check them out.

Choose life.

Easter this year face to face

policeMy elderly Mom lives in an independent home and of course, their restrictions for the residents has been rather tight. It meant, among other things, that I couldn’t take her to church every Sunday. In fact, she hadn’t been to church for a year.

Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and macular degeneration, she can’t use a computer to attend services online. She can’t even read the Bible. About the best she could do was to find a Christian music television station and listen to hymns.

However, recently her facility eased up, and now I can take her out and bring her back without them putting her under quarantine. I got online and saw the church I take her to was holding in-person Palm Sunday services. I couldn’t get through to the church office by phone to confirm but made plans to take her anyway.

Mom was thrilled.

When we got there, only a few cars were in the parking lot. I thought I’d misunderstood the service time or sometime.

As it turned out, this was the very first time the church opened their doors for in-person services in months and I think a lot folks were hesitant to show up. Up until that Sunday, the Pastor had been recording sermons on his computer for the parishioners to access. More people started to filter in as the service began, but the crowd that day was still a bit thin.

It was even more exciting that they said masks were optional. So Mom and I “opted.” It was very liberating. That might freak a few of you out, but it felt really nice to have a choice.

They didn’t have the typical “shake your neighbor’s hand,” which was fine with me since, as a life long introvert, I can do without the “meet and greet.” Also, they just put a plate on a stool in front and anyone who wanted to donate could go up at any time during service and do so.

I have a love/hate relationship with Easter for a lot of reasons. All things considered, I’d rather celebrate Passover over Easter. On the other hand, it is the height of the Christian religious calendar, so I don’t support throwing Easter under a bus either. Especially when I know how much going to church means to Mom.

Mom wasn’t the only one looking forward to the Christian holiday season. Churches all over my little corner of Idaho have suffered for not being able to hold in-person services. Last Easter, our state’s governor issued a “stay at home” order right before Easter, so all services were virtual.

This year, all these same churches pulled out the stops in their planning to provide an in-person Easter.

Here’s a quote from that news article:

“I anticipate it will be a pretty emotional day tomorrow,” he [Reverend Duane Anders] said. “I’m a pretty emotional guy myself, I will probably cry through the whole service, just gathering, hearing people sing even with their masks on.”

For Foothills Christian Church in Garden City, however, in-person services never went away.

“I think that in-person services are critically important because it’s who we are as human beings,” Pastor Doug Peake said.

Unfortunately, not all Christians have the same sort of freedom. In the story Police break up Good Friday church service over apparent Covid rule breaches, police in south London broke up a Good Friday service over “apparent breaches of Covid-19 regulations.”

The video shows an officer telling the congregation that they could be fined £200 or arrested for the potential rule-breaking. He said: “This gathering is unfortunately unlawful under the coronavirus regulations we have currently. I suggest, ladies and gentlemen, that though it is Good Friday, and I appreciate you would like to worship, that this gathering is unlawful, so please may you leave the building now. Thank you.”

A statement posted on the church’s website on Saturday said that they complied with the order to close the service and for people to go home, but insisted it had met all government requirements. It claimed the Met officers had misunderstood regulations on church services during the pandemic.

Fortunately, it looks like the church is going to formally complain because they believe they complied with all of the stated regulations.

And things in Ireland seem even more heavy handed.

I realize there’s a certain risk in meeting in person, especially if you’re part of the older population. In Mom’s church, masks were optional and some people wore them while others didn’t. The Pastor wore his when he was near people but took it off to deliver his sermon. On Palm Sunday, only a single singer/guitar player provided music, but today the choir and small band did so. None of them wore masks.

Worshiping together, as Pastor Peake stated, is very human. It’s not a license to be stupid or to ignore either medical evidence or common sense, but at some point, something’s got to give. If that London Catholic church wasn’t able to have a Good Friday service, I certainly hope they still got a face-to-face Easter.

At the end of the day, our relationship with God is personal, just between each of us and Him. But we are commanded to worship together, to support one another, to visit the sick, feed the hungry, support the lonely and grieving. At some point, we have to come together to do that.

Repeat: “New Map Reveals Truth About ‘Occupation’ in the Land of Israel”

I’m storing this hear as another example of why Israel isn’t “occupying” Arab land. It helps to gather all of this evidence together to counter the heinous lies being told about the Jewish state and the Jewish people. Here’s a quote:

The media, and even academic publications, are replete with claims that Israel is “occupying” what they refer to as “historic Palestine,” meaning Israel, Gaza, and Judea and Samaria (or, in their terms, the West Bank). It is ineffective to try to engage in long discussions of history and facts showing that it is the Jews who are indigenous to the land. We all know that feelings speak louder than facts, and pro-Palestinian propagandists use emotion in a way that has so far stymied Israeli attempts to set the record straight.

We also know that one picture is worth a thousand words.

And now we have that picture – it is a map, in fact. A map of approximately 700 ancient Israelite settlements and holy sites all across the entire historic Land of Israel. Two hundred additional sites that have been discovered by archaeologists but not yet identified will also be added to the map.

For the full story, go to the United With Israel story New Map Reveals Truth About ‘Occupation’ in the Land of Israel.

Love Thy Enemy

ruth ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — here in her chambers during a 2019 interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg — died on Friday at the age of 87.
Shuran Huang/NPR

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. –Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB)

I’m sure most people reading this know by now that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg is dead. What you probably also know, if you follow social media, is that this event has erupted into a major emotional storm, depending on your politic, and as it turns out, religious views.

Here’s what I said on Facebook after I ran head first into one:

Oh wow. Someone, purportedly a Christian, posted a meme (I won’t repeat it here) celebrating the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I pointed out why disagreeing with her legal opinions didn’t mean we should have wanted her to die, and also pointed out how even the Almighty did not celebrate the death of the Egyptians after Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea. I woke up this morning and saw many notices from that conversation basically condemning both me and Ginsburg, including a pretty rough statement from another supposed Christian on how he would defile Ginsburg’s grave by urinating on it. This is the difference between studying the Bible and pondering its wisdom vs. reading it and then letting some less than kind or informed religious leader tell you what it all means. Please do not paint all believers with the same broad brush. We aren’t all the same, and some of us are pretty far apart from others.

What prompt my response? This image, well, the video it represents:

fb
Screenshot from Facebook

I was the first to reply to this person who is my “friend” on Facebook:

[All names and other identifiers have been removed from these comments except for my name]

James Pyles: No, I won’t do it and this is why. After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptians drowned, according to Jewish legend, God refused to let even the angels celebrate. He said “they are my children, too.” While I may have disagreed with Ginsburg on a good many things, I will not celebrate her death (Yasser Arafat’s yes, but that’s a completely different story). She was and is a child of God and someday we will all have to stand before our Judge. I’m no better than the next person.

The author responded to me, and then many others did as well:

M: James Pyles I am no better than than the next person, and I am worse than many. But I am glad the protector of Roe V. Wade can no longer bring about millions and tens of millions of deaths through abortion.

James Pyles I understand what you’re staying, but moral decisions and consequences are complicated and painful. You know this better than most. No matter what she said and believed, if I am to consider myself even a poor disciple of Jesus, then I cannot do what I know he wouldn’t.

LJ: James Pyles Exodus 15 — a song of Moses giving glory to God for the drowning of the Egyptian army. Good is also a judge.

T: If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.

Je: Then let us pray that somehow she has been given grace, even while we rejoice that she can no longer do harm.

James Pyles I have long since stopped presuming to know exactly how God will judge. I have my own life in my hands and my own sins. God will take care of the rest. I need to be accountable to what I have done and who I am. I don’t have time to pull a splinter out of someone else’s eye when I’ve got a log in mine.

Another M: “If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.”
THIS

S: James Pyles He kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple.
Look. She did much evil, and was a blatantly racist eugenics (“some groups shouldn’t have kids”). Her decisions in cases to try and her lack of support for involuntary treatment of the mentall…See More

B: James Pyles
I think this is M’s page. She has a right to her interpretation of whats just & saying something again will not move her will – everyday she trys to save lives Everyone speaking well of RBG should have held her accountable while living
She never cared about any babies of God

GF: James Pyles then go do you elsewhere. You’re not anyone’s moral teacher and I for one would dance on the witch’s grave before relieving myself on it.

That last comment is when I decided to stop reading. Oh, I’ve truncated the list for reading time, plus there’s only so much of this I want to take.

fb witch
Screenshot from Facebook

It’s embarrassing as a believer to have to defend against such vitriol, especially on social media where the many atheists liken Christians to everything that is evil. When we behave down to the lowest levels of those expectations, then how do we uphold the cause of Christ?

Having said all that, I’ve been just as guilty as anyone else as mixing up my faith with my politics. Oh, but it gets worse.

It seems that while many Christians are celebrating Ginsburg’s death with more than just a little antisemitism (she couldn’t be a child of God because she wasn’t a Christian), not too many years ago, the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia elicited a tremendous amount of “unkindness” from those who opposed him politically, probably the same people who mourn Ginsburg today.

Oh, people even make fun of that too:

meme
Screenshot of a Facebook meme

But as disciples of King Messiah, I mean if we really are disciples, shouldn’t we live that out? How else will anyone really believe we live the lives we lecture and sermonize about? They’re the same folks who think we believe this

meme
Screenshot of a Facebook meme

The horrible thing is that they may be right, at least about some, perhaps a great many of us.

What do you think? More importantly, what do you believe and how do you live that out?

For more, read about my friend Kat’s Mini Rant.

A Little High Holidays Study

photo
© James Pyles

Being intermarried can be an interesting experience. My wife is Jewish and I’m a Christian. There are things we have tacitly agreed never to talk about and, for the most part, I thought we’d reached a nice balancing point. I read my Bible, both the Tanakh and Apostolic Scriptures, when I can be alone and she does what she does.

Working from home, there is plenty of times when I’m by myself. I was taking a break and walking around the living room and saw the books in the image above. I kind of thought we’d put this one to bed a long time ago, but something must still linger.

It’s not like she doesn’t have the right to believe as she wills, and it’s not like I’m “evangelizing” her, but something must be happening.

This year Rosh Hashanah extends from September 18 – 20 and Yom Kippur from September 27 and 28. Every year I think that perhaps I will observe the High Holidays in some manner or fashion, but then again, stuff like this comes up.

It reminds me that in the end, as a covenantless Goy, one who doesn’t fit in either within the church or the synagogue, all I have is God.

Oh, here’s what you can find out about these study guides on Amazon.

Israel is Jewish – Part Four: The Myth of an Ancient Arab Palestine and the “Five Nos”

husseini
Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, 1937 [Getty]
There is no place in Palestine for two races. The Jews left Palestine 2,000 years ago. Let them go to other parts of the world where there are wide vacant places.” –Amin al-Husseini, 1936

And that, in a nutshell, is why there will never be a two-state solution, not because Jewish Israel hasn’t been bending over backwards trying to agree to one, but because the Arab leadership will never accept it. They never have from the start.

By the way, just because I stuck in that link from ForeignPolicy.com doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with their opinion. It was just handy.

I’ve decided this will be the fourth and last installment in my “Israel is Jewish” series. Here are the other three:

  1. Is There a “Palestine?”
  2. Israel is not Apartheid
  3. The Creation of the Palestinian Refugee

Of course, what started it all was the wee piece Israel is NOT an Apartheid State or an “Occupier” : A Beginning. I’m getting sick and tired of bullies who manufacture “war crimes” and “human rights crimes” against Israel in the service of exterminating the Jewish citizens of the Jewish state.

So let’s talk about “the occupation.” In order for the Jews to “occupy” Arab “Palestine,” there had to be an Arab Palestinian people in the first place. Were there ever such a people?

Before that, going to the quote from Amin al-Husseini, did the Jews completely abandon “Palestine” for a full 2,000 years?

As it turns out, there has always been a Jewish presence in the Land, regardless of who the conqueror was at the time. Sometimes the population was larger than others. Sometimes Jews were allowed to return to their Land in great numbers. There was even a time when the Jewish population started planning the construction of a third Temple. Other times, they were driven out so that only a few thousand remained. But they remained.

Both in David Brog’s book Reclaiming Israel’s History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace and at BesaCenter.org, we see that between the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the forming of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Jews have always lived in their ancestral land, so no, they didn’t abandon Israel for 2,000 years. They were just the victims of an endless sea of occupiers.

So what about the Arabs? Were they the ones in charge? Depends on who you ask. The site ancient.eu covers some of it, but not in enough detail, at least not during the time frame I’m examining.

After the Romans, there were the Byzantines. Then starting in the Middle Ages you had the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid periods, the Fatimid period, the Crusader period, the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, and then there was the Ottoman period.

That ended only with British rule. During that time, while the Jews always clung to their Land as their ancient inheritance, from an Arab perspective, it was simply a part of southern Syria and they, the Arabs, were whoever the conquerors were. For instance, from the 15th century onward, they were Ottomans, not Palestinian Arabs. If anything, they would have more identified as Syrians.

So at no time did “Palestinian Arabs” come on the radar until the 20th century, and it wasn’t seriously considered and then claimed until after the Six-Day War in 1967, nearly 20 years after the formation of modern Israel.

Even in the early 20th century, before World War Two, the Zionists who had planned a Jewish return to “Palestine” were determined to displace no Arabs at all, and sought only to live in unclaimed land, mainly the Negev which was an unpopulated desert.

As I said before, if the Arabs had accepted the British partition plan in 1948, they would have had a “Palestinian homeland” and there would have been exactly zero Palestinian refugees. However, instead, they decided to wage a “Civil War” against their Jewish neighbors the day the State of Israel was born, and after the British mandate ended, many other Arab nations came across the border for the purpose of making sure a Jewish state would never exist.

Up until the late 1960s, the concept of a Pan-Arabism was one of the primary forces behind opposing the continuance of Israel. While the concept of an “Arab Palestine” didn’t exist as such, the Arab nations believed that the entire Middle East should be one, single Arab domain. No room for other people groups, particularly Jews.

Only after 1967, when the Pan-Arab dream was abandoned, did the Arabs in and near Israel consider themselves “Palestinian.”

So you see, it’s pretty hard to say that the Jews displaced Palestinian Arabs when such an entity did not exist. Also, even after the 1948 war, there were still Arabs in abundance who hadn’t left and they were welcomed in Israel.

The history is long and complex, but the Jews have always been willing to share. The Arabs, or at least their leadership, were absolutely opposed.

In his book, Brog coins the phrase, the “Five Nos.” There were the five primary occasions where Palestinian Arabs were offered deals that included their own sovereign land, each offer being sweeter than the last. Each and every time, they said “No.”

Camera.org says the Palestinians said “No” only three times:

  1. The original UN Resolution 181, the Partition Resolution, passed in November 1947, called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the land which at that point was controlled by the British-run Palestine Mandate. We know about that one. The Arabs decided to kill the Jews instead.
  2. In the summer of 2000 US President Bill Clinton hosted intense peace talks at Camp David between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak, culminating in a comprehensive peace plan known as the Clinton Parameters, which was similar to the later Olmert Plan, though not quite as extensive. Despite the vast concessions the plan required of Israel, Prime Minister Barak accepted President Clinton’s proposal, while Arafat refused, returned home, and launched a new terror campaign against Israeli civilians (the Second Intifada).
  3. In 2008, after extensive talks, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert’s plan would have annexed the major Israeli settlements to Israel and in return given equivalent Israeli territory to the Palestinians, and would have divided Jerusalem. This was the single most generous offer Israel could possibly make and Abbas still said “No.”

Brog is counting the 1937 partition plan based on the Peel Commission’s recommendation that less than 20% of Palestine be set aside for the Jews. In spite of the inequity of the offer, the Jews jumped at the chance. Not so the Arabs.

He also adds the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. In spite of the security concerns, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan to Syria. Israelis were divided on whether to return the West Bank to Jordan or to empower the Palestinian inhabitants to govern themselves.

Brog states:

These dreams of peace were quickly dashed. In late August 1967, the Arab League met in Khartoum, Sudan, and adopted a hard anti-Israel line. Among the resolutions these Arab states approved was one specifying that there would be “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” The West Bank Arabs who had been negotiating with Israel decided to fall in line and their talks ended.

It seems that as far as establishing an Arab Palestinian “homeland,” the Arabs are their own worse enemies, at least as long as they are determined to be the enemy of the Jews.

It’s interesting to note that at the 2000 Ehud Barak, Bill Clinton, Camp David peace summit, time after time Yasser Arafat continued to say “No” to each offer, without proposing a counter-offer or giving any details about why he was refusing. Brog records:

Arafat didn’t accept Barak’s offer. Nor did he make a counteroffer. He simply let the clock run out. At the close of the summit, President Clinton “blew up” at Arafat, shouting at the Palestinian leader that he had “been here fourteen days and said no to everything.”

Based on both ancient and modern claims, the Jews do have a right to their historic lands, and even though they have tried again and again to broker a peace with the Arab population, offering them exceedingly generous deals. They have said “No,” just “no.” After Arafat, Abbas followed suit, saying “no” with no counter-offers and no explanations.

However, this series is going to end differently than I expected. I just learned that Israel and United Arab Emirates strike historic peace accord. I want to be excited. I want to say “at last.” But everything I know about the history of Palestine going back two thousand years, or even just going back a century, tells me it’s not going to be that easy. After all of the conflict and enmity between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East and the absolute Arab refusal to accept a Jewish homeland within their midst, how is it ever going to be that easy?

It’s not. To quote the FT.com article:

But the move has infuriated the Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership rejected the “surprising” announcement by the US, Israel and UAE, calling it “an assault on the Palestinian people and an abandonment of the rights of the Palestinians and the holy sites”.

See? Told you.

So, when various civil rights groups in the U.S. vandalize synagogues and Jewish businesses, painting “Free Palestine” on those structures, and perhaps feeling justified in attacking American Jews as if they are somehow responsible for the so-called “occupation,” they are most likely operating in ignorance of the facts. If they choose to ally themselves with Arab terrorists groups such as Hamas, then maybe they understand things all too well, more’s the pity.

I know none of this will convince those who have already been convinced by decades of anti-Israel propaganda, and centuries if not millennia of hatred against the Jewish people. Anti-semitism seems to be the only form of bigotry that’s acceptable when all other forms are not.

The ancient Israelites were slaves in Egypt approximately 3,500 years ago and they were reportedly enslaved for 430 years. They have suffered unspeakable losses for those thousands of years, so you’d think anyone else who feels the need to rise up against the inequities of their background would study that history and find kinship, rather than ignoring that history and condemning the Jews and their right to exist as a nation.

Addendum: and speaking of Hamas and terrorism.

Addendum 8-14-2020: Erdogan: Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal

The Palestinian response is of course, violent.

Addendum: 8-15-2020: Rockets fired from Gaza, after IDF incendiary balloon response strike.

Just another reminder that there has Always been a Jewish presence in Israel.

Addendum 8-19-2020: You see, this is exactly why the Palestinians will never consent to a two-state solution. Their leaders say any cooperation with Israel is treason, probably punishable by death. The Palestinians’ own leadership is their worst enemy, not Israel.

Addendum 8-24-2020: More antisemitism.

Addendum 8-30-2020: 10th of Elul: https://www.aish.com/dijh/Elul_10.html

Addendum 8:31-2020: Los Angeles, today.

Addendum 9-22-2020: New Report Shows Palestinian Textbooks Still Rife With Antisemitism, Glorification of Terror, Despite Promised Changes