Which One Is The Terrorist?
Which One Is The Terrorist?
On 11/28/2010, I was honored to be asked to lead the services at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, MO. With a focus on the Gospel of Matthew 24:36-44, I prepared and delivered the following sermon to the glory of God!
When I prepare for the Sermon, I take the opportunity to read about the origin of the Book of Gospel for the day. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about Mark and Luke, and this week, I took time to study the origin of the Gospel of Matthew.
Scholars disagree somewhat on when the book of Matthew was written and how it came about. Why be an expert if you’re only going to agree with all the other experts?
Almost universally though, scholars agree that the book of Matthew is based on the book of Mark. The similarities of the time-line and the events documented are among the evidence that testify to Mark being basis of Matthew. There’s also the little fact that, with the exception of small portions of 7 of Mark’s Chapters, the entire contents of the Gospel of Mark are found in the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew was one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples, but there is a consensus that he did not write the book. Some say he may have written a Gospel in Aramaic or Hebrew, but I learned earlier that the whole of the New Testament was written in Greek. So, since the Gospels, when Canonized, were written in Greek, how could Matthew write this Gospel – named for him?
Scholars’ such as J.C. Fenton view the text in Matthew as written by one who did not witness the events first-hand. He writes, “…the changes which he [the writer of Matthew] makes in [or from] Mark’s way of telling the story are not those corrections which an eyewitness might make in the account of one who was not an eyewitness.” Mark, too, was not an eyewitness to the acts of our Lord.
As far as the time the Book of Matthew was written, the writer does not directly give us a date. To determine its date of writing, scholars study the references to world events and the existence of certain items in the world. For example, without a document being dated, if it referred to the destruction of the Towers of Gotham, you’d know we were at least talking about 9/11/2001. Similar references in Matthew allude to a certain time after Jesus’ death. For example, in Matthew 22:7, “The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” This is believed to be a reference to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70.
Not only do Scholars review the text itself, they review other documents and their reference to the Gospel of Matthew. So, if we know that Mark was written in AD 65, and we believe the Gospel of Matthew was written based on the Gospel of Mark, we probably know it wasn’t written until several years after AD 65. They didn’t upload the Gospel of Mark to the Internet for Matthew’s writer to review the next day.
Again, according to J.C. Fenton, “The earliest surviving writings which quote this Gospel are probably the letters of Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch, who, while being taken as prisoner from the East to Rome about A.D. 110, wrote to various churches in Asia in Asia Minor and to the church at Rome. Ignatius refers to the star which appeared at the time of the birth of Jesus, the answer of Jesus to John the Baptist, when he was baptized, and several sayings of Jesus which are recorded only in this Gospel (12:33, 15:13, 19:12). It seems almost certain that Ignatius, and possibly the recipients of his letters also, knew this Gospel, and thus that it [the Gospel] was written before A.D. 110.”
So, there we have it – sometime after AD 65 and before AD 110. With that and other information, the Scholars infer that the Gospel of Matthew was written around AD 80.
Why was the Gospel of Mark written?
Professor Barry Smith of Crandall University tells us, “It is safe to say that the author of the Gospel of Matthew aimed to bring together material in order to write a more comprehensive gospel than that of the Gospel of Mark. His emphasis on the fact that Jesus’ ministry fulfilled scripture and his inclusion of units of Jesus’ teaching that was only fully understandable by and of interest to Jews seems to indicate that he intended to write a gospel for a Jewish readership, rather than a gentile one.”
That’s a short Who, What, When, and Why of the Gospel of Mark. But, another ‘Why’ question I have today is…
Why are we talking about the second coming of the Son of Man on the 1st Sunday in Advent? Today is the 1st Sunday in the Church Year. Today, we start the preparation for the coming of the newborn Christ. Today, we lit the 1st candle of the Advent Wreath. Today, we sing songs of the Advent season. Today, we think of the coming stories of Mary and the Holy Spirit; of Joseph and the Innkeeper.
Today. Today. Today. Today. Today.
I can see why we’d be talking about the 2nd coming of the Son of Man and the ‘End of Times’ last week. It was the last Sunday of the Church Year. It was the time to talk about the ‘End’! But, why this week? Why today?
One reason this text might come up in the 1st week of Advent is that, if you take it completely out of context, if you don’t think about it being part of the Jesus’ ministry, if you pretend that it was said years earlier, you could almost see the Prophet Isaiah or the Prophet Jeremiah giving us the exact same warning about the coming Messiah. When I read the words, and think of it from an Old Testament perspective, I feel it could be said about the coming Messiah – not said by the Messiah.
Additionally, the word “Advent” is from the Latin word “Adventus”, which in English is the word, “come”. The computer tells us that the word “come” occurs 1462 times in the Scriptures – more than a 1000 times in the Old Testament and more than 400 times in the New Testament.
The single word, “come”.
“Advent” simply means “to come”. And, if we apply that translation to our text for today, we see even more clearly how it relates to today’s celebration:
37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the Advent of the Son of Man.
39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the Advent of the Son of Man.
42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what is the hour of your Lord’s Advent.
Be it his birth Advent or his Advent as Judge (the Second Coming), today’s text admonishes us to be ready – Today!
The time of Matthew’s writing is believed to be shortly after the destruction of Temple Mount in Jerusalem… …with ‘not one stone left upon another’. The destruction was so great many of that day felt this was the Second Coming, the Second Advent, of the Son of Man. Do you think they were prepared?
As I prepare a sermon, I read the verses that surround today’s Gospel. I was reminded of the events I’m seeing in the world today.
Beginning in Chapter 24, Verse 4, Jesus said, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Messiah!” and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars… …for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.
Is it true that some have already been led astray? I can’t see any answer but “Yes!” Are some following a false Messiah? A false God? In my opinion, absolutely!
In the days of these writings, you would only hear about the wars (and rumors thereof). There were no Newspapers, Televisions or the Internet to spread the 24/7 news. Today we hear about wars daily, even hourly, from the Koreas to Afghanistan to Iraq. We read of the earthquakes, the tsunamis, and the famine. Do the people in these nations think this is the Second Coming of the Son of Man? Do you think the people in those lands are prepared?
In Verse 9, Jesus said, 9‘Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name.”
How often in today’s times do we hear news stories about how Christians are persecuted and killed?
I wonder, as I read these headlines, what the Christians in these nations are thinking as they read the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 24? Are these the birth pangs foretold being felt in the year 2010? Is this the persecution that was prophesied? Do you think they are prepared for the Second Coming?
We, in America, Europe and similar countries are tremendously fortunate. When tragic events strike such as the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, we recover quickly. In other lands such as Haiti and Indonesia, earthquakes and tsunamis bring on misery for years. Do we in America see such events as portends of the Second Coming? Do those Christians in Haiti and Indonesia? Do you think they are prepared? Do you think we are prepared?
So, why, as we prepare for the birth Advent of our Lord, do we, at the same time, admonish ourselves to prepare for the Second Coming – the Second Advent? Maybe it’s because, with the First Advent, we have but four short weeks and are eager and excited to prepare. We celebrate, we sing, we anticipate.
But, with the Second Advent, well, it’s been so long since it was foretold. It didn’t happen last week. It didn’t happen last month. It surely won’t happen today.
That’s just it. We prepare for the First Advent because we know it is coming in four short weeks. We prepare for the Second Advent because it may not wait four weeks. It may not wait until tomorrow. It could be today!
Today, we shop! Today, we wrap! Today, we eat, drink, marry, and give in marriage. Today, we prepare for the First Advent. Let us also prepare, today, for the Second Advent.
Today is the day to make sure we are right with God. Today is the day that we accept the Lord as our Savior. Today is the day that we celebrate His Word. Today is the day we respond to human need.
The Fourth Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Boiling it down to the issue with the TSA, the Amendment would read:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Thus, to allege that the Federal Government is infringing upon our 4th Amendment Rights, one would need to prove that:
– The search is unreasonable
– The search is without probable cause
– There was not a warrant, oath or affirmation
THE SEARCH IS UNREASONABLE!
The Supreme Court has held that to satisfy the Fourth Amendment, a search of a student by school officials [Federal Government] must be reasonable at the start. In the case of Savana Redding, the court found the strip search to be unreasonable and without cause. Yet, at least she was accused of possessing prescription strength Ibuprofen on school grounds — against the rules.
In the case of the TSA vs You and Me, the Federal Government, under the guise of security, is requiring U.S. Citizens to show their naked bodies to Federal Agents or allow Federal agents to touch their (usually clothed) genitalia. The question of whether or not that search is reasonable might be answered by comparing the security requirements of air travel to that of other areas in the U.S. that need to be most secure.
Are there AIT Scanners and Aggressive Pat-Downs required to enter the White House? NORAD? The Pentagon? The Supreme Court? The Capitol? A University Of Nebraska Football Game? A St. Louis Cardinals baseball game?
How about the Northern U.S. Border? The Southern U.S. Border?
If those security-necessary locations are not employing the same rigorous screenings, why is the airport front and center? One could kill 50 thousand football fans with a bomb in their underwear. Since 9/11, the terrorists haven’t been able to get past a few airline passengers!
I was recently at the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court and such rigorous screenings were not required. If it’s not required at the above sensitive locations, then it is not reasonable as a pre-condition for passenger flight.
Additionally, it has been widely reported that other more reasonable methods for reviewing airline passengers are available:
– Obscured AIT Scans
– Thermal Infrared
– Psychological Profiling
THE SEARCH IS WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE!
Simply put, the purchase of an airline ticket and arrival at an airport is no more probable cause to require an unreasonable search than the purchase of a baseball ticket and arrival at the stadium.
If the person purchasing the ticket exhibits any of the tell-tale signs of such terrorist activities (one-way tickets / no baggage / cash purchase) or is on a terrorist watch list, the TSA can easily ‘affirm’ that there is ‘probable cause’ to aggressively search or scan.
Otherwise, there is not probable cause to search / scan a 3-year-old, nun, Marine, cancer survivor or a pilot.
THERE WAS NOT A WARRANT, OATH OR AFFIRMATION
Again, pretty simple, a judge didn’t even hear your name.
A local radio host suggested a couple of things.
1. (Paraphrased) “You don’t have a right to go to any restaurant you want. They can have signs that say they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. ”
While that is true, restaurants are not going to refuse your patronage without a good reason (probable cause). Additionally, there are other restaurants that I can frequent. In the case of air travel, the Federal Government (again) has taken away my right to choose. There are no non-groping, non-porno-scan options for me.
2. (Paraphrased) “If left to their own devices, an airline’s invasive security methods might be much worse should they be assigned with the task of handling their own security.”
I strongly support the idea that American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest would handle their own security. To keep customers at their doors, the airline would have the desire to match the desire to keep their planes bomb-free with the passengers’ desires to be clothed, untouched, and protected by the 4th Amendment. Then, I (you know… …with freedom) could choose the airline whose security screening methods best meet my concern for safety and my 4th amendment rights.
The TSA does not care about the passengers’ desires — obviously. As Janet Napolitano said, “Don’t fly!”
Under the free market paradigm, if American Airlines chose to subject all its passengers to full body scans and aggressive pat-downs, then I could choose to fly on an airline that chose to use magnetometers, light pat-downs, and psychological screening — say Delta. If Jet Blue decided to use Racial and Religious Profiling, magnetometers, and below-the-knee AIT Scanners, I might decide to fly with them.
And, if Southwest decided to “refuse service” to anyone known to be a Muslim or of Arab descent, I’d buy stock!
Freedom and the free market would provide the necessary security and screening options for the U.S. Citizen traveler!
Likely no one is surprised that the members of the upper echelon of the U.S. Federal Government have exempted themselves from the disgusting TSA porno-scan and sanctioned sodomy.
Don’t for a moment think that these people are one of you when they skip the degrading laws they have created for you:
John Boehner? I thought he was the guy — one of us who came up from humble beginnings — that was going to make the Fecal Government more responsive to those it is to serve.
“Government officials traveling with federal law enforcement security details are screened at airports under a specialized screening protocol, which includes identity verification,” TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball said.
Excuse me? They show their driver’s license, and I have to show my penis?
Yep, they are just like us! Except for the Aristocracy!
Going to have to do a better job of tracking the topics on which I write to Senator McCaskill. Her reply below indicates that I wrote to complain about spending. Of course, I’m unhappy w/ the Obama / Pelosi / Reid / Bush / McCaskill spend-a-thon that’s been collecting my great-great-great-grandchildren’s money since 2007, but I don’t remember just complaining about money.
I haven’t written to her much over the past two months since all of Congress was on Election break. Maybe I wrote about S510, the so-called Food Safety Act, or the DREAM act, or the pending Tax Increase, or the START Treaty. Well, since she doesn’t listen to her voters anyway, I’m sure her lackeys just pushed the wrong button on the boilerplate reply system.
Below, Claire lists all her votes against big spending and earmarks, but then notes that she voted for the Stimulus. Claire, the Stimulus was nothing but earmarks. I’m sure you didn’t have a sub-committee meeting about the millions spent to update a Canada border crossing station weeks before it was closed… …then it’s an earmark.
But, bottom line is that if the Obama / Pelosi / Reid cabal needed your vote, they had it. If Obama needed you as the mouthpiece of his campaign, he had it. And, you have failed to look at the sentiments of your constituents and vote their conscience.
Below is her reply…
Dear Mr. Bollmann,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the way things are run in Washington. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the chance to respond.
Missourians do not want a rubber-stamp for any President or party leader. They want their representatives in Washington to represent their interests. We are the Show-Me State, after all. As your Senator, I have worked to be an independent voice for Missouri. I think my record bears that out; I vote against my party more often than almost any other Senator.
I know that Missourians are especially concerned about the size of the federal government and the size of our national debt. I share these concerns. We do spend too much in Washington, and our deficit is dangerously high. I want you to know that I have consistently voted to hold down spending. I routinely vote to reject any spending increases and force spending to be held at last year’s levels. I also vote against spending bills when they spend too much or contain too many earmarks (funding for specific projects selected by legislators). For instance, I voted against the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 because it contained a spending increase of 8% and had millions of dollars of earmarks. This year, I have thus far voted against the FY2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, the FY 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, and the FY 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill because of their high spending levels and the large number of earmarks contained in the bills. Spending in Washington simply cannot keep going up in these fiscally difficult times. I will continue to seek to hold down spending.
If we are going to live within our means, I also believe we need to cut waste out of federal spending. I have taken a hard line against all kinds of waste, from earmarks to no-bid contracts. I am one of five Senators who do not request earmarks, and I vote routinely to strike earmarks from spending bills. I have also been working to reform government contracting, which is rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. I lead the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight that investigates abuses in federal contracting, and I have been active in fighting against no-bid contracts. (I cannot think of anything more “socialist” than giving public money to private companies without any competitive process or oversight). I have supported other anti-waste initiatives as well, such as co-sponsoring a bill to create a line item veto and voting to establish “sunset commissions” to identify and eliminate government programs that are no longer effective.
Fundamentally, we need to use common sense when we are dealing with the budget. We need serious, comprehensive reforms. I am working with my colleagues to make those reforms. I introduced a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) bill (S. 1600) that would trigger across the board spending cuts unless all new direct spending or tax cuts are deficit-neutral. This is similar to the laws that helped create budget surpluses in the 1990s.
We do need to realize, however, that we cannot close the deficit by cutting non-defense discretionary spending alone (it makes up less than one-fifth of the annual budget). We are facing serious deficits and mounting debt, we are also facing an economic crisis, failing schools, crumbling infrastructure, rising health care costs, and more. Thus, we need to walk a fine line between spending too much and investing too little. I am doing my best to walk that line. I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the stimulus bill, to provide a vital boost to the economy during the worst economic crisis in generations. However, I will continue to vote against bills like the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, discussed above, that contain too many earmarks and increase spending too much.
As your Senator, I am working to make sure that we manage taxpayer dollars wisely. I will continue to fight wasteful spending, and I am committed to reducing deficits while providing resources for important priorities. I appreciate your input, and I will keep your thoughts in mind when considering budget and spending bills going forward.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.
Do You Know The Warning Signs Of Fraud? Maybe. Maybe not. But the US Postal Service does!
John Potter, Postmaster General, and Guy J. Cottrell, Chief Postal Inspector, were kind enough to send me the two-sided glossy mailer below. I can only assume that he sent the same mailer to all 126,000,000 households in the U.S. Why would I be so special?
A quick check for the prices of such a brochure led me to BlockbusterPrint.com. Guy could upload the design of the brochure, have it printed, folded, and shipped back to the US Postal Inspection Service. The quote I built was based on 25,000 mailers, so I’m sure he got a bit more of a discount for 5,000 such orders of 25,000 brochures. BlockbusterPrint.com quoted me $0.10 per mailer, but I didn’t use a snazzy design firm, sleazy a legal department to ensure that no one would be offended by the mailer, or a task force of well paid Postal Inspectors to build the list of fraud prevention tips and approve the design. So, for giggles, let’s stick with the $0.10 per mailer fee.
Now, considering the USPS loses money every year, what cost should we assign to the shipping and delivery of such mailers. You and I pay $0.44 cents per letter. Considering they handle billions of 44-cent letters and still lose money, one could assign a price of $0.50 or $1.00 per brochure delivery. In our review, we’ll stick with the cost of $0.44 to deliver each brochure.
So, ($0.44 + $0.10) * 125,000,000 American households is a cost (carry the 2) of $67,500,000. So, the US Postal Inspection Service spent $67+ Million to warn us about fraud. Sounds like a reasonable figure since the IRS spent $42 Million in 2008 to tell us that we were going to get a stimulus check.
And, to you and me in the real world that’s a lot of money. But I’m sure it’s worth it!! Let’s delve into their warnings and recommendations to see:
“This brochure, which is paid for by money seized from criminals, is intended…“
That’s nice, we certainly wouldn’t want to use that seized money to even up the USPS balance sheet
“Every day, con artists and scammers attempt to victimize millions of American consumers. And when they succeed, these crimes can seriously affect the lives of their victims…”
No, really?!?! Thank you for telling me that crime affects victims.
“While mail is rarely used for fraud, we consider one incident one too many”
So, you’re sending me a $67 Million dollar mailer to let me know that mail is R.A.R.E.L.Y used for fraud. Elevators rarely fail, but I don’t see Otis sending out mailers to warn elevator-riders!
“Never click a link inside an e-mail to visit a Web site… …It’s easy for a business to look legitimate online…”
Wait a minute?!?! Has the USPS taken over the Internet? Are they responsible for E-Mail? Will E-Mail now take 3 days to arrive?!?! Why is USPS getting involved with the Internet?
“Only 2% of reported identity theft occurs through the mail”
I get it now. You’re sending the $67 Million dollar mailer to tell me that mail isn’t a big source of fraud. Comprende!
And the brilliant tidbits keep coming and coming: “Warning signs: Sounds too good to be true. Pressures you to act ‘right away’. Guarantees success”
Thank you USPS for the giant waste of money. I look forward to your next fiscal loss statement as you suck more Billions out of the taxpayers wallets!
Did you sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge? If you are Republican, and you didn’t sign it, you better get ready to start doing some ‘splainin’! Sadly, only 39 of 197 Missouri State Legislators have signed the pledge. Only FOUR of 34 Senators!
That’s 3 of 70 Democrats. Thanks folks. We look forward to the day when you’re back in charge of Missouri running up taxes and debt like the current Democrats running U.S. Congress
These House Members Have Not Signed:
These Senate Members have not Signed:
So, it looks like you’ve got some phone calls to make!! Ask them to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge!
I’ve contacted Donna Lichtenegger and Jason Crowell. I’ve already heard back from Jason, and I’m sure I will hear back from Donna!
Imagine, in January 2010, you made plans to take your family over the oceans and through the mountains to visit your parents on Thanksgiving Day. You arrive at the airport to take your trip and decide to opt out of being irradiated. Thus, you, your wife, and your three-year-old child are greeted with a pat-down that includes aggressive fondling of genitalia.
For three years, you have been teaching your child that NO ONE is allowed to touch their private parts. NO ONE. Only under medical circumstances are your parents even allowed to touch their genitalia! And, the pediatrician, in the presence of the parents, are allowed to examine the child… …rarely in the sexually related areas. No matter what anyone says (“I’m a police officer” / “I’m a priest”), no one is allowed to touch you.
In comes the TSA. You are now expected to teach your three-year-old child that certain people ARE allowed to touch their private parts. These people with blue gloves, uniforms, and badges can touch (through their clothes) the penis, vagina, anus, and breasts.
People can steal their way into our country unmolested, but if you want to visit your Grandmother or Grandfather in a state far away, you have to endure this sexual abuse on behalf of your government.
State pedophilia and sexual battery laws must be used to stop these egregious attacks on our bodies and the 4th Amendment. Who will be the first State Attorney General to file for an injunction?!?
Remember kids, “People with the blue gloves can touch your private parts. ”
“What did you say daddy? People can touch my private parts? Okay.”