Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
"If I had to characterize Judaism in simple terms for someone who new nothing about it, what words would I use? And almost without his willing it to be so, the symbolism of the olive tree returned and he replied: ancient, gnarled, unresilient, a powerful religion which takes man back to his fundamental nature and experience...in two thousand six hundred years Judaism has only been able to accept two changes, the Talmud and the Kabbala, whereas Christianity, with materful resiliency, had spun off a dozen staggering modifications whenever the spirit of the times demanded...There lay the difference between the two religions; there lay the explaination of why Christianity had conquered the world while Judaism remained the intransigent, primordial religion of the few."
"You say that you were lucky that in the critical years between 100 and 800 CE Christianity went forward, and we were unlucky that during the same years Judaism went backward...the real question is, 'foward to what, backward to what?'...Judaism went back to the basic religious precepts by which men can live together in a society, whereas Christianity rushed forward to a magnificent personal religion which never in ten thousand years will teach men how to live together. You Christians will have beauty, passionate intercourse with God, magnificent buildings, frenzied worship and exaltation of the spirit. But you will never have that close organization of society, family life and the little community tha is possible under Judaism."
"'Judaism can be understood, it seems to me, only if it is seen as a fundamental philisophy directed to the greatest of all problems: how can men live together in an organized society?'
'I would have thought,' [the Christian] suggested, 'that the real religious problem is always, 'How can a man know God?'
'There's the fundamental difference between us,' [the Jewish man] said. 'There's the difference between the Old Testament and the New. The Christian discovers the spirit of God, and the reality is so blinding that you go right out, build a cathedral and kill a million people. The Jew avoids this intimacy and lives year after year in his ghetto, in a grubby little synagogue, working out the principles whereby men can live together.'"
This conversation is a flash into the future, during a chapter that follows the one on the Spanish Inquisition, where Jews are forced into ghettos and told that if they aren't willing to become Christians, they will be persecuted [to give you some understanding of that last comment].
But I'm interested in your thoughts on these excerpts simply because they were very intriguing to me. Ready...go.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It has come to my attention that pictures of Keith and Eve's wedding are in demand, but alas, I can't produce. The few that I took are horrible. I usually take a lot of pictures at weddings, but I just didn't this time. Sorry!
What I can produce is a great pic of Mark and I with his brother Paul and his new wife [as of November]. We stopped by there last weekend on our way back from the wedding. Even though you can't tell, we are seated on the floor on pillows in a nice Mongolian place...practically in the dark.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Here's the living room portion.Here's the kitchen.
We took the Schmerse's mini-van...it wouldn't be a road trip unless you had a mini-van :).
Here's the whole crew that went out. Notice the boy in the center with the arm sling. Jamie decided to attempt a front flip and ended up with a broken collar bone. :) Actually he just hit a jump wrong, but from what I hear, it looked like he attemped the front flip! It was an AMAZING trip--we had so much fun and miss the slopes already!
I finished reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck on the trip. I started reading, knowing nothing about the story line [only hearing from numerous sources that it was a great book], and it has moved into the realm of my favorite books ever. There is so much complexity and depth to the characters stories and the interweaving of their lives. In his summary of the book, Steibeck references these themes: "the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence." He calls it "a modern retelling of the book of Genesis." I was constantly aware of the decisions and motives of the characters involved, and it's so insightful to see the actions and reactions as the story unfolds.
Not only does it have depth that will make you think for hours, but it is a great literary read as well. He's a phenominal writer, and will have you sucked into the story within the first few chapters.
I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a great book to dive into!