Friday, March 21, 2003

Written Word
John 5:30-47: 30"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

31"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36But I have a testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.

39"You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. 40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41I do not accept glory from human beings. 42But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 43I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? 45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?"

Catechism: Question 82. Does your forgiveness of those who have harmed you depend on their repentance? No. I am to forgive as I have been forgiven. The gospel is the astonishing good news that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Just as God's forgiveness of me is unconditional, and so precedes my confession of sin and repentance, so my forgiveness of those who have harmed me does not depend on their confessing and repenting of their sin. However, when I forgive the person who has done me harm, giving up any resentment or desire to retaliate, I do not condone the harm that was done or excuse the evil of the sin.
· Col. 3:13 "Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
· Mark 11:25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."
· Col. 2:13 "When you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses."
· Matt. 18:21-22 "Then Peter came and said to him, 'Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.'"
· Heb. 12:14 "Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

dudgeon (DUHJ-uhn) noun A feeling of anger, resentment, indignation, etc.

gallimaufry (gal-uh-MAW-free) noun: hodgepodge

Quotation of the day:
'After some reasonably finite period of time, they will be gone.' - Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, concluding his first news briefing on the war against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime.

Brother! O’le Brother!
Scrutiny Continues on a Burial Box Linked to Jesus' Kin
Israelis Studying Ancient Ossuary

JERUSALEM, MARCH 20, 2003 ( The box purported to have once held the bones of "James, brother of Jesus" is now facing scrutiny by Israeli officials.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority has set up two commissions of archaeologists, geologists and language specialists to study the box, which bears the Aramaic inscription, ''James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," the Associated Press reported.

Israeli and French scholars believe the box dates between A.D. 50 and 70. Jews used burial boxes, or ossuaries, up until about 70.

Depending on the translation of the New Testament, St. James (the Less) appears as part of Jesus' "brethren" or his "brother," and according to tradition he was the first bishop of Jerusalem. reports that Israeli Oded Golan bought the box from an antiques dealer in the 1970s and didn't realize the significance of the box until recently, when it was examined by Andre Lemaire of the Sorbonne.

Lemaire, a paleographer or expert in ancient writing, recognized the potential connection to the family of Christ. Lemaire published the finding in the November issue of the Biblical Archaeological Review magazine.

According to Biblical Archaeological Review's Web site, "Laboratory tests performed by the Geological Survey of Israel confirm that the box's limestone comes from the Jerusalem area. The patina -- a thin sheen or covering that forms on stone and other materials over time -- has the cauliflower-type shape known to develop in a cave environment; more importantly, it shows no trace of modern elements."

Paleographer Rochelle Altman stated in her "Final Report on the James Ossuary" at that while the first part of the inscription ("James son of Joseph") dates to the first century, the second part ("brother of Jesus") shows signs of being written by a different hand at a later date, which she estimated to be the third or fourth century.

Early Christians recorded their belief that James was Jesus' stepbrother in the "Protoevangelium of James," which was written in A.D. 120 -- within 60 years of James' death. According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was an elderly widower at the time he was betrothed to Mary. He already had a family and thus was willing to become the guardian of a virgin consecrated to God.

The stepbrother hypothesis was the most common explanation of the brethren of the Lord until St. Jerome popularized the cousin hypothesis just before the year 400. Aramaic has no word for "cousin," so the word "brother" was used in its place.

Some more Old Stuff Found!
A police sting recovered North Carolina's missing US Bill of Rights document after almost 140 years, Gov. Mike Easley (D) announced Wednesday. A Philadelphia group alerted authorities after being offered the historic item for $5 million. The 13 founding colonies and newly formed federal government each got a copy at the bill's signing in 1789. North Carolina's was stolen by Union troops in the Civil War.

Humor & Insight
The New York Times: This Tiny Bird Knows an Impostor When It Hatches

For millenniums, bird species around the world have been put upon by cuckoos, duped into tending the eggs these sly birds slip into their nests and raising the chicks as their own. In response, some birds have evolved the ability to recognize cuckoo eggs, able to give even those that are quite convincing mimics of the host's eggs a good swift kick out of the nest.

But scientists have long been puzzled by the fact that no birds seemed able to ferret out the cuckoo chick once it had hatched, always treating it as if it were their own, even when the cuckoo babies were the most obvious pretenders - great awkward things, differently colored and shaped from everyone else in the nest, sometimes six times the size of their tiny adoptive parents, towering over them while begging for food.

Now, in the current issue of the journal Nature, researchers report finding that at least one bird, a dazzling creature aptly named the superb fairy-wren, has evolved the ability to recognize the cuckoo chick for what it is.

These tiny colorful birds, upon returning to a nest in which the cuckoo chick is waiting all alone (after pitching all the rightful chicks out the nest hole), simply abandon the invader, leaving it to its death.

"This has been a major enigma," said Dr. Stephen Rothstein, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara who was not involved with the study. "This paper is a real advance. It's by far the strongest and clearest evidence that birds can discriminate against cuckoo nestlings."

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