Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rik George writes

Abandoned Promise

I thirst for god, the promised water.
The springs I drink from are pools of mud.
The low wells yield a brackish drink
thick with salt and rotting matter.
I walk in barrens. My skin is caked
with salt from my sweat. Sand crusts in my eyes.
I cry challenge to God the Promiser.
“Why have you left me broken in this bitter land?
Here sun has bleached the bushes white
and bordered the leaves with brown.
The hot sand glares like amber glass.
The copper sky sears like a skillet.
The winds bob and weave in the thistles,
spreading their thorny seeds on the sand.
I walk this place and stir up dust.
It fills my throat and clogs my nostrils.”
God does not answer, preoccupied
perhaps, or dead, or harrowing hell
or otherwise divinely bemused.
I stumble over the mountain’s bones
crying through the parch in my throat.
One day some other unfortunate
will stumble over my brittle bones
and fall face forward in the sand and thistles,
and I won’t care I’m no longer alone.

Desolate - Painting by drewevans
Desolate -- Drew Evans


  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    --John I: 1-4 [New International Version]

  2. The "Gospel of John" refers to an otherwise unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" who "bore witness to and wrote" the third book of the New Testament; further on, the author claimed that it was based on the written testimony of the "Beloved Disciple." It differs considerably from the other gospels, which were probably written decades earlier. Some scholars doubt that the gospel was written by anyone actually named "John," though it has generally been accepted that the author, "John the Evangelist," either was John the Apostle (Yohanan Shliha in Aramaic; Yohanan ben Zavdi in Hebrew) or was pretending to be. He also may (or may not) have also been John of Patmos (John the Revelator, John the Divine,John the Theologian) and John the Presbyter (John the Elder), the authors of "The Book of Revelations" and the three epistles of John, or some of them, though ca. 200 Eusebius of Caesarea already reported doubts about the single-author theory, at about the same time that Justin Martyr became the first to identify the Apostle with John of Patmos. However, Christians traditionally believed that he was the youngest apostle, the brother of fellow apostle James the Greater, who was the first to be martyred, and that he outlived the other 11 before dying of natural causes (10 of them were martyred and one committed suicide after betraying Jesus to the Jewish high priest).

  3. John and James (whom Jesus called "Boanerges" -- sons of thunder) were the sons of Zebedee and Salome, a family of fishermen in the Sea of Galilee; the two brothers had earlier been disciples of John the Baptist, and Jesus recruited them at the same time as Peter and Andrew. Luke reported that Jesus rebuked the Boanerges when they wanted to brng heavenly fire down upon a Samaritan town. Peter, James, and John became the closest to Jesus; Jesus sent John and Peter into Jerusalem to make the preparation for the Passover meal ("the Last Supper"), and the "disciple whom Jesus loved" (traditionally identifed as John) sat next to him at the meal and, at Peter's instigation, asked him who he betrayer was. After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and the "other disciple" (traditionally John) followed him into the palace of the high-priest. John was the only apostle to remain near Jesus during his crucifixion, and he was the one who took Mary into his care, at the request of the dying Jesus. When Mary Magdalene discovered that the tomb of Jesus was empty, she informed John (who was the first to reach it) and Peter (who was the first to enter. Peter and John took the lead in guiding the early Christian community in Jerusalem and were imprisoned together; later they visited the newly converted believers in Samaria. Paul referred to them, and James, as "pillars of the church" and claimed that they approved of his introduction of a theology that was not dependent on Jewish law. After about of dozen years of activity in Judea, the persecution of Christians under Herod Agrippa I led to the scattering of the apostles throughout the Roman Empire. After the death of Mary, John went to Ephesus, where a community of John the Baptist's followers had already been converted. The gospel and epistles seem to have originated in Ephesus, written by John or his followers, although some scholars argue for an origin in Syria. The bishops of Asia Minor supposedly requested him to write his gospel to deal with the heresy of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ did not exist before Mary, the mother of Jesus. He trained Polycarp, the future bishop of Smyrna who transmitted his teachings to Irenaeus of Lyons, who passed them to future generations, and also Ignatius, whom Peter later named bishop of Antioch. It is possible that, in old age, during the persecutions under emperor Domitian, after being plunged without harm into boiling oil in Roma (causing the entire audience in the Colosseum to convert), he may have been exiled to the Aegean island of Patmos. "Revelation" was written ca. 95, though parts may have been written in the early 60s during the reign of Nero; ca. 600, Sophronius of Jerusalem noted that it was "later translated by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus," possibly to reconcile tradition with the obvious differences in its Greek style and the other wrtings, all in Aramaic. but, as with all else concerning the historical John, the dating of the gospels differs widely; it may have been written ca. 50-55 and then finalized ca. 65, or perhaps composed no earlier than 75-80, or maybe even writtn as late as 90 - 100.. John died in Ephesus after 98 and was buried in nearby Selçuk.


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