When Jesus’ Heart Was Broken

If you knew that you were about to be tortured to death and there was nothing to be done about it, AND you never did anything to earn your execution, you would be pretty unhappy, yes?  Well, Jesus our Lord was facing that very thing, plus he was going to be cut off from the rest of the godhead for some time, while he took our sin and punishment as his own.  It is recorded that he was so stressed out about what was about to happen to him, he sweat blood (vs. normal sweat*) as he prayed.

This is the third in a continuing series of serious disagreements I have with a speaker I heard yesterday.  This time, he posited that Jesus actually suffered a ruptured heart during his grief in Gethsemane.  He told his friends that he was “exceeding sorrowful unto death” and our speaker took this (obviously?) metaphorical statement literally.  The idea here, we were told, was that Jesus was actually dying from sorrow right there in the garden of Gethsemane.  The speaker then read from another place in the Bible where the Lord was talking and claimed that a heart like melted wax in his bowels is the Bible’s way of saying Jesus’ heart had burst.**  So then our speaker said, after his heart burst an angel showed up and miraculously healed Jesus so he could go on to die another day.  Those following the sequence may note the sweating of blood happened after the angelic visit, but ok the man was trying to say Jesus was fatally wounded of a literally-broken heart, and he was healed by the angel.  Then, the next day when Jesus was stabbed by a spear to see if he were dead, the blood and water that gushed out were actually pericardial fluid and blood that were left over from the previous night’s near-fatal sorrow/healing incident.

Hold on there.

Let us treat the Bible reasonably and take the text at face value, enlightened by a bit of common sense! ***

Jesus said he was exceeding sorrowful unto death.  Exceeding sorrow is certainly understandable.  “Unto death” is open for interpretation but I can think of two meanings off the top of my head, neither of which involves myocardial rupture.  Jesus could have been referring to the demise he knew he would suffer the next day: “I’m really sad I’m about to die”.  He could also have been exaggerating a little: “I’m so sad I feel like I’m dying from sadness”.  I think the latter is more likely but I could go with you on either.  Either of these fits the plain text without having to go off into what the Bible does NOT tell us.

Then we go to the spear-piercing and blood-and-water coming out.  If God’s angel healed Jesus’ heart, why didn’t he clean up the mess left over in Jesus’ ‘bowels’?  Whoever heard of God performing an incomplete healing?  You are saying that my God would only do half a job on his SON?  Really?  Really? You think this is more likely than hypovolemia and pericardial/pleural effusion?  Really?  I know Occam’s Razor doesn’t necessarily apply to miracles but come on!  They beat and tortured the Lord so that he was hypovolemic, had one or another kind of effusion going on, and when they poked him the clear liquid from the effusion looked like water mingled with the (expected) blood.

On to the ‘heart like wax’ part.  You have felt this yourself.  Think about when you realized your boy/girlfriend was about to dump you.  Think how you felt, watching your car crash into somebody else’s.  Think about the time you went to the top of a tall building/cliff/whatever and looked aaaaaaaaalllll the way down and the wind gave you just a little push.  Jesus was sad and then some, is all – you don’t have to get fancy here.  The Bible was not written so you would have to twist yourself in knots to understand it.

Our supposedly educated speaker last night was on quite a roll of making things up out of the bible, then bending the scriptures to suit the point he was allegedly making.  This is not something I ever thought I would hear in the setting where I heard it, and the host is going to be given these essays when I am through writing them up, with a request that this speaker be disallowed in the future.

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*yes, this is a thing.

**Having left aside for the moment the fact that the bowels are separated from the thoracic cavity.  Our speaker took one medical fact as literally true when expressed in figurative speech (heart like wax), but the next mention of anatomy in the same sentence is totally ignored when referred to directly (midst of the bowels).  This is rather torturous way of finding a point when there is none.

***and a bit of medical knowledge

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John 18:4 – What’s the Therefore There For?

I just heard somebody torture my language to make a point, but it was entirely beside the point he was making!

If you are reading a book and see the word “therefore” you must always ask yourself, “What is this ‘therefore’ there for?” Something has just happened in the text, and something else is about to happen because of it.  Your clue that these two things are related is ‘therefore’ so keep a sharp eye out – ‘therefore’ is a huge aid in reading comprehension.

Unless you’re this guy I heard speaking tonight.  A side point that was not strictly necessary to his speech was that Jesus didn’t know it all.  I am willing to go with him down this road a while.  Very God cannot be contained, or even well-understood by your average human mind.  Very God became human.  He therefore 😉 must have shed or altered some portion of himself in some way, or else we would have a baby running around doing miracles and speaking on day-one postpartum.  The record we have, instead, is one of Jesus growing up as an obedient son to a carpenter and his wife who was (probably) an exceedingly righteous woman.  He started as a baby.  He shat his diaper and pissed on his mother when she went to clean his bottom.  He ate rocks and put Joseph’s hammer and chisels into his mouth when he was teething.  You can bet that his parents made sure he was receiving as good a religious education as they could give him.  Joseph and Mary may have been illiterate or not (we don’t know) but they could certainly think.  They will have had parents who passed on to them their rich oral religious tradition.  They will have passed this tradition on to the infant Jesus from before he could speak.

Somewhere between pooping his nappies and dying on a Roman crucifix, Jesus learned a couple of things.  We are not told and therefore will probably never know exactly how much he knew, and when he knew it.  We do know, because we are told, that he and Mary knew he was special and was able to perform miracles before his ‘time was come.’  Some people argue that he was always omniscient.  He could do that.  Some people say he only got revelation of the plan in bits and pieces.  He could do that.  God could have set up Jesus’ body to be able to contain omniscience or he could have set it up to receive only limited revelation.  The Bible doesn’t say clearly enough to eliminate debate.  What it does say is he came into the world a baby and grew up to be a man, and that he “increased in wisdom and stature”.  This much should be obvious: a child learns and grows.  Jesus was a child, so he learned and grew.

My prejudice leads me to think that, as he read the prophets or they were read to him, and as he was preached-to, he got it.  The things that cause us to debate until we fall asleep from exhaustion, he didn’t have to learn twice.  He read a psalm and understood it was talking about the Messiah.  He read a prophet and understood it was talking about the Messiah.  All the double-meanings in scripture, I like to think he picked right up on.  That’s how he, at an age when he would have just begun more-serious religious training as a hebrew youth in those days, was astonishing the doctors of theology in the Temple.  He got it, and he could explain it.  I think it could be possible that he had to learn what he knew as other men learn (line upon line, precept upon precept) – but possibly learned faster and better than other men.  The Bible is largely silent on this, and to make an argument from silence is folly in which I decline to engage.

You’re rambling, VFD.

I was just coming to the point, hang on a minute!  So this supposed Bible Scholar said that the “therefore” in John 18:4 was telling us that Jesus had only minutes or hours before, during his prayers in the garden, been informed that he was going to be arrested etc..  It was a fresh bit of knowledge to him.  He didn’t know it the day before, but now he knew and therefore he asked the small army that came to arrest him, who they were looking for.  So goes the thinking.

Hold on there.

The Bible is not hard to understand.  God is not the author of confusion.  He left us the Bible (and explicitly the book of John) so we would understand and believe it, and come to faith in the Jesus!  Let us examine this passage in relevant (redacted) part:

…Jesus… went … with his disciples [into] a garden…. …Judas … which betrayed him, knew the place … having … a band of men and officers … cometh thither with lanterns … and weapons.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. ….

Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

– St. John 18: 1-9

this is very, very simple:  “therefore” links a cause and an effect, to wit: “They came – therefore – he said unto them”.  This is what the text said. Jesus knew he was about to be arrested by a band of soldiers.  He did not want his disciples to be tortured to death with him.  He asked the people who came for him a series of questions, the answers to which he already knew, so it would be obvious to everybody that his disciples were free to go.  Having made it obvious that He, Himself was the one they were going to nip, he lobbed the arresting party a logical soft ball, which they hit out of the ballpark.  Sure, of course your friends are free to go.

Then the friends scattered.  Done.  How hard was this to understand?  But my educated speaker missed it.

Why did Jesus Say “I Thirst” ?

I just heard somebody stretch logic past breaking.  The cup of God’s wrath was being drunk by our Lord on the cross.  All the sin of the world was being laid on him, and, as a way of saying ‘bring it on’ he said “I thirst”.  The previous night he had prayed not to have to drink “this cup” but he was obedient unto death and at the end he was so enthusiastic about wanting to take your and my sin on himself, he said he was thirsty for the cup of the wrath of God.  So the thinking goes.

Hold on there.

a) nobody wants to drink of that cup when he is in process of it and
b) he was thirsty.

The last time we know he drank was at the last supper, the night before.  Then he spent all night, morning, and into the early afternoon being beaten beyond recognition.  You go an entire day without drinking anything and losing a significant fraction of your own blood, and tell me it doesn’t make you thirsty.  We are also told plainly in the same sentence that he said this (at least in part) to fulfill a prophecy about himself.  All the scriptures about him were fulfilled*, including that one.

WHY would you stretch so far to make a point when the truth is quite plain if you will just read the scripture?  This man who posited the “bring it on” theory is supposed to be a Bible scholar.  Until I can be convinced otherwise – which would take quite some doing – I’m going to say “Fail, buddy.  Total fail here.”

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*well, all the ones about him while he was here the first time.  When he comes back, the rest will be fulfilled.

Are We About To Accidentally Credit Card Security?

There are waves of reports rolling in about credit card information being stolen straight from the retailers in what’s looking like at least a dozen HUGE store chains. This is not the worst news ever.  The stores are able to fix all these problems. It is also raising people’s awareness that we live in an insecure world. But I am afraid we may be on the cusp of something dreadful.

If you have ever repeated your passwords out loud under your breath while logging in, you may sympathize with Target’s (etc.) computers.  The magnetic strip on the back of a credit card is a string of numbers. Swipe, and it does voodoo and thinks for a minute, mumbles quietly to itself, and then the computer spits out some stuff and magically you have paid.  The hackers were able to eavesdrop on the computer mumbling its password to itself, and then send your data to (?) to be sold or used for fun/profit.

To fix this, you upgrade the security of your point of sale system. No worries. But the reporting on the story is not giving the impression this is the case. They are all blathering about the vulnerability of the magnetic stripe data. My fear is that people will fear the magnetic stripe and there will be a call for Do Somethingism.

The thing to be done, is to forbid the magnet stripes!  Band them all and saves us from t3h h4x0rz!  The easy alternative is to have a smart chip, which communicates wirelessly with the point of sale terminal. This is a more-secure system, in much the same way a house without windows is more secure than a house with windows. However, if the door to the house with no windows is left swinging open, but the house with windows had locks on all the windows, the house with no windows is actually much less secure.

The chip in your new-style credit card, they will tell you, can only be read from a very short distance. The point of sale interfaces instruct you to place your card (or keyfob) very near the machine where you will make payment. This is good. POS terminals use low-power radios and so they can only read your card from a few centimeters to a few decimeters away. Secure and easy, it’s all good.

Hold on there.

Malicious individuals already, *today* have the ability to read your cards from much, much farther away. Credit cards, EZ-Pass payment dongles, and even PASSPORTS share this vulnerability. I have seen, with mine own eyes, a person driving a car with a laptop and a much-higher powered radio, going down the street gathering information from these “secure” smart cards.

Your credit card with the smart chip can be read by ANYONE with the means or ability to get this hardware running.  Anyone, with any intention, can do what the Target hackers did, but to everyone walking around, not just visitors to a random retailer.  Pray tell, how is this more secure? But if there is a call to replace the mag-stripe cards, going to smart cards is the next-most logical thing to do. The technology is mature and the infrastructure is in place today.  Everyone takes a dramatic, obvious step, and Something has been officially Done!  Security for everyone!

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So when we have reports of a whole town getting ripped off from their new smart cards, do try to remember to act surprised, lest you be considered suspicious for having such dangerous knowledge.

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The answer to the question in the title of the post, apparently, is emphatically yes.  This is my surprised face.

Great Good News!

No, regular readers, this time it is actually great GOOD news!

Poliomyelitis is –>.<– this close to being declared officially eradicated from the planet.  India has gone three years without a reported case.

For somebody under 40 years old, this is meaningless.  For somebody well past retirement age and not keeping up with current events, you want to have them sit down before you tell them.  Talk to your grandfather about what it was like.  If you are old enough to remember when people were afraid of catching AIDS from a toilet seat or a telephone, multiply that.  If you were paying attention when the SARS scare swept the USA, that’s a good starting point.  Then make it every summer, and make it last for decades of that level of fear of a disease with no known cause and no cure, that killed babies through old people, and left thousands of young, healthy people to slowly die inside Iron Lungs.

This could be you.  Or your child.  Or your mom.  Because _______(?)
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Now, it’s eradicated.  Gonesville.  Done.  Not even a thing.  Reduced to the status of something the quacks and loonies say you shouldn’t vaccinate your children against it because of the government trying to (fill in the blank) with vaccines aginst non-threatening diseases.

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Hold on there.

Well, almost.  Yes, officially eradicated means you almost certainly won’t lose your whole family to it.  However, you should still be getting your children shot up with the killed injected vaccine*.  One nasty bit of knowledge follows, and you should probably stop reading if you do not want to know things that are hard to know.  If you are the type of person who is glad to have read Gulag Archipelago because of the tremendous political education, keep reading.

Polio can never be eradicated.  Because it can be synthesized.  Amino acids can be combined into proteins.  What is a virus but a string of proteins laid out in the proper sequence?  What is polio but a virus?  It has been demonstrated that proteins can be arranged in a laboratory setting, capable of propagating, and causing the exact same symptoms as poliovirus.  Polio can be artificially introduced.  Weaponized.  Did you ever see Twelve Monkeys?

*The oral vaccine is notorious for causing great harm in India.  Bill & Melinda Gates are being called murderers and worse for trying to get people vaccinated with a dangerous vaccine.  You have to take everything in context, however.  If you will have a guaranteed 0% success rate using an injected vaccine due to public ignorance and fear permeating a culture, it is arguably better to use a dangerous vaccine than no vaccine at all.  If you are losing injection-vaccination workers to islamist terror campaigns, that’s not exactly the way to keep a vaccination program running, either.

Congratulate Me.

Today at work, a solid 3 months after my impromptu surgical adventure, I noticed I was barely able to touch the pad of my fingertip to the palm of the hand by the metacarpophalangeal joint. That is, with some effort and mild pain, I can bend the hurt finger all the way until it touches itself at its base. This is relatively huge, and was a milestone I had set for myself.

I still haven’t forgotten I promised you pictures. The check’s in the mail!

After-Action Report: Shooting Class January 2014

No need to try to get a lot of media attention, it’s done already.  Today I had the pleasure of giving yet another gun safety class and then there were a couple of live firing sessions.  Fun was had by all and as usual no-one was shot. Two of my students were first-time-inna-longtime types (man and wife) and the third was a new shooter as well as a gurl (their 18 year-old daughter). The class was actually the daughter’s idea, which makes me less-unhappy about the future of America. She said she wanted to shoot, and I got a call. It was short notice, as in “hey, David, what are you doing today?” but my family was just sitting around wondering the same thing, so I was off as soon as lunch was et.

The classroom:
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Their dining room table was rather more crowded than usual. The green paper rolls are my posters to help me instruct on the Four Rules, range safety, gun handling, and aiming theory.  Manuals of arms and physics round it out to about a two hour class, then it was off to the back yard.

The daughter was ‘scared’ of guns and I could tell she was not ready to go to the range and make some real noise just yet, so we brought some pellet guns, a box, and a red marker.  On one side of the box I drew cartoon monster faces with big target eyes.  We shot them up, and the daughter put the next set of targets on the other side:

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The sun was setting, and we were about pellet gun’d out, so after a few rounds of subsonic .22LR, we knocked it off and called a supper break.  Supper was just down the street from a decent local indoor gun range, to which we retired after eating.

The dad and mom were good to go, and they were mostly doing their own thing in one lane as I was looking at their daughter’s body in another lane.  Rawr!  No seriously, I have a vague idea that she was hitting where she was aiming, but this girl shares the bad habit of her generation: slouching.  Posture is important in shooting comfort, accuracy, and for larger guns very important for controlling the recoil of a weapon.  I kept having to move her shoulders and hips into position, or else she’d go tits-down-belly-out at the drop of a hat.  This is not proper shooting posture, and I was happy to see her correcting her own posture by the time we were done.   She still claims ‘guns are scary’ but I believe her even less now than I did earlier in the day.  You can’t drill the center out of a target with a large-capacity .22 rifle and not have at least a little fun.

So chalk up three more people at least not totally ignorant and unsafe when it comes to guns, thanks to your humble host, VFD.

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Then I got home and caught flak from DW for being gone all day, leaving her with the Zoo “and you knew I was tired”.  Oh well.  Maybe next time you’ll remember it takes all afternoon, every time I have a class?  Forgiveness being easier than permission to obtain, I’m pretty sure she’ll be over it by Monday, or maybe Wednesday at the latest!