Out of the Fog: A Christmas and New Year’s Wish

Photo of Bank of America Building by
© Leslye Joy Allen

By Leslye Joy Allen

Copyright © 2017 by Leslye Joy Allen

While driving in the early morning hours in my beloved city of Atlanta, I saw the usual signs of city growth:  traffic that can make a Nun cuss, shiny new buildings, massive construction everywhere, people bustling off to work, school and the airport, and homeless people huddled under bridges.

When I witnessed the top of the super large Bank of America Building on Peachtree Street, its steeple-shaped illuminated top seemed to hang in the air in our unusually heavy fog.  If I did not know anything about this building or if I was a kid with a vivid imagination, the sight of that lighted steeple would have given me the best fantasies of flying saucers and aliens.

As I took that quick snapshot of the top of the Bank of America Building it made me think of the Star in the East.  Even when I looked at the top of this building and recognized it in the distance, I knew that what I saw was only one component of the building.  Maybe it was the brightest component, certainly the top of it.  But it wasn’t hanging in the air by itself.  So here is something to think about:

Puerto Rico, Dominica and St. Johns, Virgin Islands still have no electricity. There will be no Christmas lights and there probably will be no lights on New Years’ Eve.  These tan and brown and black human beings have been without power for over 14 weeks at this writing.  And just like the homeless in downtown Atlanta, many folks stay on these islands to protect what little possessions that they have left after hurricanes.  They take cold showers when they can, and eat food prepared from makeshift kitchens.  You may not give a damn about any of this because it doesn’t directly affect you, but it actually does. You may not care about all of these people of color, but you will because they are necessary in ways you may never have imagined.  Remember, no one gave a damn about a homeless brown couple–with the wife being very pregnant–in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, either.

For much of the past year, many of us have whined and moaned about the current state of affairs in Washington, D. C.  We have often exhausted ourselves with tales of political misconduct and malfeasance and sexual impropriety.  We have listened to racist, sexist, homophobic, and misogynist rhetoric.  And at times, I have to say, I wondered when (or if) anyone was going to get tired of feasting on all of it.

It’s not that these evil things don’t exist; they do!  Yet, in our well-meaning attempts to publicize many of these problems, we often perpetuate our own lack of resolve to change any of it simply by believing that ranting about it on social media does anything more than help us blow off some steam. We often forget that much of this nation is built off and on the backs of people who now lay on the streets in cities all over the nation and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  In 2018, let’s plan to get out and stay out of the fog long enought to recognize the rest of the building; and that the top cannot and never has stood without the support from all those floors and a steady foundation.

That’s it for the year folks. If you didn’t understand this post, I’m sorry, but that’s it. I’m tired, happy, at times anxious, exhilarated by our capacity to triumph, glad about the women who no longer ask permission to be great or to do the work they were born to do. I know we can change anything we want to change.  But we can’t do any of it in a fog.  Peace.

This blog was written by Leslye Joy Allen and is protected by U. S. Copyright Law and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Any partial or total reference to this or any blog authored by Leslye Joy Allen, or any total or partial excerpt of this or any blog by Leslye Joy Allen must contain a direct reference to this hyperlink: https://leslyejoyallen.com with Leslye Joy Allen clearly stated as the author. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Six Historical Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Jesus and Christianity that You Should Know

Green Earth 1
by Leslye Joy Allen, Copyright © 2012

by Leslye Joy Allen

Historian, Educator, Theatre and Jazz Advocate & Consultant, Doctoral Student

Copyright © 2012 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

  1. The name “Jesus” is a transliteration of a more common Hebrew name, “Yeshua.”  The proper name of the central person in Christianity is “Yeshua ben Yosef,” which technically translates as “Jesus, son of Joseph.”  For a long period of time, the letter “J” in the Western world was pronounced with a “Y” sound.  There is no letter “J” in the Hebrew or Aramaic languages that Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) spoke.
  2. Historians and other biblical scholars have noted that the FOUR Gospels included in the Christian Bible that detail the life of Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) cover only FIFTY days of his life.  There are no known written records that give details of his life in its entirety.
  3. There were/are over THIRTY Gospels written about the life of Jesus (Yeshua).  In circa 180 CE, a scholar named Irenaeus wrote his Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) where he determined that only FOUR of these Gospels should be included in the Bible.  These FOUR Gospels were the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  At the time, Irenaeus and his followers were vehemently against and competing for adherents with Christian Gnostics.  Do not confuse Christian Gnostics with “agnostics.”  Christian Gnostics were a group of Christians who performed different rituals and who held several different interpretations of the life of Christ and the practice of Christianity.
  4. The Lord’s Prayer was originally recited by Jesus (Yeshua) in Aramaic, one of a few languages that Jesus spoke.  There are many different translations of “The Lord’s Prayer,” from the original Aramaic.  The Lord’s Prayer that most modern Christians recite is actually a version edited and re-written by England’s King Henry VIII, which is why it (and the King James Bible, edited by England’s King James) sounds so much like English poetry from the 16th century.  Read some Shakespeare and then read some passages of an Old King James version of the Bible and you will notice the similarities.
  5. The standard practice for punishing a woman who had committed adultery or who became pregnant outside of wedlock, was to take her to her father’s door, bury her up to her neck, and then have the men of the town throw rocks at her head until she was dead.  Jesus stopped the men from killing the alleged biblical adulterous woman, daring them to cast the first stone if they too were not guilty of some offense; by so doing, he was stopping this common and accepted practice of death by stoning.  Many scholars believe that Jesus was applying the rules of adultery to men.  Up until that time, only women were charged with committing adultery.  Men had customarily been allowed concubines, particularly if their wives were barren or had passed childbearing age.  Jesus (Yeshua) surely understood the implications of sanctioning the act of stoning women to death.  After all, his stepfather Yosef (Joseph) disobeyed the Mosaic practice of stoning when he learned that the woman, Mary, to whom he was betrothed, was “with child,” a child that Yosef/Joseph was certain he did not sire.
  6. Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus) was sentenced to death by crucifixion, Rome’s standard death penalty for slaves convicted of crimes.  The charges against Jesus (Yeshua) were HERESY (going against church teachings) and SEDITION (which is plotting to overthrow the government).  Yeshua (Jesus) was first tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for HERESY by Jewish Church authorities before he was turned over to Pontius Pilate, the Procurator of Judaea from roughly 26 – 36 CE, for further prosecution by the Roman state.

While the Internet can certainly help you read more about this information and other related topics, the information included here can be found in the Dictionary of Roman Religion, see Lesley and Roy A. Adkins article “Jesus of Nazareth.”; another good source of information is a book called Jesus by A. N. Wilson (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992).

Copyright © 2012 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

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Creative Commons License This Blog was written by Leslye Joy Allen and is protected by U. S. Copyright Law and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Any partial or total reference to this blog, or any total or partial excerpt of this blog must contain a direct reference to this hyperlink: http://leslyejoyallen.com with Leslye Joy Allen clearly stated as the author.