10 Ways to Remember Passover if You Don’t Celebrate

Passover starts at sunset! Quick! Give your chametz to a non-observant neighbor, start cleaning and shopping, dig out your haggadah, and call your friends over!

If you’re not ready by now, though, you probably planned not to celebrate. Even if you’re not joining a Seder this holiday, you can still observe the spirit of Passover. Take a moment each day this week to remember how God brought his people out of bondage with a strong arm. Some ideas:

  1. Eat some matza, the bread of our affliction, every day.
  2. Drink a bit of wine or grape juice every evening.
  3. Read the book of Exodus. If you read five chapters per day, you can complete it during the eight days of Passover. This makes a nice family project, if you read it together, too.
  4. Watch The Prince of Egypt. It’s not just for children.
  5. Before the Exodus, the LORD struck down the firstborn of all Egyptian homes. Hug your firstborn child, and pray for and bless all of your children.
  6. Send a Passover greeting. Write a note and pop it into the mail, or send an online greeting. Try 123 Greetings or Yahoo! Greetings.
  7. Go at least one day without eating chametz (food with leavening or yeast).
  8. Make a donation to a charity that supports freedom.
  9. Sing “Dayeinu” with a thankful heart. Hear it [HERE].
  10. Eat a store-bought or homemade Passover treat, like this apple-matza kugel recipe [HERE].

Yo, Christians! Did you know that the Last Supper that Jesus took with his disciples was a Passover seder? Find out more about the Jewish heritage of Jesus, and what the Passover looks like for followers of Jesus [HERE].

חג פסח שמח  Chag Pesach Sameach! Have a happy Passover!

Copyright 2011, 2016, Kathryn A. Frazier, all rights reserved. Edited March, 11, 2016 to remove broken links.

Telling religious to Get Over It is the wrong message.

In a video message addressed to “religious people who use the Bible to justify their anti-gay bigotry,” Dan Savage says, “there’s so much in the Bible that we’ve learned to ignore: the anti-female, anti-woman stuff…the stuff in the Bible that forbids us to eat lobster…that justifies and defends the institution of slavery…we’ve learned to ignore what the Bible says about pork, and…about polyester. We’ve learned to ignore all of that. We can also get over the anti-gay stuff in the Bible.”

As a Christian, I’m deeply sorry for the attitudes and behavior of those who use the Bible to discriminate, shame, belittle, or dismiss the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) community. It’s indefensible.

Savage’s call for religious people to ignore the Bible, however, divides Jewish and Christian communities and the LGBT community even further; and it stems from a misunderstanding of what the Bible actually says.

For the record:

I do not choose to ignore the “anti-female stuff”. It isn’t there. Men use the Bible to justify their anti-female bigotry, sure. But I don’t see it in the Bible. I see in the Tenach (Jewish Bible and Christian Old Testament), Deborah, the prophet, ruling over Israel, and leading in wartime1, Ruth taking charge of her own destiny2, and Abigail preventing a massacre by wisely going against her husband’s wishes.3 I see God providing for women4, protecting women5, and warning men not to deal treacherously with them.6 The Ten Commandments require respect of both father and mother.7 The ideal woman is described as a decisive, assured, powerful, working property owner.8 An entire book is devoted to sexual love between husband and wife, where the wife is equal throughout, and receiving as much as she gives.9 In the New Testament, I see the teaching, “there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”10

I do not choose to ignore the stuff that forbids us to eat lobster and pork, and wear polyester. Those laws were always intended to be temporary. In the Bible, Levitical laws forbid eating certain foods11, and wearing blended fabrics.12 God intended these laws to be temporary. He didn’t give them until over 3000 years after the creation of mankind, and he put them aside after the coming of Jesus.13 According to the New Testament, we have freedom to follow or to not follow them, as we choose.14

I do not choose to ignore the parts about slavery. I admit that I stumble over them, though. Under the law of Moses, God commanded masters to treat slaves with respect, as hired workers.15 He commanded they get a day off once a week.16 If a slave owner harmed a slave—for example, knocking out a tooth—God commanded them freed.17 Still. According to the Bible, humans could be bought, sold, and inherited as property under the law.18 Perhaps God established laws requiring humane treatment of slaves, because slavery already existed. Perhaps not. I don’t say I understand it, but I don’t ignore it. We are no longer under that law, and slavery was never required, so I can argue and work for the abolishment of slavery without violating the Bible.

Both Testaments say, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”19   Savage says that the New Testament says to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Actually, both Testaments say that. Maybe instead of calling upon religious people to ignore the very book that we stake our eternity on, Savage, and others concerned with equality, should call upon us to stop ignoring parts of it. We, as religious people, need to get over our pride, and recognize that we are called to serve and to love.

Please watch the following video for a truly Christian perspective on the treatment of LGBT people.

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier. All rights reserved. Shevarim.com

No One Lied to Us

“Why don’t you go to another church?”

“Because I’m Catholic,” Harold answered.

“You’re not Catholic,” I argued, “if you don’t believe what they teach.”

Harold just smiled. “I’m Catholic.”

Harold and I were in high school, those extraordinary years of challenging the faith of our parents, and forming a faith of our own. In some ways, adolescents must vilify authority, in order to become independent adults. I rejected the secularism of my upbringing, and chose Jesus. My friend, raised Catholic, questioned the tenets of his church. He never entertained the thought of leaving, though.

During Lent, the Catholic/Protestant issue invariably surfaces. Protestants insist that “it doesn’t take all that” to please God. Catholics just smile. They’re Catholic.

Like teenagers, wrestling with childhood uncertainties, people of all faiths struggle with opposing doctrines during this Holy Season. I believe God appreciates our questions. “Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18). How else can we know Him for ourselves?

When questioning, however, adults may resort to the ways of adolescence, accusing their spiritual predecessors of deliberate fraud. Vilifying parents, or church leaders, is the only way some people know how to cope with a new viewpoint.

I say it is time to put away childish things. No one lied to us. Right or wrong, our ancestors shared what they believed, mostly with good intentions. No man or woman can hand us pure truth. Only God is all-knowing. It’s up to each one of us to pray, study, listen, and learn.

Last I heard, Harold was still Catholic. I’m still not. He embraced the beauty and truth in his church, and didn’t worry about the parts he disagreed with. By staying in the church that he loved, Harold saw opportunities to reach out and make a difference in the lives of people I would never meet. Good for him!

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier All rights reserved. Shevarim.com

Why (Some) Christians Blame Japan

As with hurricane Katrina—which some blamed on legalized abortion—Christians found a way to link disaster to God’s rage. “Japan did it to themselves,” they’re saying. “God is bringing his curse for going against Israel.”

While most of the world prays for the Japanese people, and sends support, a vocal few claim that an angry God is punishing Japan for their aid to Palestine. Why he chose Japan, and not the other forty-six countries aiding Palestine, is a mystery.

How can anyone believe God is pleased with such suffering? Reasons vary, but the top ones are:

  • They’re Scared. By believing that people who suffer and die did something to deserve it—something they didn’t do—they feel safer. They think that God would never allow them to be caught in such a tragedy, and that belief eases their fear.
  • They feel powerless. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and radiation leaks are out of our control. Believing the events are linked to something they can control (behavior) helps them feel empowered.
  • They’re Self-Centered. Whatever makes headlines, in their view, must somehow revolve around them. Good things happen to those who agree with them, they think; and bad things happen to those who disagree.

Whatever their reasons, the Bible does not support their position. The book of Job is about a righteous man who suffered. His friends told him that he must have done something wrong. In the end, God calls Job’s friends into account, and makes them compensate Job for falsely accusing him. Jesus also denied the notion that those who suffer are worse sinners than anyone else. (Luke 13:1-5)

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) Weather happens. To everyone.

Please pray for the people of Japan, and text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to Japan relief.

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier, All Rights Reserved  shevarim.com

Should Christians be barred from fostering children?

Conservative Christians are unfit to serve as foster parents, because their beliefs regarding sexuality may “infect” children in their care, the High Court of the UK ruled February 28, 2011.

Eunice and Owen Johns applied to foster a child in 2007. They expressed their desire to love any child, but their religious beliefs prevented them from teaching the child that homosexuality is good. The battle was on. The High Court finally ruled that “That there is no religious discrimination against the Johns because they were being excluded from fostering due to their moral views on sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs”, even though their moral views on sexual ethics are based on their Christian beliefs.

The High Court’s decision is in line with United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), protecting the child’s international human right of sexual expression, above the right of the parent’s religious expression. If the United States ratifies the UN treaty, the same law would apply in the US.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre said, “If Christian morals are harmful to children and unacceptable to the State, then how many years do we have before natural children start being taken away from Christians?”

As a Christian, I believe minors should be encouraged to remain abstinent, regardless of their sexual orientation, because they are children. But I know that doesn’t always play out in real life.

What do you think?

To learn more about this case, visit  Christian Concern >>here<<

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier, all rights reserved. Shevarim.com

Orthodox Jews protest at the home of Messianic Jews

Warning poster against Polly Sigulim

Polly Sigulim is a law-abiding, Jewish woman living in Arad, Israel. She’s a widow, the mother of three children, and takes in foster children. She keeps the seven feast days of Israel, and she keeps Sabbath. She’s also a believer in Jesus, and attends a mixed congregation of Messianic Jews and Christians.

All of her foster children are either from Messianic Jewish or Christian families. Years ago, a Jewish girl who visited her family asked one of the foster children for a New Testament. After reading the New Testament twice, the girl chose to become a Christian. At the age of 18, the girl was baptized.

Since then, every Sabbath, Polly and her family have been subjected to demonstrations outside of her home by the Hasidim (Orthodox Jews) of Arad. They gather in the parking area outside of Polly’s home, take pictures of anyone who comes or goes, and yell insults and obscenities, including, “Jesus, the bastard,” over loudspeakers.

Once a year, in March, the Hasidim stage their big demonstration, with hundreds of demonstrators protesting the existence of Messianic Jews in Arad, in front of Polly’s home. They put up posters with Polly’s name and face, warning people to stay away from the “dangerous missionary.”

Polly says, “Of course it saddens us to see and hear our Jewish brothers outside our homes screaming curses against us and our families, trying to entice our neighbors to join their efforts to make our lives so miserable that we would choose to just pack everything and flee our birth-right country, Israel.”

The word Hasidim means literally, “loving kindness”. Do you think the Hasidim are living up to their name? Are they right to protest? Is eight years enough, or should they continue until Polly and her family moves? Should Polly have kept her foster child from giving another child a New Testament, considering the girl was still a minor?

Read more about Polly Sigulim and the protests at the following:

Messianic Jews Fight Public Slurs in Israel

Hate-Fest Demo Against Messianic Jews Returns to Arad

Some information for this article was obtained from an article by Alfred Muller at http://www.angelfire.com/super/redhorse/2004/07_05/04/01.htm

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier, all rights reserved. Shevarim.com

Shevarim: yearning for intervention

Isaac carried the wood. Abraham carried the fire and the knife. Father and son climbed Mt. Moriah together. No doubt Isaac arranged the wood on the altar as he had many times before. When he asked his father, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb.”

We don’t know if Abraham looked his son in the eyes, as he bound the young man and laid him on the altar. Did Isaac argue for his life? Did he leave a last word for his mother? We don’t know. Might he have simply asked, why? My mother’s heart tells me that even though it isn’t recorded, there were sobbing cries, if only in their souls.

We do know that as Abraham prepared to plunge the knife into his son, God cried out, “Abraham! Abraham!” I wonder if Abraham dropped the knife in relief as he called back, “I’m here, Lord!”

God said, “do not lay a hand on the boy!” And, just as Abraham believed, God himself provided for the sacrifice. A ram, caught by its horns in a nearby thicket, suddenly became visible.

Since the time of Abraham, the ram’s horns symbolize God’s intervention. His mercy. His goodness. His can-you-believe-how-amazing-this-is, just in the nick of time, rescue.

Shevarim is the name given to three medium, wailing, blasts of the shofar, a trumpet fashioned out of a ram’s horn. It has the broken sound of sobbing cries. When we hear it, we long for intervention, in the same way that Abraham and Isaac must have yearned for rescue, yearned not to be separated, yearned for another chance at life.

Listen to shevarim by clicking >>HERE<<,  and then believe God himself will provide a can-you-believe-how-amazing-this-is, just in the nick of time, rescue in your life.

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier  All rights reserved. shevarim.com

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