Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah

Interview with Yuval Harari- Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah | The Book of Doctrines and Opinions::

The Talmud is chock-full of magic and ways to ward off demons. Rabbi Hai Gaon claimed that the belief in demons was widespread in the Babylonian academy of Sura as a continuity of the ancient magic of Babylonia court of Nebuchadnezzar, a world filled with spirits who inhabited the air, the trees, water, roofs of houses, and privies.

The Talmud taught that are invisible. “If the eye could see them no one could endure them. They surround one on all sides. They are more numerous than humans, each person has a thousand on his left and ten thousand on his right”. Yet, if you want to see them, “bring the tail of a first born black cat, that is the daughter of a first born black cat. Burn it in fire, grind it up, fill your eyes with the ashes and then you will see them.” (Ber. 6a). This topic has not been given the attention it deserves.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pussy Riot Founder Says American Liberals Scapegoat Putin To Distract From Democrats' Problems

Pussy Riot Founder Says American Liberals Scapegoat Putin To Distract From Democrats' Problems:



Vladimir Putin has become a fixture in the U.S. political conversation, as a majority of Americans have come to believe he helped rig the 2016 election for Donald Trump. Yet one prominent anti-Putin activist who was jailed by the Russian government says, in a new podcast interview, that America's political class is deliberately promoting an inaccurate picture of Putin to distract from the United States' own domestic problems.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Heavy Anglo Orthodox: They’ve always been with us

The Heavy Anglo Orthodox: They’ve always been with us:



I find it highly interesting that a sainted hierarch, an accomplished ascetic cÅ“nobite of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra with a firm doctrinal formation and a careful cultivation of personal holiness and virtue, had to rein in the legalistic tendencies of his spiritual sons, particularly the presumably-married Father Kirik (whose razor-keen mathematical mind, sketched here so diligently by Fedotov, was clearly drawn toward the harsher, more maximalist view of canonical rigourism). I also find it remarkable that the Russian Church, which had no interest in Hellenistic speculative theology but was instead more drawn toward the rabbinical ‘Juda�sing’ pole and toward theologies of history, swung so heavily at the grassroots to the guidance of the ‘Hellenists’ on matters of practical lay ethics. I’m sure there’s a reason for this, and I’m much mistaken if Fedotov will not see fit to mention it later in the book. Still, such a passage shows that convertitis and Hyperdox Hermans have always been with us; and have a history of trying the patience even of saints!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Commission calls for religious leader regulation

Commission calls for religious leader regulation:

The CRL Rights Commission has recommended that all religious practitioners operating in South Africa either be registered or face prosecution.

The commission has released its report into the commercialisation of religion and abuse of belief systems.

Several pastors have made headlines in recent months for using dangerous methods, such as spraying doom on congregants.

The CRL Rights Commission says the religious sector must be regulated and operate within the law.

Chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said, “You will not be allowed to operate in this country unless we know where you are, what you are doing and who you are.”

She says umbrella organisations must also be established in order to monitor the conduct of religious leaders and institutions.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Onesimus: Contextualization Weirdness: Some Thoughts on Orthodox Missions and Evangelism in Kenya

Onesimus: Contextualization Weirdness: Some Thoughts on Orthodox Missions and Evangelism in Kenya:

when Orthodox Christians choose to do evangelism here in Kenya, how should we go about doing it? Should we organise pilgrimages and processions and carry icons around the community whilst chanting? Should we run seminars to better acquaint our neighbours with who we are and where we come from? It has been said that funerals are actually a significant (and for many the only) point of contact with Orthodox priests and services. To our credit (in my opinion) the simplicity and beauty of our funeral liturgy compares favourably with the way funerals are done in other denominations. But this is more on the lines of exposure as opposed to evangelism.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Truth is the first casualty in PR offensive | The Independent

Truth is the first casualty in PR offensive | The Independent:
The Ruder Finn strategy has been to build a congressional and Senate coalition in the US in support of Croatia. The strategy has included mobilising the 2.5 million Croats in the US to lobby their own representatives in Congress.

Central to all this activity was equating the Serbian forces with Communism and the Croats with Western freedom and democracy.

Ruder Finn's work for Croatia - SourceWatch

Ruder Finn's work for Croatia - SourceWatch:

On 12 August 1991, the Croatian government hired the American public relations firm Ruder Finn Global Public Affairs to "develop and carry out strategies and tactics for communication with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate as well as with officials of the U.S. government including the State Department, the National Security Council and other relevant agencies and departments of the U.S. government as well as with American and international news media". On 12 November 1991, Ruder Finn's contract was renewed to include lobbying in relation to diplomatic recognition, sanctions, and embargoes, as well as briefings for officials of the first Bush administration and preparation of special background material, press releases, both reactive and proactive articles and letters to the editors to appear in major newspapers, briefings for journalists, columnists, and commentators. In January and February 1992, Ruder Finn organized trips to Croatia for U.S. Congressmen. The United States recognized Croatia as an independent state on 7 April 1992.

Bell Pottinger’s full, unequivocal, absolute apology for selling Gupta lies - BizNews.com

Bell Pottinger’s full, unequivocal, absolute apology for selling Gupta lies - BizNews.com:

LONDON — Here’s a very big win for the good guys. The �100 000 a month London agency which promoted the Gupta agenda in South Africa – including instigating a threat to use the UK courts to close down Biznews – has suddenly seen the error of its ways. After steadfastly denying any wrongdoing by his company and claiming its clients were innocent victims, Bell Pottinger’s owner and CEO James Henderson today issued a grovelling apology: “full, unequivocal and absolute” to quote from the statement. News like this takes time to digest. Nice. But given the damage this firm’s dark media arts has created in South Africa, and the personal attacks and despicable social media deeds conducted under its instruction, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t close matter. But perhaps, to paraphrase Churchill, it is the end of the beginning. – Alec Hogg

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2017 Edition)

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2017 Edition):



Thus, my list of writing contests below once again includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send that exciting draft.
If you only submit to one…

If you only have time to submit to one contest this season, my recommendation is PEN Center USA – Emerging Voices