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Happy Birthday to Mr. William Shakespeare(April 23,1564-April 23,1616.) Your contribution to the English language is unsurpassed and shall shine for eternity!
(A “few” of my favorite lines…)
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream:Act 1,Scene 1)

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” (The Tempest:Act 1,Scene 2)

“Sonnet 30″
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” (Measure for Measure:Act 1,Scene 4)

“God has given you one face and you make yourselves another.” (Hamlet:Act3,Scene1)

“But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!” (Romeo and Juliet:Act2,Scene2)

“There’s place and means for every man alive.” (All’s Well That Ends Well:Act4,Scene3)

“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” (Macbeth:Act I, Scene 5)

Shakespeare

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is there evidence for this? Is the testimony of Saint Paul reliable? Is their evidence “OUTSIDE” the New Testament for the Resurrection? Do you believe or disbelieve in the Resurrection? What is your evidence? What methodology should we use to interpret and understand ancient historical documents? How do you download and process your own doubt? Why do I ask this? It is critical to your thinking process! Once again,Dr.Habermas delivers his infamous lecture on this critical subject of apologetics! (This is the most updated version I have come in contact with.)

“Passover”

I wish to extend to ALL of my Jewish brothers and sisters a BLESSED Passover Holiday…please pray for the PEACE and PRESERVATION of Israel. (Passover commences this evening at sundown.)

5 “בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁ֗ון בְּאַרְבָּעָ֥ה עָשָׂ֛ר לַחֹ֖דֶשׁ בֵּ֣ין הָעַרְבָּ֑יִם פֶּ֖סַח לַיהוָֽה׃

6 וּבַחֲמִשָּׁ֨ה עָשָׂ֥ר יֹום֙ לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֔ה חַ֥ג הַמַּצֹּ֖ות לַיהוָ֑ה שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֖ים מַצֹּ֥ות תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃

7 בַּיֹּום֙ הָֽרִאשֹׁ֔ון מִקְרָא־קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם כָּל־מְלֶ֥אכֶת עֲבֹדָ֖ה לֹ֥א תַעֲשֽׂוּ׃

8 וְהִקְרַבְתֶּ֥ם אִשֶּׁ֛ה לַיהוָ֖ה שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים בַּיֹּ֤ום הַשְּׁבִיעִי֙ מִקְרָא־קֹ֔דֶשׁ כָּל־מְלֶ֥אכֶת עֲבֹדָ֖ה לֹ֥א תַעֲשֽׂוּ׃

5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, 6 and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 8 For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations.”
(Leviticus 23: 5-8,NRSV)

"Passover" by Palma il Giovane,circa,1581.)

“Passover” by Palma il Giovane,circa,1581.)

Photo of Georgetown,Pa. Photo taken around 1908. (Photo is courtesy of the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.)

Photo of Georgetown,Pa. Photo taken around 1908. (Photo is courtesy of the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.)

With all the recent excavations and information published on Fort McIntosh, and all the admiration and respect it has collected the past few centuries, it comes to no surprise that it has constructed a loyal following to local and national historians as well as its citizens who have continued to reside near the remains. Indeed, it has attracted and influenced folklore, history, reenactments, books and even songs written about its remarkable “emblem” engraved on the heart of America; but yet, there remains another fort , though worthy of enviable mention, it has been forgotten by even the most talented and respected historical authors of recent time.

The most illustrious and charismatic local historians of Beaver County: Bausman, Agnew, Albert, and Warner have even successfully managed to halt its progress into the minds of the most sincere and avid students of local preservation and research. By far, its role played during the American Revolution and other episodes is well akin and grounded in the precious and natural development of our area. The name of this fort was “Reardon’s Bottom”, in Georgetown, Pa. In the pre-dawn creation of Beaver County, Georgetown held a very political and strategic location for numerous walks of folks. It was a major hub for fur traders, trappers, and a supply depot for river travelers; it was even considered a crossover to go “west” as well deep into the Northwest Territory. Even in the creative journals of Lewis and Clarke, they mention a fort in the area of Georgetown as well as military correspondence, and frontier river journals. Example: Fort Pitt.

In April of 1777, the Continental Congress ordered Gen. Edward Hand to arrive at Fort Pitt and take command of the troops already established there( which was the 13th Virginia Regiment ) and to obtain recruits and raise a militia in the surrounding region, noticeably southwestern Pa (during this period, Reardon’s Bottom would have served as an outpost and defense location against hostile Indian attacks in our region). As a duty to his knowledge and position of the area, (Fort Pitt) a report was delivered to him of all the fortified posts along the Ohio River ; the names of most of these forts are rather well known: Fort Armstrong, Holiday’s Cove, Fort Henry, and Fort Randolph; one was on the list that was completely oblivious: “Reardon’s Bottom.” But this post is “officially” documented in military correspondence of generals and officers of the Continental Army in our region. Its geographic location is about 40 miles from Fort Pitt with one officer and perhaps 15 men; the notice is dated June 3, 1777. Also, in the autumn of 1782, a gentleman named Christopher Hays composed a letter to Gen. William Ervine to inform him on his arduous process of surveying the “frontier land” of the western boundary of Pa. He writes: “we expect to strike the Ohio river about Thursday between Fort McIntosh and Raredon’s Bottom(Reardon’s Bottom).

This precise piece of correspondence is candid evidence that a fort was in full operation at Georgetown, Pa. Yet the date of the fort itself is surrounded on all its sides by folklore and obscurity. Some historians claim that it was originally built by the French when they arrived in the territory. This claim would uphold a substantial amount of truth considering the fact that they would have countless incursions from hostile Indians inhabiting the areas along the Ohio river and neighboring woodlands. To further substantiate these claims, more further military correspondence is needed: (1) According to Rev. Bausman , “in 1786 Benoni Dawson built a “fort” on the site of Georgetown, and his son, Thomas Dawson, one on the other side of the river some years later. These were doubtless, as we have said, strong log cabins…” (2) In John Reardon’s application for a Revolutionary War pension dated September 7, 1833, listed his service from March 1, 1776, October 31, 1776; he was stationed on that part of the Ohio river building “blockhouses”(these were local houses of defense that all frontier families occupied when the occasion arose).

To better appreciate the purpose of the Fort, it must be understood that Beaver County, at that time, was largely “frontier” territory and was an important location for the Continental Army. Though a generous amount of trapping, trade, and blacksmithing occupied our region, there were no roads,wagon trails or railroads in the area yet. And since Georgetown was already a flourishing water route, it was easier and much cheaper for the early settlers to journey through the region by way of Georgetown, primarily because of the attraction of keel boats and canoes which it supplied and obtaining the essentials of the forts by the Beaver and Ohio rivers;this made it a paramount objective to the Continental Army generals. One must solely rely upon his own inquisitive imagination to fully augment the dangers that our descendents endured in our region. The origin of our history, though obscure and discombobulated among its auditors, is a transcended odyssey through adventure and informative credibility among its apostles. It is the candid consensus of local historians that the “original” site of the fort lay at the south bank of the Ohio at the mouth of Mill Creek or Nash Run. As a result of the word “Bottom” they have convinced themselves that the fort was located along the river at the mouth of a stream; there is no physical evidence to support this conjecture. The ancient site of the historic relic is veiled in the tapestry of the brush, trees, and earth that is Georgetown; though, purported still, by a few of its inhabitants, patiently anticipating rediscovery.

Despite its location, or the spelling of its name, it is without question that Reardon’s Bottom was a significant structure, occupied by the Continental Army, and defended and saved the lives of countless citizens of our locality. The imminent role that Georgetown played in the early phase of the American Revolution is unprecedented in the annals of the heroic contribution made to the birth of America and the infancy development of Beaver County.

 

Inebriated Verse!

During the period of Great Lent,I absolutely love sharing poetry;it presents a form of penance because the soul is thirsty for a new creation;however,I prefer mine to be in a constant mode of servitude to verse,lest I,God forbid,cease to appreciate the beauty (and appreciation)of emotion inebriated with ink…   

 

“Jesus of the Scars” by Edward Shillito

 

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.

If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

Charles Lutyens, "Crucifixion," 1984. Oil on canvas.

Charles Lutyens, “Crucifixion,” 1984. Oil on canvas.

Easter and Lent are pristine occasions to debate religion,especially Christianity. My topic is a simple one that is not candidly relevant to the article in question. Did Jesus die ON or BEFORE Passover? That will depend on which Gospel you read! Example: “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread,on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” (Lk 22:7)NRSV
Now BEFORE the Feast of the Passover,when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father,having loved his own who were in the world,he loved them to the end.”(Jn 13:1)ESV When was Jesus going to be killed?He could not have died twice! (Just an observation.) At any rate,Jonathan Klawans,a biblical scholar from Boston University,argues that the “Last Supper” was…read on!

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/was-jesus-last-supper-a-seder/

Tintoretto, Last Supper, oil on canvas, Venice, Italy, 1594

Tintoretto, Last Supper, oil on canvas, Venice, Italy, 1594

There is a tremendous amount of confusion about Lent;I shall(briefly) try to rectify:
It is true that Lent was NOT practiced by Jesus or the Apostles and in 1st century Palestine;however,that does not mean it has no significance. If your going to use the Bible as your defense,let’s see how accurate that is…
1: Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter. For instance, St. Irenaeus (d. 203) wrote to Pope St. Victor I, commenting on the celebration of Easter and the differences between practices in the East and the West: “The dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast. Some think that they ought to fast for one day, some for two, others for still more; some make their ‘day’ last 40 hours on end. Such variation in the observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers” (Eusebius, History of the Church, V, 24). When Rufinus translated this passage from Greek into Latin, the punctuation made between “40″ and “hours” made the meaning to appear to be “40 days, twenty-four hours a day.” The importance of the passage, nevertheless, remains that since the time of “our forefathers” — always an expression for the apostles — a 40-day period of Lenten preparation existed. However, the actual practices and duration of Lent were still not homogenous throughout the Church.(Like the Bible,it took a FEW centuries to develop;the canonization of the New Testament didn’t take its final form until centuries later!)
2:
Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313. by emperor Constantine.St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) in his series of “Festal Letters” also noted the practices and duration of Lent, emphasizing the 40-day period of fasting. Finally, Pope St. Leo (d. 461) preached that the faithful must “fulfill with their fasts the Apostolic institution of the 40 days,” again noting the apostolic origins of Lent. One can safely conclude that by the end of the fourth century, the 40-day period of Easter preparation known as Lent existed, and that prayer and fasting constituted its primary spiritual exercises.Of course, the number “40″ has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, “Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water” (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked “40 days and 40 nights” to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life,on the seventeenth day of the second month-on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth,and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Gen 7 11-12).Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2).

3: So why is Lent necessary?(I”M NOT ASSERTING IT IS MANDATORY!)After all,if we attend church each Sunday and read our bible daily,haven’t we reached our most “developed” communion with God? The short answer(in my view)is no. The pilgrimage of Lent(IT IS NOT A CELEBRATION LIKE MY PROTESTANT BRETHREN THINK) is necessary precisely because we do not always want or recognize His Kingdom. Indeed, rather than live in His communion and love, we have done nothing but forfeit that glory.  We remain tied to our fallen world and our sinful state. We cling to our passions instead of clinging to God. Knowing this, the Church gives us Great Lent to assist us in our salvation. We need reminding.  The Church is here to remind me of what I have abandoned and lost. And as she reminds me, I remember: “I have wickedly strayed from Thy fatherly glory” (Schmemann, Great Lent, 22). In order to continue to experience fully the joy of Pascha(Easter) and our participation in the Kingdom, we must each year journey through the Sinai wilderness of our sin. We must be made aware of our utter rebelliousness.

4: Where is “The Bible” on all of this? It is not there. The Christian religion took centuries to development;the canonization of the New Testament DID NOT begin until LONG after these “celebrations” were incorporated into the EARLY church! So,if “Sola Scriptura” is your only defense for NOT partaking in this beautiful journey,I have one question: What “Bible” are you speaking of? THE APOSTLES NEVER SEEN A BIBLE! BUT THEY DID ESTABLISH A CHURCH…the Latin Vulgate (translated by St.Jerome) came a few HUNDRED later;Tyndale’s Bible,1,526 years later;the Geneva Bible,1,560 years later;the King James Bible,1,611 years later! So,if you don’t approve of the dates of the early “celebrations” of the Church,your scripture arrives(in its final form)much later,MUCH LATER! To close,Protestant,Eastern Orthodox(my church)and Roman Catholic all USE different Bibles. Consider the following differences;I can demonstrate hundreds more:
The Protestant Bible excludes the deuterocanonical books, which Protestants call the Apocrypha.
The Catholic Bible differs also from the Bible as recognized by churches of Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, which include books not accepted by the Catholic Church as canonical.
The Greek Orthodox Church generally considers Psalm 151 to be part of the Book of Psalms and accepts the “books of the Maccabees” as four in number, but generally places 4 Maccabees in an appendix, along with the Prayer of Manasseh.[2] There are differences from Western usage in the naming of some books (see, for instance, Esdras#Differences in names). Greek Orthodox generally consider the Septuagint to be divinely inspired no less than the Hebrew text of the Old Testament books.
The Bible of the Tewahedo Churches differs from the Western and Greek Orthodox Bibles in the order, naming, and chapter/verse division of some of the books. The Ethiopian “narrow” biblical canon includes 81 books altogether: The 27 books of the New Testament; the Old Testament books found in the Septuagint(a Greek translation of the Old Testament) and that are accepted by the Eastern Orthodox (more numerous than the Catholic deuterocanonical books);[3] and in addition Enoch, Jubilees, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Rest of the Words of Baruch and 3 books of Meqabyan (Ethiopian books of Maccabees entirely different in content from the 4 Books of Maccabees of the Eastern Orthodox). A “broader” Ethiopian New Testament canon includes 4 books of “Sinodos” (church practices), 2 “Books of Covenant”, “Ethiopic Clement”, and “Ethiopic Didascalia” (Apostolic Church-Ordinances). This “broader” canon is sometimes said to include with the Old Testament an 8-part history of the Jews based on the writings of Titus Flavius Josephus, and known as “Pseudo-Josephus” or “Joseph ben Gurion” (Yosēf walda Koryon). ALL OF THESE TOOK CENTURIES OF EDITING,PROCESING,COPYING,REVISION,TRANSLATION,etc! (This is just a fragment of how complicated “The Bible” can be!) So…DO NOT TRY TO CONVINCE ME SIMPLY BECAUSE THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY SO…Blessings to all of you!orthodox-prostration

Why do you doubt???

Why do you doubt? What or who makes you doubt? Is it harmful or helpful? Are you in fear when you’re in doubt? While Dr. Habermas takes this subject from a Christian perspective,I believe there are some valuable tools in this lecture that any person of any faith can find useful…I hope this helps you.

 

Are Miracles real?

Have you ever experienced or witnessed a miracle? What(in your view)is a miracle? What “form” of evidence should present itself to convince you? These questions have plagued my conscience for years. There has been an astounding level of documentation,eye witness testimony,videos,and participants to validate claims. Many famous essays and debates have developed over this subject,of which two,I will represent as being a cornerstone that is worth (in my observation)your time and research.

Dr. Craig Keener is one of the world’s top biblical scholars;however,in the branch of miracles,he is a valedictorian. He has written an immensely interesting work entitled, “Miracles:The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.” Without giving an exhausting review of this work,I will state this:IT IS THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF TESTIMONY EVER ASSEMBLED ON THIS SUBJECT! That said,Dr. Keener’s work is not for the plebeian or laymen. His arguments are complicated and large. It also requires an arduous amount of time to complete his books;they are extensive(this work is over 1200 pages)! 

To be a bit specific,Keener targets David Hume’s argument on miracles. David Hume(1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher who wrote a famous essay (“On Miracles”) on why it is not even plausible to believe that miracles can even occur(you can read his essay here:http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hume/david/h92e/chapter10.html). (Read Hume’s argument before you read Keener’s book!) 

I will not permit myself to give away all the fascination,mystery and evidence that Dr. Keener has provided in his book…IT IS A MUST READ! This is a subject that carries a tremendous amount of acceptability and proof for the incredulous;I want to share more with you,but cannot! However,here is an interview that Dr. Keener has given on the book itself. (It may interest you to know that Dr. Keener was an atheist for many of his early years…)  You can purchase Dr. Keener’s book here: http://www.amazon.com/Miracles-Credibility-New-Testament-Accounts/dp/0801039525/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390241570&sr=1-1&keywords=craig+keener+miracles

Black Eyed Children

Who are these Black Eyed Children? Has anyone ever had an encounter with them? Apparently,there is “incredulous” testimony all over the Internet,especially on Youtube! I can relate a tale that is somewhat similar: Right here in Pennsylvania,where I live, is a creepy cemetery called “Mount Carmel”. In its sod are contained the remains of many children who supposedly haunt the grounds. Many of them are heard crying or laughing or calling the names of their parents. It has been a local “holy grail” of paranormal hunters for some time now. I have visited this place on several occasions and have experienced feelings of uneasiness and being watched. That said,it is a peaceful place and a historical gallery to the early settlers of Beaver County. Who knows,perhaps these little ghosts have made their final resting place into a mystical playground where adults cannot be invited. (An enticing thought…) David Weatherly,an author on the topic, has published a book on this current craze;I highly suggest indulging yourself in it;I am doing it now…here is the link:

http://www.leprechaunpress.com/titles

Black Eyed Children by David Weatherly

Black Eyed Children by David Weatherly

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