Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Battles B.C. and other things

Okay, this is going to be a post of a few topics:

Item 1: Battles, B.C. on the History Channel

I'm really enjoying this show. It's a mix of historians talking about the particular subject, and visuals, done in the style of 300. They've done Hannibal, David, and Joshua, and next weeks episode is on Caesar. It's both fun and educational. For instance, Hannibal's attack on Rome actually failed - he never made it that far. He decimated the troops, yes, changed warfare forever, and actually instigated the expansionist view of the Roman Empire, but he never made it to Rome, which was his goal. David, for all of being the greatest king of the Jewish empire, was typical for the day and age, but really just a brilliant tactician. One of the historians likened him to a Mafia Don, in that he had his consigliere, in Joab, who would remove problems for him. All the deaths that made it possible for him to wipe out, effectively, Saul's bloodline and claim the throne, he was never blamed for any of them. Sort of a, 'who will rid me of this troublesome priest', thing. Sometimes, it seems as though Joab would act, against David's orders, when he thought it was for the best. See his killing of Absalom, when David had told everyone not to kill him. Funnily enough, Solomon had Joab killed when he ascended to the throne. It's all about the consolidation of power.

The part that I found most interesting about the episode on Joshua though, was Jericho. I'm going from memory, so I'm not quoting any numbers, but when the Israelite army went to Jericho, they outnumbered the populace, and *far* outnumbered the defenders of Jericho. What they historians put forth was that, the red cord that Rahab tied out her window was a signal, but not just that the household was not to be killed. After all, the killing would be done once the army was *inside* the walls, so what good would a sign that couldn't be seen from inside do? Rather, the cord was a signal for the place where the Israelite army could sneak some of their men in. So, each day for the six days that the army was marching around Jericho, when they blew their horns, say, ten, fifteen men climbed up and hid in Rahab's house or on her roof. On the seventh day, you've got at least 60, possibly more well trained men *inside* Jericho. They could easily take down enough of the defenders on a section of the wall, to allow the army to overwhelm that section, and, from that point, take the city. So, the walls fell, metaphorically, not literally.

Item 2: Exercise and Weight

I screwed around the last little while with the weight loss. I was bad, and I gained a little of it back. However, the past week I really went back to the grind stone. Rather than sit and play with the dogs, I'm taking them around and around our yard until they tire out. It's better for them, better for me. I'm doing a solid half-hour on the tread mill, and then a half-hour of other exercise every day, at least. I'm watching what I eat, very closely. Alana posted, a while back, two good posts with quotes from the church fathers and the Bible on gluttony, and how one should conduct oneself at table. I printed them out and taped them to my bathroom mirror, as a reminder.

I lost five pounds in a week.

Now, I don't expect the loss to continue at that rate, it's somewhat insane, really. But I think it's an excellent sign.

I'm up to 3 mph on the treadmill, for the whole half hour, which is a *huge* improvement from where I started, and, you know what? I have a bruise on one wrist. It's from *letting go of the treadmill arms and swinging my arms*! I couldn't have done that at this speed a few weeks ago!

I'm going to do more though. I've given up alcohol, I poured everything in the house down the drain. I'm quitting soda entirely, so I'm going to be cranky as it works its way out of my system, I'm a total caffine addict. Pasta and bread are also going to go.

Item 3: Parents

They've left their church. Not for theological reasons, but because they didn't like the way the worship team and some other things were being run. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I asked them what they were going to be now, since the church they were going to was Mennonite, and my mother said 'Christian', dad said, 'Jehovah's Witnesses!' (he was joking).


  1. Yippee on your weight loss!! That's great! I wish I had your willpower! Sorry about your :-D

    Your dad's response was rather cute. Ha!

    Thanks for sharing what you did about the shows you've been watching. I've never heard that explanation of Joshua before...hmmm. I'll have to think about it. Kind of makes the miracle of God a moot point ... like they are trying to explain away God's role. Perhaps I should read what you wrote again.

    Off to do just that . . .

  2. Susanne,

    Ah, the weight loss is wonderful! I only pray I can keep it up. Not the five pounds in a week, because I know that's unusual, but losing every week. That's my goal. Even just a little.

    Hee, I'm quite please with my bruise. Of course, now I've figured out where to swing my arms as I walk, so I'm not banging into it anymore. :)

    Dad likes to think he's a comedian. We like to let him think so.

    Well, it is History Channel, and so not a religious channel. However, and this is just from my perspective, I don't see that it removes God from the equation. I think miracles can happen in the 'coincidences' of events.

    March an entire people across a country, train up an army in forty years. You've got to have dedication, and great leaders, which they had in Moses and then Joshua. Then you've got to sneak spies into a hostile, fortified city. They happen to find a prostitute willing to hide them, and then lie about their presence, and *then* agree to help them destroy her city, and her people. All for the promise of sparing her and her family. It would have been very easy for Rahab to betray them. Then, take a hostile army, march it up to the fortified city. And proceed to sneak highly skilled warriors into the city, ten at a time. And pray that they don't get discovered, or that Rahab doesn't poison them, or turn them in, and reveal the whole thing.

    Even then, with the planning, with Joshua's tactical cleverness, something still could have gone horribly wrong.

    I'm more impressed with all the things that had to go *just right* for this plan to succeed than with the thought of God smiting the walls and letting the Israelites stroll over the rubble. I know the saying is, 'the devil's in the details', but really, I think God is in the details, much more.

  3. Oh, those are great examples of God being in the details...hmmm...great answer! I love all those things that you shared. :-)

    I have also swung my arms and been bruised on treadmills. I think that's why your comment took my attention. One of those "been there" moments.

    Btw, I thought of you this morning when I was reading in Mark. Go check out chapter 7 verses 1 through 20. This is in regard to the Law and, at least, the food aspect. I know you questioned Paul's opinion, but maybe you will be OK with non-kosher foods after reading this from Mark. :-)

  4. Oh, well, as long as it's not St. Paul... ;-)

    I actually agree with the passage. It's not what goes into you that makes you clean or dirty, but what comes out. Your actions and the intent behind them.

    I don't see Mosaic Law/non-Mosaic Law as a salvation issue though. It's really more...well..keeping the Law isn't going to save us. That's perfectly clear. However, might observance of the Law help, in some way, us orient ourselve more toward God?

  5. Oh, thanks for finding this for me! I enjoyed it. And it's cute seeing you as the penguin again. When I first met you, your blog was penguinish. :)

    I enjoyed rereading this post!


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