Now Hosted on WordPress

After four years of using Google’s Blogger.com service, I have rehosted my site on WordPress. I wasn’t dissatisfied with Blogger.com, but I am leery of having too much dependence on Google. They have a habit of killing off services that I like (Google Reader especially) and I saw some shift of focus over to Google+ that made me think that Blogger might be on the chopping block down the road.

While I have imported all of my previous entries to this new site, I will leave the old blog up until Google determines otherwise: jeremyblevins.blogspot.com.

Are you from Dixie

I’ve been feeling some Southern nostalgia for the past couple weeks, and one of my favorite all-time, any-genre musicians is Jerry Reed. Mind you, I’m  not a diehard Country Music fan, but I go on Jerry Reed binges. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Reed at the Morgan County Fair several years back, to give a date to the performance, he was promoting his role as Coach Red Beaulieu in The Waterboy, which was about to hit the theaters. I have a hard time picking a favorite Jerry Reed song, with Amos Moses being pretty high up there, but today I want to talk about Are you from Dixie (‘Cause I’m from Dixie too).

One thing I didn’t know until I wanted to write this post about is just how old that song is. According to the greatest source of information on Earth, the song was written in 1915 by Jack Yellen and George Cobb. Here is one of the earliest recordings of the song:

I had no idea the song was almost one hundred years old. There have been several artists who’ve recorded a version of it over the years, but in my biased opinion, Jerry Reed’s rendition is still the best.

Cinco de Mayo

Like all good Americans, I co-opt other cultures holidays, especially when it comes to eating. So today I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at my favorite Mexican lunch spot, El Coyote.

There wasn’t a lot of Cinco de Mayo fanfare at El Coyote today, but this is Alabama. I ate at a Mexican restaurant in Milpitas, California on Cinco de Mayo one year and it was an extravaganza. They were giving out swag from all the Mexican beer makers. Not only did the miniature maracas make a nice, incessant noise, but they served well as weapons for my kids to bludgeon each other with.

But I digress… The staff at El Coyote were all sporting jerseys from their favorite futbol teams and the dining area was full of white patrons indulging in their favorite quasi-Mexican holiday. They were playing special songs for the day though. It was a nice, quiet, reserved lunch, as to be expected in a nice, quiet, reserved Southern town.

Granted, the state of Puebla does celebrate El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, but Cinco de Mayo as celebrated by crackers like me was invented by Grupo Modelo because of the success they’d from Hallmark (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day) and Guinness (St. Patrick’s Day). Normally I’d oppose all the consumerist nonsense, but I like the food holidays. I like eating my way around the world, one holiday at a time.

Always dress well

This isn’t a fashion blog, but I do on occasion write on the topics of gentlemanliness, chappism, and such. Quite some time back I commented on an article on A Suitable Wardrobe, and referenced a Mises article titled Dress Like its the Great Depression. I’d like to follow up with a brief commentary on the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes.

I’d never heard of “sapeurs” until a recent bit on NPR, but I am fascinated by them. Aside from the absolute bombast of some of their attire, I am captivated that in the midst of the poverty that surrounds them, they choose to dress to the nines.

Hector Mediavilla/Picturetank
(http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/05/07/181704510/the-surprising-sartorial-culture-of-congolese-sapeurs)

Now, given the examples one can find from an Internet search, some of the younger gents are a little too dandy for my tastes, but the older gentlemen dress quite well.

I understand the rebellion aspect of these Congolese gents, but I think it’s a great example of dressing well, even when the environment one finds himself in is in diametric opposition. Compare that to the United States, where even our poor are rich compared to the rest of the world, and we have people of all social strata walking around like this (I’ll not debase my site by actually posting any of these preposterous images).

Who owns the Temple Mount?

I try not to comment too much on religions that are not my own, but some of the recent conflict involving the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has caught my attention, especially this article: “Has the Temple Mount Become A Hamas ‘City-State’?”. It made me ponder the question: who owns the Temple Mount?

First off, I’m not a pre/post/whatever-millennialist, so my view of the return of the Christ has nothing to do with the physical nation of Israel’s presence in the Holy Land, nor with the rebuilding of the Temple. I know there are many purported Christians who are bent on seeing a new physical temple being constructed to facilitate what they see as actions requisite for the return of the Christ. I think this explains considerably why the United States and Great Britain put so much effort into the modern nation of Israel. Zionist Jews and millennialists seek a restoration of the temple because they believe Jews is still the chosen people of God based on the land promise to Abraham:

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Genesis 15:18-21, KJV)

But we know from both prophesy on the Old Testament and writings of fulfillment in the new that the old covenant, and its laws, have been done away with:

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 

Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. (Jeremiah 31:31-36, KJV)

And:

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:16-18, KJV)

However, we know from Peter that:

“the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:10-12, KJV)

So with that in mind, that the return of the Christ is the beginning of a swift judgement and the end of this physical world as we know it, thus the emphasis on the Temple Mount changes from an imperative for standing up a new earthly kingdom to being a site of great historic and religious significance. Christ served as the final and perfect sacrifice. He is a high priest under the order of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-24, Hebrews 7:11-26). There is no need for a new temple.

Regardless, whoever controls the Temple Mount should respect the fact that the site is held in high esteem by all of the Abrahamic religions. Its a shared heritage. It is a place where the God of Heaven has been worshipped for thousands of years, whether it was by Jews in the time of Solomon, or by Jewish Christians during the early days of the church, who “daily in the temple, and in every house, …ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42, ASV).

Though they could not enter the temple proper, there was a Court of the Gentiles on the Temple Mount. I suppose, the same argument could be made by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf as to why they limit access to in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (and the Temple Mount). I can see the argument both ways, and though I don’t  practice either religion, I can respect their stance on this holy and historical location.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem that both the Jews and the Muslims want each other off the Temple Mount. Were it not for the current Israel/ Palestine issue, one would wonder if the site might be more accessible? I don’t know if that conflict will ever reach a peaceful resolution, but one can hope that maybe someday in the future, the site where the Temple once stood will be open for reverent and retrospectful visitation.

So back to the original question. Who owns the Temple Mount? I am confident that it is not any group of men who’ve staked claims on it. The Temple Mount, like all of creation, belongs to God. It is only through His graciousness that we are allotted any of it. I am confident, through His Providence, that whoever He wants there, will be there. Does possession equal Godliness? No, possession just means that the occupier acting as an agent for a particular purpose of God. All belongs to God to be used as He purposes.