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March 5th, 2004

The Passion of the Post Turtle

" A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon."
Gandhi, The Gospel of the Rose


Hi Folks,

More spiritual teaching overheard from kids:

(The Apostles Creed, from a 6yr old:)
"Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
sat upon a bunch of spiders,
was crucified, died, and was buried."

And another little boy who at 4 believed that God's name was Peter, because after every Bible reading in church, the congregation responded with "Thanks Peter God".
(thanks to Kate.)

Favourite Reader Comment of the Week

" O.k before I start e-mailing you I need to know wether this is actually joe dolce I am e-mailing and not just some random guy that works for joe. Any way even if this is a person that works for him Cann you please tell him that I absolutly love his songs especially shaddup your face which Is just a work of Art although the video for it was rated one of the 100 worst music videos ever by VH1 I still think It was very very good Pizza Pizza is also an exellent Song I personally think that your songs should be in the charts instead of some crapy pop singers that need voice modifiers and that don't even write thier own songs. Yours sincerely, JOCELYN"

(Note: You got to watch those voice modifiers, Jocelyn. They can really discomboobulate the turtle spirit, big time. XX Joe)

As promised, I went to see the 'Passion of the Christ' this week. Probably most of you know that you can order your own ' Crucifixion Pendant' to wear around your neck.

I think I'll pass, on that one - as I already have my 'Genesis Teether Ring,' (a rubber baby teething ring, in the shape of a circle with the word Jesus in it) to keep me happily chewin'.


The question I want to ask here is:

why did Mel Gibson have to make this film?

For the money? Obviously not? As an evangelical statement of his belief? I doubt that as well. I think the answer lay here:

"He began meditating on the passion and the death of Jesus," James Caviezel, the actor who plays Jesus in "The Passion," told NEWSWEEK. "In doing so, he said the wounds of Christ healed his wounds."

From MAD MAX through to the LETHAL WEAPON series, and culminating in his own torture and disembowelment scene in BRAVEHEART, Gibson has been consistently driven to bloody and violent roles.

'The Passion of the Christ' was - simply put - some long overdue personal primal therapy for him. (But he should have played the part of Jesus himself if he really wanted to effect that kind of 'redemption'. I think he was afraid of the 'scourging whips' that the press would have given him had he tried that.)

So what are some of the things I remember about the film itself? The music wasn't nearly as good as Peter Gabriel's score for 'The Last Temptation of Christ,' which was a shame, as Gibson had the resources to hire the best composers. But I liked hearing Latin spoken with Italian accents.

What else? . . . . oh yeah, the whipping scene . . . . (how could we forget?) Quentin Tarantino eat your heart out. You done been trumped. I thought the depiction of a actual scourging was interesting, compared to just an ordinary flogging. Here's some more on that:

The Roman Flagrum

"their bodies were frightfully lacerated. Christian martyrs in Smyrna were so torn by the scourges that their veins were laid bare, and the inner muscles, sinews, even entrails, were exposed". EUSABIOUS OF CEASARE (flagrum site)

Unfortunately, the Jesus I personally love wasn't present in this film. I don't know who that bloody mess on the screen was but it wasn't the person who created the ' Sermon on the Mount'.

But I will tell you where you can find that person: in a collection of essays written, strangely enough, by a non-Christian, M.K. Gandhi, titled: 'The Message of Jesus Christ.'

'Christ gave us the goals and
Gandhi gave us the tactics.'
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every serious person who considers themselves a lover of Jesus' teachings (rather than a follower of Christianity) needs to have a copy of this book. I'm not sure how to find it (try the web) - The Message of Jesus Christ, Pocket Ghandi series, edited by Anand T. Hingorani, published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay. If you can't find it, I have written an essay about the book.
" He accredits the New Testament to finally awakening in him the value of non-violent resistance. Unlike many Christians however, Gandhi actually embodied Christ's ideas. He believed that what passed as Christianity in the modern world was actually a negation of the Sermon On The Mount. He wrote: '...the message of Jesus of Nazareth . . .has been little understood in Europe . . . and . . . light upon it may have to be thrown by the East.' Gandhi drew a sharp distinction between Christ's ideas and the letters of Paul whom he felt were a graft on Christ's teachings. Paul was the main force in the development of historical Christianity as we know it today."

There is heated discussion about this movie. When a religious film sparks this much debate, it can only mean one thing: there is a deep pit of spiritual thirst in people that is not being quenched. The film serves as a rare opportunity for people to get away from reality television and American Idol and be able to express themselves in matters spiritual.

Some interesting things I have learned this week:

1 - 'Passion' ­ comes from the Latin passus, the word means "having suffered" or "having undergone."

2 - "Son of God" and "Son of Man" were fairly common appellations for religious figures in the first century.

3 - Pilate was not the humane figure Gibson depicts. According to Philo of Alexandria, Pilate was of "inflexible, stubborn, and cruel disposition," and known to execute troublemakers without trial.


More Articles Worth Reading

 The Passion of the Americans
  by Willam Rivers Pitt
" The Jesus most familiar to Americans, the Jesus featured in Gibson's film, looks like the front man for an alternative rock band out of Minnesota.  Judas in this film is a shorter version of the same phenomenon.  White skin, long straight brown hair, decidedly European features - this is not the Jesus that preached revolution against the Empire long ago.  This is the Jesus fashioned by Michelangelo five centuries ago, who used his white cousin as the model for the savior.  
     The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea.  This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11.  After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible.  Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason. "

The Passion and Biblical Scholarship
" The only time Mary is present in any biblical account of the crucifixion comes in John, the last gospel to be written, where she makes only a cameo appearance at the cross. Even John does not then include her in his resurrection narrative. Yet, in this film, Mel Gibson has Mary say to the dying Jesus, "Let me die with you," and then she cradles Jesus' deceased body. That is a famous portrait in Catholic art, painted many times and called the Pieta, but there is not a shred of biblical evidence to support it. As a matter of fact Mary, the mother of Jesus, hardly appears in the gospel tradition outside the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke. She is never referred to or mentioned in the writings of Paul (50-64 CE). She makes only two appearances in Mark, the first Gospel to be written (70-75 CE) and both of them are pejorative." (article)

' In "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson shows little interest in celebrating the electric charge of hope and redemption that Jesus Christ brought into the world. He largely ignores Jesus' heart stopping eloquence, his startling ethical radicalism and personal radiance-Christ as a "paragon of vitality and poetic assertion . . ."

" Most of the early Christians were JEWISH and saw themselves as such. Only later, beginning roughly at the end of the first century, did some Christians start to view and present themselves as a people entirely separate from other Jewish groups. And for centuries still ­ even after Constantine's conversion in the fourth century ­ some Jewish people considered themselves Christians. "(article)

And here are 41 More Reviews of differing opinions.

That should just about cover it - if anyone wants more, you can always join the Christian Paintball Association!


While suturing a laceration on the hand of a 70-year-old Texas rancher, whose hand had caught in a gate while working cattle, a doctor and the old man were talking politics and the subject George W. Bush being in the White House came up.

The old Texan said, "Well, ya' know, Bush is a post turtle."

Not clear on the old man's meaning, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.

The old man said, "Well, ya' ever been drivin' down a dusty old country road and come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top?  That there's a post turtle.

The old man saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he elaborated: "You know he didn't get there by himself; he doesn't belong there; he can't get anything done while he's up there and you just want to help the poor thing get down."
(thanks to John E. Jacobs)
What about Mary, Dick?

Cheney Says He Supports Gay-Marriage Ban

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday he supports President Bush's call for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, though one of his daughters is gay and he has said in the past the issue should be left to the states.

"The president's taken the clear position that he supports a constitutional amendment," Cheney said in an interview with MSNBC. "I support him."

Cheney said during the 2000 campaign, and again last month, that he prefers to see states handle the issue of gay marriage. His openly lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, is an aide in the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, but the vice president declined to discuss her. (article)

Note: Cheney specifically said in 2000 that "people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to, " that "it's really no one else's business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior" and that "I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area."

Cheney defended his reversal, saying the Administration was supposedly forced to support a constitutional amendment "because of what's happened in Massachusetts and San Francisco." But, the Rocky Mountain News reported that "President Bush pledged to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support her proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage three months before" his announcement last week, and well before San Francisco and Massachusetts acted. (see below - thanks to John Jacobs.)
Another Lie

Bush pledged to back ban in Nov., Musgrave aide says
By Bill Straub

WASHINGTON - President Bush pledged to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support her proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage three months before he made Tuesday's public pronouncement, according to Musgrave's top aide.

The White House has said Bush made the decision only after officials in San Francisco and New Mexico presided over same-sex marriages.(article)

Bush can't stop the tide of history

Legalization of same-sex marriages in America is inevitable, and there's nothing George W. Bush or Pat Robertson can do to prevent it.

Oh, they may be able to slow the march of gay rights a little, but they and others of their ilk will fail in the end. They apparently don't recognize that they're up against the irresistible tide of history.

THE STORY OF AMERICA is a chronicle of liberalism defeating the forces of reaction on virtually every major issue. Check the record. It's overwhelming.

Conservatives were on the wrong side of the American revolution against British rule, the wrong side of slavery, child labor, women's rights, labor unions, constraints on trusts and monopolies, consumer protection, civil rights for blacks, Social Security, Medi-care, environmentalism and so on. (article)


The following is a profound essay on the importance and dependency of oil to civilization as we know it - and the possible implications of the present rate of diminishing reserves.

Will The End of Oil Mean The End of America?
by Robert Freeman
In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig tells the story of a South American Indian tribe that has devised an ingenious monkey trap. The Indians cut off the small end of a coconut and stuff it with sweetmeats and rice. They tether the other end to a stake and place it in a clearing.

Soon, a monkey smells the treats inside and comes to see what it is. It can just barely get its hand into the coconut but, stuffed with booty, it cannot pull the hand back out. The Indians easily walk up to the monkey and capture it. Even as the Indians approach, the monkey screams in horror, not only in fear of its captors, but equally as much, one imagines, in recognition of the tragedy of its own lethal but still unalterable greed.

Pirsig uses the story to illustrate the problem of value rigidity. The monkey cannot properly evaluate the relative worth of a handful of food compared to its life. It chooses wrongly, catastrophically so, dooming itself by its own short-term fixation on a relatively paltry pleasure.

America has its own hand in a coconut, one that may doom it just as surely as the monkey. That coconut is its dependence on cheap oil in a world where oil will soon come to an end. The choice we face (whether to let the food go or hold onto it) is whether to wean ourselves off of oil-to quickly evolve a new economy and a new basis for civilization-or to continue to secure stable supplies from the rest of the world by force. (article)
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan.)


Cashew Nut Curry
(for my vegeloony readers)

3 cups thin coconut milk
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
1/2 teas ground tumeric
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teas fresh ginger, finely grated
2 inch stick of cinammon
4 pieces dried daun pandan leaf (optional)
1 stalk lemon grass or two strips of lemon rind
8 curry leaves
250 grams raw cashew nuts
salt to taste

Put all ingredients, except nuts, salt and thick coconut milk, into a large sucepan and simmer gently uncovered for 10 minutes. Add cashew nuts and salt and cook gently for approx 30 minutes or until cashew nuts are tender. Add thick coconut milk and simmer 5 minutes longer. Serve with rice, chutneys, pickles, Thai chilli sauce and fresh coriander leaves. Serves 4.

Two Ways of Looking At Poppies



In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~ John McCrae ~



Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly -

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

~ Sylvia Plath ~

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