Wednesday, February 28, 2007

About "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"

This e-mail came to me today—I’m quoting the whole thing because it relates to my previous entry about the “Lost Tomb of Jesus.”

Hey guys,

In case you or someone you know are not sure what to make of the new film coming out about the supposed "Lost Tomb of Jesus," I wanted to pass this website along with some helpful resources. Just copy and paste the following url:

(Judy adds: Read the article linked here, “Eight Reasons Why I Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead” by John Piper.)

Now—back to the e-mail—

Some food for thought:

Following the resurrection, Jesus encouraged his disciples with these words: "Peace to you! . . . Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have . . . . Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations" (Luke 24:36-49).

After "doubting" Thomas saw the risen Christ, he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus replied, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:24-29).

In the book of Revelation, the glorified "Son of Man" declared, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17-18).


Monday, February 26, 2007

Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries

Quite a number of ancient tombs have been found in Jerusalem since the 1970s. In 1980, a group of ten of the limestone boxes, the Talpiot tomb, was discovered to hold ossuaries inscribed as belonging to people “with names believed to be associated with key figures in the New Testament: Jesus, Mary, Matthew, Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription, written in Aramaic, translates to "Judah Son of Jesus." This linked web site of the Discovery Channel gives a complete description of the find.

The news centers now on a documentary that will air on Sunday, March 4, at 9:00 pm eastern time. The DC web site says, “In the feature documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus a case is made that the 2,000-year-old ‘Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries’ belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.”

According to the Discovery Channel article, “All leading epigraphers agree about the inscriptions. All archaeologists confirm the nature of the find. It comes down to a matter of statistics. A statistical study commissioned by the broadcasters (Discovery Channel/ Vision Canada/ C4 UK) concludes that the probability factor is 600 to 1 in favor of this tomb being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

“The film also documents DNA extraction from human residue found in two of the ossuaries and reveals new evidence that throws light on Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene.” Reading on, we find that the DNA showed that this Jesus and Mary were not siblings.

Continuing, the writer says:

“The documentary includes dramatic recreations, based on the latest historical evidence, illustrating accurate images of Jesus of Nazareth, his family, his followers, his ministry, his crucifixion and his entombment.

“Part archaeological adventure, part Biblical history, part forensic science, part theological controversy: this is a story that will be carried around the world.”

The DC web site also carries a section called “Theology,” in which possible meanings of this tomb and ossuary are discussed.

Concerning the resurrection, the writer says this:

“It is a matter of Christian faith that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion circa 30 C.E. This is a central tenet of Christian theology, repeated in all four Gospels. The Lost Tomb of Jesus does not challenge this belief. In the Gospel of Matthew (28:12) it states that a rumor was circulating in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. This story holds that Jesus' body was moved by his disciples from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, where he was temporarily buried. Ostensibly, his remains were taken to a permanent family tomb. Though Matthew calls this rumor a lie circulated by the high priests, it appears in his Gospel as one of the stories surrounding Jesus’ disappearance from the initial tomb where he was buried. Even if Jesus' body was moved from one tomb to another, however, that does not mean that he could not have been resurrected from the second tomb. Belief in the resurrection is based not on which tomb he was buried in, but on alleged sightings of Jesus that occurred after his burial and documented in the Gospels.

I think it will be very interesting and important to see this film. I believe many Christians may refuse to watch it because some of the "experts" claim to have here a discovery that disputes Christian beliefs that Jesus rose from the dead (even though the filmmakers say it "does not challenge" this belief). However, I believe Christians should see it so that they will be able to discuss it with full knowledge and understanding of the film’s content.

Some people work very hard, trying to find evidence that Jesus is not the son of God. But our faith can stand scrutiny. God is doing a new thing in these days—something really exciting is going on. Maybe a new “Great Awakening” is coming.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ash Wednesday 2007

My blog-o-friend "The Thief" is a young Methodist minister. He wrote a touching piece linked here about his role as a pastor; he had to decide whether to wear a robe during the Ash Wednesday service.

I hated to miss this year’s Ash Wednesday service at our church. I’ve been a real, live Christian for only the past (almost) thirteen years out of my sixty-four. I didn't grow up celebrating Ash Wednesday—the beginning of Lent—and maybe that's one reason it has come to hold lots of significance for me in these years.

Before I came to know Christ, I never paid much attention to its meaning, even though I went to church enough that I should have known. I couldn’t even have told anybody the definition of “Ash Wednesday.” Probably I would have said, “Well, it is sort of leading up to Easter, has something to do with Lent, and I’m not sure what that is. It’s the day you get ashes on your forehead if you want to.”

Now, however, the whole Ash Wednesday-Lent-Easter time sort of has an aura around it for me, sort of throbs with meaning. It is a time when my love for Jesus seems to deepen, and I contemplate God’s endless, boundless love. Is there anything I could possibly do to deserve it?

I quote this from my Ash Wednesday entry last year:

“It is a season of repentance, of letting go of secret regret or pain. It is a time to tell the truth to ourselves about our regrets, a time to make a choice to begin again through repentance. Many people give up something or do something special during Lent to remind them, through a personal sacrifice, to remain true to the search of self.

“In the Bible, the prophet Joel says,

‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’

“Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for his is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2: 12-13)”

No, there is nothing I could ever possibly do to deserve his love. The heart is what God really wants us to give up—not coffee or chocolate or some other thing. He wants my whole heart, and I gladly give it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

God's Art in Colorado Springs

As the sun rises in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the mountains behind the Broadmoor Hotel turn bright orange and hot pink for a few minutes. A man said, “Somebody’s been fooling around with lighting!” But God is the artist there. His work is spectacular.

A small frozen lake spanned by a walking bridge rests in the middle of the Broadmoor complex. Wild birds often stop by to rest or forage in the little open-water patches on either side of the footbridge. Twice we saw white and black swans there. Early in the morning, the open water was completely encircled by fat gray Canadian geese, their heads tucked under their wings.

The geese reminded me of a winter day a few years ago when I saw a large flock of Canadian geese at a pond in the southern Oklahoma countryside. When I exclaimed over them, my elderly uncle, irritated for some reason, said, “Ain’t you ever seen a goose?”

“Not up close,” I said. Their soft gray elegance touched me, and I thanked God for the opportunity to see his bird art “up close.” I did not have a camera that day.

And I, of course, did not have my camera on our trip last weekend to the Christian Writers’ Guild Writing for the Soul Conference in Colorado Springs. My camera is too big; I must get a small one for traveling. I will have some pictures as soon as my two travel mates share their small-camera pictures with me. In the meantime, I have found some beautiful pictures of sunrise and sunset in Colorado Springs at the web site linked here. That’s where I got the one at the top of this entry; take a look at the other pictures by “doctorart.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Wonder of Children

Wow! Would you look at that!!?

My friend Pat and I are headed off tomorrow to a Christian Writers' Guild conference, "Writing for the Soul," in Colorado Springs. I think it will be a wonderful time and I can't wait!

In the meantime, here's a picture of another of my grandchildren-- love to show them off. The best pictures of children, I believe, are those that catch them being themselves, expressing the wonder they feel in situations that seem ordinary to adults. We should try to keep some of that child-like wonder as we age, to remember to enjoy and appreciate everything. As William Wordsworth said, "The child is father of the man."

Monday, February 12, 2007

No Words Can Say

It was the end of a long, hard day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What is a “Yahoo”?

On the home page of is a little section called “Pulse--What Yahoos Are Into,” which contains a list of popular videos and albums. I have seen it over and over, but for some reason, it penetrated my consciousness a few days ago. Suddenly I realized what it says. “Yahoos,” in the definition of the search engine’s creators, are apparently “cool” people who do their important Internet searching through the Yahoo web site—those loyal to

I had to laugh at the joke those makers of are playing on us.

The origin of the word “yahoo” is . . . well, I hate to tell you this. But according to Merriam-Webster, a “Yahoo” (when the word is capitalized) is “a member of a race of brutes in (Jonathan) Swift's Gulliver's Travels who have the form and all the vices of humans.” The dictionary goes on to say that when it is not capitalized, the word means a “boorish, crass, or stupid person.”

Needless to say, then, to be called a “Yahoo” is not a compliment.

Jonathan Swift wrote in Chapter 7 a detailed description of the Yahoos, a wild and odious species that his character Lemuel Gulliver encountered during his travels. Here is a sample:

My Master, continuing his Discourse, said, There was nothing that rendered the Yahoos more odious, than their undistinguishing Appetite to devour every Thing that came in their way, whether Herbs, Roots, Berries, the corrupted Flesh of Animals, or all mingled together: And it was peculiar in their Temper, that they were fonder of what they could get by Rapine or Stealth at a greater Distance, than much better Food provided for them at home. If their Prey held out, they would eat till they were ready to burst, after which Nature had pointed out to them a certain Root that gave them a general Evacuation.

There was also another kind of Root very juicy, but somewhat rare and difficult to be found, which the Yahoos sought for with much Eagerness, and would suck it with great Delight; and it produced in them the same Effects that Wine hath upon us. It would make them sometimes hug, sometimes tear one another, they would howl and grin, and chatter, and tumble, and then fall asleep in the Dirt.

These Yahoos sometimes resemble monkeys and apes, but more often, humans, engaged in the most obnoxious, nasty behavior. Should we be insulted—or amused—when we see that refers to its masses of users as “Yahoos”?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

God the Master Artist

Look at this beautiful picture, entitled “Massive Stars in Open Cluster Pismis 24.” It is featured as “Astronomy Picture of the Day” on the December 19, 2006, entry by NASA. I am amazed by the breathtaking beauty of the universe, which displays God’s glory and his masterful design.

According to NASA’s photography archive web site, most of the pictures are not copyrighted, and people are welcome to feature them on personal web sites. The caption says, “Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.” Each discussion has several links to other features.

In a December Guideposts article, Dr. Francis Collins says that “the mysteries of science point toward God.” He is discussing the intricacy of the structure of the DNA molecule, but he says that God is at “the heart of science,” and whether “we venture to the edge of the universe or plumb the depths of inner space, we glimpse the pageant of his creation.”