My friend Akpene Torku is an amazing woman of God. We who know her draw more inspiration from her than she is comfortable admitting. Here is an example from her blog, And the Adventure Continues. Originally posted in 2010, this contemplation carries a huge message of encouragement and exhortation to persevere, knowing that when God has called us to something, He will make a way when there seems to be no way.
Originally published March 20, 2010
on And the Adventure Continues
So, I’ve been hearing messages and reading little clips about how we should keep going, and not turning back. Very often it’s just past the very point when we give up that breakthrough could have happened, where the reward was waiting the whole time, and we just didn’t have the strength, stamina, perseverance, patience or whatever to keep on keeping on. It reminds me of a little adventure I had when I was in Scotland.
I went to a little beach called Silver Knowles, and I immediately noticed an island not too far off from the shore, and a kind of stone bridge looking structure that led to it, but the bridge looked broken down and falling apart. On the island, I saw a fort looking structure, so I decided I wanted to go out on the island. I began walking down the shore, hoping I could cross the bridge looking thing. As I was walking, I saw several really nice and peaceful places I could stop, sit and have a nice quiet time if I couldn’t get to the island, but I kept trekking along. It was a long ways away, but as I got closer, about 2/3 of the way there, I saw that what I thought was a bridge really wasn’t. They were these huge pillars, and they weren’t connected. Really impressive, but a disappointment, since I couldn’t see any other way to get to the island. I figured, well, I’ll just get as close as I can and sit on the piece of land jutting out by that not-bridge.
I headed in that direction, more and more disappointed that I couldn’t get to the island. When I got to that little piece of land, I was very surprised to see that next to the huge pillars was a very low walkway, so low that you couldn’t see it from far away, even so low that when the tide comes in, it would cover it.
As I made my way across the walkway, I thought about how like our lives it is. We have a vision or dream or goal in mind, and as we work towards it, the path that we thought we were going to take ends up being blocked, going the wrong direction, fallen apart, whatever. We have a choice then to go as far as we can go, or turning back, or turning aside to other things that seem doable or not as impossible. But, if we keep on going as far as we know how, a way tends to open up that we never saw before, and would never have seen if we didn’t keep pushing forward.
I know that I can see life lessons in the smallest and silliest things, but that one hit me like a brick. As I sat on the island (it was like a little Eden), I thought about how the walkway was longer than it looked, and really slippery in places. It changed height and material about halfway out, and it was a little unnerving to feel like I was walking out in the middle of the ocean (which, on the way back, nearly happened – I nearly had to run to beat the tide!). But it was totally worth it. The island was amazing, and I learned a great lesson that I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon…
מַּטּוֹת / מַסְעֵי
William Shakespeare has such as way with murder. With so many characters meeting violent death in his plays it would seem that he regarded murder as an essential part of good drama. Richard III is an excellent example. When my daughter studied the play in school, she and her fellow students kept a “body count” of the many characters who died over the course of Richard’s rise to power. Shakespeare’s preoccupation with murder may have been the product of the violent world in which he lived, and indeed England in the 16th century was a violent place, yet we need only look at the headlines of events in our own cities to realize that our world is no less violent than Shakespeare’s. If the Bard had no qualms about employing murder as a plot device, it was because his art imitated life. Richard III was a historical play based on events that shook the British Isles just one hundred years earlier. The play’s popularity derived in part from the horrendous nature of Richard’s quest for power, extending even to allegations that in 1483 he ordered the deaths of his two nephews, the 12-year-old King Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. Their uncles’ guilt has never been proven, but it is plausible that he removed them so they would not stand in the way of his quest to seize the throne of their father, the late Edward IV.
Richard III is not the only Shakespearian villain to usurp a throne and seize the inheritance of a rightful heir. Two others that come to mind are MacBeth of Scotland and Claudius of Denmark. Although not historical plays, MacBeth and Hamlet have roots in actual events. The central action of MacBeth occurs when the warrior of that name murders King Duncan of Scotland. Duncan’s sons, fearing they will be blamed for the murder, flee the country, allowing Macbeth to take the throne. In Hamlet, we do not see the murder of Denmark’s king; when the play opens his brother Claudius has already seized the throne by killing him and marrying his queen. The plot follows Prince Hamlet as he learns the truth of his father’s death and his uncle’s guilt.
As was necessary for Richard III, MacBeth and Claudius must deal with the heirs to the murdered kings. MacBeth prepares to defend Scotland against the exiled princes Malcolm and Donalbain, and Claudius concocts a plot to have Hamlet killed in a duel by an opponent wielding a poisoned blade. In the end all three villains meet violent deaths. Richard and MacBeth fall in battle as their own countrymen rise in revolt against them, and Claudius is slain by Hamlet himself just before the young prince dies.
Shakespeare’s works have remained popular for over 400 years because they really do imitate life, even to a disturbing degree. In these plays we see that an inheritance is not secure even if there are sons ready to claim their fathers’ legacy. What worse things might the villains have done had there been no sons and heirs? Who would ensure that the bereaved family retained their place in the nation? That very question prompted the tribe of Manasseh to ask Moses for guarantees not only for their brethren who had no sons, but for the entire tribe’s legacy in the Promised Land.
The first day of the Bney Yosef (Sons of Joseph) National Congress has concluded with great promise. The delegates gathered at Ariel, Israel, among the hills of Samaria, are united in the understanding that the time has come at last for the Lord God to fulfill His promises to restore all of Israel in preparation for Messiah’s coming to establish His throne in Jerusalem.
It was my honor and privilege to present the first address to the Congress. This presentation on Israelite identity met with a positive reception from the assembly. I share it here as a glimpse into the matters we are deliberating.
Foundations of Northern Israelite (Ephraimite) National Identity
Albert Jackson McCarn
presented at the First Bney Yosef National Congress
May 26, 2015
By this time I hope that all of us have had our first “moment” here in the Land. You who have enjoyed such an experience know what I mean: it is that instant when you know you are home at last. On Shavuot I had the honor of being present when such a moment came upon one of our brethren at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. Another brother shared his moment at the Har Bracha (Mount Gerizim, the Mount of Blessing; Deuteronomy 11:29, 27:12-13; Joshua 8:33) yesterday. My moment came last week at Caesarea. Allow me to share it with you.
Recently Peter Vest, author of Orthodox Messianic Judaism, reviewed my book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell. His is the first critical review of which I am aware. Critical, that is, but not scathing. His perspective provides ample opportunity for discussion and refinement of our understanding, and much room for agreement. Peter invited me to comment on his review, and I am glad to accept the invitation in hope of advancing a very useful dialogue. Here is his review. My comments follow.
Posted on Orthodox Messianic Judaism, April 19, 2015
by Peter Vest
I just finished reading a book that is attempting to do for the Ephraimite Movement what Theodor Herzl’s book “Der Judenstaat” did for Zionism. Some of what it says is good…other portions are very troubling indeed.
First, here’s the author, Albert McCarn:
As you can see, he is a well-decorated ex-military officer. And we can all be very thankful for his many years of service to our country.
Here’s the book which, you will note, displays a proposed national flag for the Ephraimite Nation:
So let’s get into it.
Every book is about a problem and a proposed solution. This book frames the problem something like this:
You very well could be a descendant of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel which means that you’re living in exile from your homeland (the tribal territories of the Northern Tribes of Israel), deprived of a sense of national community with your people–the Ephraimites, suffering from the onslaught of increasingly hostile, anti-Biblical culture in your host country or even outright oppression.
But there is hope for you to rejoin your lost community and reclaim your birthright to the Northern Tribal Territory of Israel:
You can help restore national consciousness to Ephraim by (1) envisioning the kinship you share with other Ephraimites all over the world and (2) joining many others in a mass exodus from all of their various host countries as they embark on an epic quest to reclaim the “land of the fathers.”