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In 2016 after seeing a BBC Documentary on THE SHROUD OF TURIN (  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpaZcVagTFk    )   followed by one titled FINDING JESUS: FAITH, FACT, FORGERY: THE SHROUD OF TURIN (  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Ns2OAAM5o    ) I thought to myself, “I want a copy of that.” The next thought I had was, “That’s ridiculous.”

Ridiculous was the key. As soon as I think a thing ridiculous I know it’s time to explore. I looked up THE SHROUD on the web. I could get a cheap knock off for a few dollars or I could get an authorized replica for considerably more. I opted for the authorized replica.

That was the beginning of my on line friendship with Barrie Schwortz ( http://www.shroud.com/  ).

Then I bought all the books and dvds on The Shroud I could find. I did this because the more I learned the more I wanted to learn.

One of the things I learned was that Barrie was raised as an Orthodox Jew. He became an agnostic after his Bar Mitzvah. Why? His father had left his mother. She went to her Rabbi about getting a divorce. She was told that only the male can initiate a divorce but if she was willing to make a contribution to the synagogue the Rabbi would see what he could do. This hypocrisy  (the word means “play acting”) caused Barrie to walk away from Judaism.

A similar thing happened to me in my teens. The priest in my home town was carrying on an affair with the widowed mother of a friend. It was impossible for me to take him seriously when he clearly did not take his vows seriously.

That changed when I met a man who did take his faith seriously.

In Hollywood in 1970 I walked twenty miles one morning on an empty stomach to see about a job I had seen advertised. When I got to the destination I saw it was a mission. Wanting nothing to do with them I turned to walk away. As I did I reflected that I had not had breakfast and would not have anything to eat for the rest of the day. I decided to go in, fill out their forms with the truth (that I was Canadian and did not have a working permit) knowing they could not hire me unless I lied.

After I had done that I filled myself with coffee and doughnuts (lots of doughnuts).

“You’re Canadian, aren’t you?” said the man in charge when I walked into his office.

“Yes,” I replied as rudely as I could so he would throw me out.

“Do you have a working permit?”

“No,” again as rudely as I could.

“I can’t hire you without one. What are you doing here?”

“I’m living in a house. It’s time to pay the rent. It’s either peddle my ass or get a job,” I said in words carefully chosen so that he would rise from his desk in a rage and shout, “GET OUT OF HERE!”

To my surprise he didn’t rise in rage. Instead he said to me, “The Lord says I have to help you. The law of the land says I can’t. What do I do?”

I said, “That is your question.”

He said, “Then I guess I have to hire you.”

In that moment I experienced an epiphany. I had a change of heart for the better. I understood at once that there are two laws. There is the law of God which says I am my brother’s keeper. There is the law of this world which says I am not. I realized in that moment who I would become depended entirely upon which of those two laws I decided to break.

Since that moment I have been an anarchist for Christ.

I had been invited out to Hollywood by a friend. I had done by bus the better to see the country. With me I took only one book. That was a small copy of THE NEW TESTAMENT. It was a uniquely powerful translation. By the time I arrived in Hollywood I had read it cover to cover five times.

My first night there a fellow gave me a sandwich. After I had eaten he told me he had put a drug in my sandwich which would knock out an elephant. He said, “In a few moments you won’t be able to move.”

At the end of Mark’s Gospel I had read, “If they give you any deadly thing it will not harm you.”

I put my trust in those words. Then I got up and walked until I found a park bench where I could sit for the night while the drug passed through me.

My faith sustained me.

Barrie Schwortz took 19 years to make up his mind that the image on The Shroud of Turin is that of Jesus. He has not, as a result of that decision become either a Christian or a Jew For Jesus.

That upsets many who get their Christianity (like most) from a church, college, a school, a university or, in the case of far too many, from a TV preacher.

It does not upset me. Barrie is right not to become a Christian.

The same thing happened with Avinoam Danin whose book, THE BOTANY OF THE SHROUD, is must reading. Danin, who died last year, accepted that the image on The Shroud is that of Jesus. As a result of that acceptance he did not become either a Christian or a Jew For Jesus.

How can I say that? I say that because everyone I have met who calls themselves a Christian has not got a clue what Jesus taught. They know what their “church” teaches, yes.

When asked by someone to be their teacher Jesus replied, “You have one teacher. God.”

John, in his first letter, wrote, “You need not that any man should teach you because the spirit of Christ with which you are anointed is your teacher.”

Those words took me up short when I first read them in 1970. They still take me up short.

“Father” Raymond J. de Souza writes, “Only one paper understood religion–and still does.”

By that he means the paper which publishes him which is THE NATIONAL POST.

The Post may understand religion. Neither The Post nor de Souza understand Christianity.

Jesus taught, “Call no man father. You have one father. Your father in Heaven.”

That’s about as clear as it gets.

One day I opened my copy of THE NEW TESTAMENT to Luke 18:8. There I read Jesus saying, “Do you think when I return I will find so much as one person believing?”

Most translations put that, “Do you think when the son of man returns he will find faith?” Same thing but no where near as strong. That’s an all too common problem with translators. They lack the fire of the original writer.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS call us to honor our father and our mother.

The father of Christianity is God. The mother of Christianity is Judaism. For two thousand years many who call themselves Christians have gleefully persecuted Jews often forcing them to renounce Judaism on pain of their lives.

This is how we honor our mother?  https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/31/us/pittsburgh-shooting-funerals-wednesday/index.html 

I did not acquire my replica of to find faith. I have had faith all my life. I got it to better understand the life we are called to.

Several forensic scientists have studied THE SHROUD. The first of those, Paul Vignon, was an atheist. When he presented his findings declaring that the image on the cloth is that of Jesus he was met with a fury he had not dreamed existed.  https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/ssi06part7.pdf

That fury goes with the territory.

Conrad Black, the father of THE NATIONAL POST, sees himself as a Christian. He also sues people it seems at the drop of a hat. He turns a blind eye to:

1 Corinthians 6:1–8

Lawsuits Against Believers

6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

This is rather to bring out how much conventional Christianity misses the mark.

But then Jesus taught that after the foundation of the true community had been laid a foundation would be laid for a false community that would so much resemble the true even angels would be hard put to tell the false from the true. He said, “You shall know them by their works.”

Christianity has nothing to do with religion. We get this most clearly pronounced in the parable of the tares and the wheat.–Reg Hartt 10/31/2018.

No person today can create this. No person 600 years ago could. No person 2,000 years ago could create this.

 

 

THE NATIONAL POST may understand religion but neither it nor Raymond de Souza understand Christianity.

 

 

https://www.bestcommentaries.com/series/pelican-new-testament-commentaries-pel/

https://nationalpost.com/author/desouzanp

 

Nothing like the “wisdom” of the willfully uninformed.

 

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