GRACE AMIDST DISASTER
I wrote some yesterday about the first anniversary of Katrina, but I wanted to pass along to you this story from Baptist Press about New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It strikes me that when people in the story talk about God's presence and grace in this disaster, they inevitably speak about those being channeled through human beings. Is there any other way to experience divine grace or divine presence? If so, can you describe that for the rest of us?
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JUDAISM'S 13TH TRIBE?
For many years, I have participated in -- and, at times, sort of led -- a Bible study group that meets once a week for lunch in downtown Kansas City.
At the moment, we're reading Deuteronomy, one of the five books of the Jewish Torah attributed to Moses. Last week, one of our members asked what we knew about the Khazars. In response, he pretty much got blank looks.
This fellow had read a book about this group of Central Asian people who sometimes are referred to as the 13th tribe of Judaism because for reasons mostly lost to history, the Khazars converted to Judaism. The tribe helped the Byzantine Empire survive at one point.
Well, I figured that if I didn't know much about the Khazars, maybe you don't either. So I've hunted around a little and found some resources that might be helpful.
For instance, click here for the Web site of the American Center of Khazar Studies. Lots of material there. And I bet most of you didn't even know there was such a center. Me either.
Click here for Wikipedia's entry on the Khazars, though I continue to repeat my warning that sometimes Wikipedia isn't very reliable. But with enough other sources, you may be able to flag any questionable claims.
Next, click here for an interesting Web site that talks about the Khazars, though I can't find much information about the site's authors.
Check out the drawings and other Khazar-related art work on this site.
Friends and family at your next party or reunion are going to be strangely impressed when you start in describing what you now know about the Khazars. Or not.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
Today's religious holiday: Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Christian)