The truck in front of me (on Davis in Pensacola) looked like a working truck, but it was this sign that caught my eye.
Jesus only commented positively on a person’s faith three times, and two of those times the supplicant was not Jewish, but other, in this case, a Canaanite woman. All she cared about was her daughter. He even says no, he won’t help her, he is there for the Jews. As she persists, as she argues with Jesus and makes her case, he relents, he feels enormous compassion for this woman in her plight, and as he heals her daughter, he makes this extraordinary statement calling attention to her belief. No legalistic requirements, he just heals.
21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ 24He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ 26He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 27She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.
This is one of my favorite readings in the Lectionary. People often ask where it is that Jesus declared all foods “clean” and this is one of the scriptures. To me, it is the why of it that makes it interesting – and convicting. There is enough in my heart to make me unclean without worrying about food rules.
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2 ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.’ 3 He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?4 For God said,* “Honour your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” 5 But you say that whoever tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God”,* then that person need not honour the father.* 6 So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word* of God. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
8 “This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.” ’
10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’ 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ 13 He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.* And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’ 15 But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ 16 Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding?17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’
From AOL Everyday Health:
WEDNESDAY, November 6, 2013 — A small but growing body of research is finding that people who are proficient in multiple languages have a lower risk of cognitive decline. In the largest study to date on the relationship between bilingualism and dementia, researchers from Hyderabad, India, and Edinburgh, Scotland, demonstrated that bilingualism may stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia for several years. Their study was published in the journal Neurology.
The research team in Hyderabad evaluated 648 people who had dementia symptoms for 6 months to 11 years before enrolling in the study; 391 of the subjects were bilingual. The researchers found those who were bilingual developed dementia on average 4.5 years later than people who spoke only one language. On average, bilinguals developed dementia symptoms by age 65.6 compared with age 61.1 in people who spoke only one language.
“Nowadays, a lot of companies are having expensive brain-training programs, but I’d say bilingualism is very cheap,” said Thomas Bak, MD, a lecturer in human cognitive neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, and second author on the study. “The crucial thing about bilingualism is that it offers what we say is constant brain training. A bilingual person Is forced to switch to different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structure, and social norms.”
Dr. Bak’s study demonstrated the impact bilingualism has not only on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but also on other types of dementia. Though the majority of patients in the group studied (37 percent) had Alzheimer’s-related dementia, 29.2 percent had vascular dementia, a type caused by reduced blood flow in the brain from stroke. Frontotemporal lobe dementia — from atrophy or shrinkage of certain areas of the brain — accounted for 17.9 percent of the diagnoses. Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia and one that is related to Parkinson’s disease, accounted for 8.5 percent, while 7.4 percent of people in the study were diagnosed with mixed dementia.
The researchers found bilingualism had the most dramatic effect on people who were diagnosed with frontotemporal lobe dementia. Knowing multiple languages delayed dementia symptoms by as much as six years in this group. Individuals with vascular dementia had an average of almost four extra years before dementia symptoms set in. However, individuals who knew three or four languages weren’t protected longer from dementia symptoms than those who were only proficient in two languages.
The More Different the Languages, the Better
The World Health Organization estimates 35.6 million people in the world have dementia, with 7.7 million new cases every year. And in India the problem is expected to grow even more dire. In 2009, the World Alzheimer’s Report projected India will have 10 million dementia patients by the year 2020. This was the impetus behind the new research, said Suvarna Alladi,MD, lead author of the study, which was funded by the Indian Department of Science and Technology.
“Dementia has become a major public health problem in India, and research that explores potentially protective mechanisms is of tremendous importance,” said Dr. Alladi. ”Since many people in India can fluently speak two or more languages in their daily life, it’s heartening for us to know that something that we take for granted may protect our brains from developing dementia early.”
Teluga is the official state language in Hyderabad. Natives of the city are often also proficient in Hindi and Dakkhini, which more closely shares roots with English than with Teluga. This raises questions about the brain and “linguistic distance,” said Bak.
“You could argue the more different languages are, the better they are for the brain,” Bak said. “However you can also argue that when you speak languages that are so closely related you have to suppress one.”
Scientists have also become interested in whether cognitive abilities can be retained in similar ways if a person doesn’t learn a second language until later on in life, but there are yet no studies on this topic. However, many researchers, including Bak, speculate that a person who learns a second language later on life could glean similar benefits. “There are theories that would say you need the constant practice,” he said. “The fact that I can swim won’t make me healthy. If I actually go swimming it will make me healthier.”
Exercising the Brain
Numerous studies have found one of the best ways to slow cognitive decline is by mindfully engaging in brain-flexing activities, such as playing Suduko and crossword puzzles or reading books. I-Chant Andrea Chiang, MD, a professor who specializes in language psychology at Quest University Canada in Squamish, B.C., sees very little difference between language learning and any other type of brain exercise. “The brain is a muscle and it needs to be worked out like any other muscle,” said Dr. Chiang. “All those mental activities stimulate the brain and build up a cognitive reserve, even though there may be physical decline.”
Chiang has consulted with Ryan McMunn, who runs BRIC Language Systems headquartered in New York City. McMunn said a number of Alzheimer’s patients have sought out BRIC language classes online to help offset the symptoms of the disease, or are learning a second language because Alzheimer’s runs in the family. McMunn, who is American and lived in China after college, said his grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, but he wasn’t aware of the research on bilingualism and dementia until after he began learning to speak Mandarin, which he now does fluently.
“Honestly I can’t think of a more fun way of trying to postpone these things,” said McMunn. “Learn any language; it’s a fun thing to do and it allows you to communicate with new people. I look at it as very beneficial.”
My good friend and commenter, Daggero, left this comment for us yesterday announcing the new Islamic year:
For your information yesterday we entered the Islamic year 1435 Hijri ( hijri = immigration ) which marks the year the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, emigrated after 13 years of calling people to Islam from Mecca to Medina, ( where he is burried in his Mosque , Masjid an Nabawi, the second holliest mosque in Islam after the Mecca )
So total Islam time from begining to now is 1448 years, and on this auspicious occasion i wish you , AdventureMan and your family and the little ones a happy and a blessed New Islamic year.
We wish you the same, Daggero, and I smiled as I read that you discussed the topic we were discussing with your daughter on the drive to school in the morning. I remember those days so well, as young people begin to draw off into their own lives and the time we spend with them in cars can be so precious. Happy New Year to you and your family.
We had a friend from Libya whose family name meant “from Madina;” before we had ever lived in any Middle East country, he had told us a little about Madina, and what a beautiful city it is. The mosque is very beautiful. I think the tradition is that green was the prophet Mohammed’s favorite color?
Happy New Year, too, to all our Moslem friends.
After driving seven and a half hours to get to the convention hotel, AdventureMan and I needed dinner! We settled in to our hotel and took a quick look at the menu – nope. We needed something comforting, something familiar. And there it was, just one minute, I am not kidding, from our hotel, the King O Felafel.
God-with-a-sense-of-humor had plopped us splat down in a hotel in the middle of Middle-Eastern-Land. Minutes from Disney, minutes from all the shoddy tackiness of Orlando, we find ourselves “home.”
The King O Felafel’s shop was full of regulars, including one very large family taking up about five tables all put together, and having a wonderful time. The King himself makes his own felafels, using that little felafel making tool, he was so quick. The was clean clean clean, and service was quick.
We started with lentil soup, and I ordered the Vegetarian Platter (which was like a mezze) and AdventureMan ordered a Felafel Sandwich.
Oh, how we have been yearning for the simple joy of a felafel sandwich done right. The King O Felafel was heaven for us.
Thank goodness I remembered to take a picture before we demolished the entire platter!
So simple, so good. A homemade felafel. Perfection.
This shop is not undiscovered. He has a large clientele of all kinds of people who appreciate superb food, beautifully and tastily prepared.
Across the street from the King O Felafel is a mosque which also has a gym and a meeting hall. There are several other ‘Mediterranean’ restaurants nearby, and several hookah lounges. There are so many shops in this little area of Kissimmee with ‘halal’ foods and even groceries selling halal meats. Wow.
Mosque – my photo was blurry, so I grabbed this from Google Maps. I guess it used to be a computer shop; now it has arabic writing on it and a sign that says it is the AMYL Center (Masjid Shadi)
Today the church prays for the diocese of Terekeka, in the South Sudan. I have never heard of Terekeka – have you?
When I looked for it on Google Maps, it didn’t have any information. When I went to The South Sudan and then googled Terekeka, it came up with a reference, and I had to go to this website to find it – they had a map.
The organization who put up the map, Harvesters Reaching Nations, has two locations in the southernmost part of South Sudan, the newest nation on earth. They are building hospitals, and taking in orphans. If I hadn’t gone looking, I would never have heard of the good works they are doing, saving lives, changing lives.
This is what they say:
We currently serve more than 190 orphans in two locations in South Sudan – Yei and Terekeka. Our school in Yei provides a Christian education to more than 500 students. In addition to our school-age orphans, more than 400 children from surrounding villages attend our school.
The Harvesters campus in Yei consists of 90 acres of land donated by the South Sudan government. Since our beginning in 2001, we have built homes, dorms, classrooms and other facilities within a fenced-in campus. We use the land we own beyond the fencing for planting and growing corn, tomatoes and other vegetables for use in the orphanage.
Harvesters’ campus in Terekeka, South Sudan opened in 2010. At this campus, we currently provide care for 44 orphans, but will grow to 80 in the near future. We have built homes, dorms and a clinic within a five acre, fenced-in campus. Additional facilities, including a church and school classrooms, will be built in the near future as the needs and resources dictate.
To do this, they sold everything they owned, and moved to the South Sudan, and used the proceeds from selling everything to build the hospitals and schools. I bet they are the happiest they have ever been, and the most thoroughly engaged in life they have ever been.