Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963, delivering his “I Have a Dream” Speech.
On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the United States Congress; it was an historic occasion, as the Pontiff was the first to do so, although predecessors had also received invitations. Pope Francis referenced the message of Moses, and highlighted four American heroes: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. In these leaders, the pontiff called forth the hope and action of the United States, and the world, to the qualities of peace, freedom, dreams, responsibility, and dialogue. What is the role of heroes as an inspiration to those ready to build a better future?
Israel’s desalination program yields 25% of the water supply, according to Avraham Tenne, Desalination Division of the Water Authority of Israel: “With the touch of a button, we can produce 600 million cubic meters of water.” The land of Solomon’s Temple gains 50% of agricultural water through scientific sewage treatment. It seems to work: Medjool dates, grown with recycled water, are highly prized, and priced, around the world. Drought-stricken California has 80,500 farms; could Israel’s water wizardry improve its agriculture? Will Water Act, in Paris, prelude to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, build consensus and action to save the world’s water?
Pope Francis stated that protecting the environment is a moral and ethical obligation. Image: wikimedia commons.
Pope Francis has updated the list of sins; harming the environment is now of ethical, and moral, import. Environmental provisions were part of building Solomon’s Temple; Hebrew and Phoenician work teams alternated crews so that agriculture could be sustained. More recently, Boston’s Central Artery Project, known familiarly as the ‘Big Dig,’ hinged on provisions for environmental protection to qualify in part for some aspects of federal funding. When the road was placed underground (it was first called the Depressed Artery), a Greenway replaced cars with gardens, enhancing city aesthetics and oxygen. Environmental requirements and protections are increasingly part of public/private initiatives. Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, Law 071, passed by Bolivia, and presented at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference, defines earth as a collective subject of public interest with inherent rights. As the world prepares for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris, what influence might the pope’s encyclical Laudato Si have on environmental governance and guidance? In the United States, will the address to Congress on September 24, 2015 encourage progress?
Signature that changed history: Magna Carta. Image:; wikimedia commons.
June 15, 1215. A field not far from London. An agreement recognized by a yielding king, revoked by a Pope, revived by a civil war, Magna Carta would continue to shape rights, legal systems. So too, the Ark of the Covenant in Solomon’s Temple, where enshrined was the rule of law, marked a change in history. Magna Carta’s 39th clause may have been among the first directives of trial by jury. To make certain everyone had access to the law, Magna Carta was proclaimed annually, read aloud in a resounding voice by the sheriff. In modern times, issues raised by Magna Carta continue to evolve, as our world grows more inclusive.
Solomon’s Temple was built through an exchange organization. Hebrews met Phoenicians at the dock to receive cedars from barges sailed from Tyre; ships returned laden with grain and oil. Fast forward to the sailing freighter that arrived from rural Vermont to urban New York City on October 26, 2013. In the Kickstarter and Willowell Foundation success that recalls an exchange 3,000 years earlier, Ceres docks in New York City with organic farm bounty; upon return, supplies and materials are welcomed by rural Vermonters (http://vermontsailfreightproject.wordpress.com/). But Solomon’s Temple is inspiring for another reason: the cedars mentioned above were from Lebanon. Solomon’s Temple is one of the first organizations in recorded history to feature cooperative exchange and technology transfer between neighboring nations. Today, where might similar exchange organizations contribute to education and technology, shared natural resources including water, food security, energy, public health and regional disaster response, transport and trail systems, and perhaps even peace?
Supposed ossuary of James, Jesus’ brother, from Time, at time.com.
The selling of relics is usually associated with the Catholic Church, and seen as a obsolete practice. Recent events have proved contrary to this belief. In March 2012, an Israeli antiques dealer was acquitted of charges for forging Biblical and early Jewish relics, including items said to be from the first temple, Solomon’s Temple. The controversy began in 2002, when the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto displayed a box with an Aramaic inscription claiming that the bones inside belonged to James, Jesus’ brother. Red flags were raised and an investigation began that prompted many museums to re-evaluate their own collections. The authenticity of many of the objects in question is still up for debate, and Biblical archaeologists appear divided.
Hollywood has always had a love of historical mysteries and legends. In the last decade alone Free Masons, America’s Founding Fathers, Templar Knights, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Egypt’s ancient gods and goddesses, Greek mythology, King Arthur, and even plots to kill Hitler have been subjects of box office blockbusters and Oscar-winning films. Perhaps no historical mystery has been so successful in solidifying an actor’s film career as that of the Ark of the Covenant. Harrison Ford, as Dr. Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” plays an archeologist trying to find the lost Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do, operating under the belief that a tenth century BCE Egyptian pharaoh stole it from the Temple of Solomon and hid it in his city in Egypt, only to be wiped out by a year-long sand storm. Below is a little piece of history in and of itself: the 1981 trailer for “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”