Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Human Potential

Having finished Peter and Paul, my 3rd book in little over a year, I have been told that I am a prolific writer. Perhaps so. Some 30 books since I retired from my architectural practice could give that impression.
The next comment usually is: “What motivates you to write so much, when you could be lying on your back, in Florida, sipping Martinis.”
That’s easy.
My sole motivation to write is sharing a secret with others. I don’t mean in the goody-goody sense. I don’t tell people what to do, nor how to do it.
My whole motivation is to try to open peoples’ minds to the Infinite Potential welling within their consciousness. ALL my books, fiction or non-fiction, will attest to that. That is why I consider “Human Potential” the two most powerful words in the English language. If you read my books, you’ll see why.
Only don’t expect me to preach.  I leave that to others.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Peter and Paul, Historical Novel in the making

Sic transit gloria mundi...

Lo and behold, after some seven weeks, the first draft of my new novel is finished. I gave it another once over and now it is entering the circle of volunteers who kindly offered to read it, proofread it as best they can, give me their editorial input and constructive criticism.
In addition to being grateful, I always hope that when the novel is finally published, they will be kind enough to write a few words (hopefully of praise) on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. If not, they’ll be forgiven and I’ll still be grateful. If you’d like to be on the receiving end of my gratitude, I can sent you a Microsoft.doc or a PDF copy. The book is under 80 K words so is doesn’t go on forever. It can’t since Peter and Paul and Nero… all died.
Hoping to hear from you…

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Chapter 4 The Day After (#37, draft, excerpt)

Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.

It took Shimon the whole of the night to recover. Whatever happened on Shavuoth, on the southwestern hill of Jerusalem, was not only beyond his expectations, but it didn’t make any logical sense. Not with logic as he knew it.
Frankly, his recollection of that day was hazy. Fragments went well beyond real, yet they were as vivid as some of the things Yeshûa did and said when still amongst them. Others, other things he, he himself, has said, other reactions from the crowds, seemed veiled with a haze of improbability. Yet, again, throng of people seemed to sway with his every word, as though grasped in a gigantic wave of Truth spilling from his mouth.
In a strange way, it was a humbling experience.
Those were fragments of events, or recollections, Shimon couldn’t quite accept, quite reconcile with the way he’d always regarded the world.
Just imagine.
Twelve frightened men, deprived of will of their own, taking to thousands of people coming from different parts of the world; talking to total strangers, in the strangers’ own tongues, in their local vernacular, telling them of things which completely upset the usual, accepted norms of behaviour. And the men, those foreigners, seemed to be accepting the new world-view, accepting the new concept of reality; accepting, absorbing, making it their own. 
“Does this make any sense?” Shimon looked at his friends, his co-conspirators, who stood throughout the long day, from sunrise till sunset, sharing the Good News.
His colleagues all knew what he meant. They all returned smiles of understanding. Whatever they did yesterday, on that incredible Yom Ree-Shon, on Shavuoth unlike any other Shavuoth, was as much beyond their understanding as beyond any logical process that could be explained by human mind.
“Does this make any sense…” Shimon repeated softly.
To Shimon it didn’t. He was a stubborn man. He wouldn’t give up his established mindset easily. In that sense, he really was Kepha. And he might be persuaded to compromise on any matter, other than the Master’s teaching. On that he was immovable.
Yet, at the same time, it was he, Shimon the Rock, who was no longer afraid, who stood proud in the midst of the hornets’ nest, on the broad steps of the Temple itself, steps leading to the Hall of Hewn Stones, to the Sanhedrin, to the Holy of Holies beyond, who preached to the swaying masses.
He stood and spoke the words Yeshûa put in his mouth, with priests looking on, unable to do anything, unwilling to show their true colours in front of the milling thousands who seemed to hang on Shimon’s ever word.
The same was true of all his friends. Every one of them. They just couldn’t reconcile their own memories of that day with the way they regarded reality of everyday life. It was as if the Master had been there, standing amongst them, speaking through their lips.
And then, with the rising sun, the fire lit his heart again.
Ignoring the danger inherent from the priesthood, Shimon and John returned to the Temple. People, hungry for the Word, were already there, waiting. They both delivered another sermon. It wasn’t quite like yesterday, but the remnants of fire still burned within them. This time close to five thousand people heard the Word. This time close to five thousand people accepted the Good News.
These were the most incredible days. Had someone mentioned them a week ago, not one of them would have believed it. And yet it had been promised by Yeshûa.
At nightfall, after the second day of preaching, of sharing the Good News, sanity prevailed. Shimon led his men, in small groups of three or four, back to their hiding place. There was no need to tempt the priests and the Pharisees any further. The News has been announced. It would spread. Those who heard it would go back and pass it on the others.

(to be continued)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Chapter 3, Sheol—The day before, (#36, draft, excerpt cont.)

Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.

For Shimon the night was strangely relaxing. Even as Morpheus embraced his tired bones, his mind seemed to reach back to happier times. His eyes, under his eyelids, drifted back, until he saw vague reflections of a dying fire. Yeshûa was standing in the middle of the circle of his friends, his lose robe swaying a little in the shore-bound wind. It was a warm, balmy night. All his friends, the disciples, often spent the night, outdoors, together, at the sandy shores of the Sea of Galilee.
A smile displaced the almost permanent frown on Shimon’s tired face. He felt the gentle breeze on his cheeks; Yeshûa’s voice, gentle, persuasive, removing all worry from his mind.
Shimon was happy. Again.
They sat in a circle, listening to Yeshûa talk. It was very different from the times when the Master talked to the masses of people who, for some time now, were following Yeshûa wherever He went.
When he preached to them, he preached how to live, here, on earth, how to manage their life, how to overcome difficulties that arose between various people. Essentially, he taught them that when they eliminate strife and selfishness, and greed and selfishness, life would become easier. For everyone. For them and for others. He taught them how to live. How to conduct their ordinary, everyday life.
His teaching was very simple. If you love one another, He’d said, then you eliminate all enemies; you become surrounded by friends, and friends, He said, help one another. What can be simpler?
But when Shimon and the chosen few, the twelve of them, and Yeshûa were alone, away from being overheard by others, He talked of different things. He talked of His Kingdom. He taught that whatever we think of, whatever we feel deeply about, creates an echo in a reality which is akin to a dream. And that is why, He’d said, it is not what we do that matters so much, but what we think and feel. These are the two foundation stones of my Kingdom, He’d said. This is where we become masters of our own domain, where we are truly in the image and likeness of our father. Where our will is the most powerful force in the universe. On earth and in heaven. This is where Ye are gods, he repeated, many a time. This is where ye are gods.
 None of this is real… He repeated often, though only when they were alone. Unless you accept this truth, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He’d said. He insisted on that. Heaven is within you. In the Kingdom where we are all gods.
Heaven is within you…
Shimon didn’t understand most of His words. That last statement, about heaven, was the hardest to understand. He doubted that his friend understood any better. Not with their mind. But what did happen was a strange feeling that Yeshûa was telling him what he already knew. What he’d always known, deep, in his heart.
As so often, when Yeshûa spoke time seemed to stop. Perhaps He did transport them, if for but fragments of eternity, to a different realty which He called his Kingdom.
The fire was dying now. A spark flew, here and there, Yeshûa’s contour dissolved in the ripple of the wavelets of Gennesareth. Gradually the water became lustrous, perfectly still.
And then Shimon heard a great wind rushing at him from above. Yet he didn’t wake up, though he could swear that his eyes were wide open. He also felt Yeshûa’s presence. Just as He’d promised.

(Chapter 4 to follow)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Chapter 3, Sheol—The day before, (#35, draft, excerpt cont.)

 Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.

Soon after sunset, more than a hundred believers, mixed with some three thousand travelers—tired, disheveled—converged on the Temple courtyard. As many as could, tight, shoulder-to-shoulder, pressed inside, to spend the night under the Temple roof. For many it was their first time in the Temple. First time in Jerusalem.
Tomorrow thousands more would come, spread across the court of the gentiles, and even further down the slopes.  They all came in the hope of Shavuoth bringing new hope, new revelation, new guidance as it has done throughout history. They all needed help. With the Romans around, they needed all the help they could get.

As soon as the sun has set, the protection of darkness emboldened the disciples to press closer together, surrounding Shimon all sides. When it was definitely night Shimon rose to his feet and recited the ancient blessing:
"Baruch atah A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha-olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al S'firat Ha-omer."

Not all of his friends understood Hebrew. A some, perhaps many, have been born and raised far north, and seldom visited Jerusalem. With a gentle smile he repeated the words in Greek, which most people understood. It was the lingua franca even for the Romans. Yes. For some disciples, even such words as Sheol were meaningless. They gave it the Greek name. They called it Hades. The place of those not yet awakened.
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
Some heads looked up even as he spoke. They seem to draw strength from the ancient promise. The words gave them renewed faith in a greater tomorrow. Counting the Omer, they knew, was counting the forty-nine day that brought them to this day. Which brought them to Shavuoth.

(to be continued)  

Friday, 4 May 2012

Chapter 3, Sheol—The day before, (#34, draft, excerpt cont.)

Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.

There was only one hope. Tomorrow. Hope always lies in the future. The present is not acceptable. It is fraught with danger. If the present continues, Master’s teaching would fall on deaf ears. On the ears of the dead.
We must all wait another day, or really, another night.
Tomorrow the count will be over. The fiftieth day. Since the beginning of time, since the day Yahweh promised Moses that forty-nine days after they left Egypt they would be given the Law to live by, the Jews expected new revelation. Since those early days, generations have counted the days from the Feast of Passover, hoping for New Revelation. Tomorrow it will be over. The light will come upon them. The light of Torah.
And even as thousands gravitated towards the Temple, so did the one hundred and twenty believers, intermingling with others. In the midst of them, moving with the crowd, advanced the disciples led by Shimon, followed closely by his brother Andrew, who never allowed Shimon to stray too far. He really felt protective about Shimon, particularly since Yeshûa’s death. Shimon just wasn’t the same any more.
Andrew also kept his eye on James, son of Zabedee, who became known as James the Greater. He was much taller than the average Galilean, towering over the crowd surrounding him. Andrew repeatedly motioned him to keep his head down, only to receive a broad, ear-to-ear grin in response. James never accepted that anyone could possibly wish him any harm.
A few steps behind them came Jude also known as Thaddeus, who tried hard to restrain Simon the Zealot. Simon would rather fight the Pharisees then convert them to the New Teaching. When, on that fateful Yom Hah-Mee-Shee, that Thursday, after what became their last meal together, Yeshûa led them to the Garden of Gethsemane, Simon tried to cut Malchus’s other ear. He would have succeeded if it hadn’t been for Thaddeus restrained him. Even Shimon had to be restrained by the Master himself from attacking not so much the Roman soldiers, but the treacherous servant of the High Priest.
Thaddeus has been looking out for the young, explosive Simon ever since.
Approaching from another direction so as not to attract attention came John, brother of James, thus also son of Zebedee and Salome. He led Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Didymus, yes, the Doubting Thomas.
Finally, as the self-appointed rear guard came James the Less, also known as the Just. He darted here and there, making sure that no savory character, such as the High Priest’s spies, would get near any of his friends.
They all walked slowly, mixed in with the crowd, so as not to be indentified. They all knew that danger was lurking, but the spies of the Pharasees couldn’t spot them in the darkening day. They all, the masses, looked pretty much the same. Just simple people. Simple, ordinary folks.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Chapter 3, Sheol—The day before, (#33, draft, excerpt cont.)

Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.

Fifty days. Fifty day sustained by faith, slowly waning. Yes, he came to see them on the third day, though it wasn’t really He. It was Yeshûa as He’d said He was. It was Yeshûa that seemed to walk through walls. We have been gathered in a small room, scared, all doors tightly shut, locked, and then, without a warning, He was with us. The next moment He was gone. Or it felt as though it was the next moment. When He came, time seemed to have stopped.
The women saw him to. Mary Magdalene and others. In fact, they saw Him first. Imagine…
“He was with us, He really was,” John assured the doubters. “For an instant of eternity, He was with us,” and then his eyes filled with tears. “He really was…” he seemed to beg for confirmation, looking at Shimon.
John truly loved Yeshûa. We all did, but John was special to Him.
“We all were,” John cut in, evidently reading Shimon’s thoughts. Or it could have been the expression on Shimon’s face. They all missed Him badly.
And then Didymus came. Later they called him the Doubting Thomas. 
Put your finger here… put your hand into my side…
You all know the story. Thomas believed as we all did. Yeshûa was real. Real and yet…
Perhaps He was more than real?
After all He did say He’d never leave us.
I’ll never leave you…
Those words still reverberated in their ears.
In a way, He still was with them in their thoughts, their minds, their hearts… He filled every moment of their waken day; often their dreams. Only it was so hard, so very hard to accept it with one’s emotions. They all missed His presence. His physical, presence. The sound of His voice, the look in his eyes. The touch of his hand.
Still… He did come back, if only for a while.
And now, or soon, His spirit would descent on them. So it was from the time of Moses, so it will remain. Fifty days after departure from Egypt Moses brought the tablets from Mount Siam, and now, fifty days after Yeshûa was murdered He’d send His spirit to them.
It had to be thus. It had to be. Or we’d all die of sorrow.
It had to be thus.

For the Sadducees, Shavuoth always fell on Yom Ree-Shon, on Sunday, the day after Yom Sha-Bat. The Pharisees celebrated it on various days of the week. They were always different. Superior? They thought so…
The Believers, as most people in Judea, followed the same tradition as the Sadducees. They chose to celebrate this day on Yom Ree-Shon. Jews came to Jerusalem from farthest corners of Judea, Idumea, Perea, Samaria, and even Galilee and Decapolis—though the journey was hard for many. People would travel for days, on foot, carrying their food, to be at the Temple on the Feast of Shavuoth. It was a national celebration of their glorious past; of the evidence that Yahweh was their One God, One Protector. That Yahweh was that which unified them all.
For Shimon’s friends, all ten of them, the last few days felt like living in the antechamber to Sheol. More brothers have disappeared, without any explanation, seemingly without a justifiable reason. They were not even active proselytes—hardly ready to take on new responsibilities of the New Teaching yet, it seems, that the powers of Sheol were mobilizing against them.
Sheol—the abode of the dead.
Sheol—where the dead buried the dead, never allowed them to come alive again. So the Master had said. Or at least He warned against the dangers. But some didn’t listen. Some didn’t believe that none of this world is real. Not even Shimon, though he’d never admit it.
Shimon the Rock. Kepha, would never admit it. But he tried to believe. He tried hard.

(to be continued)