Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Know Me

. . . But You, O LORD, know me; You see me, and test my heart towards You..."
Jeremiah 12:2-3

Then my LORD said unto me . . .

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee . . .

Then said I . .

Ah Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD . . .
~Jeremiah 1:5-8

And . . .

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
3:6, 27:1

For . . .

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
~Psalm 118:8-9

Friday, September 5, 2008

Love Thinks No Evil . . .

. . . Love suffereth long, and is kind; Love envieth not; Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth:
~I Corinthians 13

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Cid

El Cid, also called El Cid Campeador, is the name used for the most famous Spanish knight and hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar.

Rodrigo became known throughout Spain as, “El Cid Campeador”, (My Lord, the Champion) which is a mixed Spanish dialect of Arabic.

The word "El", is Spanish and means "The" or "Sir", and "Cid" is Arab which means "Lord".

So, "El Cid", loosely translated, means "The Lord" or "The Sir", a title of respect.

The title ‘Campeador’ was given by his Spanish admirers and could mean the following definition:

El Campeador, the name by which Rodrigo is also distinguished, means in Spanish something more special than ‘champion.’ A Campeador was a man who had fought and beaten the select fighting-man of the opposite side, in the presence of the two armies. (Watts)

or . . .

the title "Campeador" is a vulgar Latin word that could be translated, "Master of Military Arts".

b. 1040? - d. 1099

El Cid lived during the time of Alfonso the Brave, who became King of León and Castile following Alfonso's brother, King Sancho the Strong's, short reign and untimely death or assassination and reigned from 1065 to 1072. (There is a mysterious vagueness surrounding Sancho's death).

Because of the suspicion surrounding Alfonso's king brother Sancho's death, there is a famous legend about El Cid, who was of Castilian nobility, and a dozen other Castilian nobleman, (who were "oath-helpers") that together they forced the newly crowned King Alfonso, to swear a public oath on sacred church relics, that he did not participate in his brother Sancho's mysterious death.

Whether, the legend is true or not, it is b
elieved because it adds to the accounts of The Cid's bravery. In any case, because of this, El Cid lost his position as armiger regis, (commanding the armies of Castille), which was taken away and given to El Cid's enemy, Count García Ordóñez.

The relationship, however, did improve somewhat between El Cid and King Alfonso, when El Cid married the King’s niece, Jimena (which is sometimes spelled Ximena). It is said that Jimena was beautiful and that El Cid loved her and together they had three children, two daughters and a son.

El Cid was the King's most valuable strength and advantage in the fight and power struggle against the Moors (Muslim Arabs) because The Cid was a brilliant military leader and commander and so became the chief general of King Alfonso. Accounts have said that El Cid would order books by classic Roman and Greek authors, who wrote on military themes, to be read in loud voices to him and his soldiers before and during battle. He was a man who valued, wanted and allowed input from his soldiers on battle strategy and warfare.

He was also, an educated and cultivated man, serving as a judge under King Alfonso. He kept detailed public office and private records with copies of letters he mailed and important documents he signed.

El Cid was forced into exile by King Alfonso for a period of time. The exile was a accumulation of events and flow of feeling toward El Cid in court life at that time. Among these it was that during the Battle of Cabra (1079), El Cid had rallied his troops and and made an unauthorized expedition into Grenada, which was ruled by Emir Abd Allah of Granada, who's ally was Count García Ordíñez, El Cid's old enemy.

This greatly angered King Alfonso and this is the general given reason for El Cid’s exile, although several other contributing factors were: jealously among the other nobles in court and thus turning the King against El Cid. The King’s own animosity towards The Cid. Accusations of stealing tribute money that was supposed to go into the King's treasury and, also, (apparently), El Cid's “penchant” for insulting powerful men, all of which contributed to his exile. So, forced into exile, El Cid became a mercenary, offering his services to other kings and countries. (King Alfonso did recall El Cid back after a devastating defeat in battle and El Cid complied, but, generally El Cid was on his own from that time forward).

Tired and wanting to "retire" El Cid laid siege to the City of Valencia. The siege lasted several years. Finally, though, the long siege ended and El Cid carved out his own kingdom on the Mediterranean coast.

Officially, El Cid ruled in the name of King Alfonso. But, in reality, he was fully independent. Eventually, he died and opposite of what is generally believed, he died peaceably and not in battle.

One other famous legend about The Cid is how he acquired his famous war-horse, the white stallion Babieca (which means "Stupid!").

According to this story, El Cid's godfather, a monk Pedro El Grande, gave to El Cid, a coming-of-age gift his pick of a horse from an Andalusian herd. El Cid picked a horse that his godfather though was a poor choice, causing the monk to exclaim “Babieca!” (stupid!) and this became the name of El Cid’s horse.

Anyway, Babieca became a great warhorse loved by El Cid, who allegedly requested that the white stallion be buried with him (he wasn't).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seeking . . .

But . . .

I say unto YOU,

ASK . . .

and it shall
be given you;

SEEK . . .

and ye shall find;

KNOCK . . .

and it shall be OPENED unto YOU.

For . . .

Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Luke 11:9 ~ Matthew 7:8

A Few Good Men . . .

What does the phrase "A Few Good Men" mean?

It is not an easy thought to articulate in words and pictures. However, the following quotes define this statement.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing"
- Anonymous (Often attributed to Edmund Burke)

“Where there is one brave man, in the thickest of the fight, there is the post of honor.”
- Henry David Thoreau

"I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend"
- J. R. Tolkien

“Be ashamed to die until you have done something good for mankind.”
- American Pastor Vernon Johnson (during the Revolutionary War)

The opposite meaning of the above phrase would be . . .

a Traitor . . .

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the
traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself"
- John Stuart Mill

Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin