Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kingdom Of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven is another "Wild At Heart" movie that I love. This one has lot of amazing lines and scenes, I picked two of my favorite scenes;they are shown in the clips below. Before I delve into it I do want to mention how the father initiates his son to masculinity. The father is a Lord who had been away from France for a long time on Crusades to the Holy Land and eventually had become the Baron if Iblin. Many years later he comes back looking for his son, in the course of events that follow his son Bailion at first refuses to join his father back to the journey to Holy land but later catches up with him as he murders the village priest. At an encampment early morning his father throws a sword at him and invites him to defend himself, one of the servant's tries to stop him saying "My Lord his hand is injured" but the Father insists he needs to get up and defend himself. Initiation, teaching and bonding, closing of a wound. There is indeed something profoundly mysterious about the Father and Son relationship. Every man carries a father wound somewhere but smart and wise Fathers realize this and come alongside their sons filling in the companionship and most importantly closing of a father wound. Bailion later on in the movie is knighted by his dying father who won't make it with him to Jerusalem. I love the words of the knighting, "Be without fear in the face of your enemies, Be brave and upright that God may love thee, speak the truth always even it means to your death, safeguard the helpless, do no wrong, that is your oath and that you will remember it" - Rise a Knight.

The second clip is Balion standing before King Baldwin of Jerusalem. The king in this scene tells Balion that though kings and people in power may move pieces on the battlefield of life a man does not truly begin his game till he has started moving himself. The most important lesson here is the final words of the king that one day when we stand before God we are answerable to the Judge and King of all ages for every action we have committed, we then don't have any excuse that we didn't do the right thing because, people in power told us to do so or virtue was not convenient at that time or opportunity was not there...each one of us is answerable to Him for our souls.

Balion in the course of the movie commits adultery with Sybilla the king's sister but redeems himself by remembering these words that he will not be bought off by the world or gain the whole world and lose his own soul. When the King offers to arrange the death of Sybila's husband and promises him the Kingdom Balion refuses, and thus becoming a perfect knight and a better warrior in the Kingdom of Conscience.


Game Theory

A long time ago I wrote a paper on Game theory for one of my PhD courses. Game theory was propounded by John Von Nuemann and Morgan Stanley in the late forties and made an amazing contribution in the field of economics. In my paper I put a slight slant of faith in it and it came back heavily marked with questions but I still managed to get an 'A' for that paper. To summarize the traditional thought among businesses is to maximize their profit in the market share and fight for resources,and controls over their operating internal and external environments. Game theory proposes that in business winning and maximization of profits is not the only way for market domination or ensuring longevity of the business but it is a combination of games that a Business/Organization plays of winning, losing, creating win-win situations and finally even creating lose-lose situations. This might sound confusing for the traditional school of thought but let me explain Nintendo the game console manufacturer has applied game theory since the late seventies and has not only ensured market dominance but high amount of cash reserves. Nintendo operates its game theory in the midst of the following components or players: distributors, suppliers, manufacturing inventory and competitors. Throughout the game Nintendo makes sure they are in control of each of the players or components in the market place. In the eighties when they saw retailers like Wal-mart holding lot of power, they zapped their power by under-supplying games and consoles in the market, resulting in a temporary loss for the company but guaranteeing a high demand was created in the marketplace. During this period of time the competition thought they were making short term quarterly profits but they were losing a strategic battle in the long run against Nintendo. Nintendo stays ahead of the curve by innovation, creating products that are not way ahead of competitors but have a slight differentiation in them making them a niche in the larger market place. With product innovations they release only a few of the features and every two years add on to the feature set of a console or a game thus giving the excuse of increasing prices. The release of the Nintendo Wii is an excellent example of again controlling the buying of the games through its console over the internet again zapping of the power of distributors and giving their customers the alternative of choice. They complete the cycle by creating an entire line of accessories sold separately from the game console. They know families play the game together or have friends over so when they sell the console they only sell one remote with it, the extra remote or remotes have to be bought separately. Nintendo is thus playing the game of controlling the supply chain and the demand chain by bending the ordinary rules of traditional business. No wonder A game console manufacture's profit was three times that of Sony corporation whic is into everything from all kinds of electronics to movies.

Now why am I rambling about business in faith based blog. Continue reading....
After writing about this, that evening I went to church and heard the speaker say how Jesus stood still when the woman with the blood issue touched his Tallith and got healed. Jesus is asking a surprising question "Who touched me?" The disciples tell him "Rabbi, you are surrounded by a thong of crowds and yet you ask ..who touched me?" (Paraphrase mine). Jesus knew who had touched him but He was making a point by bringing the attention to the lowest person on totem pole of the Jewish society of that time "the unclean woman". The woman steps forward and proclaims: "Its me Rabbi, I am healed by touching the helm of your garments". Jesus tell her, "Daughter of Abraham your faith has made you well, Go in Peace".

You may ask what the heck is the connection? Jesus came to save us from the ways of the world to follow Him as the only way to be saved from what I call the Matrix of deception. In the movie Matrix Morpheus meets Neo at the assigned location as they want to free him from the Matrix but still Neo has to make the choice. Here is the clip.

The Blue Pill Or The Red Pill from Mathai on Vimeo.

The clip is fascinating isn't it? I am not saying the world is some computer program or some big illusion far from it, but there is some truth in what Morpheus is saying there is a tug in each of our souls as to there is something more. The conversation ends in Morpheus offering the blue pill and the red pill. If he takes the blue pill he wakes up and goes about his life as if nothing happened and if he takes the red pill he will know how deep the rabbit hole goes. We all know what pill Neo chooses, how he is freed from the matrix and how he comes back with the free to help others to be rescued out of the Matrix. It is interesting to me that Neo and his friends can come back in the Matrix but are no more bound by the rules of the Matrix, they can bend the rules of the Matrix and fight the Agents and rescue others, but at the same time they can also get hurt and even killed in the process. Fascinating!

Jesus came to do the same, he rescued us from our eternal damnation of separation from God, brought us out of the clutches of Satan and now sends us back into the world but this time we are armed and can bend the rules of the game. In losing life we gain it, we will advance the kingdom of heaven with victory or loss no matter what, we are no longer slaves but more powerful than we can imagine with the power of Christ in us. I hope you are connecting the dots now, game theory, matrix and the reason to our faith. The woman with the blood issue was not a wanted member of an esteemed congregation but she knew if only she could touch his garments she would be healed, she believed in changing the rules of the game, the touch could save her, she braves the crowds, makes her way through and gets what she wants. Nintendo loses the game sometimes to seal the final victory.

The agents are coming....the phone is ringing..."Run Neo Run"...Oh No...wait..."What is he doing?" He is not running...he stops to face the agent, to fight and to bend the rules of the Matrix.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturate My Soul

Yeshua alone can saturate my soul, Yeshual alone can fulfill my heart,
The lover calls and beckons me to come, Oh He alone satisfies,
He alone can refresh, He alone can consume and be the King of all my being
Blow upon my garden O North Wind, lover of my soul, let the rivers flow.
Song of Solomon is a powerful book in the heart of the Bible, ultimately its reflection is more than the intimacy between man and woman but it is the intimacy with the creator and the created being. The oneness of joining into the “Unio Mystica” That’s what we are called for and that’s how Yeshua himself showed us how he lived. The Cross that he carried to Calvary, the pain, the blood spilled was nothing compared to the agony He went through of separating himself from God. Yet He did it gladly to invite us in to share that level of intimacy, so that nothing else satisfies. Here is another one of my favorite songs sung by Karen Davis a messianic worshiper at Kehliat HaCarmel congregation in Israel taken from the Song of Solomon.

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

Ofra Hazra one of the first Israeli Pop Singers sings "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" one of my favorite songs. Many will say this is a secular poetry but I find it really hard to separate among the good things God has given to us and term it something as secular.Ofra died at the young age of 42, among various speculations from murder to health reasons, she was one of the jewels in singing voices from Israel.

Hearing this song is an emotional experience for not only the Jewish people but all in the Judeo-Christian faith who understand Jerusalem is the sacred city of the King. It holds a special place in the heart of the believer. Now I know why the ancient singers and poets by the rivers of Babylon couldn't bring their harps and lyre's to sing as they were not in Jerusalem, the city of God. In the final scenes of the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" - Bailion the defender of Jerusalem is asking Saladin the Syrian King..."What is Jerusalem worth to you?"; At first he tells him "nothing" and walks away and then he suddenly turns and says "Everything"!.

Here is Ofra singing "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav". I have provided the translation from ...Enjoy!

Avir harim tzalul kayayin
Vereiach oranim,
Nisa beru'ach ha'arbayim
Im kol pa'amonim.

Uvetardemat ilan va'even
Shvuyah bachalomah,
Ha'ir asher badad yoshevet /nitzevet
Uvelibah chomah.

Yerushalayim shel zahav
Veshel nechoshet veshel or
Halo lechol shirayich ani kinor.

Eicha yavshu borot hamayim
Kikar hashuk reikah,
Ve'ein poked et har habayit
Ba'ir ha'atikah.

Uvame'arot asher basela
Meyalelot ruchot,
Ve'ein yored el yam hamelach
Bederech Yericho.


Ach bevo'i hayom lashir lach
Velach lik'shor k'tarim,
Katonti mitze'ir bana'ich
Ume'acharon ham'shorerim.

Ki shmech tzorev et hasfatayim
Keneshikat saraf ,
Im eshkachech Yerushalayim
Asher kulah zahav...


Chazarnu el borot hamayim
Lashuk velakikar,
Shofar kore behar habayit
ba'ir ha'atikah.

Uvame'arot asher baselah
Alfei shmashot zorchot,
Nashuv nered el yam hamelach
Bederech Yericho!


The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.

And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.

Jerusalem of gold
And of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a harp for all your songs.

How the cisterns have dried
The market-place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.


But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
I am the smallest of the youngest of your children (i.e. the least worthy of doing so)
And of the last poet (i.e. of all the poets born).

For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold...


We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A ram's horn calls out on the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine -
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Battle Cry!

The Battle Cry continues. Let us not give Him rest, Let us be fervent in our prayers, in our desperation for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal and we wrestle not with flesh and blood but against might principalities. Lord we put on the full armor of God and plunge into battle, our answer answer continues "I will Fight", "I will Fight"....

There is no alternative. I will go to the end...I cannot hold back now.

Wanna come! "I wanna run a rescue shop within a yard of hell" (C.T Studd)

Shalom & Blessings,

Time for waiting is Past.

I really love this from the sayings of C.T.Studd and his passion to inspire men. This gave me goosebumps..."masculine holiness" daring faith in Jesus Christ. God has called us and we are to be part of His campaign against an assault on the enemy, "reckless sacrifices" and "Heroism"...Oh! I love that. Shackles of traditions , laziness, lukewarmness, coldness, nothing I say nothing, should stop us from advancing the Glory of God.

I am reminded of Joshua one of our great heroes of faith. On the morning of a battle against the Kings of the Amorites and the Kings of Canaanites, Joshua lifts up his eyes and sees a man with His sword drawn against him. He runs up to him and asks him if he was for us or against them and He replies "I have come as the Captain of the Lord's Host of Armies". Joshua worships Him and Yeshua replies "Loose thy shoe from your stand on Holy Ground".

We come to a time where we are on holy ground and the Lord of Hosts himself is drawn His sword to battle alongside with us. Isn't that awesome! Enjoy!, Live Love,Worship and Fight!

This is War

Continuing on the same lines of my last post, I found this and swiped it from, this is beautiful as it is almost an answer to the previous post. Paul Washer really inspired men here. I will shut up and let you listen to the call, let you listen to the answer we must all respond with.

I love it when he says "there is a place, there is a place where the flag of zion does not fly" ...I want to add.."Let us men not rest till the banners of Zion, the banners of our Lord cover the face of the earth, till in in the triumphant glory the King of Kings takes His throne in Jerusalem.

We are called to pray, to be valiant, mighty, strong and we are called to WAR!

Shalom & Blessings,

Sam Kurien

Monday, November 02, 2009

Will you Fight?

I have been meaning to write blogs on all of my favorite movies and in the tradition of John Eldredge and his famous books love to explain and understand the spiritual truths behind them. Unraveling the greater story from the smaller stories of history. So continuing on the movie lines... 'Braveheart' is another one of my favorites.

Every man deep inside wants to be like William Wallace, in fact God the father has created us to be that. He created us in His own image. God is a warrior God and we are born in the midst of battle, born to fight for good, fight for our families, our wives, our children, be the voice of those who don't have a voice, stand for the weak, poor and the needy. Though fighting takes many forms of courage and diverse forms of battles, it is in knowing that we are bought with a price, the blood of our Lord identifies our true identiy. It is in knowing we are born free and a great price was paid to buy our freedom and to maintain it against the onslaught of the enemy we are called to be defiant, brave and ever depending on the Lord. It is in knowing who He is in us and who we ae in Him.

The snippet here is the Scottish landlords have gathered with their armies to negotiate a deal with the English. Fear strikes the men as they see this vastness of the intruding army, slowly they begin to scatter. It is at this time Wallace arrives on the scene. He thanks the landlords for showing up on the battlefield and then turns to the fleeing men asking the pivotal question "Will you Fight?". They answer is an emphatic "No" as they resound that they will run and save their lives. It is at this crucial point William Wallace gives them the identity as to who they are. He sees and calls them "Sons of Scotland" and a countrymen of free scots who have gathered to give an answer to tyranny, more strongly he teaches them in his speech the value of freedom. He tells them many years from today when you lie on your bed thinking if you had one chance...just one chance to come back here to this day and tell your perpetrators that they can take our lives but they will never be able to take their freedom.

I see a striking parallel with our christian lives as I mentioned earlier, the enemy (Satan) and his allies have launched a tremendous assault on human kind, he can't bear the fact the world has been won over by the blood of the lamb, he has lost but now he is taking the offense and is not only frightening the bride, but tearing her apart with division, murder, injustice, lies and destruction. Bothers... we are born in the midst of war, called to fight, called to take the onslaught of Heaven to the corners of all earth to tell men they are free because of the Lamb of God.

Will you Fight?

If we die, we die, if our life is forfeited then so be it...We will fight!! but our enemy will know he cannot defeat us and neither can he cover our eyes with myopia that we are not really free.


Sam Kurien

The Tales that really mattered.

David my good friend and I love talking about theology, literature, science, software engineeing and most of all the grand storeis. Among them one of our favorite is "The Lord of the Rings" the movies and the books are a matter of many a lunch discussions.

I have added one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Frodo is disappointed, depressed and has given up all hope but his trusted friend Sam, express's a profound truth of the tales that really matter. We are in a fight dear friends, the battle is almost lost, there is sadness, misery and death, there is almost no hope but shall we give up or like Sam shall we stick to the fight...and fight for what is good.


For all your goodness and blessings

Growing up in a  Syrian christian home, I had the wonderful opportunity to sing and listen to some amazing songs that were composed by family relatives that have become famous church hymns. The one in the video espcially  brings a lot of tears and memories whenever I hear I share it here. I will make the best attempt to translate as it is in Malyalam. The translation though not perfect will give you the gist of its richness.
Oh for all your goodness and merices, what can I do for you,
My heart overwhelms with your goodness and your praises resound as songs to you.
You lifted me out of my sins and bore the curse for me...oh my savior
You have led me oh my God all the days of my life, so I worship you with all my being

You have taken the promise to look after me all the days of my life, guarding me from all evil,
You are the only power in my life,
This servant of yours will be always in your presence, praising you and living for my Lord and husband,
Though I was guilty you brought me into the light and made me stand holy in your presence with your strength.
All the days i live on earth I will live praising and worshipping your name always.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Tzitzith - A Thread Of Light

I recently finished reading a book, a jewish book written by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan a multi-faceted, creative and well known scholar. Kaplan had unique perception into Torah and was inducted in the Who's Who of Physics. He died in 1983 at a young age of 48 and is known to have a brilliant mind that contained libraries of books that were yet to be produced by his genius.

Anyway, this book gave me a unique insight on the Tzitzith. You may ask what is a Tzitzith for those not knowledgeable in Jewish or Hebrew culture, it is the tassels hanging on each of the four corners of a Tallith or Tallith Katan. Which then brings up the question as to what is a tallith and a Tallith Katan. A Tallith is covering a jewish man or a messianic jew may wear around his shoulders and head while attending a service in the synagogue. A Tallith Katan is the garment worn underneath the shirt with the Tzitzith hanging on the four corners of this garment. Interesting isn't it?

What are these strange tassels on these strange garments. Many of the Jewish and orthodox Jewry were a spectacle of mystery and weirdness when encountered by other cultures as they often lived differently, wore clothing differently and had strange religious customs and traditions. Nevertheless their difference was marked by a deep relationship between the God of Israel and the Jewish people. The mitzvah of the Tzitzith is very fascinating and worth discussing.

Numbers 15:38 mentions "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them that they make Tzitzith on the corners of their garments for all generations; and they shall place on the Corner Tzitzith a twist (Pethil) of blue [wool]." Deuteronomy 22:11,12 says "You shall make tassels (Gedilim) on the four corners of your garments, with which you cover yourself."

The author goes on to explain in the book the number of threads and knots and how the Tzitzith is made; (which I will delve in my next post) but what captured my attention was the threads were reminders of God's commandments. The Exodus and events surrounding it make Judaism unique among all other religions. Other faiths began with a single individual, but Judaism begins with God. A unique bond was forged at the Exodus between the children of Israel and Yahweh. The Exodus thus placed a very special responsibility on the Jew. God rescued us from slavery , and in a very special sense, became our Master. In the Torah He says, "The children of Israel are My servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt - I am God your Lord" (Leviticus 25:25). Therefore, in a sense the Tzitzith was an insgnia that a Hebrew wears, proclaiming that we are God's subjects. The Torah alludes to this in telling us to wear the Tzitzith to be "holy to your God". The word "holy" means two things: First that we are close to God because of His saving and secondly that we are separated from things that are ungodly. The wearing of the Tzitzith is a sign of that relationship of the who has accepted His Torah. God reiterates the concept of this relationship when He says " You shall be holy to Me, for I God, am Holy, and I have set you apart from all other peoples, that you should be Mine" (Leviticus 20:26).

When wearing the Tallith in the synagogue, the following blessing is pronounced "Barukh Atah Adonnoy Elohenu Melekh holam asher kid'sha-nu be-mitzov-thav vertziva-nu al Mitvah Tzitzith" which means:

"Blessed are You God, our Lord, King of the worldwho has made us holy with His commandments and gave us the Mitzvah of Tzitzith.