Book Review of "The Templars"

There are so many stories about Templars, Knights and Masons. Some are fact and some are fiction. You have to know a little about history to sort through them. Barbara Frale is a historian who gives the reader the history background collected from her research.

The warrior-monks were put together to protect Jerusalem from being taken over by the Muslims. There were multiple countries involved. France and England were two of the major ones. They led the crusades for centuries but were eventually defeated. In the end, between kings and the Catholic Church, they were disbanded. It was a sad ending to their history. There was an inquisition and they were killed.

Much of the book was beyond my knowledge and I kept my laptop nearby to lookup time periods I needed background on. It was very interesting.

From what I comprehended, they began as an honorable group of men who in the end were used as scapegoats, pawns and murdered in the end.

Many people interested in these topics are into the whole conspiracy theories that make for movies.

I’m not into all that but do enjoy learning about history. What I got out of it is that I do not want to support death penalties or torture in any circumstance. Throughout history, there has been so much wrong done to innocent people by deceit or fanaticism. Even for heinous crimes, I would rather just incarcerate and rehabilitate than chance unjustly murdering or harming someone who was innocent or who didn’t submit to an idea.

We have seen these scenarios throughout history from the Templars, to witch hunts, to those refusing to convert to religions, to military revenge. I know in my heart that is not what God would want people doing to each other in his name.

I do believe the military is a necessary part of life that will always be needed. One group will always be trying to take over another and countries need to be able to defend themselves. I am thankful that I have never to to experience war and pray I never do. I am thankful that I live in a country with freedom of religion, democracy and in the age of peace. I am thankful I was born after freedom for slaves, rights for women and civil rights equality. I am thankful for all those before I was born who sacrificed their lives for those freedoms.

Book Review of "The Day He Left for Iraq"

Going across the world to another country is not only difficult for military members on deployment but for the families they leave behind as well. This memoir is revealing about what both parties go through during the distance.

In “The Day After He Left for Iraq”, Melissa Seligman opens the reader’s door to her world. Her family’s story reflects that of so many others who share similar experiences. Being free to share it and hear it allows us to acknowledge that we are human.

Melissa’s husband was deployed to Iraq while she was home with a baby and a toddler. The toddler understood more than adults would imagine. It makes you think about how important it is to prepare children for deployment and the return.

I am thankful that Melissa shared her family’s story. I’ve always wanted to know what a soldier goes through in war but was afraid to ask out of respect for their privacy.

As a young woman dating enlisted men in the military, I was discouraged by their immaturity and disregard of respect for young women. I guess I didn’t meet the good ones. I later married an Army Officer and he is a good man.

Now, as the mother of a young woman who is a Naval Officer on deployment and soon to be mother in law of her fiancee, also a Naval Officer just returned fro deployment, I pray every day for their future and that they will be safe and know they are loved.

I pray that when they have children I will be able to be a support during any deployments. I pray that the young men will become gentlemen who respect women and the families of the other side in the same way they would wish for their own families.

Many returning Veterans do have to seek counseling and their spouses as well but sharing their stories is a huge step in understanding their world. I will still respect privacy but do desire to find out how I can support our military families. As my daughter marries and shares her experiences, I hope to become involved in healing the heartaches of those returning from war.

I hope I never have to experience war. There are valid views on all sides. Americans who serve willingly need to be supported. Objectors during drafts need to be understood, such as what happened during the Viet Nam era. Those fighting against us may not have good cause but their mothers grieve for lost children just the same. The innocent on both sides still hurt.

I am glad I read this book. It is a start in knowing how we as citizens can help.

Book Review of "The Jewish Approach to God"

In “The Jewish Approach to God”, Rabbi Neil Gillman shares his views on the comparisons between Jewish and Christian theology. Those are two belief systems that although are so closely tied, can only be understood by sharing and uniting with one another.

As a beginner in exploring tackling the Hebrew language, I sat down with a notepad to take notes of new vocabulary words. I had recently read another book written by three women, a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian from a Catholic/Episcopalian background.

The idea of sharing experiences sounds easy but to fully understand history, one needs to start digging into the languages. This is a large task that takes time.

One thing I was unclear about was that he used the word God. I’m glad but I thought Jews weren’t allowed to use that name.

Another thing that was a little difficult was it was so intellectual. My belief in Christianity seems so simple.

I keep in mind that within every religion are various denominations and practices. Some people only practice what traditions they are raised in as holidays and others are searching for the deepest meanings.

I follow Jesus with all my heart and keep it simple. To some non-religious people I may be seen as deeply religious and yet, to some conservatives seen as too liberal. I believe in mercy and charity and trust God to take care of the rest.

To me, the New Testament seems easier to read than the Old Testament. I don’t know if that is because languages changed or times changed. Just like today is so different from the Middle Ages, there seems to be a difference in communication.

For the Gentile reading this book, if you are a first time explorer, you may want to get out a pad of paper, a pen, a Bible and a dictionary or the internet to look up words that are new to you. It will make reading an adventure.

Not all of my questions were answered but I may need an elementary version such as children’s books to start with. This was like starting in seminary so it was a big chunk to take on.

I do have my notes and questions. I do plan on going back and finding more resources. I am doing this at home on my own first and then may audit a class and finally, try a course for credit. Wish me luck.