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No Pets for You

During the 7th season of Seinfeld, episode 116 introduced the “Soup Nazi” to pop culture.  Larry Thomas played this vibrant character, excessively strict and unwilling to bow down to the requests of patrons like Jerry, Elaine and George.  Subsequently, when the Soup Nazi felt disrespected, he coined the phrase, “no soup for you,” becoming an instant sensation and regular guest on Seinfeld.

While reading Exodus 11:27, I was surprised to see cats and dogs are deemed unclean by God.  Any creature with paws and walk on all fours are off limits.   Any Jew who touched a cat or dog would become unclean til evening, forced to wash their clothes as well.  Essentially, God was telling the Israelites, “no pets for you!”

Today, OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, takes the words of the Bible to the extreme.  According to Jesus, what you touch doesn’t make you clean or unclean.  Purity or the lack there of comes from within, Luke 6:43-45.  Therefore, your heart determines your actions, behavior and words.  In view of this truth, Jesus urged his followers to set their hearts on things above, Matthew 6:19-21.  The apostle Paul takes this one step further in Colossians 3:1-4, encouraging individuals to set your hearts on eternal things.  Whether you like pets or not, the Bible doesn’t restrict animals today; God introduced free will to enable you to make your own choices.

by Jay Mankus

 

More Than A Dirty Bird

While the undrafted Jamal Anderson, former NFL running back of the Atlanta Falcons introduced the dirty bird in 1998 to celebrate scoring a touchdown, this is not the inspiration for today’s blog.  After reading the words of Leviticus 11:13 I was surprised to see that the eagle made God’s detestable list for birds.  Sorting through which animals are considered clean and unclean to eat for Israel, the eagle is categorized as unclean.  Despite this classification, I believe the eagle is more than a dirty bird.

On June 20th, 1782, the eagle became the national emblem of the United States of America.  To honor this dirty bird, the great seal featuring the eagle was adopted, portrayed on the backs of gold coins, the silver dollar, half dollar and quarter.  The rationale for this decision was based upon the eagle’s long life expectancy, mighty strength and effortless guiding through the sky.  In addition, the eagle is a symbol of freedom, roaming over the vast spaces above mountain tops and hovering over the valleys below.

If you want to be accurate, the dirtiest birds are chickens and sea gulls based upon their hygiene habits.  However, prior to modern technologies, individuals could not determine whether or not an animal was thoroughly cooked.  Therefore, the book of Leviticus was written to warn Jews to forgo eating forbidden animals to prevent the contraction of aggressive bacteria and disease.  Although the eagle is no longer on the endangered species list, the sight of one in nature often illicit a sense of pride.  In God’s eyes, the eagle is more than a dirty bird, they are an image of hope, able to soar above the trials in life, Isaiah 40:30-31.

by Jay Mankus

 

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