Conception of Christianity

Abraham’s Many Sons – Christianity
Advent 19
Thursday Two-Day Burgers

Father Abraham had many sons but ….We sometimes forget that Abraham was himself a son. The story of Abraham begins twenty-one generation before his birth. The setting is a land known as Eden, a Latin word defined as “paradise” from the Greek word “Ēdēn” and the Hebrew” Ēḏen” which most likely came from the Akkadian word “edinu” which was derived from the Sumerian word “eden” which is translated as “a plain or desert” but also most definitely a derivative of the Hebrew “ēḏen” which translates as “delight”. In the creation myth of Christianity, Eden was a locale created by a supreme deity called God for a man known as Adam and his helpmate, a female called Eve. Thus Adam became the first father or patriarch of the religion we know as Christianity.

In the Christian tradition, time was kept by the recording of the family. Thus, the story of Abraham begins with his great-great-great- great-great-great- great-great-great- great-great-great- great-great-great- great-great-great- great-great-great-grandfather, the man known only to us as Adam. We know through the stories and religious literature of the Abrahamic faiths that Adam had two sons who would later marry but there are no records of the families of their spouses. The story that begins with “In the beginning” lists a long line of patriarchs, male heads of their families and tribes through whom the religion and faith would be passed from generation to generation.

Jared or Melchizedek was sixth generation in the genealogy of Abraham and, according to the writings, was the second longest-living man in the time of the Bible. His son was Enoch who fathered Methuselah, eighth generation from Adam and the oldest living male mentioned in the stories of Christianity. Like many cultures, the Christian faith has not only a Creation Myth but also a Flood Myth and this occurs in the tenth generation of Adam with a grandson named Noah. The patriarchs between Noah and Abraham are less important and not much is known about them. The story, however, does not end with Father Abraham. It is just getting started. While it is at this point that Islam leaves the other two Abrahamic religions and Judaism and Christianity seem to still be parallel, it is at this juncture that interpretation becomes paramount in the differing religions.

Father Abraham’s two oldest sons, Ishmael and Israel, gave birth to their own tribes and religions. Jacob’s son Isaac, later known as Israel and twenty-second in generation from Adam, would become the father of twelve sons and be famous for being the father of Joseph. From Joseph to the thirty-fourth generation King David and thirty-fifth generation King Solomon and Nathan to Jesus, the man who would become the father of the reason for Christianity, the story becomes one of political power and humanity, or rather the lack thereof. The times were harsh and the living was often even harsher. Territory exchanged hands as emperors, pharaohs, and rulers conquered and were conquered. The religion that had given people a reason for living became the reason they were killed or enslaved. The value of human life became how much it could be bent and tortured as well as taxed.

It was at this time that the seventy-fifth generation grandson of Adam lived. His name was Joseph and he, in the custom of the time and culture, had become engaged to a young woman of a most devout family. The woman was named Mary and she went to him with an incredulous story. She had been visited by an angel who told her she would find herself pregnant with child. As proof, the angel told her that an older cousin, a woman who had tried unsuccessfully to bear children, was also pregnant. The cousin’s name is Elizabeth, a common name of the period and as such, somewhat muddies the story for many. [When wanting proof of religion, archaeologists are often stumped by the frequent use of common names. As with the ancient religions, even with modern technologies, sometimes the core is simply what one believes, what one has faith in being the truth.]

The child of Mary and Joseph has an impressive birth because it is not only occurring before evidence that Mary and Joseph had marital relations but because, having been told it is a child of God, it is born as the most common of all mankind – in a stable surrounded by animals. Joseph and Mary, proving their worth as taxpayers, have had to travel to Bethlehem, Joseph’s patriarchal land, to pay the tax on their heads. It is during the journey that the baby named Jesus is born. His birth is celebrated by Christians at Christmas. We know very little of Jesus’ childhood but as a man just turning thirty, details of his life become paramount to the religion and he is joined by a cousin, born of a woman named Elizabeth.

The cousin of Jesus is also not what one would expect from a man who is said to be a son of God. The cousin, known as John, is considered odd and dirty, even for a period in which personal hygiene is not of utmost importance for commoners. John travels as a beggar, wearing clothes made of camel hair and eating an organic diet of nuts and honey. He has a loud voice and seemingly little fear as he tells everyone of the coming messiah who will save them all. Life is hard, especially for the Jewish people but the coming promised one is nothing new. John’s story is different than what the rabbis are saying, though. John proclaims that the messiah is coming soon, like tomorrow! John preaches that all need to be ready, need to be prepared, need to become clean and to this end he starts baptizing people.

John the Baptist, as he becomes known, is considered crazy by the authorities and a nuisance but when his cousin, a more average looking man with a charismatic charm begins preaching a similar doctrine as John of love and charity with people having personal value and accountability, they take note. This cousin, a man called Jesus, is teaching people that they should make decisions for themselves and not rely on the king or emperor to tell them how to live, what to do, or which deity to worship. This man Jesus is clever, drawing multitudes and feeding the poor. He enlists the aid of twelve others and together, they are creating quite uproar. Politically and religiously, Jesus is walking a very independent path and yet, he has harmed no one, committed no actual crimes. Finally, two previous enemies come together to decide how best to resolve the “Jesus” issue. They interpret his teachings as being treason and so he is arrested, tried, and crucified. This man Jesus who seemed to have a silver tongue suddenly is quiet but promises to return. After all, his birth was something of a miracle so why shouldn’t his death be one as well?

Christians believe Jesus kept his word, both in being the son of God but in also returning. Their celebration of Easter commemorates his rising from his grave after three days. For Christians, the Messiah Jesus ascends to heaven fifty days later on the feast of Pentecost but is followed by the presence of the Holy Spirit, formerly known as the Holy Ghost. The first thirty-nine books of their Holy Bible are called the Old Testament and based upon Jewish religious literature. The last twenty-six books are called the New Testament and tell of Jesus’ life, his teachings, and how a Christian is to live the faith. The Roman government that crucified Jesus would become the setting for the largest seat of the Christian religion but….That is a story for tomorrow when we discuss the grandsons of Father Abraham.

Two-Day Burgers – Meatloaf Grilled
The U.S.A. is the largest predominantly Christian nation in the world and the only one created based upon religious freedoms and the right to worship, all derived from the beliefs of different Christian faiths. Therefore, it was a typically American dish that seemed most fitting – the meatloaf. Just as the religious freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution covered various religious faiths, the typical meatloaf is comprised on different ground meats such as beef, pork, veal, and ground sausages. However, it can also be made with just one kind like ground beef or even ground turkey. The meatloaf can also be prepared in a loaf pan or on a baking sheet or even in a muffin tin. Use any basic meatloaf recipe you like. The trick is to make a double batch. One can be frozen for a later time and one is put in the refrigerator. What? Not eaten? Yes – put it in the fridge! Then the next day, remove and slice. After slicing place on a hot grill or griddle pan and grill until heated through. Then place on a bun or toasted bread and add condiments just like you would for any other burger.

This recipe is one from when my kids were little. Shhh, don’t tell them they were eating vegetables instead of just a really great burger!
3 lbs meat (I often used just ground beef but you can use the typical mixture of meats)
3/4 cup pureed vegetables (green beans, carrots, even beets work well). Left-overs are great for this and any excess pureed vegetables can be used as soup stock.
1 egg
½ cup ketchup
1 cup oats
Seasonings to taste (I use garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and lemon pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Sauté or grill sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions to put on top of your burger for added taste and – bonus – extra vegetables!
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. I usually pre-beat the egg before adding but not always. Just make sure everything is well incorporated. You can alter the wet and dry ingredients to your own preference and add or subtract as needed. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for approximately forty minutes. Cooking time will be dependent on the size and shape of your loaf. Test doneness by using a meat thermometer or sticking a skewer into the thickest part. Remember, all meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160-degrees Fahrenheit.

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