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The Historic Missions Of San Antonio

The Five Missions Of San Antonio

A chain of five missions established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. Built primarily to expand Spanish New World influence northward from Mexico, the missions also served to introduce native inhabitants into Spanish society.

Four of the missions were originally founded in East Texas. As the East Texas missions succumbed to drought, malaria, and French incursions, however, they were relocated to San Antonio.

Missions San Jose, San Juan, Concepcion, and Espada continue to operate as active parishes of the Catholic church and all are open to the public. 

The Alamo And The Texas Revolution

The first and today the most widely known of these missions was San Antonio de Valero, commonly called the Alamo. It was established in 1718 as a way station between missions already existing in East Texas and other base missions in Mexico. It was well over 100 years old when it became the focal point for the Battle of the Alamo, fought March 6, 1836. The Alamo will always be remembered and associated with that tragic battle that cost all the defenders their lives. About six weeks later General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna at San Jacinto. Houston's Texan army killed or captured all of Santa Anna's men who heavily outnumbered them; only nine Texans died. This decisive battle resulted in Texas's independence from Mexico.

San Jose (1720)

Soon after the building of the Alamo, a second mission was founded in 1720 about five miles downstream. Named San Jose, this new mission was established by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus, who had previously left a failed mission in East Texas. A model among the Texas missions, San Jose gained a reputation as a major social and cultural center. Among the San Antonio missions, it also provided the strongest garrison against raids from Indians.

San Juan (1731)
First established in East Texas, mission San Juan Capistrano made its permanent home on the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731. Within a short time, the mission became a regional supplier of agricultural and other products including iron, wood, cloth, and leather goods produced by the Indians in its workshops. A few miles southeast of the mission was Rancho Pataguilla, which in 1762 reported 3,500 sheep and nearly as many cattle. 

Concepcion (1731)
One of the most attractive of the San Antonio missions, the church at Concepcion looks essentially as it did more than 200 years ago, when it stood at the center of local religious activity. The mission was well known for its religious celebrations. Not visible today are the colorful geometric designs that originally covered the exterior surface of the mission. Inside, however, are original paintings of religious symbols and architectural designs. 

Espada (1731)

Mission San Francisco de la Espada, like its sister missions San Jose, San Juan, and Concepcion, had its beginnings in East Texas. Originally named San Francisco de los Tejas, Espada was renamed and relocated to San Antonio in 1731. It is the southernmost of the chain of missions located on the San Antonio River. Mission Espada features a very attractive chapel, along with an unusual door and stone entrance archway.

The Espada Aguaduct

The missions' need for irrigation for the crops necessitated an elaborate system of 
acequias, or irrigation ditches, to channel water. The Spanish constructed seven acequias, five dams, and an aqueduct, using American Indian workers. It's water source was the San Antonio river which today winds through downtown San Antonio and is a major tourist attraction. This system once extended 15 miles and irrigated 3,500 acres of land. The Espada Aqueduct was constructed in 1745 by Franciscans to serve the mission lands of Espada. It is the only remaining Spanish aqueduct in the United States.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas, USA. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, maintain the Alamo and receive no monetary help from local, state or federal government. They depend solely upon money from sales in the Alamo Gift Museum, donations from individuals and private foundation grants to fund its educational programming and general operation. It remains the number one tourist attraction in Texas.

The San Antonio Riverwalk


The Lingering Mystery Of Crop "Art"

Twenty-six countries reported approximately 10,000 crop circles in the last third of the 20th century; 90% of those were located in southern England. Many of the formations appearing in that area are positioned near ancient monuments, such as Stonehenge

According to one study, nearly half of all circles found in the UK in 2003 were located within a 15 km (9.3 miles) radius of Avebury. Archaeological remains can cause crop marks in the fields, in the shapes of circles and squares, but they do not appear overnight and they are always in the same places every year.
Crop circles were first noticed in the 1970's when simple circles began appearing in the English countryside. The number and complexity of the circles increased dramatically, reaching a peak in the 1980's and 1990's when increasingly elaborate huge circles were produced, including those illustrating complex mathematical equations and known illustrations. The precision and detail is amazing.

While there are countless theories, the only known, proven cause of crop circles is humans. Their origin remained a mystery until September 1991, when two men confessed that they had created the patterns for decades as a prank to make people think UFOs had landed. They never claimed to have made all the circles — many were copycat pranks done by others — but their hoax launched the crop circle phenomena

Most crop circle researchers admit that the vast majority of crop circles are created by hoaxers. But, they claim, there's a remaining tiny percentage that they can't explain. The real problem is that (despite unproven claims by a few researchers that stalks found inside "real" crop circles show unusual characteristics), there is no reliable scientific way to distinguish "real" crop circles from man-made ones. There are many theories, besides human intervention,  about what creates crop circles, from aliens to mysterious wind patterns, but they all lack one important element: good evidence. Perhaps one day a mysterious, unknown source will be discovered for crop circles, but until then perhaps they are best thought of as collective public art. They do capture ones imagination and are fascinating to contemplate.

The designs are thought to be created by  someone stomping down the stalks with a flat board. Wheat, barley, or rape(canola oil) are the most common crops they are found in but can also appear in rye, maize, 
and a number of others

That sounds like it could get pretty tiring after awhile, stomping out one of those really huge intricate patterns. Size can vary from circles of just a foot or so across to designs covering many hundreds of feet

Crop circles have intrigued me ever since I saw the
first pictures of them because they always seem so
precise and symmetric and totally out of place. I consider whoever or 
whatever creates them to be unique, and a little strange, that
so much effort would be spent perfecting an intricate design
in various fields that nature or 
harvesting would eventually erase. It boggles my
mind to think that just two men could create any of these
immense designs,  in only the moons light, overnight.


Politics & Religion Versus Abortion

George Washington also signed this treaty with Muslim interests of the times. The founding Father's had various religious affiliations and belief's but did not try to enforce them on our fledgling democracy like our 
current GOP politician's are doing. 

Kennedy was a brilliant and sensible Catholic leader.

"I don't believe abortion should be a political issue based on the reason it has become... other's religious beliefs. We don't vote politicians into office to decide what our religion or theirs dictates. Freedom of religion regarding abortion is a personal right we were given by our Constitution and verified by the United States Supreme Court. Neither the President, the Governor's, nor my neighbor has a right to decide what I can do to my female body based on my own principles...
what I feel is right for me and for all women..
Anna Maria

"You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion."
Hillary Clinton 

Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: 

a form of rape by the State.
Edward Abbey 

                                    Perry proved on a national stage his memory is lacking.

Abortion's a private decision. 
Pat Robertson 

The issue is not abortion. The issue is whether women can make up their own mind instead of some right-wing pastor, some right-wing politician telling them what to do.
Howard Dean 

There are various reasons people oppose abortion, including ethical, moral, and scientific, but the primary basis seems to come from a religious conviction, preemptively based on biblical principles, that life starts at conception and therefore terminating a pregnancy is murder.

Do those opposing abortion on religious grounds even know that the Bible does not consider a fetus a full human life 

or the killing of a fetus murder? It was an acceptable form
of birth control in Biblical times.

It is quite ironic and hypocritical how the anti-abortion/pro-life politicians talk about a fetus being considered a full human life, when the Bible itself, based on a literal reading, does not recognize a fetus as a full human life subject to the same rights 

as a birthed person. 

Abortion In Biblical Times

We know abortion was practiced in biblical times from the passage in Numbers where "alleged" infidelity is tested by giving an antiabortion potion to an accused pregnant woman. The "bitter water" used to "bring on the curse" may have been quinine or several of other herbal and natural concoctions that are considered emmagogues, or drugs that bring on menstruation.(after conception)

(Goes to show you what radicals those old Biblical men really were...let's give the "accused" pregnant woman a potent nasty drug and if she loses the baby...she is guilty...and if she loses her life...well OOPS!)

And then there are the current radicals.

Abortion was recorded in 1550 B.C.E. in Egypt, in what is called the Ebers Papyrus  and in ancient China about 500 B.C.E. as well. In China, folklore dates the use of mercury to induce abortions to about 5,000 years ago . Of course, mercury is extremely toxic. So were coat hangers used in back alleys to induce abortions deadly in America just a few decades ago. 

(It is what will happen again to women if these holier than thou male politicians keep pushing legislation expressing personal religious views regarding female vagina's and a woman's right to choose.) 

Hippocrates also offered abortion to his patients despite being opposed to pessaries and potions which he considered too dangerous. He is recorded as having instructed a prostitute to induce abortion by jumping up and down. This is certainly safer than some other methods, but rather ineffective. It is also believed that he used dilation and curettage to induce abortions as well doctors sworn to uphold the Hippocratic oath are not breaking ANY vow by performing an abortion.

I personally never considered abortion as an option for
me...but I firmly believe it should be a woman's choice
as to whether it's right for her at any given time.
I also believe she should have a 
safe, legal, medical facility
to go to if it becomes her choice for 
whatever her reason.


Reincarnation Through The Centuries

Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spiritual depending on the moral quality of the previous life's actions (This part I don't prefer to believe, I like to think humans come back as humans and horses as horses. I simply can't understand how one could improve their "moral quality" if in the next life they came back as a Brahma bull, rattlesnake, or a great white shark.) 

This doctrine is a central tenet of the Indian religions. It is also a common belief of other religions such as Druidism, Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar, and is found in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Siberia, West Africa, North America, and Australia.
Although the majority of sects within the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam no longer believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Kabbalah, the Cathars, the Druze, and the Rosicrucians.

       Jesus, The Church, and Reincarnation
In the New Testament, Jews are depicted as expecting the reincarnation of their great prophets. Indeed, these prophets were already thought to have reincarnated in times past. For example, the Jewish sect called the Samaritans believed Adam reincarnated as Noah, then as Abraham, then Moses. 

Reincarnation of the old prophets was also on the minds of Jews at the time of Jesus. In fact, followers of Jesus thought that he was a reincarnated prophet. Let us reflect on the following passage from the Gospel of Matthew:

“When Jesus came into coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say I, the Son of man, am? And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some, Elias; and others, Jeremiahs, or one of the prophets.’” 
(Matthew 16:13–4)

Herod, who was in command of Jerusalem under the Romans, also speculated who Jesus may have previously been. Herod also thought Jesus might have been one of the old prophets.  

In another section of the New Testament, Jesus unequivocally states that John the Baptist is the reincarnation of the prophet Elias: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. . . . And if ye will receive it, this is Elias. . . . He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:11–15)

(The above makes me believe Jesus never considered himself to be "God incarnated" and neither did his contemporary's.  That concept was evidently drummed up much later by the "Church" who wanted to force everyone to believe that only they "knew" the "divine" truth. If you research the history you will know they didn't.)

Evidence shows that reincarnation was part of the Church’s early doctrine and was promoted by Church Fathers, writers who established Christian doctrine prior to the eighth century and whose works were used to disseminate Christian ideas to populations of the Roman Empire.

To be considered a Church Father one had to meet the following criteria. One had to lead a holy life; one’s writings had do be free of doctrinal error; one’s interpretation of Christian doctrine was deemed to be exemplary; and one’s writings had to have approval of the Church. (Of course, that depended on who was it's leader at the time.)

If the belief in the pre-existence of souls and reincarnation was prominent in the early Christian Church, why is it not present in contemporary doctrine?

The reason is that a Roman Emperor named Justinian made arrangements for reincarnation to be removed from official Church doctrine in 553 A.D.

In the early centuries of the Christian Church, disputes over doctrine were settled by bishops of the Church, through meetings called Ecumenical Councils. These Councils were major gatherings, which occurred infrequently, sometimes once in a hundred years. To understand the story of reincarnation and the Christian Church, we must go back in time to the year 330 A.D.

In that year, Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople, a city which today is called Istanbul. As a result, two centers of the Christian Church developed; the Western Church in Rome and the Eastern Church in Constantinople. The emperors of Constantinople controlled the Eastern Church and dictated policy as they pleased.

As an example, the Constantinople Emperor Leo III prohibited images and portraits from being kept in churches, so icons, paintings of saints, which today are so admired for their beauty, had to be removed from places of worship.  On the other hand, the Western Church headquartered in Rome refused to give up icons.  Similarly, the Constantinople Emperor Justinian determined Church policy regarding reincarnation.

In the sixth century, the Church was divided over the issue of reincarnation. Western bishops in Rome believed in pre-existence of the soul while Eastern bishops were opposed to it. Emperor Justinian, who controlled the Eastern Church, was against the doctrine of reincarnation. As an example of his interference in Church matters, Justinian excommunicated the Church Father Origen, who openly supported the idea of reincarnation. (Excommunication literally means they are damning you to hell.)
Emperor Justinian
To further his agenda, Justinian convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553 A.D., with only six bishops of the Western Church in attendance. On the other hand, 159 bishops of the Eastern Church, which Justinian controlled, were present.

It was at this meeting that pre-existence of the soul was voted out of Church doctrine. Emperor Justinian manipulated Church doctrine by stacking the voting deck in his favor.

In summation, reincarnation has appeared in Christian church doctrine since it's inception, but has been suppressed in the contemporary Church's philosophy.  One reason is that if reincarnation is acknowledged and research demonstrates that souls can change religion from one incarnation to another, a religion's claim to exclusive truth is negated. (Typical reasoning for the "Church" who wants to control everything.)

Still, evidence of reincarnation can help fulfill one of Christianity's greatest doctrines, that we are indeed brothers and sisters, and that we should love one another as such.
The concept of Reincarnation certainly appeals to me much more than the idea of Heaven and Hell does. I wish the Abrahamic religions had kept it in their much edited dogmas as the Hindu's and Buddhist have through the centuries. I'm not certain how the Christians and Jews skirt around the issue if it is written that Jesus and Jewish prophets before Jesus believed in it.

If life after life was generally accepted, wouldn't humanity strive to keep the earth a much safer and healthier "green" nest to keep coming back to? One would think so.