In Gods Economy there are No Errors by Paula Rose Michelson

Many, especially those who have suffered, would love it if while living here in the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,’ they could really believe in ‘America the Beautiful.’ Yet for some reason the belief that a country or, for that matter, God could be both beautiful and worthy of their devotion, seems at best fiction, or worse. However, even though they profess no belief, they might wonder why the people who live here and abide in Messiah could still need to be brave. Though they might verbally assail us, we who believe in the sovereignty of God and the reality that in his economy there are no errors may find those who profess nothing looking at us esque or ask each other if we are nuts.

Lest you think that I state an absurdity, let us look at the end of my Historical Notes found in Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing, which state;

“On March 31, 1992, five hundred years to the day the Edict of Expulsion was signed, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia, his wife, stood in the main synagogue of Madrid. The king wore a yamulke—a skullcap. Chaim Herzog, the president of Israel, flanked him. What he said reveals the Spanish attitude toward the heinous acts the Jews experienced. ‘May hate and intolerance never again cause desolation and exile. Let us be capable of building a prosperous and peaceful Spain based on concord and mutual respect. What is important is not an accounting of our errors or successes, but the willingness to think about and analyze the past in terms of our future, and the willingness to work together to pursue a noble goal.’

Although the king rescinded the edict, he did not apologize for the expulsion because to do so would be unfaithful to Spanish history, which continues to view the country’s unification under Christian rule a most noble endeavor. However, history records that as of March 31, 1992, those who are Jewish may now live openly in Spain.”


If your hard drive is wired like mine, I am certain that you know that nothing quoted affirms that ‘In Gods Economy there are No Errors.’ On first glance you are right! But let us reason together, and see if we can unearth something we can learn from, or if we have missed something.

“What,” you might ask, “do you mean?”

I’m glad you asked! Especially since until now I have been the one asking and you, dear reader, have been the one thinking. Now, let us reason together and see what happens when we think about Spain’s status before, and then after the Inquisition. Did you know that Romans decline began with an inquisition? Perhaps I should amend that comment to read, during its decline, Roman instituted an inquisition. If you wonder why I am bring this up, it is because it seems to be Spain’s lot to be cast as the villain that began the inquisition, for few know that the laws that governed the Spanish Inquisition originated in Roman.

Spain’s nation-state was born out of religious factions that came together for the mutual good that a country could afford its citizens – or at least that might be what the various groups believed until the Inquisition made it apparent that the monocracy wanted the country unified under one faith—that of the Catholic church. In fact the country we refer to as Spain which is located on the Iberian Peninsula was part of the region formerly known as Hispania.

The Kingdom of Spain was created in 1492 with the unification of the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon. Almost immediately the countries stability was threatened with overarching finical issues, which required a scapegoat. Since many had used the Jewish population to create a diversion before, the crown did likewise through the office of the Inquisition. While Jews that could not flee were baptized into the Catholic faith, Columbus prepared for his voyage. With this undertaking, and the New World’s assumed wealth, Spanish rule on foreign soil began ushering in the era of The Spanish Empire.

For the next three centuries Spain was the most important colonial power, the most powerful state in Europe, and the foremost global power during the 16th century and the greater part of the 17th century. Spanish literature, fine arts, scholarship and philosophy flourished during this time. And due to the countries seagoing prowess, Spain established a vast empire in the Americas, and colonies in the western Pacific. Financed in part by the riches pouring in from its colonies, Spain became embroiled in the religiously charged wars and intrigues of Europe, and at one time this country influenced or ruled most of the world’s leaders.

Did you ever wonder what happened to Spain’s power, influence, and wealth? After some reading, I believe I can give a simple but, for some, hard to believe answer. Having condemned the people God calls ‘The Apple of His Eye,’ God waited for them to set things to rights and give those Jews who fled this country, or could not leave and where killed, the recompense that was theirs or their families due. However, Spain got embroiled in nation building. After a period of growing political instability, it was plunged into a bloody civil war. Although the Spanish reminisce about bygone days, Spain never recaptured the world stage as a great power.

Why does this matter? As American’s with a legacy that moved Emma Lazarus to write, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …” it should matter to each of us that our country not become another Spain. If you think I am wrong look at the last few lines of my Historical notes, which says:

"As you read the Casa Saga, please remember that our heroine’s story occurred while the Decree of Alhambra was still in effect. Before you begin, imagine what it would be like to grow up in a world where you were taught that who you are and what you believe might lead to your being arrested for life or killed and that what you experience could happen to your family. Those choices are the reason our heroine sets out on the journey you are about to experience. As she does, she thinks about America and silently repeats a line of Emma Lazarus’s poem, which says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …” and remember, somewhere someone is praying and squirreling away what little they have so that they, like our forefathers, and like my heroine Naomi can come to the ‘Land of Promise’ for the Statue of Liberty still beckons them.

The Inquisition, the New World, and People of Sephardic Heritage by Paula Rose Michelson

Today we look at the reality of what man can do to their fellow man in the name of religion. This is a very important topic because hatred, human misery, and wars, were and are, waged in the name of one religious group or another. However, God never intended hatred to become a consuming issue causing daughters to lash out against mothers or family to hate family. But, when left to our own devises we can easily chose to judge others quickly lest they judge us.

If you think I am wrong, think of the new kid on your block, the one who comes to school a week after it began. Now ask yourself, “Did I look at or treat him or her differently than I would have if that person began school when I did?” How about the person who spoke with an accent, did you think of or treat that person as odd? We all do things like that, you might be saying to yourself. And your right, humans like to be around people that affirm them and their beliefs. Think of that when you read the expert posted below, and then ask yourself:

Do I think of people who differ from me as odd or inferior?

How would I feel if I were in their situation?

What would happen to me if I decided to treat people who are different from me as if they were entitled to the same rights and privileges that I am?

The Inquisition, the New World, and People of Sephardic Heritage

It is sad to realize that the place where Judaism flourished after the Jewish diaspora from Israel became an extremely hostile environment toward them for hundreds of years and horrifying to note that Hitler’s Third Reich used the pure blood laws that Spain had instituted against the Jewish people when Hitler implemented his final solution.

When we study the Inquisition and its effects, it is important to mention that the Spanish Inquisition came to the new world. The first governor of New Spain, Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, was a converso. The office of the inquisitor brought him to trial and found him guilty of Judaizing. He died during his incarceration. The office arrested the members of his family, and they faced the reprisals mentioned above. The only member of this family to survive the Inquisition was Leonor de Caceres, a distant niece of the governor’s. She recanted her Jewish faith at fourteen, was placed within the house of the inquisitor, and when she reached marriageable age was married to a devout Catholic.

Throughout the world, many people are interested in discovering if their heritage is Jewish or, as the Spanish Jews say, Sephardim—a word derived from Sepharad, a root word found in Scripture. In the Southwestern United States, many people of Spanish and Mexican ancestry, as well as Caucasians and some Plains Indians, wonder about the artifacts they have, customs they practice, and stories they heard that suggest a Jewish heritage. Some use the name Sephardic, Ladino, Anusim, Marino, or Converso when they refer to themselves, and that leads many knowledgeable people to believe they are Jewish. Since the Jews lived in Spain for hundreds of years and married Catholic Spaniards, many believe that if you scratch a Spaniard, you will find a Jew. Others, both here and in Spain, have noticed that their last names are the names of Jewish towns razed during the Inquisition. Whether here or in Spain, whether people know they are Jewish or just suspect, the Spanish Jews have learned, over centuries of percussion, to hide who they are as a means of survival.


If you are wondering where I came upon such an unusual idea as each of treating others as we have been treated, you might have thought of the Gold Rule. Although that is a good place to start, I was not thinking of that rule, but of Scripture. In 2 Corinthians 1:2 Rabbi Sh’aul (the Apostle Paul) wrote, “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” I believe that Paul is saying, that without God’s grace we cannot place ourselves in another person’s shoes and act, as we ought. However, with Gods gift of grace bestowed upon those that believe in is son Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) we receive a gift that allows us to do that which the flesh reviles, and act in accordance with Gods will for our lives.

Think of it, by believing we are set free of the need to look down, and we only look up to God and His anointed, everyone else stands on a level field – none better or worse. Therefore, there is no need to rank, demean, or attack another person.

If you think, I am a lunatic or worse, check back next week.

Trials of Judaizers becomes a Snare for Catholic Spaniards by Paula Rose Michelson

Today we look at what others think, how their thoughts become actions, and how their actions can change our life. As you read the selected section from Casa de Naomi, I want you to put your name wherever the text mentions Judaizers, Moors, Muslims, and gypsies, a repentant or unrepentant convert, penitent, Jew, or New Christian. Then add to that list the words Catholic Spaniards.

By now, you are probably scratching your head and wondering if I am daft since this list puts all in harms way. That, my friend is the Spanish legacy for what began as an Edict intended to correct the financial instability that shook the country became a means of forced exile for a large portion of the population, the eradication of those who could not or would not leave, and the seizing of coveted property.

If you think this scenario could never happen here ask yourself:

Is there stratification within my family, within the groups that I have joined?

Does stratification positively or negatively affect the social norms or me?

Does someone covet what I own, my rank, or status?

Do I covet what someone else owns, their rank, or status?


During the trial of Judaizers, the church sought repentant conversions. If a person was unrepentant, the office stripped him of his rank and worldly possessions, tortured him for information, and killed him. If the person repented, the church occasionally showed mercy and allowed him to serve as a cleric. A penitent forfeited everything he owned, was incommunicado for life, and forced to wear a penitent garment, which reflected his reduced status, making him a target of ridicule. If the church deemed the penitent unsuited for service, he incurred everything listed above, was placed under house arrest, and never allowed out of the sight of someone associated with the office of the inquisitor. Jews who became Catholic during this time were called New Christians as a means of differentiating them from those who had no Jewish blood.

Since the majority of the population was illiterate and poor, they viewed this as God’s recompense for what they assumed was the Jewish belief in their superiority. It took little encouragement for those working within the office to find many who were willing to falsify their witness to curry favor with those in power. The Inquisition’s purpose was to rid the country of all dissidents, including Moors, Muslims, and gypsies. Records show that some Catholic Spaniards used it to acquire the wealth, property, and power they coveted from other Catholics who practiced Catholicism hundreds of years before the Inquisition began.

“But, this is just an example of heightened reality,” you might say. “We see or hear of things like this quite often.” You are right! Sad as it is may be many believe that their desire to feel superior through demoting others, to feel empowered by stripping others of their inalienable rights, and when all else fails to silence decent is not a new thing. However, it is a sad epitaph for a person or a society.

God inscribed within our essence a longing to reach beyond our human drives. I believe the solution for behaviors that divide are found in scripture and suggest that whenever any of us are assailed with a desire to have what we feel is ours though another owns it, we remember Luke 12: 34 where Messiah says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”