Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finishing up this Christmas Wars stuff…

Well...for most Christians, Christmas is over for another year.  I think the Orthodox celebration, at least for those who still follow the "old calendar," takes place on January 6th....but for most mainstream denominations,  Christmas 2010 is history.  I intended to post more about the Christmas Wars. I read quite a bit about it but didn't actually get the reading morphed into a blog post. 

My own brush with the Christmas Wars was pretty limited.  Keith and I had a few discussions about it.  We see the phenomena from a different perspective. 

As far as experientially....concerning holiday greetings, two come to mind. 

I stopped at the liquor store, to purchase a few bottles of wine to have on hand for the holiday celebration.  A sixtyish, midrange friendly guy checked me out.  We talked a bit while he ran my debit card. I told him that I usually wait until the morn of December 24'th to think about purchasing wine. And I am usually not the only one because the little liquor store down the road from me is always amazingly busy...and the shelves rather bare on Christmas Eve morn. 

As I was leaving, without over thinking anything, in fact without even thinking about it at all, I extended my best wishes to the clerk by saying "have a great holiday!!" I wasn't thinking about the Christmas thing when I said it.  I was tired after running all over the place that Saturday morning. The liquor store was my last stop and I was sincerely wishing him...and his....a nice holiday.  He responded by clearly and purposefully wishing me a Merry Christmas.  To which I responded....Merry Christmas to you, too. 

If not for all this Christmas Wars stuff, the exchange would not have even registered.  I would have chalked it up to "season's greetings" and "goodwill to men" but now every exchange takes on this subtle undertone. 

The other check out experience that sticks in the brain waves was at Sam's on December 22nd.  Getting close to the actual day.  The mall parking lot was packed....Sam's not as much.  Sort of like the peak of a Saturday...or Sunday....afternoon.  I had a piece of pizza...did my shopping and checked out. 

The people in front of me...a woman older than me and her grown son, kind of doddered around.  Not sure exactly the hold up.  Something to do with the card or the purchase, whatever, I was preoccupied with my mental inventory of what was left to do before Christmas.  The clerk was very friendly.  Not a fake friendly.  She was cheerful and polite.  At the end of the checkout process, she sincerely wished me a happy holiday.  I wished her one as well.  No mention of Christmas. 

Now for a faithful soldier in the Christmas Wars (pro Christmas) this would have been taken as a slight, a defeat in battle.  Sam's might be blacklisted. 

Because, yes, there are actually sites that report on the content and sincerity of the greetings doled out by checkout clerks....those initiated by the clerks and those initiated by the good soldiers in this fight.  If the soldier initiates the greeting (already a minus in their eyes) and the response is not enthusiastic enough or does not actually include the words "Merry Christmas" that too is counted as a slight and goes against the store.  Think I'm kidding?  Check out the many comments on the website called Stand Up For Christmas. Or how about the one below.

Just the usual “happy holidays” crap from sales people … to which I shout “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!” What hogwash.

By all means shout your Christmas greetings to get your point across about the reason for the season and all.....

And then there are others who employ technology to rank a store's Christmas Spirit.  The following was about Banana Republic....

Rating: Christmas-Offensive
Comment: I clicked on their ad and used their search function. Typing in "Christmas gifts" I got "Holiday gifts." Narrowing my search, I typed in "Christmas" and got "0 results for this search." They will get the same number of purchases from me.

Another comment I happened upon

In this all-inclusive republic of ours, Christians get the short end of the stick when it comes to public policy, all because it’s assumed that since they are the majority, they can afford to be tolerant. Thus, unless their communities can come up with the money to fight an ACLU lawsuit, or unless they can get some lawyers to take the case for them pro bono-in which cases they still might lose, depending on the judge and the circumstances-they should just suck it up and quit being such crybabies.

I think part of the problem is that Christians aren't content with anything other than the whole stick...short end/long end, they want it all.  They want theirs to be the only game in town.  They seem to forget the principles the Bible clearly lays out for followers of Jesus. How about compassion to start with?

Perhaps the less than enthusiastic store clerk is not just anti-Christmas.  Perhaps she is just worn out from the frantic pace those who work in retail  maintain during the Christmas season. Perhaps she is one of the thousands and thousands of people who find themselves in varying stages of depression. Is shouting Merry Christmas in response to her lack luster greeting really what Christians are called to do? Will that encourage her to put Christ back in Christmas?

Christmas is over for this year....but it's never to early to prepare for  the battles of the next holiday...I mean, Christmas....season.

Onward Christian Soldiers....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jello Christmas…

No...not a recipe...but a story I read years ago in a Christmas edition of Woman's Day magazine.  Long before I was ever on the internet.  I think I wrote it out longhand and included it in my Christmas cards that year.  I googled it yesterday at work...after it popped into my head....initiated by a sentimental email thing that hit my inbox yesterday.  I am pretty sure it is a totally true story.  Like I said, I first happened upon it, in a hard copy Woman's Day magazine.  I still find it very touching....


  By Sandra Bateman, American Fork, Utah

     It was but a few short days until Christmas in 1966. Two young elders of the Mormon Church walked the streets of Laredo, Texas, knocking on doors in search of someone who would listen to their gospel message. No one, it seemed, in the entire city had time to hear the teachings of the Savior, so intent were they that the celebration of His birth should suit their own purposes.

     Filled with discouragement, the two young men turned their backs to the approaching twilight and began the long walk home. Retracing their steps of the afternoon, they came upon a low, wind-swept riverbank. Jutting from its brow stood the barest means of a shelter, constructed of weathered wooden slats and large pieces of cardboard. Strangely, they felt moved to go to the door and knock.

     A small, olive-skinned child with tangled black hair and large dark eyes answered. Her mother appeared behind her, a short, thin woman with a tired but warm smile. In her rich Spanish alto, she invited the young men to come in and rest awhile. They were made welcome and seated on the clean-swept floor. The little one-room shanty seemed to be filled with shy, smiling, dark-eyed children. The mother proudly introduced each of them--eight in all—and each in turn quickly bobbed his or her head.
     The young men were deeply moved at the extreme poverty they saw. No one in the family had shoes, and their clothes were ill-fitting and in condition beyond mending. The walls of the little home showed daylight between the wooden slats, and eight little rolls of bedding were pressed tightly into the cracks to help keep out the draft until they were needed for sleeping. A small round fire pit dug in one corner marked the kitchen. An odd assortment of chipped dishes and pots were stacked beside an old ice chest, and a curtained-off section with a cracked porcelain tub served as the bathing area. Except for these the room was barren.

     The mother told how her husband had gone north to find employment. He had written that he had found a job of manual labor and that it took most of his small wage to pay his board and room.  But, she told the young men, he had managed to save fifty cents to send them for Christmas, with which she had purchased two boxes of fruit gelatin. It was one of the children's favorites and would make a special treat on Christmas day.

     The next morning, as soon as the local shops opened, the young men hurried to the dime store and purchased as many crayons, cars, trucks and little inexpensive toys as they could afford. Each was carefully wrapped in brightly colored paper and all were put in a large grocery bag.

     That evening the two young men took their gifts to the shanty on the riverbank. When they knocked, the mother swung the door open wide and invited them in. They stepped inside and in halting Spanish explained to the children that they had seen Santa and he had been in such a hurry, he'd asked if they would deliver his gifts to the children for him.
     With cries of delight the children scrambled for the bag, spilling its contents upon the floor and quickly dividing the treasured packages. Silently the mother's eyes filled with tears of gratitude. She stepped forward to clasp tightly one of each of the young men's hands in hers. For long moments she was unable to speak. Then, with tears still welling from her eyes, she smiled and said, "no one ever has been so kind. You have given us a special gift, the kind of love that lights Christmas in the heart. May we also give you a special gift?" From the corner of the room she drew out the two small boxes of fruit gelatin and handed them to the young men.  Then all eyes were moist. All knew the true meaning of giving, and none would ever forget that at Christmas, the greatest gift of all
was given.
    (NOTE: This story won 1st Prize in the 'Woman's Day' Greatest
    Gift Contest.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Banning Christmas-the slippery slope to banning Christianity…?

While following links, researching this impromptu series about Christmas and the "war" against it, I happened upon a site called...well....it's really not important what the name of this particular site is.  I've seen the same sentiments expressed in several places in varying degrees of paranoia. To see for yourself, just type a few variations of ACLU and Christmas, War on Christmas etc. etc into google and the results stretch into infinity. But here is a quote from just one of the many...about halfway on the paranoia scale....
Over the past two decades the ACLU has fought Christians on every front to eliminate all vestiges of Jesus from Americana--even to the extent of outlawing the use of the word "Christmas" because it contains the Greek word for Messiah, the "Anointed One"--Christos--in its name.
Pathetic, misrepresentation of the truth.  Note that "the ACLU" is a hyperlink in the quote above.  If you click on it, it will take you to two other articles on this website entitled American Christian Loathers Association and Christianity attacked by ACLU Terrorists.  Uh-huh...right. 
The truth is that the ACLU does defend Christians.  In fact, they were involved in a case with none other than Jerry Falwell fighting against the state of Virginia and its refusal to allow churches to incorporate. They won by the way. 
On their website, the ACLU describe themselves as
….our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
These rights include:
  • Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law - protection against unlawful discrimination.
  • Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.
If you want to check out quite a few other cases in which the ACLU defended Christians....and Christmas go HERE...and HERE....
In the second link, scroll down to the bottom in the footnotes.
Imagine that!!!
Oh...and if you want to read their views on freedom of religion, check out this page....
I think the ACLU rankles many fundamentalist Christians because the ACLU vigorously defends religious freedom for everyone.  Religious freedom is not the agenda of the outspoken warriors in the “Christmas war.” They want religious preference.  Those who lean toward the dominionist/reconstructionist point of view really want religious exclusion. My way (Christmas) or the highway.  And the ACLU stands in the way of that pipe dream.   

Monday, December 20, 2010

How do you connect the dots…?

I know I am rehashing some of this stuff but I just can't help myself. It so totally irritates me.  I wrote several posts about it last year....here...when the Gap’s "Happy Whatever You Wannakuh" ad  was rattling right wing, evangelical chains across the nation.  I did come across a new quote in my travels this year....by none other than my least favorite hypocrite.  Miss Ann Coulter. 

I am confused.  She wears diamond crosses and proclaims herself a Christian but how do you connect the dots between Ann Coulter and Jesus?  There is a total disconnect there...as in "you can't get there from here."  I've got to wonder if she's ever even leafed through the gospels.  What part of "love your enemies" can be found in the following remark taken from an interview in 2005.  Granted....that was five years ago....but I haven't seen anything that would make me believe she's softened her views.....or her sarcasm....

  “Oh, it was so much fun this year, because saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is like saying ‘Fuck you!’ I’ve said it to everyone. You know, cab drivers, passing people on the street, whatever. And they come up with the ‘Happy holidays.’”‘Merry Christmas.’ I mean, it really is an aggressive act in New York.”

Well, there ya' go.  The spirit of the season summed up in two poignant sentences by a follower of Jesus.  Yeah' right.....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It Comes Out With the Christmas Trimmings…

Quite by happenstance, while involved in the "simple" process of migrating my blogline blogs to the new bloglines, powered by Merchant Circle (which, by the way, is anything but simple) I came upon a post about Christmas.  Specifically, about the CHRISTMAS WARS.  That...plus a few conversations I've had lately with Keith, reminded me that it's time to drag my yearly Christmas post out of the archives, dust it off and post it, once again, here on my blog.  I wrote quite a bit about Christmas last year.  About the organizations and websites that believe they are in an all out war to save Christmas from the left wing, politically correct, communist atheists who are trying to eliminate Christmas. 

The following letter “from God” so perfectly expresses the absurdity of the whole thing.  Is the celebration of Christmas…honoring the birth of the Christ Child…really supposed to be so intertwined with the over the top retail blitz that happens this time of year?

Does “come let us adore him” hinge on whether the clerk at Wal-Mart (or Target…or the Dollar Store) wishes us a MERRY CHRISTMAS…and perfectly enunciates each and every syllable? 


christmas rush


It seems to me that this is the time of year when the Christians who are the most disengaged…disconnected….from Christ show their true colors and trample the true meaning of the season.


Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My Son's name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I didn't send my Son in December, it was some of your ancestors who decided to celebrate My Son's birthday at what was, in ancient times, a pagan festival; although, I do appreciate Jesus being remembered...anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate Jesus' birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My Son's birth, then make room on your lawn for the nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all my followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all the trees. You can remember me anytime you see a tree.

Instead of fusing over trimmings and traditions, consider giving My Son one of the gifts below this Christmas…

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone who's hurt you in the past, forgive them, and give them the gift of a future-free from the pain, shame, and guilt of yesterday's yuck.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile, it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line: they talk with people like that every day.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. Be sensitive to the needs of others. A few cans of food or a simple gift can go along way towards good will on earth.

10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Please, if you love me, love my children-all of them, especially the ones that challenge your traditions. I'll take care of all the rest.

Invite others to a Christmas festival that has more to do with eternity than all the trimmings and traditions of December 25th.

"Merry Christmas!" means: "I love you." – God

Amen…and amen!!!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Never Be Silent….

"I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.  We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."  - Elie Weisel

This quote immediately struck a chord when I read it. Quotes have the unique ability to encapsulate profound truth in a minimal number of words. They illuminate the hazy places in our thoughts....shining a light of recognition...putting into words what previously was a vague idea floating around in our subconscious.  Like putting a face with a name....quotes bring clarity...solidify a belief, a yearning, a conviction.  I love quotes. 

The above quote was coined by Elie Weisel, a Holocaust survivor.  A life long activist for peace despite the horror he endured as a teenager...witnessing the deaths (murder) of his parents and...from what I can remember....at least one sibling.  He has seen the very worst of mankind...yet he still believes in the future....

"I believe in God--in spite of God! I believe in Mankind--in spite of Mankind! I believe in the Future--in spite of the Past!"

So anyway....I digress and wax poetic....back to the original quote. 

I often speak out against those I deem bullies. Bullies who live in our modern society...bullies from the past...and those who seem destined to become the aggressors of the future.  I root for the underdog.  My heart goes out to those who are terrorized....pushed around....treated unfairly.....murdered....beaten...assaulted verbally or physically. 

This includes anyone the Westboro Baptist Church sets their sites on.  It includes the Native Americans whose land the white Europeans stole. It includes the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki....and the Japanese Americans here in the United States who were demonized and shipped off to "concentration camps" in the land of the free and the brave. It includes the "Ites" in the Old Testament....you know...the Canaanites, the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites.....all those deemed worthy of genocide by the Children of Israel. It includes women who were tortured and imprisoned fighting for the right to vote, and the blacks in the 60's during Martin Luther King's era. When I think of anyone...of any color, race (or religion) forced to sit in the back of the bus...not allowed to drink out of the "white folks only" water fountain, I'm disgusted...outraged. The belief of racial superiority carried to extreme in South Africa...demonstrated by the violent, illegal, immoral activities of the KKK is ridiculous.

My outrage includes all those who have been tortured, killed, oppressed via religious persecution or for political gain....down through the ages (the Inquisition, Salem Witch Hunts) and in the present (the rule and reign of the Taliban, the Hutus' mass killings of Tutsis, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Darfur) And the Holocaust? Well, that is the crowing glory of man's inhumanity to man....a hideous display of how low mankind can sink.

I feel similar stirrings when I visit a message board or blog and read comments that paint all Muslims with the same (terrorist) brush.  And Christians slamming gays...well don't get me started on that one. 

Pam Geller, Ann Colter, Laura Schlesinger...loud mouthed, mean spirited, sarcastic hypocrites. 

But I've often wondered why I feel okay speaking out (loudly and sarcastically) against the women I just listed....or against one of the very right wing conservative fundamentalist websites whose sole purpose is to pick apart anyone deemed new age, anti bible, or a member of a cult to preserve Biblical Christianity. The Dominionists, the Taliban…those are the ones we can paint with the same brush. The quote by Weisel kind of clarifies it for me.

If you throw the first punch....verbally or physically....and especially if you continue to throw punches...you are fair game.  Silence, in the face of oppression (past, present or future), is really not an option. Neutrality helps the oppressor.  Silence encourages the tormentor.

Monday, December 13, 2010

No Clean Hands – More On Dominionism

The Political Research Associates website…where I got a lot of this info…believes it is crucial to understand the different degrees and levels of this theocratic belief system.  Although I get that there are different levels of determination and commitment among these Take America Back for Jesus folks, the distinctions are not all that clear…but…all nuances of it are worrisome.

George Grant, a Reconstructionist has this to say:

"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less... Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ."

Compared to Grant…Huckabee’s idea of tacking a couple extra amendments onto the Constitution seems pretty mild…but if taken to the lowest common denominator, the root of it is the same. And it’s not much different than Sharia Law…..

Friday, December 10, 2010

As If I Don’t Have Enough To Read….

On Greg Boyd's blog (I really like Greg Boyd) he posted a link to a list on "Super Scholar"...a site, self described as follows:

Super Scholar highlights the best and brightest in the academy while also helping up-and-coming students to get the most out of their academic experience. Our aim for this site is twofold. First, we want to showcase the highest achievements at colleges and universities from around the world. Second, we want to show students how to excel in their studies, in athletics, in charting a career path, in finding success and happiness. We believe that students excel when their expectations and aspirations are raised, and that this is best accomplished by exposing them to the exciting individuals and ideas that populate the academic world.

The list is entitled "The 20 Most Influential Christian Scholars" folks who have....

profoundly influenced the world by advancing Christian belief, by reconceptualizing it, or even by fundamentally challenging it.

Everyone on the list...

has deeply impacted Western culture’s self-understanding.

Boyd is on the list for his belief in open theology. 

Others on the list include....

  • Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger)
  • Francis Collins (teaches the compatibility of evangelical Christianity and Darwinian evolution)
  • John Dominic Crossan (head of the infamous Jesus Seminar)
  • R. Albert Mohler (head of the Southern Baptist Theological Institute and Convention...need I say more)

And 16 others...conservative and liberal.  There are links to their writings, websites, lectures...what have you.  Looks like a lot of interesting, far flung beliefs to read about...if I can only find the time....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lesley Hazleton on the Quran….

I came across this video on the FB page of Ahmed Rehab.  The video is described as:

TED: An Agnostic Jew explores the Koran and finds much that is quite different from what is commonly reported

She is delightful to listen to…the author of many religious books…British accent, seemingly quite eccentric.  An avid pilot (she “flew away” her life savings and never regretted a cent of it) who lives on a houseboat in Seattle. Well studied and very sensible in her assessment in this 9 minute video.  One quote about the Quran that I particularly liked:

Yet the fact that so few people actually do read the Quran is precisely why it is so easy to quote, that is, to misquote.  Phrases and snippets taken out of context in what I call the "highlighter version" which is the one favored by both Muslim Fundamentalists and anti Muslim Islamaphobes. 

I find this same preference for the “highlighter version” when it comes to the Bible. Both Christian Fundamentalists and atheists take a very literal view of the Bible…usually out of context. Atheists use it to discredit the Bible and “prove” that its contradictions render it as nothing more than a fairy tale.  Christian Fundamentalists make themselves look ridiculous trying to defend each and every word as literal fact from the “mouth” of God.

She is quoted in the blog post

“The danger is one-dimensional thinking”

I can’t disagree with that.  Take 9 or so minutes and listen to this delightful lady…and take note of what she has to say.  She knows of what she speaks….


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

When Everything Falls Apart….

I’ve been listening to the local Christian radio station…now and then…usually on my way to and from work.  Lately, it seems that almost every time I tune in to WGRC there is a song playing with lyrics that grab my attention…a song I’ve never heard before.  Some are by performers of yesteryear…Petra, for example….and some are singers/bands that are popular right now.  Some are rock and rollish….some much more laid back. It’s the lyrics that usually break through my “gotta’ get to work/running late” preoccupation. 

I’ve been scribbling down snippets of the lyrics while stopped at red lights etc….then, later, google them.  I save the info I find in a file with the intent to post some of the lyrics and links and videos here on my blog. Today is as good a day as any to start.  It’s another interruption to the Clean Hands thing…which I have more to say about…but just not this morning. 

The You Tube Video I’m posting this morning is by a band named Fee. Emily knew the band and the song when I asked her about it, but they were to to me.  Most of their music is rock and roll and does not really resonate with me….but their song, Everything Falls, caught my attention the other day.

Oftentimes, life is a perpetual series of inconveniences and upheavals….major and minor….heart wrenching or just simply annoying. Jesus did give us a heads up about that when he said, “In this world you will have trouble.” So sometimes even when things seem to be going the best…or seem to be on an even keel, I get the nagging feeling that calamity is just around the corner. 

The second half of his “heads up” is not as easy to live out.  “But be of good cheer…for I have overcome the world.” 

In it’s usual wordy style the Amplified Bible renders John 16:33 like this:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

And about that calamity waiting around the corner….again Jesus gives us a heads up.  This is from the Message…

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34

And we get through it all by remembering that when “everything falls apart, Your arms hold me together” or in the words of a much older song…

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Video follows….

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No Clean Hands – Sharia Law by another name is….Dominionism…

I have been reading some really eye opening…scary… stuff while cruising around the internet researching this series.  It is not just radical Islam that wants to impose their own narrow interpretation of God’s Law on the nations of the world.  No sir-ee bob.  There is an underground movement in Christianity that believes this nation (and eventually the world) should be governed with laws set out in the Bible, beginning with the Old Testament. They are willing to overlook the ceremonial laws and customs…but the moral laws, in their view, are still binding. 

There are several different terms used to describe this ideology. The Christian Right is just the tip of the iceberg.  Dominionism, is more toward the hardcore/radical end of the spectrum. They claim the following verse as their Biblical mandate.

• "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (King James Version).

There are degrees of belief among the Dominionists. From an article on Public Eye I found the following descriptions:

Soft Dominionists are Christian nationalists. They believe that Biblically-defined immorality and sin breed chaos and anarchy. They fear that America's greatness as God's chosen land has been undermined by liberal secular humanists, feminists, and homosexuals. Purists want litmus tests for issues of abortion, tolerance of gays and lesbians, and prayer in schools. Their vision has elements of theocracy, but they stop short of calling for supplanting the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Did you note the above was the description of the “soft” variety of Dominionists.  Check out the beliefs of the ones who are a bit more zealous.

Hard Dominionists believe all of this, but they want the United States to be a Christian theocracy. For them the Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely addendums to Old Testament Biblical law. They claim that Christian men with specific theological beliefs are ordained by God to run society. Christians and others who do not accept their theological beliefs would be second-class citizens. This sector includes Christian Reconstructionists, but it has a growing number of adherents in the leadership of the Christian Right.

Okay…so the Christian Right can be annoying but are any of them really serious about this dominion stuff?  Doesn’t this all sound a bit…ah…far fetched? 

Well, think back to 2008 when Mike Huckabee was campaigning for the Republican nomination….and he had the following to say the following to say during a campaign speech.

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

You can hear it for yourself HERE…if you don’t remember.

He later recanted….sort of… when asked on the Hannity and Colmes show if he would like to see America become a theocracy he said:

“Not at all. On two things. The context is two things: Human life amendment, which I support and which has been in the Republican platform since 1980. And, by the way, Fred Thompson doesn’t support it. Nor does John McCain. And yet it’s part of our platform. And it’s a very important part of our platform to say that human life is something we’re going to stand for. And the second thing is traditional marriage. So those are the two areas in which I’m talking about. I’m not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution to reflect tithing or Sunday school attendance. I want to make that very clear…

At the heart of comments like these…and the whole Dominionist/Reconstructionist movement is the same spirit that spurs on the Taliban's desire to see Sharia Law enforced far and wide.  More to follow…..

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I got a new kindle a few weeks ago. I've been busy filling it with books that I plan to read/hope to read/possibly might read/will probably never find time to read…but hey, they were free! There are a lot of free books in the kindle store….. some hokey and in the public domain (but formatted for kindle) and others regular books that, for a short time, are free. Perhaps not hot of the press bestsellers...and perhaps not books I would consider paying full price for....but interesting books from fairly well known authors that you would expect to see on the shelves at the Christian bookstore. I downloaded Gary Smalley and The DNA of Relationships, and Great Parents, Lousy Lovers for nothing..zero….zilch…nada. 

It’s also amazingly easy to send docs from my computer to the kindle. And another of the features I love about this new kindle is the text to speech function. It “reads” the book to you. Yes, it is a computer animated voice....and no, it is not comparable to the quality of an audio book...but you know, it's not bad. And he (or she, if you choose the female voice) reads to you while you walk.

The other day I listened to several chapters from a book called "The Land Between" by Jeff Manion..."Finding God in Difficult Transitions." He uses the Biblical story of the children of Israel....their Exodus from Egypt and their wanderings around the desert....and finally…their arrival in the Land of Milk and Honey four decades later. The desert years are what he refers to as the "land between."

And, he says, we all have our own "land between" experiences to live through. Sometimes these experiences come on gradually...like the frog that starts out in the pot of tepid water....only to realize a while later he is boiling. Other times we find ourselves transported to the "land between" in an instant....from an "everything is okay" frame of mind to a worst case scenario moment.

In one of the chapters I "read" while hoofing it around the park, he talked about the manna God provided for the children of Israel. Manna for breakfast....manna for lunch....manna for dinner. And on the menu the next day and the day after that....and the day after that for forty long years....manna, manna and more manna.

They didn’t see it as the blessing it was intended to be. It was provision from God...but they grew weary of it. And not only that....they really didn't even know what it was. The Hebrew word manna means "what is this." Perhaps they didn’t know exactly what it was but they knew for sure they were sick of it. They grumbled and complained....yearning for the flesh pots of Egypt.

I happened upon an article that had this to say…

God did not give them manna to satisfy their longing for taste, pleasure, and adventure, nor did he give it in an abundance to give them the security of knowing they would not starve. He gave them manna day-by-day to sustain their existence. But he did not intend to delight them; only to keep them from starving. In Praise of Manna by Jack Crabtree.

Hmmmm. Sounds like the situation many of us face every day….at our place of employment. Many…most?....jobs have that ssdd (same shit/different day) aspect to them. It pays the bills but there is certainly no delight….just another day of “bland, uninteresting, tedious manna.” We grow weary of the same old/same old duties, responsibilities and obligations that drag on and on in perpetual tedium. Or as Drew Carey so eloquently put it….

Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called everybody, and they meet at the bar.