Things I Think…

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16 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    I love the Christmas season because it is one of the few times of the year where people want to know what kind of holiday I celebrate and why. I also enjoy the food and celebrations and the fact that people seem to care a bit more about each other. Flip side, sometimes all the family emphasis for a single person can get a bit wearing. But, I usually adopt a couple of my single friends and we do something together.

    My church went through a bit of hiccup last year when we had some folks publicly declare that we should not be celebrating Christmas. They were fairly new to the congregation and had never made a peep before. I want to give our pastor credit for handling it well. He said that Christmas was an issue of conscience, that our church didn’t see anything wrong with the holiday, and that the opponents were free to do as they liked, but that non-celebration would not become a church teaching. Well, they picked up their marbles and went off to play elsewhere, much to the relief of everyone. My church uses Christmas as a big outreach tool.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    The Christmas nay-sayers are basically the same people who opine on everything else as if someone actually asked what they thought about something, and they insist they are right about everything they believe.

    Or they are just bored souls.

  3. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I think you and your church are thinking well…most things in a fallen world are a combination of the sacred and the profane…let’s emphasize the sacred…

  4. Michael says:

    Dan,

    There is something in all of us that wants to count ourselves more righteous than others…or believe that our group is more righteous than others…some are insecure and some are folks who simply enjoy being contentious.

    I still think moats are necessary for proper landscaping… 🙂

  5. Linn says:

    Michael,
    #6 is the bane of the missionary. When I was in South America, manger scenes were actually articles of worship, not just a way to tell a nice story. Most Protestants really frowned on having a manger scene in the home. Since I love manger scenes, I kept a very small one in a non-prominent place. Back home, I get my manger scene out every year, and I have a wooden one I use with my kids at church. But, never in Colombia!

    You need to respect the culture you land in.

  6. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Intersting…I saw a lot when I would go to Mexico that set my Reformed hair on fire…I wonder if I was just being a judgmental ass…and for the most part, I probably was…

    I was thinking when I wrote that about the synergy between nationalism and the faith…we’re not the only country that has tripped over that log…

  7. Terry says:

    8-9: Jesus once said “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”. With this, he was saying something very foreign to those listening. The Torah may have said to love their neighbor as yourself, but it never actually said to love your enemy.

    I use to listen to Dr Laura Schlesinger on the radio in the 90s. She was a call-in radio psychologist in the LA area on KFI back then. I remember a woman called in saying she was having a hard time forgiving the person who killed her son. Dr Laura’s response was “Why in the world do you feel any obligation to forgive that person?” As a practicing Jewish woman, for her forgiveness was a naive, sentimental Christian/Catholic weakness.

    I know I might get called antisemitic for bringing this up, but as Christians we tend the think of Judaism as just like Christianity, but with Jesus (and Paul) added. We take for granted how utterly revolutionary Jesus was, especially his teachings on forgiveness and how we treat enemies. So when we expect Israel to show restraint regarding Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza, we are projecting our world view on theirs. (And I’m not siding with Hamas by saying this)

  8. Michael says:

    Terry,

    Thoughtful as usual…modern evangelicalism has indeed blurred the lines between Judaism and Christianity…lines Jesus drew…

  9. Kristi says:

    If I may offer an explanation about damning the holidays that perhaps very few people think of, and even I, myself didn’t understand until recently… when my late husband and I were formally shunned from our families for not participating in the family curses (enmeshment, forms of incestuousness, jacosta complex, satanic oppression/possession, etc.) and when we weren’t welcomed into our then church families lives either, we retreated into ourselves. The enemy used this opportunity to place the thought of not celebrating pagan rituals into our heads and provided us with the “christian” materials giving us the bazillion reasons why not to as well. It seemed to be – at the time – the only thing that kept us sane and kept us from walking away from Jesus altogether – as our honest and true desire was to worship Him properly. So fast forward a few years after my husband’s death and I am only now coming out of that haze to understand that any occasion to talk about Jesus and bring Him into the forefront of anything is a perfect opportunity, pagan or not. I believe Phillippians 1:15-18 can help speak to that understanding. My current church has been a wonderful example and has taught me properly on this (even yesterday!) bringing me back around to wanting to celebrate the season again and enjoying it. So, if the Holy Spirit ever puts you in the company of a person/family like that, not wanting to celebrate the season, ask Him for discernment. Maybe – just maybe – that person, or those people just need to be loved and accepted back into a Christian family. Maybe they need your prayers to be rid of the evil that is holding them in confusion in the line of “proper Christian worship”. I can only speak to my/our experience. My late husband is with Jesus right now. I’m sure the celebration hasn’t stopped since he got there. Until I arrive, I will celebrate with everyone else during this time of year. And the damage the other families tried to do didn’t sever my relationship with Him and didn’t score one for the enemy. Praise God for His mercy and understanding. Thank you.

  10. Michael says:

    Kristi,

    Family disfunction is at the root of a lot of Christmas anxiety….I know mine has its roots there. Glad you have recovered and can celebrate as you wish…

  11. The New Victor says:

    Syncretism is a real thing. My kids wanted to erect an offrenda for our deceased dog. I said no. That was around the time the movie Coco came out. It’s a good movie, but anti-christian. But so are so many Disney movies (Avengers?). My kids are Mexican. I appreciate the culture on the other side which, aside from Los dias de La Muertos and such, nod to a pre-christian culture. Not to be morbid, but I’ve told them no ofrenda for me.

  12. Josh says:

    I think trying to be “biblical” may be may be an aberration from evangelicalism that I will no longer attempt.

    I think that if Jesus is the image of the invisible God, then the Red Letters have to mean more than the rest. Not to say there is no value in Leviticus, just that it is way below the Red Letters.

    I think that people , in general, are happier around Christmas, and that is a good thing, even if they don’t recognize it as a Christian holiday at all. In my new life, I am for people being happy and surviving this world the best way they can.

    I think that holidays have always been very stressful for me. Now, with split families, new relationships, and children becoming young adults, the holidays are a logistical nightmare. Around January 4 I will relax and give thanks that the season is over. Maybe I’ll celebrate in spirit with the Orthodox on January 5.

  13. Everstudy says:

    #8 puts Isreal into an unwinnable situation. Either the try to minamize civilian deaths in order to destroy Hamas, potentially radicalizing civilians, or they leave Hamas intact and let Hamas radicalize the civilians.

    It’s either Isreal loses, or Isreal loses.

    I wonder if the West thought the same during the carpet bombing of Germany in WWII, that they might be creating another generation of nazis with each bombing run.

  14. Jean says:

    Everstudy,

    “Either the try to minamize civilian deaths in order to destroy Hamas,” That’s the point. Our American generals don’t believe they are.

    “I wonder if the West thought the same during the carpet bombing of Germany in WWII” That was nation vs. nation. Hamas is not a nation. Israel controls the borders, so it is morally responsible for their welfare.

  15. Everstudy says:

    This seems to be becoming the US position.

    https://twitter.com/HilzFuld/status/1715953155060473946

  16. Josh says:

    To be clear – do we think Jesus would kill the Palestinians?

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