It’s That Time Of The Year Again.

It’s that time of the year again. Good ol’ Xmas.

I hope I didn’t offend anyone by typing Xmas instead of Christmas. That wasn’t my intent. In fact, I get a good chuckle when other people puff up and get offended and demand that we keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas. The ironic thing is that by saying Xmas, they are keeping Christ in Christmas. The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. For all you non-rocket scientists, that means Christ was spelled and spoken differently than it is in English. It was very common to, instead of writing out the entire word ‘Christ’, abbreviate the name by just using the first letter. In Greek, the first letter in Christ is Chi. What does a capital letter Chi look like?

Just like a fancy X.

It’s okay to say Xmas, even out of ignorance. But for those of you who are adamant that it’s not, that’s okay too. Language is just a tool we use to worship, it’s not the object of our worship. Speaking of…

 It’s also that time of the year where society reduces Jesus to an infant. This is acceptable and pleasing to them because an infant is harmless, an infant is easy to control. Even the church can get swept up into this dangerous thinking. Yes, Jesus was an infant. But not anymore. I guess it’s comforting to some to see our savior as a baby in nativity scenes. I wonder how many of them would still be comforted to know his pending judgement on the entire world? Very few, I would imagine.

Christmas seems like a weird time to be reminded of how powerful Christ is. There is no greater humility than God becoming one of us. But in that humility, ending by death on the cross, Christ was exalted above all names and everything is under his feet. Nothing can escape him.

In the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis wrote about Christ’s power as Lucy is being introduced to the Christ figure, a lion named Aslan.

Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.

Search the Scriptures. He’s good. I know.

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10 Things I Thank God For Every Thanksgiving/Day

Happy Thanksgiving, amigos.

Welcome to my favorite holiday. It’s not because of the food and it’s not because of the football. It’s probably a combination of both. I hope everyone is able to spend this day with either family or friends and enjoy everything you’ve been blessed with. Today is the day we feel obligated to do the thing that should be an everyday occurrence: give thanks to God for family, friends…and God. And that’s it. Anything more and you’ll just be postponing the meal and you might as well just hit yourself in the head with a shoe because that’s what Uncle Bill will do if you even think about interrupting his gravy train into turkey town. Anything less and everyone will think you’re an ungrateful hooligan who deserves a spot at the kid’s table. You remind them that you just got promoted to the adult table last year, despite being 37, and cannot go back. So it’s important to remember the big 3 when giving your thanks, you don’t want to ruin Thanksgiving.

The big 3 are important to me but there are other things that I feel I neglect far too often when expressing my gratitude. In my opinion these things are just below the big 3 and I think it’s necessary to thank God for allowing these things to be a part of my life. This list may seem silly to you but I am dead serious. I am soooo thankful for:

10. Remote Control– If I had to get up and walk to the tv to change the channel, I would not own a television.

9. Stuffed Crust Pizza– The man or woman who looked at a Cheese Lovers pizza and thought, “This thing could use some more cheese…put it in the crust”, should win multiple awards and honors.

8. Cruise Control– Because sometimes your foot just gets tired.

7. Toothbrush– I would hate to think how I would clean my teeth without a toothbrush.

6. Those socks with the lip on them– They help from keeping the back of my ankle rubbing raw.

5. Glacier Freeze Gatorade– There is no better taste in the world than drinking one of these after a long workout.

4. Clocks– I can’t read a sundial.

3. Hair– I would not look good bald.

2. Numbers– Without them you wouldn’t know how old you are, what a coke cost, or who won the Superbowl.

1. You– I’m thankful that I’m allowed to express my opinions and views without consequence. I couldn’t say that about other places. I’m thankful for you because who else would read this drivel that I throw out here. It takes a patient, discerning and kind individual to digest what I write. Thank you for being that.

 

 

I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This

Recently I’ve discussed how much disdain I had for forcing Christianity into popular culture. Well I am about to be a complete hypocrite. So please don’t judge me as I present to you…

Christian Internet Memes

What is that you ask? Well an Internet Meme is just an idea that is propagated throughout the World Wide Web. They are one of the few joys I’ve found whilst scouring the Ebays. Most of them are secular in nature so I thought I would throw a biblical twist in them. Starting with…

The Most Interesting Man in the World

This meme became popular shortly after the commercial went nationwide. It displays a picture of said man and then does a twist on his catchphrase, “I don’t always drink beer but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” Here is one of my favorites:

Now the Christian ones:

Y U No Meme

The Y U No Meme is a really weird one. It’s just a picture of an ugly face asking important questions in bad english. One of my favorites:

Now the Christian ones:

Philosoraptor

Philosoraptor is a picture of a velociraptor who looks like he is pondering something. Hence the name, philosoraptor. My favorite:

The Christian ones:

Joseph Ducruex

Joseph Ducruex was a 17th century painter that painted self-portraits of poses that would be common today. The point of this meme is to insert modern song lyrics but express them in 17th century dialect. You may have to think about these but if you don’t know just ask me in the comment section. My favorite:

Christian ones:

Deal With It

The Deal With It gif is very popular among message boards around the world. Here is the original:

Christian Twist:

The Bible is the Word of God. If you don’t like it…

I’m probably an idiot for doing all this but you know what…

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost!

So, apparently, Halloween is coming up pretty soon. That’s cool I guess. It’s not really my thing, but whatever. Some people like the idea of dressing up as something they’re not and going to strangers’ houses and mooching all their candy. If that’s you just remember this is perfectly acceptable behavior for a rational adult like yourself. Don’t get mad, though, when those kids you’re walking around with (who would befriend Kim Jong Il if he had a puppy and some cotton candy) start to give you some less than flattering looks.

Dad?!?

I guess the lack of fascination with Halloween goes all the way back to my childhood. We used to have a bay window in the front of the house I grew up in. Under that window were some cabinets that housed all sorts of decorations and other useless junk. I was rummaging through it one day and came across some small posters of an owl, a pumpkin and maybe a scarecrow or something. Being in the holiday spirit I decided to put those posters on my door. My mother came walking by and saw my door and quickly started to take them down. I asked why. She began to lecture on how “we don’t worship Satan”. Of course those weren’t her exact words but that was the point she was trying to make, as far as I can recollect. We did, however, sometimes put a jack-o-lantern in that bay window if for no other reason than to play with my already confused mind.

But is Halloween really a Satanic holiday or does it have anything to do with the occult? Should Christians be adamant that the holiday is incompatible with their faith and organize events that counter it such as Hell Houses or “Fall Festivals”? Well, it turns out that a form of Halloween originated in Ireland a long, long time ago when farmers would dress up as ghosts and whatnot to ward off evil spirits so they wouldn’t destroy their crops during the fall harvest. They did some other things, like animal sacrifices, that we Christians don’t cotton to but to each his own I guess. As far as being incompatible with our faith, the more traditional view of Halloween came around 600 A.D. when Pope Boniface IV decided that the harvest festival would be a good time to celebrate Christian martyrs and saints who have passed on. This became know as All Saints Day and was celebrated on November 1st. All Saints Day was also known as All-hallows and the day before was called All-hallows eve or Halloween.

Is Christianity opposed to Halloween?

With all the history aside, here is what it boils down to: the only two things that aren’t opposed to Christianity are the Bible and the Church. Everything else is expendable. Yes, Halloween is opposed to Christianity. But so are these programs that try to scare people into following Christ and especially the “Hayrides for Jesus”. Now if you’re talking about mainstream “Christianity”, then no, that “Christianity” is not opposed to Halloween. As a matter of fact, that “Christianity” is not opposed to a whole lot. I guess abortion and gay marriage are about the only things it’s opposed to. The rest of the time, they just sit down in their Rick Warren Bible studies and learn how to live their best life now.

I’m sorry, I get them all confused sometimes.

Is Halloween a demonic holiday?

I’ll admit that is one thing I do not know a whole lot about. To be honest, I’ve never worried about demons or evil spirits or the such. When Jesus rose from the grave he put everything underneath him and I’m pretty sure demons are included in everything. There is one thing I do know about demons and evil spirits, though: they don’t inhabit the physical world. And since Halloween is a physical holiday, by default it can’t be demonic. People like to quote Ephesians 6.12 to say that our struggle is against evil spirits but they completely skip out on the part where that struggle is taking place. “…against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So in case you dwell in the spiritual realm, you won’t be encountering evil spirits anytime soon. You ever find it interesting that there are no mentions of demon possession in the Old Testament or after the foundation of the Church? Every single demon possession happens during Jesus’s time on earth and the foundation of the Church. This likely points to demon possession being restricted only to Jesus’s time on earth. It makes a lot of sense if you look at it this way: the demons saw that God took the body of a man, which is evident in Luke 8, so they too decided to inhabit the body of men in order to fool and trick and sway attention away from Jesus.

You know, things haven’t changed much since the beginning of time. It’s still just God, Satan, us and our fruit. The great thing is that we have all of history to look back on. But some of us continue to say “the devils made us do it”.  You saw how that turned out when that comment was made. So are you going to continue to complain about the “devils” or are you going to repent and trust Christ who has already smacked these “devils” around for you. You know how both scenarios turn out.

But seriously, I’m thinking about going like this for Halloween.

I can’t find one in my size though.

Was Jesus Funny?

Considering how important Jesus is to human history we really don’t have a lot of information about him. Out of his 33 years of living we basically have 3 years of information and at least half of that is spent on the last week of his life. Even John says that the world doesn’t have enough room for the books that could be written on things that Jesus did that aren’t in Scripture (John 21:25). So we tend to focus on the essential things about Jesus because what we know about him is limited. I think this absolutely agrees with God’s pattern of revelation in that he feels it necessary to only give us essential information instead of burdening our tiny brains with specifics about his plan. I can understand the Gospel. I can’t understand the dual nature of Christ, creation out of nothing, or the Trinity. And frankly, I don’t care if I ever comprehend those things. We have what matters and that’s all that matters.

However, what little we do have, we can probably make a good educated guess as to what kind of communicator Jesus was. And this guy guesses that he was one of the best communicators to ever live. As you read throughout the gospels do you ever catch yourself going “wow” after reading something Jesus said. I do…a lot. And not just the profound stuff either. When the Pharisees would go off on long diatribes about religious nonsense Jesus would respond with a sentence or two and then they would shut up and walk away. I would then go from “wow” to “Dang, he got them good.” Jesus had a way with words and he had a way of captivating an audience. He sometimes did this with his humor. I think that’s  something that gets overlooked about him. People don’t like to think of Jesus as having a sense of humor because they might be bordering on blasphemy. The mistake they make is that they equate their own humor with Jesus’. I know this can’t be the case for myself. I could laugh for weeks at scatological jokes and armpit farts. Jesus would not have been very effective with my sophomoric humor. His wit was displayed just at the right moment so that his message was definitive and it opened eyes to insights of the divine.

Speaking of eyes…

Irony

Jesus was a master at irony. Nowhere is this more true than Matthew 7:3-5:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

If you just read the verse and picture this in your mind, it’s kind of funny even for today’s standards. I guarantee you Jesus’ audience thought it was knee-slapping, gut-busting hilarious. Just think about it long enough and you’ll start to chuckle, too.

 

Hyperbole

Probably the best known use of hyperbole in pop culture is the “Yo Mama” series. For example:

Yo mama is so fat that she went to the movie theatre and sat next to everyone.

You see, now, that is degrading humor. Jesus was much more edifying in Matthew 19:23-24:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Some people have gone to great lengths to identify the eye of a needle as something other than an actual eye of a needle. Just look at a camel, then look at the end of a needle and use your imagination. If you’re confused then you’re halfway way there to getting it. If you come to the conclusion that the imagery doesn’t make sense then congratulations, Jesus has just taught you a valuable lesson. Albeit in a very entertaining way.

There, that wasn’t so hard. 

Sarcasm

Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor in today’s culture. I’m not real sure that was the case in cultures of yesteryear. Paul was great at using sarcasm and most of it is absolutely comical. Jesus even used sarcasm when talking to Peter in Matthew 16:

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Jesus calls Peter a name that translates to rock or rocky. It’s basically the equivalent of calling a really short guy, “stretch”. Shortly after that episode Jesus called Peter Satan and Peter denied and cursed Jesus so Peter was anything but a rock. I’m sure the disciples were snickering as Jesus was telling Peter this. However, like always, Jesus knew what he was saying. Peter did become stable later on and started many churches in the Mediterranean area.

I use these examples to say this: Was Jesus a stand up comedian? No. Was Jesus a captivating communicator? Yes. And a great way he did that was through his humor. I can’t relate to a robot Jesus who never laughed or smiled. I can relate to a human Jesus who laughed and smiled and was comforting to be around. Even though he literally had the weight of the world on his shoulders I believe his joy was unimaginable. And I’m glad he shares that joy with us.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quotes Mistakenly Attributed To The Bible

You may have already known this but people are fooled rather easily. What you may not know is just how easy it is to fool someone. There’s no need to show fine print in .0005 font or talk really fast when discussing disclaimers. No, you could present all the information that is possibly available and give them enough time to read it and some people still wouldn’t have a clue. That’s just the way it is. It’s not because they’re stupid; at least not every case. It’s a combination of a lack of observation and a lack of comprehension-otherwise known as laziness. But that’s okay; people have a right to be lazy. Why did our fathers construct the constitution other than to protect our right to laziness? It’s a pillar of our society, along with obesity and welfare. I love America.

There’s no better way to observe this phenomenon than when listening to others quote “Bible verses” in Sunday School classrooms across the country. One of my favorites, that is misquoted a lot in our church, is when the topic of pride is brought up in discussions. Before we even crack open the Bible, I hear no less than 5 people say simultaneously, “Pride goes before the fall…”. The verse they are trying to quote is Proverbs 16:18:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Is that being a little too critical, especially when both mean essentially the same thing? Absolutely. Sometimes it’s better to look over mistakes than try to cause a dispute and look like a know-it-all. But here’s the thing when overlooking misquoted Bible verses: when a person says “x” is the word of God but “x” is not the word of God and that person starts getting others to believe that they’re speaking God’s word, that can lead to potentially dangerous things. We end up preaching our own words instead of the words we accept as infallible. So make sure you check your Bible before you go saying things like:

# 5:     Cleanliness is next to Godliness

One of the wisest sayings by King Solomon, right? Or was it Peter? I can’t remember.

Try John Wesley, from one of his 1791 sermons:

“Slovenliness is no part of religion. Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.”

Wesley, more than likely, got his idea from Francis Bacon who wrote:

“Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.”

What possessed Wesley to say this? He was preaching a sermon on how to dress appropriately. So next time your wife gets on your case and quotes this because you’re leaving your dirty underwear in the living room, tell her until she starts throwing out Bible verses, there needs to be less talking and more sandwich making. Then duck.

 

# 4:     “Money is the root of all evil.”

Some of you may know the verse and realize we’re just parsing words here. The actual verse? 1 Timothy 6:10:

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

So for all you college students, realize it’s not those $40 in your bank account that are evil. It’s that stupid tattoo you plan on using that money for that is evil.

 

# 3:     “This too shall pass…” 

This one would probably fool a lot of people. It even sounds like it would be in the Bible. But alas, it’s not. It comes from a saying passed down in Jewish folklore.

If you have more time than you know what to do with then read this.

 

# 2:     “The lion shall lay down with the lamb.”

It seems like with most of these we’re just arguing semantics but, again, we want God’s word, not our own. The verse in question is Isaiah 11:6:

 “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

I can see why the lion/lamb image stuck though. Would you rather have this:

or this?:

 This looks like a shirt you would buy in a gas station…only with a few more full moons.

# 1:     “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

This has to be in the Bible, you say. You’re close. Proverbs 17:28:

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

No one ever uses the Bible verse, though. They always use the former one, coined by none other than Mark Twain. Some people argue that Twain was using the Bible as his source when he said this but considering the following quote, I doubt it:

“We were good boys, good Presbyterian boys, and loyal and all that; anyway, we were good Presbyterian boys when the weather was doubtful; when it was fair, we did wander a little from the fold.”

Survival Guide For The New School Year

You’ve probably noticed the reduction in the amount of arrests on your local news and seen fewer burning couches on your way to the grocery store. You rejoice in your heart because you know this can mean only one thing: Summer is over and your kids are finally going back to school (if they’re not in jail, which in either case you still don’t have to deal with them, so win-win). If you’re one of those concerned parents who feels the need to actually “parent” your child, then this guide has no relevance to you. I’m here for those parents that have better things to do than get their kids ready for the school year. Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking to you. You know who you are.

“We’ll work on your times tables as soon as Daddy picks Mr. Vick to be his fantasy QB.”

It’s nothing to be ashamed of though. It’s not like your kid is going to get into college anyway. And even if he does, you’re never going to be able to afford it. Right now the average cost of a 4 year public school is right around $20,000. If your little munchkin plans on going to a 4 year public school, say, 15 years from now, be prepared to fork over a little over $85,000. That is if the inflation rate stays the same which it won’t. So unless little Timmy is a rocket scientist and gets the rocket scientist scholarship or you’re willing to be in massive debt, don’t bother with the whole college thing. Find a nice trade school and be happy with your life. College really isn’t for everyone. Unless you plan on getting a professional degree (doctor, lawyer, teacher), there really is no reason to go to a four-year school. You can learn all you need to know about wellness, finance, and whatever you need to function highly in society just by going to a 2 year school. Plus you can afford it.

Let’s face it, people go to college to get a $20,000 piece of paper.

That was basically a long way of saying college isn’t everything. I understand you have several people in your life telling you how important college is. They are correct, college education is important. If those same people are telling you that your life won’t be as good or you’re not as desirable as those people who go to college, then they’re just lying to you. Don’t let a college degree define you. As a matter of fact, don’t let anything define you that you’re not willing to die for.

So there you have it, your guide to surviving the school year. What? I didn’t actually give a survival guide? Yes I did.

My goal wasn’t to show you how to survive school. It was to show you how to survive life while being in school.

If you treat people like garbage and are constantly self-absorbed, no one will really care about your shiny degree.

If you love your neighbor as yourself, it won’t matter if you have a degree or not because you’ve already done the most important work of all. The one’s opinion you should be concerned about doesn’t value your degree as much as you but he does value how you treat others.