Friday, December 29, 2006
Kings, Exodus, Peter, Malachi, Numbers, Revelation, Hosea, Daniel, Nahum, Philemon, Lamentations, Genesis, Timonthy, Titus, Ruth, Acts, Samuel, Hebrews, Esther, Joel, John, Judges, Mark, Luke, Job, James, Romans, Matthew, Chronicles, and Amos.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
To recognize that this other group of people, in faith, are remembering a faithful time in their past does not mean I am going against Christmas by anymeans. We are not to compete with one another and no one has to demand "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" from one another. There may not be be a direct connection between these two holidays, but there is a connection in our one, shared G_d. And because we are all G_d's children - I wish them a pleasant, spirit-filled, holy time to celebrate Chanukah.
I know I've shared this with many of you - but I also want to take this moment to share the video I made about my trip to Poland. These are just some of the 400 photos I took while I was in Poland studying the Holocaust this summer. It is accompanied by a song called Eli, Eli - a Hebrew song written by a Hungarian Jew murdered because she was trying to save 100's of other Jews.
(You may have to click the middle play button a few times)
The Holocaust in Poland
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Before you even start to read this message, I want to make sure that I tell everyone - this message is a message sent in love and grace and in faith to God. I am not trying to be negative towards anyone who does not share my views, and I hope that you don't take it that way. Instead I hope that we all realize there are always times when our faith is tested and asks us to stretch ourselves to new understandings and new love!
I recently received ANOTHER forwarded email :) that caught my attention and made me want to write about it. I know that my friends and family like to send me a lot of forwards and jokes about being from the leftist persuasion (I'm not a democrat or a republican because I'm a free thinker and don't want to ascribe to a title, but if I HAD to, then sure, call me a democrat) because its fun to joke with each other about that sort of thing. But on the other hand, the ones that are most disturbing to me, are the emails and books, and comments, and news headlines that talk about "the left" being anti-Christian, or that there is no such thing as a Liberal Christian. It is in fact my Christianity that CALLS ME to be "a democrat", which I'll write more about that in a minute... but here's the forwarded email....
"How the 'Left' Stole Christmas"
Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas – no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say,
December 25th is just a "Holiday".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CD's from Madonna, an X Box, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken and Fonda
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas – was no where to be found
At K-mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday!
This is possibly the worst presentation of what someone thinks Christmas is supposed to be about EVER - whoever wrote this claims that the reason for Christmas can only be seen in public school plays, retailers, Targets, Lowe's K-Mart, Staples, Penny's and Sears - that because public retailers public schools, and public buildings, are allowing other religions to also celebrate during the month of December, that by simply saying a generic Happy Holidays - that, THAT is what is taking their Christmas away? I'm sorry - I thought Christmas HONESTLY had NOTHING TO DO with Christmas lights or Christmas trees or holiday pageants? Yes, I appreciate them all and I celebrate using them all, but the last time I checked - the reason for the season was THE BIRTH OF CHRIST - which is conveniently mentioned no where in here? They mention that the Senate is trying to eliminate Jesus from all public matter - is that really their concern? If we would practice a little Christianity in our own personal lives a little more, maybe we wouldn't rely so heavily on seeing it on every public corner? Maybe if we concentrated on REALLY following the Prince of Peace, the great Redeemer, the One who will bring the oppressed out of oppression, then WE won't have to concentrate so much on where we see "Christmas" in retailers and children's public schools? Maybe we should listen to Jesus when he says LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF - not LOVE YOUR CHRISTIAN NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF - If we want to be respected for who we are as Christians and be able to celebrate our joy in that (that is how we want to be treated) then we as Christians, BECAUSE JESUS ASKS US TO, should treat others how we want to be treated. Maybe they don't practice what we practice, maybe they don't find Joy in what we find joy in, but if we want the respect and the freedom to celebrate OUR HOLIDAY then grant them (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics etc) the same respect that they should be able to celebrate THEIR HOLIDAY. And above all, I would assert that the reason retailers are offering "Holiday" sales etc and not specifically Christmas anymore, is NOT because they are trying to be PC, but instead it is ALL ABOUT THEIR BOTTOM LINE - They want to capitalize on ANY and EVERY gift giving type holiday that is celebrated in December, and to not offend anyone who might celebrate those holidays to the point that they don't buy their gifts from THAT retailer!
Senate - this country was brought about on the stance of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - it is NOT religious freedom to say that you have to put up with our majority Christian views simply because it is the majority. Yes it is the majority of us (in the USA) that are going to celebrate Christmas. But have we completely forgotten that the reason we are Christian is because "we" were once Jewish? Why is it fair to ask them, our Jewish brothers and sisters, to put up with the bombardment of Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, when they don't believe in it? And a common misconception that Kwanzaa replaces Christmas is completely incorrect. Kwanzaa is a time for people of African descent to celebrate their heritage wherever they are in the world. It was started because of a suggestion that African-Americans need to celebrate their culture and heritage even though they are no longer living in Africa etc. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE HAVE REVERTED BACK TO THE SAME MINDSET AS THE LATE 1700'S ENGLISHMEN WHO THOUGHT THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONISTS WERE CRAZY? How is it possible that people can call themselves Christians, yet NOT listen to the message of justice and peace and NO OPPRESSION that Jesus talks about?It is my calling to follow Jesus, as a devout and faithful Christian, that asks me to be from "the leftist persuasion," and to respect others in their own wishes and celebrations. It is in listening to God's call to LOVE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN - REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING - that asks me to be such a "crazy" liberal!! It is in my response to Jesus Christ that I feel the need to rid this world of ANY OPPRESSION - even from Christians who claim they are doing the work of the LORD! And although it may not seem like the oppression we are all used to hearing about, NOT allowing someone to celebrate their own faith or heritage simply because they are bombarded with Christian Christmas messages, IS OPPRESSION. I'm not saying DON'T celebrate your faith and heritage, but rather allow others to also celebrate theirs. Send out your MERRY CHRISTMAS wishes and accept their HAPPY HANNUKAH or HAPPY KWANZAA wishes with grace and love, the grace and love that asks us all to remind ourselves that we are all, indeed, God's children.
I promise, we can, if we choose to be, if that is for you, act as liberal Christians. They do exist! :) I exist, I am here, pinch me, I am real. I live for the life of all people, regardless of ANYTHING and try to live as Jesus would have had me live - as a CONSTANT example of God's love for ALL OF GOD'S PEOPLE - no matter what they want to celebrate during the month of December.
Monday, December 11, 2006
When I was little my dad had a "remedy" of how to stop being afraid of the dark. He would make us walk all the way across the basement in the pitch black, and back without anyone holding our hand - and he would make us do that so many times until we weren't afraid of the dark anymore. We have "remedies" for fear. Fear can lead to courage. I jumped off a bridge and bungee jumped - maybe that was helping to get rid of my fear of heights. We have remedies for fear - so HOW DO WE GET RID OF THE FEAR OF DIFFERENCE?