Category: Uncategorized

“Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal”

2004 vacation 095The title is a quote from the movie “Home Alone” which has been repeated in commercials and printed on T-shirts. It carries with it seemingly conflicting messages. However, it shines a light on a dilemma I have been pondering for the past few years.

When I was a teenager, the circle of friends with whom I hung out practiced a different type of communication. It is not uncommon but for many people it could easily be viewed as “off-putting”. Many people curse when angry or experiencing pain and others do so to place emphasis on an extreme situation. My friends and I used obscenities for regular communication. When we greeted each other it wasn’t with a casual wave, we acknowledged one another’s arrival by giving the finger to whoever was arriving. We didn’t gesture with a nod of the head, we flipped each other the bird.

This was how we knew that we loved each other. One of my friends might say to me, “F— you!” But I knew that the spirit behind that F-bomb was one of deep friendship.

Our emphasis on political correctness is molding us into a race of people one might have seen on an episode of “The Twilight Zone” where social compliance was dictated apart from one’s true sentiments.

I don’t begrudge people saying “Happy Holidays” during the holiday season but many of us choose to celebrate Christmas and extend the greetings of the season by saying, “Merry Christmas”. Aside from a few militant zealots who use that phrase as some sort of a dare to be confronted, the vast majority of us who wish others a Merry Christmas are doing just that, extending a greeting of the season. It is intended as a wish for the greeting’s recipient to have a happy holiday season filled with joy, peace and laughter.

If I am greeted with any common greeting apart from Merry Christmas I will not be offended. I will receive it as a kind wish from a fellow human being.

Let us please celebrate our diversity by receiving the greeting “Merry Christmas” or any other holiday greeting as a sincere and heart-felt gesture of good will not as religious indoctrination.

However you choose to observe the upcoming season of good will permit me to wish you a sincere Merry Christmas, a prosperous New Year and the Happiest of Holidays!

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“Commandments, Suggestions & Relationships”

2004 vacation 095(I haven’t posted in a few months but the following thought came to mind. After arriving at my conclusion I figured that it is a good subject to post)

God gave us the Ten Commandments as the foundation of the Law (Torah). As people of faith we need to look at the Law through the lens of God’s heart.

Why did God give us the Law? What does God ultimately want? Does He want our obedience or our love and devotion?  He wants both but how should they be prioritized?

Jesus said that the Law, all of the Law and Prophets, were summed up in the Greatest Commandment, which is, from a human perspective, two commandments intertwined as to be unable to be separated.

Mark 12:30-31                                                                                                                                             “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’”

Relationship is the key. God wants us to love Him first and foremost. He does want our obedience but He wants our obedience to be an outflowing of love and devotion to Him rather than an act of self-protection from divine wrath.

The best way for me to illustrate this concept is as follows…

The seventh commandment instructs us to “not commit adultery”. In our household that has never been stated as a house rule or law. (We don’t really have house rules, just an implied code of conduct developed over years of relationship.)  it would however, be a violation of a vow I took over 30 years ago to be a “true and devoted husband, faithful to her and to her only…”

I have never committed adultery, I have never cheated on my wife. Why have I not committed adultery and why will I not do so? Is it because I do not want to face the consequences of breaking that rule? That could be a secondary motivation but the primary reason that I have not nor will I ever commit adultery is because I love my wife. I am madly in love with her and I could not bear to hurt her, break her heart or betray her.

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While the consequences of such an act would be devastating to me that devastation on my part would be warranted but the pain that my wife would endure would be incomprehensible and I could never recover from knowing that I had inflicted such an atrocity on someone so special and so important to me.

My reason for obeying the no adultery rule or not because it would be a violation of law but because I would be hurting someone I love deeply. Our relationship would at best be damaged and at worst, destroyed.

God wants us to get to know Him on such a level that our adherence to His commands are motivated by love for Him, not of simply doing good.

“The NBA All-Star May be The Best”

2004 vacation 095MJlogowhitebackground.jpg_babab12f0050cbf3e4f28a7551d0e1cb

The NBA is my least favorite of the “Big Three” sports in the U.S. but watching the NBA All-Star Game has made a solid case that it may be the best of the bunch.

I LOVE baseball but the MLB All-Star Game resembles a regular MLB game with the added edge-of-the-seat worrying of fans and team staff that a player might get injured in what is little more than an exhibition game. (Reference Pete Rose and Ray Fosse in the 1970 MLB All-Star Game) Click here to see the collision rose.gif I would also like the current “winner hosts the World Series” rule rescinded.

The NFL’s Pro Bowl looks nothing like a real football game it is more like a lazy picnic game where protections are instated to insure the safety of the players.

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But the NBA All-Star Game is like watching the Harlem Globetrotters play a pitch-up game on an upper east side concrete playground.  The passes are amazing, the shots taken are spectacular and the trick shots and trick passes are awe inspiring.  The scoring is high indicating that everyone is just having a good time making this game a true entertainment sports spectacle.  Heck, I even saw Gregg Popovich smile once… once.

And Sting performing during half-time?  Yeah, I’ll watch this one again.

 

Politically Correct?

2004 vacation 095

Apparently, this is what is required to be politically correct…

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“If I could work my will every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

2004 vacation 095Thanksgiving is one of, if not my favorite of the holidays.  Family and friends share a great meal, good wishes and God’s goodness. We express gratitude and watch football.

I am blessed!

I am grateful!

ISIS and Paris

Because of Grace

We’ve all been horrified by the violence in Paris this past Friday. The death and injury toll has shocked people all over the world. But perhaps it’s the setting that shocks us most — a restaurant, a football game, and a concert hall. These are not war zones.

Eiffel TowerWe have grown almost desensitized to mass graves in Syria and religious violence in Iraq. We have almost forgotten civilian deaths in Ukraine and the brutality in Afghanistan.

In recent years, thousands of men and women, boys and girls — all created in the image of God — have died on battlefields and in conflict zones. But Paris? It shakes our confidence.

People have challenged the efficiency of European security services. “Why did they not stop this?” Others have suddenly been shaken from complacency and reacted in fear. “Bomb them back!”

Those of us who value life, who see it as sacred, who…

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“I Don’t Understand”

I am a registered Republican and I have listened to conservatives accuse liberal extremists of being divisive. Yet is it not conservative extremists who are ripping the Republican party apart?  I don’t see myself ever being a Democrat but it is embarrassing being a Republican.