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Old, but always funny…thanks Tiana

December 23, 2007 Posted by | Silly Stuff | Leave a comment

Miscellaneous Christmas Quotes

Merry Christmas.

I compiled some quotes about Christmas…sometimes other people have already said it best…enjoy!

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!'” Dave Barry, “Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide”

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself: “Why, this is Christmas Day!” David Grayson

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? G.K. Chesterton

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. ~Author Unknown

Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren’t for Christmas
We’d all be Jewish.
Benny Hill

I do like Christmas on the whole…. In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But it is clumsier every year. E.M. Forster

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown

The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world. ~Author Unknown

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. Jay Leno

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. Dr. Seuss

The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected. Samuel Johnson

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December 21, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Quotes | 1 Comment

The Mitchell Report: Part 2, Damage Control

It has begun. Clemens speaking through his lawyer. John Smoltz (not named in the report) going Miss South Carolina on the Dan Patrick show. Unbelievable, he was incoherent in his defense of…I honestly don’t know what he was defending. Jim Rome rolling out his mantra: “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. It is only cheating if you get caught” and then proceeding to talk about how stupid players were for leaving a paper trail. Others commenting on how “the report will ruin the reputation of many…”

If you are innocent, speak for yourself. If you don’t know what to say, say nothing. Let’s admit that we don’t care if people cheat, because the consequences will show that we don’t. The ruined reputations came from the behavior not the report.

Some are saying that this reveals a problem in baseball. More accurately, it reveals our culture. It is a revelation of American values. Legacy, personal empire and money are the driving forces motivating behavior. Integrity and character are convenient only in so far as they promote my image and marketability. So why are we surprised at all. Human nature is deficient, theologically we call it depravity. The lure of money, fame and prowess will not cure humanity of its shortcomings, it only glamorizes the attempt.

Let’s be honest, sports are at best peripherally important. They impact fewer people than we think. Many people, in fact the majority of people couldn’t identify the bulk of the names in the report. But the depravity of man is universal.

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December 14, 2007 Posted by | Baseball, Culture - Values | 5 Comments

The Mitchell Report: My Favorite Guy is In It

So, the Mitchell report is out, and Major League Baseball needs to do some work. Surprise, surprise…Roger Clemens is on the juice. Why are you surprised? Examine early pictures of Roger with later pictures of Roger. I don’t know about you, but he is a little bigger, I wonder what his hat size is (then and now).

Here is the big question: Why does Barry Bonds undergo all the suspicion and criticism, yet Clemens is never questioned? The standard answer is that Barry is unlikeable, a jerk, surly, mean to reporters. Funny thing, I don’t remember Barry ever throwing a bat at a Piazza, or anyone else for that matter. He just showed up for work, day in and day out. He also didn’t pimp himself out to the Yankees, just stuck with the Pirates/Giants. He could have easily outdone A-Rod/Clemens in salary package from Steinbrenner. I don’t know, Clemens isn’t that likable in my opinion. Didn’t like him at Texas (the University), Boston, Toronto, Houston and especially not as a Yankee. Since I can come up with all the stupid fan reasons not to like someone who plays for the other guy, how did Clemens avoid all the suspicion that his body size and super-human longevity should have caused, as it did with Barry?

Here is the real answer: Barry Bonds is not white. Roger Clemens is. We really have not come as far as we would like with regard to race issues, and black demons are preferable to white ones. It really is the only answer that makes any sense, unfortunately. But we won’t talk about it because we believe we are over it.

Roger is not my favorite MLB guy, see previous post: Roger Clemens Should Be Ashamed of Himself . Lest you think I am a Barry Bonds fan, understand that I bleed Dodger Blue, and Eric Gagne, Paul LoDuca, and Matt Herges should be ashamed of themselves as well as any other players on the list.

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December 13, 2007 Posted by | Baseball, Culture - Values | 3 Comments

We Sabotaged Huckabee Long Ago

Does a guy like Huckabee have a chance to be President of the USA?

NO.

Not because I don’t like him

Not even because I wouldn’t vote for him (not sure about that)

Rather it has to do with several decades of preparation that is now biting his backside. Since we have chosen to make prayer in schools, creation in science classes, sexual ethics (specifically anti-gay rhetoric) our planks, we will not see substantial Evangelical Christians in the highest office, unless they tone down their “message”. America is not a Christian nation in the Evangelical sense of the phrase. It is a Christian nation in that we are not a Muslim nation, but it is not “Christian” (that only makes sense if you are a confused Evangelical). The real tragic element of this sort of approach is that it only emphasizes what we stand against, and not even those are of primary importance in defining who we are. Examine the following statements:

  • Jesus is for prayer in schools
  • Jesus is for teaching creation in science classes
  • Jesus is against homosexuality

None of those statements justly represent Jesus to the world! They may have some accuracy, but they are marginal values for Jesus at best, and fall far short of accurately describing the heart of our Lord and Christianity. Even if you add the abortion plank, stated either positively or negatively, it still does not represent our true agenda. And Huckabee will have to defend these issues, even if he has other more pressing messages to communicate in his campaign. And there are more pressing issues for a Presidential candidate than our social/ethical concerns.

Ahh, but what about Bush you ask?

Exactly. Did we vote the best candidate into office? No. Only George Bush could have kept the Florida “chad” issue alive. Only George Bush could have us wishing that Al Gore was President. But we were swayed by his Christianity. A good leader would not have polarized our nation. One of his touted strengths was bi-partisanship, and that may be the most remarkable failure of his presidency. We are more polarized as a nation now, not less polarized. The DNC is salivating at the prospect of a Mike Huckabee as Republican nominee for this very reason. Unfortunately Christians will see that as a rallying call to get behind him, get out and vote, make sure we have someone to speak for us in Washington. We will take it as a personal attack on Christianity instead of an appropriate critique of our particular brand of Christianity. So we will again use the wrong criterion in making our selection of a President. Can I say this any clearer: It is not our purpose as Christians to vote for Christians solely because they are Christians. If Mike Huckabee is the best candidate, vote for him. If he isn’t, don’t!

So now the election deals with whether or not Evangelicals will vote for a Mormon. Are you kidding me? Do we think that somehow Mitt Romney will try and reinstitute polygamy, make the USA LDS? Well, as a matter of fact, we do. Because we expect Huckabee to make America Evangelical!!!!!

Now that is a huge misunderstanding of our own belief system. If you think that the way we make America more “christian” is through the political process, you have just taken us back to the dark ages of Christian thought which has rightly been abandoned, by none other than our American forefathers. The fear that people have if an Evangelical gets into office is that being a non-Christian will be against the law; that we will again make heresy a crime against the state and burn people at the stake. Too extreme? Then you haven’t heard of Dominion Theology. Perception is everything in a political campaign.

We are not calling a pastor, we are electing a President.

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December 12, 2007 Posted by | Culture - Values, Politics and Religion | 5 Comments

Are We Stupid?

Obviously edited for effect, but truly amazing, funny and an indictment of government run schools.

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December 11, 2007 Posted by | Culture - Values | 1 Comment

The Golden Compass

I have been asked by many to respond to the books/movie written by Philip Pullman that is making such a stir in Christian circles. Another “boycott” is being demanded by the Christian behavior/thought police. Previous boycotts have been so effective (Disneyland comes to mind), and have been so effective in spreading the gospel, I am sure this call for a boycott will be as effective as all the ones in the past. My niece Katie wrote a response on her facebook, and I asked her if I could post it here at the Temple.

So there’s alot of boycotting going around. I don’t know how many of you have actually read the trilogy in question…I did a couple months ago and I have several problems with this whole chain of events.

Warning: there may be mild *SPOILERS*

1. I hate how we don’t trust any young person to have a scrap of intelligence or discretion when their BS meters are tuned much better than most older people. If you don’t trust that you’ve raised your child better than to be swayed by every fictional story they ever read, well that’s sad for you. Teach your kids the difference between fact and fiction, truth and fantasy, real and for-fun-make-believe. Teach your child to have discretion, to be wise and test everything against the truth, and THEN TRUST THEM TO USE THOSE SKILLS. THEY WILL BE FINE.

2. When I read them, I did not see the books as being against Christianity and Jesus in particular. I saw them as being against hypocrisy and militant theocracies. And you know, there was alot I agreed with. There’s a part where a young man is sent out to kill an innocent child to prevent her from ‘sinning’. He has spent his whole life praying and being prayed over for advance forgiveness and trying not to commit any other sins so that the ‘big one’ of murder could be forgiven. He is psychotic and fanatical in his extremism. I agreed with the author that the thought process that justified such action or thought it would please ‘god’ (God is in quotes because this is a fictional story so I don’t think of it as really representing the one true God) is sick and wrong. I don’t recognize that type of action from MY faith, so thus I don’t think that MY faith is under attack and I agree with attacking a belief that justifies a murder of an innocent like that.

3. Which brings me to my next point: I don’t go around reading fiction stories and getting mad that they aren’t true. I don’t expect them to represent truth. Sure there might be truths contained within them, but they are not the Truth. I don’t read it as if every fictional church is supposed to be my church or every fictional god is supposed to be my God. The only thing I read and assume to be Truth is the Bible. Everything else, EVEN BOOKS WRITTEN BY CHRISTIANS AND EVEN SUCH MEN AS CS LEWIS is NOT COMPLETE TRUTH and must be TESTED and DISCRETION AND THOUGHT applied. I don’t hold FICTION to the standards of TRUTH because I know it’s not real and I don’t expect it to represent reality. It is an alternate universe for crying out loud. Do we all have little animals running around with us that represent our souls? No? Oh my Lord Pullman got it wrong then. Let’s burn him at the stake for suggesting that my soul could be a little ermine on my shoulder when clearly it’s not.

4. So you disagree with Pullman’s life philosophies, even beyond what is directly represented in the books…so you should completely boycott them to not support his beliefs? Ok, go research the theology of every musical artist you listen to, even and especially the ‘Christian’ ones. Research the writer, producer, and director of every tv show or movie you watch. Get where I’m going here? Good, you’re so smart guys. Another point tied in with this: So the book demonstrates some non-Christian ideals? Well how many other books and movies and music promote non-Christian ideals? How many chick-flicks or pop songs? So you’re not going to worry about all the subtle ones, but one that is open and honest about it’s philosophy? Seems subtlety is more dangerous.

5. It freaking pisses me off that so much time and energy has been wasted on this. If everyone could band together and mobilize as effectively for something else as they did to try to not support this movie, we could have fed the hungry, housed the homeless, helped widows and orphans, cured cancer or AIDS….why the hell can we band together for negative reasons, to bitch about a book and movie, but not for positive action? It’s sick.

6. Lastly, making a big deal and boycotting just raises awareness and publicity and makes more people want to see it because it’s so controversial. Duh.

I’m gonna go see it. And I’m going to enjoy it. And I’m not going to be converted to atheism by a freakin kid’s movie.

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December 10, 2007 Posted by | Books, Culture - Values, Movies | 2 Comments

Having A Bad Day?

Have you ever had one of those days?  Where you skipped breakfast, didn’t eat lunch till 2 and finally stopped for dinner at 10pm?  Where you ran from thing to thing, didn’t get anything done, had all sorts of interruptions, and then the water heater stops working, then your wife calls and tells you she was robbed at Costco.  Well, here is how you can praise God and rejoice even in the midst of your worst day.

I have been using this phrase lately, with myself and with others I have been interacting with:  “I have forgotten more good things that God has blessed me with than I deserve.”

I had dinner with some old friends a few weeks back and we reminisced about days gone by.  It brought back so many good memories that I had truly forgotten, abandoned to the deep crevices in my brain, banished by the onslaught of my pessimism and negative attitude.  For most humans, our default mindset is on the failures, shortcomings, disasters, hurts, regrets of our life.  It takes initiative and purpose to remember the good, the successes and the joys of life, all of us have forgotten a wealth of happiness and blessing.

Why do we have to think about smiling?
Why is it that if happiness is not directly connected to some current experience that we are having, we have to “choose” to be happy?

As Christians, we have substantive foundation for our positive outlook on life.  The Bible even commands us to be positive in the direst of circumstances.  Our foundation for positive thinking is the sovereignty and fatherhood of God.  He is in control and he loves his children.  Plain and simple.

So, here is how I found room to praise God on one of “those days.”

I was busy…I have a job, a family, a home (they demand my time).  That is a good thing.
I ate…I never go hungry, the only variable in my eating is my schedule.
I have a water heater to fix…or replace.  In Russia my parents showered with a pot of boiled hot water and a cup…like I did, once.

In the midst of the day there were also endless supply of joys…friends called my phone, friends helped with my project, a big check is on its way to my mailbox, the sunset that night was indescribable…very simply, counteract your default mindset with active thanksgiving and gratitude for all the good things during the day.  When you are overwhelmed by circumstance, actively look for something good, and praise God for it.  Make lists of memories that can serve you at low times.  In the OT they were big on memorial stones, memorial piles of stones (they called them altars).  Build yourself a memorial at the entrance to your home, to remind you every time you park your car that God has blessed you with a mansion, good relationships and …electricity.

Kelly’s wallet was stolen during “that” day…here is what Matthew Henry said when he was robbed:

“I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (James 1:2)

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Christian Living, Devotional, Personal | 5 Comments