Busting Christmas Myths!

December 27, 2009

2nd quarter of 17th century
Image via Wikipedia

Happy Jesus birthday everyone!

This is the time of year when millions upon millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of the world’s most famous Jewish Rabbi!

So I would like to mark the occasion with a little Christmas myth busting.

Chances are Jesus really wasn’t born in December.  Shepherds only watch their flocks at night when their lambs are about to give birth and are the most vulnerable to predators.  That doesn’t happen in late December.

And as for “No room at the Inn” we got that wrong too.  The Greek word for “Inn” can also refer to guest quarters in someone’s dwelling.  Eastern protocol demands census or no census all family travelers must be accommodated.

If the guest area is fully occupied people lodged their new guests with the animals.  That’s how Joesph and Mary wound up at the manger.  No 1st Century “Best Western“was involved.

Meanwhile the Three Wise Men weren’t even with the Shepherds .  The text says they came to the house where Joesph and Mary were not the manger.

Their journey took allot longer than 12 days.  It may have taken as much as two years based on paranoid Herod’s reaction to their arrival in Jerusalem.

Then again Herod had allot to be nervous about.  The wise men or more accurately “Magi” held a high place of power in that day and age.  These royal advisers from the East were often the one’s who decided who the next king was going to be in Persia.

Just because they had three types of gifts doesn’t mean there were only three of them.  They were quite a site to behold when they arrived with an entourage in Jerusalem with their own army.  Carrying gold is dangerous in the 21st Century let alone bringing it through the frontier east of Roman territory.

The last last thing a ruthless corrupt monarch like Herod, who got his position by hook and by crook, needed to have was an army of Magi show up from rival Persia asking about who the next “King of the Jews” was going to be.  When the Magi didn’t return he thought they were plotting a coup against him.

Based upon the time they said the star first appeared Herod had all toddlers killed as well as infants.  He wasn’t taking any chances.  Rome would have demanded swift action.

The biggest myth of all though has to be Christmas itself.  No where in the Bible does it say we have to celebrate Christmas.  Or for that matter Good Friday and Easter too.

If anything we’re discouraged from making special days at all.  That was one of the apostle Paul’s pet peeves.  People making new believers follow Old Testament customs.

He believed for the Christian every day was special.  When someone is really living for  God every day can be Christmas, Good Friday and Easter all rolled into one.

At my house the big thing is going to church and singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.  That’s always special.

Of course the kids can’t wait until the service is over to go home and OPEN PRESENTS!!!

But just how someone celebrates  Christmas is really up to them whether they want to do anything at all.  As long as the Savior’s Spirit has already been birthed in their heart that’s all that really matters.

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The Real Curse in Africa

November 12, 2009

Night Commuters of Kitgum
Image by John & Mel Kots via Flickr

Sometimes on this blog I will whine about how my city of Schenectady is cursed to be like a third world country. I now admit that was quite an exaggeration. In fact it just goes to show how clueless we Americans can be about the rest of the world.

Take for example what’s going on in East Central Africa.  While we debate whether or not we have a domestic terrorist situation in our military, (Which IS A BIG DEAL BTW) this part of the world has already been completely overrun by anarchy and terror.

Paramilitary groups rule the countryside.

They totally disregard real international boundaries.  These armies inflict unimaginable cruelty  upon whomever they wish recruiting and preying upon children to use as soldiers and slaves.  This is the state of affairs in and around the region of Uganda and Somalia.

There’s nothing we can do about this from a military standpoint.  Perhaps it’s better that way.  We’re good at blowing things up but not so good at nation building.

Here is a link that explains it all.  From the Caanan Children’s home near Jinja Uganda.

Sixty years after Allied soldiers liberated the Nazi death camps, the world stands silent in the face of another holocaust—one so horrifying that U.N. officials call it “one of the worst human-rights crises of the past century.

The perpetrators commit atrocities with such malevolence that even the most irreligious people familiar with their acts describe them as “unrestrained evil.” The targets of the butchery are children. They rape, mutilate, and kill them with a rapaciousness that staggers the imagination. Worse, they compel children to kill one another and their own families, fighting as “soldiers” in an armed force deliberately composed of children.

Perhaps the greatest atrocity is teaching these children that they spread this carnage by the power of the Holy Spirit to purify the “unrepentant,” twisting Christianity into a religion of horror to their victims. It is spiritual warfare at its very worst, and it could not be more satanic.

Religion of Evil

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is one of the larger terrorist organizations in the world. It has killed more people than many other violent groups, yet few Westerners have ever heard of it, since nearly all its violence is perpetrated in the border region between Uganda and Sudan in East Africa.

On a continent plagued with endless guerilla warfare, where war crimes are standard fighting fare, the LRA stands apart as an especially odious group. LRA crimes against humanity are so repulsive that its only former ally, the Islamic government of Sudan, jettisoned its relationship with the LRA to improve Sudan’s international relations. (Credible sources in Uganda insist Sudan still supplies weapons to the LRA, however.)

What began in 1986 as a rebellion against the Ugandan government has metamorphosed into a military millenarian cult. Its reason for existence is to perpetuate the power of its leader, a ruthless witchcraft practitioner named Joseph Kony.

He claims to be fighting Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni‘s government on behalf of the ethnic Acholi people, who populate the nation’s three northernmost districts of Kitgum, Gulu, and Pader. The Acholi have a longstanding grievance with the more prosperous southern Ugandans, much of it rooted in 19th-century British colonial policies that favored southerners in education and business, while relegating the Acholi to army service. However, the LRA attacks the Acholi, the very people they claim to defend, far more often than the Ugandan military.

Kony, 41, envisions an Acholiland ruled by a warped interpretation of the Ten Commandments. He uses passages from the Pentateuch to justify mutilation and murder. He promotes a demonic spirituality crafted from an eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, and African witchcraft.

Any resemblance to these religions is superficial: While the army observes rituals such as praying the rosary and bowing toward Mecca, there is no prescribed theology in the conventional sense. Kony’s beliefs are a haphazard mix from the Bible and the Qur’an, tailored around his wishful thinking, personal desires, and practical needs of the moment. Jesus is the Son of God. But instead of saving the world from sin through his sacrificial love on the Cross, he is a source of power employed for killing those who oppose Kony. The Holy Spirit is not the Divine Comforter, but one who directs Kony’s tactical military decisions.

Despite dabbling in the Bible and the Qur’an, Kony’s real spiritual obsession is witchcraft. He burns toy military vehicles and figurines to predict the course of battles from their burn patterns. He uses reptiles in magic rituals to sicken those who anger him or to detect traitors in his midst. He claims to receive military direction from spirits of dead men from different countries, including Americans. He teaches that an impending apocalypse will usher in “The Silent World,” where only primitive weapons, such as machetes and clubs, will bring victory.

Brutality, Terror

Sadly, reports of LRA savagery are not isolated incidents. The children I interviewed in Uganda and southern Sudan who escaped LRA captivity, along with thousands of documented cases, demonstrate that these monstrosities are standard operating procedure. Nearly 90 percent of LRA fighters are enslaved children, kidnapped from their families.

If there’s any real hope for this part of the world it’s from those who know where real power comes from.  What governments can’t change missionaries and churches can change one soul at a time.

Other groups besides the CCH are

Far Reaching Ministries

World Vision

and Save the Children

and as far as Schenectady goes, perhaps someday a missionary from a real third world country will come and straighten us out too!

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BAD BRIDGE ALERT

October 26, 2009

Bear Mountain Bridge from the top of Bear Moun...
Image via Wikipedia

UH-OH!  New York State could really use some stimulus money for some needful projects.  That is if there’s any money left over from all the pork barrel projects they’ve spent money on.

Now we have a real need.

BRIDGE REPAIR!!!

From Capital News Nine in Albany.

Some people have a phobia about crossing long bridges.

Looks like they’re going to need more than therapy for these!

 

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Yellow Dog For Senate

September 25, 2009

ALBANY, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23:  U.S. Rep. Kirs...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It didn’t take long for the opposition to fall apart. People are already getting super nit picky about who they want to run against Obama in 2012. Granted, part of it is just the natural vetting process, but I’m already seeing signs that people might just sit out 2012 like they did in 2008.

No! No! No!

To make matters worse, there’s Glenn Beck and Company getting ready to form their own alternative party.  They claim  Republicans are just as bad as the democrats.

No! No! No!

We’ve been down this road before.  Remember, those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.

In 1992 Ross Perot’s strong third party showing stole votes from President George Bush Sr. That gave us eight years of Bill Clinton, the man who let OBL slip through his hands because he was too distracted by scandals in his personal life.

We need to resolve here and now to stand behind whoever the GOP nominee is.  The stakes are way too high this time to look for the perfect candidate.

That goes double for next year’s mid term election.  As much as we dislike people we refer to as “RINO‘s”, this time they might have just enough Republican left in them to turn the tide.  And that’s what we so desperately need right now.

Yes I know how people here in New York, are grumbling about names like George Pataki and Rudy as being has beens.  I agree.

It would be nice to see some new faces too.  But going against what we’ve got now,

Ms. “I love ACORN,” Kirsten Gillibrand,

I’ll gladly vote for a yellow dog over her ,

any day!

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