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Archive for December, 2012

A Christmas Message

Some of you will receive this message twice, because I am posting it on both of my blogs. Last year at this time I posted a link to a video, and I am repeating that again. It may become a tradition.

The two blogs I have perhaps reveal something of my dual personality, which I suspect some of you have difficulty figuring out. On the one hand, I have a strong analytical, even intellectual side, and that is seen in my blog that deals with the history of the Bible. At the same time, I feel a need to develop and share faith and inspiration in a world that needs it so desperately. That led to my trying to keep up with a second blog. Today’s message is somewhat different, and I wanted to share it more widely.

We need to engage God with our minds, because only if we understand what is true, can our faith be genuine. At the same time, intellectual facts can never satisfy our soul’s hunger for more. After we have sifted all the facts, separated myth from history, and understood all that science and study can teach us, there must be a place for the supernatural, that which cannot be explained, but which our faith tells us is real.

Last night at our church’s candlelight service, we sang so many of the traditional Christmas carols that I grew up with. As difficult as it was for me to do, I let my intellectual side go, and almost immediately I felt the reality of the supernatural. I felt the presence of a transcendent God who was as real as the chair in which I was sitting.

At some point, we must put aside the books that keep us at arm’s length from the supernatural presence of God. I am convinced that is the heart of the Christmas message. God becomes a part of struggling humanity, so that He can then draw us into His divine nature. That is the real meaning of the Christmas story. Other things are important, but occasionally we all need to step back, acknowledge that reality, and let God into our everyday lives.

I let Linus say it last year, and I am allowing him to do it again this year. I wish you a merry Christmas, a holy Christmas, and a transcendent Christmas. May God bless each one who reads this.

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If you believe all the hype, supposedly the Maya prophesied that the world will end tomorrow. I am not especially concerned about that, but it does pose an interesting possibility. If you did know the world would end tomorrow, what would you do? Would you party all night? Would you gather with family? Think about it for a moment. Maybe there is someone you would want to call, perhaps to ask forgiveness or in some way try to restore a relationship. While tomorrow may not be the end of the world, if each of us took that action, tomorrow could be the beginning of a better world for each of us. What are you waiting for?

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Earlier I tried to write a post about the tragedy at Newtown, but even as I wrote it, I recognized how flat it was. I read a number of posts various people have put forth. None of them resonated with me. I determined that I needed to be quiet for a few days. To think; to listen; to pray. We shall never know what complex influences, inner demons, or mental issues combined to drive Adam Lanza to commit these horrible acts. If he had lived, he might have been able to provide an explanation that made sense to him, but I doubt anything he could have said would have satisfied the rest of us.

Out of all the complex emotions I have experienced, one thought keeps coming back to me. In various forms I have said it before, and it is what I would leave you with. We have become a nation in which hate is not only acceptable; often it is considered a virtue. We feel that if our cause is right, we are allowed to hate those who oppose it. Republicans, democrats, gay rights advocates, evangelical Christians, on and on goes the list of people we feel it is okay to hate.

I am a Christian, which means I am commanded by God to love even my enemies. That is not a command to have warm fuzzy feelings about people whose beliefs or practices are repugnant to me. It is a command to love them in the Greek “agape” sense. This means that I wish and will work for the best for every human being I encounter. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!

While unconditional love is simple to understand, it can be terribly difficult to practice. Yet we dare not become satisfied with anything less.

We must stop hating other people. It is that simple, and it is that hard.

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