Category Archives: Christianity

‘Happy Holidays’ is not a threat to Christmas, but angry Christians are

merrychristmas-happyholidays

If I have to read one more article from some angry ‘Christian’ belly-aching that we must stand against people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’, I may just have to write a counter-article on the subject. So be it.

Here’s my open letter to all angry Christians out there –

Dear Angry Christian,

Seriously, do you have so little faith in the Sovereign God of this Universe that you think one 2-word phrase will topple the Christmas holiday if it’s used in place of some other 2-word phrase?

Hunger Games ‘catching fire’ from some, but redemption shines amid human depravity, cultural excess

hunger-games-catching-fire-splash

This past weekend my wife and I had a toddler-free evening out for my birthday, and we checked out ‘Catching Fire’, the latest installment in the Hunger Games movies. While some Christians may choose to pass on viewing this saga, I’m prepared to say that with the right perspective it should be required viewing for everyone that is a young adult or older.

Undoubtedly, viewing the Hunger Games movies is not for the faint of heart or young child. Furthermore, teens and adults alike must be mature enough to separate reality from the story portrayed, and parents should take an active role in explaining ‘who the real enemy is’ in parsing out the good from the evil.

Living vicariously through Pope Francis, Time Magazine Person of the Year

The Humble Pope?

Whether Pope Francis is kissing a disfigured man with boils, washing the feet of a young muslim woman, driving his own car while refusing to live in the papal apartment, or simply denouncing excessive consumerism in typical ‘counter culture’ fashion, he has been doing some noteworthy things since assuming the papacy earlier this year. Even from an evangelical perspective, there are a lot of positive aspects to be gleaned from the change in tone at The Vatican.

However, as cheerleaders of The Pope have seemingly come out of the woodwork this year, it has not been to share how Jesus is working in their lives or how their personal Christian walk is going. On the contrary, most often it has been to rave about all the great things Pope Francis is doing.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Puritans

thanksgiving-cornucopia

In my previous blog post I shared a sentiment that there’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday. And I stand by my conclusions for families that bond over shopping experiences, and are financially responsible in finding the best deals for which they can use to bless their loved ones with holiday gifts. However, for those of us who are grateful we don’t have to leave the comfort of our homes on Thanksgiving and bargain hunt until tomorrow, it’s the Puritans to which we should be thankful.

Maine is one of just 3 states that have preserved Thanksgiving Day from the onslaught of Black Friday consumerism. It’s no coincidence that the other 2 states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, are both also New England states. “Why”, you ask? Because the reason major retail and grocery stores remain closed on Thanksgiving is a remnant from the New England-based Puritan-inspired “Blue Laws”.

We are ‘The Walking Dead’

the-walking-dead-graphic

Zombies are all the rage right now in entertainment. I am not immune to the draw of the zombie-pocalypse storylines as I count myself a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead. But as I have been consumed by stories of human survival against impossible odds these past 3+ seasons now, there’s one thought I can’t get out of my head. Without God, we are “The Walking Dead” — allow me to explain.

Chuck Smith: visionary pastor changed American church, legacy felt in Maine

Chuck Smith, seen here hosting a recent radio show, was founder of the Calvary Chapel church movement in 1968, which spawned the "Jesus People" movement of the early 1970s in California. While his legacy is expositional (verse-by-verse) preaching through the Bible, his churches are credited with influencing the casual atmosphere and high-energy music of the modern American worship service found in a variety of contemporary evangelical churches today. He died October 3rd, 2013 after a battle with lung cancer.

I typically write about more general topics related to the Christian faith, and my personal faith journey. This time, though, I’d like to use this blog to discuss the passing of a man who changed the landscape of American church. And while he called California his home, his legacy is felt in Maine, and will continue to impact lives here for many years to come.

I sat down at my computer Thursday morning and was met with the news that Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel church movement in the mid-1960′s, had died. But Pastor Chuck Smith did not die, he moved. In 1994, those were his words…

Should Christian customer service discriminate?

wedding-cake-cross

As a Christian, when by God’s grace you have a successful business serving the public, I don’t know if it is wise to pick and choose who He places in your path to serve. Within reason, we are called to serve all people in love- especially those we may consider the “least of these”. Even those who we see as in opposition to us, we are told to “overcome them with good”.

I recently shared an article on my Facebook wall about Christian bakers in Oregon who “were forced to close their doors after not baking a cake for a lesbian couple.” This post created quite the debate on how a “true” Christian should respond.

Mumford and other Millennials: Don’t call me Christian. Why?

Marcus Mumford

I’m a tad late on the uptake of this one, but the following quote was uttered by Marcus Mumford- the 26-year-old lead singer of Mumford & Sons- in the April edition of Rolling Stone:

“I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage. So, no, I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I think the word just conjures up all these religious images that I don’t really like. I have my personal views about the person of Jesus and who he was. … I’ve kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity.”

As a blogger who attempts to write about how Christianity can and should relate to culture, his final phrase caught my eye. Is it Jesus [and His claims] that Marcus has a problem with, or is his issue with what he perceives as the “culture of Christianity”?

Raised from the Dead! Christianity’s unique truth

Jesus' empty tomb.

Easter, the common name for the holiday marking Jesus Christ’s return from the dead, represents Christianity’s trump card- the unique claim to eternal life. All other world religions have had human founders that lived, then died. Their lives may have had meaning but ultimately their death meant nothing. In Christianity, Jesus Christ’s death meant EVERYTHING. It meant everything because by first-person historical accounts it was a death that lasted only a few days.

No other world religion has first-person historical accounts of their leader coming back to life. Why? For one simple reason- they all died and stayed dead and their bodies remain in the ground today. Jesus, on the other hand, left the tomb in which he was buried- and continues to live eternally today. This historical occurrence is what Easter Sunday, otherwise known as Resurrection Sunday, commemorates- not bunnies, baskets, or egg hunts.

Thoughts on The New Pope and Unity in Christ

pope-francis-crowd

I am a born-again Christian who attends a non-denominational Protestant church. At first thought you might think the election of a new Pope should not matter to me, or that I might even scoff at Catholic claims of papal authority and the whole black smoke/white smoke conclave theatrics. However, a major characteristic (and dare I say “admirable quality”) Catholics have in their ranks is organizational unity (for the most part) of their 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. In contrast, under the Protestant umbrella which approximately 840 million subscribe to some flavor or another, there are more denominations than you can shake a stick at.

At the top of this organizational unity within Roman Catholicism is of course the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. Since Pope Benedict announced his historic resignation, I have immersed myself in researching Catholic beliefs and theology out of mere curiosity and intrigue. As an adult convert to Christianity, everything is still relatively new to me so I just try to soak it all in with an open mind.