There’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday, and now large national retailers have decided to open on Thanksgiving. However, Maine is one of just 3 states that have state laws in place that say “no so fast” to this intrusion on the sanctity of post-turkey, supposedly family-strengthening activities such as afternoon napping and uninterrupted football watching.
As if the irony wasn’t already bad enough that we had to wait until the next day to forget everything we were thankful for, and immediately run out to worship at the altar of “spend now, worry about paying later”. Now in 47 states the turkey isn’t even cold before we can hit the stores and buy things we don’t even want for people we don’t really like.
However, I’m not anti-Black Friday…
On September 25th the ’40 days for Life’ prayer vigil kicked off in Bangor and will run until November 3rd. As a peaceful national campaign, ’40 Days for Life’ participants pray and fast near abortion clinics with the goal that visitors may see them and think twice about their decision, and ultimately choose life for their unborn baby. Perhaps more importantly, those praying simply believe God will use their prayers to change hearts and minds concerning this issue.
In Bangor, those wishing to participate gather at the entrance to Evergreen Woods at 700 Mt. Hope avenue (across from the Bangor Humane Society) anytime between 7AM and 7PM. Evergreen Woods is home to the Mabel Wadsworth Center where abortion procedures take place regularly.
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.
As Father’s Day approaches this year, it seems like a good time to reflect on my first full year of fatherhood.
Wow, what a ride! It may sound like a cliché, especially to you non-parents out there, but becoming a parent has been a life-changing experience like none other. My little guy, Max, just turned 1 at the end of last month and it already seems like he’s growing up so fast (I know- another cliché).
We have been blessed with a very well-behaved baby (from what we’re told). Aside from when Sarah had to wake him up in the night to feed him, he has almost always slept completely through the night. The first few months were the most worrisome for me, as I tend to worry a lot, and I always had to check him to make sure he was still breathing (by staring intently at his chest in a dimly lit room). However, I should have known better than to worry about such a God-given natural thing like breathing. Thankfully, as I got more used to having another life in the room with us (that’s where he spent the first few months), I gradually got more comfortable with his ability to inhale and exhale while sleeping.
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.
Recently I was perusing CNN.com when a certain article, linked only about half way down the front page, caught my eye. The article was a community-submitted blog post called “Why I Raise My Children Without God”, and as someone who blogs about Christian perspectives I could not resist reading this mother’s take on things. I must admit I immediately felt an inner grieving of the Holy Spirit for her and almost clicked away after the first paragraph. However, I forged ahead and read through the whole article wincing with every sentence.
After finishing the article I sat in utter disbelief of this mother’s utter disbelief, and pondered what to do next. Should I just put it out of my mind and let her charges against God go unanswered, joining the large chorus of atheism becoming ever more prevalent in our fallen society?
Then I read it again…
The year begins with big ideas and lofty goals. Then without notice hours turn to days, days to weeks, and weeks to months until suddenly we are back where we started- at January 1st again- with not much accomplished. Life seems so temporal- because it is.
So what can we do about the fact that life passes us by and we only seem to spin our wheels? The answer, though it doesn’t seem intuitive, is to slow down.
Unplug. Read. Reflect. Pray. Prioritize.
I join everyone in mourning over the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre. Words cannot make sense of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012. In people’s attempt to rationalize the actions of an obviously deranged 20 year old young man, many are already turning to the government for answers.
I try to put myself in the shoes of one of the parents dealing with the loss of their precious child. I almost immediately come to tears just imagining my 7 month old being ripped from this life into eternity so suddenly and cruelly. While my tears are nothing compared to the extreme sorrow, emptiness, and anger those parents and family members of the fallen must be experiencing, one thing is for certain- I would not be looking to my government or it’s leaders for answers. Nor would I be blaming them.
The Bangor Daily News recently ran a pretty extensive article on the often-cited approaching doomsday of December 21st, 2012 as set forth by the Mayan calendar. While most scoff at the possibility of there being any credibility to the Mayan prediction, there are conspiracy theorists and “doomsday preppers” that aren’t taking any chances- stocking up on everything from nonperishable food items to guns and ammo.
However, from the Christian perspective the reality of The End of our time here on earth coming before our natural death is nothing to be scoffed at. And even if it comes after we die, our short time alive must be spent in preparation.
Some form of a local church community is necessary for the Christian to continue to grow in their faith, and truly live out the life for which we are called during our short time here on earth. However, “local church” isn’t just meeting in a building every Sunday, nor does it have to be in a building at all. What is required, though, is fellowship with- and allowing ourselves to be accountable to- other Christians.
Despite the popularity of wanting to “go it alone” in our culture today, especially when it comes to our faith journey, this is not a viable option for the Christian who desires to live to their fullest potential.
I hear many self-professing Christians say, “I believe in God, but the whole church and organized religion thing just isn’t for me.” When pressed further on the topic, reasons typically fall somewhere on the spectrum of disagreeing with one or more topics they may have heard on any given Sunday, to very serious personal hurts caused by church leaders or fellow attendees. One thing is certain, there is no “perfect church”- once you think you’ve found one then chances are you’ve ended up in a cult. Furthermore, churches are just like the rest of the world in that they are made up of imperfect people.