This story passed through my social media feed the other day and I couldn’t resist giving it a virtual ‘shout out’.
Discount Mattress and Furniture in the Airport Mall in Bangor currently has their windows decorated with a nativity, and the words ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season.’ Nothing wrong with that, right? Jesus is the reason for this season after all.
All too often sharing our faith as Christians — if we even do it all — becomes a script that we recite. We do our best to remember to list all the features of what Jesus did on The Cross, before attempting to close the deal of eternal life for just one easy payment of ‘accept Jesus into your heart’.
We reduce evangelism to a ‘Gospel infomercial’.
Biblical justice seeks righteousness, often times at the expense of what we determine is fair in a democratic society governed by man. Only through God’s mercy are we justified and made righteous before Him.
Contrarily, democratic justice seeks fairness, often times at the expense of the Biblical righteousness God commands of us. Only through man-made laws are we able to live ‘justly’ with one another.
By Chris Quimby (Guest Contributor)
My conclusion from observing social networking posts from professing Christians (including myself), sharing the company of other believers, and reading online blogs from those that desire to represent the faith, is that there is a ton of negativity, dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
Much of the discussion is focused upon what God is against, what we are against (at least in our public proclamations), and how unChristian non-Christians are (as if we should expect otherwise).
In fact, if I’m being honest, this post is also a critique, but one hopefully with redeeming value.
No family should ever have to watch their child die, let alone in barely 3 months from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Ben Sauer celebrated his 5th birthday with his twin brother just 8 days before he passed away. One can’t help but think about how different it must have been for the family just one year prior, on the 4th birthday, when not a hint of sickness was in little Ben. Or even just a few months prior, in the family Christmas photo, when the cancer still had not yet reared it’s ugly head.
Furthermore, no one should have to go through such a tragedy alone. In years past it would typically be close relatives, and maybe the local community, that would rally and help shoulder the grief and heart ache. But in today’s blogging and social media era, thousands have followed the heart-wrenching story of little Ben Sauer while his mom, Mindy, has blogged every grief-stricken detail, while at the same time maintaining an eternal focus filled with life-giving hope.
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?
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.
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.
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”.