Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reverse Thinking

not KJV

When Americans banned Christmas

When Americans banned Christmas

The first 'War on Christmas' was declared almost 400 years ago, courtesy of our Puritan forefathers  

The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were strict Puritans who didn't celebrate Christmas: They spent their first Dec. 25th in Plymouth Colony working in the fields as they would on any other day.
The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were strict Puritans who didn't celebrate Christmas: They spent their first Dec. 25th in Plymouth Colony working in the fields as they would on any other day. 
How did the first settlers celebrate Christmas? 
They didn't. The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were strict Puritans, with firm views on religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Scripture did not name any holiday except the Sabbath, they argued, and the very concept of "holy days" implied that some days were not holy. "They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday," was a common Puritan maxim. Puritans were particularly contemptuous of Christmas, nicknaming it "Foolstide" and banning their flock from any celebration of it throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. On the first Dec. 25 the settlers spent in Plymouth Colony, they worked in the fields as they would on any other day. The next year, a group of non-Puritan workmen caught celebrating Christmas with a game of "stoole-ball" — an early precursor of baseball — were punished by Gov. William Bradford. "My conscience cannot let you play while everybody else is out working," he told them. 
Why didn't Puritans like Christmas? 
They had several reasons, including the fact that it did not originate as a Christian holiday. The upper classes in ancient Rome celebrated Dec. 25 as the birthday of the sun god Mithra. The date fell right in the middle of Saturnalia, a monthlong holiday dedicated to food, drink, and revelry, and Pope Julius I is said to have chosen that day to celebrate Christ's birth as a way of co-opting the pagan rituals. Beyond that, the Puritans considered it historically inaccurate to place the Messiah's arrival on Dec. 25. They thought Jesus had been born sometime in September.
So their objections were theological? Not exclusively. The main reason Puritans didn't like Christmas was that it was a raucously popular holiday in late medieval England. Each year, rich landowners would throw open their doors to the poor and give them food and drink as an act of charity. The poorest man in the parish was named the "Lord of Misrule," and the rich would wait upon him at feasts that often descended into bawdy drunkenness. Such decadence never impressed religious purists. "Men dishonor Christ more in the 12 days of Christmas," wrote the 16th-century clergyman Hugh Latimer, "than in all the 12 months besides." 
When did that view win out? Puritans in the English Parliament eliminated Christmas as a national holiday in 1645, amid widespread anti-Christmas sentiment. Settlers in New England went even further, outlawing Christmas celebrations entirely in 1659. Anyone caught shirking their work duties or feasting was forced to pay a significant penalty of five shillings. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but in New England it remained banned until the 1680s, when the Crown managed to exert greater control over its subjects in Massachusetts. In 1686, the royal governor of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, sponsored a Christmas Day service at the Boston Town House. Fearing a violent backlash from Puritan settlers, Andros was flanked by redcoats as he prayed and sang Christmas hymns. 
Did the Puritans finally relent? Not at all. They kept up their boycott of Christmas in Massa­chusetts for decades. Cotton Mather, New England's most influential religious leader, told his flock in 1712 that "the feast of Christ's nativity is spent in reveling, dicing, carding, masking, and in all licentious mad mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude reveling!" European settlers in other American colonies continued to celebrate it, however, as both a pious holiday and a time for revelry. In his Poor Richard's Almanac of 1739, Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin wrote of Christmas: "O blessed Season! Lov'd by Saints and Sinners / For long Devotions, or for longer Dinners." 
So Christmas was finally accepted at that time? No. Anti-Christmas sentiment flared up again around the time of the American Revolution. Colonial New Englanders began to associate Christmas with royal officialdom, and refused to mark it as a holiday. Even after the U.S. Constitution came into effect, the Senate assembled on Christmas Day in 1797, as did the House in 1802. It was only in the following decades that disdain for the holiday slowly ebbed away. Clement Clarke Moore's poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" — aka "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" — was published in New York in 1823 to enormous success. In 1836, Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a public holiday, and other states soon followed suit. But New England remained defiantly Scrooge-like; as late as 1850, schools and markets remained open on Christmas Day. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow finally noted a "transition state about Christmas" in New England in 1856. "The old Puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so," he wrote. Christmas Day was formally declared a federal holiday by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

From the Black-eye Pea Capital of the World

As many as 5,000 attended a rally in a small Texas community to show their support for a Nativity scene under attack by a Wisconsin-based atheist group, according to a minister who organized the event.
“We are humbled at the turnout of the crowd,” said Nathan Lorick, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Malakoff and one of the organizers of Saturday’s rally in Athens.
“We believe that God led us to do this and so we knew he was up to something great,” he told Fox News & Commentary in an email message. “This message is resonating in the hearts of people all over the country. This was a real statement to the nation that Christians are tired of the persecution and suppression. We want all to know that we are ready to contend for the faith.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We're # 1 again - B-(

Prince George, British Columbia
Seven murders gave the city top spot in 2010, well above the national rate. Prince George, B.C., consistently has a high homicide rate: in 2009, its rate was 121 per cent above the national rate, exactly where it was in 2000.
Worst cities (% higher than national average)
1. Prince George, B.C. (486%)
2. Wood Buffalo, Alta (202%)
3. Saskatoon (168%)
4. Thunder Bay, Ont. (163%)
5. Regina (148%)
Best cities* (% lower than national average)
1. Joliette, Que. (100%)
2. Sarnia, Ont. (100%)
3. Windsor, Ont. (100%)
4. Red Deer, Alta. (100%)
5. Richmond, B.C. (100%)
*38 cities reported zero murders in 2010

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Commission Was Given To The Church

By O. W. Taylor
The nature and the performance of the duties set forth in the Commission require the idea that the Commission was given to the church.

If given to the apostles only, the Commission ended when they died.  But the duties enjoined were to continue "until the end of the age."  This called for an organized body to carry on through the centuries after the apostles and after other workers died.

There was a church before the Commission was given.  "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom" (Jn. 3:29).  "The bridegroom" was Christ.  "The friend of the bridegroom" was John the Baptist.  What was "the bride," if not the church in its initiatory stage?  Was "the bride" non-existent when "the friend of the bridegroom" said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom," referring to the time then present?  Evidently the bride was existent. This same body was later called "the church which was at Jerusalem."

Jesus gave "commandments unto the apostles when he had chosen" (Acts 1:2).  One of these was the Commission.  The apostles were "set ... in the church" (1 Cor. 12:28).  The apostles corporately considered were the initial church.   To it the Commission was given.

The duties in the Commission could be performed "unto the end of the age" only by an organized body carrying on when individual workers died.  Only such a body could furnish the necessary workers and support for the program.  Left to people unorganized, the work would not and could not be done.  The body which meets the specifications is the church.

"Make disciples" carries, of course, an individual responsibility.  But to "make disciples of all nations," and that "unto the end of the age," requires the idea of an organized body, the church, sponsoring the program.

"Baptizing them" is enjoined.  If this was entrusted simply to individuals, then no church as an agency in relation to it is in view in the Commission and no baptism into a church is indicated.  But this conflicts with 1 Corinthians 12:13, which teaches that the New Testament idea is baptism into a church.  It is logically unthinkable, therefore, that Jesus commissioned men to baptize independently of the church.  And the duty of making and baptizing disciples among "all nations" to "the end of the age" requires the concept of church sponsorship of the program which brings the duty into exercise.

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."  Admittedly, one of the things included here is the Lord's Supper.  With men reasonably instructed in the Word of God, the proposition calls for no argument that no individual has the right and authority to administer the Lord's Supper "on his own." Then neither does he have the right and authority to baptize "on his own."  These duties and the other things in the Commission were entrusted to the church as the organized and authorized body to carry on the program through the centuries.

Only the church is the sponsoring body logically its into the concept of the Commission considered as a whole.
(O.W. Taylor {1885-1958} was a Southern Baptist pastor, editor, author, and denominational leader.   He served as editor of the "Baptist and Reflector", the weekly Southern Baptist newspaper in Tennessee, from 1933 until his retirement in 1950.  In the above article, Taylor explains why Baptists believe the Great Commission was given to the local church.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Effective or Ineffective ~ What kind of person are you?

Hidden habits of ineffective people
by  Chris Wake

No one sets out to be ineffective, but it's easy to pick up the habits. Too easy.

Consuming more than you create -
Effective people tend to create a lot of content. Content can mean a lot of things - but the rule is always the same, create more than you consume.
Ineffective people, on the other hand, spend the majority of their time consuming the fruits of others' labor. They are consummate lurkers.

Watching your own vanity metrics - 
Everyone suffers from some level of vanity. A need to be liked. The Internet feeds that need, keeping popularity at the forefront of any online identity with lists of 'Friends,' 'Followers,' 'Connections,' 'Re-Pins' and even the 'Like' itself.  
Ineffective people tend to feed on these popularity metrics, whereas effective people recognize that these are shallow indicators.  
Effective people focus more on engagement and strength of relationships; they create quality content to solicit engagement from others, or seek out interesting people and proactively engage them on their own terms.

Starting the day responding to others -
Ineffective people allow others to set the agenda for their day. They start their morning reading or responding to others' requests. 
Effective people approach each day with an agenda for what they want to accomplish, start their day tackling a task crucial for accomplishing their goal, and respond to others when (or if) it works with their agenda.

Prioritizing the wrong activities - 
Busy work. It's quite literally work that keeps you busy; it saps your time, but gets you no closer to your end goal.  
Ineffective people tend not to recognize busy work, and therefore, they prioritize tasks that will not move them any closer to their goals.  
Effective people recognize busy work for what it is and waste little to no time trying to appear busy when they know there are more important tasks to be completed.

Relying on multi-tasking to "save time" -
Multi-tasking is a scam. Being able to walk and chew gum at the same time may be the only true form of multi-tasking worth doing.  
Ineffective people use multi-tasking to appear busy, or to fool themselves into believing they can reach their goal faster by making minor progress on a lot of things at once.  
Effective people have a secret weapon to saving time. Focus. Effective people know which tasks are important for reaching their goal, and they focus on each one after another.

This article was a great reminder to myself, how about you?