20 December 2005

The culture destroys the sacred

So apparently, Walmart and many other major businesses are forbidding their employees to say "Merry Christmas" and other specific religious holiday greetings to patrons; instead, they have to say "Happy Holidays" to be politically correct and non-offensive. Well, to be honest, I am thrilled to hear that Walmart and many other businesses are not allowed to say "Merry Christmas". Basically, because I'm sick of our culture and its people enjoying the benefits of Christianity (such as holidays which give them time off work and getting gifts and crap from other people) without taking on the beliefs, morals, or disciplines of Christianity. That goes for non-Christians who totally reject Christian teachings and for Christians who don't live by those teachings.
Christmas has become a CULTURAL holiday instead of a CHRISTIAN holiday, and allowing businesses to support Christmas just furthers the fact that it is a CULTURAL holiday. These businesses are not specifically CHRISTIAN businesses. So, by them supporting Christmas specifically, we are allowing Christmas to become a general holiday of the culture instead of a specific holiday of a specific group of people within the culture. I would love to see the number of households with a Christmas tree in their home be closer to the number of households which attend church at all during the year; even more drastic, those households which attend church more than just Christmas and Easter. You don't see non-Jewish people celebrating Hanukkah. You don't see non-Muslim people fasting for Ramadan. So why are SO MANY non-Christian families celebrating Christmas? BECAUSE IT HAS BECOME A CULTURAL HOLIDAY!!! And the non-Christian businesses of America further this by supporting Christmas. Why should they suddenly mention Christ in their greeting for one month out of the year and then forget Him the other 11? I'd rather them not mention Christ at all nor support a holiday which SHOULD BE a holiday specifically for Christians, since the holiday is to celebrate an omnipotent God who held everything in the palm of His hand, yet traded it for the humility and powerlessness of flesh and blood. I'd rather have Christmas be specifically a Christian holiday and not well-supported by the culture than to have it the way it is now. There is no sacredness to Christmas the way it is now.

Here's my challenge: If you are not Christian, you do not follow the words of Jesus, and you do not fall upon the grace that He has offered to you by coming to this world in the flesh, then do not observe the day set aside each year to remember and rejoice in the incarnation of our Savior.

Maybe all of that is somewhat coherent. I'm not always the best at expressing my thoughts in a ordered way. Anyways, chew on that and spit back some comments.

10 December 2005

I can't sleep

I do not speak for ALL religion majors in the majority of this; however, I do speak for myself and many of the religion majors who take very seriously the implications of God's call.

Here's a shocker: I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS LIFE! I didn't ask for this calling. I didn't ask for God to call me to serve and love His church with my life. I didn't ask to be put in the spotlight. I didn't ask to be thrown on stage in front of all. I didn't ask for my life to be analyzed and scrutinized by all. I didn't ask for my life to be an open book. I didn't ask for me to have to be the example. I didn't ask to be under others' microscopes, so that when I do something good, no one notices or gives a crap, but, when I do one thing slightly offcolor, I'm dragged to the guilitine. I didn't ask to be the one who is expected to be perfect. How dare others expect me to be perfect. Am I not allowed to be a "work in progress?" Am I suddenly supposed to be spiritually & morally complete? Am I not allowed time to work through progressive sanctification, as the Holy Spirit deals with parts of my life that are not holy (or, set apart for God)? Would you be so bold to deny the Spirit His right to do that progressive work of grace in my life and, thereby, demand Him to do it all at once? Am I not allowed to struggle? Am I denied the right to have the very thing that gives me my humanity and separates me from divinity? Am I expected to live to the level of divinity? If so, then I would not need another's divinity for my own salvation because of salvation from my own divinity. And if that was so, there is no need for another divinity because we would be capable of reaching it on our own. Therefore, being able to achieve divinity on your own, you can stop griping because you would not need others under God's calling to point you toward another divinity.

Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, I am scared out of my mind because of the thought that God would trust scum like me with His bride, the Church? Have you ever taken the slightest time to consider from the other perspective and realize that I could easily, and have, made myself physically sick over the thought that the God of all TRUSTS ME with a small part of His Church? Do you realize that it is a daily struggle inside of me to understand those implications and consequences? Do you understand that I have asked God to take it back, because I don't trust myself? Or because I know the depth of my own humanity and how deep those scars run? Do you have a clue of the fear that I deal with on a daily basis because of God's call on my life? Do you think that I need someone else to point out the fact that I CAN'T LIVE UP TO IT? Please...I beg, throw more dirt on my grave. Please...point out all my faults and completely forget anything good I have ever done. No seriously, I don't remind myself enough EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE that I am a sick creature who stands no fighting chance of ever serving God faithfully. Oh PLEASE, remind me once more.

Religion majors are not worshipped on this campus. If ANYTHING, we are the FIRST to be looked down upon, gossiped about, scrutinized, etc. Everybody sets their expectations higher for us, and as soon as any of us barely don't meet it, we are labeled hypocritical scum. This goes for students and professors. You never thought that religion majors are the first to get gossiped about in Gen. Ed. classes. If we aren't academically above the rest of the Gen. Ed. class, we are suddenly failures at being "Christ-like examples."
Oh yeah, religion majors DON'T get any more financial breaks than any other student on this campus. And don't try the donor scholarship crap, because the school has no say as to whom that money goes to. Those are earmarked by the donors to specific criteria.

I don't need anyone else's help in putting me on the town scaffold. I tend to leave myself up there, calling down upon myself my own unworthiness and knowledge of my inability to do anything good.

04 December 2005

The Peak of Intensity

According to my english and literature classes (which are thankfully behind me now), there is always at least one point in a story when the intensity of the plot peaks. Movies are usually always the same way. It's the point when there are numerous loose ends, possibilities of the outcome, and so many things unresolved. It's the point when you are screaming at the book or the big screen and you can't help but desire to know what happens. The lack of resolution is KILLING YOU at this moment, at the peak of intensity. I find this part of my life to possibly be that part of the story, although it comes earlier in my life than it usually does in a book. This is the part of life when I am building a foundation which I will have to stand upon for the rest of my life. I am building my character and integrity, which will carry with me until I die. I am also making hard decisions that will affect everything, like what path of ministry I pursue and where I continue my education in grad school. I am also waiting for the chance to make hard decisions, like finding one person for whom I am willing to risk everything and willing to work with to make a lasting relationship. I find myself in the midst of this peak of the novel entitled My Life and it is KILLING ME not knowing how it is going to be resolved, not knowing what happens in the next chapter. Thanks be to God who grants me the chance to learn to trust, listen, and obey Him. He gives me the chance to become more dependent upon Him for life and where it will lead me. Being stuck in the waiting room at the doctor's office is always a horrible time, but it is always worth it when the Doctor knows the cure for my situation.

02 December 2005

Drawing near...light is filtering in

So Friday starts exam week. To usher in the arduous week, I begin with my Systematic Theology exam, for which I am currently not prepared. Oh well. That's the story of my life. Tonight was the Christmas banquet. I had a great time. Ashley did a great job of planning out the banquet. I know she put in a ton of time and stress to put it together. I had the privilege of being accompanied by the wonderful and ravishing Emily Dill. That was a great plus to the evening. Near the end of the banquet, I had the chance to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and do a quick devotional from it. It was quite a contrast from the humorous and light-hearted entertainment prior to it. I hope I didn't get too serious for the mood. I enjoyed being able to do that though.
We had revival services at Easley First Wesleyan this week, from Sunday through Wednesday. That was quite a stressful adventure. Playing everyday, Monday through Friday, having to practice right before service, making last minute PowerPoints, bypassing parts of the sound board to make the sound system work correctly...leading worship is no joke. It was a great time though. We had some great sermons (especially Benji's!) and had some great songs that we worshipped through.
I decided that most of my Christmas will consist of my parents helping me pay for a trip to Boston over spring break. I am going up there to check out Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and to check out the city (to see about the whole urban church plant vision that I had). I really want to pray deeply about it leading up to that trip, praying that God would use that trip to show me how He wants to use me, and if it needs to be there in Boston or somewhere else. So, if anyone wants to go to Boston for spring break, I'd be happy to have a travel companion(s). Just have to figure out how to pay for the trip.
Well, I'm out. My prayer goes up for everybody in the midst of exams and the closing semester. The light is drawing near and filtering into the darkness to show an end to this tunnel.