Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas

We suppose the image above makes as good a segue as any to talking about the ongoing controversies popping up around the country over religion's place in holiday celebrations.  The Dallas Morning News reports that voters in Mustang, Oklahoma turned down a bond issue for the local school district in large part because the district superintendant removed a creche from school holiday play. FF would have voted the other way, but we have to admit this is how the democratic process is supposed to work.


The WaPo has a decent report here.  It's a good start, explaining that the fuel for these fires might be either conservative activism or liberal overreaction.  That's true, but there's another possibility that so far has been overlooked:  the US, of course, is an increasingly diverse society.  That diversity is beginning to pop up in places where its presence has not been felt before.  

Look, for example, at this story about gays and lesbians in Oklahoma--same state as the controversy above--many of whom are not giving up on the Sooner State after the "moral values" elections.


So keep track of where these stories come from:  we're pretty confident that you'll find that many of them originate in surburban or exurban areas.  Meaning, of course, places that are changing.


Jesus' General is tracking one such story from Polk County, Florida.  The general provides a choice quote from a county commisioner, explaining why he doesn't think Muslim symbols are important in holiday displays:

I don't think I should have to tolerate on my government-funded and financed buildings symbols of people who hate, when I read their doctrine and it says to kill the infidel and they're talking about Christians. I don't think I should have to put those up, nor do I think my children or families should have to do that. I accept Christianity, and I am tolerant of others, but I don't have to promote with government dollars and government buildings other religions. I've got to tell you after 9-11, I'm not tolerant of a lot of things...When people blow up our buildings, I ain't putting those symbols up on there.


He also assures us that real Christians are not shirking their duties:


We have to admit being a bit jealous of General J.C.'s sources.  How does he get the inside scoop on such brave actions, and we're just stuck with Christian Peacemakers?

5 Comments:
At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LUKE 6:24 - “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort."

Blessings and Woes

17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon,
18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil[a] spirits were cured,
19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For
that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

Love for Enemies

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39 He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.
45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.
48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Footnotes:

1. Luke 6:18 Greek unclean

 
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