March 31, 2012

Atheists Bash Believers in Washington Rally



Signs in the crowd showed contempt for religion
In a rally called “our coming out party,” an estimated 20,000 atheists, agnostics and humanists gathered in Washington D.C. in March 2012 for what they called a Reason Rally.

Organizer David Silverman said the affair would not be an exercise in “religion bashing”; however, when referring to those who believe in a Creator, featured speaker Richard Dawkins called on the crowd to “Ridicule them! Mock them!  And show contempt for their doctrines and sacraments.” 

Another speaker, author Greta Christina, attacked every major faith, even the teachings of the Dali Lama.

Here and there in the crowd were signs like the following, clearly showing contempt for religion:

BANISH THE 10 COMMANDMENTS TO THE DUSTPAN OF HISTORY
SO MANY CHRISTIANS SO FEW LIONS 
IMPEACH GOD

For those of us who are Christians, how should we respond to such attacks? Does Jesus really expect us to love those who would “mock and ridicule” us? The answer is neither a recommendation or a proposal. Clearly and unequivocally Jesus tells us to “Love one another as I have loved you,” and “Love your enemies and pray for those who would persecute you.”

If I weren’t a Christian, and I were asked to choose between those who are taught to love God and love one another and those who are encouraged to ridicule and mock them, I’m certain I would opt to gather with the disciples of love.

March 18, 2012

Simple Pleasures of Life

 When Lindsey and Jamie, two of our granddaughters, were in high school, they competed in volleyball and softball. Lindsey was a sophomore when one of her coaches shared  this inspirational message with her team:
"What’s exciting about life is that every morning offers a brand new day with unlimited possibilities.. Yesterday’s mistakes and regrets belong to yesterday. Today is a clean slate, a chance to start over, to do or become anything you want, a chance to go for it! So jump into life with both feet! Go forward, head held high, expecting the best . . . you may be surprised."
The coach’s message inspired Lindsey to prepare an essay on her philosophy of life in which she wrote:
"Another rule of mine is to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. This includes things like picking flowers, listening to the rain fall, building sand castles, looking for shapes in the clouds, star gazing, watching a child laugh, chasing butterflies and playing with a puppy."
The Gospels reveal that Jesus was aware of the simple things around him. In his parables, he speaks of rocky soil and good soil, thistles and mustard seeds, bread, wine, wheat and lost sheep. Jesus may not have stopped to smell the roses, but he obviously stopped to admire the lilies:
"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil or spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Recently, our son, Doug posted this quote from the famous golfer, Ben Hogan who would have approved of Lindsey’s essay:
"As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round."

March 5, 2012

From Out of Our Mouths

The idea that we need to eat good food to be fit and healthy has been around since 1826 when Frenchman Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” And the well known expression “you are what you eat” was probably coined in 1942 in a book by Dr. Victor Lindlahr, a health food pioneer who believed that the food we eat controls our health.

Today, if you do a search on Amazon.com, you will find 63,502 books on dieting and 41,644 books on Health, Fitness and Dieting. The fact is, there is ample advice on the subject of what we put into our mouths, but what guidance is available on what should or should not come out of our mouths?

Initially, our parents, teachers and church leaders teach us that lies, curses, insults, gossip and obscenities, etc. should not come out of our mouths.
And New Testament scripture suggests that obscene, silly and vulgar talk is entirely out of place (Ephesians 5:4).

A recent publication distributed at a Lenten worship service at the Bluff Point United Methodist Church offers advice on what should come out of our mouths.  In that printout, it is suggested that during Lent we give thanks and praise to those who have helped us and offer words of encouragement to those who need our support.

Here are some additional suggestions for words to be spoken from our hearts and “out of our mouths:” words of admiration, best wishes for success, appeals for forgiveness, prayers for healing and blessings and expressions of love, hope and appreciation.

Make it a habit, and what comes out of our mouths will eventually be as important as what goes in.