Monday, December 5, 2016

YOU MEAN WE CRUCIFIED THE PAGANS?

Haven’t had one of these in years. As always, so many Christians are going to swallow this devotional hook, line and sinker. What’s said in commentary here is in hopes of at least reaching some of those people, though I know most would rather cling to what they’re comfortable with than actually think about anything. For those unfamiliar, paragraphs featuring my comments will be headed by my initials.

Who Started Christmas?

"On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us."
2 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)

A friend told me about a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After hours of scanning the shelves of toys, and everything else imaginable, and after hearing her children begging for all the things they wanted, she finally made it to the elevator. The doors opened and typically, the elevator was packed with people. But she managed to squeeze in with her bags and children. When the doors closed she let out an exhausted sigh and said, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot!" From the back of the elevator a voice responded, "Don't worry, we already crucified him!"

AH: First of all, you know this story never happened.

AH: Notice how the woman is made out to be the bad guy, just because she’s exasperated with all the stress and busyness this time of the year brings.

AH: “It’s too late. We already crucified Him.” Don’t you just love zeal without wisdom?

AH: Jesus, in fact, did not start Christmas. Christmas has its roots in the Roman Satturnalia celebration, a commemoration of the Winter Solstice still observed by pagans today.

In the busyness of the season it's easy to forget who started Christmas. Cards have to be written and mailed out, special treats cooked (and tasted!), parties attended, shopping bags filled, the tree trimmed, lights hung, relatives phoned, the dog groomed, the snow shoveled, the house cleaned, and more. It's tiring just thinking about it!

AH: Again, Jesus didn’t start Christmas and didn’t command us to do all the things we do to celebrate his supposed birthday these days. In fact, Jeremiah specifically speaks against the Christmas tree.

AH: Did you ever think about whose idea it was to add all these traditions to our Saviour’s un-Biblical birth in the first place? Look it up.

AH: In addition, I bet a lot of people, like the fictitious woman on the elevator, have had enough of all the things in this list as well. Look around you; really observe people. Let’s face it, when your working three jobs just to make ends meet and you have to be on the Equal Billing Plan for your heat and a discount for your hydro just so you can keep the bills paid, your Christmas card list, baking, parties, and all the usual celebratory activities are going to seem a lot more trivial and maybe even less necissary.

Which is why we need to keep a clear focus: Christmas isn't about us; it's about Him. It's about the Word who became flesh. It's about the One who left a spotless castle for a dirty stable. It's about the One who exchanged the worship of angels for the company of liars, thieves and killers. It's about the One who swapped the splendor of heaven for the straw of a barn. It's about the One who can hold the universe in the palm of His hand but gave that up to float in the womb of a teenage girl. And it's about the sinless One who came to die for sinners like you and me.

AH: Actually , Christmas is about the Catholic church compromising with the pagan Romans to make the day of the sun the day of the Son and putting a Christian spin on a bunch of pagan rituals so that all the pagans who, by imperial decree, were now Christians wouldn’t get in an uproar.

AH: I thought Easter was about all those above-mentioned things. Actually, since Easter is itself another pagan holiday compromised into Christian tradition, we might want to question our celebration of that, too.

So let's not forget who started Christmas or why He started it. Remember Him when you're lighting a candle, wrapping a gift, or carving the turkey. Think about Him in the Mall when you hear Santa's, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" And keep Him in mind when you're singing, "Chestnuts roasting On an Open Fire."

AH: Yes, let’s not forget who actually started Christmas, Easter and a whole bunch of so-called Christian traditions that not only aren’t Biblical but actually take our focus off of Jesus, just as all the trappings of the holiday season tend to do.

At the end of the day Advent is about putting Jesus first. After all, He put us first. He started it all when He humbled Himself and became a man - a man who lived and died as the once-for-all sacrifice for our sin. Praise the Lord! The salvation of our lives was more important than the saving of His life. He gave up His glory so we could go to glory. That's the rub. Christ started Christmas because our souls were His highest concern . . .

(Dr. Lawson Murray Director – Scripture Gift Mission Canada)

Folded Corner: December 2016
To All –Family, Friends and Colleagues - 
- We wish you a Joyous Christmas and Blessed New Year serving the King of Kings.  With hearts full of gratitude for His unmerited love, saving grace and keeping power-
Jim and Cathy Clemens
AH: If you really want to put Jesus first, why not look in the Bible and see how Jesus wants to be worshipped, rather than going with religious tradition because that’s what you were taught and you like it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

RADIO-RELATED STUFF

Picked up CFNV Montreal Friday night with French music.

Picked up Easy Rock Niagara tonight with female anncr.

Don't worry, CBC management. Just because a newscaster is going to be doing a cast that's heard in a significant portion of the province, there's no need for him to be able to pronounce simple words or place names.

Have tuned into the Grand Ole Oprae a couple times since the Saturday before Halloween. It's funny. I've been interested in radio most of my life but never heard the longest running program in radio history till this year.

Eric Metaxas has sure sucked this past week. Just do your show and quit making it a two hour infomercial for Christian Solidarity International.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEEK-BANCROFT

This is a place I'd like to see more of. My visits to Bancroft consist of picking people up or being picked up there and subsequently dropping people off or being dropped off there. I also stopped off at the Tim Hortons there on my way to Kilalu. I also went north of Bancroft to the pig roast at Grafite Bible Camp last summer.

Around here, Bancroft has a reputation for being a weird, hick town, which is funny, first of all because it's coming from the hick towns around here and second because Bancroft was the first town in this area to get a Tim Hortons and it also has more franchises other towns in this area don't have.

Several years ago, TV Ontario voted Bancroft best town for art or something like that.

They really need to work on their electricity problems, though.


WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEEK-THE REST OF ONTARIO

Kingston: This southern extension of the Canadian shield is nice with all the limestone. The last few times I went there, it had a lot of nice shops and restaurants downtown, although I don't know what it's like now. It also has a great music scene.

Peterborough: Another great music scene and more interesting shops. Peterborough is one of the few places where the downtown is still busy. The Peterborough Zoo is always a hit, as well as the Indian River Reptile Zoo east of the city.

Toronto: As Jan Morris said, Toronto has just enough of everything. While not London, Paris or New York, it isn't Columbus, Ohio or Paduca, Kentucky either. There are just enough theatres, museums, ethnic restaurants, sporting events, and other attractions.

Hamilton: Spent some time there, but my exploration of the city consisted of going to Cops' Collaseum to see a Hamilton Bulldogs game when I lived in Brantford. I'd like to see more of this interesting city because it seems like a miniature Toronto, multiculturalism without the big city hassle.

Brantford: As stated in a previous post, I spent time there a while back. Didn't see much of the town of Brantford, but saw many of the surrounding area, such as going to the Simcoe Fair, the Simcoe Lights and other places. I'd like to go back there and explore Brantford and area more, but my impression from the time I spent there was that it was like southeastern Ontario in that all the towns are unique.

Bradford: A bit of a weird-seeming city, but anyone who visits has to check out the Bradford Marsh.

The Mascocas: Cottage country. Southeastern Ontario tries to be cottage country but the Miscocas have a lot more wealth and a lot more interesting things to do. They gbeat us to the punch.

New Liskeard: Has a bit of a wild west feeling. The French influence also helps make it interesting.

Kililu: Located in the Ottawa Valley, this little town also has a wild west feeling. Definitely have to go back there someday.

Barry Huronia and the Bruce Peninsula: This area proves money buys happiness. With it's fertile farmland, tourist industry and nuclear plant, there's an openness and a friendliness in the people. Statistically, there are lesser amounts of social problems than in other parts of the province.

WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEEK-BOLT CASTLE

About 15 years ago my family and I took a daytrip to Kingston and went on the Thousand Islands cruise. Geographically speaking, that was nice. I got a good feeling, being out in the middle of Lake Ontario, knowing there were (actually more than) a thousand islands around us, many with unique features. Mainly, though, it was boring because I couldn't see them.

As part of our Thousand Islands cruise, we stopped off at Bolt Castle on the New York State side of the Thousand Islands. Now _that was interesting.

For those of you who don't know the story, which I assume is most of you, a wealthy industrialist named James Bolt wanted a vacation home for himself and his bride-to-be, so he imported a castle from the Rhine River and erected it on the island on which it presently stands, the name of which island escapes me at the moment. Partway through the project, the now Mrs. Bolt died and James abandoned the project in grief.

Never having been in a castle before, touring Bolt Castle was quite the experience. We walked through the great hall, stood on the tower and saw the rest of the place, or at least the parts completed before Bolt's wife's death.

One thing is for sure: Had James Bolt completed the rebuilding of this German castle and vacationed there with his family, he would not have had the kind of home where it would be possible to tell people, "Well gosh, we'd love to have you for the weekend, but we don't know where we could put you."

WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEEK-SOUTHEASTERN ONTARIO

I've lived in this little corner of Ontario, Canada all my life. Al Purdy's poem about the small towns above Belleville comes to mind.

Geographically speaking, southeastern Ontario has more versatility than one would think at first glance.

In the southern portion of Hastings County, there is the fair sized city of Belleville and the city of Trenton, home to a Canadian Forces airbase.

As previously stated, north of Belleville there are many small towns, as well as the Tyendenaga Mohawk reservation. Again, at first glance, all these small towns may seem to blend together, a closer look reveals they all have their uniqueneses and quirks.

I've always been awed by this areas location. We are halfway between Toronto and Ottawa and not that far away from Montreal. We're also about halfway between Peterborough and Kingston, the latter containing a U.S. border crossing.

Though there are many reasons why, especially as a blind person, this corner of one of Canada's first provinces frustrates me, geographically, it's always been a personal #1.

WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEEK-INTRODUCTION

Several weeks ago I was invited to write posts in commemoration of World Geography Week, which took place November 13-19. I didn't get around to doing so, of course, but I would still like to write the posts I probably would have written anyway.

For a long time, I've had an interest in geography, the places in the world. As a blind person, you get an inward sense, a feeling for a place. The late comedian and blind travel writer Gord Painter understood this.

Despite my interest, I am not very well traveled. I live in southeastern Ontario and have been to a few different parts of this province. I've also spent some extended periods of time in Brantford and Hamilton, so I have a bit more knowledge of that area of southwestern Ontario as well than of other places. In addition, I've been to California twice on vacation, taken a day trip to Bolt Castle in upstate New York (pre 9/11 and Canadians needing a passport to get into the States) and spent a weekend in a suburb of Montreal.

I'd like to travel more. In 2014, I got a passport. However, my extremely limited income as an unemployed blind person and other challenges that come with not being able to see--such as getting to a train station or airport from my small town, prevent this.

Nevertheless, I continue to have a fairly strong interest in the goings-on, customs and cultures of different locales on this little blue planet of ours.

As you've probably guessed by now, I was an odd child. Whenever someone came over to our house, I would ask them about where they'd been outside of Ontario throughout their lives and get them to tell me about their travels. So few people have a passport. Though income limitations naturally prevent many from exploring the globe, its still a darn shame more people who are capable of doing so don't visit different places.