"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I Don't Say "Merry Christmas"

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the "Soup Nazi" - the soup cook that would declare "NO SOUP FOR YOU" if you didn't behave in line, or even so much as looked at him crossways or didn't have correct change.

I have noticed a type of "Merry Christmas" nazi prevalent today. Its the people who tell me that I must say "Merry Christmas". I have noticed more Christians tellling other Christians to be sure and be bold and brave to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone - as though we can help preserve the true meaning of the season if we'll just say "Merry Christmas" and not be cowards and use the bland "Happy Holidays" greeting.

OK, I'll admit it: I don't always say "Merry Christmas".

No soup for me.

I usually will say "Have a happy holiday season" as a standard personal salutation this time of year. And for a reason. Its an expression of my desire for the person receiving my greeting...I want you to have a happy holiday season. If you're a Christian, I want you to have a Merry Christmas.

"Why?", you ask? Why not just be true to my beliefs and tell everyone "Merry Christmas"?

Because for me, I think its pretentious and somewhat obnoxious, to assume everyone celebrates this holiday in the same way I do.

If someone celebrates a holiday other than Christmas during this season, or celebrates no holiday, I genuinely want them to have a happy time this season. Really. I do. A Jewish friend - I really, really want him to have a Happy Hannukah. And maybe he wants me to have a Merry Christmas, and if he does, I hope he tells me! But it would be futile for him to tell me to have a Happy Hannakah - because I won't be having any kind of Hannakuah, happy or sad or otherwise. I don't celebrate it.

When I'm communicating to people in writing which I often do as part of my job, and I don't know their faith, I'll say "Have a Happy Holiday Season". If I'm speaking to someone I know is a believer, I'll most certainly say "Merry Christmas". If I'm communicating to a Jewish friend, I'll say "Happy Hannakuh". If I'm speaking to a non-believer who still celebrates the Christmas holiday on the 25th, I might say "Merry Christmas". If I'm speaking to someone I don't know at all, I'll be sure to say "Have a Happy Holiday Season." An atheist? "Happy Holidays, my friend".

So is it wrong to fit my greeting to the RECEIVER, if it is an expression of my desire for that person? Must I tell everyone, "Merry Christimas" because that is MY holiday for this season?

During this time of year I wouldn't say ANYTHING, except this season is MORE than just a holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, whether us Christians like it or not. In our culture it has become a season where people of all beliefs and unbeliefs take a break from work and school, spend a bit more time with the family and friends, exchange gifts to express love for one another, and its just a joyous time for people whether they be Christians or not. I like that.

So for my professed atheist friends, like "Johnny" who posts here from time to time: HAPPY HOLIDAYS my friend, I wish you a happy, joyous holiday season with your friends and loved ones. I appreciate you very much and wish you all the best.

For my Christian friends (yes, Jim Smyrl, even including my Catholic friends): Merry Christmas! Have a blessed time with your families as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

And if I don't know if you are are a believer or not: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! I really do want you to have a happy holiday season with your loved ones, and I wish you a joyous and prosperous 2010.

And for those of you who will now criticize me on my blog for not being "true" to my faith by only saying "Merry Christmas", I say:

NO SOUP FOR YOU!!! :)

62 comments:

Ben said...

This is dumb. Do we not tell others about Jesus because they have a different faith system?

Saying Merry Christmas does not force anyone to adjust their traditions to yours but it may, and should let people of all faiths know what our faith is.

To reserve your Merry Christmas to only other believers is like most churches today trying to keep who they have and not win a world. In other words, anything we might want or need to say about Jesus is reserved for those who know Him, not those who need too.

Pastor Pryme said...

I would just make this observation:

At no other time of year does the general public give a "holiday" greeting of any kind. There's only one reason for it happening this time of year: Christmas. It's a national holiday, unlike other religious holidays. Whether or not it should be is a whole different question. But the fact is, this national holiday, this spending frenzy, this time of "cheer and goodwill", is all about one holiday, one religion, one event:

Christmas.

And that's why I believe we have every right, until they take it away completely, of telling even atheists "Merry Christmas".

:-D

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ben - I didn't say we shouldn't tell others about Jesus. But saying "Merry Christmas" isn't telling someone about Jesus.

I knew this post would illicit responses such as this! Saying Merry Christmas is good, and if you want to say it, SAY IT! I'm not saying you should NOT say it, I'm just saying I don't in some situations, and why I don't.

But Merry Christmas, Ben!

Jon G said...

Watch Dog,

Your traffic must be light - there is no way you are being genuine about this posting...you just wanted to stir up some arguments and factious statements to end your year well. Right? Surely!
If, for some crazy reason, you are being honest. Then this entire Watchdog blog just made sense to me.
Please confess your humor and your sinister plot to just increase the blood pressure of fellow Believers by this post.

Jon

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I assume by your comments, that you think that if this post is a true expression of my heart, that the blog "makes sense" because I'm an unbeliever?

Are you really saying that a believer saying that they don't always say "Merry Christmas" because they want to fit their greeting to the receiver , this raises your blood pressure?

Jon G said...

Dog,

I certainly don't want to attempt an answer on your salvation. My starting point is that you are a fellow believer, saved by grace through faith. I have no reason to doubt that at all.
But the blog makes sense (if you are being genuine about this particular posting today) that you love to stir up dissension, that you love to argue for argument sake, and that there is an arrogance in your "watchdog" title if you like to post things ONLY to get a reaction.
That's my point. Your heart is between you and the Lord.

Jon

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

PP: notice something absent from my post. I'm not telling ANYONE what greeting they should use. I'm telling you what MY greetings are, and why I use them.

You and I have the RIGHT to say Merry Christmas to whom, when we want, at any time. I am all for that right.

Just explaining what my greetings are, and why.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jon - thanks for the explanation.

But again, saying why I don't always say "Merry Christmas" is tantamount to "raising dissention" to you. You use this one statement of mine, as evidence that "I love to argue for arguments sake" because my view on Christmas greetings is not the same as your view.

You are helping me to make my larger point here, thanks buddy!

Former FBC Insider said...

WD, I agree completely!

And to Pastor Pryme, the reason the phrase "Happy Holiday" is used during this time of year is because many different holidays are being celebrated during this time frame. This phrase covers them all; Kwanza, Hanukkah, Christmas... It is a time of year that happens to have several holidays on the books. Therefore, Happy Holidays is appropriate if your greeting is truly to the other person. Usually when I say Happy Holidays, a Christian will chime back a hearty Merry Christmas, which is what I do when someone greets me with Happy Holidays. I let them know which holiday I'm celebrating.

If someone wished you a Happy Kwanza, I'm curious what your response would be if that is not a holiday you celebrate... would you throw back a Merry Christmas to them? That would be more like a debate than a genuine wish for cheer and happiness for the season.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

If someone tells me Merry Christmas first, in writing or spoken, I return it with a "Merry Christmas to you!".

If someone says Happy Holidays, I usually say "Thanks, same to you!"

Pastor Pryme said...

And to Pastor Pryme, the reason the phrase "Happy Holiday" is used during this time of year is because many different holidays are being celebrated during this time frame. T...

I think that if you check the history of our nation, "Merry Christmas" was said even though there was always a significant Jewish population. And Christmas is still the only religious holiday celebrated as a national holiday. That's my point: that this is a national holiday. And what about New Year's? Not everybody celebrates it at the same time. Must we now be sensitive to, say, the Chinese or Jewish new year?

If someone wished you a Happy Kwanza, I'm curious what your response would be if that is not a holiday you celebrate... would you throw back a Merry Christmas to them?

Kwanza, just FYI, is a new, invented holiday that has no roots in Africa. But of course that's beside the point, which once again is that it isn't the national holiday being celebrated. So yes, since this is all about a national holiday, I'd still say Merry Christmas. And we can't be expected to know when every religious holiday is.

That would be more like a debate than a genuine wish for cheer and happiness for the season.

No, it would be my recognition of a national holiday. If I didn't like it I'd hardly expect the majority of the country to bow to my sensitivities, even though many minorities expect that in their favor.

Former FBC Insider said...

The point of the greeting has nothing to do with Christmas being a national holiday. Who cares which holiday came first? It's here now.

The point of the greeting is to wish the stranger, the receiver happiness in this time of year when there are many holidays to celebrate. It is a gift of good greetings, well wishes to the receiver. In my case that does come from a spirit of Christmas.

My wishing you a Happy Tuesday is a gift from my heart to yours. Who knows if you even want to have a happy Tuesday... maybe you don't, but I still want you to have one.

Anonymous said...

The DOG loves to be politically correct. Lukewarm in most situations so not to be offensive, unless it happens to be a fellow Christian he disagrees with then he will sound the alarm, preach from the mountaintop, look for every hiccup in his enemies life, post them for the world to see and gain some support so more people can lob verbal assaults against a fellow believer.

But to say "Merry Christmas" --- nope, won't do that, too controversial.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Nope, not to be lukewarm or politically correct. Has nothing to do with my greetings. I want to wish the receiver a true statement of my wishes for that person.

And if you've read this blog, you know I am anything but PC, in the context of the Christian friends and family I have.

But you help prove the larger point of this post when you attempt to connect something as minor as my expressions of Christmas greetings, with larger points of displeasure that you have with me on other issues.

But, Merry Christmas, brother/sister.

Pastor Pryme said...

The point of the greeting has nothing to do with Christmas being a national holiday. Who cares which holiday came first? It's here now.

... as a national holiday, which is not true of any other religious holiday. It's exactly the point. When Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and Tuesday get people a day off, your point will stand.

Anyway, it is just silly for anyone to be offended by the standard, historical greeting for a national holiday. If anyone is trying to start a debate, it's the perpetually offended.

But that's all I'm giving this topic.

Anonymous said...

The Dog thinks saying Merry Christmas is a minor issue. I agree it is for him, obviously. It also demonstrates a willingness to take Christ out of Christmas, when he says it to a lost world so they can have a happy holiday.

Lost people do not need to have a happy holiday, they need Jesus.

Dog, seems to disagree.

And the dog is upset about those who preach storehouse tithing. WOW, nothing surprises me any more.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

You're making this TOO easy.

Me not saying at all times (note, I do say Merry Christmas, just not always)...but me not saying "Merry Christmas" in all situations to all people means, to this person, that I want to take Christ out of Christmas.

And to this Anon, me not saying "Merry Christmas" in all situations to all people, means that I have concluded lost people don't need Jesus - which is to say I don't understand the gospel message and have betrayed my very faith.

In short, I'm less of a Christian than you, for not saying "Merry Christmas" at all times, to all people, in the manner you think I should.

Again, you're helping me to prove the larger point.

Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Dog, you completely misrepresent me. I did not say "to all people" but to lost people.

It is your words, sir, that are suspect...

"If someone celebrates a holiday other than Christmas during this season, or celebrates no holiday, I genuinely want them to have a happy time this season. Really. I do. A Jewish friend - I really, really want him to have a Happy Hannukah. And maybe he wants me to have a Merry Christmas, and if he does, I hope he tells me! But it would be futile for him to tell me to have a Happy Hannakah - because I won't be having any kind of Hannakuah, happy or sad or otherwise. I don't celebrate it."

But you have become a pseudo-master at what you want to accomplish. Not everyone is wearing blinders and exalting your theology. We know better.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

My words are suspect. I love it. I am a pseudeo-master (not sure what it is). My "theology" is not right.

You know, I thought that the term "Merry Christmas nazi" might be too strong. But the anons here are making it very appropriate.

Here are my suspect words:

""If someone celebrates a holiday other than Christmas during this season, or celebrates no holiday, I genuinely want them to have a happy time this season. Really. I do. A Jewish friend - I really, really want him to have a Happy Hannukah. And maybe he wants me to have a Merry Christmas, and if he does, I hope he tells me! But it would be futile for him to tell me to have a Happy Hannakah - because I won't be having any kind of Hannakuah, happy or sad or otherwise. I don't celebrate it."

I have many good friends who are of many different faiths. I would love for them to accept Christ and go to church with me and get baptized. But they are still my friends, and I love them, and you know what? I wish the best for the, especially during this time of year when I think EVERYBODY (even Catholics, Jim), regardless of their faith, does want to have fun and make memories with their families. So my expression of "Happy Holidays" is just that.

But to these anons, it shows wrong theology, shows I am PC, shows I want to take Christ out of Christmas, shows I am a "pseudo master".

Merry Christmas to you, even though you seem to be a "Merry Christmas nazi". No soup for you.

DOG said...

Bah Humbug

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Just so happens a blogger that I follow on Twitter said something very similar about "Merry Christmas". Check him out:

http://stuffchristianslike.net/2009/12/saying-merry-christmas/

Anonymous said...

I wonder what others would think of and say if Dr. Brunson wished those who were in church Sunday a HAPPY HOLIDAY"?

I think I know what those on this blog would say?

Get the rope!

Anonymous said...

I applaud the dog. A lot of people got bent out of shape when prayer was taken out of school. Where was the church is the cry? I Say let the world be the world and the church be the church. We have no right to peddle Christ on people who believe differently, whether it is through using his name in Christmas or any thing else.

GO DOG!

Pastor Pryme said...

Okay, I'll say one more thing... ;-)

I totally agree that there should be no religion in public schools.

That's why they shouldn't teach evolutionism. ;-P

Jon L. Estes said...

Hey Pryme,

Does that mean from the school to the students or that Christian students need to keep their faith at home if they attend public schools?

I think there is a difference.

Pastor Pryme said...

If this is a free republic, the students should be free to express their religious beliefs in any public arena. But the schools should not promote one religion over another. And since Hinduism is a religion without a deity, no one can claim evolutionism is not a religion on that basis. Besides, no philosophy or worldview should be taught as fact.

Anonymous said...

And this is why I've refrained from posting my feelings about the alleged "War on Christmas" on my Facebook status. If we want the world to be open to Jesus, we need to show hearts that are open to the world. Getting bent out of shape over Happy Holidays isn't a great witness.

Anonymous said...

"If we want the world to be open to Jesus, we need to show hearts that are open to the world. Getting bent out of shape over Happy Holidays isn't a great witness."

Dumbing down Christmas isn't a great witness either.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog you must be a closet athiest. Hey, you would feel right at home at Disney World this year, with all the bending over backwards they are doing not to say Christmas, gosh I thought if I saw one more dancing mouse dressed like santa i was going to have to jump off space mountain. I liked the Christmas celebration, but it was starting to get a little offensive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:
Dumbing down Christmas isn't a great witness either.

"Happy Holidays" isn't dumbing down Christmas. Getting bent out of shape over the phrase might be the sign of a heart that's hardened to those who most need to hear the Gospel. Are we here to spread the message of Christ, or to hold onto a holiday for ourselves? Which position would Jesus take?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wow - now I'm a closet atheist, because I don't say Merry Christmas to all people in all situations. How ridiculous.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friend!

J H said...

As a pastor, the only thing that I will say is an agreement with one of the anons, "lost people do not need to be happy."

I would not want to tell a man who is on his way to hell, to be happy. Happiness depends on what happens, and for the record, the lost are not going to like what happens.

I full well agree that saying Merry Christmas is not the same as telling someone about Jesus. However I would say that wishing a a muslim has "happy season" is tantemount to bidding "God speed" to those who hold not the doctrine of Christ as found in 2 John 9,10

I want for lost men what God did for me, and that was to walk through the valley of conviction on my way to the cross of victory. There is no happiness, until there is holiness, brought about by the work of Christ.

For what it's worth. JH

Anonymous said...

"Which position would Jesus take?"

He would take the position which left Him out of it. He has no desire to have His name attached to the holiday. What's wrong with people.

Arce said...

When I was much younger, like 45 years ago, we wished people "Happy Holidays" because almost everyone celebrated two holidays at this time of year -- Christmas and New Years. It was not a dumbing down or avoiding the idea of Christmas.

It is to me a lot like the uproar over the use of "Xmas". The "X" stands for the Cross and therefore the Christ who was crucified. So it is not a removal of Christ from Christmas. We get all warm and fuzzy about a baby, but without the cross, the birth of the baby has no meaning and is no reason to celebrate.

BTW, the courts never took prayer out of the schools, only that agents of the state cannot specifiy prayer in school. Every child has the right to pray in school, as long as they do not disrupt others by doing so.

I actually preferred the condition after the ruling. In my public school homeroom in 7th grade, my teacher was a devout Catholic and we prayed to every saint in the book, and never to Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Father. As a Baptist, my rights were walked over every day prior to the first such ruling by the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

General observations:

First, you are an unequivical idiot.

Second, you have an obvious oppositional definance disorder.

Third, you don't say "Merry Christmas" because you are too busy saying "Ba Humbug."

No one special said...

Watchdog, might I say I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas in this joyous celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

And for everyone else, have a Merry Festivus as celebrated by the rest of us. LOL.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hey Anon, "idiot" will do just fine. Only my good friends can call me an "unequivical idiot". Bless you, brother!

Thanks N.O.S. We will have a very Merry Christmas. Same to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Christ's birth most likely fell on the Feast of Tabernacles. Jews are in the dark, why do we not show them the "real shadows" of these feast by conducting at least something concerning on these days? Also why do we not tell the story of the elder Nicholas Claus and his great generosity to the poor instead of these strange myths of some dude in the North Pole that end up make them doubt even Christ later in life.

Anonymous said...

Blogger of 12/15 12:17 PM, used the term "peddle Christ", could we have some respect please!!! We are talking about the Savior. I personally believe people should consider the reason Jesus came to us in the first place. He came to die for our sins. I always think of the Cross at Christmas. It puts it all into perspective for me, anyway. I know Jesus came to the Jew first and we were adopted in, so please some of you "knit pickers" that want to get all technical about EVERYTHING and quote the last word about every subject just relax. Sometimes some of you get very boring when you launch off into minuteness, like whether or not the pulpit was around when. Blah, blah, blah. Get over yourselves. You know what people usually mean. So stop trying to impress us with your KNOWLEDGE of every detail.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, and certainly to you WD, thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger of 12/15 12:17 PM, used the term "peddle Christ", could we have some respect please!!! We are talking about the Savior."

Not according to the Dog when Merry Christmas is being used. Therefore I stand by my statement and using the term "peddle Christ" is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

As information: Colossians 2:16....Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Anonymous said...

To all who are not of the Christian faith:

I wish you a Happy Holiday.

Enjoy it, be blessed by it, find rest and peace in it. May your days be merry and bright and may all your holidays be whight.

Anonymous said...

I find the expression "Happy Holiday" offensive. I much prefer: "Winter Solstice."

Dr. Fill said...

Very good post Dog. Thank you.
My faovorite quote son far:
"If anyone is trying to start a debate, it's the perpetually offended." Pastor Pryme

Merry Christmas to those who need it. Happy Holidays to all.

Anonymous said...

Christians are mean:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20091215/us_time/08599194759000

Junkster said...

Please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally-conscious, socially-responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . . AND a fiscally-successful, personally-fulfilling, and medically-uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted upcoming calendar year, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "America" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

DISCLAIMER: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

saint james said...

Merry Christmas is a phrase that has lost it's religious significance (if it ever really did have a true one). It is a signal for a happy celebration filled with the secular trappings of the season. I wonder if most Christians would know how to celbrate the advent excluding trees, tinsel, food, spending, debt and cultural regalia. I'll say whatever makes the most sense to the people to whom I am speaking. I have some friends who say Merry CHRISTMAS (long i pronunciation). I just sigh nad move on. To each his won I suppose. I support your view and position.

Anonymous said...

Junkster, that was priceless! I love it. What an apt picture of this mess we are in today. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!!!

Pastor Pryme said...

Dr. Fill-- I'm happy to have contributed to the "Christmas spirit". ;-)

Junkster-- that's a keeper!

Johnny D. said...

"So for my professed atheist friends, like "Johnny" who posts here from time to time: HAPPY HOLIDAYS my friend, I wish you a happy, joyous holiday season with your friends and loved ones. I appreciate you very much and wish you all the best."

As I read through this post, before getting to the quote above, I was thinking to myself, "Self, finally a topic you might be able to contribute to." And then I see your greeting to me. Thank you, WD. I very much appreciate you thinking of me, and I feel strengthened by your thinking of me as a friend. I would only add that I am not an atheist. Though I'm sure many of the folks posting here would see little difference, I prefer the title of "Agnostic." Like Dawkins, I lean heavily towards atheism, but can't, at present, see how I can be intellectually honest with myself and say with absolute certainty, "There is no God or Gods." I see absolutely no evidence for any such entity, and coming here and reading posts by many of your Christian "brothers and sisters" certainly lends credence to my view of things.

I knew as I started reading this post that you were gonna catch hell for making the post. Imagine a man giving thought to the cares and feelings of others that might not believe as he does. How dare you, Cousin Tom. At all times, you must blast any and all with your Gospel shotgun, and it best be loaded with Jesus buckshot.

Merry Christmas, Tom. May the new year bring you many happy times and vindication within our court system.

As for me, I still wish everything about Jesus were true. I wish I could get my innocence back. No matter how hard I look, and no matter where I look, I can't find it.

As for the rest of you that make such unfeeling and harsh comments towards Tom for the honesty of this post, I recommend you read two of my all-time favorite books while you're off for Christmas. "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Yancey, and "The Grace Awakening" by Swindoll. May your God have mercy on your black souls.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hey Johnnie D! Great to hear from you. I stand corrected...agnostic it is.

I thought the term "Merry Christmas nazi" was over the top when I first posted it, but when I read the reactions of people who clearly are so blinded by their religious zeal that they couldn't see what I WAS saying and what I was NOT saying...I realized the term fit.

I read in the paper yesterday in an advice column of a store clerk who wrote in to a Dear Abby type column, complaining how rude some people are when she says "Happy Holidays", and they give a stern response of "I celebrate CHRISTMAS", as though she is some heathen for saying "Happy Holidays"

I agree, a lot of things like calling a Christmas tree a "Holiday Tree" are just ridiculous. And schools telling kids NOT to say Merry Christmas while they glorify other religions is terrible.

But my point was, I was trying to be HONEST, in that I do not always say "Merry Christmas" in all situations depending on who I am speaking to, since my purpose in uttering anything of the sort is not as a statement of my faith, but a sincere expression of my desire for the other person.

And I'll return the greeting to you, Johnnie: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Voice of Reason said...

As for me, I still wish everything about Jesus were true. I wish I could get my innocence back. No matter how hard I look, and no matter where I look, I can't find it.
__________________________________

Jonny D - I went through a similar crisis of faith. To me, not "everything about Jesus" has to be true. Much has been added to his words. Consider Jesus' words in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." This verse took on new meaning to me after I had been a Christian for many years. I saw the manipulation and hypocrisy in some and had concluded that if it were up to some people's interpretation and/or application of the Bible, then I would rather go to hell. Or, if I had to accept all the teachings of the "church", I would rather go to hell. Or if I had to be like, or look up to, certain so-called Christians, I would rather toss it all out. Yet those words of Jesus rang true. I jokingly put it this way "if it weren't for Jesus, I would not be a Christian." Sounds obvious and over simplifying, but then John 14:6 came to mind. He knew this, and even had said it, and reaffirmed I should look only to him. I have done that. He said come unto me, that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He called you and me friend. He died for us. Don't let "the church" or "Christians" cause you to reject HIM. Like Pilate said "I find no fault with this man."

Despite all the charlatans and false preachers and fake christians, know that Jesus does love you, died for you, and waits patiently for you to seek him and learn of him and walk with him. Just don't go looking for him in a church or denomination. I agree, you won't find him there. Pray, read your Bible, use common sense. You don't need a PhD or need to know greek, or need some man who does for you to know God. Don't look in the gated communities or on luxury cruise ships. He is not there. Go look where people are ministering to the poor, naked, hungry, outcast and hurting. You will find Him inside of those men and women who are out ministering. In those that who do not get any worldly fame or wealth out of their service.

Good luck!

VOR

Anonymous said...

Johnny D - There is a God. You didn't know it? Well you know it now! It's in da book! You don't believe it, take it up with da book! Amen? Amen!

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Holiday is a contraction for Holy Day. So I don't find Happy Holidays at all anti-religious.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn't agree more.

Wonderfully written post. You are 100% right on, and I wish all Christians would read this.

Anonymous said...

Johnny D. Years ago (apprx 48) while in the U. S. Military, I discussed salvation with a friend quite often. We were in the same platoon. He was a non-believer and I a believer. I asked him one time this question. "What if I am correct and you are wrong". It had a profound impact on his thinking. If I was right and he wrong, I told him he was in for a big surprise according to the teachings in the Bible. If he was correct that once one dies, that's it, then neither of us would be in danger. I asked him, did he want to take that chance. He didn't utter a word. It caught him off guard and he could say absolutely nothing. I'll stick with the Bible and would never take a chance on not believing. I have too much proof in my own life that Jesus is very real.

What VOR just recently posted (10:13 pm), is correct. Several things that cause disappointment and bitterness are " Friends, family, things, circumstances, and worry". One of these may apply to you, I just don't know. If one happens to be, give it to JESUS. He can handle them. Been doing that for many years now and can attest to His being able to handle anything. Innocence is a hard thing to get back, sort of like "You can't Go Home Again" as in Thomas Wolfs' book. However, trusting Jesus to get you back there, is a real truth. When Jesus wipes away our sins we are without sin spiritually, forever, because of His cleansing Blood. May God be real to you, as there is no greater gift. I sincerely hope and pray that 2010 will be your best year yet if the Lord tarries.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Dr. Fill said...

Anonymous December 17, 2009 9:30 PM - Maybe "It caught him off guard and he could say absolutely nothing." because he couldn't believe you were still using the long ago debunked Pascal's Wager.

http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/pascal.html

Pastor Pryme said...

Yep.

But I also don't believe the "fire insurance" message is an improvement.

Certainly hell is a real place and those who reject Jesus will have to be there in conscious suffering for eternity. But the gospel is GOOD news, not bad.

Here's the key, IMHO: The central point of the gospel is reconciliation:

2 Cor. 5:18-21
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Because of what Jesus did, all anyone has to do to be "right with God" is trust in Jesus' death and resurrection as the God/Man, which of course means rejecting all other "gods" as well as faithlessness. But for those who do not wish to be reconciled, there had to be a place of "not God" for them to go, hence hell/lake of fire. And that place of "not God" has to be devoid of all that comes from God: happiness, peace, comfort... and that is why it's a bad place. This also answers the objection that God is evil for only allowing bliss or torment instead of also a neutral "door number three". But there is only one logical alternative to God, and that alternative is inherently bad.

So our message is one of hope and restoration, not to instill fear or make God a safe bet. Without this crucial component of reconciliation we have either false conversions or turn people away from what should have been a good message.

Anonymous said...

Blogger 12/18 10:28: Don't know anything about "Pascal's Wager", never heard of it. Also don't intend to check out your referenced web site. This was a genuine occurance in my life. Make light of it if you will. I think many of you are unnecessairly unkind sometimes. But I don't answer to you. I answer to the Lord. I witness every chance I get when the Lord leads me. Have done so for many years. Why would you critize a genuine witness for the Lord? Jude 23: "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh".

Pastor Pryme said...

I'm sorry to post about this one more time, but the truth must be known. Try and read this series of posts and then wish someone a happy Kwanzaa.

Jacinto Mendoza said...

In that case, let's stop using BC and AD because not everyone believes in Jesus Christ!

My friend, there may be many views, but one Truth and the Truth should not be compromised for the convenience of others, whether they believe it or not. And the Truth is this, that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It's the perfect season to share this Truth, that's up to us Christians to tell people. For non-Christians to believe it or not is up to God.

Lainey said...

As an agnostic atheist, I appreciate this post. Merry Christmas! :o)

BTW-Most atheists are agnostics...the two are not mutually exclusive. No one can be 100% certain about anything.