“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – A Gift Idea for Jesus on his Birthday

This is the time of the year when it gets a little crazy. The shopping list always includes some that are nearly impossible to buy for. And of course you have the concern that you will forget someone. Or the biggest  fear might be that a person who delivers a gift to you and you have a big bag of nothing for them. I was thinking this morning about someone that we (Christians) almost always acknowledge at Christmas but often neglect to think about what we are giving him. That person is the birthday boy himself…Jesus. I was thinking about what I could give Jesus in the middle of the brouhaha over his birthday. I wondered how the Lord would react to some of the tactics that are being used in his name?  I came across some quotes from Barry Lynn, the Executive Director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in an open letter to Jerry Falwell. “Since I debated you (Jerry Falwell) about
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – They wouldn’t have stopped to sing “Cold in the Night”!

On December 9th I posted a story about the decision by a Wisconsin elementary school to rewrite the lyrics of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for the winter program. The unfortunate choice for a new title was “Cold in the Night”. Some things just shouldn’t be done. It is like the old Jim Croce song…”you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t rewrite Silent Night” (New Revised Version). Writing that post brought to mind a legend I had heard involving the song “Silent Night” and a wartime Christmas truce. I researched the story and found that it actually happened. Here is a nice Christmas story for your Christmas season to share at Christmas gatherings this Christmas Day (was that too obvious?). The year was 1914 and soldiers were having to spend Christmas Eve night on the battlefields of France during World War I — the Great War, as it was
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – This Reviewer is No Fan of Narnia

I did a rare thing for me. With the charming Mrs. Burchett at my side we braved opening day crowds to see the “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. I am a fan of the writing of C.S.Lewis and the Narnia series. My fear was that the producers would stray from the story and the message. They did not. The movie is beautifully shot, the human characters well cast, and the magical figures of Narnia imaginatively portrayed. I loved the movie. I recommend it highly to anyone and especially to fans of the Narnia tales. On Sunday I browsed online to see how the movie was faring at the box office. The opening projections were very strong and at the site I noticed a link for an online review. I am always curious to compare my reactions to the critics. I have generally found that they genuinely deserve the title of “critic”. Frankly I would not want to party with some
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Lawyer’s Bells…It’s Christmas Time in the City

I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year for sentimental and spiritual reasons. I love the lights and the stories and the music. Especially the music. I love everything from “O Holy Night” to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”   I know…I need help. There has always been something special to me about Christmas music. So it was with a bit of bemused sadness that I read about the rewriting of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for an elementary school program. A Wisconsin school altered the song to become “Cold in the Night” for it’s winter program. The lyrics were changed to the following: Cold in the night,< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />  no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.   When I was a kid there were Santas all over town. Now there are lawyers on every
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – The Giving Tree Flourishes in Mississippi

The Catalogue for Philanthropy just released their 2005 Charitable Giving Index. Some of the data is intriquing. Their methodology is outlined at their website. (http://www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org/cfp/generosity_index/faq.html) Using published data of individual tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, we compare the rank of each state’s average adjusted gross income (AAGI) to the rank of each state’s average itemized charitable deductions (AICD). The arithmetical differences between these two rankings are then themselves ranked, resulting in the Generosity Index rank. The top three states in adjusted gross income were Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. How do they fare in the Generosity Index? Connecticut ranked 45th, New Jersey 48th, and Massachusetts ranked 49th when the study compared per capita giving versus income. According to this index you might want to set up your charitable outreach somewhere other than New Hampshire. The Granite State’s ranks of 8th wealthiest and 48th in giving combined to land them at number 50 on the list. Conversely, the most generous states were not
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Housekeeping and Quick Hits

Today’s blog is opening the electronic mailbag to answer some questions and respond to comments. Question from Scott and many others. “What is a blog?” Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts”, “posts”, or “entries”. The person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. During my post about Peter Singer on Thursday, December 1st I offered membership in an organization to be called “The Rumps of the Know-Nothings”. That was a response to the description that Mr. Singer used to categorize religious people who hold onto outdated views of the sanctity of life. The bad news…only courageous reader Steve has joined my new organization. The good news…it
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Practice Civil Disobedience…Say Merry Christmas!

There has been a politically correct Christmas greeting that has circulated the internet for the past couple of years. Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all. Perhaps that should be adopted as official “safe“ greeting for retailers this Christmas season. Target has been widely vilified for allegedly forbidding their employees from saying Merry Christmas. It turns out that was not exactly true. The story is now widely circulated and it has become another example of how too many Christians leap before we look in response to cultural issues. Please, please, please verify every email and petition for validity before you hit send. What Target has done is cleansed their website of every Christmas reference. They even list
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