Monday, December 22, 2008
“I’m tired of Christians being caught up in the commercialism of Christmas.”
“I can’t wait for Christmas to be over.”
Have you heard any of these over the last couple of weeks? Have you said them?I know that, for many Christians, the struggle between having the wonderful, memorable, traditional family Christmas and keeping our eyes on Jesus can be very frustrating. We see the anti-Christian Christmas bus ads or the sign in the Washington state capitol placed next to the nativity saying that Christianity is all just a myth, and it’s easy to get distracted and angry and frustrated. I know I do.
Of course, while we can't choose the pressures that come into our life, we can choose our reactions to them. Some people decide on constructive, pro-active responses to the commercialization/secularization issue, such as The Advent Conspiracy.
I don’t mean to imply that I don’t have same kind of stress about making sure all the family is visited and bought for and all that stuff. But I have found that the most effective way of keeping my focus is to immerse myself in Christmas music. But, like everything else popular involving Christmas, Christmas songs/carols/hymns/whatever-you-want-to-call-them have become marginalized, not by the secular world, but by the church.
This year, Christmas at our church has felt different. Well, really, holidays in general have felt different. I know that our church was always unique in its recognition of the non-religious holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day, but frankly, I’ve always considered that a good thing. If the church isn’t going to publicly, corporately thank God for His provision and blessing for our country and for our freedom, who else will? But back to topic….
Christmas has felt somewhat acknowledged this year, rather than savored, like the in-law you’re obligated to be polite to but can’t really wrap your arms around. Oh, we’ve done the Christmas boxes and other outreach programs that usually occupy December. I don’t mean it in that sense.
Building up to Christmas this year, we sang a couple of carols (a.k.a Christmas-themed hymns) a week, except for this last Sunday, Christmas Sunday, when we sang a nice little medley and a choir special I particularly enjoy. (I still can’t remember what “Noel” means. I should google it.)
Where I sit in church places me in the line of sight of several staff members during worship, both on stage and off, and it’s really hard not be a little voyeuristic. I noticed several members of our leadership were not only not singing – they looked downright bored. Until, of course, the non-seasonal songs of their preference came up, and then the eyes were closed and the arms were raised. And then, of course, twenty minutes later we are (correctly) told we should be able to worship without regard to our personal stylistic preference.
I’m sorry, but what part of “Mild He lays His glory by/Born that man no more may die/Born to raise the sons of earth/Born to give them second birth” doesn’t absolutely thrill you, as a believer?
I know I’m just a girl in the congregation, so my words will mean nothing to the church hierarchy, but it seems like we have been so (rightly) focused on worshiping Jesus as he is today, we forget to be thankful to God for sending him in the first place.
After all, that’s what Christmas really is all about. It’s the Christian Thanksgiving, not just Jesus’ birthday party. It is to take a day or a season to focus on specifically thanking God for sending us Jesus so that he was able to reconcile us to God, as the (Christmas) song says.
And that’s what the Christmas music is about. It seems like we have pushed it to the side, as though we should acknowledge it so we don’t make anyone mad but not really focus too much on it because we like our contemporary praise and worship theme we’ve been building on.
But, unless you are singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you are singing praise to God, whether in adoration or thanksgiving.
If the commercialization of Christmas distracts you, it’s not commercialization’s fault.
If you can’t worship God through Christmas songs, it’s not the songs’ fault.
Here are the lyrics from my favorite song rendition this year, a juxtaposition of two traditional songs. Next time you’re getting overwhelmed by the pressures of this week, recall these words, think of the men who wrote them, and the reason we sing them. It’s better than any 7/11 song you’ll sing all year.
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to rein
Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Worship Him, God Most High
God bless us, every one.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
If this doesn't make you want to say "Merry Christmas" to every Target cashier, I don't know what will.
I had to post this email I sent to my kid's teacher yesterday. They had to do an assignment to draw pictures depicting each step in the Kwanzaa holiday. Last year my oldest daughter had to sing Kwanzaa songs in choir while also singing Christmas carols. I just could not take this crap any more. This is the email I sent. Feel free to google anything below to verify what I said is true. Don't let your kids get this kind of communist propaganda from a self described racist and Marxist!
Madison and I think you are a wonderful teacher and we both agree that she has learned a lot and enjoys your class. However, I wanted to write you about something I am very concerned about.
Why is my child learning about and honoring a Marxist and Racist holiday invented by a convicted felon?
If the Ku Klux Klan invented a holiday would we celebrate that as well in the name of "multiculturalism?" My child last year during chorus had to sing Kwanzaa during Christmas. I bit my lip but no more. This is NOT AN AFRICAN FESTIVAL. It was completely fabricated by a left wing angry racist ex-convict.
Did you know?:
1. "When Maulana Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from "classical Marxism," he essentially explained that under Kawaida, we also hate whites.”
2. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, in 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa.
3. Just five years after his invention of Kwanzaa, he was convicted of torturing two black women by stripping them naked, beating them with electrical cords, placing a hot iron into the mouth of one and mangling the toe of the other in a vice. During the ordeal, he forced them to drink detergent.
Did you know any of this? If not, now that you do are you going to continue to propagandize our children?
I do not want any more assignments given to my child in this regard. I also strongly suggest you inform other parents of the details of this holiday and of the person who INVENTED it. I will pass this email on to other parents I know. However, I do not plan to escalate this issue unless Madison is punished in some way or continues to receive disguised communism lessons written by self described Marxists.
Thank you for your understanding. The direct tone of this letter is not directed at you. I don’t know if you invent these lessons or simply have them dictated to you by the Chapel Hill School system. If you wish to discuss this further please contact me. I will be happy to come and in and discuss this face to face with you and the Principal.
I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Law sought to prove candidate citizenship in Oklahoma
Lawmaker wary of Obama record
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT
December 12, 2008
Theresa Cao speaks about President-elect Barack Obama's proof of U.S. citizenship outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday Dec. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A state lawmaker, motivated by swirling questions on whether President-elect Barack Obama meets the U.S. Constitution’s citizenship requirement, said Thursday he will file a bill requiring anyone who files for office in Oklahoma to show proof of citizenship.
"This could have taken care of the whole thing if we had a state law that any candidate has to show it up front,” said Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow.
Under a proposed bill by Ritze, all candidates, from those running for district attorney to president, would be required to provide a copy of a certified birth certificate and a driver’s license or some other form of government-issued identification at the time they file with the state Election Board.
No identification is required to file for an office with the state Election Board, although candidates sign an affidavit stating that they are registered voters.
Ritze, a physician, said he has a master’s degree in forensics and has had extensive training in analyzing documents and has read about the documents the Democratic president-elect has submitted.
Ritze said he does not believe Obama submitted an authentic copy of his birth certificate.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes said he hadn’t seen the proposed legislation, but it appears to "be another typical Republican ploy of sour grapes.”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Obama’s electoral eligibility Monday. More challenges are pending.
The Obama campaign last summer produced copies of his birth certificate, which showed he was born in a Honolulu hospital Aug. 4, 1961. It had a Web site, fightthesmears.com, to refute what it calls misinformation about Obama.
"Both our national and state constitutions are clear in what they require for a person to be qualified to hold elected office,” Ritze said.
"If a person can’t prove their citizenship, they have no business attempting to represent the people of this state.”
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Cleveland County is trying to screw us over again.A short while ago, Norman City Council took a section of the city and exempted it from property taxes, the idea being that it would encourage retailers to come there and generate a bunch of sales tax revenue for the city. Which sounds great. I'm all about exempting as many people and places from taxes as possible. And, so far, the plan seems to be working. Retailers moved into the area and are doing well.
But of course, we've hit a snag. Cleveland County wants a new jail. And they are supposed to use Norman property taxes to pay for that jail. And now they don't quite have the income they are used to and were expecting to put toward said jail.
The answer? Raise county sales tax!
This means that those of us who live in Moore and Oklahoma City and every other city that is in Cleveland County will get our sales taxes raised to pay for Norman's jail.
I know what you're going to say, that it's a county jail and we live in Cleveland County so it's only fair that we be taxed, too.
No. This was the Norman City Council's doing, and now they are trying to make Moore, SOKC, Noble, Box, Clothier, Corbett, Denver, Slaughterville, Little Axe, Maguire, McKiddyville, Hall Park, Etowah, Franklin, Lexington, Needmore, Spring Hill, Stella and Willow View city residents pay Norman's sales tax for Norman's jail the way we are having to pay for Norman's library and Norman's roads.
And you Norman city residents shouldn't be too excited about this, either. This is your city council that screwed this all up, and now they are literally passing the buck to you, as usual. Haven't you had enough of these guys?
This is the Norman City Council's fault. Let them fix it without penalizing the rest of us.
The vote to increase the sales tax is this Tuesday! Of course, the sneaky little creeps haven't exactly advertised it.
So, already this year, we in SOKC have had to pay extra sales tax for the Maps for Millionaires so Clay Bennet has something to do on Friday nights. And we got extra sales taxes for the transaction between Tinker AFB and GM (there's your bailout, already). We also got our property taxed raised in the summer to go towards Norman's library. Now they are trying to make us pay even higher sales tax for the jail in Norman.
Don't let them get away with it. Vote no.
By the way, I wouldn't have even heard about this if it weren't for Rep. Mike Reynolds. He's the reason you are hearing about it and are aware that you have the opportunity to vote 'No.' Just FYI.
UPDATE: There's been some confusion as to the nature of the city/county property tax. Let me try and clear this up. The entire county's property taxes were to be put toward the jail without the creation of a new tax. But because Norman made certain areas property tax exempt, they can't pony up their share of the building fund, so they want to increase sales tax throughout the county to make up the difference.
I will also add, we need to be concerned about the fact that this tax is being used to fund a one-time project - building a building - and that the tax will continue once the intended use for it is past, or after the building is built. It's not like once the jail is completed they're going to say, okay, finished that one, we can lower your sales tax back. Remember the Ford Center.
Here is an image of the ballot. Note the stated yet still oddly vague supposed time-limit on the tax. (Click the image for larger view).
Also, they want to increase the sales tax a full percentage! That would make Cleveland County sales tax over 9%, making it the highest in the Central OK area. That'll be great for the economy.
The measure passed 63%-37%. That's still 36.5% more than I expected. At least we tried. We'll get 'em next time.