Monthly Archives: December 2015
Suppose you’re a high-school football coach that has received praise and accolades in your annual review for the last 7 years. You’ve also been told by athletes and parents about what a good influence you are on the players and what a great role model you are. You don’t do anything special or different for your entire tenure as a coach. Then, one day you find out the school is placing you on administrative leave and suggesting you not be re-hired.
What would you think?
That is the position coach Joe Kennedy found himself in when the local Washington state school district he worked for refused to allow him to continue saying silent prayers on the football field.
Here’s the story.
In 2008 Coach Kennedy saw the movie “Facing the Giants” and decided to start praying for his team. He would stroll out to the field before and after games to say a silent prayer for the athletes. He didn’t tell anyone, didn’t invite anyone, he just started praying. Before long members of his team joined him and they would silently pray before and after games. No one was forced. No one was disciplined or removed from the team for not praying. It was a completely voluntary routine.
It’s clear from the plain understanding of these laws that anyone, not just a church, has the right to live and do business according to their sincerely held religious beliefs. The idea that the Supreme Court or any governing body can force a person to support anything that violates their conscience or religious convictions is completely foreign to the American Constitution. (This includes the taxpayer funding of abortion.) Our Founders specifically sought to create a place where people would not be forced to violate their convictions.
The proposed resolution goes on to cite cases from around the country where Christians have been prosecuted for their refusal to support same-sex “marriage.” These examples include a photographer in New Mexico, baker in Colorado, florist in Washington, and others that have seen their business and personal lives thrown into turmoil by an overzealous government and complicit media that are chomping at the bit to make examples of anyone that refuse to bow to their agenda.
The resolution goes on to propose the following law designed to protect churches and the people that work for them, as well as religious organizations and their employees and Christian-owned businesses:
I don’t know what the first “Christmas” was like. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t called Christmas. And I’m fairly certain that Mary, Joseph, and anyone else involved didn’t quite know what was going on. They knew a baby was being born. They knew God had spoke to them and told them everything would be okay. But beyond that I’m not sure the full impact of that day was realized.
Over the years Christmas has evolved into a day filled with traditions and celebrations that are joyful and festive. Some have to do with that baby born in a manger many centuries ago. Some are simply a product of cultural evolution. Some are…strange (egg nog…really?).
“Mary Did You Know” is one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. I listen to versions of the song with careful scrutiny to determine who has done the song justice and who should never have tried to sing it. (I’ll keep my personal favorite to myself.)
One thing is for certain, Peter Hollens has done an absolutely amazing job with his Acapella version of the song. As he begins to sing, sitting on a church pew, it seems odd that it is just him. I couldn’t help but wonder what caused the video to be viewed a million times in 48 hours. But then, another five “Peter Hollens” join the original to finish the song. As I sat watching one man sing six parts in a flawless performance I was moved. Yes, it’s that good. and yes, you need to watch it.
Enjoy this stunning rendition of a beautiful song with deep theological truth in the lyrics. Let your heart and mind be blessed by the truth of the song.
What strikes me about her comment is her realization that her emotions were not trustworthy. Anna seems to recognize that true love is not about feelings but choices. In our current culture love is an emotion. It’s something people feel, and, therefore, can un-feel. So it’s no surprise that people fall into and out of love. But this show a misunderstanding of what true love is. The reality is that love is a verb. Love is the decisions we make each and every day.
Anna is right that what she is going through is a betrayal, and it’s hard. But she is also correct in that if she were to react according to her emotions she would surely make a “mess” into a “disaster.” So often people turn a mess, a fixable mess that could be overcome, into a disaster. Often that disaster is permanent and cannot be overcome. They do this by reacting emotionally rather than making choices consistent with a proper understanding of love.
Let’s use this example to illustrate what I’m talking about.
One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” From the melody and harmonies to the theologically rich lyrics, this song is a beautiful reminder that we are still awaiting our promise for Messiah’s return. Consider the first verse and refrain of the song:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
The song continues to teach theological truth and inspire worship from there. If you too love inspiring music and incredible musical ability, you will love this rendition of the famed Christmas carol. The Piano Guys have a gift for making some amazing instrumental music. This is no exception. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.
There’s an enormous misunderstanding regarding the Constitution and religion that is causing all sorts of trouble for folks that just want to pray. The misunderstanding is being intentionally propagated by an atheist group that doesn’t want to see religious expressions in public.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has a notion that government and religion are mutually exclusive. They have as their mission “to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state.” The problem here is that there is no such “constitutional principle.” Nowhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence is there a word about keeping religion out of public life; or the so-called “separation of church and state.” In fact, what the Constitution does say is that the government has no authority to make any laws pertaining to the free exercise and expression of religion.
But that doesn’t stop this atheist group from demanding that coaches not take part in team prayers.
One of the latest cases comes from Naperville, Ill. where a high school football coach is under fire for simply being present with his players during team prayers. (Click here to read the local article) The complaint came after a picture of the team, including the coaches, was sent to the FFRF. They sent a letter to the school district demanding the action cease immediately.
I’m a fan of a capella music. So when I saw this video it was a no-brainer to share it. A recent article shares a brief description of the musicians singing and their purpose for the video:
“Two a capella groups from Brigham Young University teamed up with an interfaith nonprofit to release a stunning version of ‘Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful’ — a rendition that they hope will help people ‘remember the real reason that makes this season so joyful.’ BYU singing groups Vocal Point and Noteworthy joined Faith Counts, a nondenominational organization, to produce the song as well as an associated video:
“As another holiday season comes upon us and life seems to speed up in a frenzy of party planning and gift buying, take a few minutes to slow down and remember the real reason that makes this season so joyful.”
I couldn’t agree more. Slow down for a few moments and reflect on the purpose this season exists. Without the birth of Jesus we would not have anything to celebrate. This video is stunning and I hope you will not only watch it but that you will share it and bless someone else.” Merry Christmas.
It seems everyone these days is interested in sex in some way. Whether we’re talking about heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual or transsexual; everyone is interested in sex in one way or another. Everyone except for…the asexual person.
Asexuality is defined as follows:
“the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. It may also be an umbrella term used to categorize a broader spectrum of various asexual sub-identities.”
Most of us will have a hard time comprehending a life where sex is of absolutely no interest. We can’t begin to understand what it would be like to live with no attraction to anyone. And in our highly sexualized culture the idea that someone is entirely unconcerned with sex is even harder to understand. But there may be value in understanding this sexual orientation sub-culture and what part, if any, they play in the ongoing discussions of gender, sexuality, and marriage.