"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jesus vs. Santa: The Babe or the Blarney

     One night-before-Christmas when I was two or three, I needed to tell Mummy and Daddy something after they'd tucked me in. I worked my way out of bed and was halfway down the stairs when I heard their voices. I peered through the railing and saw my parents standing before the fireplace. Murmuring together, one bent to pick up objects and hand them to the other, who was stuffing them into our stockings.
     They were doing Santa Claus' job and I knew at once they wouldn't be doing his job if he existed to do it for himself. Although they never knew I saw them, I never believed in Santa again. I felt betrayed. It was hard to believe Santa had betrayed me since he didn't exist. So I knew Mummy and Daddy were the frauds.
     I lost trust in my parents' credibility and I haven't liked Santa Claus since.
    I probably wouldn't have wanted to raise my children believing in Santa anyway, but when I became a believer in Jesus Christ at 19, my commitment to the only Source of "every good and perfect gift," who is a jealous God and will not share His glory with another, cinched my convictions. An invisible Being who was omniscient about motives and actions, omnipresent at least on Christmas Eve--an eternal Being who could reduce himself supernaturally to fit down a chimney, who answered prayers and performed miracles--was definitely competing with my God for His glory. Perpetuating the lie was idolatry.
     I knew the person of Santa Claus was based on St. Nicholas, who was good to the poor. It didn't make any difference. I didn't want my children finding out one invisible, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal Being we'd taught them to believe in was a fraud. Wouldn't they doubt the other One, the real One--the One who could supernaturally fit Himself into a manger, even into a woman's womb? Wouldn't they doubt us, the ones who had taught them myth and truth side by side? Wouldn't they throw the Baby out with the blarney?
     But Rick, my first husband, didn't see any problem with including Santa Claus in our Christmas. Santa had been a fun part of his growing up. He dismissed my concerns as groundless. Of course our kids would be able to distinguish between J. C. and S.C.!
     So on Christmas Eve, we'd send the kids to bed early "so Santa could come." Sometimes Rick got them really excited as they lay there trying hard to sleep, by telling them he could hear hooves scrabbling on the roof or distant whinnies. In the morning, a couple of the gifts would be labeled "from Santa." For my part, I downplayed the portly elf. I avoided Santa-decorated wrapping paper and figurines (except for the one where Santa, hat off, kneels before the manger). I still do.
     I don't know when I realized the kids were playing the game with us--as a game. Maybe it was the first time our daughter spoke into the lull after she and her brother had emptied their stockings: "Oh, I think Santa's coming back! He forgot something. Mom and Dad, I think you'd better leave the room."
     When we came back, our own stockings were bulging with all our favorite treats: nuts and sugar-free syrup for Rick, peanut M & Ms and marinated artichoke hearts for me. We gave Santa big hugs by proxy and the tradition was set.
     Time passed. Now our children were teenagers and the only child in the family was their cousin Andy. One Christmas morning when Andy's mother Linda (Rick's sister) went into the living room to turn up the furnace and turn on the tree lights, she discovered that the bichon frise had chewed through the wrappings of a package containing something edible and had ingested a good chunk of it (with no effects on him at all).
     It took all of us to convince a dubious Andy later that Prancer had eaten the left rear panel of his new chocolate Ferrari.
     Somehow, through it all, the kids grew up believing Jesus Christ is God and Santa Claus is a game. I underestimated them. They're not confused and their faith survived intact. And each year I add an angel or manger scene to the branches of the Christmas tree.

First posted Dec. 19, 2010

Saturday, November 11, 2017


If you claim to be a Christian - LOVE YOUR REPUBLICAN NEIGHBOR!

I am a Republican. A pro-life, anti-nuke Republican.

It hurts when those of you who don't agree with me yet claim to represent the party of inclusivity, tolerance and love drag into every discussion of these issues name-calling and condemnation not only against my--our--President but against all Republicans. Against me.

I, too, hate the president's policies regarding nuclear weapons. They are scary, appalling. I voted for him because of his policies on so many other issues: abortion, marriage, the economy, Israel, immigration, freedom of speech, religious freedom. I support his choices for members of his cabinet and of the courts, including the Supreme Court.

And I thought the alternatives were worse.

If you claim to be a Christian - LOVE YOUR DEMOCRATIC NEIGHBOR!
I used to be a Democrat. A pro-life, anti-nuke Democrat.

It hurts when those of you who didn't agree with me yet claim to be the party of truth and integrity dragged into every discussion of these issues name-calling and condemnation of all Democrats. Of me.

I, too, believe we must respect and obey the law. I believe civil disobedience, when necessary, should be first and foremost--civil. I believe we should respect each other's rights and property. I believe in equal opportunity, free enterprise and the Constitution. I believe in God.

Can't we set the expletives aside and discuss these things as brothers and sisters in Christ?

Friday, November 3, 2017


On November 4, ANTIFA, officially declared a domestic terrorist organization, has called for the beginning of nationwide anarchy--in 14 major American cities--to bring about the violent overthrow of the "Trump/Pence regime."

This is not an empty threat.  They have been fomenting discontent with lies since before the peaceful and legal election of President Trump--whether you voted for him or not, a majority of Americans did.  Bypassing the sane, civil, legally established ways of changing our government which our Founding Fathers put in place, they prefer to "steal, kill and destroy" instead.  You know whose tactics those are!
They claim to be "Anti-Fascist" but their definition of "Nazi" includes every one of us conservative, law-abiding citizens.

PRAY NOW and until this madness is quelled:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Philosophy of Martin Luther and the Reformation

Episode #5 of the course “Brief history of Renaissance and Modern philosophy”
The German theologian Martin Luther lived from the end of the 15th through the middle of the 16th century. He is most well-known for his 95 Theses, which he famously nailed to a church door to officially announce his philosophical separation from the church. He called for reform in the practices of the church itself, but even more so, in the ways that people thought about their relationship with God. Luther caused a great divide among believers of Christian Europe, and his words have rippled through history in unforeseen ways. Today, there are over 80 million Lutherans around the world and over a billion Christian Protestants, all because of Martin Luther’s influence.

Highly educated, Martin Luther received his Master’s degree the same year he had a life-threatening experience that gave him a spiritual revelation. He became a monk and dedicated his life to the service and understanding of God. Luther received multiple Bachelor’s and doctoral degrees and instructed at the University of Wittenberg. He preached against the contemporaneous Catholic practice of selling indulgences, which he saw essentially as receipts for a person’s payments toward salvation. He believed that people could come to salvation through faith alone and not by actions (including charitable donations to the church).

Martin Luther was one of the first secular writers whose work was widely distributed because of the newly-invented printing press. After declaring his perspective that each person who had been baptized could serve as a direct communicator with God, Martin Luther also was the first to translate the biblical scriptures into a language other than Latin. His translation of the Bible into German paved the way for translations into other languages and caused outrage in Catholic Europe. Luther died with his Catholic excommunication still in effect.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I know how Lot felt

"[God] rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)..." 2 Peter 2:7

Acknowledging that I am "righteous" only by the imparted righteousness of Jesus Christ, I want to say that I know how Lot felt.  My soul, too, is tormented day after day by the "sensual conduct of unprincipled men (and women)"!

In Long Beach over the past 20 years we have seen such a rapid playing out of the terrifying passage in Romans 1:18-32 which depicts the downward and ultimately lethal spiral God permits when people choose to push away and spurn their knowledge of God.

In this passage, note the causes and effects: what God revealed to people, what certain ones did and didn't do with that revelation and God's resultant verdict.  Note what was "exchanged" for what and the 3 things to which God "gave them over" as a result.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of an incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 

"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their acts.

"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."