Category: religion

What If Jesus Doesn’t Come Again?

If Jesus doesn’t come again that would mean a broken promise. That would un-hinge the entire Christianity thing. Big problem.

This brilliant subject came to me this morning, and it occurred to me that I had never doubted the scriptures at all. As far as I was concerned, Jesus is coming again. This promise was made about two thousand years ago, but we have not seen our Redeemer since.

So, if we are waiting for the Second Coming and it never happens, just when will we as individual Christians figure it out? Yeah, I know this is some pretty loose philosophical thinking, but it is my thinking.

If Jesus does a no-show, does that mean no eternal life? Does it mean that He doesn’t sit at the right hand of God? What about those pearly gates. Will they still be there? Will St Peter get tired of waiting and go out to a permanent lunch?

Christians take everything on faith. That’s a pretty important concept. Everybody, every day takes much of life on faith, like faith the banking system won’t fail, or faith the old Ford will start once more to get them to work, Some people say they don’t believe in God, but put their faith in science. Science gets an overhaul every few years as new discoveries are made, and old beliefs are trashed. I don’t think it would be smart to put one’s faith in science.

Is the Second Coming  just a ruse to keep little guys like me going to church, giving money, and witnessing my faith to the world? If when year after year Jesus doesn’t come, does this mean that I have fallen for a Jesus trap? Am I like the misbegotten souls who hide away in caves waiting for the end of the world?

When I became a Christian I didn’t do it for insurance on the off-chance that God exists. When you become a Christian, you are in it lock, stock, and barrel. You are in for real. That’s why we believe the second coming will be real, even if it happens long past our lifetimes.

We know what to expect.  That is what our faith demands.

65% Of Democrats Favor Gay Marriage

From Pew Research:

Percentage of populations favoring gay marriage:

Democrats – 65% (2008 – 50%)

Independents – 51% (2008 – 44%)

Republicans – 24% (2008 – 19%)

The referenced Pew research polls show that favorability of gay marriage has increased substantially over the last four years (2008 to 2012).

The gap between Republicans and Democrats has widened, and so has the gap between Republicans and Independents. Politically, this would suggest that the Republicans suppress talk about gay marriage during the election, but I doubt that will happen.

One speculation in the Pew article is that the reason for the increased tolerance of gay marriage may have to do with a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality in general. This has apparently taken place over a long period of time, and not just in the last four years.

My purpose for publishing this information is not to get the same old arguments going about gay vs straight, but to ask the question, “Should Republicans make a big deal of the Democrats new policy of advocating gay marriage in the Presidential election?”

What do you think?

What Happens After We Die?

The answer depends upon whom you ask. To accommodate any after-life scenario, you have to believe in some sort of spirit quality of your being. There you have it, spirit or no-spirit. That’s the first step. After that first step, things get a little cloudy.

I will never forget that Saturday Night Live skit where, as people died, they were sent through a long tunnel towards a bright light. When they arrived at the bright light, it was a white-on-white waiting room, and a big voice instructed them to get in line, and “Take A Number”.

Of course, the allusion was to the idea that after-life was pretty much like regular life. You would be subjected to all the frustrations of a regular, hectic, commute-to-the-city-in-rush-hour existence.

There are psychics out there that claim to talk to dead people, and I think you have to be very careful. It seems to be a popular scam.

Psychics claim to be able to talk to dead people’s spirits. So, where are all those spirits when they are chatting with your expensive psychic? Is there, indeed, a cosmic waiting room?

Christians believe that those who believe in Jesus Christ will go to be with Him, and most call this place, Heaven. Others will be on the next train to somewhere else, most likely the Biblical Hell. There is no mention in the Bible about a collection room, or a stopping off place.

To believe in psychics, we have to give the “cosmic waiting room” concept validity. The dead must be in a place where they are free to speak.

Do you really think the dead are able to talk back from Heaven, or Hell? The Bible tells us that we will be singing praises to the glory of God. I won’t have any time to talk to a mere psychic, so please, don’t expect any talk-back after death from me! On the other hand, even though Hell is a busy place, I would imagine that pretty much everybody in that place would be anxious to talk to the living about avoiding a hellish ending. This does make some sort of weird sense.

A big problem with our conception of death is time. The Bible erases the idea that time will exist. After all, we will be spending eternity wherever we are, and time is meaningless in that context. Our physical concept of time will not apply.

Considering everything, I don’t believe there is a cosmic waiting room after death. I don’t believe there is a train, or moving sidewalk that takes you toward a bright light. There may be bright lights, but I believe that after you die, things are pretty much instantaneous. There will be no  concept of time.

After we die, we will, indeed, meet our maker.

I don’t believe in psychics. There may be some other explanation for their claimed conversations, but I don’t believe they are talking to the people they claim.

I will stick to the old-time religion. After death, I will meet God.

What World Do You Live In?

Picture of a duck in the water.
Duck picture from Wikipedia

“She is like a duck. She gets up in a new world, everyday.”

This is what my Dad said about one of my cousins. My Dad was right. My cousin never lets the bad things in life get her down, and is always in a good mood. It is like she shakes off her worries every night, and gets up the next morning  with a whole new attitude.

There are people who spend their days worrying about the basics of life, and we need to recognize this and help them.

There are also people who spend their days worrying about all the little things that can affect them. These people can avoid a lot of their worry.

I think most of us are caught in between, having times of depression and worry, interspersed with times of security and happiness. Maybe that is a good definition of happiness, not worrying about things.

Having spent a career as a salesman, I know that one’s fundamental attitude about life will determine whether you are happy and successful. Life is all about attitude, and you can choose how you see things. Sometimes, we encounter defeats and losses, but your attitude determines how you are ultimately affected.

Life is also about perception, how we perceive ourselves, and how others perceive us. If we encounter life each day with a positive attitude and a willingness to work our problems, others will perceive us as happy, successful people. Success breeds success, and you will find yourself going from one successful encounter to the next, all because you started the day with a good, positive attitude.

What can you do to get yourself into that positive attitude each day? There are many ways to do this.

You can think positive thoughts. That’s a good start.

Dale Carnegie classes have an exercise that will get you going. Just repeat the words, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic…” while performing vigorous exercise, and you can achieve two things. Your pulse rate is physically quickened, and because your blood is flowing a little faster, your mental processes are kicking into a higher gear. Try it.

Another piece of wisdom from Dale Carnegie, and countless others, is to pray. Ask God each day to shoulder your worries, and give you the confidence to fight and win the countless little battles you will encounter. By the time you run into a big problem, you will be way ahead of the game. Prayer can work miracles.

Dale Carnegie was a tremendously successful person, and his career was spent making others understand how to be happy and successful. This was due in no small part to Carnegie’s Christianity. Therein lay the source of his success.

I choose to live in a world figuratively full of sunshine and happiness. I love each day, and enjoy the blessings that inevitably come my way. I pray that I am not a worry to others, for healing the sick, and  I pray for competency in our political leaders. Yep! Since they are in office it would be nice if they did the right thing, occasionally. God has a lot more influence in those cases than I.

What kind of world are you living in? I believe most people are happy most of the time. Maybe that is because I don’t like to hang around people who gripe and complain about their situation.

Life is too short to spend your days worrying about things you cannot control. That’s God’s job.

The Holy Book

picture of an old, illustrated BibleWhat is it that makes a book holy?  Wikipedia says a holy book is text or scripture considered sacred by a religion. That can cover a lot of territory, but it will do for my little article.

As Christians, we have the Holy Bible which is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. We view the Bible as the story of the relationship between God the Creator, and mankind. It starts with poetic words in the first chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament, and ends with apocalyptic words in Revalations, the last book of the New Testament.

In between we read of how God favored one people over another, and how this relationship waxed and waned throughout history. With the New Testament, God gives us a new deal in the person of His Son, Jesus. We are given salvation through the act of Jesus sacrificial death, and all we have to do is believe.

Salvation is the gift of God.

Throughout history, Christianity has been under attack. So has the Holy Bible. People deface the Bible, call it fraudulent, drag up inconsistencies in the texts, and generally try to discredit this work. There have been attacks upon attacks.

With all the attacks, the Bible still stands as God’s Word. We Christians take offence to the defacing of the Bible, but we are smart enough to know that the Bible is just a book made up of paper and other materials necessary to present the text. The important stuff is the Word of God.

The Word of God cannot be destroyed. The Word of God is much more than just words. As the New Testament Book of John says in its very first verse, ” In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Argument after argument is posed that there are inconsistencies, and contradictions in the Bible. One of the most egregious readings was done by none other than Carl Sagan, dead scientist, astronomer and talk-show publicity hound.

In Sagan’s book, Contact, he takes a shot at there being two contradictory creation stories in the first chapter of Genesis. He is correct, there are two stories. However, there is only one way you can read a contradiction into the text, and that is to not understand the context. Sagan decided to take the accounts in an ultra-literal way, thereby establishing different orders for the creation of mankind, animals, and the earth.

There is danger in reading a text that was written in older languages in times when things were different. Context can be everything, and Sagan chose to ignore this. This is called the Fallacy of Contextualism. The link takes you to a scholarly article on this very subject.

In spite of all the seeming contradictions, we still hold to our beliefs. God’s Word does not need our defense. Our job is to spread it.

This brings me to the reason for my writing this article. Christians should defend, and spread the Word of God. However, just burning a Bible, or defacing a Bible has no effect on the power and longevity of God’s Word.

We don’t need to riot, kill, and generally go insane because some people deface or defame our Christianity or the Holy Bible. Jesus and the Bible are stronger than this, and we know that the story of Jesus, and God’s Word cannot be stamped out with a few book burnings.

Whitney Houston Was A Christian

Her funeral was a celebration of her life and how she affected others. This is the way Christians do things. We are sad when our loved ones die, but we also celebrate their lives and their union with Jesus. This is a major difference with Christianity as opposed to other religions.

Whitney Houston’s funeral was held at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The church’s name is telling of Christians. The name, New Hope, connotes the hope that Jesus Christ gives us. We are forgiven our sins, and believe that anybody can receive God’s salvation. It is free, and the new hope for mankind.

Whitney knew this, as did the members of New Hope Baptist Church, her home church where she was raised. She knew that no matter how bad things got in life, she was comfortable with her place in eternity. She was gifted with a most beautiful voice, and a career few of us can imagine. She also fell into an abusive marriage with Bobby Brown, and was prey to drug addictions.

God has forgiven her. She is in his presence, now.

As I listened to the sermon by gospel singer and pastor, Marvin Winans, I understood his message. He said with relation to mankind that “you don’t just appear…”, meaning that there is a reason for your appearance in this world. Whitney Houston undoubtedly had a purpose.

We are all sad at her leaving, but we must not forget her faith.

Heaven Is For Real – Book Review

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

 – Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Occasionally, a book or story is published about near death experiences (NDE), which are accounts of people who have supposedly been near death, or actually died only to return to the living with stories an afterlife complete with heaven, angles, and God. The stories are encouraging to those who believe in God, and they usually support the things we have read in the Bible or the way we have learned to see heavenly things.

Picture of Book Cover for Heaven Is For Real
The Story Of A Little Boy Who Went To Heaven, And Back!

This book, Heaven Is For Real, was written about a little boy, Colton Burpo, who suffered from a ruptured appendix, and was mis-diagnosed by his local, small town doctors. With poison raging in the childs system for several days, the parents in a desparate move whisked the child off to a metropolitan hospital.

The life of three year old Colton Burpo was touch and go for over a week. His parents were concerned that their little boy would not survive. The father, Todd, is a pastor of a small church, and called upon his church family and friends to pray. After a couple of desperate operations, and much prayer, the child survived the ordeal.

Colton’s story did not end with surviving and living happily ever after. As three year old children are wont to do, little Colton spoke in a fashion children seem to prefer, directly and honestly. The descriptions started issuing forth from the young man about having been held in the lap of Jesus, the presence of Jesus’s Dad (God), and the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Throw in some Angels dressed in white garb with belts of gold, and you start to wonder just how much was in Colton’s out of body trip to heaven, and how much was in his memory banks from his father’s sermons and overheard conversations.

That’s the rub. It is easy for believers to treat the story as real, and equally easy for skeptics to doubt the story.

Todd Burpo, father and pastor, does explain at length that the descriptions were a surprise to him and his wife. In talking with their son over several months, they tried to not lead him in his answers. To Todd’s veracity, there are a few validating things that Colton described.

Colton related an out of body experience when he could see himself on the operating table, along with the doctors and staff working on him. He also said that he saw his father in a small room praying while his mother was talking on a cell phone, simultaneously. Since neither parent had talked about that particular moment, they realized something might be going on.

Later in the book, the child tells Todd that he met Todd’s grandfather in heaven. Now, Colton never saw his great-granddad and Colton did not recognize a picture of the great-granddad in his sixties when shown. Later Colton did recognize a picture taken when great-granddad was in his thirties. The little boy said that there were no old people in heaven, and nobody wore glasses as portayed in the old man’s picture.

I am prone to be skeptical of stories like this, but I do like the story, and have chosen to believe it.

Why do I believe it? You will just have to read it for yourself. You can buy the Kindle edition for about $5.00, and the print edition for a little over $10 on Amazon.com