Monday, December 31, 2012


From My Perspective - - -
The year-end panic pertains to a “fiscal cliff” and whether or not the way of life as it is known today will be vastly and greatly impacted tomorrow. There are those who believe it is a ploy to accomplish certain goals of the administration, such as (1) promote division among the “classes” within our nation by focusing on the “rich” (at best 2% of the population) and raising their taxes to 39.5% of reportable income; (2) minimize and marginalize the majority party in the House of Representatives by gendering strife and division among those with varying viewpoints (from centrist to conservative); and (3) by focusing on taxing the rich, it allows the administration to ignore curtailing spending and addressing the growing and unsustainable debt of the nation. There will be some compromises and, in most cases, they will be unprincipled and unconscionable.
It seems that several different things are occurring within the nation. In a subtle way, we may be gradually drifting toward the nation becoming a Fiefdom, namely, where a few gain control and are able to exert authority and influence in terms of direction and culture. It would become similar to Feudal Europe. At the outset, the goal and implementation of that goal is to actually produce a peasant class, namely, a culture where the government is the sole provider of a dependent portion of the populace. This will gradually progress until the peasantry begins to lose rights, freedoms and possessions. All too soon, they will become mere pawns in the fiefdom – but – they will realize what they have become – too late. This, in turn, will greatly impact the culture the populace thought they had as a birthright. Someone defined culture in this way: “culture defines who a person is, where they come from [in some cases], what they eat, what they wear, what they believe in.” What that doesn’t say is that a Fiefdom emerges, someone else will determine what you will eat, wear, believe in. The culture as we had come to accept it, namely, “the quality in a person or society in terms of what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits” will be eroded and greatly diminished to the point where fewer and fewer will have that privilege, and more and more will become increasingly dependent upon the few who will mete out in a begrudging manner to those who have become the peasantry within the dying culture and nation.
What can happen in a proportional way in this nation? In Genesis 30 through 50, one can read the Biblical narrative on the life of Joseph. The narrow focus in the Blog will be Genesis 41 and 42 when famine swept across the land and nations. In Genesis 41:36, Joseph had warned Pharaoh that a famine would take place and preparation needed to occur. Note: “This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine. Pharaoh concurred. We then read in Genesis 41:55-57, “When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, Go to Joseph and do what he tells you. When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world.” The narrative continues that when the money people had was exhausted, they brought their farm animals as barter for food. All too soon, when all their possessions were expended, they were required to deed their land to the nation. Afterwards, they worked the land – not for themselves for personal gain – but for the state. Their labors were for the food the government would ration to them. They owned nothing.
Could this actually occur in our nation? Have you heard the phrase used – “the redistribution of wealth”? What do you think that means and who will it impact? The people who have wealth and possessions will have them gradually taken by the state, and those who have become dependent on the state will receive rations from the possessions of others.There is a solution, a starting place, especially for the remnant known as the people of God – the Lord commits Himself to a cure in II Chronicles 7:14, “if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways – then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Consider these things with me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


From My Perspective - - -
In a competitive world, how one is defined is important. Another factor pertains to who does the defining. In the area of politics, the more effective campaigns have been successful at defining any or all of their opponents. It is painting a portrait of an individual and the tactic by an incumbent is to have the opponent spend his time and resources on arguing and defending against a negative. That is the plan and ploy as one candidate’s staff (usually the incumbent), rightly or wrongly, frames the discussion by forcing the adversary to discuss what they wish to have discussed rather than discussing policies and/or failures of the incumbent.
In other instances, profiling of a person or ethnic group occurs based solely on the language one uses or a suspicion about behavioral possibilities. Profiling is defined as: “using specific characteristics, as race or age, to make generalizations about a person, as whether he or she may be engaged in illegal activity.” It can occur in the public school system when a teacher or administrator becomes frustrated with a difficult student and enters into defining that student as incorrigible or one who will never amount to anything. If one teacher gives a student a D for his or her deportment, each seceding teacher observes that label or profile and probably give a similar opinion about the student’s behavior regardless of whether or not that is accurate, fair or correct. A person is defined by others. When it occurs when a child is young, it leaves one with a sense of “what’s the use of trying” and they begin to live up to the image that has been created, as well as the expectation that has become established. Is it fair? No! Should it be allowed? No! Can the student overcome the psychological scar and be more than what others have defined him or her to be? Yes!
An interesting example of one who has been defined by the Media is occurring with Tim Tebow and his association with the New York Jets football team. In his attempt to defend himself, Tebow stated: “I think the only thing that’s been disappointing these last few days and frustrating is people saying: ‘Oh, you quit on your team, or you’re not a good teammate.’ For people who do not know the situation, and then start to bash your character and say you’re a phony or you’re a fake or you’re a hypocrite, I think that’s what’s disappointing…You work your whole life to build a reputation…Then people try to tear you down when they don’t understand even what happened.” CBS Radio, the source of the story is undaunted and will not be confused by the facts states at the end of their article: “Do you believe that Tim asked out of running Wildcat plays, or do you think be did and is now trying to protect his image? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section…” In other words, CBS Radio will now allow a survey to either confirm their premise and profiling, or the reader/listener to define the character and reputation of a person! Shame on them!
In a narrower sense, there is a profile for one who claims to be a Christian. There are Character Traits and Expected Behavior. At the outset of His Ministry, Jesus Christ gave one of the characteristics in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved you. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This characteristic of love and a place for one to begin is stated in I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT), “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever…” Does this define who you are and what you consistently practice and display? When others are in your presence, do they have a sense that this is who you are or just an image that try to maintain when among “christians” who expect you to behave in a certain way? Jesus meant what He said! Do you desire His requisite to be perfected in you? Consider these things with me.

Friday, December 21, 2012


From My Perspective - - -
As Christmas Day approaches, there has always been an emphasis regarding being “merry” and “joyful”! However, for all too many, the Christmas Season is anything but “merry” and “joyful”! For the families in Newtown, Connecticut who have lost a child or loved one in the recent mass murder of innocent people, a permanent scar will be attached to the Christmas Season for years to come.  A headline story in the WSJ is, “War Tragedies Strike Families Twice.” The story touches upon the reality of the sorrow that overwhelms one because a loved one has been killed during two recent wars. The article continues, “Over the past 11 years of war, the U.S. has experienced a little-recognized suicide outbreak among the parents, siblings and spouses of the more than 6,500 Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
It seems as though we have become myopic in terms of those around us. We don’t completely understand the inner-turmoil of those who many encounter during a given day. We lack sufficient empathy in terms of how another is feeling or the issues which have become a burden in their lives. If a person isn’t showing merriment, a common reference is: “Stop being a Grinch.” Our myopia – “lack of foresight or discernment…narrow-mindedness or intolerance” – may not be intentional or deliberate. However, the one who is struggling at this time of the year needs understanding, encouragement and affirmation.
Another aspect of myopia occurs when older family members are either ignored, forgotten or passed by when a family event is being planned. The idea of “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…” is no longer in play in many situations. Parents (or Grandparents) are not included or made to feel like they are being patronized more than actually wanted as part of a family activity. Sometimes harsh words get exchanged and an elderly parent is ignored and allowed to languish during the Season when being “merry” and “joyful” is being referenced in cards, celebrations and song. The Older/Elderly parent is still young at heart and would love to be included – but – they still have an inner pride and will not ask to be invited. Also, they will not suggest that they should be because they have the sense that they are being intrusive more than being a wanted part of a gathering. There are those who had experiences in their past that have tarnished their ability to fully enter into being “merry” and “joyful” as they wish they could. In different churches, Pastors have congregants who see certain times of a year to be difficult. This is especially true for those who had the death of a loved one days before Christmas. Two families come to mind, when as a young child, the burial of a parent took place on the day before Christmas. Years pass but the memory of that moment in one’s life is not fully forgotten.
Someone wrote and stated well, the following: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3). Thus, honoring our parents is a command, which we dare not ignore. But there is a second reason for carefully studying the Fifth Commandment. Honoring our parents is one of the highest callings and the greatest tasks we face in life. There are two great tasks in life to which most of us are called. The first is the bearing and raising of children, to bring them from the absolute dependence of the womb, to the independence of adolescence, to the maturity of adulthood. The second is the caring for our own parents in their declining years. Often this involves the deterioration of the physical body, and frequently of the mind. The raising of children has its pains, but it usually is accompanied by the joy of seeing our children grow up, become mature and responsible, and independent. The caring for our parents is seldom as rewarding. The culmination of this process is the grave.” Is it possible for any of us to get beyond a myopic moment and realize there are people home alone, or in a Nursing Home or other care facility – who are still young at heart and would love to be part of a Family who wanted them present? Try to remember, and genuinely make time for others who feel alone and unwanted. In a familial sense, they would love to be “merry” and “joyful” as well. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


From My Perspective - - -

In governance or interpersonal relationships, is compromise the only course to achieve an acceptable goal? If an individual does not agree with the consensus of compromise, does that mean one is being unduly stubborn and/or dictatorial? Is there a proper place for the exercise of scruples in human discourse and decision-making, as well as being principled regardless of personal cost? What is compromise? It is usually defined as “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting principles by reciprocal modification of demands.” By way of contrast, what is meant by scruples? It is usually understood and applied as “a moral or ethical consideration or standard that acts as a restraining force or inhibits certain actions.” To be a person who is principled is strictly defined as one who is “imbued with or having moral values and standards.”

The Christian Post has a lead post today that reports: “In a Wednesday press conference, President Barack Obama again rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner's plan B proposal to increase taxes on millionaires while preserving tax cuts for everyone else. He also accused Republicans of being unwilling to compromise because they will not support his plan…Boehner's plan demonstrates that Republicans are unwilling to compromise, Obama continued. To show their willingness to compromise, Obama said that Republicans should pass his plan, which he described as at least halfway to the Republican position. Part of what voters are looking for is some compromise up here, Obama continued. That's what folks want. They understand that they're not going to get 100% of what they want. And for some reason, that message has not yet taken up on Capitol Hill."

Question: Is the preceding paragraph true? Is the statement “Part of what voters are looking for is some compromise up here” a valid assessment and a valid desire of how voters wish to be governed? When was an assessment made of the scruples, principles and moral values conducted in a particular and serious way? On the World Forum Dialogue Of Civilizations Webpage, the following was submitted on September 14, 2012 by Francisco Tatad where he championed a principle and moral value for life: “Surrender is not an option, Compromise is not the Solution. That is our theme. It is the only correct position to take. That is to say, if we truly believe the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family is worth fighting for. Or even dying for…” Do you subscribe to that principled declaration? Do you believe we are at a crossroad where “Surrender is not an option, Compromise is not the solution” should be embraced? Is there anything you believe is worth dying for?

A Psalm of David expresses the consciousness one must have for life lived in a hostile culture. Psalm 101:2-8 establishes as the no surrender, no retreat, no compromise standard for life in these words: “I will be careful to lead a blameless life - when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord.” Does this Psalm describe your moral values and standard for life? Are these principles that you will not compromise regardless of any pressure to go contrary to them? The words of this Psalm establish the beginning place for one who will be committed to a life where scruples, moral values and Biblical principles will not be surrendered or compromised. Many would embrace the declaration: “The Bible is the only infallible rule for faith and practice.” If that is truly meant, then a decision for life has been made, namely, no compromise and no surrender – ever. Does Psalm 101 give definition of and purposeful meaning for your life? Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 17, 2012


From My Perspective - - -

Some of the early morning CNN Headlines included: (1) “Minutes Of Carnage Lead To Days Of Grief” and (2) A Season Of Peace Destroyed.” At a Prayer Vigil in Newtown, Connecticut, a BBC report is: “President Obama says the US must do more to protect children, at a vigil for the 26 victims of the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school. "I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation," Mr. Obama said, speaking after religious leaders and the state governor. "You are not alone in your grief. All across this land of ours we have wept with you." Mr. Obama repeated a call for action against gun crime, saying that in coming weeks he would use "whatever powers" his office held "in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” "We can't tolerate this anymore," he said. "These tragedies must end and to end them we must change." The complex causes of gun crime "can't be an excuse for inaction", he said.”

What powers of office does a President have for matters as great as this carnage? What is envisioned in terms of “protect the children”? Protect them from what? What kind of “change” can bring about a different behavior for one who is bent on committing a heinous crime or human slaughter? Will new laws being enacted accomplish such a change? Will new rules and regulations impact one who is calloused and possessing the intent to randomly kill and murder? Will a national conversation and congressional hearings accomplish the desired result of change?

One should not expect a secularist society to either admit or recognize that we have allowed for major changes in our culture already? The nation has allowed for gradual change for the past few decades. Part of a major change was allowing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) become a type of conscience for the American culture and litigate against various religious practices and symbols within our culture. The removal of Bible Reading and Prayer in the Public Schools was one objective for change, and they succeeded. The display of the Nativity Scene in public places, the public singing of Christmas Carols, the presence of Christmas Trees, and the greeting of Merry Christmas have all become the subject of discussion and change within our culture. A question that the ACLU and the Congress needs to consider is: Are we better off because of these changes? Does the President envision that his call for “change” would reinstitute any or all of the above? Our nation and culture of change has also allowed for violence to be presented in Film and Video Games. Ratings haven’t seemed to work whereas the desire for profit has dominated. Will this be some of the “change” the President speaks of and envisions?

Is there any way possible for a human power to suppress or eliminate evil? Does anyone have an idea or plan on how a nation that has become fixated on violence can be changed? There is an interesting notation in the Book of Genesis. In Genesis 6:5-7, “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them."  God had determined that He would cleanse His creation of wickedness and evil. However, would that bring about a changed culture? In Genesis 8:20-22, in the midst of God’s promise is an observation: “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." The observation is: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” The only action that will result in change is stated in II Corinthians 5:17-18, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…” Our culture needs to hear this message now and seek the only meaningful change in Jesus Christ now. Consider these things with me! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


From My Perspective - - -

This past Sunday during the morning sermon the Pastor used the word onomatopoeia. He was speaking about the Hebrew word (ruah) that means breath, wind spirit. The word is often associated with the Holy Spirit. Onomatopoeia has an interesting meaning: “the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated…the use of such words for poetic or rhetorical effect.” Some examples given are: hiss, buzz, bang, snap, crackle, pop, sizzle, gurgle, rustle, burp, etc. The Etymology Dictionary indicates that it is a word that has been in use since the year 1577.

Yesterday, One News Now posted a guest column entitled: “Free Speech Vs. Sound Of Silence” by Robert Knight. He is making a point about the words being used today in political rhetoric that mean something other than what they have usually meant. He notes: “America has become a country in moral free-fall, where silence is freedom of speech, religious suppression is tolerance, and atheism is the de facto official religion of the state. In George Orwell's futuristic novel 1984, a tyrannical government masks its activities through the use of Newspeak -- saying or doing something opposite of a word's meaning. The Ministry of Plenty oversees rationing and starvation; the Ministry of Peace wages war; the Ministry of Truth dispenses propaganda; and the Ministry of Love conducts torture. The operative slogans are: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength." … By deploying only the first half of the First Amendment's guarantee that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," the ACLU and other liberal groups are using the courts to redefine religious speech as second-class, fit only to be uttered on private property and behind closed church doors. That's why liberals have adopted the red-herring phrase "freedom to worship" to replace "freedom of religion." Nobody is threatening the freedom to worship, but religious freedom and religious speech are under assault daily somewhere in America…”

Where are we heading in this country where the Secularists are dictating the public discourse and where words are losing their true meaning? A large majority of people in this country indicate that December 25th should be recognized as Christmas and most would agree that it represents the Birth of Jesus Christ. They also believe that Decorated Trees in the home and public should be called Christmas Trees. If that is the case, why is the debate being waged and won by the secularists who are in the minority? If the nation has a Judeo-Christian bent in terms of moral and core values, how is it that it elects and re-elects one who champions a contrary and negative stance to those values? How quickly will the Sound of Silence become the increasing reality in this nation?

Once before in human history, there was a period of silence - four hundred years of silence. There was no prophecy about anything and people were living with the Sound of Silence - God was not speaking. Then, suddenly, Angelic activity occurred. Luke 1:11-13, an Angel appears to Zacharias and indicates that he and his wife Elizabeth will have a son – John, the Baptist. In Luke 1:26-35, The Angel Gabriel appears to a virgin named Mary and says to her: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you…Then the Angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus…” In Matthew 1:18-25, the Angel of the Lord appears to Joseph, and says: “do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." In Luke 2:1-20, The Angel appears to Shepherds in the field: “…an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" These are the sounds some would like to silence. However, you who claim to follow Jesus Christ should be silent no longer. You need to be a voice that is heard. You need to echo the message of the Angel. Speak up while you can – before you are forced to be silent. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


From My Perspective - - -

A benchmark represents a standard that is established and accepted as the norm unless or until there is credible evidence for making a change. In Land Surveying, it is a marked point of known or assumed elevation from which other elevations may be established. For more general matters, a benchmark is a standard of excellence or achievement against which similar things must be compared, measured or judged. For many years in Baseball, from 1927, the Record of 60 Home Runs in a season was held by Babe Ruth. That record was the benchmark in baseball until 1961 when Roger Maris hit 61 Home Runs in a season. In like manner, Ruth’s lifetime achievement of 714 Home Runs would be surpassed by Hank Aaron in 1974. Aaron would go on in 1974 to establish a new benchmark of 755 lifetime home runs. In 2007, Barry Bonds would surpass Aaron's record and go on to achieve 762 career home runs. In 2001, Bonds set a single season record of 73 home runs. However, as an old saying states: “records are made to be broken.” Until it is broken, it represents a benchmark of achievement.

A behemoth is represented as being any creature or thing of momentous size or power. It is of interest that the Reference Sources refer to behemoth as first mentioned in the Bible. In Job 40:15-24, “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. See now, his strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach muscles. He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron. He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword…Indeed the river may rage, Yet he is not disturbed; He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth, Though he takes it in his eyes, Or one pierces his nose with a snare.” The verbal picture drawn is of a large and unconquerable obstacle. No one is equal to the Behemoth and nothing can overwhelm it. The World Dictionary speculates that it might be “an animal, perhaps the hippopotamus.” They go on to state that it could be “any creature or thing of monstrous size or power.” It is something that is there that will terrify the timid and be an obstacle to the more bold.

Are there Benchmarks and Behemoths today? There is an apparent erosion of moral and ethical behavior and standards in our world and nation. It is strikingly similar to the words in Isaiah 59:1-5, “Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.” The decadence within our culture today mocks Christian Values and dismisses them as being of any importance or relevance. Truth is abused and falsehood is framed in such a way that one has merely misunderstood.

How have we gotten to this place in life? How far and how deep is the erosion of moral and ethical values? It is possible and likely that we are living in the context of II Thessalonians 2:9-14, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Does this describe our nation today? If not, we are not far-removed from it. In 1996, Judge Robert H. Bork wrote and published his work, “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.” A reviewer states: “He offers a prophetic and unprecedented view of a culture in decline, a nation in such serious moral trouble that its very foundation is crumbling: a nation that slouches not towards…Bethlehem…but towards Gomorrah.” One would have to agree that he was and is correct. Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 3, 2012


From My Perspective - - -

What is a Cultural Contribution? What is a Cultural Influence? What is a Cultural Fragmentation (“the disintegration, collapse, or breakdown of norms of thought, behavior, or social relationship”)? Where should the “church’ be in the overall Cultural Life of the nation and world? A few examples regarding cultural contributions; influence; and, fragmentation:

First: The Washington Post reported that the 2012 Kennedy Center honored seven individuals “for their cultural contributions to the nation.” Attached to this is the assessment “they inspire, invent and entertain.” In the article, there is a paragraph that states: “Producers George and Michael Stevens set the musicians in front of an enormous backdrop of a gloomy and decrepit gothic church. There were seizure-inducing strobes, bottom-rumbling bass lines and smoke effects, which may be why a small group of older folks tiptoed out.” The depiction and description of a “church” – “a gloomy and decrepit gothic church.” Is that a valid cultural assessment? Is that what should be understood and allowed by those who are being honored for their cultural influence and/or impact?  What if they had instead joined with “a small group of older folks tiptoed out” – what would have happened with their “Honor” and how would their “Cultural Influence” be assessed and viewed?

Second: Christmas Cards can have beautiful art work and displays – but – a picture can, and often does, speak a thousand words and reflect that which is a cultural priority. One beautiful picture shows a snow scene with a cozy home in the foreground. Just slightly removed from this home is a barn. In the background, distant to the home and barn, and on a slight decline is a Church building. While the art is beautiful, does the position and depiction of the church building differ very much from the Kennedy Center scene for a performance - “a gloomy and decrepit gothic church”?

Third: In a social network post, someone wrote regarding mega-churches: “I just came across a way of looking at mega-churches…Churches with built in schools, counseling and health services, and bowling alleys are assimilating one of lost functions of mass urban society. Namely, they are building their own ethnic neighborhoods.” Someone wrote in response: “How does this calibrate with a ‘fortress mentality’ approach and the ‘escape’ from the culture to which the ‘church’ is to minister? The ‘church’ is to be IN the world while not being OF the world. How can the ‘church’ be salt and light if it stays within a cocoon, a commune and/or self-imposed boundaries with just ‘Christians’ so-called?”

Fourth: Almost a decade ago, a government funded organization decided to publish their version of a Christmas Card. They were advertised as “choice” cards. Why? It took a liberty with Luke 2:14, and the words of the Angelic Choir: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" They changed the word “peace” to promote their social program by substituting “choice” - "choice on earth" (supporting a woman's right to an abortion)! Some chapters of this organization also offered Abortion Gift Cards. Interestingly, the effort of “Christmas Cards” failed to have a wide appeal and is greatly diminished.

What should the “church” be doing in terms of cultural contribution? One of the efforts to impact and influence the culture would be to respond to the Birth of Jesus Christ similarly to the Shepherds. In Luke 2:15-20, “…when the angels had gone away from them into heaven…the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” The shepherds “made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds…” And “…they returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” This should be Our Cultural Contribution and Influence. Are you caught up in the secular observances, or the spiritual celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ? Consider these things with me!