Whose Birthday is December 25?

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So, I learned something new this week.

Sir Issac Newton, the English physicist and mathematician, was born on December 25th.  I did not know that.

I learned this because Neil deGrasse Tyson, the well known American astrophysicist and author, tweeted about it on Christmas Day.

In fact, he tweeted out several things, about Christmas, Newton and Santa.  You can see screen captures of his tweets below.

His tweets caused quite a bit of outrage among many people; but mostly, I suspect, Christians.  There is a link below to one of the news stories about it; just google it and you’ll find plenty more if you desire.

I suppose some of the folks were upset because they took his comments to be disrespectful, antagonizing or both.

I’ve looked at his tweets several times, and while to me they seem mostly benign, I suppose this is a case where different people can read them differently.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the tweets were meant to be snarky, offensive, derisive and mean-spiritied.

My response is the same:  who cares?  And why would we expect any different?

We live in a society that is hypocritical, judgmental, rude, uncaring, selfish and self-absorbed.

And that’s just those of us claiming to be Christians.

There are plenty of folks in our pluralistic society, both famous and not, that speak and act derisively about and towards Christians.

But so what?  It was largely the same in Jesus’ time as well.

I just think that for those of us who proclaim to be followers of Jesus, the right reaction to such comments, even assuming they are intended to be offensive, etc, is grace.

Grace.

Perhaps we need to reacquaint ourselves with Jesus’ command that we turn the other cheek? Love our enemies?  Do good to those who hate us?

Yup, Jesus commands us to do all that in Luke 6:27-36.  Remember?

So why aren’t we doing that?

Why do we allow ourselves to get upset when folks say such things about Jesus or his followers today?  We shouldn’t.

What we should do is remember that Jesus loved all people.  So much so, that we believe he sacrificed his life for all of us.

Isn’t that the example we should be striving for?

We shouldn’t get mad or upset; or reply with nasty tweets of our own; or self-righteously holding ourselves up as better than the assumed offender.

Grace.  Simple grace.

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Article Link:  Neil deGrasse Tyson sparks Internet fight with Christmas tweets
Scripture link:   Luke 6:27-36
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

NGT-twit

Busy is the New “Fine”

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For as long as I can remember, when someone used to ask how you were doing, the default answer was “fine.”  It didn’t matter if you were actually fine or not, that was the response.

Now, I recognize that the interaction of “How are you?” followed by “Fine” was really more of a generic greeting.  It was’t ever really even a shallow discussion about how one was actually doing.

Nonetheless, today the most common response to “How are you?” seems to be “Busy.”

I’m busy.

I think there are a multitude of reasons as to why this is the case, but one of them is that we feel important if we appear to be “busy” to others.  If we’re busy, we must be in demand doing important things.  We must be important to be busy.

Well, if you as me that’s a bunch of malarky.  BUt there’s likely some truth in there.

Another possible explanation is that we are, in fact, actually overly busy.  And I’m concerned that is too often the case.

I saw recently some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It showed that for the “average” adult with children, we spend nearly 9 hours a day working and less than 8 hours a day sleeping.

After taking care of other responsibilities, like caring for children and the household among others, there is relatively little time left to rest and relax.

Gee, I wonder why we feel worn down and overwhelmed?

We need rest.  We need time to unwind.  We need time to “defrag.”  We need time to sit quietly and think.  We need time to simply recharge.

That’s why we should stop glorifying busy; because it’s not glorious at all.  It’s tiring and stupid.

We’ll all be better for it.

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Scripture link:  Mark 6:31
Bureau of Labor Statistics Information 
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Morality without God?

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Have you ever noticed that everyone has a sense of how they want to be treated?   We all want to be loved, we all want to be cared for.

We think traits such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness are good.  We have this inborn idea of morality.

But where does morality come from?

I would argue that we cannot have a true morality without a Higher Power.

We cannot have a true morality without God.

Because if morality only comes from ourselves, or from an agreement of what “moral” behavior is, than it has little authority outside ourselves.

For example, let’s say you believe that stealing is wrong. But let’s say I don’t believe that. Perhaps I believe that if I want something, I should simply be able to take it.

That’s not a difference in morality; that’s a difference in opinion. It’s a difference of opinion because we are the same, we are equal. We are human beings. The same as one another.

Your viewpoint is no more valid than mine, and vice versa.  That is, unless there is something that stands above your and my opinion.

That’s why morality pre-supposes a Higher Power. God.

Some of my favorite writing on this topic comes from C.S. Lewis.   Some of this stuff will melt your brain.  Or at least it does mine; perhaps you’re smarter than I am.  =)

Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling “whatever you say and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?” But then that threw me back into another difficulty.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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Scripture link:  Genesis 1:1
Photo credit:  NASA — The photo above is of the Aurora Borealis above North America, taken from the International Space Station.  Images like this make me think, even at the most basic level, that something created all of this.  A Higher Power.

Our Job is to LOVE

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Sometimes we make life too complicated.  Actually, I think more often than not we make life too complicated.

So, no matter if you believe in God or not, this one is pretty simple.

Our job is to love.

That’s it.

Just love each other.

I think sometimes us self-proclaimed Christians get too caught up in the — for lack of a better word — negative side of our faith.  We focus to much on preaching sin and the like.

I think the great evangelist Rev. Billy Graham said it pretty well:  “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

Hear that?  Pretty simple.  Our job is to love.

Get to it.

Scripture link:  John 15:12
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com