Yes, Virginia … I believe in Santa.

santacoke

Published on this day, 120 years ago, it’s meaning and poetry is still tremendous and beautiful.

You may have heard the expression, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” But you probably didn’t know from whence it came.

It came as an editorial in the New York Sun Newspaper September 21, 1897 in response to a letter written to The Sun by an 8-year old girl named Virginia.

Like so many children then and now, the youngster was disturbed by friends telling her there is no Santa Claus, and she was asking an authority she could trust for an answer.

Click on the link here to read the entire editorial from 1897:

Source: Yes, Virginia … – The New York Sun

Oh, how I would dread to be a parent to tell my kids there is no Santa Claus. To do so removes dreams and magic from a child’s life that they can never get back.

Most other cultures don’t know of or celebrate Santa Claus. In Mexico, for instance, children are taught that Baby Jesus brings them gifts Christmas Eve night. And still others will deny Santa Claus because they believe, to believe in Santa Claus diminishes the true meaning of Christmas, which is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

I understand these facts. But I still believe in Santa Claus because my father told me so; and because as a 53 year old child I still feel and enjoy the magic of such a belief. To deny Santa Claus doesn’t validify Jesus; just as believing in Santa doesn’t deny Jesus. To me, its just a matter of joy and putting that joy into my life and the life of my children and hopefully, someday Grandchildren.

Christians and Politics

Clinton trump

Well the conventions are over and done with for another Presidential election cycle. I sure feel a lot more enlightened, don’t you?

I know now that Hillary Clinton is a liar, crooked, corrupt, and has no significant accomplishments in her professional political life.

I am more recently aware of the fact that Donald Trump is a racist, homophobe, anti-Islamic, anti-migrant, and a failed businessman.

The Republican convention and Democrat convention which followed spent most of its time demonizing the opponent in this Fall’s Presidential election. And while I know many who are reading this now will openly and frequently say they HATE Clinton or they HATE Trump or the HATE both of them, I would ask you to consider your faith, or the faith that you claim to possess.

Are the descriptions I wrote about Trump and Clinton accurate? True? Like most people these negative characterizations are possibly true to some people and not true to others. It’s like those grainy cell phone videos of police shootings that we’ve all seen. Maybe half this country see’s police acting irresponsibly and abusing and sometimes killing innocent individuals. Different people seeing the exact same video see a potential criminal suspect resisting arrest and in doing so threatening the law enforcement officers; and in the natural progression of things being man-handled or shot. As much as you see one side, you have to acknowledge that others see the other side. And so we have conflict.

I am not a fan of Trump or Clinton. I don’t think either is nearly as bad as their detractors claim. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. I’m leaning toward voting for the Libertarian ticket with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and his Vice-Presidential nominee former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

But as I contemplate my choice and try to sway some toward my way of thinking I am constantly amazed how our “Christian” nation continually forgets the main tenants of our faith. The message from Jesus over and over and over again in our Bible is LOVE. 

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We’ve all heard it whether you’re Christian or not, “A new commandment I give you is to Love one another…” John 13:34. It’s important to note that Jesus didn’t say “Love one another…unless the other guy is part of a different political party”. You, of course, will say “but how can I love Hillary, she lies. And her lies offend me”. Fortunately, Jesus once again has you covered. He said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” JOHN 8:7. Have you ever lied? Have you lied repeatedly in your life? Have you been caught for doing so? Now…here is the real tough question…have you ever been perpetually in the national spotlight under the hot lamps of scrutiny like Hillary Clinton has been for more than 25 years and lied and been caught? The answer is no. You haven’t. In fact few have in our nations history.

It’s easy to see that Jesus was telling us to not be hypocrites. But he was also telling us not to judge others. Love one another. But again you say, “I can’t love Trump. He is so vulgar. I think he’s a racist”. Well, Jesus hits back at us with Matthew 7:1 “Judge not. Or you will be judged”. Its seems he’s pretty consistent.

And when friends and even family members harangue you for your political affiliations remember what Jesus told Peter about the brother who repeatedly did wrong. Peter asked Jesus how many times should I forgive him? Seven times? Christ again demonstrates his endless capacity for love and responds, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22. (That’s 490 times for the math challenged. Though I doubt Jesus was being literal)

Forgetting what our faith teaches us over and over and over and over again in this life…happens. It happens when Democrats advocate for a woman’s right to choose an abortion at any time in a pregnancy. Their forgetting that another’s life is what’s being chosen. And what does the Bible say about that? Well there’s Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17.  But Jesus himself said it as well,“You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony” Matthew 19:18. In fairness a lot of Republicans advocate for abortion as well. If Christian, they too have forgotten, or chosen to ignore what else Jesus said, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21. And again, Republicans and Democrats are constantly forgetting the LOVE commandment with angry retorts to whatever the other says. The very next verse applies to all of us, Matthew 5:22.

Never in the history of Presidential elections have two more agitating and controversial candidates vied for the most power job in the world. And instead of the best they each seem to bring out the worst in our fellow Americans; which is good enough reason for me to seriously consider Gary Johnson. But it’s my prayer that we can all quickly realize, if you’re Christian, remember your faith’s teaching! The Bible, and Jesus doesn’t call them teachings. He calls them commandments! Or if you’re Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, or Atheist we’re all Americans and above that we’re all humans. Life for you and your neighbors will be so much better if we disagree, agreeably, and remember to LOVE one another. “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:31

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Understanding the Six Types of Forgiveness

The link below is to an article written by Dr. Jerry E. McKeehan.

Have you ever found it difficult to forgive? Have you ever felt yourself in the wrong for continuing to hurtfully remember a wrong done unto you? Do you think forgiveness is mandatory? Or is repentance by the offender a requirement BEFORE you grant forgiveness?

What does the Bible say? Would it surprise you to know there APPEAR to be contradictions in the Bible?

This article does a great job of clarifying those purported  contradictions. I hope this is read by everyone who has struggled with forgiveness.

http://www.purposedrivenchurch.net/pdf/Forgiveness%20Six%20Types.pdf

Many thanks to Total Broadcasting Service video editor/producer Marianne Petersen for presenting us with this helpful article.

 

Conflicting Feelings For a Parent.

Your author, step-mother Terri, my Dad Jerry Schuett, and brother Jeff.

I’m not the only one out there with conflicting feelings about my parents, or any specific parent. I can’t be. And this blog and other blogs I’ve written confirms this for me.

Today, had he lived my Dad would have been 75 years old. Unfortunately he was only on this planet until he was 64. At 48 years of age I can say with far more assuredness than I felt at the time of his death, that’s too damned young.

My Dad died of liver disease brought on in part by medical malpractice and in part, I’m guessing, with his life long habit of enjoying a cocktail whenever he felt like enjoying a cocktail.

Jerome Mathis Schuett was born September 26, 1937 to Delores and Shelby Schuett in Bellingham, Washington. He was born to people of moderate income and moderate everything else. Which is to say…he was born an American.

He was fiercely proud of being American, but his pride came from little effort of his own. He lived a life in which he tried to do what he wanted, when he wanted, and be damned anyone who in any way inhibited his selfish desires. He was American.

I clashed with my Dad through much of my teens and early adulthood. I never felt he was racist, but in today’s context few would say he wasn’t. He opposed me marrying a black woman. I distinctly remember jokes told in a family setting in my childhood that were racially tainted and disturbed me. But I also remember him speaking highly of people of color who impressed him. I remember him calling me Jackie Robinson for having ignored his opposition to marrying a black woman and saying, “You showed that it was all right”.

I felt he lacked ambition. And I felt a lack of respect for him because of it. But he worked for himself the last 27 years of his life, running his own business. Having done the same for the past seven years I have a new-found respect for how difficult that can be.

My Dad lost his temper far more than anyone would like. He never showed a reverence for Jesus, that I feel. My Dad seldom showed much reverence for anything that didn’t immediately serve his specific need or purpose. But he always counseled me not to hurt others. He always counseled me to NEVER start a fight, but if I did I better finish it.

It’s hard to imagine how my life would be shaped without him. But 25% of our nation is raised without a father. It’s frustrating to think of all the angry episodes he displayed for me in my formative years for all to see; and how in spite of my vow to not do the same how I have on far too many occasions done so.

What I can’t get over, what I can’t reconcile in my heart and in my mind……………………..is how much I miss him and wish he had been available to me for counsel during some of the more trying times in my life.

My Dad was an extremely flawed man. Which, I guess, means that I am likewise. Because I will never forget his death-bed. At one point when he could no longer talk I said, “I hope you’re proud of me.” Though he couldn’t speak he almost cried, and with his reaction told me all I needed to know to forgive him his many flaws, and to love him the rest of my life.

You have parents. Hopefully they are loving and free of the contradictions that cause my conflicted emotions for my father. But as I’ve written before, if he/she is there, if they are present in your life, they have fulfilled more than what more than 25% of American fathers fulfill. Be grateful. Because someday, like my friend Rob McBride told me a long time prior to my own fathers death and a short time after his own father’s death, “forgive him for your own sake. You’ll miss him/them when they’re gone.”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The Deaths of the 12 Apostles

When questioning the facts of Christianity I wonder if atheists ever give thought to how the 12 Apostles of Jesus died? It seems to me that if you want to really know Jesus or something about who he is and what he did you’re best-off knowing or learning of the people who were there, walked with him, talked with him, learned from him and witnessed the miracles. And if you are a non-believer how do you explain the deaths of most of these Apostles? What mania could have taken hold of these 12 divergent men that they would subject themselves to such fierce persecution and painful death in the name of what they preached and believed?

Isn’t it common sense to figure that they bore witness to something so extraordinary that they were compelled to undergo such torture rather than retract their beliefs? The link below provides a sanitized version of the deaths of the Apostles:

The Deaths of the 12 Apostles.

This video provides a more detailed version of the gore that fell upon most of the Apostles:

Faith will carry us through, but having faith does not exempt us from logical thinking.

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