Verse of the Day

Thursday, December 28

Portland is Strange


You gotta love Portland. It's a town of such contrasts and inconsistencies it makes you smile; just before you puke. Check out the news over Schumacher Furs & Outerwear's leaving downtown Portland. Their reason is the continual protest [see photo] against their product. The owner is quoted as saying, "Our clientele wants us to move. They do not feel safe coming to our store or to downtown," he says. "I do not feel safe coming in my own store."

Now maybe it is just my strange way of looking at things but I wonder if I'd see the same sort of protests on NW Lovejoy would be tolerated by the great open-minded, free-thinking people of Portland. A decade ago, when protestors stood outside the Abortion Clinic with enlarged photos of aborted children they were shooed back by the courts. In downtown Portland would be customers have to force their way through screaming activists.

Those who protest the death of innocents are labeled as terrorists. Consider this quote by Matt Rossell on the allegation that he was part of a terrorist group. "We're law abiding citizens,…In this day and age we know what terrorism is and clearly we are exercising our first amendment rights."

The sad thing is that he's talking about his right to protest the death of animals not humans. Years ago Randy Stonehill wrote a great song that seems to become more poignant with each passing year. In Stop the World he writes, "It's okay to murder babies but we really ought to save the whales."

I don't care what your stand on abortion is. Personally I don't put myself into either the pro-life or pro-choice camp. Both have way too much baggage for my comfort.

What I am intrigued with is how what we consider "valuable" and "worth saving" has somehow gotten skewed. I can't help but wonder if this isn't just one more example of the slide into depravity pictured in Romans 1.

Oh well. Happy New Year! Watch the news and smile…

Peace

Alan

Tuesday, December 19

When Momma's Not Happy; Ain't Nobody Happy

Matthew 1:3 is an often-overlooked verse in the large story of Jesus' birth. "When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed and troubled, and the whole of Jerusalem with him." But Jerusalem wasn't the only city troubled by this Jesus. Bethlehem is troubled. Soldiers murdered the boys in that town as a way to get rid of Jesus. Nazareth is troubled by Jesus as he returns and grows. Mark records how the citizens "took offence at him" and how "He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them." Mark 6:3,5 NIV. In Luke's account of Jesus' teaching, they were so upset they ran him out of town in an attempt to kill him.

Let's jump head 2000 years and you'll see that today Jesus still disturbs and troubles many towns and cities around our world. Most of us in Oregon remember the Eugene Fire Department's removal of Christmas trees. This year we saw, Sea-Tac Airport take upsetting anyone when it comes to religion. Yet it's a worldwide phenomenon. Lambeth in South London and the Havant Borough Council, United Kingdom have renamed their Christmas lights "celebrity", "winter" or "holiday" lights. Havant council leader Gillette said, "It's Christmas and these are Christmas lights. I don't see any sense in denying this."

Reynoldsburg Ohio "permanently sidelined" the Nativity scene that was donated from a local church. Their reason is that the sage of the modern day era, the attorneys, told them to. Chicago told the Christkinklmarket [Christ child market] that they had to stop advertising The Nativity Story [now that's irony]. Deltona Florida won't let their local artist display paintings in honor of "Black History Month" because they are "too religious". The Christian symbols that are depicted? A pastor, a hat that reads, "I love Jesus"; part of a sign for a storefront church and a bible on a nightstand.

Indian River Community College in Florida wouldn't a let a Christian group show The Passion of the Christ because of their policies against R-rated movies. Yet they had shown on campus Welcome to Sarajevo as well as other questionable skits.

Why does this happen? Let me suggest that it is easy to understand. Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. He is the light and nothing that can overshadow His brilliance and His being. Attempts to reason Him don't work because Jesus makes much more sense than any "rational/humanist" thought. Shouting at Jesus doesn't work because Jesus simple continues to help those in need through His people.

Jesus threatens people by His very presence in the life of His Body. His being among us confronts us with what we don't like to see in ourselves. It makes us aware of things that need to be different and our inability to change our lives. What do you do when you become scared? You run or you fight. Some run into mistaken beliefs about the Crusades and Inquisition while others strive to fight against specific social mores which God's People have historically held to for millennia.

So if you're a follower of Jesus hold tight. If you’re a seeker keep on looking and you'll find Him. And if you're a non-believer looking for more excuses, Merry Christ mass.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1853819,00.html

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=455&ArticleID=1254739

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=229941

http://vociferatu.blogspot.com/2006/12/no-christ-in-christmas-festival.html 4

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/11/29/031520.php op-ed piece on the Chicago's action 4

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/2/9/152547.shtml

http://www.newsmax.com/adv/marcus/ for the images themselves that are banned

http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/5128.html?PHPSESSID=1fe02e9a45686026a9979721f0edbb84