Or maybe it’s me, not you. I can’t tell what Walmart’s CEO was getting at in his statements defending the decision for Walmart to open at 6:00 PM Thanksgiving evening.
Archive for November, 2013
An interesting diplomatic row.
Tequila long has been my liquor of choice. It began late in college when it seemed apparent that it was not a liquor to be trifled with. If everyone else was going to treat it so carefully, I decided I would cozy up and get nice and friendly. Of course, at that time Jose Cuervo was the tequila of choice for many bars, and the age of more refined tequilas hadn’t quite begun. Tequila at that point in time deserved some of the bad reputation it enjoyed.
- 1.5 parts tequila (many folks will insist on white or plata tequila, but use what you like)
- 2 parts pineapple juice (get something that’s just pineapple juice, no added sugar, like this)
- 1 tbsp lime juice (again, squeeze your own or buy something without added sugar)
- 1 piece of pineapple for garnish
Some of you may have heard the story last week of a waitress in New Jersey who was stiffed on a tip because the family she was serving wanted to express their disapproval of her gay lifestyle. The waitress posted a copy of the receipt to a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered (LGBT)web site and it went viral, provoking mass outrage as well as copious donations to the waitress.
…but man, I suspect it’s a very common one.
…and the State taketh away.
Date: First Sunday in Advent, December 1, 2013
Texts: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13: (8-10)11-14; Matthew 21:1-11
Context: With Advent we begin a new liturgical year. As we concluded the liturgical year with readings anticipating our Lord’s return, we begin the liturgical year in remembrance of his first coming in humility. We also begin a new three-year lectionary cycle, having just concluded year C and now beginning year A. Regardless of the cycle, the season of Advent is one of preparation, and historically shares much with the season of Lent that precedes Easter. Both seasons emphasize personal repentance and preparation.
Isaiah 2:1-5—The book of Isaiah opens with a damning critique of God’s people. God’s people reject God’s entreaties for discussion of their behavior, and the hint of judgment is already laid out. Chapter two moves to a vision of how things will be one day in the future. The people of God will again be faithful and their God will dwell with them in fullness and truth, a beacon to peoples of all lands who will come to learn the way of the Lord. The divisions of mankind will be brought to an end in that day, which is the Day of the Lord.
The arrival of our Lord will bring about a new state of reality for all of creation, where all is restored to the harmony and perfection that existed prior to the fall into sin in Genesis 3. That day will be a day of judgment for those who reject the Lord, but it will bring about peace and joy for those who trust in him.
Psalm 122— One of the songs of ascent that were recited and sung together by pilgrims en route to Jerusalem for holy days, this song emphasizes the beauty and specialness of the City of God. It was likely recited as the pilgrims arrived in Jerusalem proper, and emphasizes that the reason for the specialness of this city is the House of the Lord, the Temple. It is not enough simply to be in the city, the goal is to be at the Lord’s House. Jerusalem is praised for the design of the city which affords protection and reassurance to those who visit, for being a city of worship because of the pilgrims that throng it for holy days, and it is a place of judgment as embodied in the Davidic kingship. Pilgrims are then exhorted to pray for the city, that it continue to be a place of security and fellowship in God.
Romans 13: (8-10)11-14—The assigned readings for the day oftentimes indicate an optional set of verses, denoted in parentheses. These are optional usually to keep the amount of reading on a given Sunday to a manageable amount (though what any group of people considers manageable has decreased markedly over the centuries!). Romans 13 is best known for the first seven verses and the exhortation to obedience to civil authorities. Verse 8 shifts the focus from civil law to religious law, as evident by citing portions of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) as opposed to sections of Roman civil law.
Yet at least in theory, the two laws should not be far removed from one another. Civil law functions best when it is based on the revealed laws of God. This is not to advocate for a theocracy, but rather to affirm that the law of God is not arbitrary—it is woven into creation itself and therefore all people benefit when we live according to these laws. That law is ultimately based upon love for neighbor.
Verse 11 shifts thought again. We are obedient to the law of God as well as civil law because we are not asleep—we know that our Lord is going to return, and that return only draws nearer to fulfillment. As such, we must live as those who are awake, rather than those who claim the cover of night as a means of hiding their deeds, or who seek to claim ignorance as a defense for their lawlessness. Rather, the Christian is to live as they have been shown to live by God himself, in anticipation of the return of the Son of God. This means that when civil law conflicts with divine law, or permits or advocates for what is contrary to the divine law, the Christian must continue to adhere to God’s law.
Matthew 21:1-11—It may seem odd to be reading a passage associated with Palm Sunday, but it describes what is anticipated in Isaiah 2, and is the perfect fulfillment of the joy and excitement hinted at in Psalm 122—the coming of the Lord to his city and people.
This is the proper response of God’s people to his coming—joy and elation, praise and thanksgiving and worship. This is not the forced pantomimes of a subjugated people. This is not the false enthusiasm of people who have guns pointed at them just off-screen. This is authentic joy! This is the creation rejoicing at the presence of it’s creator! Did everyone in Jerusalem that day acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God? No, yet many of them undoubtedly found themselves cheering and celebrating alongside those who did.
Our anticipation as Advent begins is for the return of our Lord. We mark the historical reality of his Incarnation with a time of preparation. The presence of God demands that we examine ourselves and recognize our need for his presence, as well as our unworthiness to stand in his presence. Our anticipation is guided in self-examination and repentance, as well as in joyful thanksgiving for the forgiveness and grace that the arrival of our Savior 2000 years ago made possible. Our recognition of our own shortcomings, failures and flaws would be crushing if not for the promise of forgiveness in the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of the Son of God.
My wife and I recently watched The Hunger Games and enjoyed it, and decided to make the premier of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire our first date night in a long time. It was a good choice. The movies are the first two of at least four that are based on a wildly successful (at least in America) book series. We haven’t read the books, or heard of them until the first movie came out and made a big splash. If you aren’t familiar with either, there’s a good chance someone else in your life is.
A member gave me a newspaper clipping of a letter to the editor someone had written to the local paper. The writer makes the argument that it is irrational for Christians to object to abortions, since there are countless miscarriages that occur before parents even know they’re pregnant, and therefore don’t mourn the passing of. If God allows such things to happen, it can hardly be seen as sinful to object to humans performing abortions.
- God created all things, and created them good and perfect.
- Mankind rebelled against the divine order of creation, thereby casting all of creation into a state of imperfection and rebellion against the good, perfect, natural order of things
- God promised that there would come a time when order is restored
- The beginning of the fulfillment of that promise occurred with the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, and his perfect life & ministry, innocent death and resurrection on the third day, followed by his ascension into heaven and promised return
- When Jesus returns, we will experience in full the reconciliation of all creation that his death and resurrection have effected already in actuality (with his resurrection as the first demonstration of this)
hese very young children who die before they are even known to be present. I can also assert that this God in no way will accept abortion as a suitable practice. That human life is destroyed unknowingly at times through unintentional natural (or unnatural) processes is not a justification for the intentional destruction of known human life.
Just saw this article and this one, regarding drivers forced off of the road by uniformed police officers and into a parking lot where they were solicited for a “voluntary” contribution of blood, saliva, or breathalyzer tests.