The season of Advent, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is here. It’s a wonderful time when Christians reflect especially on the coming of Christ to earth and look forward to his return. If you’re looking for resources as you meditate on the meaning of the season, we have recommendations for the whole family.
If you were raised in a Christian family, you probably know the “Christian mom” go-to move to help a child in a moment of despair. Maybe you were stressed about a relationship, you didn't know what to do with your life, or you just didn't feel happy––and what advice did she give you? “You should pray about it. Trust God.”
We live in a culture where the only authority that matters, is the authority of self. We subject every external authority to the supreme court of our feelings and intuition. We are told to "question authority," and partially for good reason. We've become disillusioned by disgusting abuses of power: political scandals, corporate corruption, even sexual abuse at the hands of priests. "Authority" has become synonymous with "authoritarianism."
I'm sure you've heard of the devastating wildfire still raging in Northern California. The so called "Camp Fire" is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. It has destroyed over 9,800 homes, as it has scorched 146,000 acres, with only 50% contained. The death toll has risen to 71, with 1,011 people unaccounted for, as of today. We must pray!
What is the best way to grow spiritually? Reading the Bible? Memorizing Scripture? Going to church? Serving at church? Studying systematic theology? Praying more often? Attending Christian conferences?
These are all great spiritual disciplines and will certainly deepen your faith. However, there's something even more powerful to deepen your faith!
Astrology, horoscopes, Ouija boards, yoga, the occult, signs of the zodiac, Kabbalah, psychics, witchcraft, parapsychology, magick, palmistry, tarot cards, numerology, dowsing, rune casting, séances, necromancy, channeling, voodoo, charms, amulets, the evil eye, hexing, etc...
We know all these things exist in other parts of the world, but not in Boston, right? People are too secular and educated to believe in these things, right? Wrong.
What would your life look like if you had unlimited resources? I'm talking about virtually infinite wealth. What would you spend your money on? What would you spend your time doing? Who would your friends be? What would your relationships look like? Where would you live? What would you be pursuing? What would you live for?
What is truth? Which one? There's the truth, and then there's the naked truth. There's the honest truth, and then there's the God's honest truth. We stretch the truth and bend the truth and twist the truth.
We make truth claims "literal" when they are actually metaphorical: "I am literally going to die if I don't get a coffee." If we want someone to actually believe us, we add qualifiers: frankly speaking, truthfully, in truth, truth be hold, to tell you the truth. We have moments of truth, and we're lucky to get those.
Last December, the group American Atheists launched its annual billboard campaign with the slogan: “Just Skip Church -- It’s All Fake News.” In February, the American Humanist Association became furious when President Trump had the audacity to mention Christianity and Jesus Christ without also mentioning atheists—at the National Prayer Breakfast. Most recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation spoke out vociferously because the Reverend Billy Graham was laid out in state in the Capitol Rotunda before his burial.