A man in Bremerton, Washington has erected a 15 foot cross in his yard, with Santa in the place of Jesus. In an attempt to fight the commercialization of Christmas, Art Conrad has placed a picture of his creation on a home made Christmas card with the caption “Santa died for your Mastercard.” While some passersby are amused, others take offense at this irreverent use of the primary symbol of the Christian faith.
What difference does it make whether or not the body of Jesus remained in the tomb? The way in which you answer this question reveals a lot about your understanding of the Christian faith.
To many, Christianity is a religious system that has much in common with the other religions of the world. Most of them teach that we should live for a higher purpose, treat others well, and try not to be too selfish. In that case, what really matters is that the teachings of Jesus live on. What happened to his body after his death isn’t really important. Continue reading
If we are to judge from the media attention it receives, Valentine’s Day is a major holiday. My main memories of Valentine’s Day are from my grade school valentine exchange. The teacher had all of us bring a shoe box, cut a slot in the top, and decorate it. Then on Valentine’s Day we were supposed to bring little punch-out Valentine’s Day cards for each of our classmates and put them in their boxes. Some students also included little candy hearts. I’m not sure how much the students enjoyed this activity, considering we were at the age at which all girls had “cooties.” Picture a bunch of pre-pubescent boys forced to give all the girls a heart-shaped card that said “Be My Valentine!” and you get the picture. Some of them were probably traumatized for life.
It makes me wonder where this custom came from. Is it really about love, or is it a marketing ploy by Hallmark and your local florist and jewelers? There is a good introduction to the history of Valentine’s Day from Focus on the Family in The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing. I will quote it here for your benefit: Continue reading