Friday, December 4, 2009

Merry “Boycott the Gap” Christmas

OK here we go again. To boycott or not to boycott, that is the Christmas question? Or is it…

I got my annual email from Focus on the Family Action Committee and it seems Christianity has a problem. The Gap is not Christian friendly and should be boycotted, along with a long list of other established retailers who refuse to use the term Merry Christmas and don’t allow manger display or angels and would prefer to be politically correct instead of consumer Christian friendly.

It seems that FOFAC is not the only ones concerned, AFA (American Family Association) has already issued boycott warnings to the Gap and a number of other retailers that we as Christians will no longer tolerate their anti Christian decorations and commercials and if they don’t start issuing an enthusiastic “Merry Christmas” we will leave and not come back.

The truth is, I have never been that big a fan of the Gap in the first place. Oh I like their big sweatshirts, don’t get me wrong, but as a member of the over 40 crowd (way over) I always feel uncomfortable in their store. When they ask, “can I help you?” it always seems like they are really asking…”what are YOU doing here”… so if I am going to boycott them it will be for rudeness and not for political correctness.

But unfortunately rudeness is not what we are checking for this time of year, and what we as Christians should be doing is getting in the face of that newly hired seasonal worker and demanding an appropriate greeting! If they don’t come around to our way of thinking we will tell them what losers they are and how we will not be back. Oh, and you might want to leave them a salvation tract as you stomp out…we wouldn't  want them to think we don’t care.

After all, we spend a lot of money every year as Christians…we deserve to be acknowledged as a consumer force. Oh what an impact we could have for good if we can somehow just get all those heathen stores to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with us? Think how much more money they could make?

If I am going into debt again this Christmas, spending money I can’t afford to spend, feeding the retailers families instead of my own I want to know that they hold to the same Christian values that I do! If a simple Merry Christmas is all I need to ease my concerns… all I need to make me feel comfortable about my avid consumerism is that too much to ask?

Fortunately there is one retailer who has scored extremely high on the “Stand up for Christmas” homepage.  This is a store we can all be satisfied with to spend our hard earned money this season, they also accept credit cards and for me… I will not accept gifts from any other store.

Bass Pro Shops…97% Christmas Friendly. Now that’s the spirit!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

In the news last week was a document that was signed in September 2009 by one hundred forty-eight Christians representing a wide variety of Christian churches and denominations.

The most amazing thing about all of this is that within this broad spectrum of viewpoints collected on behalf of the Christian faith there could actually be agreement on the major tenants contained in this document.

This is a heavyweight declaration, covering the Christian position on life, marriage and religious liberty.

It begins with a preamble: here are the first few paragraphs
Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.

While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire’s sanctioning of infanticide. We remember with reverence those believers who sacrificed their lives by remaining in Roman cities to tend the sick and dying during the plagues, and who died bravely in the coliseums rather than deny their Lord…

It then follows with a declaration:
We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities. We act together in obedience to the one true God, the triune God of holiness and love, who has laid total claim on our lives and by that claim calls us with believers in all ages and all nations to seek and defend the good of all who bear his image. We set forth this declaration in light of the truth that is grounded in Holy Scripture, in natural human reason (which is itself, in our view, the gift of a beneficent God), and in the very nature of the human person. We call upon all people of goodwill, believers and non-believers alike, to consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues we here address as we, with St. Paul, commend this appeal to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God…

What follows is a very well written critique on the Christian position pertaining to the sanctity of life, the defense of Christian marriage and the concept of religious liberty.

And to put an emphasis on how strongly we as Christians regard these ideas they included a segment that speaks to the use of civil disobedience as a tool in the arsenal of believers should their government pass laws that contradict those beliefs. You can read the declaration in it’s entirety at:

But here is the question: Do you believe we as Christians should engage the culture in this way?
Do you agree with the document?
Should the prelude have included an apology for the evil things done in the name of Christianity?
Is this just another attempt at an ecumenical movement or does this document not compromise our beliefs?

I would love to read your comments.


Anonymous Mark Dendy said...

I feel that as a christian we cannot stand by and watch christianity destroyed by the followers of the world. We know who the victor will be in the end; however that does not gives us the liberty to sit on the sidelines and watch as so many watched as Christ died on the cross. We are called to uphold the values set forth in the Word of God and spread those values by carefully examining and evaluating our own lives and living in accordance to His will as opposed to our own.
I believe if we adhere to His principles, we can engage today's culture through many avenues, written word, spoken word, but most importantly by allowing Christ to live in us!
As far as this declaration goes, I do not believe that it is another attempt at an ecumenical movement. By the same token I do not feel it compromises my beliefs which I believe are solidly grounded in the Word.
As far as an apology for those that do evil in the name of christianity... I think that is the wrong approach, because by apologizing for those hate groups, you are automatically aligned with them in the eyes of the world. However, I do believe that we should denounce any evil deeds and anyone that does evil deeds in the name of christianity.
November 23, 2009 12:43 PM

Douglas said...

Excellent response Mark, I could not have phrased it as eloquently as you have.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Has the word “Christian” lost its meaning?

You would think we were not if you read the Christian newsletters and listen to the people talk about church squabbles and association fights and divisions and read books on fighting for the truth, the truth wars, the worship wars and websites and radio shows about who’s on the inside and who is out…wow.

People sure have differences within the Christian faith!

The fact is some people play real loose with the word Christian, let alone the word church. Some so called Christians don’t believe the Bible is even inspired and some believe the KJ Bible is the only Bible that is inspired and won’t have anything to do with you if you don’t agree with them. Some believe Jesus wasn’t even God and others believe Jesus is all you get… no Father and no Holy Spirit. That’s a pretty wide swath for people who call themselves Christians isn’t it?

Some so called Christians believe stuff that’s not even in the Bible, and others don’t believe anything at all but they all call themselves Christians.

Some Christians live such strict lives they won’t even ride in a car, and others have no rules at all…they just do whatever they want to do and hey…no worries  it’s going to be ok…we’re Christians!

Believers were first called Christians in first century Antioch because the people of Antioch thought they were calling them a bad word…well folks it has finally become a bad word. No wonder the people of today don’t want to become Christians…nobody even knows what one is supposed to be!

From the inquisition to the reformation the word Christian has pretty much been dragged through the mud. The crusades didn’t help much either…who’s in charge of our publicity campaign anyway? We need to fire that guy.

If I’m going to be persecuted for being a Christian, I want it to be because I won’t back down from my honest authentic faith in Christ, not because they think I’m some hypocritical slob who hates gays and shoots abortionists!

I am not some self righteous homophobe who hates people and judges everyone that doesn’t agree with me… but there are a lot of people who call themselves Christians out there who are exactly that and they are messing up the image!

It’s not the media that’s giving us the bad name it’s other Christians!
When the Samaritans rejected Jesus, the disciples had a wonderful idea:

Luke 9:54-55
(54)  And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"
(55)  But he turned and rebuked them.

I guess this is not a new problem.

Some people have begun to call themselves “red letter Christians” and I guess they only follow the words of Jesus because He was all about love and he never offended anyone? Have you ever read the words of Jesus? He offended them so much back there in Jerusalem that they put Him to death. And he wasn’t too easy on his followers either…He demanded some things of His believers.

So how do we share our faith in a world like this? Our image is shot!

People used to think that we were fanatics who believed in a God we could not see with a commitment that could not be measured.

Now they think we are part of a marketing subculture. Think about it, we have our own bookstores, our own music superstars, our own TV shows, our own schools, some think we have our own political party… we all want to make lots of money and we believe God is the tool we can use to get everything we want.

Can we change the perception? Maybe it’s too late. But we can be aware of the change and begin to view ourselves as a follower of Jesus…the term Christian has no meaning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Progressive Orthodoxy?

I was reading an article a couple of days ago about the concept of progressive orthodoxy. The writer expressed his opinion that it has taken years for the “church” to finally get it right, but now in our time we have the ability to review history and see where people have gone wrong. It has been a “progression” but we are finally seeing the benefit of mistakes made in the past and we are learning from them. In other words…we are now orthodox in our Christian theology but is only because of those who went before, making errors and correcting them so that we might benefit from all the changes in thought.

I would need to have a number of issues resolved before accepting any idea of progressive orthodoxy. 

Jude says “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Paul tells Timothy “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”

Paul also tells Timothy. “Guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you”

I would have to say that history speaks to a digressive orthodoxy when it comes to the practices of historical churches. The so called universal church can not practice orthodoxy, as that is a task reserved for the local church. My question would focus on this:  if and when did many of these churches cease being true churches due to their “unorthodox” practices?

It seems to me everything we need is included in scripture, and if we look at our own doctrinal statements in comparison to the Bible instead of the historical orthodoxy we would see that there are not that many tenets of orthodoxy that we would be willing to die for…maybe five or six? All others are in the periphery of our central core of beliefs; they generate denominational lines and cause some confusion, employ seminary professors and hopefully encourage personal study.

What if, when it is all said and done. God’s review of history will not be focused on the historical “church” as we know it, but on that small group of churches who never apostatized but instead remained true to the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints? What if these churches were the ones Jesus was talking about when He said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her?

The gates of hell have prevailed against the historical church, progressive orthodoxy or not.  After all, who were the enemies that were being persecuted from the sixth century through the reformation? They were the true churches of Biblical orthodoxy that never went out of existence, the ones Martin Luther looked to when he sought to reform the historical church. These churches continued not by a common name, or even the by the scrutiny of historical record but by the faith and practice handed down by faithful men generation upon generation.

Finally, I would think myself very arrogant to entertain the notion that somehow in our age and time we have finally perfected orthodoxy. 

Just what we need...another blog

Every thought captive is the title of my new blog. It comes from the 10th chapter of 2 Corinthians and it has to do with making sure that our thoughts are Gods thoughts. If you don’t think your thoughts are important to God then read the 10th chapter… God changes our actions as He changes our thoughts.

So I want to begin expressing some thoughts (hopefully I will have a couple) and I don’t want to burden people with sending out emails everyday. So it seemed good to me to attempt this. Hopefully you will find it useful and a place to respond and make comments that others can share.


About Me

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Elk Grove/Vineyard Area, Sacramento California, United States
My name is Bob Ross and I am the Pastor of Cypress Missionary Baptist Church.