Episode 54

Disciple Up #54
We’ve Got Issues
By Louie Marsh, 5-2-2018

What’s the Biggest Problem Facing the Church Today?

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/galleries/the-10-biggest-issues-christian-americans-are-facing-today.aspx?p=2

    • Diluted Faith*
  • Pride
  • Bible Illiteracy?*
·       Do We Have Closed Minds?
·       Or Have We Become the Church in Laodicea?
  • A Lack of Honesty?
·       Bad Publicity?
·       Back to the Basics?*
·       Are We Willing to Serve?

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Episode 34

Disciple Up # 34
What Is Christmas Anyway?
By Louie Marsh, 12-6-2017

HISTORY:

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

Info from the book Christmas: A Biography,  by Judith Flanders.

Flanders begins her biography of Christmas with the early church observances of Christ’s nativity, where the name and calendar date of the holiday have their beginnings. But she insists that the role of religion is often overemphasized in accounts of the holiday’s origin. Independently of the Christian holiday, midwinter celebrations had long been held in Greek, Roman, British, and Germanic lands. From the start, there was never one Christmas. Instead, Christmas has always meant many things.
The modern observance of Christmas—marked by familial, commercial, nostalgic, sentimental, and religious elements—began to take shape in the late 18th century. Consider the Philadelphia Quaker Elizabeth Drinker, who kept a diary throughout the second half of the 1700s. Her earliest entries show that she, like her fellow Quakers, did not initially recognize or partake in the holiday. Over the next 20 years, we find spotty references to the activities of neighbors on “Christmass, so call’d.” But by the end of the century, we see her shamelessly celebrating with family dinners and visits from friends. Christmas, so it seems, sort of crept up on her.
by the late 1700s, as Elizabeth Drinker was writing in her diary, the old practices were already giving way to new traditions, such as decorating the home with holly, ivy, and kissing boughs made of mistletoe. The first decorated indoor Christmas tree appeared as early as 1605 in Strasbourg, France, but the practice only attained widespread popularity in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Indoor trees came with particular perils to the host home since they would be fitted with candles to be lit on Christmas Eve. The effect was both delightful and dangerous.

Gift-giving was not new to the modern age. The old practice followed the expectations of hierarchal protocol—social superiors gave Christmas boxes and monetary tips to their employees, servants, and various tradespeople. At the other end of the social scales, tenants offered fowl and fresh meat to their landlords. Such hierarchical gifts punctuated differences in social and economic status. But, by the early 19th century, gift-giving began to soften with the new emphasis on home and family. Parents gave to their children presents of books, nuts, wood-carved toys, and ribbons.
Around the same time, newly popularized carols spread from Germany to England, France, and the Americas. The habit of young carousers wassailing from door to door for money or mead gave way to church choirs and neighborhood caroling groups. Lyrics concomitantly shifted from making merry and imbibing deeply to Christ’s birth and wistful domesticity. In Flanders’s words, the new tradition “took what was secular and made it religious; and, most importantly, took what was working class and of the street and made it middle-class and of the hearth and home.”
Take Christmas cards, for example. An invention of the mid-19th century, the first card printed in the United States illustrated Santa Claus with a family opening gifts. The holiday message read, Pease’s Great Varety [sic] Store in the Temple of Fancy. The card was nothing more than a commercial advertisement. A survey of the more than 100,000 cards in circulation before 1890 reveals that religious images, such as the Nativity scene, appeared on extremely few. The majority featured “holly, mistletoe and Christmas pudding, Father Christmas or Santa, Christmas trees, bells and robins, food and festivity.” Biblical or religious themes on holiday cards were numerically “insignificant.”

QUOTES:

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. Thomas S. Monson

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. Winston Churchill

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united. – Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace. Pope Francis

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. Charles M. Schulz

Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. Taylor Caldwell

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness. Carrie Fisher

What Is Christmas Really All About?

What I hear all the time from Christians and non-Christians alike is that Christmas is all about family.

Don’t care how you answer the question.

But I’d love to know HOW you know that, or WHY you believe that.

I’m not criticizing or disagreeing, I’m asking an epistemological question. HOW to you know WHAT you know (or think you know at any rate).

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, I Peter 3:15 (ESV)

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Episode 30

Disciple Up # 30
Losing & Engaging Our Culture

Show Notes:

Sites I read from and refer too in podcast:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-u-s-is-retreating-from-religion/

https://allendowney.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-retreat-from-religion-is.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-religious-consolidations-20171010-htmlstory.html#nws=true

1) I engage my culture by overcoming evil by DOING GOOD.

14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21 (ESV)

  • I respond to cultural rejection by HELPING THOSE who hurt me.

14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

17  Repay no one evil for evil,

19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves

20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink

21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

  • I resist the temptation to always try and CHEER PEOPLE UP.

15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

  • I focus on lifting up others NOT MYSELF.

16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

  • I leave the bringing of justice to GOD.

20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

3) I engage my culture by living a LIFE OF LOVE.

 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)

  • Get & stay out of debt so you are free to love as GOD COMMANDS YOU TOO.
  • The moral/sexual law of God is fulfilled by RESPECTING & NOT HURTING OTHERS.

4) I engage my culture by BEING LIKE JESUS NOT THEM.

11  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:11-14 (ESV)

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Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

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