Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I’ll Take This Religion – Do You Gift Wrap?

I came across a question a woman posted on a forum for moms the other day. She wrote “I'm in BIG trouble. Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas and Hanukkah are just weeks away. I'm freaking because I haven't picked my daughter's religion.” I’m not kidding. I had to read it twice, not believing that she would actually treat religion as if it was some quick purchase she had to pick up at Target. I scrolled down to read the responses fully expecting the first to be something to the effect of “Are you serious?” To my surprise not one of the twenty odd responses indicated the least bit of shock over her question.

Everyone was quite (helpful?), often suggesting she give Unitarian Universalism a whirl. UU, for those who may not know, is a cult that picks and chooses elements from world religions. UU follows a doctrine of relativism, or the idea that everyone can have their own personal truth, which as I mentioned in another of my postings is a total contradiction. Truth must be consistently true or else it isn’t truth.

Other advice included just not bringing religion into it at all, and I actually partly agree. Here's why. First, Christ was not born at Christmas. It is estimated that his birth was sometime in the spring. St. Nicholas, while obviously Christian, was famous for secretly giving gifts to the poor and while that was a very nice thing to do, and he should no doubt be honored for his generosity, the association with Christmas really has nothing to do with him. Lastly, Christmas trees have pagan roots, no pun intended. Christmas is a cultural holiday and I’m totally fine with that. It’s fun to decorate the tree and listen to Christmas carols, but I spend no more time with Jesus on Christmas than I do on any other day of the year. He should always be glorified.

Now what I do take issue with is her flippant approach to all this. My suggestion to her would be to educate herself so she can guide her daughter in the search for truth. If, as she stated in her post, she is an atheist I would hope she has all the facts that she claims support her beliefs. And she better be darn sure she can refute any argument for opposing views. I think children are owed the truth. And they should know that they can rely on their parents to provide them with it.

Devil Records, Inc.

Why does “bad” music have to sound so good? Since I became a Christian I always feel a little uncomfortable when I hear certain lyrics of my favorite songs. It puts quite a damper on singing along when I find myself belting out profanities and blatant sexual references. I tried to switch my repertoire, exploring contemporary Christian genres but, no matter what I tried – rap, rock or praise – it just didn’t take. In fact, I had a visceral reaction to it, but not in the way I should. In one particular worship service I nearly mutilated the program brochure I was holding, pained by the seemingly endless songs being performed. I know a lot of people like it and that’s great. I feel guilty that I don’t and even guiltier because what I do like is the bitter opposite of Christian music. Do I have to stop listening to mainstream music? Is it sinful to support it or worse yet, to enjoy it? Is popular music the devil’s domain?

Update: Well I did a little research to answer my own question and (unfortunately?) the Bible is pretty clear on this topic. Peter 2:18 says "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error." (NIV) Not only does this imply that we as Christians should stay away from those who talk boastfully and glorify sinful nature but it appears that this message is targeted towards new Christians who are most susceptible to falling back into a worldly lifestyle.

I did, however, find another passage that says something that surprised me. 1 Corinthians 9:21 says "To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law." While I certainly don't think this means I should become a die-hard fan of T.I. and his songs about dropping obscene amounts of money and explicit sexual lyrics, it does sort of imply that I should be aware of him (and others like him) as a way to understand where he's coming from. Sort of like knowing what we Christians are up against. The fact that listening to these songs does make me uncomfortable and has increased my awareness of the lifestyle that many non-Christians aspire to, might actually be of some benefit. God laid it upon my heart a few months ago to find ways to help at-risk, inner-city teens get on the right path, and that was a direct influence of hearing the lyrics of mainstream rap songs. God does work in amazing ways, doesn't he?