Thought For The OPEN Mind - Humor From American Culture!
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After spending all day Saturday watching football ontelevision, a UNC grad fell asleep and spent the nightin the chair. His wife woke him in the morning."It's twenty to seven," she called."In whose favor?"
We went to the movie the other night in Chapel Hill.I sat in an aisle seat as I usually do because it feelsa little roomier.Just as the feature was about to start a UNC studentfrom the center of the row got up and started workingher way out."Excuse me, sorry, oops, excuse me, pardon me,gotta hurry, oops, excuuuuusssseee me."By the time she got to me I was trying to look aroundher and I was a little impatient so I said, "Couldn't youhave done this a little earlier?""No!!" she said in a loud whisper, "The TURN OFFYOUR CELL PHONE PLEASE message just flashedup on the screen AND MINE IS IN THE CAR!"
Nativity ScenesI have always insisted that my position on December birthdays is that itsproprietors are easily neglected. We are over-shadowed by Christmasdecorations in November and over-looked in December by relatives busy withChristmas errands and office parties. And yet, I have always secretlyloved it. On the day I was born, the world was awake, decking the halls,and looking to the birth of another infant. The spirit of Christmas seemsa part of my own, the birth of Christ a part of my identity, reminding meeach year that I too was born, that I was fragile, that I was celebrated. For those born in December (and for any who remember their own beginningsin the scenes of Advent), the season offers a time of contemplatinginfantile beginnings, a lesson in what it means to be human, like noother. Stories and celebrations of one's birth are juxtaposed with anativity story told long before we were born and one that will continue tobe told long after us. In fact the story of God is a story filled with nativity scenes. In thesestories, we find God is present before we have accomplished anything andsovereign long before we know it. Thus David can pray, "For you createdmy inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise youbecause I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, Iknow that full well" (Psalm 139:13-14). And God can say to the prophetJeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you wereborn I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations"(Jeremiah 1:5). And those who witnessed the miracle of Elizabeth andZechariah can rightly exclaim God's hand upon the child before that childcan say his own name: "The neighbors were all filled with awe, andthroughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all thesethings. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, 'What then isthis child going to be?' For the Lord's hand was with him" (Luke1:65-66).In a world where significance and identity are earned by what we do, bywhat we have accomplished, by what we own, the kingdom of God arrivesscandalously, jarringly--even offensively. In this kingdom, a person'sworth begins before she has said or done the right things, before he hasaccumulated the right lifestyle or even made the appropriate confessions. In this kingdom, God not only uses children in the story ofsalvation, not only calls us to embrace the kingdom as littlechildren, but so the very God of creation steps into the world as achild as well. Children are not usually the main characters in the stories we tell, yetthe story of Christmas begins and ends with a child we don't quite knowwhat to do with. Here, a vulnerable baby in a dirty stable breaks in asthe harbinger of good news, the fulfillment of all the law and theprophets, the anointed leader who comes to set the captives free--wrappedin swaddling clothes and resting in a manger. Coming as a child, Godradically draws near, while at the same time radically overthrowing ourconceptions of status, worth, power, and authority. Jesus is crowned kinglong before he can sit in a throne. He begins overturning idols andupsetting social order long before he can even speak. If truth be told, perhaps I feel a certain delight in celebrating birthsand birthdays at Christmastime because it is the season in which it ismost appropriate--and most hopeful--to remember our fragility, ourdependency, and the great reversal of the kingdom of God: "But God chosewhat is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak inthe world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27). Advent, likechildhood, reminds us that we are in need of someone sovereign. It alsoreminds us that, like the baby in a Bethlehem stable, we too are somewhatout of place, homeless and longing for home. The image of a tearful babyin a manager is a picture of God in his most shocking, unbefittingstate--the Most High becoming the lowest, the face of God wrapped tightlyin a young girl's arms. How true that to be human is to be implicitly religious, for even withinour most deeply felt needs for love and refuge, we are reminded that thereis one who comes so very far to meet us. Inherent in our most vulnerabledays is the hope that God, too, took on the despairing quality offragility in order to offer the hope of wholeness. In our most weakenedstates of sin and hopelessness, Christ breaks in and shows the power ofGod in the face of a child. Indeed, glory to God in the lowest! Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi ZachariasInternational Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.------------------------------------------------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to theWorld Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
MOST OF THE COMMENTS WERE IN THE FORMOF QUESTIONS: "HOW COULD THEY DO IT?"or "WHY DID THEY DO IT?" The action being questioned is the signing of the letterprepared at the Yale Divinity School Center for Faithand Culture, "Loving God and Neighbor Together." Itwas prepared as a response to a letter circulated lastSeptember from a group of 138 Muslim scholars of theIslam religion, and addressed to Pope Gregory XVI, tothe Archbishop of Canterbury, and generally to manyprominent Christians throughout the West. The Yale letter was published as a full page ad in the New York Times, with some 300 signatures from alltypes of Christians, including both nominal and true believers. It is reported that there are a few hundred additional signatures on file at Yale, and their websiteoffers a convenient way for others to sign. One writeropined that the signatures represented a "who’s who"of the theological left. The Pope is said to have received the Islam letter"warmly," although in response he proposed to theMuslim writers a different approach, writing that thepath to true dialogue lies in "effective respect for thedignity ot every human person, on objectiveknowledge of the religion of the other, on the sharing of religious experience, and finally on commoncommitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation." One is not surprised that Liberal Christians (a term which we consider to be an Oxymoron) rushed tosign the Yale response. Since they do not treat theBible as the authoritative Word of God, the nicesounding quotations from Mohammad in the Quran sounded fine to them. One is surprised, however, to note that severalindividuals who are generally considered to be Evangelical Christian believers also signed theYale response letter. The Islam letter made repetitive references to Matt. 22:36-40 in which Jesus said that the two great commandments are to love God and to love one’sneighbor as oneself. When Mohammad wrote the Quran in about the year 600 AD, the Christian faithhad already been in existence for 600 years, and hehad portions of the Old Testament and at least the Gospel records from which to quote verses which seemed to be in compliance with his religious convictions. That quotation from Jesus seems to have registered strongly with the Islamic scholars.And by forgetting or ignoring the basic foundationalfacts of Islam, these so-called Evangelical leaders have rushed into the doctrinal trap set by the Muslims. It is not possible in terms of time and space to dealexhaustively here with these issues, but just a fewexamples should suffice to demonstrate that thereis little or no common ground between the twolargest of the world’s several religions. The Islamic claim that Allah and Jehovah are thesame God is false. As Emir Caner, Dean of The Collegeat Southwestern, summarizes it, "To say that ...Christians and Muslims worship the same God isbeyond naive – it is blasphemous." Allah is clearlydefined as being alone, with no associate, in thesewords from the Quran, "Allah is one. He begets not nor is He begotten. And none is like Him." The Christian doctrine of the Trinity, of God as Father, Sonand Holy Spirit, is foreign to Islam, as is the Sonship and Deity of Jesus Christ – whom Mohammad refusesto accept as having been slain for the sins of theworld – in fact the Quran clearly denies both the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, yet these truths are the very heart of the Christian Gospel. One other false claim of Islam might be mentioned –the claim that Muslims and Christians share in theAbrahamic covenant. Yet the facts are that God’s covenant with Abraham and his heirs was made withAbraham involving Isaac. the son to be born to Sarah,and not involving Ishmael, the son born to Hagar.Ishmael became the father of the Arab race, and it was foretold that he would bring trouble to the descendants of Abraham. So the Islamic claim ofcommon ground on the basis of the Abrahamiccovenant is also false. So the questions do rightly arise: how could these menwho profess to be Evangelical Christian believers finda basis for any hope of common ground between Islam -- which denies the Trinity, the Sonship of Jesus Christ,the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection – and Christianity, for which these are the foundationaltruths? Perhaps for publicity, or the popular acclaim ofbeing associated with prominent Christian leaders in the West. It is to be noted that Leith Anderson, NAE President, explained his signature in these words, "I agreed to add my name to the letter. While I am indicated as the Presidentof the National Association of Evangelicals, I added myname as an individual and not as an institution." OtherNAE members may find some comfort in this admission. We have not commented on the abject apology in theletter for the attacks on Muslims during the Crusades – although why Americans should apologize for thoseCrusades which occurred some seven centuries before America even existed is not immediately apparent. Eric Barger, of Take a Stand! Ministries, wrote quite persuasively on this subject and we offer his quote asthe final comment: "True to their lack of convictions,this bunch of milk toast, self-proclaimed Christian leaders espousing the Rodney King ‘why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along?’ theology, have made the decision thattoiling over doctrine and truth is something lessimportant than public perception... Groveling at thefeet of Islam isn’t going to win Muslims over – evenif it really was the right thing to do. It is sickening and each of the signers of the Yale letter – includingRick Warren, Bill Hybels, Leith Anderson and twoprominent Assemblies of God bible college presidents[note: signatures not mentioned are from the Presidentsof Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary] – should fall on their knees in shame and beg Jehovah God for forgiveness." As Leith Anderson said, in concluding his explanation:"Will there be misunderstandings and criticisms? I amsure there will be." He was right. What then, as Christians, should our relationships with Muslims, people of the Islamic religion, be? Surelyit should not be to join with them and surrender thebasic tenets of our Christian faith, but rather that we should include them within the Great Commission ofJesus Christ to whom the Gospel must be preached. We should consider them as prospects for conversion, we should witness to them in love concerning our faith,and seek to have them experience the blessings of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.We should pray for them individually and as a peoplefor whom Christ died. Afterthoughts . . . BY THE WAY: If you like Blogs, click on this one:http://evangelicalviewpoint2006.blogspot.com Hanukkah candles said to affect climate – in one of the most ridiculous effects of Al Gore’s "GlobalWarming" campaign, a group of environmentalists launched a campaign to encourage Jews around the world to light one less Menorah candle to reduce CO2in the atmosphere. Lighting of the Menorah candlesis the most important Hanukkah tradition, and this ideaseems just a bit too much. A warning from Russia, but not the usual. This onehas a real Christian application. The Russian OrthodoxPatriarch Alexy II has issued a plea to European peopleto retain their Christian heritage or risk fading intooblivion as nations. "Losing their Christian roots, thepeople of Europe will sign their own death warrants.Modern Europe will not create a new post-Christianculture and civilization, but will simply vanish fromhistory." His warning is applicable also to America, aswe continue to depart from the faith of our founders. A touch of humor . . . how current day newspapersmight headline Bible stories: — On the Red Sea crossingWETLANDS TRAMPLED IN LABOR STRIKEPursuing Environmentalists Killed – On the Birth of ChristHOTELS FULL; ANIMALS LEFT HOMELESSInsensitive Couple Enrage Animal Rights Activists – On Feeding the 5,000PREACHER STEALS CHILD’S LUNCHDisciples Mystified Over Behavior – On Healing the 10 LepersLOCAL DOCTOR’S PRACTICE RUINED"Faith Healer" Causes Bankruptcy A note of concern from the Holy Land: JustusWeiner at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)warns, "If Western governments do not address theMuslim persecution and economic plight of PalestinianArab Christians, there won’t be many Christians left inthe Holy Land within 15 years." In Bethlehem, thebirthplace of Jesus, the exodus has been most acute. In1990 60% of the population was Christian. Today that figure is 20% or less. Weiner said that church leaders who should be protecting their followers, are being forced to abandon them to the forces of radical Islam. Truly a matter for prayer by Christians in America. A great quote for the Season: "Christianity won’trise or fall on whether WalMart employees can say‘Merry Christmas.’ But its future does depend on howGod’s people advance God’s kingdom, as we helpestablish His peaceful rule in the present historicalmoment, until Christ reigns in all His glory." – ChuckColson and Anne Morse in Christianity Today, Dec. 6.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATIONTo Subscribe (no subscription charge), click on:EPOCHCommentaryfirstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the things below are funny or neat to hear. Isaiah 40:31 ...but those who wait in the Lord will renew their strength; and they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. "Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left handAnd "lollipop" is the longest word typed with your right hand. (Bet you tried this out mentally, didn't you?) No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple."Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".? (Are you doubting this?) Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. (Now, you KNOW you're going to try this out for accuracy, right?) The words 'race car,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes). (Yep, I knew you were going to "do" this one.)There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. (You're not doubting this, are you?)There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious." (Yes, admit it, you are going to say, a e i o u)TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of t he keyboard. (All you typists are going to test this out)A cat has 32 muscles in each ear. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.(Some days that's about what my memory span is.)A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.A snail can sleep for three years. (I know some people that could do this too.!)Almonds are a member of the peach family.An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.(I know some people like that also)Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age. February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon. In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated. If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction. Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.The cruise liner, QE 2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. (Good thing he did that.)The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.There are more chickens than people in the world.Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
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