How many of you reading this post have come across what I like to term "Christian Ranters"? You know - the "turn or burn" brigade. I've been reflecting on this because of a piece that someone in our homecell gave me, concerning the "evils" around Christmas.
Now the purpose of this post is not to discuss the merits (or otherwise) of the particular article, save to say that there are many Christian festivals and practices (including baptism) have non-Christian (pre-Christian?) origins. One needs to be careful not to read too much into things, and to understand the context in which things are said, written, or developed, as well as the language and figures of speech used. For instance, if one is not careful, one could even conclude that Jesus' referral to Himself as the "Bread of Life" in John 6: 48 is advocating cannibalism!
I've deliberately entered the title of this post in capital letters, complete with three exclamation marks, because it seems that people who write pieces in which they are absolutely determined to convince you that their point of view is right, tend to use lots of capital letters, bold print, italics, and let's not forget the exclamation marks designed to hammer the point home. It's the written equivalent of someone standing six inches from you, pointing their finger virtually up your nose, and quoting the entire Bible without even taking a breath.
Heaven forbid that you should actually get a word in edgeways!
I'm often astounded at the so-called "logic" that many people use in their arguments. At school we learned about "chaotic logic", an example of which is that if a table has four legs, everything that has four legs must therefore be a table. A form of this chaotic logic was when I was in youth some years back, where someone cottoned onto the idea that, since Leviticus 26: 1 says that we should not make idols or images of anything for ourselves, and soft toys represent an image of something (a rabbit, Teddy bear, dog, or some other cute animal), we should get rid of these as they are idols. Well, quite frankly, ANYTHING that is worshipped ahead of God can be regarded as an idol, but to equate the giving of a soft toy as an expression of endearment to someone you love, with idolatory, is surely stretching matters a bit?
I also remember an otherwise sincere Christian teling me that charm bracelets are evil because the word "charm" has connotations of casting spells ("magic charm"), which is associated with witchcraft and is therefore evil. I responded by trying to turn on my charm ...
One that I heard recently in a home cell meeting was when we were about to start worship and someone said "let us be upstanding" (meaning, in this particular context, "stand up"), only to have one of the others jump up and say, "Don't use that saying, because it is associated with Freemasonry!" Not knowing whether or not this is the case, I can't verify if this statement is true, but I had to bite my tongue to keep me from responding that, based on this line of argument, I should stop wearing clothes because Satanists also wear clothes!
And I can't see how the fact that just because some baker who lived a gazillion years ago made a particular type of confectionary to celebrate the pagan festival of Ishtar, I will end up causing God to fall off His throne and condemn myself to eternal damnation just because I eat a hot cross bun.
I also remember some poor girl at varsity, who had the sweetest nature and was probably one of the most sincere Christians I've ever met, being violently poked in the chest by some zealot shouting "Do you believe in a dead Christ" because she happened to be wearing a gold cross with the image of Jesus thereon. In tears, she told me afterwards that she wears this particular piece of jewellery as a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for her on the cross. Now what can possibly be wrong with that?
I guess my concern is that, as Christians, we often blurt out statements that are (a) very agressive and "in your face", (b) come across as extremely "holier than thou", (c) attach meanings and connotations to something that the other person never imagined or intended in their wildest dreams, and (d) in many cases have been gleaned from some website somewhere, the factual content thereof being quite dubious at times. And we end up causing deep hurt to others in the process.
(PS: I've decided to stop using tags on my posts - they don't really help me to find stuff, and they make uploading posts SO slow!)
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