As a final post for 2012 here is something about Christmas that I wrote 7 years ago:


It’s getting very close to Christmas.
Should we be celebrating even though we know there is no real connection with the 25th December and the birth of our Lord? Should we shun the celebration because the REAL source of the holiday is a pagan celebration?

Some Christians proclaim we should “Put the Christ back into Christmas”. I’ve heard others saying we should take the Christ out of Christmas because the event was never really about Him anyway – pointing to all of the closely held traditions that originate in pagan practices.
But please let me make this point. At what other time of the year are unbelievers willingly confronted with hymns praising our Lord – even singing along?

Despite attempts to replace the “religious” carols with American songs about Jingling Bells, snow men, and reindeer with unusual facial colouring, the Christ praising songs still hang in there among the favourites. At this time of the year, despite attempts to secularise Christmas, in our western tradition, it has remained acceptable, (even among unbelievers) to remember that our Lord was born into this world as a human baby.

Surely, while this acceptability remains we should make the most of it. There is a starting point for the preaching of the gospel while people have this seasonal awareness of the beginnings of Jesus human life.

How can we “exploit” this situation? By belittling the occasion because the date has no historical fact? By shunning celebration because of its pagan roots? Or by recognising an opportunity to make people aware of Jesus BEYOND the manger?

I recall several years ago one radical group of Christians in my home town joined a Christmas parade. Their contribution was a man dressed as Jesus carrying the cross being whipped as he walked along. The person with the whip was dressed as Santa Claus. Now did THAT cause an uproar in the local press!

Now this brings me to another point I’d like to make – the difference between Christmas and Easter (yet another pagan celebration appropriated by the church). Around the time of Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ” I was astonished at the reaction of the major movie reviewers. These people who can eagerly type their praises of intensely violent and ugly films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and others – somehow found the brutality of Jesus being scourged and crucified as intensely offensive.

I realised then how acceptable Jesus can be when He’s no more than a baby in a manger. But Jesus suffering and dying for our sins, the brutality of the crucifixion, the sheer ugliness of torn flesh and shed blood – well it’s just not acceptable is it? At least not in the world’s eyes – it’s too confronting. A baby receiving birthday presents and visits from angels and shepherds, all of the peace and goodwill messages, THAT is what they can accept. But move that baby on to adulthood and look at the end purpose of His life and the world doesn’t want to know. They’ll celebrate His birth with songs of paraise – but His death?

Just pass them more chocolate eggs.

Five doomsdays that never happened

Five doomsdays that never happened:


And the Day of the Lord that WILL happen (date unknown to man)Blood moon

Isaiah 13:6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!

It will come as destruction from the Almighty.

7 Therefore all hands will be limp,

Every man’s heart will melt,

8 And they will be afraid.

Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;

They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;

They will be amazed at one another;

Their faces will be like flames.


9 Behold, the day of the Lord comes,

Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,

To lay the land desolate;

And He will destroy its sinners from it.

10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations

Will not give their light;

The sun will be darkened in its going forth,

And the moon will not cause its light to shine.


11 “I will punish the world for its evil,

And the wicked for their iniquity;

I will halt the arrogance of the proud,

And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.


See also: Jeremiah 46:10,  Joel 2 & 3,  Amos 5,  Obadiah 1,  Zephaniah 1,  Zechariah 14,  Acts 2,  1 Thess 5,  2 Peter 3

In Guns They Trust

bushmasterSee the linked article and ask: ” was this a logical and reasonable thing for the boy to do?”

Under the circumstances and due to the prevailing(?) attitude to firearms in the US I think it was. Sadly!
Is it any different to home owners arming themselves just in case? It just seems more shocking that a child should do this out of fear of what may happen at school.

“US authorities say an 11-year-old boy caught with a gun at school in Utah told administrators he brought the weapon to defend himself in case of an attack similar to the mass shooting last week at a Connecticut elementary school…”


As it was pointed out in comments under a previous post, the only answer to the violence (and the gun obession) is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But what about the attitudes of the American Christians responsible for sharing that gospel? What role do guns (for protection) play in their lives?

What Kind of gospel can be shared when trust is placed in weaponry rather than in the God of the Gospel?

White Canvas of Doom

I’m back at that place where I have an empty white canvas to deal with. I’ve finished the paintings I was working on and I need to start something new.blank canvas

To be honest, I have TWO white surfaces to deal with. One stretched and primed canvas and a sheet of primed Masonite/hardboard.  I’ve read that some people are intimidated by the blankness of a new painting surface, like writers facing an empty page, struggling for ideas, not knowing how to start.

Sometimes I start a painting with a particular artist in mind. Would I be able to approximate their style and technique? While the result looks nothing like the work I had in mind, it gives me a starting point that evolves as I add and scrape away layers of paint.

My problem with the blank canvas isn’t a lack of ideas. I have too many things I’d like to try, but as soon as I start putting marks on the white surface, I ‘ve committed myself to NOT trying so many of the other things I’d like to do. The hard decision is choosing what I want to do first, something that won’t have me wondering what I could have been doing, if only I’d started with one of the other ideas.

However, since most of the time I end up doing three or four paintings on top of each other before I find something I like, it doesn’t matter what I start with because it’s likely to be buried under several layers of paint anyway. Those paintings I consider to be my successes usually come about through trying to hide the mistakes I’ve made during the preliminary stages of the painting.