You are probably familiar the story of Christmas, at least as presented in countless school plays about the birth of Jesus all across the world: the virgin Mary has a baby, angels tell shepherds to go see Him and sing of His glory, wise men arrive from far off with gifts to offer in worship to the King of the Jews. Today I’d like to take a closer look at a few details of this account from Matthew chapters 1 and 2.
The Genealogy of Jesus
The account opens with a genealogical listing of the ancestry of Jesus, from Abraham to Joseph. This listing is meaningless to us in the sense that, in our understanding of genetics, none of the people listed are genetic contributors to the baby Jesus because Joseph was not His father: the Holy Spirit was. The only person listed who may have contributed anything genetic is Mary, and that is uncertain. Continue reading Examining the Birth of Jesus→
About two weeks ago I engaged in a discussion about evidence that Jesus lived with a fellow through social media. Because it was on social media I was able to record our back and forth verbatim. It was a good discussion: he made some good points and it never degraded into mean-spirited argument (as so many do).
This topic branched off from a discussion with others about how silly religion in general is with all its rules and clouded, conflicting information. Here is our discussion: he is Bruce, I am Doug.
In Hebrews 7, Paul discusses a fellow from ancient Hebrew history: Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the king of Salem (later to be called Jerusalem) and the first priest of the Most High God. Paul opens the discussion with:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
The “slaughter of the kings” was the time Abram (later called Abraham) and 318 of his trained servants went out to rescue Abram’s nephew, Lot, from the combined armies of 5 kings who had invaded their neighbors and carried off the people and possessions of many cities including Sodom, Lot’s home (Genesis 14). Continue reading What of This Melchizedek→
According to nationalpitbullawarenessday.org, Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys, a non-profit rescue and education effort in Tennessee, introduced the idea of National Pit Bull Awareness Day in 2007 and it took off like wildfire. Now, the entire month of October is known as National Pit Bull Awareness Month, while devotees of pit bulls recognize October 27th across the country as National Pit Bull Awareness Day.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about pit bulls and their responsible owners. NPBAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which we and our dogs live, and it is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
It is well known that pit bulls, and pit-mixes, are at the current target of breed specific legislation, discrimination, and negative bias among the nation’s media and government. Despite continued efforts by supporters, much of the general public is overwhelmingly misinformed about the breed and hold to a fear-filled image created by humans who exploit the dogs, not the breed itself. Continue reading Pit Bulls We Loved Before They Were Feared→
As a kid, the highlight of my week was laying on the floor of our living room and watching the weekly episode ofLost in Space. I thought that was the greatest show ever made! Many years later I revisited a few of those episodes and came away wondering, “What was I *thinking*?!” By modern standards the classic version left a lot to be desired. Still, I remember it fondly as a major part of my childhood as my love for science fiction bloomed. Continue reading Lost in Space: No Place to Hide→
Maybe it’s all the goofiness that’s going on in the world today, but lately I find I’ve been feeling drawn to historic living topics. Today I encountered a blurb about a chuck wagon school and it set me off on a search to learn about and understand what life for a trail drive cook was like. This is not because I want to become a “Cookie”, but just because it’s fascinating to see how people coped with having to do everyday things without the conveniences we enjoy today.
The name “chuck wagon” was derived from 17th Century England meat merchants who referred to their lower priced goods as “Chuck”. By the 18th Century, the term “chuck” was taken to mean basic but hearty food.
The chuck wagon became an indispensable tool on the cattle drives that took place between the end of the U.S. civil war in the 1860’s and the 1890s, when railroads began being built. During this time a massive expansion of settlement moved westward across the North American continent. This expansion created a large market for beef. Beef that existed, on the hoof, in the southwest; primarily in Texas.
To meet this need, dozens of cattle drive operations were moving millions of cattle from Texas to markets in the mid-west. This resulted in a shortage of cowboys and there was tremendous competition in recruiting good trail hands. Continue reading A Little History on the Chuck Wagon→
Those who follow Jesus are known by two terms: disciples of Jesus and apostles of Jesus.
In Greek the word for disciple is “mathetes” meaning a “learner” or “follower” and refers to the accepting and following the views and practices of a teacher.
In Greek the word for apostle is “apostolos” meaning “one who is sent out with a special commission as a fully authorized representative of the sender”, like an agent or ambassador.
Early in His ministry Jesus chose twelve men as He encountered them in their lives. The list of His inner circle is mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13. These twelve men were hand picked for special training to carry on His ministry and spread the Gospel after He ascended back into Heaven.
Every generation looks backward as the world marches resolutely forward and pines for The Good Old Days. However, those old days were not always as good as we like to think. Even modern Good Old Days had their drawbacks, but as we go further back we find life was not always as pleasant as the romanticized books and movies make them out to be. Here are just a few examples of life in the 1500’s which explain the origins of some of our idioms. Continue reading The Good Old Days→
Celebrate National Mutt Day in the USA on July 31 and December 2. This is a fun celebration of mixed breed dogs. Created in 2005 by celebrity pet and family life expert, Colleen Paige, National Mutt Day brings awareness to the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the country and encourages people to adopt shelter dogs rather than buy “designer dogs” from puppy mills.
If you’re opening this post before you’ve gotten pranked – this is a reminder that today is April Fool’s Day! How did this “holiday” come about? I was curious, so I did some research and this is what I found out.
The history of April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was moved from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week) to January 1.
Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious, refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1.
These people were labeled “fools” by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on “fool errands,” sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.
This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool’s Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.
In Scotland April Fool’s Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.
In Ireland, a popular traditional joke is to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contains the words “send the fool further.”
In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.
Norwegians, Danes and Swedes celebrate April Fools’ Day (aprilsnar in Danish) as well. Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on 1 April; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.
In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”
In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.
The Holi Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another celebrating the arrival of Spring. ———————-
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