Tag Archives: Christianity

Santa Claus for Christians

What to do with this image?

Christian Confession:  I Like Santa 

 I have been working for the better part of my professional career in distinctively Christian organizations. I’ll call it vocational ministry. In my jobs I’ve enjoyed working with gracious, unselfish people. My jobs have been overwhelmingly positive, but not without some stumbles and quirks.

Here and there I’ve seen a few controversies emerge from “differences of opinion.” There are some big things to get worked up about, e.g., deity of Jesus, authority of Scripture, one omniscient God, and other major tenets of the Christian faith.  – – – Schisms, Diets, Councils, and Wars have famous names because of the big controversies.

There are other things. In my experience, there have been plenty of other things. I can tell you stories that would make you laugh and stories that you cause you to drop your chin and shake your head. (Like the family that left a church because the pastor used The Wizard of Oz as an analogy in his sermon.) I’ve got more, but that’s another day.

Tis the season to poke-a-stick at Santa Claus. For some the jolly fat man is completely innocuous, like Garfield the cat or Dennis the Menace, while for others he has become a cultural annoyance. And then there are the haters. “We don’t allow any pictures of Santa Claus in our building,” stated one Christian friend, and he said it with conviction and shoulders squared against such worldliness. “We don’t believe in Santa Claus!?!”  You’ve heard it, and you may have heard it from me somewhere in the past. But I’ve flop-flopped on the issue.  Continue reading Santa Claus for Christians

Comfort in Tough Times

by Alfred Lamar Jackson

Dear Readers – we’re going to have a short “A.M.” Simple Sabbath today, then perhaps another “P.M.” post.  I want to thank our first Faith author, Lamar Jackson, for one of his firsts posts that I felt might be fitting for this morning.  Thanks, Lamar… and, thank YOU for reading the RDC and being a part of our community.  As an instructor at Oklahoma State University, I’ve been thinking about my students and some of their friends who are hurting right now due to the most recent loss within the basketball team family.  And, I’ve been thinking about this: “He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3. Yes, we’ll need the Great Physician around for a while…and I’m glad He’s here. ~ RDK



Tough Times

Let’s be real for a minute –  a tough time can come to anyone at anytime. Just because the government and media tell us that we are in a recession doesn’t mean that it has been easy for everyone to this point in time. I definitely cannot speak for everyone on this, but for those who have been affected by lack of work or losing most of their retirement money due to economic turmoil, there is probably not enough comfort to go around.

Dig In!

Well let’s get right to it. Of course it depends on your source of comfort, right? The Christian-ese answer would be throwing out the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 which says “I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Now don’t get me wrong, that is an awesome truth from the Word and has helped many a person through tough times. God does have those plans for us, but those plans don’t happen over night as I should have figured out by now. The hardest thing to do is to see God working toward His plans when we have to go through the hard stuff such as a really terrible day, losing a job, losing a loved one or just coming up short. The great truth is that there is always hope, especially for those in Christ Jesus. God may not change your circumstances.   Or, He might change one thing and not everything else.

Take my Hand

Take My Hand

The key for the believer is faith. In your faith you will find the comfort you seek. Faith in knowing that God is there in your circumstance – walking beside you like a father walks beside his child. As I said, for me it’s the simple things that mean the most to me. I love picturing Christ as my dad and I’m a little kid that just fell and scraped my knee. As I sit on the ground in pain and hold my knee thinking how my world has been shaken, God bends down, takes my hand, picks me up, dusts me off and looks into my eyes with love and says “I’m right here.”

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
– Isaiah 41:13

Deconstructing My Christianized Self, Part 1 (republish: “Best Of”)

Editor’s Note: This was one of our top 20 most read essays in 2010. We’re republishing it as we continue through our “revisiting 2010 the ‘best of’ series of 2010.” Thanks.

Like so many others born and raised in the buckle of the Oklahoma “Bible belt,” I was Christianized from an early age. My father was a pastor, and as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Flannel boards, K-Love, VBS, purity rings, Precept Bible Studies, DC Talk, and potluck lunches – all of this just came with the territory.

Somewhere early on, I absorbed the basic Calvinistic idea that the material world, like the material body, was colonized with eeeeviil. Most importantly, I was hard wired for eeeeviill. Every thought, impulse, feeling, and desire contained latent Dionysian energies roiling within them.

I distinctly remember attending a youth bible conference where the speaker confronted us on masturbation. Gulp. Blanch. Awkward. Stare at the floor. Crickets.

Continue reading Deconstructing My Christianized Self, Part 1 (republish: “Best Of”)

Barbershop Theology – Pass the Salt

Pass the Salt

Salt. What an amazing additive. Salt. Never set the table without it. Most of us handle a salt shaker each and every day. For me, it always made food taste better. In the right amounts salt will accentuate the natural flavor of an otherwise bland food.

The Salt of the Earth

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” What a brilliant description of His children— they bring the flavor of God’s Kingdom into the earth.

A playful paraphrase would be, “My children are in the world to accentuate the real purposes of creation.”  What if society declared, It’s so great that we have so many Christians living in our city, they are such great fun, lively, gracious people; they just make everything a little better!  Continue reading Barbershop Theology – Pass the Salt

Barbershop Theology: My Faith Hero

An Honest Faith

I first heard a small diatribe on the subject of faith while visiting Dad’s barber shop.  I was a college student and had grown very interested in my parents’ renewed passion for Christ.  I tuned in a bit more than usual when a fella that I barely knew started to deliver his discourse on faith.

As I recall his talk, I remember it as just that—a lot of talk.  It sounded something like this…

“It’s all about faith, you know.  When we get sick, God’s just testing us to see if we can get rid of all our questions and just believe in Him and his power.  Why, just the other day I believed really hard that God could heal my aching back, and he did!  I was tempted to doubt, but I didn’t let it get to me.  My faith healed me!”

I listened as this customer in my dad’s shop proclaimed his conviction that “most of the world’s problems are really just because people don’t have enough faith,” and that poverty, sickness, and pain could be effectively wiped out if people would just extinguish their doubts with a fire hose of super-powerful trust in God.

His talk concerned me.  Maybe he knew how to muster up that kind of super-strong faith, but I’m here to confess, I’ve never really been a person who’s been able to get rid of all his doubts or questions. In fact, I would give myself a C- if I had to submit a report card on myself. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: My Faith Hero