Jesus with skin on

Peter Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and is a New York Times contributing opinion writer.  In the following article Mr. Wehner does a masterful job of describing Jesus in just the way I wish I could have done.  He portrays the Savior as a real life flesh and bones man who also happened to be God incarnate.  A man who came not only to die as a sacrificial atonement but also to model life as it should be lived.  I love the way Jesus is presented, as Wehner puts it, “as an actor in the human drama and not just as the author.”   I hope you’ll enjoy this article and learn from it as I did.  The article appeared at: NYTimes.com  as: Humanizing Jesus.  RMF

HUMANIZING JESUS
Peter Wehner
The New York Times

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Peter Wehner

Peter Wehner

Early in my Christian pilgrimage, as a young man struggling to understand the implications of a story I had only a surface knowledge of, I stumbled onto a theological insight. For followers of Jesus, salvation was based not on his life so much as his death. Jesus could have been incarnated as a man and been crucified within days. That’s all that was needed for his death to serve as an atonement, but that’s not what happened. God clearly wanted to instruct us about how we should live in this life, too.

He became not just the author of the human drama but an actor in it.

According to the Christian Scriptures, Jesus had a life story — born in a manger in Bethlehem, later moving to Nazareth, and dying in his 30s, just outside Jerusalem. The fact that we’re so familiar with the story has inured us to just how jarring and unexpected it was. God came to earth “not in a raging whirlwind nor in a devouring fire,” in the words of Philip Yancey, author of “The Jesus I Never Knew,” but in humility, without power or wealth, in a world marked by strife and terror. Continue reading

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Rumblings of the Hoi Polloi

Irrespective of your position on the election of Donald Trump it is clear that the pounding suffered by both the Democrat and Republican Party establishments signaled something very different in the United States.  This article by Victor Davis Hanson offers at least one clearly stated assessment of the why it happened.  Now, Mr. Hanson is an arch conservative and so the examples he has selected to illustrate his thesis are primarily of so-called “elite” individuals from the left of the political spectrum.  He could certainly have given examples from the right just as easily, although it does seem that those who inhabit elitist positions reside mostly on the left.  Mr. Hanson’s article appeared at: Jewish World Review – The Intersection of faith, culture, and politics as: Who Are Those Darned ‘Elites.’  As a Christian I could not help but think of Jesus when I read the article. He came as a suffering servant who lived as a perfect example of the loving sacrificial   life each of us should live.  What humility.  What a Savior!  RMF

Who Are Those Darned Elites?
By Victor Davis Hanson
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Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson

  The United States and Europe are seeing a surge in populist anger toward the so-called elites. The German public, for example, is furious at Chancellor Angela Merkel for her position on immigration from the Middle East. British voters have forsaken the postmodern European Union. And working class Americans have rallied around political outsider Donald Trump as their presidential favorite, something that neither the Clinton machine nor the establishment of the Republican Party anticipated.

But who exactly are these unpopular elites-and what exactly have they done that has enraged middle-class voters in Western democracies?

Since ancient times, elites have been defined various ways, sometimes by birth (the Greeks’ hoi aristoi), by capital (hoi plousioi), by perceived class (hoi oligoi), by acknowledged influence (hoi gnorimoi), by high culture (hoi beltistoi)-and sometimes by a combination of all of the above.

unknown-1  Today, people are especially mad at political elites, a loose term for those who govern at the state and federal level. They include not just our elected legislators, governors, and President, but also the unelected (and unaccountable) members of the vast government archipelago-cabinet officers, bureaucratic grandees, top military officers, and regulators. Beyond these politicos, the Western elite is comprised, too, of the transnational mega-wealthy, who have been enriched by globalization, especially international finance, investments, and technologies that lubricate worldwide dissemination of capital and communications. Continue reading

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Christmas Movie Evaluation Guide

My Shirley is a Christmas movie junkie. Every year she watches every Christmas movie she can find and typically loves them all — but some better than others. Her favs other than It’s a Wonderful Life are more often than not the movies Hallmark turns out. Anyway, seemingly out of the blue my sister, Darla, came up with an instrument for rating Christmas movies of the Hallmark variety. The idea is to be alert for particular elements to appear in the movie. Then, the scale she has devised is used to pronounce a favorability rating for the movie. Perhaps you can use it. Here is is – my Christmas gift to you with a big hat tip to Darla. Enjoy. RMF

Christmas Move Evaluation

Christmas Move Evaluation

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Don’t Let Age be an End to Joy

Here is an article that encourages me to live life as God intended it to be — even in the face of advancing years.  Perhaps it will be useful to you – either now or later.  Actually it is great wisdom for any stage of life.  The article is from Pastor Bob Russell and appeared at: Aging With Joy.  RMF

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Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Aging With Joy

Last Thursday I had the privilege of speaking to the Senior’s Christmas banquet at Southeast Christian Church. It was great to greet so many friends I hadn’t seen for ages. I often tease that it seems like just last year I was a youth speaker, now I’m a Senior Adults’ speaker. But I look out in the audience and I see the same people!

Below is a segment of my talk, “Aging With Joy” in which I challenged my peers to finish the final chapter of life with a contagious, joyful spirit. That’s not easy to do. The Bible warns that the last decade of life is usually filled with trouble and sorrow. It’s hard to be joyful when the body hurts, people disappoint, friends die and the future is uncertain. But 1 Peter 4:13 urges us, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Even when we hurt we can be thankful that we can better appreciate what Jesus endured for us.   Continue reading

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Don’t Tread on Me!

Freedom is tricky.

Musings on Science and Theology

640px-gadsden_flag-svgHuman freedom, constrained only loosely by the caveat “do no harm,” seems the rallying cry of much of Western (especially North American) civilization. Tim Keller, in his new book Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, tackles the issue of freedom. The Western ideal of individual freedom has brought both gain and loss. Keller notes: “the ideal of individual freedom in Western society has done incalculable good. It has led to a far more just and fair society for minorities and women. Indeed, there is a danger that a critique of the ideal of freedom could be used to weaken or roll back these gains.” (pp. 100-101)

I’d go even a step further than Keller, the Western ideal of individual freedom has also done incalculable good for the poor of all races, both male and female. The oppression of the poor for the good of…

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A Prayer for a President Elect

Pastor Kevin DeYoung  is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan.  Last Sunday he led his congregation with the following prayer. Perhaps you’ll be able to pray that same prayer along with him. I am. RMF

pastor-kevin-deyoungOur good and gracious heavenly Father, we praise for your almighty and ever present power, by which you uphold, as with your hand, all things. When we don’t know what will happen with our health, we trust you. When we don’t know what we will happen with those we love, we rest in you. And when we don’t know what will happen with our nation, we turn to you.

In the midst of a world filled with triumphalism on the one hand and recriminations on the other, in a world where we tend to assume the worst of those who are not like us, help the church to show a more excellent way. May the world look in at our counter-culture communities and say with astonishment, “See how they love one another.” Give us the empathy to listen to one another and the wisdom to learn from what we hear.

May the church show forth the kind of diversity worth pursuing—the diversity of every nationality, and every race, and every class, and every color confessing sins together and together worshiping the risen Christ.   Continue reading

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Unity in the Face of Differing Opinions

The following article by Pastor Bob Russell is timely for this election season but I believe it is much more than that.  It is a perscription for how to do life in a heterogenious society where people have widely varying views and perspectives on countless issues.  As a Christian I take Scripture very seriously and am convinced that it is authoritative and true — that it is the actual Word of God speaking truth to me.  Therefore, I take it very seriously when it says:  “…if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12: 18)  While Pastor Russell’s article contains elements specific to the election it models to me an attitude that I want for myself.  Perhaps you will want the same attitude if you don’t already have it.  The article appeared first at: bob russell.org as:  Six Guidelines for Voting One Week from Tuesday.  RMF

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Six Guidelines for Voting One Week from Tuesday

by Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Two things continue to disturb me about the current Presidential campaign. First, like most Americans, I am deeply troubled that the two candidates are so terribly flawed. I know there has never been a perfect candidate but this campaign is overstating the case. Someone said, “America is a country where anyone can become President and this election proves it!”

Even more troubling to me is that Christian people are so divided over it. Believers are accusing one another of denying the faith and abandoning all sense of reason because they hold to a different opinion as to the proper response on voting day.

Last week I opened four emails in a row urging me to take a Godly stand on the election. Two pleaded with me to use my blog to instruct people why they should vote for Donald Trump: “It’s about the Supreme Court!” The two others insisted that any endorsement of Trump would be an offense to God and would result in evangelical Christians losing all credibility with the world. One on each side contained nasty and inflammatory language.  Continue reading

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