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Fighting the Trump Apostasy One Blog At A Time

Who am I?

That is a good question dear reader. My name is Max Blaska. I am an almost 40 year old Evangelical Christian. And before you leave fleeing in terror because of that phrase let me explain my story.

My parents weren’t very religious. We were cultural Catholics. I first started believing in God when I was 12 and in Boy Scouts. I became the troop Chaplin. I dragged  my parents to church. I got confirmed and my faith stayed strong.

Unfortunatly the hypocrisy of getting kicked out of a Catholic high school and the priest sex scandal killed my faith. I still believed that Jesus was a great teacher but I didn’t believe in a God that would allow His followers to do such bad stuff. I didn’t try a Protestant church because of people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

In 2008 something fantastical happened to me. Sarah Palin helped bring me to Christ. It was September of that year. There was a day called pulpit Sunday. A day when churches advocate for how their congregants should vote. And of course they were urging them to vote for McCain/Palin.

This angered me a lot. So I did what any person would do. I sent e-mails to the top “evangelical” leaders asking them how they can support policies that go against Christ so much. Only Rick Warren’s church contacted me back.

We had a nice talk and he asked me if I belong to a faith community. That make me think that I was looking from the outside in and not actually at the table. That was a Friday. That night I prayed for the first time in years. Well I always prayed when I was on a plane during liftoff and touchdown. But this was the first prayer I made when I was on Terra Firma.

The next day I was at work at Boston Store and a co-worker overheard that I was talking about looking for a church. She told me about Christ Presbyterian Church and told me “they love everyone there. It doesn’t matter who you are”.

So, I thought that I would give it a chance. I went to the more contemporary service. I heard the praise music. I think two of the songs were “Happy Day” and “Here We Come to Worship.” I remembered that I always cringed when those commercials for praise music CDs came on the television.

He then started His sermon and he played the guitar and played Bobby Dylan’s “You Gotta Serve Somebody” and his sermon was that it doesn’t matter if we are evangelical or social justice based. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republicsn or a Democrat. What matters is serving God.

I knew I was home. I found my spiritual family. I went home and prayed again and I felt warmth surround me and peace and I swear I heard in the back of my head “Let There Be Peace on Earth” one of my favorite hymns from when I was younger. I was a born again evangelical social justice Presbyterian.

But I also was very angry. The religious right almost blocked me from God. They tried to kill my faith and they almost got away with it. From that day forward I started speaking out against the religious right. I don’t call them evangelical. I don’t call them fundamentalist. I call them out for what they are apostates.

That is the reason why I made this blog. Donald Trump is a clear and present danger. Not just to our nation but to our faith.

True Christians have to come forward and speak out in a clear calm voice. They do not represent us.

God Bless

 

 

Featured post

This Christmas Let’s Give to Franklin Graham With One Condition

The Christmas season is the season for giving. Numerous charities that you have donated in the past send letters asking you to donate again. There are many worthy organizations out there. For example I donated to the Fairhaven School. A school in Alexandria Egypt that provides an education to students with development disabilities that my church has ties with.

So I know money is limited. But what I am asking you is to donate to a cause that is very near to my heart. As I write in my blogs, I do consider the religious right and their deal with Trump akin to a pact with the devil. Trump is everything that Jesus Christ is not and supporting him is blaspheming the name of God in the eyes of non believers.

I don’t believe that all the religious right are lost permanently. I believe some have just lost their way and gently need to be brought back to the light. Franklin Graham couldn’t be all lost, he does great work with Samaritans’ Purse. I believe that fear and anger have lead him astray and I believe that we can help bring him back into the path of Righteousness. Imagine if Franklin Graham spoke up against or withdrew his support from Donald Trump. The man who Time and Newsmax named the most influential evangelical leader in world. If he would speak out it would be a miracle that would go a long way.

That is why we have to be cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves. I suggest that we donate money to the Billy Graham Foundation on condition that their leader rebuke or withdrawal their support for Trump. And if he does not do so, we will demand a full return of our donation.

I tried this once before in June of 2017, I wrote two checks. One for $50 and one for $19.26. These numbers mean a lot to me. The first one was for $50 because of Galatians 5. The second one was $19.26 because of verses 19-26.

https://2timothytrump.blog/2017/07/11/franklin-graham-take-this-69-26-and-start-a-third-great-awakening/

The Billy Graham Foundation cashed the check and Graham continued to support Trump so I asked and got my money back. Imagine if they received 100 letters like that. Letters with checks inclosed with different amounts and a letter urging him or others to rebuke or withdrawal support from Trump using scripture. In my wildest dreams it would be like the court scene in Miracle on 34th Street. Bags of letters coming to The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at 1 Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte, NC 28201 urging him to do so to do so.

I am a true evangelical Christian. I believe that God works in the world and He works through the Holy Spirit and we as followers of Him must do what we must to help His kingdom.

These are just a few possible amounts

1. You could write a check for $60 and one for $15.19 and write using Proverbs 6 about what God hates and how Trump’s behavior and actions go against everything that God Loves

2. A check for $23 and one for $19 for 2 Timothy 3 1-9 another scripture that talks about false religion

3. A check for $117.19 for Jeremiah 1 17-19 and urge Franklin Graham to gird up his loins and do right by God.

There are many scriptures that speak against wickedness and for justice so we can be creative here.

The best that could happen is that these checks and letters help change the hearts and minds of religious right leaders and their flock, the worst that could happen is you call for a refund and in the month of January their coffers have a huge deficit in them.

Again send your letters and checks to

The Billy Graham Foundation

1 Billy Graham Parkway

Charlotte NC 28201

Join my Facebook group Spiritual Warriors in Trump’s America and let me know what you donated and how.

Are All Sins the Same?

As I wrote in my previous blog, sin is any behavior that puts us above our neighbor and God. They separate us from both God and neighbor and they hurt both God and Neighbor.

You hear from some evangelical circles that all sins are equal in the eyes of God. While all sin is wrong I find that that statement smacks of moral relativism. It makes it seem like God views stealing a candy bar and murder the same way. While both are bad, one is more severe than others.

I will discuss different kinds of sins in my forthcoming blogs on the seven deadly sins. But I think that this issue needed to be addressed in it’s own blog before I got started.

Yes Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death”. The death of both body and soul. Every human being has sinned wether big sins or small sins since the beginning of time.

Paul said in Romans 3 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I am an evangelical Christian and I do believe that we need the Holy Spirit inside us to help heal us. It is like a spiritual antibiotic cleansing and healing us. Without Jesus and the gift he gave us, we won’t heal and we will continue to hurt others and ourselves and hurt God. Our sins pain him. Like any father who sees a child who has gone down the wrong path and knows that the child has to come around, he can’t force her or him. But he keeps reaching out for that child hoping that he or she will come home.

Sins are not a list of rights and wrongs and dos and do nots. Sins are actions or inactions done for one’s own benefit. That being said not all sins are equal. There are small sins with a small effect like stealing a candy bar to a large sin that has a worse affect like murder.

Sins are like bad fruit and there are those that pop up time and again from Proverbs 6 There are six things the Lord hates,

seven that are detestable to him:

17 

haughty eyes,

a lying tongue,

hands that shed innocent blood,

18 

a heart that devises wicked schemes,

feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 

a false witness who pours out lies

and a person who stirs up conflict in the community

To

Galatians 5 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God

These sins have a common theme. This is wickedness. This is depravity. These scriptures also describe a certain president of the United States unfortunately.

While sins have different intensity with differing outcomes and pain, there is also a difference between individual sins and corporate sins. Individual sins are sins that just affect you and your relationship with God or with just a few other people. Looking at pornography would be considered an individual sin. It affects one’s relationship with God but also affects those involved in the industry and their loved ones. Putting profit above regulations that would protect the health and lives of others is a corporate sin because that is not just a sin that has a mass affect on many people but also it is a sin that is not committed by just one person. This sin is committed by the CEO and Board of operations of that company that decide to cut back on the regulations. It is committed by the lobbyists who buy our politicians. And it is committed by the politicians who pass laws that allow the sin to continue.

While the religious right talk about sexual sins and individual sins. They rarely ever talk about systematic corporate sin and when a Christian like me brings it up we are called “disciples of the social justice heresy” at best and a Marxist at worse.

While not to lesson the affect and pain of individual sins, I believe that it is corporate sin that God hates the most. Read the Prophets. Read Isaiah 1.It is God decrying apostate Israel for systematic corporate sinning that benefited the wealthy elite but hurt the poor. The sad thing is if you change the language and a few names and Isaiah 1 could describe modern day America.

My next blog will be the first of my blogs on the Seven Deadly Sins. Until then God Bless You and keep on fighting the Kingdom Cause.

What Is Sin?

Words like evil and sin sometimes seem antiquated in today’s world. That is why I think the doctrine of sin, the importance of the concept of sin is so important particularly when it comes to Christians.

Christians like most humans like to jump to extremes. One side is judgmental, pointing out sins, and accusing people. The other side believes like this secular world that there is no such thing as sin. That we should just be good to our fellow neighbor but sin is a word that should never be mentioned.

What are sins. To some it is a list of wrongs of affronts to God. Things you don’t want to do because you are afraid of being punished by God.

To me sins are quite plainly anything you do that puts yourself above your fellow neighbor and God. All sins spring forth from selfishness. And humanity since it’s beginning has been a very selfish race. Always putting themselves number one.

Look at the first sin In the Bible. Eve and Adam disobeying God and eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent that Adam and Eve could be like God. It wasn’t that Adam and Eve thought for themselves that was the original sin. No it was that they thought for THEMSELVES. They put their own wants and needs above God. We have been living and dying by our sins ever since.

I also find it interesting that the third sin after eating the apple and Eve lying about it was Adam not taking responsibility but blaming Eve for his own lack of impulse control. Men have been blaming women for their actions ever since.

Sin is part of our DNA. we may try to do good but we always are lead astray by our petty prides and hatreds. Even when fighting sin we often decide to fight sin with sin and fire with fire. The systematic exploitation of the working poor is sin but out of the fight against that oppression came Marxism that lead to death and destruction. That is one of the reasons why I am a Christian. I am sick of this sinful world and I know the only way to fight sin is through the Holy Spirit, and that is a gift that Jesus gives believers. When you have love, kindness, peace, joy, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self control you are able to combat your sins. You will not win every battle but you are strengthened for this fight.

That is what my next series of blogs is going to be about. Now the 7 deadly sins can not be found in the Bible. But it is a great way to some up sin.

I will write about how the 7 plague me, have Donald J Trump is a human representative of them all, and how the religious right actually endorses or condones sins more than any non believer could ever dream of.

And I am not perfect as you will see in these next seven blogs but it is better to be a sinner saved by Grace who falls a lot but always humbly takes His Lord’s hands to help him up than someone who willfully sins, doesn’t seek repentance, and casts judgement on others.

10 Years Saved: 10 things I know 6-10

Here is the second half of the things I have learned being a Christian. This one will be a tad more theological heavy

#6 the Matthew 5-7/ Galatians 5 prism

Matthew 5-7 and Matthew 23 were the first verses I read after being born again. Matthew 5-7 is the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus’s first and most famous sermons and Matthew 23 is part of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ sermons that He gave the week He was destined to die. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5-7&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NIV

If one would ask me, what does a Christian look like. I would show them the Sermon On The Mount. It has everything. It has love thy enemies, don’t worry, turn the other cheek and you can’t serve both money and God. If someone claims to be Christian but goes against these tenets, I know He does not love Jesus with his heart. Because Jesus says if you love Him you will follow His teachings.

Galatians 5 is one of my favorites because in it Paul is discussing the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. I call it the Goofus and Gallant section of the Bible because it clearly shows what a saved person looks like and what a wicked person looks like.

Goofus who thinks he is a Christian but is not.

Galatians 5: 19-21 the acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality,  impurity and debauchery;idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

This describes a certain president, does it not?

Gallant the true Christian.

Galatians 5 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law

Now, I am no perfect Christian, there is no such thing. We all fall short now and again. And some people are stronger with some of the fruits than others. Me, for example, I need help with forbearance and self-control. But I know these shortcomings and I am working on them with God’s help.

#7 The No True Scotsman fallacy fallacy

Most of my blogs I upset the religious right but I know I will upset any atheist readers with number seven. Whenever I tell an atheist friend that Trump, Franklin Graham, congressman Steve King and all the other religious fundamentalists do not represent true followers of Jesus, they throw this at me. It makes me want to scream every time I hear this. I believe the No True Scotsman fallacy is a fallacy in itself.

The fallacy goes like this.

Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person A: “But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge

Now I have never read a Scottish government document declaring that no Scotsman puts sugar on their porridge. But there is a book that shows how a Christian lives. See my number 6. The New Testament shows what a Christian is like. A Christian supporting Trump is like a vegan eating steak or a communist supporting trickle down economics. It goes against the tenants of the core belief system. Logically, the No True Scotsman does not apply when you talk about followers if Christ or Christians.

8 My Spirit is willing but my flesh is very very weak.

If I would have to list my major flaws they would have to be laziness and procrastination. I checked out a book on how to fight procrastination, I just haven’t read it yet. I want to write 3 blogs a week but instead of doing so, I watch TV or do something else that is time wasting.

I want to go back to the state capital and preach but I don’t. There was a vigil for those who were murdered by that anti-Semitic psychopath in Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago. I knew I wanted to go. I knew that I should go but instead I watched a couple of Murder She Wrotes. This then leads to spiritual guilt that just leads to more fear, paralyzation, and laziness. For example part two of this list comes months after part one.

While Jesus was praying in Gethsemene, Jesus’ closest disciples said that they would stand guard but they fell asleep 3 times. They wanted to stay up in Jesus’ time of trial but they couldn’t. That is when Jesus said to them “the Spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. This is not an excuse. But it is an explanation.

9. God loves and forgives.

The Religious right speaks of God as a deity that punishes those that don’t believe Him with hellfire and gives goodies to those who do. Yes God is a God of justice. He hates sin. He hate greed, he hates violence, he hates pride. But we are all sinners. God forgives us as long as we are humble enough to ask, he will forgive us. I know that I am a sinner saved by Grace. I once was terrified of not being save, of being beyond redemption and a friend of mine told me “ because you have those thoughts that shows that you are saved. If you were beyond redemption. You wouldn’t care. The Quest for holiness is that a quest. Some people are farther in their quest than others. The Holy Spirit guides us at our individual paces. But we will never be totally free of sin and temptation until the second coming. But we don’t have to be slaves to our sins.

10. The more you use the more you get.

The Parable of the talents https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=NIV

That verse always confused me. Why would Jesus take away what little that man had. Jesus was talking about the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit. God gives us all gifts. Gifts to teach, gives to speak out against injustice. Gifts to be a prophet , gift to heal and others. But if we do nothing with them we waste them. For example when I am lazy and afraid, I write less, I feel less strong. I don’t make videos, I feel alone. But when I use the gifts that God gives me I feel fully alive. When I make my YouTube videos I feel fully alive. I am confident, strong, and eager to serve God. The more of God’s strength that I use the more it multiplies. That is true with Love, empathy, healing powers and any other gift or fruit of the Spirit.

The third man in this parable did not do anything with what God gave him, so God took it away. That is the danger of not following the path that God gives you. I pray that I will use the gifts that a God gave me to my best ability.

10 Years Saved: 10 Things I Know 1-5

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my second birthday. The last Sunday of September 2008, I was a seeker who thought that Jesus was a great teacher. But I also thought Christianity was a religious was a false hypocritical faith that had no basis in Jesus but was about fear, hate, and control. The moment I listened to Pastor Glen’s sermon I knew. I went home and I prayed and I felt a warmth wash all over me and a choir singing in. The back of my head “Let There Be Peace On Earth”. I was a born again evangelical Christian.

If you want to read more about that day check out my blog from a year ago. This blog is about 10 things that I learned about life, faith, and myself over these last 10 years.

#1 God is a Good Good Father.

God loves us. We are His. We are His children. But like children we tend to rebel. We think we know better than our parents and we do things we ought not to. He weeps over each child that has abandoned Him. God doesn’t abandon us. We abandon Him. He wants a family. He does not want robots who will serve Him without emotion or love. He rejoices when He finds that one stray lamb and slaughters the fatted calf when the prodigal son comes home.

#2 It matters why you obey your father.

When some fundamentalists speak about being saved, what they are talking about is being saved from the horrors of Hell. When I was not a Christian, Hell was not a good selling point for Christianity. It made the choice to be a Christian a selfish one. You accept Christ as your own personal savior because you want to save your own skin. That is like obeying your earthly father because you don’t want a spanking.

Others like to feel superior to the heathens, pagans, and those “other non born again Christians” like them. But this is like doing what your father tells you because you want His favor and you want to look bigger than your brother.

The Right way to serve God is because you love Him. You know that you have failed. You know that you can’t do it on your own and that you want to be more like Him. This is the way to truly be a Christian.

#3 I am a sinner but I am growing thanks to God.

There can be a self loathing in a Christian’s soul. We beat ourselves up for every sin. We live a legalistic life. And we hold others to the same standards we hold for ourselves. This can lead to spiritual depression. I have to remind myself that I am human. That the flesh and the spirit is in constant war with each other. The war has already been won in Christ. We will lose battles with sin. But as long as we allow God to lift us up and continue to fight the battles we are growing in Christ. Even Paul said in Romans 7 18-20 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

It is when you either give up the fight and wallow in your sin or stop considering your sins as sins that you have to worry.

#4 This world is a terrible sinful place and the only way to redemption is through the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God will never fully manifest until Jesus comes again. But those who are born again see the world through new eyes, they see the sin. They see that the world is full of pride, of lust, of hate, of greed. Wars and sexual exploitation, slanderers and liars, seems to be all around us. But The Holy Spirit transforms us. It is the gift that Jesus gives His believers and followers. It transforms greed into generosity . It transforms hate into radical love. It transforms pride into humility.

Witnessing the Holy Spirit at work is incredible. Galatians 5 explains the fruit of the Spirit in ways I could not. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5&version=NIV

Yes, we live in a fallen world and many people delight in the fruit of the flesh, greed, pride, violence, lust. But that makes it all the more important that we continue to let the Spirit both transform and protect us from becoming like the world. Ephesians 6 speaks of the armor of God https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6&version=NIV

That armor is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Without either of them we are easy pickings.

#5 The Religious Right is a clear and present danger to the faith.

When I was born again I knew two things for a certainty. One was that God welcomed me into His family and that I was never going to be the same. Two was that the religious right who call themselves evangelicals are faith killers and need to either repent and be transformed or be shouted down and pointed out as the hypocrites that they are.

Now I was saved in 2008. Yes Sarah Palin was the GOP running mate but this was two years before the Tea Party revolution and eight years before they sold their souls by electing Trump.

Everything that Jesus taught, these people do the opposite. Their economic policies serve money, they attack and slander their enemies, and they show none of the fruit of the Spirit. These people are what non believers see about Christianity. No wonder Christianity is losing people. They block people from the Kingdom of Heaven and those they do convert they make twice the children of Hell as they are.

They either know what they are doing or they are so blind that they actually think they are doing God’s work by supporting a man who is the opposite of Jesus in every way imaginable.

These are just five things that I learned. I will post the other five tomorrow.

Why I Stayed Away So Long and Why I am Back

I’m Back

I just noticed that I haven’t written a blog since December. On my YouTube channel AVoiceCrying33 I have only made a handful of videos this year.

I could say that I was busy with my work as an advocate for the mentally ill and a benefit I am working on to help fight stigma in High Schools. But the truth is, I haven’t done it because I am lazy and depressed.

It is very hard not to be depressed as a Christian in Trump’s America. We are overwhelmed with hypocrisy and Trump does so much awful and unchristian stuff it is sometimes feels like you are drowning. So I distract myself with TV and Facebook. I put off writing because I either don’t want to or I feel so overwhelmed that nothing of any import comes out. It just becomes a stream of word vomit 🤮.

Why is the vomit emoji vomiting what looks like green slime from “You Can’t Do That On Television” if they wanted to be accurate it would be an orange brown, but I digress.

The reason I should write is that I need to write. I need to get the thoughts out of my head. Either writing or making my videos is the best way to do it. I just have to get over the 5 minute blank screen hump. Nothing annoys or bothers a writer more than a blank screen. It is like it is taunting you “Come on you got something to say? I dare you. You got nothing!

But I do have a voice. And an interesting voice at that. I have a voice of a lapsed agnostic. Someone who thought that Christianity was nothing but a hypocritical lie. Someone who saw the Jerry Falwells, the Pat Robertson’s, the Sarah Palins and bought the lie that THEY are evangelical Christianity.

But these are not Christian. They are apostates who have long ago abandoned Jesus’s teachings and as He said in John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him

He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

These people kill the faith. They were bad in September 2008 when I was born again. But they are a 100 times worse now 10 years later. They sold their soul to a sexual predator, a conman who has served money all of his life. Instead of selling out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver like Judas. They sold him out for two Supreme Court picks. One who has lied twice at his previous confirmation hearings.

Today’s sermon was about asking God questions and we were asked to write down a question to God and put it in the collection plate. I wrote two.

Number 1: why do you allow the Religious Right to be such hypocrites that they push people away from the faith?

Number 2: Why can’t you tell me crystal clear what you want me to do?

I felt God whisper in my ear “write.” I have this blog. I should use it. Maybe it will take off and I will reach thousands, maybe I will only reach 10. That is not up to me. That is up to God. But I have to write.

I lack discipline, spiritual and otherwise. I know that for a blog to be successful, the blogger should write at least twice a week and that is what I plan to do. Thinking of writing a series on the 7 deadly sins in regard to both Trump and myself.

There Ae Much Worse Things Than My Number One Christmas Song

“Much Worse Things to Believe In.” My number one Christmas song.

This is from the Stephen Colbert Christmas Special, “The Greatest Gift Of All”,back when Stephen Colbert played a right wing blowhard on Comedy Central. I have to admit, I watch the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Some of his skits I find unfunny. When he has”god” as a guest speaking out against the religious right and the news of the day, I find it somewhat offensive and the little fundamentalist in me cringes a little bit. But overall I enjoy his show and his sharp political commentary. The two things that have helped me through this terrible year of politics was my faith and humor.

But this Christmas Special aired in 2008, a time of hope before the rise of the Tea Party and Trump. One of Colbert’s visitors was Elvis Costello and I am posting the entire song here with my commentary.

Elvis: There are cynics, there are skeptics

There are legions of dispassionate dyspeptics

Who regard this time of year as a maudlin insincere

Cheezy crass commercial travesty of all that we hold dear

I do sometimes feel like a dispassionate dyspeptic, someone who sees Christmas and the world around us and wonder “why bother?”

Stephen: When they think that

Well, I can hear it

But I pity them their lack of Christmas spirit

For in a world like ours, take it from Stephen

There are much worse things to believe in.

Elvis: A redeemer and a savior, an obese man giving toys for good behavior

Stephen: The faith in what might be and the hope that we might see

The answer to all sorrow in a box beneath the tree

It is rare for a Christmas special in the 21st century to mention the word “savior,” which is ultimately what we are celebrating. I also love this description of Santa. This song is funny, deep, and a bit irreverent all at once.

Find them foolish

Elvis: Sentimental

Stephen: Well you’re clearly none too bright

Both: so we’ll be gentle

Stephen: Don’t even try to start vaguely conceiving

Both: Of all much worse things to believe in

Stephen: Believe in the judgment, believe in Jihad

Believe in a thousand variations on a dark and spiteful god

The God I worship is a God of justice. I do believe in a final judgement. but it is not spiteful. It is not arbitrary. It is the final reckoning, where all those who abuse their power, all those bullies who hurt people who were weaker than them, will face God’s wrath. I don’t believe in a Jihad or a Crusade. I am a Christian and I abhor violence. Unless it is done to save another life.

Elvis: You’ve got your money, you’ve got your power

You’ve got your science, and all the planets going to end within the hour

Some people call faith a crutch. Well, we live in a sick and broken world and sometimes we might need a crutch, but I don’t like that example. I like the analogy of antibiotics. Our world is sick, our nation is sick with a bacterial infection of fear, hatred, and greed. And I believe that the Holy Spirit, the comforter that Jesus gives us, is the antibiotic that rids us of all that.

Without faith, I have no hope. Without hope, I would be in despair.

Stephen: You’ve got your dreams that don’t come true

Elvis: You’ve got the ones that do

Stephen: Then you’ve got your nothing

Both: Some folks believe in nothing

But if you believe in nothing

Then what’s to keep the nothing from coming for you

I love this line. Nothingness, darkness, loneliness can overwhelm us — overtake us. I do believe that without God, we have no shield. We have no tools to protect us from the world. This world and the way it treats us seems to be designed to destroy us.

Stephen: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

Now if you’ll forgive me there’s a lot to do here

There are stockings still unhung

Colored lights I haven’t strung

Elvis: And a one-man four-part Christmas carol waiting to be sung

Stephen: Call me silly, call me sappy

Call me many things, the first of which is happy

You doubt, but you’re sad

I don’t, but I’m glad

Sometimes atheists seem like the most angry or angriest people in the world. Bill Maher, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Hitchens seem to love to attack people who believe. I don’t know if it comes from fear, anger, hatred, or what, but they don’t seem to be happy people. I know that I do suffer from depression and anxiety and when I think of the religious right, I do get sad and angry. But my belief gives me joy. Whenever I think of Jesus, his ministry, his life, his second coming, I smile and I have hope.

Both: I guess we’re even

Stephen: At least that’s what I believe in

Both: And there are much worse things

With Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, our Redeemer in a manger in Bethlehem but we also are celebrating the man whose ministry rocked the world. A Rabbi who taught us that we don’t have to be slaves to our fear, our hate, our sin. An innocent lamb who took on all the sin and hate and fear of the world and died one of the most horrible deaths you could have.

We celebrate that Jesus is working today through the Holy Spirit by His believers speaking out against injustice, speaking up for the oppressed, and performing works in this world through a myriad of ways.

And we also celebrate the Jesus that will return in all of His Glory, to judge the living and the dead but also to restore and fully manifest His kingdom — a kingdom without income inequality, no sex trafficking, no war, no violence, a kingdom of humans living the way that we were supposed to before sin entered the world.

That is why I am happy and that is what I believe and there are much worse things.

“An American Noel”: If Jesus came today, my 2nd favorite Christmas Song.

“An American Noel”: If Jesus came today, my 2nd favorite Christmas Song

My 2nd favorite Christmas song is a folk song by David Carter and Tracy Grammer. This little known song is beautiful in it’s simplicity. It poses a “What if?” What if Jesus was born today?

four in the mornin at the trade winds motel

the register reads all full up and the clerk thinks, just as well

but out in the tool shed by an old coleman lamp

a little family makes its meager camp

The ancient Hebrews believed that the Messiah would be born in a regal family. They didn’t suspect that He was going to be born of a lower middle class working family from Nazareth of all places.

In John 1: 46 Nathaniel asks “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” It would be if the Messiah was born in downtown Detroit or in the Appalachians .

Jesus came to save us all, but he also came to speak up for the oppressed and the poor.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]

When Jesus said this in a synagogue in Nazareth, his hometown, people knew that He was declaring that He was the Messiah. The wealthy and the powerful feared and despised Him. They plotted to kill Him and they did.

I believe that Jesus will return in all of His Glory. I believe that the wicked will be punished, the mourning will smile. The hungry will be fed. But if God decided to try it again, to come to the world in the flesh, he would be called a Marxist. He would be ridiculed on Fox News. Franklin Graham and other religious right leaders would want nothing to do with him. Trump would call Him a loser and his so called Christian supporters would agree.

Things haven’t changed much between 30 AD and now. Technology has advanced. We like to think of ourselves as more civilized but really deep down we are still the same greedy, prideful, sinful people we always were. And there are still the poor and the oppressed who are mocked. There are politicians who rig the system to benefit the wealthy. Just look at the tax monstrosity that Franklin Graham was silent about.

But there are also true believers, those who love God and serve Him and wait on baited breath for Him to return. They are wandering souls who live in the world but don’t really belong. Jesus gave hope to them when He walked the earth. He gives them hope today. I have a wandering soul and Jesus gives me hope and joy . I pray that He returns and returns soon.

and there comes a savior

and a preacher in the park

and he camps with the homeless

where they shiver in the dark

he delivers salvation

to the weary and the cold

and he brings joy, joy, joy to the wanderin soul

he brings joy, joy, joy to the wanderin soul 

AMERICAN NOEL

My third favorite Christmas song is “Christmas Dream” by Perry Como. With a guest writerui

My third favorite Christmas song is “Christmas Dream” by Perry Como. With a guest writer.

There isn’t anything really special about the lyrics. It is a song wanting us to remember the meaning of Christmas with a couple stanzas in German.

No, the reason why this is my third is because of family. I am blessed to have a family that loves and cares for me, even if they are pretty conservative – my father is still a never Trump Republican. But through our disagreements and such there is love.

My Grandpa Louie liked this song and would dance with my mom to it ‘round Christmas time. He opened a tavern in rural Wisconsin. He was a 100% Polish American from Milwaukee who left to open a tavern in an unincorporated village named Monterey north of Oconomowoc. The lone Pole in a community of German and Irish, he made the tavern work. He was a character, a storyteller, an entertainer. He was much more than just a slinger of drinks, he became a legend.

People from all over the world would stop in to Louie’s Trading Post and ask for a Pabst, or an Manhattans and they would get a bottle of Blatz or if they were a female, a shorty Miller Lite. You didn’t swear in his tavern and if you got out of line, he would show you the door.

I loved him deeply and I still miss him. After he died, he left the tavern to my mom and me. That was in 2000. I suffered incredible social anxiety. I would tend bar but only for a half hour and then rush into the house and watch TV

But over the years, I got more and more comfortable behind the bar. I became more and more comfortable with myself. Even if I became more and more liberal. Waukesha County is the most conservative county in Wisconsin. But I also became a slinger of drinks and people began to come to see me. By the end I was behind the bar six hours a night.

I always loved Christmas time around the bar. We would put up decorations, play Christmas songs on the CD player. And the first one we played every year was “Christmas Dream.” My mom and I would dance this elaborate dance and have a fun time. Sometimes I would imagine that the Spirit Of Grandpa Louie was dancing with us.

Crazy things, said an’ done,

Every single day but one!

Every night should, I believe,

Be the same as Christmas Eve,

Nights should all be silent,

Days should all slow down,

An end to the hurry, the noise and the worry!

And I hope you believe that too!

It’s Christmas,

Remember?

Does no one remember?

Christmas Dream

I remember, and I always smile when I do.

Guest writer, Mom:

Memories are funny things. I do remember dancing around the tavern to “Christmas Dream.” When alone I would fantasize about dancing up to each of my customers, bestowing a Christmas wish. I dreamed of Daddy being with me, but I never had the chance to physically dance to this song with him.

When Max shared this dance with me, we would include Daddy’s spirit and I think that Max added my tears of remembrance to the slurry of that Christmas pudding and out came a new mythic memory — and tradition. Its a good tradition. And a good memory.

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