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God is not Dead: my 4th favorite Christmas Song: “ I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day”

Many of these songs on my list have a bittersweet quality to them. This is no different. This poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1864, during a period of grief after losing his wife in a house fire. The lyrics as true now as they were then. Some of the best art comes from depression and pain. The best version is sung by Burl Ives and was recorded in 1965.

Today we live in a world of sex trafficking, a world of wars that seem to have no rules of engagement. We live in a nation of leaders claiming that we are a Christian nation, yet act and make policies as if “God is dead or asleep.”, it seems to be a world without hope. A world filled to the brim with death, despair, and depression.

This whole past year could be summed up in these words:

And in despair I bowed my head

There is no peace on earth I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men

Almost every day on the news we see a mass shooting here, a hate crime there, a president who divides rather than unites and a crooked church that backs him to the hilt and our heart aches. It seems that God is nowhere to be seen and many atheists and agnostics see this cruel world that “mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men” and say that they want nothing to do with it and flee the church and God.

BUT:

Then rang the bells more loud and deep

God is not dead, nor does he sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men

This is the promise and hope we have In Jesus. Some people treat Jesus like He is a get out of Hell free card. But focusing on heaven or hell when it comes to Jesus is like talking about a wonderful sundae and talking about the cherry on top and missing the awesomeness of that sundae.

No, God saw a world in pain, a world filled with injustice and said “NO MORE!” He knew that we could not save ourselves so He became flesh. His word became manifest into a human being to live among us, work among us, teach us how to be fully human, to be the people we were meant to be before sin entered the world. He then died a painful and cruel death inflicted by men whose hate was strong. He did this for us. These men mocked the song that Jesus was singing. Yet death did not have the last laugh. The sting was gone. We as believers no longer are bound by sin and death.

And so good will prevail. Jesus uses His remnant to fight for justice, to speak out loud and deep like the bells of the song letting both the mockers and the haters know that “God is not Dead nor Does He Sleep.”

This speaks to a power stronger than any on the face of the earth. The Power of the Holy Spirit. One that will make sure that the wrong will fail.

It may seem hopeless right now but that is why as Christians we have to focus on the second part of the song and not let the first part paralyze us. Because that is what the enemy wants.

I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day

What the Dickens: My Sixth and Fifth Favorite Christmas Songs

I love Christmas and for those who have been following this series, you know I love Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” I have watched about 50 different adaptations of this story and am trying to watch every filmed adaptation. The first one I can remember watching is the 1970 musical “Scrooge” with Albert Finney.

I love “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and Razzleberry Dressing. When Alex Keaton’s family portrays the various ghosts, to the Smurfs, to a “Ghost and Mrs. Muir” TV episode where the great late comic genius Charles Nelson Riley, as the goofy uncle Claymore plays Scrooge in a dream sequence.

My #6 and #5 songs both come from musical adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” and there are more of these than I thought.

#6 is “I Like Life” from “Scrooge.” It is a song that the Ghost Of Christmas Present sings to Scrooge.

Scrooge had 40+ years of hating people, hating life and yes, of hating himself.

Huge in girth as well as Christmas spirit, getting Scrooge drunk on the milk of human kindness he begins to show Scrooge all the good things about life. Even Scrooge gets in on the fun. And he starts to turn.

It starts with The Ghost Of Christmas present listing a litany of the darker things of life:

Ebenezer Scrooge The sins of man are huge. A never-ending symphony Of villainy and infamy Duplicity, deceit, and subterfuge. And no one’s worse than Ebenezer Scrooge Though man’s a handy candidate for Hell I must admit life sometimes has it’s brighter side as well.

The Ghost then sings about how life is good and can be good if you just see it and make a vow with life to enjoy it and make it better. But Scrooge of course does not see it this way

Scrooge

That’s all very well for you

But I hate life

Ghost of Christmas Present

Nonsense man!

Why?

Scrooge

Because life hates me, that’s why!

I Like Life

Sometimes it seems that life is designed to kill the spirit. We start life all wide eyed and bushy tailed but disappointments, hurts, and other things kill that spirit. I do believe that there are no irremediable people. It takes wanting to change and people helping you to change but I do believe that change is possible. In this song when Scrooge feels giddy and happy for the first time in decades, and you, the viewer, can’t help but feel happy.

That leads to #5 “Bless Us All” from the “Muppets Christmas Carol.”

This is another one of my favorite adaptations. Michael Caine is great as Scrooge, acting against Muppets with a straight dower face. From the opening number “Scrooge” this song talks about how loneliness and bitterness turns someone into a man like Scrooge. You have the entire Muppet population of London against him. One muppet street vender sings “Even the vegetables don’t Like him.”

A group of Muppet carolers sing “ He must be so lonely. He must be so sad. He goes to extremes to convince us he’s bad. He’s really a victim of fear and of pride, look close and there must be a sweet man inside.” After a pause all the Muppets say “Nahh!” Again nobody in the beginning believes that there is an ounce of good in him. Scrooge

But “Scrooge” is not my number five. My number five song is also sung in the Ghost Of Christmas present segment, by the Cratchetts played by Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. “Bless Us All” is a song of love and a song of hope. It starts with the famous line “May God Bless Us Everyone.”

I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong.

As a Christian, I believe that there is no greater love than the love we get from God through Jesus Christ. The belonging I feel is stronger than anything.

We Always Comfort And Forgive.

It Is so easy to become bitter and angry like Scrooge. That is why forgiveness and community are so important. We get comfort from each other.

But my favorite lines of this song are:

Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall. Teach us in our dreams, and please yes please, Bless us one and all.

Bless Us All

This is a perfect prayer. Scrooge did not run from anger or bitterness. He ran right to it. Weare not perfect. We will fall and fall a lot, but God loves us and protects and will lift us up. That is why loneliness is the worst thing, because it allows us to fester in our despair and become angry and cynical and bitter. But with God and community we can share our pain and let our pain go so we can truly love life.

Who are you calling a Grinch: My 7th favorite Christmas somg

Everyone has seen Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” It is a holiday TV staple. Every Friday after Thanksgiving I go over to my best friend Dok’s house and help him and his wife, Lucy, clean and then we watch “The Grinch.” The animation is beautiful, the Seussian rhyming is at it’s best, with Boris Karloff narrating and Thul Ravenscroft singing “You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch.” For years I thought Boris Karloff was doing the singing. I didn’t realize it was Ravenscroft until after he died.

This song plays while the Grinch in all of his grinchiness steals Christmas from the poor Whos down in Whoviille. The descriptors are excellent.

He’s called a bad banana with a greasy black peel, a nasty wasty skunk, the king of sinful sots, a crooked jerky jockey, and my all time favorite insult:

You’re a three-decker sauerkraut
And toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce.

You can’t come up with a better insult than that. The thing is we use “Grinch” as an insult, just like we do “Scrooge”. But like “The Christmas Carol”, “The Grinch” is a redemptive tale. The Grinch was a heartless angry loner who saw joy and hated it. He was a creature who mistreated poor Max something awful. I always felt sorry for that dog. But after doing one of the most heinous things, stealing Christmas and lying to Little Cindy Lou Who he then sees the love of the Whos down in Whoville, singing even without ribbons and tags but just for the love of Christmas and the love of each other. He was changed him and his heart grew three sizes.

But when we think of a Grinch, we don’t think about the smiling redemptive character that cuts the roast beast at the end of the show. We think of the bitter vindictive creature. Why is that? He was the Grinch before and He was the Grinch after just with a larger heart.

So I think the time of using it as an insult should end. There is a parody of this song “Your A Mean One, Mr. Trump”on YouTube. I won’t post because it uses foul language.

Speaking of Trump, his tax bill is very Grinchy and many of the words used to describe the Grinch could be used to describe Trump. I am praying that he will have a redemptive journey and that his ego will shrink two sizes and his heart with grow three sizes.

It is unlikely. But I am a Christian and I believe in miracles.

You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch

Read more: Soundtrack Artists – You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch! Lyrics | MetroLyrics

A Politically Incorrect Yet Decent Christmas Song: My 8th top Christmas Song.

My pick for my eighth favorite Christmas song is a funny little ditty written and sung by Wisconsin’s own alt folk Rocker Mary Karlzen. It makes fun in a very nice and decent way how atheists sometimes go overboard when it comes to Christmas.

It starts with:

It’s that Holiday time of year again. I guess I can’t say Christmas. Someone might get off of their butt and I want to be politically correct.

Political correctness really started taking off in the 1990s. It went away for a while and came back with a vengeance over the last 10 years. It is the idea that we can’t say or do certain things because we might offend people. A college student dressed up as a sexy Indian for Halloween and she is verbally attacked. Or should I say Native American? We have safe spaces in universities where people are protected from any language that might be offensive to them. Bill Maher’s invitation to Berkeley is denied because he said some “politically incorrect” things about Muslims. I think he says some “politically incorrect” and offensive things about Christians. But he has a right to say them.

Some are offended when people say, “Merry Christmas”, or if there is a Christmas tree in the State Capital. You don’t shut speech down by trying to force people to be politically correct. You put your own symbols up.

It’s the Holiday time of year again and the Nativity scene is looking sad. We didn’t want to piss off the neighbors or make anybody mad. So we stuck a Bret Favre bubblehead where the baby Jesus should lay and remember when we could say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays.

But while the PC thought police can go too far, and I do believe that they have pushed too far, Trumpism is a backlash to that. There is such a thing as decency. And Trump has crossed that Rubicon from politically incorrect to indecent long ago.

Talking about women as sex objects is not being politically incorrect, it is being sexist and crude. Saying that most of illegal immigrants are rapists is not politically incorrect, it is a slur and racist.

Yes, most of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the world were committed by Muslims. There is Islamic terrorism and to deny that is to be politically correct but to say that most Muslims want to kill us is not politically incorrect but flat out wrong. I know I am going deep in this blog but I am sick of offensive hateful speech being called politically incorrect when it is racist, sexist, xenophobic, and not funny at all.

But what is funny are these lyrics:

It’s Holiday Time of year again and the kids are out caroling. But we didn’t want the atheists on the block to sue us over what they sing. So it’s Joy do the World Ain’t Dogs Fun and We Wish You A Merry Krispy Kreme. And remember back when you could say Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays

I do believe that sometimes atheists go to far. Sometimes it seems that Bill Maher and Franklin Graham feed off off of each other. They both show the same disrespect and borderline hate to the other side.

If you don’t like a nativity scene, add a menorah or a free thinker’s plaque. I believe that the answer isn’t less speech, it is more. And while I wouldn’t say there is a war on Christmas, I do believe that some atheists would love it if Christians would just go away.

I view the public square as a table. Fundamentalists want to control and own the table. Atheists want to kick all Christian away from the table while many Christians like me, just want a place at the table to speak, to share our faith when appropriate, and to listen, and to be me. And my faith is an important part of me.

Operation Today is the Day: Let’s Help Bring Rev. Franklin Graham Back to the Light.

Atheists believe that he is a perfect example of hypocritical Christianity. Many Christians I know believe that he is a lost soul who sold out his principals for politics, that he is too far gone to be saved.

I do not agree. I do believe that he has lost his way. He has let loss of Christianity’s political power, anger at the rising tide of secularism, and fear cloud his judgement. He has been seduced by a wicked man and wicked politics. He has gotten in bed with a man who represents everything that Christ stood against. Instead of celebrating humility, he honors a man who symbolizes pride.

He speaks up about a public school coach who was barred from praying before a game yet he is silent about the fact that our politicians are corrupt and are about to pass a tax bill that rewards the wealthy and hurts the poor. One that politicians like Lindsey Graham (no relation) admitted that if he didn’t pass, his donors would be angry with him. Rev. Graham should speak out for the former, the coach, but not forget about the latter.

We live in a nation where our rulers are rebels and thieves always chasing after gifts and looking after bribes and Franklin Graham doesn’t say a thing. He supported Trump because he hated Hillary Clinton and her policies on abortion among other things. But he traded a Jezebel for a Manasseh. He knows what type of man that Trump is yet he continues to support him after all of his tweets. The Billy Bush Access Hollywood Tape should have been a red line. After that Rev. Graham and his support for Trump basically said that Christianity stands for nothing.

But it is not to late. God gave him great gifts. He has just gone astray into apostasy. I have been trying to bring him back into the light for more than a year.

I made videos using his father’s book “Peace With God” as a guide 10 Rules For Franklin Graham.

I wrote e-mails.I called him. I tried to speak to him when he came to my state capital, Madison. All to no avail.

I even donated money to him asking him to speak up against Trump.https://2timothytrump.blog/2017/07/11/franklin-graham-take-this-69-26-and-start-a-third-great-awakening/

But I am just one man. I am nobody. One man is a crank, but hundreds of people is a movement, I ask you to join me. To call his office.

1-877-247-2426

Or write him at Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

1 Billy Graham Parkway

Charlotte, NC 28201

Maybe even donate money like I did, urging him to gird up his loins and stand up for Christ against Trump’s behavior and policies and if he doesn’t, demand a refund.

But, we do this out of love. Yes we will shame him, show him scripture and where he is wrong but also scripture to show him how he could actually help the Kingdom of God.

No, I don’t believe he is lost for good, all he needs is a little push. And with the Holy Spirit and hundreds of Christians praying and reaching out to him, I believe that He can be brought back into the light.

I have created a Facebook group to help usher this in. Operation Today Is the Day: Let’s Save Franklin Graham

I May Be A Misfit But I Am Not a Nitwit: my 9th favorite Christmas song, “We’re A Couple of Misfits”

I know that in my last blog I mentioned how the song Rudolph gives a negative message that people who are different are valuable only if they can do something for you. But number nine on my ranking of top 10 favorite Christmas songs is “We’re A Couple Of Misfits” from Rankin Bass’s 1964 classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Now in this show Rudolph is teased and shunned as usual. There is also an elf who doesn’t want to be an elf but would rather be a dentist who is also made fun of. These two find each other and have adventures trying to get away from the abominable snow monster, and an adventure in the Island of Misfit Toys where all the imperfect toys end up.

The story starts with Rudolph’s father Donner trying to hide Rudolph’s ever glowing nose but when it becomes unhidden, he is ridiculed and no longer allowed to play the reindeer games. That is when he meets Hermie, an elf that wants to be more than just an elf. He wants to be in- de- pendent. They become fast friends and try to be in-de-pendent together. Both not fitting in their own worlds and that is when they sing a song that celebrates their and in a way our differences

These are the best lyrics about celebrating individuality:

We may be different from the rest.

Who decides the test?

Of what is really best?

We’re a couple of misfits.

We’re a couple of misfits.

What’s the matter with misfits?

That’s where we fit in!

It is silly how we try to put ourselves in a cookie cutter world where the square pegs stand out and are cast aside. But these two found each other and became Misfits together.

I have never been popular. I have always felt outside of the mainstream. I am glad that I have my own friends, my own group of Misfits to have fun with.

But in this world we live in, being a true follower of Christ makes you a misfit. Atheists make fun of you and consider you foolish. You don’t fit it with the fundamentalists when you question their dogma and their politics. We become a people that don’t fit in. But community is important. If one community treats you like a misfit, find another community that will accept you for you are. If they don’t accept you for you are, do you really want to be part of that community.

I am blessed that I have found two communities. My gaming group and my church don’t just tolerate this misfit, but they love this misfit and allow this misfit to use his gifts for the good of the rest.

We are all broken in one way or another. We all have something that separates us from another. The key is to not let it, rather to love our neighbors, differences and all. And that is what this song is all about.

We’re A Couple Of Misfits

Wonder What Jesus Thinks About Christmas? :10 Best Christmas Song

I was going to write five blogs on the worst Christmas songs and five of what I think are the best. But there is so much negativity in the world today and I didn’t want to add to it. So I decided to write about my top ten Christmas songs.

Sure I could write about how the brat from “I’m Getting Nuttin’ For Christmas” deserves to get nothing and is symbolic of American youth. I could write about how “Santa Baby” is a song about a woman who is going to offer sexual favors to get what she wants from Santa. Don’t get me started on the Michael Buble “Santa Buddy” version. I could write about how Rudolph teaches a terrible story about only accepting people who are different if they could do something for you. If there was no nasty snow storm, those other reindeer would continue to treat him like Trump treats minorities.

I could also write about how a 1940’s flirtation song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is now the perfect song for today’s sexual molestation and harassment news. I could make a parody using Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump.

But I am not. Instead I am going to write about a lesser known folk Christmas song that asks the question, “Wonder What Jesus Thinks About Christmas?”

Every year round this time you get two groups of fundamentalists. Those saying that anyone who celebrates Christmas is a pagan worshipper and those saying that there is a war on Christmas and the secular left is attacking the faith.

First off, yes. The early church co-opted pagan festivals, the Solstice and Mithras celebration as recruiting tools. But I am not worshipping Mithras this season. I am celebrating the fact that God loves us so much that He became one like us as a lowly babe in the manger. Second I don’t think that Jesus cares if we put Christ back in Christmas. I think He cares more about us putting Christ back in American Christianity.

But this song written by Danny Tate does make some very good points, even if it is one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever made.

Some of the lyrics are:

People go in debt this time of year only to regret this time of year. The lonely feel much lonelier, no one to dry their tears. I wonder what Jesus thinks about Christmas?

I am single. I have never had a serious girlfriend. This time of year is tough. It is a time of family. I am blessed to still have my folks, but at 40, it would be nice to have little ones to buy presents for.

But we do make Christmas out to be this big production that more often than not falls flat. It becomes more about gifts, rushing, drinking, loneliness, parties. Christmas has become a commercial holiday. A holiday about consumerism. We consume vast amounts of food and get stomach aches. We buy massive presents and go into debt. We gorge on Christmas TV watching beautiful yet imperfect people learn lessons, some through supernatural means and some not. We listen to Christmas carols but we get numb to it all. I know sometimes I do.

After all the shiny toys have turned to rust. I wonder what Jesus thinks about Christmas?

I don’t think He would like all this hullabaloo. He was a very humble man. I think he would enjoy the sentiment. I think He would cry at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. I think He would love the “Spirit of Christmas.”, the Spirit Of Love For mankind. This is the Spirit that can transform a miserable old skinflint like Scrooge into one of the best men in Jolly Old England. The Spirit that can make the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes in one day.

Many movies and TV shows talk about the Christmas spirit. But after Christmas there is a let down. With the true Christmas Spirit, there is no letdown. The true Christmas Spirit is the Holy Spirit. One of the greatest gifts that God has given us. Jesus called it the Comforter.

John 14 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I use the King James Version here because the New International Version uses the word “advocate” but I like Comforter better.

When you give yourself to Jesus, when you allow Him into your heart, He gives you comfort like you have never known.

In this wicked world–a world of greed, a world of hatred, a world that seems to be going insane with an insane leader at the helm–the Holy Spirit is a comfort. It lets me know that things are bad now but they will be OK.

So What would Jesus think about Christmas? I think He would say, “Enjoy the good things. Listen to your Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas CD, eat your cookies, watch Odie give Garfield that back scratcher and Garfield give Grandma those letters, but remember the Christmas season only lasts about 25 days. He is forever and He wants to spend forever with you.

I Wonder What Jesus Thinks About Christmas?

Also some people might consider this blasphemous or sacrilege but I wanted to have the picture for this blog be Jesus dancing the Charlie Brown Snoopy Dance. But I will do one better. This is a sketch that Saturday Night Live did about 20 years ago and it shows Jesus today. Some may consider this blasphemous but some truth can be found in a secular comedy show and I love this and I cried at the end of it just like Jesus and then I danced like Him too.

SNL Jesus today fun with audio

Peppermint Stick Man: Christmas Song or Horror Movie? Weirdest Christmas Song Ever.

I first heard this song a couple years ago when I got “The American Song Poem Christmas album.” I like unusual music and this is nothing but unusual. It has songs like “Santa Came On a Nuclear Missile.” Hopefully he won’t be coming this year on a missile from North Korea. With Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump trading twitter barbs like two mean girls with the capacity to destroy major cities you never know.

Other songs on this album are “Daddy Is Santa Really Six Foot Four?” “Santa Fix My Toys For Christmas”, and “Santa Goes Modern.” But the song that takes the cake, or peppermint stick is “The Peppermint Stick Man” by Randall Reed With the Forerunners. Words can not do it justice. You will have to play the link to get the full effect. But Wow. Wow when I first heard this I was creeped out.

Is this supposed to be some friendly creature giving out candy or is he Pennywise’s BFF? Or is there something even creepier, sexual even in these lyrics. The first minute is a jaunty melody you would find in a circus. The melody goes on way too long. The first lyric isn’t sung until 1:03.

Just these lyrics:

Children they all love this man

With his Stick he has a plan

Now he takes his steps so free

Fills their hearts with glee

Peppermints he gives away

With the children he will play

He will twirl his stick around

And by his tricks will be spellbound

I don’t want to know his plan. I don’t want to know what he does with his stick. But the scariest lyric is this:

He is tall, erect, and straight how they wait for him

I couldn’t come up with a more disturbing lyric if I tried. Is this an ode to Yuletide pedophilia? I hope not. But the lyrics. I googled Randall Reed and the Forerunners and all that comes up is this song. There is a Randal Reed who is an automotive CEO in Texas but I doubt that it is him.

This is going to haunt me. I have to find out more about this man and this song. I will find out who this man is and why he wrote this song and what happened to him. It will take my mind off of more scary things like nuclear war and the fact that we have a mentally unstable egomaniac in the White House.

Here it is watch it if you dare.

https://youtu.be/9I1m-mO2pr0

Tomorrow I will start my countdown on the worst Christmas songs.

#2 Weirdest Christmas song: that is one disturbed kid: Department Store Santa

I will not discuss politics or religion in this blog. This is just a Christmas song with a disturbing department store Santa and an even more disturbed little kid. To be perfectly honest, it’s not a song, it’s more of a skit but it isn’t any less disturbing for it.

This was written and performed by Len Maxwell, a voice over artist and comedian who also voiced Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch Guy. In this bit he does his best Peter Lorre. It is from his album “A Merry Monster Christmas.”

Imagining Peter Lorre in a Santa suit is disturbing enough. Part of his fame was playing a child killer in the classic German film “M.”

This kid doesn’t want a sled or a ball. He wants a new head for his daddy. You read that right A NEW HEAD. Without his head this boy’s father trips a lot. The boy finds this funny. This boy also wants an electric chair for his daddy. Not because he wants to electrocute his father but because his father likes grilled cheese sandwiches. But I wouldn’t trust this boy with an electric chair.

His family is ashamed of his brother so the kid asks Santa for a dark room to keep him in.

I mean he is thinking about other people than himself and that is good, but he wants a king cobra snake and a flute and he then starts attacking Santa when Santa says he can’t promise anything.

It ends with the omnimous words “Little boy, you’re next.” Just plain weird.

https://youtu.be/4xlt_Fb8yCw

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