Sunday, April 16, 2006

i hate manipulative "christian" forwards

I've said it before (though maybe not here, I don't remember), and I'll say it again:


I really believe that most Christians aren't thinking when they send fellow Christians emails that contain statements such as:

"Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing?"


"Isn't it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them."


"Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me?"


"Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.' Not ashamed? Pass this on ONLY IF YOU MEAN IT!!"

No, it's not funny. And I don't appreciate the sarcasm.

No, I don't send messages about God to friends or family who are decided unbelievers. Why? Because it insults them and puts a roadblock in the path of my relationship with them. This means that they become even less open to the Lord than before, because they come to see me, their only Christian example, as inflexible, insensitive, and dogmatic.

No, I am not worried about what other people think of me. But I am concerned with what they think of Jesus. And I represent him to them, so what do they think of him if I show them arrogance instead of loving understanding?

No, I'm not ashamed of Jesus. But I don't have to forward an email to prove it.

Friends, I find such messages insulting. They are not messages of God's power or the love of Jesus Christ. These messages are arrogant and counter-productive to the spread of God's Word. They play on the emotions and inspire guilt, not the fire of evangelism.

Here's another quote:

"This is the simplest test.
"If You Love God... And, are not ashamed of all the marvelous things HE has done for you...
"Send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!
"I don't think I know 10 people who would admit they love Jesus. Do You love Him?"

Excuse me?
I think you just said that if I don't forward your email, it means that I don't love Jesus.
Excuse me, fellow Christian? Surely I didn't hear you right.

Besides, I do know more than ten people who would--and do!--admit to loving Jesus. Plenty more than ten.

These emails are blatant emotional manipulation.

If we have a fire--a conviction, not a guilt-ridden burden!--to share the message of Jesus Christ, we need to get out there and LIVE it. Just clicking "forward" isn't going to cut it, especially if the forward tells people that they're ashamed and obviously don't have time for God if they click "delete" instead.

Think about whom you're sending such a message to before you send it. Please, think before you click!

More about forwards.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

the "gospel" of judas--an excerpt from courtney's journal, with a few additions

So, I'm sure most of you, my Faithful Readers (ha!), have heard about this "new" and so-called "gospel" of Judas. A few thoughts:

I think this archaeological find is intellectually interesting, but insignificant beyond that.

Okay, maybe not insignificant…..Perhaps I could call it significant in that this “gospel” of Judas (obviously not a “gospel” at all, since the definition of gospel is “good news,” specifially about Christ) proves once again that we Christians must be wise and discerning about what we accept as truth. From what I understand, the world is getting in a big tizzy over this "new" text (which has actually been around since the 1970s!), and many Christians are in a defensive, worried uproar over its content, some of which contradicts the New Testament.

According to what I've read, this Judas text was written in the 2nd or 3rd century and is full of "new information" and "secrets" that were revealed to Judas. Some scholars, with whom I agree based on my own studies, say that the Judas text has very strong Gnostic overtones.

Gnosticism was a mystery cult rife with visions and spiritual elitism, a religion that rejected the physical body as evil and said that the truly spiritual person was one who received secret, ‘higher-level’ knowledge from the spiritual realm. Gnostics also rejected the idea that Jesus was the physical incarnation of God. These particular beliefs obviously contradict the teachings of the New Testament…as does the idea that Judas received special, secret information from Jesus that the other disciples weren’t given.

(As a side note: Bishop Ignatius of Antioch was one church leader who reacted so violently against mystic Gnosticism that he wrote letters to numerous churches, telling them to "cling to the bishop." He said, "Whoever does anything without the bishop's knowledge is from the devil." Ignatius and his reactionary ideas helped pave the way for the bishop- and pope-centered universal church, also known as the Catholic Church. If you don't believe me, research it.)

Furthermore, it seems that the Judas text tells of how Jesus allegedly imparted to Judas a story of creation that contradicts the story told in Genesis: Allegedly, Jesus told Judas that God didn't create the world. Merely that idea should be enough to prove that this Judas text isn’t inspired and is, therefore, only as spiritually convicting to us Christians as we allow it to be.

My bottom-line take on the whole thing? It sounds like a text penned by Gnostics in an effort to lend creedence to their heathen movement. To a serious Christian, this “new” text should be no more spiritually intimidating than the so-called Gospels of Thomas or Mary (included in the Apocrypha).

Academically interesting, but it doesn’t shake my faith in the inspired writings of the New and Old Testament.

Put all things to the test: keep what is good...
--1. Thessalonians 5: 21

P.S.In the comments section of this post, Val provided me with a link to a very good article on the subject of Judas, Christianity, and "The DaVinci Code," among other things.

"I intend to get to the bottom of this web of deceit and confusion if it takes me the rest of my life, which may end at any minute!"
--Judge Maxwell
in "What's Up, Doc?"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

an observation on a short break from my studies

Simply, it boils down to this:

Most of us humans just aren't willing to give up what's necessary in order to get what we want.

why does it take scientific studies to make people recognize principles that God gave us thousands of years ago???

I just read the following in a Yahoo! news article and just had to roll my eyes:

A new study finds that teens who take part in many different kinds of physical activity -- particularly with their parents -- are less likely to get involved in drinking, drugs, violence, smoking, sex, and delinquency than teens who spend a lot of time in front of the television.

"Anything we can do to get kids to be physically active will help them in terms of their physical health, but this research suggests that engaging in a variety of activities may also have social, emotional, and cognitive benefits, including reduced likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking, drugs, violence, smoking, sex, and delinquency," [Dr. Penny] Gordon-Larsen said.


Monday, April 10, 2006

fun with foreign cultures

So yesterday, I got to know something fun about Bulgarian culture. Vassil, one of Larry's readers, is Bulgarian, and he hung this little token from one of the bushes in the Sullivans' garden. He told Larry that in Bulgaria, they have this tradition: When you see the first sign of spring, you hang a little token on the bush, tree, flower, or whatever other flora is displaying its first spring flair. So I guess he saw the buds on the forsythia bush and hung this little token on it:

When I first caught sight of it from afar, I thought it was a fishing lure. ;o) But what a neat tradition! Yay for cultural differences! And yay for springtime!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

crazy english

The following bits of great literature came into being on the Oklahoma Christian University "Singing Campaign" of June 2001. Several of us were playing a language game in which each player contributes a part of a sentence without knowing what the other players are contributing. As in:

Player A contributes a subject ("The handcuffs"),
Player B contributes a verb ("gargled"),
Player C contributes an object ("pimentos"),
and Player D contributes an adverb ("symbiotically").

Players may add other adverbs, adverbial phrases, adjectives, and so forth, as long as the structure of the sentence remains intact. Here are some sentences that came together in strange ways on that starlit night so long ago:

A blunt elephant awakens delicately.

4,000,362 slimy heifers bebop coke repeatedly.

The juicy squirrels rang manure radically.

Some magical Martians snorted river cautiously.

Your mama’s shrunken sludge dances vomit lovingly.

The Saran-wrapped amoeba strangled fever blisters.

Its unwilling dough wore pimples authoritatively.

Mike’s infected Thumbelina impaled puppies slowly.

My swollen blue suede shoes defecated coconuts.

April’s peanut butter jar beheld toxic waste creepingly.

With blackest moss, the other Deutschmark stabbed Romanoffs with ease.

Thy radical snot gulped hamsters alluringly.

Rupert’s clairvoyant slug plucked tongues boldly.

Satan’s slutty cheese cake slurped turtles on the highest rooftops.

Surprisingly enough, our milky busts curtsied pustules right on task.

Tomorrow, flamboyant lace will flatulate kabobs happily.

Russia’s flat hairballs created toilet tingling.

The parole violators’ amazed horny toad blew rafters with great linguistic skill.

On the poop deck, our objective booty crushed dried linguini like a goose in heat.

Eight crunchy handkerchiefs serenade egg drop soup like redneck Olympics.

With the absolute possibility, spoonlike cowboys cut snot rockets while smelling like a stinky tube sock.

Unbeknownst to us, many underground headless horsemen slammed bellybutton lint so well, it would’ve made you cry.

Like sands in the hour glass, strikingly handsome mold slaughtered jazz hands while dancing like a 5-year-old on purple crack

by April Wooldridge, Courtney Cantrell, Matt Barger, Mike Antwine, and others, June 2001.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Having sinus trouble again. I'm not sick, but my sinuses feel overly dry and somewhat clogged. And for the last couple of weeks, I get spots of blood every time I blow my nose. Gah. Frustrating.

Adding this to the fact that lately, I feel exhausted no matter how much I sleep, I'm starting to wonder if I haven't slipped over the border of "borderline anemic" into the Realm of Full-Fledged Iron Deficiency.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

updating, reminders, and some great pictures

I've once again gone through my blog and responded to all comments. Just FYI.

Also, I need to write myself a list of things I need to write about. ;o) So that when I do actually have time and mood to write a few specifics, I'll know that I want to write about:

· my sermon at the German Ladies' Retreat in February
· my "epiphanies" resulting from the English-Speaking Ladies' Retreat in March
· Data's "Ode to Spot"
· the counseling class I'm taking

In the meantime, here's a family pic from this past Monday:

We took one with Pippin, too, but it didn't turn out as well.

Also, in the interest of promoting the fine arts, I bring you these shots of my father in costume for two operas he's currently in:

I bet I'm the only kid at the playground whose Daddy is both a mutant...

And a warrior from the Star Wars universe!

"Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"