The War on Christmas – A Review

Well, the launch date is approaching for Answers In Genesis’ new book, the War on Christmas. As I noted earlier, I was accepted as part of the launch team of the book and received an advance PDF copy of the book to review. I must say I was impressed. My expectations were surpassed time and again. Firstly, I must correct my earlier, partial, review. The book is not written by Bodie Hodge, although he did write several chapters and collaborate on others. This book is a collection of shorter articles written by the well-known people at Answers in Genesis. Continuing in their habit of well researched journalism, they each tackle a common or tough topic related to Christmas and provide solid research to back up a reasoned response for Christians.

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The 144 page book is beautifully laid out with colour backgrounds on every page and beautiful photographs and illustrations on almost every page. The text is laid out in 3-column, magazine style, layout which makes it very easy to read. The technical level of the information is approachable to all readers which there is sufficient meat for a deeper reader and ample references for those who wish to pursue the topic even further. The 23 Chapters are divided into 5 different sections ranging from “Confusion and Misconceptions” to “How Christmas Came to Be”.

I especially enjoyed, as it seems several of my fellow reviewers did, the chapter to pastors and church leaders: “Making the Christmas Sermon Relevant for Today’s Culture”. It unabashedly trys to focus all of our attention where it belongs, on Christ and his reason for coming. This return of focus onto the fundamentals of the faith is where the Lord has been leading me these past two years so this chapter really hit home for me.

Immaculate Conception - Really?

I found reading the book was exciting and sometimes it was hard to put down. The only bump in the road for straight through reading is that it is a collaborative work so, chapter to chapter, the writing style changes. Some authors are much more technical, others more logical, others more descriptive but all of them cover the topics well. Each chapter seems to flow naturally to the next, emphasizing the logical basis for Christians continuing to celebrate Christmas, even needing to continue celebrating. Bodie Hodge has done an excellent job of arranging each chapter and melding them into a cohesive package.

Crown on Manger

I must admit that the timing of this book couldn’t be better. I have experienced attacks on Christmas personally these past few years so I have been researching many of the topics covered in this book. I came to the same conclusions in the book but it is very convenient to have them bound in one place, illustrated beautifully, and stated more eloquently that I ever could have. I can’t wait to let my father read this book as he too has had to field questions about Christmas and whether Christians should be celebrating it or not.

In summary, I highly recommend every Christian home get a copy of this book. Read it, individually, and together, and decide how your family, your church, your community, could best remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior. We should not just blindly follow tradition when we remember our Lord. We need to base our traditions on fact and work to create traditions that are filled with meaning and are effective at helping us remember. As Bodie says:

Focus on Christ

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Christians – Like Christ

So, as I posted previously, I’m working on a youtube project called ‘I’m A Christian’ about what it means to be Christian and dealing with different topics and news items where people claim to be Christian or acting as a Christian but people question it.
I was going to wait before posting about these topics on my blog, but I had two news items/facebook posts that got me thinking about things from a Christian perspective that we often think about from a world perspective without noticing it.
The first was a post from an atheist/anti-christian person on my facebook. Yes, I have people I don’t agree with theologically or philosophically on my friends list. The post was a picture of Benny Hinn at a healing service in Las Vegas with the caption “If God has given you the power to heal people, why are you in a Las Vegas arena instead of a hospital?”
The second was a news report about a Franklin Graham festival in Iceland where he had been known to speak out about gay-marriage and the gay community was ‘buying up tickets’ so that it would be sold out and he would have an empty auditorium. Now, it turns out the tickets were free, but the original report is what got me thinking…
Did Jesus charge to attend his sermons? How should we, as Christians, follow our master’s example when it comes to these sorts of things?
First, lets look at a scripture passage and see what we can glean from it.

Matthew 14:13-21

The Voice (VOICE)

13 When Jesus learned what had happened, He got on a boat and went away to spend some time in a private place. The crowds, of course, followed Jesus on foot from their cities. 14 Though Jesus wanted solitude, when He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, and He healed the sick and the lame. 15 At evening-time, Jesus’ disciples came to Him.

Disciples: We’re in a fairly remote place, and it is getting late; the crowds will get hungry for supper. Send them away so they have time to get back to the villages and get something to eat.

Jesus: 16 They don’t need to go back to the villages in order to eat supper. Give them something to eat here.

Disciples: 17 But we don’t have enough food. We only have five rounds of flatbread and two fish.

Jesus: 18 Bring the bread and the fish to Me.

So the disciples brought Him the five rounds of flatbread and the two fish, 19 and Jesus told the people to sit down on the grass. He took the bread and the fish, He looked up to heaven, He gave thanks, and then He broke the bread. Jesus gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples gave the bread to the people; 20 everyone ate and was satisfied. When everyone had eaten, the disciples picked up 12 baskets of crusts and broken pieces of bread and crumbs. 21 There were 5,000 men there, not to mention all the women and children.

First, we notice that Jesus didn’t book a venue ahead of time, or charge admission or any such thing. He met the people where they were. Just like we should. Meet people where they are, where you work, when you are travelling, when you are on facebook or when they are reading your blog 🙂
Secondly, we notice that Jesus didn’t have a consession stand setup where people could purchase food or merchandise. He provided food to the people.
We also notice that he healed all their sick.

So, what can we learn from this?
I think we Christians often go about our relations with the world the wrong way. The church, as the body of Christ, has the backing of the one who ‘owns the cattle on a thousand hills.’ We don’t need to charge the unsaved, or the saved, for that matter, admission. We need to rely on God to provide. I don’t mean that we should expect manna (money) to fall from heaven. No, we need to rely on God to speak to the hearts of the church and they will provide any funding required. If the funding doesn’t come, either we were outside of God’s will for the event, or we were outside God’s will when he pricked our hearts to contribute.
If we truely serve the God of the universe, shouldn’t we act like it?

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The War on Christmas

I recently became part of the test-reader group for a new book by Bodie Hodge: The War on Christmas.

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I initially thought this book would be about the invasion of pagan symbolism into a basic Christian holiday. I was wrong.

Have you ever noticed that there are fewer nativity scenes around each year? Have you noticed that the signs say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas? Have you noticed that children no longer have Christmas concerts but Winter Festivals? There is a move to make Christmas into an inclusive holiday, not the Christian holiday it is.

The attack is two-fold. First, Christmas is attacked from the past with claims that it started as a pagan festival and shouldn’t belong to Christians alone. There are many lines of thought on this avenue. Secondly, Christmas celebrations have grown to include many non-Christian elements (not that they are anti-christian, just not of christian origin) which, it is claimed, makes Christmas more than a Christian festival and thus it should be inclusive.

This new book tackles these claims head-on, dealing with each one it turn. It is a beautifully laid out text with wonderful pictures and backgrounds. I currently have the PDF version to review and the care in both the layout and the content itself shines through. I have finished reading 32 of the 144 pages so far and I am already thrilled with the presentation and the information. The book starts out gently. I would say slowly, but that wouldn’t be true. It isn’t slow or reserved. It merely states its case simply and completely in accomodating language. It is accessable to all reading levels beyond elementary school and perhaps younger.

I’m looking forward to a hard-copy so I can let my family read it as well.

I’ll write more as I continue to read.

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New Project – Request for Comments

I’m working on a new project, a set of Youtube videos, called “I’m a Christian” where I’m planning on developing a definition of what it means to be a christian. Part of the goal is to combat the large number of people and organizations which claim to be christian, but are they really? By developing a definition for Christianity, I can then hold each of the claims up to the definition and see if they are, indeed, christian.

Love to hear any comments or questions on the idea, and any questions you’d like to see covered.

I’d like to do a mail-bag segment at the end of each episode, so feel free to send me questions to cover.

Thanks!

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Hello world!

Hey Look! There’s a new Statik-Online!

Yes, the old statikonline.com business centered site has gone away. It was extremely time consuming to maintain and getting rather long in the tooth. Instead, I’ve gone to a Word-Press site where I can rant if I want to. Its a sort of private Facebook where I can make longer, detailed posts.

I’m also going to have an articles section where I can create longer articles about things that matter to me. Right now I’m working on an article about getting custom firmware onto an inexpensive router so that it can be a strong center-point to my home network. Keep your eyes open for it!

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