Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keep "X" in X-Mas

What? Surely now I have fallen off my rocker by making a graphic that says, “Keep “X” in X-Mas.” Well…that really isn’t the case. You may be asking "What is Bob and 'That's Not my God' doing?" I am choosing to join in the celebration of this sacred holiday with those from centuries ago in the purest fashion by calling it “X-Mas” this year. Don't worry...I am not really going to call it that in conversation...I still love calling it Christmas.

I realize this makes Christians downright militant when they see this. However…I could explain but why reinvent the wheel? Here is Christian author, R.C. Sproul’s writing on this very topic, which I have stood by for years.

“The simple answer to your question is that the X in Christmas is used like the R in R.C. My given name at birth was Robert Charles, although before I was even taken home from the hospital my parents called me by my initials, R.C., and nobody seems to be too scandalized by that.

X can mean so many things. For example, when we want to denote an unknown quantity, we use the symbol X. It can refer to an obscene level of films, something that is X-rated. People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.

We don’t see people protesting the use of the Greek letter theta, which is an O with a line across the middle. We use that as a shorthand abbreviation for God because it is the first letter of the word Theos, the Greek word for God.

The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.”

So join me as we celebrate our Savior’s birth this “X-Mas” and live the life worthy of the calling!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doctors Are Ungodly...Nurses? Yep.

So how many times have you sat through a testimony time at church, with friends or in a prayer group and someone inevitably says, “the doctor gave me no hope of living. God did a miracle and the doctor was astounded!”? Many I have known take the stance of the title to this blog. I want to discuss why that is wrong.

To be brutally honest I never really gave this much thought in the past. Fact of the matter is I guess in my “everyone’s going to hell unless you save them” upbringing I just assumed that doctors for the most part are non-believing people. I mean, I am a product of the “Evangelism Explosion” era. It was pretty much engrained in my head (along with many others) that when you are doing street witnessing and talk to someone…you just assume they are going to Hell (especially those standing at a bus stop). I remember being a teenager and one guy at a bus stop said “I attend church over at…….”. The adult that was with me laid into him about “many people go to church and still go to Hell.” How disturbing! It really was the mindset that if you don’t attend MY church then que up the AC/DC because you are on a “Highway to Hell.”

Now…back to doctors and nurses. Why is it that Christians assume just because a doctor has given them a grim prognosis they must not be a Christian? This usually results in the patient trying to convert them with phrases like “NO…I simply won’t accept that…MY GOD IS BIGGER THAN THIS AND YOU!” There was one person who told the doctor “wait until you see what God will do with me and this cancer…than you will believe!” With statements like that why do we wonder why Christians are looked at as jerks these days.

Doctors and people in the medical field operate and a whole different intellectual level when it comes to discussion on such topics. To tell a doctor, nurse or anyone that has studied biology and cells that you need “faith like a mustard seed (not much)" would be the wrong answer. A person that has studied cells, biology, etc. will in fact tell you the mustard seed is in fact NOT the smallest seed but rather one of the larger ones…therefore you need A LOT of faith.  A person going through the terminal illness is just one person. One person wrapped up in themself is a very small package. When something great does happen or they see progress in their healing rightfully so it is there world. They are consumed by it and it changes their life. A doctor and her staff tend to see MANY people in a day, week or year. In their world I am quite sure they are happy when a miraculous healing happens. However….I am quite positive they see many more cases where nothing did happen and the prognosis is what it is. It very well may be that Aunt Ruth was a solid Christian and the healing never came. It’s as if a Christian is trying to convert the medical staff over someone who has cancer. We simply assume the doctor or nurse doesn’t know Jesus, which is why they are not talking about him when discussing the patients illness/treatment plan.

Let me ask you a question. When you have a brain tumor forming or in need of a major physical healing or simply shattered your leg on a worksite…would you rather the doctor spring into action with his/her God given medical gifting’s or have them come in and say, “you know…I am a believer and well…let’s just trust Jesus for a healing. On your way now.” I am opting for the first one. I am not going to assume anything about my doctor or the nurses regarding their belief system because a)I don’t know them well enough to state pious Christian clich├ęs to them and b) OW…I need help now and if God is so inclined to perform a miracle…BONUS! Perhaps the miracle is in the doctor using his/her God given gifting to heal me. We preach it often don’t we “you may be the answer to someone’s prayer.” Guess what? That doctor or nurse is a "someone" and can very well be answer to your prayers as well.