Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do you want the Holy Spirit?

Do you want the Holy Spirit? The question can be intended or taken as much as a test of someone’s spirituality or a boast of one’s own. It can also have the effect, even if unintended, of casting the immature of faith into doubt as to the indwelling of deity in them. Where is the Holy Spirit whom you want? What does it mean to ask for the Holy Spirit?

Should a believer expect his/her request for a miraculous gift such as the ability to speak in a tongue/language to be granted?

After all, Jesus said how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? As if these words of Jesus were not enough there is always this one: The Holy Spirit can do whatever he wants to do. It’s a slogan which may play well and silence many, but it says nothing about one’s understanding as to what the scriptures reveal about the work of the Holy Spirit. It seems a foregone conclusion that the Holy Spirit by that very designation of himself as Spirit is subject to all manner of distractions and imaginations since he is, after all, spirit.

(note: Some believers attempt to create, as evidence of the Spirit in them, a distinction between tongues such as what the apostles spoke on Pentecost (Acts 2) and tongues such as in First Corinthians 14 with special emphasis on unknown tongues or tongues of angels versus [according to them]mere human language, but this is futile. Both words, tongues and languages as these appear in the English text in these chapters are taken from the same Greek word. Furthermore, I would add, that an understanding which is centered on the study or emphasis of single words in isolation is suspect.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

What is Halloween?

Selected (unrelated) reading: Artemis, Pentecost

"Satan's birthday!" blurted out the fifth grader to begin our class brainstorm to my open question, "What is Halloween?". Typically, I would do an overview with my students on calendar holidays to cover the origin, significance and present day observance. My colleagues were aghast at the mere prospect of mention or discussion of a religious point. My response to all was I was not interested in inquiring or imposing respective beliefs. The subject matter, such as Halloween or Christmas, is found in libraries throughout the world. Americans (I do not believe we as a people are unique in this respect) observe religious and cultural holidays with a shallowness with respect to origin and significance.

So, here's my attempt with dos (2) bits of knowledge, understanding and thoughts on The origin and significance of Halloween. I decided in favor of keeping links and references to a minimum while encouraging all to a survey study of their own. You will likely encounter discrepancies and variations between writings on Samhain/Halloween. My purpose is to do a brief overview of Halloween including, 1) The origin and significance, 2) The present day observance and practice, and 3) The value of observance as between Americans in general and Christians in particular.
The origin and significance of Halloween
Halloween, or "Hallowed (holy) eve", "All saints day" occurs, depending on the religious versus cultural, view on October 31 or November 1. Although it is regarded by some as a cultural event it was not so for its pre-christian practitioners, the Celts of France, Britain and Ireland. Among the Celts it was the learned elderly, spiritual priests of the Druids who presided over the "Samhain" (pronounced, "Sow en", approx.) religious ceremonies.
Samhain represented a day (perhaps two or three) when the lowering of the barrier of separation between the living and the dead, between the end and beginning of the year, occurred. It was a time when, according to Celtic belief, it was possible the spirits of the dead could be reached. All fires were extinguished (creating an opportune moment for the spirit world) throughout the land to be re-ignited with fire from the priests. Families remembered and invoked the spirit of loved ones and would lay out an assortment of treats to welcome their visitation. The danger in calling on the spirits of dear ones was that evil spirits (the aforementioned opportune moment) could make their way through into the real world and harm families expecting a loved one's spirit, also. Therefore, they disguised themselves to appear as evil spirits by wearing frightening attire ( costumes) as though themselves one of the dead.
Although I dressed up our daughters for their trick-or-treat night I have never taken to trick or treating let alone wearing a costume even in my younger days.
"Yes, Mr. Torres, but you're old" pointed out another boy to everyone's laughter.
"Oh! You're so right" I replied. "After all, it was the elderly priests who led the solemn Samhain ceremonies and it was not children going door-to-door asking for treats, right?"
The present day observance and practice
Halloween, from a child's view, is participation, in costume, going door-to-door armed with the intimidation, charm and their battle cry of "Trick or Treat!" Their's is a participation in a cultural event, including pumpkin carvings, devoid of meaning. Some participate in mindless destruction of property. Others flaunt a public display to profess allegiance and worship of Satan. None of this has anything to do with Samhain as observed and practiced by the Celts under the leadership of the Druid priests.
Even the "evil religion" tarnish given Samhain by the church is lost to many people. The Roman catholic church, as she has done throughout the world, acquiesced (as a means to an end: conversion of non-believers) to Celt culture. The church syncretized, that is it, melded or harmonized, pagan and Christian beliefs. Later, the church changed its stance and widened the distance between new converts and their this old pagan holiday. Samhain was distorted and demonized as Satanic worship and human sacrifice. The ignorance has been passed on from generation to generation.
The value of observance
Holidays in America, whether religious or cultural, bear a common semblance in the manner in which they are observed: A day off from school or work, picnics and parties.
Is there value in observing Halloween as a religious or cultural holiday? Halloween, and all religious holidays, are neither sanctioned nor condemned for believers in the New Testament. The problem and subsequent teaching by New Testament writers arose when holidays became a proof-test of faith. A former adherent and practitioner of the Mosaic law and now a Christian would choose, for example, to observe the Sabbath. That was not a problem. The problem occurred when it didn't stop there. The individual and other like-minded Christians decided to impose that as a faith requirement on fellow Christians. They targeted those who shared a similar religious heritage with them. The same problem occurred with former pagans as they decided to participate in their former pagan holiday festivities now that they were Christians. Provided they did not engage in immorality it was alright for them to observe the holiday, but not to expect or require fellow Christians to observe the holiday, too.
The Christian expectation, as set forth in the New Testament, is for the believer to be all things to all men. Thereby, evangelism and the winning of non-believers to faith in Jesus, the Son of God. In other words, the Christian's participation in a holiday such as Halloween is with a purpose and understanding of his/her participation and much more than self-gratification.
Unlike the mere observance of a holiday the practice of calling on the dead carries a strong Old Testament prohibition. There is a instance recorded in the book of I Samuel. The reaction of the necromancer from Endor upon seeing the dead may suggest this was a first time ever and may explain the charlatan's great fright. This is neither a condemnation nor acceptance on the Celtic belief. Their belief, whether or not we agree with it, was genuine. The biblical account inference is that even an attempt to connect with the dead is a prohibited. It is a turning away from the revelation of the word of God. It, not the dead, is where believers are to seek guidance and understanding in matters of knowledge present and future.
It is ironic that Halloween, shrouded in dubious practices and ignorance concerning the dead, should come to be a celebration of significant stature in America. Our communities come alive under the moonlight as we walk with our children through our neighborhoods. Total strangers wait and welcome eagerly the children to hear them blurt out, "trick or treat". Though some have cited Memorial Day as our day of remembrance of the dead in America it is primarily the brave men and women who fell in battle and nothing comparable to Halloween or Samhain. "El dia de los muertos" ("the day of the dead") in Latin America bears similarity to the ancient holiday. However, their observance is influenced increasingly by the American costume and "trick or treat" practice in recent years.
Americans may be hard-pressed to give a simple explanation on the meaning of Halloween. However, the affect in community neighborhoods suggests there is an undeniable significance. Perhaps, it is an opportune moment for us, the living, to ponder the meaning that shapes our lives, a great value in itself while we enjoy the night with our children. The gross perversion of Halloween as a glorious Satanic day by a Satanist such as Anton LaVey and which is so quickly swallowed up by gullible saints in Christ only serves to reveal our ignorance. LaVey's and other people's perverse corruption of a celebration is no different than false prophets like Joseph Smith who proclaimed a perverse corruption of the gospel.

The message of Halloween by the saints in Christ

The Halloween message for the saints in Christ in the community on Halloween is that while the Celts celebrated with a welcome the spirits of their departed dead; we in Christ celebrate life in our Savior Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God risen from the dead.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Holidays: Pentecost and Halloween

(Note: This article neither suggests nor states that these two holidays are alike, related or associated in any way with each other. Read on, please. gt)

The value of holidays
The observance of holidays by adherents of various religious beliefs is an ancient, common practice. Typically, the value of these celebratory observances is to remind the older generation and to teach the newer generations the origin, the significance and the meaning behind those holiday observances. Oftentimes what happens over the years is that the origin, significance and meaning are altered, diluted or forgotten. This may happen either through the abandonment of those observances by the remaining, but fading faithful, or through attempts to make relevant those observances, even at great cost to their faith heritage, seemingly as a way to remain relevant or to maintain appeal in the modern culture.
Holidays are often cited as religious, pagan or political in origin with the last of these being, presumably, devoid of religious content

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Post Index

Here is quick and easy way to find what may be of interest to you. All are welcome to post comments which are subject to review before publication by me. Links without your own substantive comments are subject to being deleted. Thank you for visiting my blog.

05/23/2018 The magic of physics and the resurrection of Jesus
05/12/2018  Wine and the Spirit

03/06/2018 An Incomplete and Disingenuous Apologetic

02/17/2018 He who is able to accept this, let him accept it

01/25/2018 How could a good God allow suffering?
01/16/2018 The Father Knows
01/09/2018 The LORD is our God, the LORD is on!
01/04/2018 When Jesus denied that he is God
01/02/2018 Readers, Seekers, and Learners

12/28/2017 The Prophecy of the Good Shepherd
12/26/2017 Isaac, Schrödinger's cat, and Santa Claus: Virtual Reality, Paradox and Myth
12/25/2017 Why I Believe Jesus came in Finality in 70 A.D.
12/20/2017 The Day of the Lord: darkened sun, blood moon, fallen stars
12/19/2017 Is the virgin birth of Jesus a myth?
12/12/2017 The Son can do nothing of Himself
12/07/2017 Jesus: a gluttonous man and a drunkard
12/06/2017 The Only True God

11/25/2017 First Believe?
11/23/2017 Deity and the diversity and unity of one
11/22/2017 The sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter and righteousness
11/16/2017 Yahweh, Lord of hosts
11/15/2017 The Christian's weapon of choice
11/09/2017 Jesus: I lay down my life

10/29/2017 If God Existed . . .
10/29/2017 Why Do Churches of Christ Not Use Instrumental Music
10/03/2017 Eternal Generation of the Son

09/24/2017 And Justice for All
09/02/2017 Serving Tables: The Involvement of the Daughters of God in the Assembly

08/23/2017 How do those who are spiritual do justice?
08/22/2017 Women and the law of propriety and order
08/12/2017 Ezra: Put away your wives
08/03/2017 Why did Jesus not choose any women to wash their feet?

07/29/2017 Parallel objective lessons from Paul
07/19/2017 Principle and Practice, Prophets and Deacons
07/13/2017 Observation and query on Artemis in Acts 19
07/09/2017 Is the Resurrection of Jesus a Falsifiable Prediction?
07/05/2017 Observations and lessons for women and men from Huldah, the prophetess

06/27/2017 Were the apostles baptized?
06/26/2017 Announcements, communion and reading in the assembly by Women
06/21/2017 Spirits now in prison
06/19/2017 Baptism, baptism by fire, baptism with/in the Holy Spirit
06/12/0217 You Can Always Get What You Want
06/07/2017 The Charge of Heresy

05/27/2017 Jesus: The Father is Greater than I
05/22/2017 The Longing Desire of Moses

04/09/2017 A Change of Mind

02/07/2017 Confirmations, charges and other noise makers

01/29/2017 Building a Wall
01/26/2017 The Indwelling of Deity in the Believer

10/23/2016 King Hezekiah and King Hazael
10/19/2016 The Anointed Sinners, Moses and David

09/05/2016 Quietness, Salvation and Women

08/08/2016 The Call for Making Reparations

06/13/2016 The Murder of Homosexuals in Orlando Florida Nightclub

04/10/2016 God: Thinks, Feels and Acts

03/28/2016 Love With All Emotion, Intellect, Subconscious and Strength
03/06/2016 Muhammad as Spirit of Truth: A Christian Testimony Against Islamphobia
03/05/2016 David himself calls him 'Lord'
03/03/2016 Unity of the Spirit and The Shema

02/23/2016 He Has Explained
02/14/2016 Were The Prophets Called Gods?
02/12/2016 They Saw God
02/09/2016 Not All Things Edify
02/04/2016 Worship: With All Your Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength

01/26/2016 Who Died?
01/22/2016 Was Jesus Ignorant?
01/21/2016 Do You Hear The One I Saw?
01/17/2016 Preexistence: John is Elijah
01/12/2016 Book: The Son of God: Three Views of the identity of Jesus . . . a response
01/01/2016 New Year's Day: Purpose, Fulfillment and Affirmation

12/15/2015 Isaiah 6
12/14/2015 Crucifixion: Blunt Heart Trauma
12/11/2015 T'is The Season
12/01/2015 One In Us

11/27/2015 The Begotten Son
11/26/2015 The Spirit of Truth: With You and In You
11/17/2015 Sin, Righteousness, Judgment and ISIS
11/14/2015 I Opposed Him to his Face

10/31/2015 For Our Instruction: The Past, Present and Future of Israel
10/02/2015 Government and Church

09/23/2015 He called them gods
09/05/2015 Sisters in Christ: Fulfilling the Ministry of Teaching and Preaching

08/28/2015 Image and Power
08/19/2015 Gifts, Ministries and Effects

07/19/2015 What Difference Does It Make?

06/30/2015 God is one: On a Unitarian and Trinitarian debate
06/20/2015 The Image of Racism
06/09/2015 Gender Change and The Image of Male and Female

05/27/2015 In Between Epiphany & Emmanuel sermon: A response to invitation to LGBT
05/09/2015 Debunking Ignorance Concerning Babies and Isaac
05/03/2015 Same-sex, Tradition, and Marriage

04/18/2015 Why I Think Jesus Didn't Exist

02/15/2015 In Between Epiphany and Emmanuel: A response to invitation to LGBT

01/25/2015 Winning Football, Misreading Scripture: New Terminologies and Catchy Phrases
01/01/2015 The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin

12/20/2014 Matthew 24 & I Timothy: power and salvation in Rome and Artemis
12/07/2014 Fourth Avenue Church of Christ: A commendation with exhortation

11/29/2014 Jesus' Marriage to Mary the Magdalene is Fiction
11/23/2014 The Indwelling of Deity in the Believer
11/09/2014 The work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the disciple
11/03/2014 What is truth?

10/18/2014 Do you want the Holy Spirit?
10/17/2014 What is Halloween?
10/13/2014 Holidays: Pentecost and Halloween

09/17/2014 BCV and context
09/10/2014 Disproving Christianity: Jesus is a LIE

08/13/2014 Suicide and mistaken notions

07/29/2014 Suffer the Children: American & Christian response to the immgrant children crisis
07/14/2014 all Israel will be saved: Replacement Theology

06/01/2014 Jesus and Zacchaeus
05/22/2014 The Singularity
05/10/2014 Transcript: Nearing the End - A Conversation with Theologian Stanley Hauerwas
05/02/2014 Real things, unseen things

04/26/2014 The Muslim fear of death
04/11/2014 How God did not become a man, but took on the form of man
04/06/2014 Do you eat Halal?

03/25/2014 Jesus and Paul: concessions for the divorced, abandoned and unmarried
03/08/2014 Led by the Spirit / Walk by the Spirit

01/23/2014 The Cult of Artemis and the Royal Priesthood
01/22/2014 The Righteous Who Live by Faith
01/18/2014 Does this offend you?

12/25/2013 The Righteous Shall Live By Faith
12/19/2013 The Indwelling of Deity in Jesus

11/02/2013 Jesus: Love & Hate

10/27/2013 What is Halloween?
10/22/2013 Melchizedek, priest of God Most High

07/05/2013 Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church
07/31/2013 Glen Beck is playing prophet

06/17/2013 The belief of childbearing in I Timothy 2
06/06/2013 The Cult of Artemis and the Royal Priesthood
06/02/2013 The Homosexual Right to Worker Benefits

05/30/2013 Weightier Matters
05/09/2013 Jesus Unscripted

04/30/2013 Walk in the Spirit

03/15/2013 Application principals on same-sex benefits from a parable

02/23/2013 Purity

01/14/2013 Searching for the Baby in the Bathwater --- a partial response
01/10/2013 Out-gunning the un-gunned
01/01/2013 Human sacrifice at Moriah and Egypt
02/21/2012 Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus - - - a comment
02/17/2012 Christianity and Gender - - - a comment
02/04/2012 The unwearied human body

01/06/2012 Father, Son, Holy Spirit . . . heart, mind and soul

12/26/2011 Christmas and holidays
12/18/2011 Serving Tables

10/27/2011 When the perfect comes

09/21/2011 The Submission of Jesus

08/20/2011 Spirit and truth: The Samaritan woman and Jesus

06/29/2011 In the Spirit
06/28/2011 The Lord's Supper

05/30/2011 Ahamd Deedat Explain who is the Holy Spirit
05/08/2011 Is Jesus Both God and Man? - - a comment
05/07/2011 The Trinity Delusion: a response
05/01/2011 The Wedding

04/30/2011 Judging Others
04/10/2011 A Properly Baked Cake
04/07/2011 Khalid Yasin: What Jesus said about Muhammed

03/05/2011 Royal Priesthood
03/01/2011 Book sparks charges of heresy

02/05/2011 Sorcery and Rebellion: One coin, two sides

01/31/2011 I Am Amazed
01/23/2011 If There Is A Prophet
01/21/2011 One Way to the Father
01/02/2011 One Year Bible

12/22/2010 A Most Wonderful Day in Eden
12/11/2010 A Christmas Moment
12/10/2010 My Birthday

11/09/2010 Humanists launch huge "godless" ad campaign

10/25/2010 What is Halloween?
10/01/2010 22 days

09/16/2010 Our moral code is out of date

08/31/2010 Stumbling Over Things We See

05/26/2010 The Human Jesus: a response
05/07/2010 God is (not) dead

04/29/2010 Father, Son and Holy Spirit
04/20/2010 Marks of a Spiritual
04/03/2010 The Resurrection of Jesus