Like many Christians, I was “born and raised” in the church. There was never a time when we didn’t attend regularly. As I grew up and became exposed to more of the world, I never doubted God’s existence, but I certainly wrestled with questions about whether what I believed was true. Occasional doubts are normal since the topic of God is one that requires some amount of faith. But I have learned over time that faith is not “belief despite the evidence” as some claim. Continue reading
On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the salvation of mankind. Here, we share a condensed retelling of the resurrection event using all four gospels. The full story is, of course, far more robust and inspiring than this shortened compilation. We encourage you to read (or re-read) the accounts for yourself. Happy Easter… Continue reading
Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified, fulfilling his mission to sacrifice himself for humanity. In celebration of Good Friday, we share the story of Jesus’ crucifixion through excerpts from the four gospels. Happy Easter… Continue reading
The Gospel According to Luke: 2, 4-20 (New King James Version):
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Let me state up front that I am a Christian, comfortable and secure in my beliefs. Even though I was raised as a Christian (as a member of the United Methodist Church), I haven’t always been so sure about what I was taught. Like many people, I had my doubts, first during my high school and college years, and again following the sudden and unexpected death of my father in 2001.
Fact vs. Fairy Tale
However, after 2001, I embarked on a personal quest to learn as much as I could, pro and con, about my faith. Were the things I had been taught the truth? Were those teachings well-supported by history and grounded in rational thought? Or were they basically “fairy tales” to be mined for tidbits of wisdom, but little else? Continue reading