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Wise men came bearing gifts of gold and..."what?"

We are visiting family in North Dakota for christmas. To make the family happy we went to a christmas eve service at our sister-in-laws church. (congregational, I think) A husband and wife, minister team, delivered the sermon. Early on, the kids were called down front for the children's message.

The 'message' was given by the husband. He began by pulling out 3 different size gifts, asking the children to show by raised hand who would want the biggest gift, the medium sized gift, and the smallest one. The preacher then talked briefly about how the best gifts sometimes come in the smallest packages.

Then he launched into a convoluted story about the gifts the wise men presented to baby Jesus. He pulled out of his pocket, a bar of gold. (He told the audience that it was fake, and been sent to his aunt from a credit card company as a gift.) For some reason, while passing it around to the kids, he felt it necessary to talk about the price of gold per ounce in various decades, the price of gold today; but never got around to talking about what gold was worth as a gift back in Jesus' time.

Then he pulled a box out of his pocket. He asked the kids if they knew what the other gifts were given to baby Jesus. He told all of us that he had both Frankincense and Myrrh to "show" the children. He said they were not allowed to touch these sample gifts like the bar of gold, because the "government considered it poisonous."

HUH? My husband and I looked at each other, both wondering if we had heard the man correctly. Then a little hand shot up in the air. My 9 yr old asked the minister- "Why did the wise men give baby Jesus poison?"

I was barely able to contain my guffaw! My husband pinched me, which made me laugh outright. The minister turned to the crowd and smiled, then, IGNORING my son's perfectly reasonable question, proceeded to tell the kids how frankincense and myrrh were harvested, and that myrrh was used to cover up the smell of the dead.

That was it. That was the 'message'.

The rest of the service was similarly uninspiring, and downright depressing. How people go to these sermons week after week, listening to preachers and ministers tell you how miserably you have failed as a human is beyond me. At each point in the service the 'word' is that we are all unworthy, sinful, weak and greedy.

Though I am atheist, I have a profound respect for the principles Jesus taught. Looking at both my young sons, I realized that I am doing a far better job as a parent in giving my boys a working knowledge of those values than any church I have experienced.

I believe that "god" is the ideal of what a man is capable of becoming in his lifetime. That man, with care and consideration in his decisions, is capable of living peacefully with other men and in harmony with the earth.

I am responsible for my actions. I do not need the threat of hell, or the promise of a reward to do good and be good.

To be continued...
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  • Snowboarder 2008/12/29 17:03:20
    Snowboarder
    +1
    Your kid is genius, he saw the irony right away.
  • Silly Me Snowboa... 2008/12/29 17:05:51
    Silly Me
    I wouldn't say genius...but he can think on his feet! Thanks!
  • 519378 2008/12/25 21:53:43
    519378
    +1
    I regularly burn frankincense from Saudi Arabia during the Solstice season.
    To harvest frankincense, you cut the bark of the tree.
    After the sap that oozes out hardens, you scrap it off the tree.
    The hardened sap is placed on a burning coal to create the incense smoke.
    Poisonous? I think not. In Saudi Arabia, people mix it with gum arabic and chew it like Americans chew Wriggly's gum.

    Myrrh? I've never enjoyed the aroma of myrrh.
    While similar to frankincense in that it is also a tree sap, the smell just does not thrill me. Some people think of it as a medicinal resin, good for wounds and embalming, but I would happily trade all my myrrh for the frankincense which I enjoy.
  • conrman 2008/12/25 18:56:13
    conrman
    +1
    Its all about faith, you either have it or you don't....that's it....all the other stuff is either icing or who ha......
  • spidermonkey™POTL~PWCM~JLA☮Paul
    Home > Resin incense

    Resin incense is the original incense of temples, churches and ancient rites. No incense stick can match the deep, mysterious fragrances of myrrh, frankincense, benzoin, copal, pinon, and dragons blood resins!

    a fragrant gum resin from trees of a genus (Boswellia of the family Burseraceae) of Somalia and southern coastal Arabia that is an important incense resin and has been used in religious rites, perfumery, and embalming

    I'm not really sure your an atheist....
    Main Entry: athe·ist
    Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ist\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1551
    : one who believes that there is no deity
    — athe·is·tic \ˌā-thē-ˈis-tik\ or athe·is·ti·cal \ˌā-thē-ˈis-ti-kəl\ adjective
  • Silly Me spiderm... 2008/12/25 18:14:04 (edited)
    Silly Me
    +1
    I am atheist. I do not believe in a god/creator/higher power. How did you get the idea that because I sat through a religious service to make my family happy I believe in god?

    Theists strive to get to an afterlife and know 'god'.

    I simply try to be the best possible 'me' during this life.

    Thanks for the info.
  • spiderm... Silly Me 2008/12/25 18:38:44
    spidermonkey™POTL~PWCM~JLA☮Paul
    +1
    An Atheist does not believe in any surpreme being or beings.
    The absence of belief in the existence of any gods.
    Is this how you feel, I guess from what you just said it is.

    Theist believes in at least on god.
    Is this how you believe... obvioulsy this is not you.

    I realize you can be Atheist and still have morals...thank you for explaining.
  • Sparkle... spiderm... 2008/12/26 07:18:03
    SparkleyPie
    +3
    What's your deal? You did this same thing to me. Why do you assume that when someone tells you they are an atheist that they don't know what 'atheist' means?
  • spiderm... Sparkle... 2008/12/26 07:38:30
    spidermonkey™POTL~PWCM~JLA☮Paul
    Because they condradict themselves..you say you believe in a God/Higher power...That condradicts what atheist believe...from what I see an Atheist does not believe in any surpreme power or beings.

    Is that clear enough?
    I don't know how else to get my point across. condradict godhigher power condradicts atheist atheist surpreme power beings clear
  • Sparkle... spiderm... 2008/12/26 07:44:19
    SparkleyPie
    +3
    Silly Me and I have both been clear with you that we don't believe in god. Is it that you have a hard time wrapping your brain around the fact that some people don't believe in god that drives you to question people's lack of faith even though they've been quite clear with you that they have such a lack of faith?
  • Silly Me spiderm... 2008/12/26 19:22:45
    Silly Me
    +2
    Morals and Ethics are very important to atheists.

    For anyone to equate atheism with hedonism, satanism, or any other ism is ignorant.

    (I am not calling you names spidermonkey, I appreciate that we are here to exchange ideas in a good natured way.)
  • spiderm... Silly Me 2008/12/27 04:38:31 (edited)
    spidermonkey™POTL~PWCM~JLA☮Paul
    +1
    Thanky you, silly me...it has been a pleasure... anytime you want to debate just click on send... thanky silly pleasure anytime debat click send

About Me

Silly Me

Silly Me

ID, US

2007/09/11 18:32:40

"The quiet confidence with which I know another man's religion to be folly, makes me suspect mine is also." M.Twain

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