Halloween and…

Today is Halloween and… Halloween and… Reformation Day.

On the Eve of All Saints Day (which is November 1st) Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517.  Protestants celebrate October 31st as Reformation Day.

Internet Monk shared the following today.  I approve this message 🙂

For God and Country

The 4th of July falls on Sunday this year.  The comparisons between our liberty and freedom as Americans and the freedom found in Christ are easy to make, but we need to be careful.  I wish to present a sermon that is both patriotic and scriptural, but also fair and truthful.  The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 – the Bible was not. Continue reading

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and the Kingdom of God

Lincoln, King and the Kingdom: what’s the relationship?  I’ve always wondered who in the government decided to put Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) together.  Although my students will tell you that sometimes I get a little preachy when I teach history, I’ve always tried to not lecture history from the pulpit.  This time, I’m going to ask that you indulge me just a little bit.

It’s always around this time of year that my American History class studies the Civil War.  It just so happens that right in the middle of that, my wife and I visited D.C. over the Christmas break.  I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and looked across the reflection pool toward the Washington Monument.  The words of the Gettysburg Address are carved into Lincoln’s memorial in 12″ letters.  It’s hard not to come back and say something about it. Continue reading

The Pagan Roots of Halloween; and Easter and Christmas

trick-or-treatJust like the Internet Monk rants here, I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home.  We read the King James Bible, went to Sunday School, prayer meeting, revival, and every other time the church door was open.  We didn’t wear shorts at my childhood home, nor go swimming in mixed company.  My dad went to the public school and had me excused from the two weeks of swimming our P.E. class had in August.  Dad was a street preacher, standing on the corner of a downtown city block shouting the Gospel at passing traffic.  (He still does that once a week, but I no longer hand out tracts to pedestrian passersby.) 

But you know what my parents did let us do?  Go trick-or-treating.  Continue reading

History Repeats Itself

Jeremiah_as_Michaelangelo_Saw_Him“History repeats itself” is actually a terrible misquote.  It leads students to ask questions like “If history repeats itself, why do I have to learn it the first time?”  No, the actually quote is “Those who do not learn history (the past) are condemned to repeat it.”  Google George Santayana.  The point is that if we learn from history, we can avoid making the same mistakes.  Here’s an example of New Testament people not learning their Old Testament history. Continue reading

Memorial Day

flagMemorial Day is next week (May 25), and I’ve been thinking about what that means.  Memorial Day is traditionally the first long weekend of summer, so maybe for you it’s just another excuse to break out the grill and water toys.  If you have to work that day, maybe it’s an inconvenience that that the Post Office and banks will be closed.  Some people will simply sleep in that day and not care why.  The American dream lives on.

The real reason for Memorial Day is so that we remember.  In this case, we remember the men and women who died in miltary service to our country.  Formerly known as Decoration Day, it began following the Civil War and was expanded to honor fallen soldiers of all wars during World War I. 

So, Memorial Day is strictly American and has nothing to do with the Bible, right?  Continue reading

A Bit of Historical Perspective

Obama InaugurationThis is not a “Hurray for our side” nor a “He’s not my President” type of rant.  There is not anything here you can’t find somewhere else.  I’m writing this post for three reasons:  1) I watched the inauguration live  2) I’m a history teacher, and 3) I blog, that’s what I do.

The presidential campaign was historic in and of itself.  It was the first time that two current senators ran against each other for the highest office in the land.  Of the last 5 presidents, 4 were first state governors.  Only the senior President Bush had just served as the V.P. for eight years.  We knew that on election night, we would either be choosing the first African American to serve as President ever, or the first woman to fill the role of Vice President. Continue reading

On the Issue of Slavery

slavesinegypt“And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”  Numbers 20:5 

In Numbers chapter 20 the Hebrews are complaining to Moses that he has brought them out of Egypt into the wilderness.  You see, even though they had been slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews were used to having certain things.  There they had lived in houses, not tents.  There was plenty of water to drink via the Nile River.  And one thing they brought up a lot was the food.  The Hebrews missed the pomegranates of all things.  Egypt had those. Continue reading

The Villany of Christopher Columbus

UPDATE: Columbus Day is coming up and that is always the busiest day of the year for this blog post.  I would like to offer a disclaimer; I realize the information presented here is one-sided.  My goal was to offset some of the hero worship associated with Christopher Columbus.  All the good stuff you’ve probably heard before.  I simply want informed readers to balance what they already know with these facts, which perhaps you are hearing about for the first time.

As a history teacher, I feel obligated to inform the masses that Columbus was a dirty old man.  I’m sure in the fifth grade, your history book had a little painting of Christopher Columbus, all smiles as he met the Native Americans, and they shook hands.  We celebrate Columbus Day to recognize his discovery of the New World.  Back that tape up in your mind, let me give you some more facts.

Continue reading

Immigration: fact and fiction

u.s. mapI am a history teacher.  There is no denying that fact.  My degree is in political science.  If you break out in a rash or have difficulty breathing when exposed to a history lecture, look away from this window slowly and click on something else. 

This morning I heard someone say that Mexicans are taking over our country.  It’s an old argument, only it used to be the Chinese.  Same song, different verse.  Chinese immigrants basically built the American railroad from the Mississippi to the west coast.  Some railroad companies had as much as 90% of their workforce made up of Chinese immigrants.  The argument back then, get this, was that Chinamen were taking American jobs.  No they weren’t.  Continue reading