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Posts Tagged ‘Richard’s Two Shekels’

Should students learn about other religions?

An indignant friend posted on Facebook something that took me back to social studies class in sixth grade. That chapter of the book featured a picture in the Middle East, the temperature seemed to be around 120 degrees. Most wore long white outfits and hats and a man wearing a white hat fastened to his head by a dark agal. 

The friend was angry because the post was a homework assignment where a student had to list the five pillars of Islam. 

If I remember right, among the pillars are: giving alms to the poor, making a pilgrimage to Mecca, praying “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad* is His prophet.” 

Instead of the student answering the question, the parent wrote: “My son will not be a part of this in any sort of way! This is bad teaching material! He will not partake. If you have a problem with it, call our lawyer.”

After listing Bible verses, the parents also wrote this in the section where the student is to discuss Islamic beliefs and practices: “How about Christian practices? That sheet has never come home, this year or last!”

Is there middle ground to be reached? Sure.

I personally think social studies classes in public schools should explore all the major religions. Besides Christianity and what are considered its three subgroups, Catholicism, Orthodox, and Protestantism, that should include Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Shinto, etc. I also think students should learn about the basics governing atheism and agnosticism. This isn’t about indoctrination, it’s about education: teaching students about culture, what the religions are and what they believe.

In sixth grade, I learned about Islam that class and, after studying it, found it to be a works-based religion. I appreciated the lesson, but I came away more instilled in my Christian beliefs.

Some schools teach nothing about major religions, while some teach only about Islam. Much is said about the separation of church and state, but is a balance being achieved? 

I remember in Sunday school class in the mid 1980s. Our teacher, every week, would teach about a different religion and go through the founder, what the religions taught, and what the Bible said. In essence, it was designed to teach us why we as Christians believe what we believe. Some felt it was a waste of time, while some felt it was a great cultural lesson. 

I know there are some Christians out there who don’t like this approach. One Christian told me the only book he ever needs to read is the Bible. But, I think one reason so many Christians wither and quit the race and never grow in their faith is because they were never truly grounded. Growing as a Christian is more than just being able to quote a third of the Bible. It’s also about being a well-grounded person who can decipher the issues.

* In Arabic, Muhammed is spelled محمد, literally Mhmd. No vowels. Therefore, there are many spelling variations once transliterated.

Post comments here or email: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Churches and COVID-19

April 19, 2020 Leave a comment

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in many churches across America cancelling services or streaming services online or through Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter. Most have done this, as per executive orders from state governors, as a measure to try to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. 

When it comes to assembly, it makes you wonder about the churches out there that don’t even have a Website, because they consider the Internet to be too worldly. Do they meet by phone, by HAM radio, by CB?

“Breaker, Breaker 2-9! This is Blue Shepherd speaking! Church service will begin in five minutes. My wife, Blue Pianist, will play music for our songs while my assistant, Stoneface, will give the announcements. Send your tithes to the church’s bank. And remember, we are doing services on 2-9. Last time we did it on 1-9, our young’uns learned many new words from unhappy truckers who griped that we were clogging up their channel and, telling me to go someplace impossible while, um, never mind. And since the stores seem to have soap in short supply, there’s not much to wash their mouths out with! 10-4!”

However, some churches have ignored the quarantine orders and have had regular services anyway. One such pastor died from COVID-19.

I understand the whole “freedom of assembly” and how churches don’t like the government prying into their affairs, but considering COVID-19 is a virus that evolves and could still become highly fatal, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Besides, sometimes churches resist government intervention because it brings something the church is in denial of needing: accountability.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Checking out churches

April 14, 2020 Leave a comment

For the second time in a year, I had a Sunday off. My work schedule shifted, so as of now, I am now off Sundays at my primary job. 

Due to the COVID-19 quarantine, I watched two different church services on live stream through Facebook.

One church, the pastor had a strong drawl and was trying to tell some amusing anecdote. He had no sense of timing or execution, making me think he was trying to be the late Mississippi humorist Jerry Clower and, well, having no success. My gut told me his Bible teaching would not be any better. Soon, I lost interest and decided to try another church.

Next stream, the pastor was talking about the resurrection, citing scripture, and talking about the eternal hope that comes from Jesus rising from the dead. The church, on its Website, talks about the service being informal as far as attire goes. It reminded me of that Michigan church’s slogan: Dress casually. Jesus did.

Despite this promising sign, I’m almost afraid to go back to church. Four times I’ve attended churches and splits have happened. At one church, a Sunday School teacher disliked the direction the pastor was going and convinced three or four families to also leave. At one church in San Antonio, the pastor’s wife was a cosmetics distributor and shunned those who weren’t her customers. Then, at a church in Michigan and one here in Texas, the pastors left due to a desire to have almost total control over the church. (Read the Old Testament story of Joses and Jethro to see why this isn’t a good idea). As far as I could gather from the second one, the young pastor conflicted with the “old guard.” 

I’ve often wondered how much time churches spend teaching the Bible, versus preaching “do this” or “don’t do that.” Too many Christians reach a point where they don’t know why they believe what they believe. Sometimes it’s because not enough time was spent studying what the Bible really says, and sometimes because in their spiritual walk, they spent time in churches that focus on adhering to rules to strive for holiness.

Here’s one suggestion: instead of preaching to a congregation about TV shows* they shouldn’t watch or musical bands** they shouldn’t listen to, why not teach what the Bible says about spiritual discernment and the importance of putting healthy things into your mind?

* One certain Baptist minister preached about how evil The Simpsons was because the show was about “mocking your parents and having a rebellious attitude.” One warm, godly Christian minister I know admitted to me he likes the show and thinks it’s hilarious.

** If you’re a pastor and ever want to get your teenagers curious about secular music, preach against it from the pulpit. Sure, some are pliant enough to obey and stick with Fanny Crosby and Al Smith, but some will get curious and listen.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian since the days of the rotary-dial telephone and when the Betamax and VHS battled for supremacy. Post comments here or email: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Pro-Life on paper only?

February 10, 2020 Leave a comment

Just a reminder to Christians who like to get politically involved.

Being pro-life is far more than just posting memes on Facebook or holding “Abortion Kills Children” signs at rallies or clinics.

However…

If you see a single mother, help her out. Get to know her enough to where you can watch her kids and give her a few hours to herself. If you have extra clothes, give them to her. Give her a grocery gift card. Be a listening ear. Donate diapers and other supplies to ministries that reach out to single mothers.

This is the type of “works” James talked about. Christianity in action.

Making single mothers feel like outcasts is what fuels the pro-abortion side.

Yes, there’s personal responsibility, but do your part and show compassion. Remember that Jesus spent much of his time with people whom polite society considered outcasts.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Free from the law

August 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Despite more than 30 years as a Christian, I could never quite process that and understand exactly what it meant. Finally, thinks clicked, thanks in part to a long-time mentor.

The Bible gives many types of laws: Noahic Law (you can now eat meat, capital punishment is in order), Mosaic Law (ceremonial for sacrifices, dietary for what Israelites could and couldn’t eat, moral for things they were prohibited to do, various laws, some of which are still applicable today). The different prophets also gave laws.

Jesus came and discussed the law in a new light. Paul talked about how Jesus’ sacrifice freed us from the law.

The purpose of the law, I finally realized, is to show that we can never measure up to God’s standards of holiness. And because of that, we’re sinners.

By becoming Christians, we are no longer bound to the law. However, there are laws we obey because we love God and want to serve Him and become closer to Him.

If there’s one law to obey, it’s Matthew 22:35–40. Jesus said we were to love God with all our heart, might, mind. We were then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus then said all other laws and the prophets hinge on this commandment.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Do you serve God or a god?

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Years ago, a college friend told me that he no longer believed the New Testament was God’s Word. Too many changes over the centuries, most of them for political reasons.

Oh, brother, I thought. Using that logic, how can we really know Plato really wrote what’s attributed to him, or that Hammurabi really created those sets of laws, or Percy Bysshe Shelley didn’t plagiarize someone else’s work?

Is your faith in men, or is it in God?

This was a friend who led a prayer group at college, was studying for the ministry, and seemed to truly love the Lord. He served God then, and now, I’m afraid, he serves god.

Sometimes life beats us up and we react accordingly. Some are resilient and bounce back, some aren’t. Others simply were never really strong in their faith and easily get choked by the thorns.

This friend reminds me of what God asked Moses in Genesis 18:14 in one of the world’s great rhetorical questions: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

In Matthew 23:35, Jesus says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Either God lied or He didn’t. Either He preserved His Word or He didn’t.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

The greatest commandment: love

April 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Sometimes people will ask me, “What is Christianity in a nutshell?”

In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about that. What is the great commandment of the law? What is the commandment that Christianity centers around?

Verses 37-40 explain: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It all centers around love. It’s a verse you could spend years pondering.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 37 years, and while Jesus teaches us to love everybody, I must admit there have been some whom I’ve had to take remedial classes to learn how to love. A few select customers I dealt with when I worked at a gas station. A certain Christian employer in Michigan. Politicians in general.

I’m not alone. Alvin Dark, a former Major League Baseball shortstop who also enjoyed success as a manager, became an outspoken Christian. He once mused, “As a Christian, God has taught me to love everybody. But the last ones I learned to love were the sportswriters.”

Alvin_Dark_1953

Richard’s Two Shekels guesses that Alvin Dark made one request about his mansion in New Jerusalem: “Father, could you put any Christian sportswriters on the other side of town? And please don’t give them my address.”

Love, of course, is an action verb and not just an emotion we swell up with when around our children or our significant other. I tell people that True Christianity hinges on helping people without strings attached for no reason, rather than looking at the situation, rubbing one’s hands together as if concocting a sneaky scheme and quietly asking, “What’s in it for me?”

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

 

No Biblical basis for CCM?

January 2, 2018 Leave a comment

A Baptist minister told me a month or so ago he found “no Biblical basis” for Contemporary Christian Music. I’m not completely sure what he meant. Did he mean nothing in the Bible justifies it, or that CCM is incapable of communicating Biblical truths?

point of grace

Point of Grace, a group I love listening to.

Thirty years ago, I would’ve agreed with him. But as you grow and learn and mature, things tend to change. Many traditional Gospel songs are set to the tune of Irish and English drinking songs. Fanny Crosby, who wrote many Gospel songs adored by the Independent Fundamental Baptists (the Baptist equivalent of the Amish, I like to muse as an ex-IFBer), was considered wordly in her day. One pastor said a few years ago, “Today’s contemporary music is tomorrow’s traditional.”

I also thought about the many CCM artists who’ve blessed me with their music over the years: Point of Grace, Amy Grant, Watermark, Crystal Lewis, Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James and, believe it or not, Petra. My middle son loves Creed.

Years ago at a sheltered Christian college, I worked a summer with a guy named Ray. We teased each other because of our different accents (I grew up in South Texas, and he was from Maine and seldom pronounced his final “r’s”). To me, without glasses, he was a dead ringer for actor Judge Reinhold. We debated music a lot. I told him then I thought Petra was too worldly.

“Man, don’t be knockin’ Petra,” Ray said. “I got saved at a Petra concert.”

I thought about that for a long time, the way you do a first-hand observation that comes in and challenges an opinion you’ve formed in concrete.

Ray left that particular college due to the strict rules. I located him through Facebook a few years ago. Today, Ray is a musician serving the Lord and still going strong as a Christian. I can think of more than a few Christians from then who strictly adhered to tradition–and today, are no longer serving God.

I’ve even grown to like Petra, particularly their versions of “Grave Robber” (a song about 1 Corinthians 15) and “Not of This World.”

Richard Zowie likes all kind of music–except gangsta rap. His current guilty pleasure is KISS. Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

God prefers perfection over deep pockets

I remember in the first few years of the new millennium, working at a Christian radio station, listening to the commercials and talk shows. One of the popular topics of discussion was a book called “The Prayer of Jabez.”

I’ve never read the book, partly because I have a Jovian backlog of books that I want to read. This includes books I own, along with books that I sometimes check out at the library but can’t get around to reading. However, the synopsis seems like this: In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez asks God to bless him, and God chooses to do so. Just like that, God will bless us if we only ask. Today, it’s a message similar to what Joel Osteen preaches.

One of the most wonderful Christians I know is a man who prays regularly, attends church regularly, reads the Bible and knows a great deal of Hebrew and Greek. This friend a few years ago also filed for bankruptcy and lost his house to foreclosure.

My friend says: “God’s not as interested in giving us stuff as He is in perfecting us.”

The idea, I suspect, is that we’ll enter into heaven with less spiritual growing to do. And as for being wealthy, how easy is it for even a wealthy Christian to place their faith in their bank account?

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

‘Trust me,’ God told Job

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Others will ask, “If God does exist, why is there so much suffering?”

If you’d asked me 20 years ago, my response would’ve been a series of “Uhs” and “Ums.” Thinking quickly on the spot was never my strong suit. Come to think of it now, it’s still not.

Ok, let’s try:

“Richard, why is there so much suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?”

The collective questions won’t have a definitive answer in this lifetime. Finite minds can never understand an infinite mind.

But there is a definitive answer that should last us until we are cap.able to understanding God better in eternity.

Job 38-42.

Reading these five chapters, you’ll find God’s response to Job, who suffered financial loss and personal illness. This happened when God pointed Job out to Satan and explained he was a righteous guy, and that his loyalty to God had nothing to do with personal prosperity.

Satan gave Job everything he had, and Job spent much time in misery wondering “Why?” while his friends gave him mostly-bad advice.

And in those chapters, God speaks to Job and says, “You’re not God. I am. You can’t do any of the things I can do, and you can’t handle any of it. I can because I’m God. And because I am God, I know exactly what I’m doing. I have this. Trust me now, and later, when the time is right, you’ll understand.”

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

Death, Be Not Proud…

March 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I took a recent vacation home to spend time with my elderly parents and my sisters. On personal time, I visited a few cemeteries where friends and high school classmates are buried. Most of these friends died far too soon. One didn’t expect to live a long life. Another friend, a girl I had a high school crush on, was murdered at work. She was a victim of circumstance.

For privacy concerns, I won’t post pictures I took. I will say that when I visit the grave of someone I knew for the first time, I like to leave a memento as a sign of respect. For one former bus driver, a toy bus. For a classmate who loved baseball, a baseball. For my freshman year crush, since she was born in Georgia, a plastic white flower in close resemblance to Georgia’s state flower, the Cherokee Rose.

As I stared in sad silence, I was reminded of John Donne’s sonnet, Death, Be Not Proud.

As I think of the poem, it’s hard to read it without getting emotional. It’s a reminder that for us Christians, death is but temporary. Its power is borrowed and will soon have to be given back. Some day, the bodies of believers will be resurrected eternally.

At Pensacola Christian College, I had a speech class. My first-semester teacher was Heidi Nadolny, and one of the female students recited the poem. The young lady chose a terse, almost condescending tone, which I think works. As we remember deceased loved ones, particularly those who died too soon, we are to remind death that its advantage is temporary and that the respect we have for it should be limited. We should also remind it that God alone is omnipotent.

Yes, death, someday you will indeed die. Even worse, you will be forgotten.

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

 

Christians and taxes

December 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Today, I had a phone conversation with one of my favorite people in the world. I won’t publicly identify him, but I will say this: Christianity needs far more believers like this man. I also won’t go into details about our chat, but I will say this: one of the topics of discussion was Christians and taxes. It brought to mind people I’ve heard of who’ve gone to prison because they’ve conscientiously decided not to give Uncle Sam his due.

As always, we’re left to wonder: WWJD?

As far as I can tell, Jesus mentioned taxes twice. In Matthew 17, the Jewish authorities asked if Jesus and His followers paid the “temple tax.” Jesus seemed to think this was actually unnecessary. However, to avoid offense, he had Peter pay it anyway using money from the mouth of a freshly-caught fish.

Then in Matthew 22, the Jewish authorities (who hated paying taxes to Rome), hoped to catch Jesus in a contradiction by asking him if tribute should be paid to Rome. The idea was if Jesus said not to pay taxes, word would get out and the Romans would possibly arrest him for advocating anarchy or not paying one’s fair shekel.* If Jesus said taxes should be paid, it would undoubtedly anger many of the Jews and possibly even those who liked Jesus.

Jesus, knowing that, asked to be shown a coin. After being told it was Caesar’s image on the coin, He said: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

I take these examples to mean simply this: while there might be some exceptions, pay your taxes. Unless you want the IRS to be able to travel to your house of place of business from memory, don’t protest by not paying.

* Yes, pun intended.

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Remembering saints we knew

November 24, 2016 Leave a comment

In October, a famous, controversial Christian died. Anybody who’s familiar with Baptists and soulwinning and cartoons undoubtedly knows whom I’m talking about. My personal view: much of his theology was misguided, but God still used him to preach salvation and lead many to Christ. Others haven’t been very kind. It brings to mind what actress Bette Davis once said when her hated rival, Joan Crawford, died: “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good . . . Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”

When this famous Christian died, I asked a dear friend, Howard, if he’d heard the news.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. Did you hear about Anna M. passed? A lady in my church. Much more interested in home team where I know the players personally.”

To be fair, Howard isn’t the type who’s easily star struck. He’s probably the last person in the world I’d expect to run up to a famous Christian and ask them to sign his Bible.

When I read his comments, I thought, instead of focusing on people we know of, it’s better to focus on people we know personally.

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Ever have ‘Coffee with Jesus’?

October 21, 2016 Leave a comment

One of my favorite cartoons comes from Radio Free Babylon. It’s called “Coffee with Jesus.” Dressed in a modern-day suit and sipping a coffee while sporting shoulder-length hair and a beard, Jesus talks to various individuals–believers, ministers and even Satan himself.

I’ve seen many cartoon versions of Jesus, some of them not bad and some of them far too inaccurate in comparison to what the Bible says. CWJ stands out. Sure, I occasionally disagree with something, but for the most part I can imagine Jesus responding exactly as they have Him do in the comic.

They usually show the same two pictures of Jesus, calm and expressionless. It carries the message that Jesus always knows what’s going on, never panics and always knows what to do. He effortlessly parries even Satan’s most brutal accusations.

CWF can be found online here. Below is one of my favorite cartoons, regarding angst many have about the upcoming presidential election. (Some worry about a Trump presidency, others worry about a Clinton presidency).

coffee-with-jesus-presidential-elections

Jesus Christ, savior, practical joker

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I am very convinced that, on a few occasions, the disciples yelled, “Jesus!”

No, not to take His name in vain, and not to call out to him when in a storm, in quicksand or because they were trying to get his attention. Instead, here are two examples:

Peter, at a wedding, takes a drink of wine–only to discover that it’s turned back into water.

Matthew, when looking for a lamb to slaughter for a meal for Jesus and the 12, stares in shock as the lamb says in perfect Aramaic: “PLEASE don’t eat me. I taste BAAAAAAAD!”

In both cases, the reaction was likely: “Jesus! Would you PLEASE stop doing that?!”

In both cases, I imagine our Lord doubled over, laughing.

Jesus probably also told His fair share of jokes. (“So the Rabbi tells the rest of the Sanhedrin, ‘That was no Samaritan woman! That was my WIFE!'”)

I see it this way: Jesus had a very busy schedule. There were no planes or cars, so He walked most places–save for riding on donkeys or other animals. He probably got very little sleep and had days where he had to: teach, teach and re-teach the disciples; deal with the Pharisees and other religious leaders who refused to see the obvious about Him; heal the sick, provide food for those needed; screen potential disciples; comfort the heartbroken, and on, and on, and on.

What better way to boost morale among His disciples and relieve stress by having a sense of humor?

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Rebuilding as a Christian

January 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Years ago, a car show host told somebody they would need to have their engine rebuilt.

I never inherited my father’s mechanical skills, but I suspect that means this: take apart the engine, throw out the bad parts and replace them. Keep the good parts. Put the new parts and good parts all back together. Engine should work better.

Such is the case with my Christian walk.

I became a Christian in October 1981, when I prayed the sinner’s prayer with Pastor Jimmy Lilley of Kings Row Baptist Church in Alvin, Texas. I sincerely meant the prayer and wanted to do so, so I consider eight to be the age when I became a Christian.

Over the years, I attended very strict churches. No alcohol, no tobacco, no movies. Women, no wearing dresses. Don’t wear “fake-up” or “mas-scary” (I kid you not, those terms were REALLY used). Men, look like men. No long hair, no earrings, no flashy costumes, no necklaces. Wedding rings and class or college rings are OK, but, for heaven’s sake, don’t wear so many rings that you look like Liberace.

And speaking of the late Liberace (1919-1987), it was also taught that homosexuals will burn in hell.

While there are other believers in other denominations, we are the only ones who are really following Jesus’ teachings.

Some took things a step further and prohibited tea and other caffeinated products and no TV. One famous Baptist minister (you’d know his name if I said it) refused to carry life insurance, believing it showed a lack of faith in God. And across the board, the only acceptable Bible is the King James Bible.

Over the years I slowly began to wonder: why?

Which “rules” were truly Biblical and which ones were just the personal preferences of the leaders?

One person, who is no longer in my life, used to ask me where in the Bible it says you are to not do these things. More often than not, I had no answer for her, and that gave me a lot to ponder. I’ve also seen many such Christians have unsatisfactory responses when explaining why the same set of Mosaic Laws that prohibit homosexuality also a) Provide laws that governed slavery, b) Require some rapists to marry their victims, c) Prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy aren’t also applied today.

For me, my approach is take all the things I’ve learned, all the things I thought I knew, compare them with what the Bible truly says and then do two things: keep that which is true, discard which is not not God really wants for my life.

Our walk with God should be focused on a relationship, not simply following rules.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily reflect those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

How should you read the Bible?

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

I can describe “how” in two words:

In context.

Those on the right who quote passages in Leviticus to condemn homosexuality should also be aware of passages that describe what we’d consider odd, inexplicable Mosaic laws dealing with slavery, sex and what animals were fit and unfit for food (if you love bacon, guess what–it would’ve been considered unclean).

Those on the left who quote passages in Acts to justify socialism or communism should also be aware of what the Bible says about not eating if you haven’t worked or those who take for themselves what others have earned.

I do believe the Bible is God’s Perfect Word, but I also believe that some rules God gave at various times were exclusively meant for those times and those particular circumstances.

For now, as I read, I consider the audience, the customs of the times and whether the command qualifies as an absolute from God or something He chose for that time.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily represent those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Yee-haw! My New Open Bible arrived!

For a high school graduation present, my pastor gave me a New Open Bible, King James Version. It was leatherbound. I had it all through college, marking it up with notes and even having a page reserved for autographs from various ministers (Dr. Johnny Pope, Dr. Jack Hyles, Jim Schettler, to name a few). I also kept a record of those I’ve led to the Lord.

And then, during a move, it was placed in an unknown box in the basement. The sump pump quit working, flooding the basement and ruining the Bible.

I was very saddened, angry and frustrated.

A few visits on Ebay and Amazon have resulted in unsuccessful bids for New Open Bibles, cringing at how expensive the new ones are and then ordering one, only to learn it’s an Open Bible and not a New Open Bible. The newer version contains study notes I like, and, for sentimental purposes, I really want a New Open Bible.

Found one on Ebay on a buy option.

Received it in the mail. It has a hard cover and a few notes here and there. Otherwise, excellent condition.

Richard is very happy. 🙂

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Honey vs. Vinegar

April 19, 2013 Leave a comment

“You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Anyone know who said this? Drop me a line at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. I’m curious.

I don’t know if this is a scientifically-accurate statement, but here’s what it’s trying to say: you can get a lot more friends and influence a lot more people by being polite than by being rude.

I am reminded of this verse from Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

A Christian friend who is suffering a lot right now told me of teaching once at a Christian school and how one person at the church tore into her on a problem instead of sitting with her, asking and listening. It wounded her greatly.

I also think of one Christian employer I had who could quote lots of scripture and was well-loved by people at the church. He also is the most rude, condescending person I’ve ever met in my entire life. And considering all the atheists, agnostics, wiccans, hedonists, and other alternate lifestyle types I’ve know, that is indeed beyond sad. Beyond pathetic. It is inexcusable. He was a man who apparently saw no need to be nice because he knew everything. I prefer humility, myself.

Many other Christians out there are hurting because too many “wise” older Christians have chosen vinegar instead of honey. It’s one thing to practice righteous indignation when needed, but it’s another thing to be unnecessarily rude or angry.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Kurt Cobain, believer?

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment

I attended the very-sheltered campus of Pensacola Christian College in 1994, and I must confess that when Kurt Cobain died that year, my initial reaction consisted of three words.

“Who’s Kurt Cobain?”

Of course, now I know who he was. I’ve heard a few of his songs from his band Nirvana. Most notably “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are”.

In the opinion of many very fundamental Christians, Cobain is likely now screaming in hell, writhing around in eternal fire.

A friend who read a detailed biography on Cobain tells me that in the book, it reports that when Cobain was about 16, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

I did not know this, but it begs the question: where is he now?

For me, the answer is simple: if Cobain’s profession was genuine, then he’s in heaven. If that’s the case, I imagine he’s wishing that he could’ve lived much longer than 27 and could’ve made more music.

Pure speculation on my part. Overall, I hope he’s much happier now than he was when he was alive.

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