I've moved to another two blogs, one on writing, and one on general stuff like this one. Please come visit! MY NEW BLOGS:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One Solitary Life

One Solitary Life
By James Allan Francis (1864-1928)

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty.

He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born.
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty three.
His friends ran away, and
One of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing,
The only property he had on earth.

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress.

All the armies that have ever marched,
All the navies that have ever sailed,
All the parliaments that have ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned, put together,
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Speaking of the 12 Days of Christmas...

This acapella group does an amazing rendition! Even if you find this song tedious, you won't for this performance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christian Code in the Song: Partridge in a Pear Tree

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How Much Do You Know About Religion?

The Pew Research Foundation surveyed 3412 Americans on general religious knowledge between May 19 and June 6, 2010. How does your knowledge base compare with the average American? You can take a test to find out at

This study found that, on average, atheists and agnostics did best on this test of religious knowledge, closely followed by Jews and Mormons. Protestants did less well, and Catholics even lower.

Educational level was the single best predictor for general religious knowledge, and other good predictors were reading Scripture (and religious commitment in general), and talking about religious ideas with others.

For what it's worth, I answered 15 out of 15 questions correctly, which puts me in the 99th percentile of Americans. I found the questions basic and easy, since I love this stuff and read/discuss it extensively. It probably isn't fair to have me compete with the "average" since I'm certainly not average in my interest level.

On the other hand, I believe that "Who Is God? (if He even exists)" is the single most important issue that anyone ever faces. Life is good, but even if you live for 120 years, and earn more money than Bill Gates, you still die.

Where do you go after that? Heaven? Hell? Are you simply stuck in the ground and your body chemicals recycled for the next generation?

I came to my faith through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus, and believe there are really true and really false answers to the questions: Who is God? How do we get to know Him? What does He want?

If you're interested, take a look at my website at, where I discuss my faith journey from a skeptic to a Christian. And if you have any questions, or disagree with me, feel free to drop me a line! As I mentioned, I love this stuff and appreciate honest questions and/or a good debate.