Showing posts from November, 2012

The Reason for the Season

With the Christmas season in full swing, holiday cheer is often accompanied by seasonal spats. Conservative Christians maintain the traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting, but it has become increasingly fashionable to utilize the more innocuous phrase, "Happy Holidays." Proponents of the latter argue that this ensures greater religious tolerance, political correctness, and avoiding the constitutionally-prohibited establishment of a state religion. The politically correct are countered with charges of secularization to a sacred and ancient celebration. For fairness’ sake, it should not be ignored that America is a melting pot of ethnic celebrations, and that Christmas--though the most commercially recognized--is not the only wintry festival that is commonly celebrated. Conversely, it is true that one cannot simply "take Christ out of Christmas" any more than they could pc the menorah out of Hanukkah. Thus, the principles of both sides retain a certain

Feasting On Guilt

One of the more ancient cultural artifacts we've retained today is the feast. It's just not a celebration without a full table and full stomachs. And no modern holiday represents this tradition better than Thanksgiving. While other holidays can get murky amid their consumerist contrivances and religious rivalries, Thanksgiving maintains the simplicity of a feast: being thankful with family and food. People can argue about other holiday symbols all day: Santa Claus or the baby Jesus, the Easter bunny or a cross. But no one can argue that the centerpiece of Thanksgiving is a turkey dinner. Even as Black Friday rears its ugly head, more people are in their dining rooms on that Thursday than probably any other holiday. Imagine yourself at that table, quite literally gobbling down the turkey and stuffing. The pleasant conversations naturally shift to everyone sharing what they're thankful for. Eventually, someone will say, "I'm thankful that we can enjoy this hu

Christianity: Now With Ranch

Most kids hate eating their vegetables. Two of the most vilified in the eyes of children are broccoli and spinach. Now when I was a child, I never understood this because they were my two favorites. On the other hand, I despised carrots. I remember my mother telling me I couldn't leave the table until all of my carrots were gone. And I had them EVERY DAY. I used to smother them in yogurt or ranch dressing just to distract from the putrid taste. But there was still the bone-cracking crunch of a potato chip gone horribly wrong. I've since grown up and put aside my childish ways. So does this mean that I suck it up and eat my vegetables without complaint? Even the ones I hate? Actually, no. I don’t like carrots. I've never developed a taste for them, and I doubt I ever will. At this point, someone will likely say, "But they’re good for you!" I know. But so is broccoli. It’s one thing to avoid eating vegetables all together (good luck with that). And it’s

Miracles and Coincidences

A few years ago, I was driving up to spend time with my new girlfriend (now wife). General Sherman and I   (my 1986 Volvo) were on the Garden State Parkway when I heard an unusual sound. It sounded like a small explosion in the engine. I would later find out that some of the spark plug wires had fried. This meant that Sherman was literally not running on all cylinders. Two things happened at this point. First, my maximum speed dropped to 40 mph--I couldn't go any faster. Second, my fuel gauge suddenly had a visible descent. Now Sherman didn't have the best mileage. But after 120 miles, my once full tank had under a quarter left. And I had a grand total of $6 to make it home. An hour and half into the return trip, my gauge hit E. photo credit: Kyvinaria via photopin cc I thought about pulling over and calling for help, but it was late and no one I knew was nearby. Seconds passed to minutes, and minutes to an hour. And to my surprise, an hour was all it took. I made