Tag Archives: Halloween

Solas In the Sole

‘O Sole Mio

When I am driving my school bus, alone and no children to listen, I sometimes sing aloud certain songs to keep me alert. Sometimes I sing songs I know well, and other times I make up lyrics to fill in the gaps for songs I know little of.

One particular song is “‘O Sole Mio,” or “It’s Now Or Never.” I will usually sing to myself and use the words interchangeably, adding in what I know of the chorus of “It’s Now Or Never,” then make up the rest from there. The whole idea is to sing loudly, operatically, in order to keep the blood and oxygen flowing, but sometimes my own lyrics crack me up, especially when I expand on the sexually predatorial characteristics of Elvis’ version.

Credit: Wikipedia

Actually, the older (1898) Neopolitan song has nothing to do with the English-language hit recorded by Elvis Presley in 1960. ‘O sole mio actually translates into “my sunshine,” while It’s now or never translates into: “I’m so turned on by your looks that we should have a one-night-stand…I’m outa here come daylight.”

So why am I telling you this? I’m glad you asked.

Sole is the Italian word for “sun.” Luce del sole is Italian for “sunlight.” So, by way of a totally unrelated personal story, I want to segue into something that should be important to us all… I want to shine some luce del sole on the Solas 🙂

Yes, it’s Reformation Sunday (Reformation Day is Oct. 31st). It’s time for the Solas’ day in the sole!

The Five Solas

Sola is the Latin word for “alone,” and for a practically 500 years non-Catholics (such as myself) have held five particular “solas” near and dear to our theological hearts.

1. Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”
2. Sola fide: “faith alone”
3. Sola gratia: “grace alone”
4. Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
5. Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”

What do they mean? Well, nothing Elvis Presley was singing about, that’s for sure. The following can be found on a great website whose link is already on my sidebar, GotQuestions.org.

Sola scriptura emphasizes the Bible alone as the source of authority for Christians. By saying, “Scripture alone,” the Reformers rejected both the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Pope and confidence in sacred tradition. Only the Bible was “inspired by God” (2 Peter 1:20-21) and “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Anything taught by the Pope or in tradition that contradicted the Bible was to be rejected. Sola scriptura also fueled the translation of the Bible into German, French, English, and other languages, and prompted Bible teaching in the common languages of the day, rather than in Latin.

Sola fide emphasizes salvation as a free gift. The Roman Catholic Church of the time emphasized the use of indulgences (donating money) to buy status with God. Good works, including baptism, were seen as required for salvation. Sola fide stated that salvation is a free gift to all who accept it by faith (John 3:16). Salvation is not based on human effort or good deeds (Ephesians 2:9).

Sola gratia emphasizes grace as the reason for our salvation. In other words, salvation comes from what God has done rather than what we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Solo Christo (sometimes listed as Solus Christus, “through Christ alone”) emphasizes the role of Jesus in salvation. The Roman Catholic tradition had placed church leaders such as priests in the role of intercessor between the laity and God. Reformers emphasized Jesus’ role as our “high priest” who intercedes on our behalf before the Father. Hebrews 4:15 teaches, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus is the One who offers access to God, not a human spiritual leader.

Soli Deo gloria emphasizes the glory of God as the goal of life. Rather than striving to please church leaders, keep a list of rules, or guard our own interests, our goal is to glorify the Lord. The idea of soli Deo gloria is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The five solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong corrective to the faulty practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. We are called to focus on Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ, and live for God’s glory.  © Copyright 2002-2017 Got Questions Ministries

Never heard of the five solas of the Protestant Reformation before today? Well, I hope this shed some sunlight – luce del sole – on them for you 😉

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Trying to Understand the Undead

The goulish day is nearly upon us, so time for a rerun of a favorite, timely post. 🙂

Halloween

This time of year gets on my nerves, and one of the biggest reasons is the proliferation of horror movies. Horror movies don’t scare me that much; they tick me off! They are always full of idiots walking into the dark asking, “Buffy, is that you?”

And what’s worse, so many of today’s horror flicks involve ghostly, demonic hauntings by creepy dead kids. HINT: if a soaking-wet dead girl crawls out of a well and starts climbing through your TV, change the channel (preferably to a Christian station).

The Undead

But what I really don’t understand are the “undead”…zombies… Michael Jackson’s dance partners. Can someone help me understand the logic behind their supposed capabilities and actions?

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbur...

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbury Park NJ, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All I know is that the walking dead make absolutely no sense. Consider the following:

Health. Why is it that when I have the flu I feel as good as dead, yet when a zombie is dead he feels more alive than me? If I break a bone I can’t function, but a zombie can have all his bones broken and break into an armored car!

Have you seen what people die from? Why is it zombies can have more energy once their skin has rotted than while they were still exfoliating?

Appetite. Why is it that the walking dead never seem to recognize that their fellow walkers are also human – and edible? And why are humans the only meat worth eating?

Why don’t the walking dead break into grocery stores, butcher shops, and kennels? Seriously, don’t the dead understand that there is far more meat and brains in a cow?! Why eat the farmer???

Blood. I’ve had too much experience in funeral homes to buy the idea that zombies coming out of graves have bright, red, flowing blood. Ever heard of embalming fluid?

Speed. Why can’t healthy people, including clumsy women in high heels, outrun people with muscles falling off the bone? Bones need muscles to function, especially when the function is running.

Even if one tripped over every blade of grass in an attempt to flee a rotting granny, how fast could granny be when her anterior muscles, such as the quadriceps femoris, iliopsoas, and sartorius (not to mention her hamstrings and gluteus maximus) are nothing more than brittle beef jerky?

Minor Practicalities. Speaking of grannies, if old people become zombies do they have to keep their false teeth in order to chew their neighbor? I mean, if one did bite/gum you, would you still be infected if no teeth were involved? For crying out loud, how long does Fixodent last?

Theoretically, if the dentures of a zombie did come flying out after the first bite, could a non-zombie then use them as a zombie-creating weapon?

What is the life expectancy of something that is already dead?

Oh, and when a zombie eats a human, where does the ingested material go? Do zombies have functioning digestive tracts? If not, then how much could a zombie eat before becoming bloated, impacted, and for all intents and purposes worthless as a killing machine?

Do zombies poop?

The Real Undead

To be very honest, I am more afraid of my own stinking flesh than the “walking dead.” I cause myself more problems than any zombie can.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

I can’t outrun my old nature; I must crucify it on a daily basis! If I live in the power of my own zombie-like self, I will die. The only way I can survive is live in the life of Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14).

So, don’t worry about what’s already dead and buried; through the Spirit put to death the deeds of your own stinking flesh, and live (Romans 8:13).

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Don’t Call Me a Hallomeany

The following was originally published in October of 2012.

Not a Hallomeany

I am not a big Halloween guy. I don’t get in to the dressing up, and all that. For that matter, I don’t really celebrate the holiday.

However, I am not a total Hallomeany. I am not the Halloween version of Scrooge. For example, when a little girl asked what I thought of her costume, I didn’t say, “You look more like a prostitot than a princess.” I said, “You look very nice!”

When the little boys come around dressed like monsters, I always shiver like I am scared. When they dress like superheroes, I ask if they can fly. And when they look like a cat, dog, or freakazoid satanic mutt from the pits of hell, I say, “Wow! Do you have fleas, too?”

Wiggin’ Out

So, even though I don’t really celebrate Halloween, I try to keep the kids on the bus from thinking I am a “legalist.” What do I do? I wear a wig. This time I wore an Afro.

One little girl told me she was Little Red Riding Hood. I told her I was Big Black Afro Hood.

But the funny thing about all of this is the reaction of the elementary kids. It really made me wonder what bus they have been riding the last three months.

The Kids: (at least 1,000 times) “Mr. Baker, is that your real hair?”

Me: “Yes. It is. I was bald yesterday, but I put fertilizer on my head and my hair grew overnight.”

The Kids: “No it’s not…I bet it is a wig…that’s not your hair…let me touch it…I bet it’s a wig.”

Me:  “Of course it’s my real hair.”

The Kids:  “Is that really your real hair? You’re wearing a wig…I just know it.”

Me: (I got upset with some children who wouldn’t stay in their seats, so I got serious and took off the wig.)

A Little Girl (that has ridden the bus for 3 months): “Aaaahhhh (gasping, then giggling as she whispers to another child), Mr. Baker’s BALD!

Me:  “You THINK?! Where have you been? Did you not see me yesterday? Are you blind?”

You’ve Known Me How Long?

After telling the above story a few times, it seemed God wanted to tell me something.

I kept thinking of a conversation Jesus has with Phillip in John 14:8-9. Phillip asked, “Show us the Father.” That’s when Jesus replied in the same way I did to the little girl, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me?”

That got me to wondering. How long have I known Jesus? And how many times do I act like I haven’t even been paying attention to His presence? How many times have I been surprised by an answered prayer? How many times have I doubted, only to find Him faithful?

“You’ve known Me how long?” Long enough to know better.

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Trying to Understand the Undead 2.0

Halloween

I hate Halloween. But if you are a big fan, one who looks forward to the glorification of death, evil, and the grotesque, then ghoul for you. My minimal desire for bags of candy and apples bobbed for in spit-filled water is not enough to make me dress up like a satanic mass murderer, which is what most costumes seem to portray.

Actually, this time of year gets on my nerves, and one of the biggest reasons is the proliferation of horror movies. Horror movies don’t scare me that much; they tick me off! They are always full of idiots walking into the dark asking, “Buffy, is that you?” And what’s worse, so many of today’s horror flicks involve ghostly, demonic hauntings by creepy dead kids. HINT: if a soaking-wet dead girl crawls out of a well and starts climbing through your TV, change the channel (preferably to a Christian station).

On a side note, has it ever occurred to anyone that all the demonic activity pictured in horror movies is nothing more than an attempt to convince us that the spiritual realm is real?

Really, I hate Halloween. I find no pleasure celebrating the very Enemy taking my friends and loved ones to hell.

The Undead

But what I really don’t get is the “undead”…zombies…Michael Jackson’s dance partners. Can somebody help me understand the logic behind the capabilities and actions of walking corpses?

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbur...

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbury Park NJ, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There has been so much talk about zombies, lately. There have been a lot of movies and television programs devoted to grossing us out with their nastiness and appetite for human flesh. What’s the deal? Is it just an attempt to shift our attention away from the spiritual to the natural or animalistic? Who knows?

All I know is that the walking dead make no sense. Consider the following:

  1. Health. Why is it that when I have the flu I feel as good as dead, yet when a zombie is dead he feels more alive than me? If I break a bone I can’t function, but a zombie can have all his bones broken and break into an armored car! Have you seen what people die from? Why is it they have more energy once they’ve rotted away than when they were still exfoliating?
  2. Appetite. Why is it that the walking dead never seem to recognize that their fellow walkers are also human, and edible? And why are humans the only meat worth eating? Why don’t the walking dead break into grocery stores, butcher shops, and kennels? Seriously, don’t the dead understand that there is far more meat and brains in a cow?! Why eat the farmer???
  3. Blood. I’ve had too much experience in funeral homes to buy the idea that zombies coming out of graves have bright, red, flowing blood. How many walking dead have you seen dripping embalming fluid? Hmmm?
  4. Speed. Why can’t healthy people, including clumsy women in high heels, outrun people with muscles falling off the bone? Bones don’t work alone to cause movement; limbs need muscles to function. Even if one tripped over every blade of grass in an attempt to flee a rotting granny, how fast could granny be?
  5. Practicalities. If old people become zombies, do they have to keep their false teeth in order to chew their neighbor? Also, what is the life expectancy of something that is already dead? Oh, and when a zombie eats a human, where does the meat go? Do zombies poop?

The Real Undead

To be very honest, I am more afraid of my own stinking flesh than some dancer from Thriller.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

I must crucify it on a daily basis and live in the life of Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). For if I live in the power of my own zombie-like self, I will die: but if through the Spirit I put to death the deeds of this stinking body, I shall live (Romans 8:13).


 

That “2.0″ Part

What you just read was originally written in 2013, so it might interest you to learn what has happened since then. The girl from “The Ring” might be living in my house!

Actually, this year we decided to host a foreign exchange student from South Korea. She is a totally adorable teenager with a great sense of humor, and we love her bunches. However, I don’t think she’s ever seen “The Ring,” nor is she familiar with the black-haired, demonic ghost-girl that disjointedly crawls out of a well and through the television screen to kill people.

Credit: "The Ring"

Credit: “The Ring”

If she had seen the movie, and if she really didn’t want to creep me out, then maybe she would stop coming out of the shower at night, on the way to her room, with her long black hair covering her entire face.

Maybe…just maybe…when getting on my school bus in the morning, when it is dark, and sitting in a seat behind me, like she did this morning, she could uncover her sleepy face and have a smile on it when I look into the mirror!

I’ll just keep telling myself she’s never seen the movie. She hates scary movies.

Or does she?

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Trying to Understand the Undead

Halloween

I hate Halloween. But if you are a big fan, one who looks forward to the glorification of death, evil, and the grotesque, then ghoul for you. My minimal desire for bags of candy and apples bobbed for in spit-filled water is not enough to make me dress up like a satanic mass murderer, which is what most costumes seem to portray.

Actually, this time of year gets on my nerves, and one of the biggest reasons is the proliferation of horror movies. Horror movies don’t scare me that much; they tick me off! They are always full of idiots walking into the dark asking, “Buffy, is that you?” And what’s worse, so many of today’s horror flicks involve ghostly, demonic hauntings by creepy dead kids. HINT: if a soaking-wet dead girl crawls out of a well and starts climbing through your TV, change the channel (preferably to a Christian station).

On a side note, has it ever occurred to anyone that all the demonic activity pictured in horror movies is nothing more than an attempt to convince us that the spiritual realm is real?

Really, I hate Halloween. I find no pleasure celebrating the very Enemy taking my friends and loved ones to hell.

The Undead

But what I really don’t get is the “undead”…zombies…Michael Jackson’s dance partners. Can somebody help me understand the logic behind the capabilities and actions of walking corpses?

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbur...

English: A participant of a Zombie walk, Asbury Park NJ, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There has been so much talk about zombies, lately. There have been a lot of movies and television programs devoted to grossing us out with their nastiness and appetite for human flesh. What’s the deal? Is it just an attempt to shift our attention away from the spiritual to the natural or animalistic? Who knows?

All I know is that the walking dead make no sense. Consider the following:

  1. Health. Why is it that when I have the flu I feel as good as dead, yet when a zombie is dead he feels more alive than me? If I break a bone I can’t function, but a zombie can have all his bones broken and break into an armored car! Have you seen what people die from? Why is it they have more energy once they’ve rotted away than when they were still exfoliating?
  2. Appetite. Why is it that the walking dead never seem to recognize that their fellow walkers are also human, and edible? And why are humans the only meat worth eating? Why don’t the walking dead break into grocery stores, butcher shops, and kennels? Seriously, don’t the dead understand that there is far more meat and brains in a cow?! Why eat the farmer???
  3. Blood. I’ve had too much experience in funeral homes to buy the idea that zombies coming out of graves have bright, red, flowing blood. How many walking dead have you seen dripping embalming fluid? Hmmm?
  4. Speed. Why can’t healthy people, including clumsy women in high heels, outrun people with muscles falling off the bone? Bones don’t work alone to cause movement; limbs need muscles to function. Even if one tripped over every blade of grass in an attempt to flee a rotting granny, how fast could granny be?
  5. Practicalities. If old people become zombies, do they have to keep their false teeth in order to chew their neighbor? Also, what is the life expectancy of something that is already dead? Oh, and when a zombie eats a human, where does the meat go? Do zombies poop?

The Real Undead

To be very honest, I am more afraid of my own stinking flesh than some dancer from Thriller.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

I must crucify it on a daily basis and live in the life of Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). For if I live in the power of my own zombie-like self, I will die: but if through the Spirit I put to death the deeds of this stinking body, I shall live (Romans 8:13).

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Not Paying Attention

Not a Hallomeany

I am not a big Halloween guy. I don’t get in to the dressing up, and all that. For that matter, I don’t really celebrate the holiday.

However, I am not a total Hallomeany. I am not the Halloween version of Scrooge. For example, when a little girl asked what I thought of her costume, I didn’t say, “You look more like a prostitot than a princess.” I said, “You look very nice!”

When the little boys come around dressed like monsters, I always shiver like I am scared. When they dress like superheroes, I ask if they can fly. And when they look like a cat, dog, or freakazoid satanic mutt from the pits of hell, I say, “Wow! Do you have fleas, too?”

Wiggin’ Out

So, even though I don’t really celebrate Halloween, I try to keep the kids on the bus from thinking I am a “legalist.” What do I do? I wear a wig. This time I wore an Afro.

One little girl told me she was Little Red Riding Hood. I told her I was Big Black Afro Hood.

But the funny thing about all of this is the reaction of the elementary kids. It really made me wonder what bus they have been riding the last three months.

The Kids: (at least 1,000 times) “Mr. Baker, is that your real hair?”

Me: “Yes. It is. I was bald yesterday, but I put fertilizer on my head and my hair grew overnight.”

The Kids: “No it’s not…I bet it is a wig…that’s not your hair…let me touch it…I bet it’s a wig.”

Me:  “Of course it’s my real hair.”

The Kids:  “Is that really your real hair? You’re wearing a wig…I just know it.”

Me: (I got upset with some children who wouldn’t stay in their seats, so I got serious and took off the wig.)

A Little Girl (that has ridden the bus for 3 months): “Aaaahhhh (gasping, then giggling as she whispers to another child), Mr. Baker’s BALD!

Me:  “You THINK?! Where have you been? Did you not see me yesterday? Are you blind?”

You’ve Known Me How Long?

After telling the above story a few times, it seemed God wanted to tell me something.

I kept thinking of a conversation Jesus has with Phillip in John 14:8-9. Phillip asked, “Show us the Father.” That’s when Jesus replied in the same way I did to the little girl, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me?”

That got me to wondering. How long have I known Jesus? And how many times do I act like I haven’t even been paying attention to His presence? How many times have I been surprised by an answered prayer? How many times have I doubted, only to find Him faithful?

“You’ve known Me how long?” Long enough to know better.

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