Our Generation: Dude, somebody should probably go save her.

So I’m reading a news article (rare) when I come across this article about some chick (is that politically correct?) who got swept away (literally).

I think the point of the article was to confirm that the woman didn’t end up falling off the corner of the earth but it got me thinking about the true  meaning of this video.  You really need to take a minute to watch this. You can start watching at 30 seconds in to get the point.

At first I chuckled the same way as the 99% of the other people watching and filming and did a short belly laugh when the goofy sounding drunk college student said these words

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

So I watched the video again and noticed that not only were there many people standing around on the other side of the torrent but there were a lot of voices near the camera too.

Nobody went to save her.

Then I started thinking about his words ‘somebody’.

Who is somebody?  Isn’t the goofy voice guy somebody?  Oh… I get it.  It’s the ‘general somebody’.  It’s the same ‘somebody’ we blame for all of the mishaps and failings of the world.

“Somebody should run for politics who isn’t corrupt.”

“Somebody should really come up with a win-win way of doing business.”

Somebody‘s best friend is ‘they‘.  They and somebody are clones – one and the same person.

“They should really do something about the government wastage in this country.”

“They should really create legislation to stop large corporations from ruining people’s lives.”

“I heard that they‘ve found a cure for cancer.”

“They should really come up with a kind of computer that has higher security and doesn’t violate you privacy and get lots of viruses.  Oh wait.. they did.”

It’s also interesting to note the use of ‘dude’ in this video.  Is he speaking to his friend, a ‘dude’?  No.  He’s speaking to the ‘general dude’ which in turn means that he’s speaking out loud to himself and anyone else who might like to hear his thoughts.  Here are a few more examples of such usage of ‘dude’:

Dude! Check out that couple tongue wrestling by the mailbox.”

“Oh, dude.  I can’t believe I forgot my textbook.”

Dude…. *tokes reefer*… I’m like so stoned.”

So, in a complete sports-commentary-style analysis of Goofy-Guy’s statement:

Dude: I’m now vocalizing and pointing attention my internal thoughts so others can hear and discuss them

Somebody: someone other than myself, the general somebody, the un-faced somebody upon whom I blame for the bad things of the world

should: a word that removes certainty, a conditional recommendation, a suggestion to be considered but not necessarily acted upon

go save her: the command given to go and save this woman from a frozen posterior and possibly death

Why didn’t Goofy-Guy just turn to his friend and say ‘GO SAVE HER!’  It’s obvious she needed saving.  She was rocketing down a street in frozen water, unable to stop, freezing her butt cheeks off.  He didn’t say this because it would project the responsibility and guilt of not doing the right thing onto someone else.  That might make them feel uncomfortable.  And making someone feel uncomfortable in Canada is akin to genocide.

Why didn’t he say “I’M GOING TO SAVE HER!”  Because he didn’t care enough.  The empathy level towards this woman was enough to vocalize concern but not enough to take action.  His conscience at least recognized he should do something but he was more concerned about staying warm and hanging with his friends, while assuming that Mr. Somebody was already taking care of her salvation somewhere down this newly-formed river.

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

Just when you thought Goofy-Guy and Torrential Tracy had been analyzed enough, I started thinking again.  The image of this woman standing strong, yet in an obviously stupid position of risk, and then being swept away to possible destruction stuck in my mind.

Why was Torrential Tracy standing there in the first place?  Why was she trying to cross?  Was she showing her bravery?  Was she late for her class?

And where were her friends of reason standing on the side screaming at her to stop being stupid and come back to safety?  Maybe she was alone.

I started thinking of the foolishness of youth.  We put ourselves in obvious risk of danger every day.  Where are the wise elders to stop us from wading out into the torrents?  Where is the voice of reason?  And when we slip and foolishly get swept into the sea of sin and destruction, where are the people to reach out a hand?

I’m guilty.

I’m the proverbial Goofy-Guy in the video who said:

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

And I’m sorry, Torrential Tracy.

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Why the Crapital Letters?

So there I am typing an email to someone who sits somewhere between a friend, an acquaintance and a business partner.  I had begun the email typing very quickly, not even taking the time to hit the shift key to capitalize his name.

At the end of the email, as is customary, I nailed the shift key and typed my ‘W’.  That’s short for ‘Wayne’ if you are curious.  Just before I pressed send, I realized that my recipient’s name was underlined by the browser’s spell check feature, but my ‘W’ wasn’t.  Immediately, I thought ‘This will look bad if my name is capitalized but his name is not.”

Then the real thought struck me:

Why are the names of mortals like us capitalized at all?

I did a search in a major search engine and to my surprise, I couldn’t find an article on this topic.  I could find many articles about how and when to use capital letters, but not why we use them.

I can understand capitalizing God’s name because God is God – He is worthy of a capital letter -He created the heavens, the earth and all that is therein.  But not me.  Nope. I’m not worthy of a capital letter – my poop stinks and I talk too much.  I’m not worthy of having my name distinguished as if I have done some great thing in this world.  And even if I had done some great thing in this world that some human thought was important, did that warrant a capital like God?  Did I create flowers and DNA and the stars and the moon or a newborn babe or the eagle soaring in the air? Methinks not.

Don’t get me wrong. I think people are important.  I think they are so important that God sent His own Son Jesus to die for them, for crying out loud;  You don’t see Him doing that for pigs or cows – not that they don’t have their place in creation.  So people are dearly important. However, I think it’s arrogance and ego that started the capital letters on people’s names. Let’s humble ourselves a bit and not think of ourselves as so great.

So, starting today, I encourage you to start removing the capital letter from all these people’s names.  If they would allow you to put their thoughts and the rotten condition of their heart on a big screen, the world would quickly see (in HD quality) that they do not deserve a capital letter.  So, backspace, type your boss’ names again without the capital.  Be sure to include a link to this article so they don’t blame you for this act of what they will probably consider defiance, rudeness or lack of English language proficiency.

If you don’t buy into the theological reasons for killing the crapitals, at the end of the day, think how much faster you could type if you didn’t have to hit the bloody shift key for every ‘proper name’.

-wayne taylor, december, 2012

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If you Care about Freedom, Ramp up your Ham

I think it’s interesting how most people who claim to care about freedom don’t have a ham radio (amateur radio) license, especially you folks in open source.

You reject and rebel against the Monopolists in Redmond and the Fruit Devices from Cupertino recognizing that they are dictating how you will and will not use the thing you are spending all your money on.

You recognize that it’s freaky and weird to give all the power of your privacy and information over to a company.

You think it’s insane that someone would participate in something where not paying a license fee could jeopardize a business or the functionality of someone’s day-to-day.

You relish and brag about your freedom – and rightfully so.

You are a warrior in the battle against the Man and the eyes of Big Brother.

Have I puffed you up enough?  Very well, then. Get ready to be brought low.

If you don’t have a ham radio license don’t come around calling yourself a man.  You are a pansy-boy, sissy-girl.  And if you’re already a girl, you’re a flaky fan-girl – a Barbie Doll at best.

Real men have hams.

Real women have call signs.

Real men speak to real women with their ham radios.

The service on your cell phone (except for a 911 call) is merely leased to you by likely one of a few mobile service monopolists.  If they had their way, they would also charge you for that 911 call.  Until the Ubuntu Phone was announced a couple of days ago, even the operating system on that smart phone that you pack with you is owned by someone else – and the data on it – don’t kid yourself.

So don’t tell me you love freedom that much.

“Oh, but I use a dumb phone,” you say.

Nice try.  Let’s see how well your dumb phone works during an earthquake or if you don’t pay your bill.  But really, nice try.

A ham radio requires a little studying, but once you get it, you’ve got yourself a ‘free cell phone forever’ – if you can find someone to talk to.  And that, in essence, is the root of the problem.

The only people who seem to have a ham radio are wearing Depends, on serious medication or are serious geeks – and I mean serious.  That’s why I always went alone.  I didn’t want anyone to find out that I hung out with these people and liked what they liked.

But lately I’ve been thinking about it.  It’s almost like the whole system we live in is Anti-Ham.  The test isn’t that hard… so why aren’t more people doing it?  In Canada you get free custom license plates for your car with your call sign! Isn’t that reason enough?  Nope.  Still no one does it. You can make a free call to your family if they have licenses – unlimited airtime – for free. Not good enough.  You can connect to the internet with it and speak to ham radios all around the world: you could speak to your ham-buddy climbing a mountain in South Korea from  just like he’s around the corner – for free.  Still not good enough.

It’s almost as if the entire system is Anti-Ham and we shouldn’t be surprised.

Ham radio gives power to the people – like Ubuntu, unions or voting.  To put it in perspective, you can take away my cell phone and I can still remain connected to the world – while mobile.  That’s a power I’m assuming the mobile service providers don’t want you to know or think about.  I’m assuming they are not rushing around trying to help promote ham radio.

My parents have a cabin where only one cellular network works.  Instead of taking my advice and getting licensed and throw a killer ham radio in their car and cabin (maybe $500-$750 capital investment?) they will likely spend well over $2400 over the next five years to get suited up with a monthly mobile plan on that network.

Hams own their own network!

Enough about this already.  You get the point.  Get licensed and track me down on the ham waves.

My call sign is VE7CAK (that’s Charlie Alpha Kilo” to you)

“Be a man.  Do da light fing.” – R. Peters

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How do you pronounce the word Ubuntu?

First, why does it matter?

One time a woman named ‘Pam’ got very angry at me for calling her ‘Pamela’.  It didn’t matter to me, but it mattered to her.  It’s kind of like when you’re talking on your phone really loudly but don’t realize it until other peoples’ eye daggers start piercing your vital organs.  It’s kind of like putting your dirty feet on someone’s chair. If it negatively affects others, it matters.

What about foreign words?  Well, there are three choices:

  1. Say it right or do your best trying and continually try to improve towards the correct pronunciation each time you try)
  2. Make a word for it in your own language (like how the Americans changed ‘croissant’ to ‘crescent roll’)
  3. Shut your pie-hole

Number three is hard if you need to talk about the subject, and number two makes you look culturally arrogant. Option number 1 is the best way to win friends and influence people – say it right or die trying.

Let’s run the scenario with a name.  Let’s choose a Korean name like Eun Kyung Shin.

With option 3 (above) you will have to forever avoid talking about poor Ms. Shin.  You’ll have to use words like ‘you’ and ‘her’ and ‘your friend’ and ‘your wife’.  Eventually she will figure out you don’t know or can’t say the name and this will usually happen down the road and make for a more difficult recovery.

With option 2, after she says, “My name is Eun Kyung Shin” you say ‘So what’s your English name?  Annie?”  Enough said.

With option 1 you will embarrass the snot out of yourself trying to learn the name, but a breakthrough will eventually come and that person will love you for trying and finally getting it right.

So how is this related to Ubuntu?

It’s OO-BOON-TOO.

It’s an African word.

It matters.

Stop saying it incorrectly and demonstrating your ignorance.

Quit saying “That’s how we say it down here.” and showcasing your arrogance.

Learn it.  It’s super easy.  It’s easier than the version you are working so hard to defend.  They are long vowel sounds that a baby can slobber.  It’s all the same long u sound as in ‘cartoon’ or ‘soon’ or ‘He mooned me’.

OOOOOOOOOOOOO-

BOOOOOOOOOOON-

TOOOOOOOOOOOO

So if you ended up at this post, don’t be offended.  Just learn it.  Thank the person who sent you here to get schooled.

 

 

 

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May I Take Your Order?

I was trying to take a break today from my week-long prolific string of posting but I was reminded of this Chinese Menu that some dude had found in China.  I only remember laughing so hard that I almost peed myself.  You have to understand that it’s rare that something makes me laugh that hard.

I went on a search of my inbox to find this link or attachment but it came up void.  Thanks to help from Bucky Beaver from the Ubuntu Audio Cast, the search is over.  Bucky Figured out that the original site had been hacked so but he had a secret copy of the booty as well as found some link within a link that works for today.  I immediately converted it into a PDF (irfanbaig_com_funny_chinese_menu) so this golden nugget is never lost.

Thanks a million to the author and his comments. I will revisit this post every time I want to urinate my pants (one per quarter).

 

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Your Feet Were Made for Stinking, Not Sitting

feet_on_Chair

I’m baffled that this topic has been so discussed in my circle that I had to write an article to direct people to in the future.  I hope that this article will save you a lot of time and energy should you have to deal with these people as customers in your food establishment or as friends in your living room.

The only tricky part will have to figure out is how to deliver this post to them without offending them.  It’s the same dilemma we face when we need to let our colleague know they have something between their teeth or sewer breath. If you are like me, though, you won’t worry about offending them but will revel in the fact that you have helped them on their journey to becoming a better human.  You have not offended them, you have helped them.  You have added value to their life.

The discussion started between BitBar (Bitter Barista) and a customer.  BitBar pointed to a lady who was sitting cross-legged on one of the chairs in his cafe.  She had removed her shoes completely and was sitting on her bare feet which were in full contact with the chair.  It looked as if she was in her own living room.  Here is approximately how the dialogue went:

BitBar: Look at that.  Isn’t that disgusting?  Would you put your stinky bare feet on someone’s chair like that?

Customer: I wouldn’t do it personally but you have to let it go because that’s what girls in Vancouver do.

BitBar: Are you serious?  You think it’s ok that her stinking bare feet are on my chair?  Would you be alright with that if I did it in your living room?

Customer: Well, I wouldn’t do it but I’d probably accept it.  I mean at least she took her shoes off

BitBar: So the dirt from the road is better on my chair than the fungus-stench from between her toes?

And the dialogue went on like that.

Let me conclude the matter for you all.

Like Public Display of Affection (PDA) (ie. french kissing, fondling, etc) some people (most) don’t want to see it.  It’s simply not for public.  Keep your tongue in your mouth and your hands out of other people’s pants when you’re not in a hotel or the privacy of your own home.

Your feet are no different.  They are gross.  They are both sick and wrong.

Look how angry the disciples got when Jesus asked them to wash His feet –  And those were divine feet.  Last time I looked at my feet, I felt nauseous.  The last sock that was near my nose made me want to hurl.

So keep those beasts on the floor and locked safely in your shoes until you unleash them in your own home or at the beach.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Your friends, family and baristas sincerely appreciate it.

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The Ubuntu Phone (U-Phone)

I don’t usually get excited much these days because all advancements in smart phone technology seem to be coalescing to a very dangerous point – monopoly of your life and complete control over your privacy.

In Randall’s article he announced the first thing that excited me in this arena since Angry Birds – The Ubuntu Phone. He explains well about why it’s awesome.  However, he only hints as to why it’s important but I wanted to make sure people started thinking about the ‘why’ right away.

No one can deny that there are currently really only two options out there for people who want to own a smart phone: Bondage Bot (Android) and Fruit Devices (Apple products).

Symbian (Nokia) seems dead.  Rest in peace, by the way.  You were the best before this U-Phone announcement.

Microsoft is laughable.  Actually, it’s more like an uncomfortable laugh –  like when you politely laugh at the socially-awkward person who inappropriately blurts something weird out as they try desperately to fit in to what’s happening.

Blackberry is App-less in Arizona (that looks like ‘appless’ without the dash which is weird, eh?).

I don’t think we need to worry too much about the latter three, but the former two do concern me.

The Fruit People from Cupertino seem to want to control their victims by telling them how they will or will not use the hardware (that they paid way too much for) and by making them think they are cool.

Team Bondage-Bot seem to make the most useful and addictive tools for our daily lives while subtly buying every small company under the sun and gathering every last piece of information about you and storing it on their servers.

Both options are freaky and I no rike it.

So, a big thank you to all the people out there in Ubuntu-Land who have given me something to be excited about again – a smart phone that leaves me with the freedom we deserve.  This is Ubuntu Gangnam Style

 

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Do You Commit, Man?

So there I am talking to the Bitter Barista.  The Bitter Barista (aka Bitter or BitBar), if you don’t know him, runs Ubuntu Central, a nick-name given to this branded cafe that hosts many of the Ubuntu Loco meetups in Vancouver.  He feels it’s his job to train the public to become better people.  He also believes it’s his job to filter the quality of people who go to his cafe believing that if you get rid of a few bad apples that more good apples will come.  You may, therefore, not like him if you happen to be one he believes is a bad apple.  Many, however, who have chosen not to get offended and hear his perspective have built lasting friendships with him and Bitter will protect them against bad apples in their life as well.  Point is this – he says what he believes and gives everyone the chance to start a great relationship with him.

Bitter is also a serious believer in the Ubuntu Project.  He ‘gets’ it.  He started out like many people as just some dude who wanted his computer to run better and more securely but then discovered the bigger picture.  He’s not a super technical guy but appreciates and knows how to relate to those who are.  He’s serious about doing whatever it takes to make Ubuntu the driving force behind how we relate to our technology and making sure we’re not getting unknowingly (or knowingly) abused.  He believes that “the Ubuntu brand and public perception is key to pulling more people into Ubuntu-land” as he said and, “A few bad Ubuntu apples can make a barista really bitter.”

So there I am, talking to Bitter.  He starts telling me this story.  I asked him if I could record and transcribe it so it’s bang-on accurate and he agrees. *Disclaimer: the audio transcription you are about to read may or may not have been perfectly transcribed and some off-colour comments have been removed to keep it family-friendly.

So this dude comes in for a coffee. First of all, he annoys me at the till.  He’s with this quiet girl and is clearly trying to impress her by being ultra-casual with me and trying to force some small talk and act like he’s my buddy. Then he orders a drink for himself but not a drink for the girl. This guy should have kept workin’ the girl until she gave in and ordered something.  You could totally tell she wanted a hot chocolate. So this dude doesn’t even buy the girl he’s with a drink.  Fail.  I’m bitter.  And once I’m bitter, you can’t fix it without a lot of hard work.  Who is this guy anyways?  So I stop talkin’ to him as soon as possible by pretending to wipe counters.  Thankfully another customer came who was boring and predictable because it was a big improvement over Loudmouth.

A little while later, I notice out of my peripheral vision that Loudcakes is heading for the door with Victim-girl.  Phew!  Thank goodness.  So I prepare to not interact with him to make sure he doesn’t think I want to be his buddy.  Then, to my dismay I hear this annoying, loud voice ring out,

“Hey! Where’d you get THIS?” holdin’ up an Ubuntu Vancouver Loco marketing page.  I don’t see what he’s talking about, so I say,

“What, man?  Where’d I get what?”

“This!” he says holding up the Ubuntu brochure.

“Oh, that.  I’m a member of Ubuntu Vancouver.  In fact we use this cafe for various events.”

“Do you commit, man?” he yells.  I look at the girl whose eyes also gloss over.

“Commit?  What are you talking about?”

“Commit!” He says again louder and more annoyingly.

“Dude.  I commit to many things.  Why are asking me this?”

“Commit code, man!”  He attempts to clarify.

“What are you TALKING about, man? Are you asking me if I’m a programmer or something?”

“Yeah!” he happily beams.

“No. I’m a user of the software and a member of the Ubuntu community.”

“Oh.  You’re just a user.” he says somewhat disappointed.

“No, man. I’m not ‘just a user’.  I’m a user and a member of the Ubuntu community.  And thanks for coming. Have a good one!” I said with the nasty fake smile.  Even this guy figured out it meant ‘get out and let’s end this conversation’.

What a loser.  Seriously.  If I met this guy and he represented, say, a coffee shop… I’d take out my pen, write down the name and location of the shop and make sure I never ended up there.  I think if you just give me the power to give prison terms for talking about Ubuntu in public you’d have at least 80% more saturation in the market.

True enough that BitBar is a bit bitter, but his points are valid.  Every major proprietary competitor to Ubuntu has marketing specialists they pay to make sure they project a certain image of the brand and product.  This makes sure that people feel a sense of ‘pride’ related to their choice of Operating System (OS) and the people who use that OS.  But they take money from every corner of the world to fund that.

Ubuntu is different.

BitBar, whether he likes Loudcakes or not, has to accept him in his family like the socially awkward uncle at the family reunion whether he likes it or not.  That’s the downside of freedom.

So then how does Ubuntu brand itself and attract more family members?

With people.  That’s how.

Ubuntu people need to attract more people who can attractively represent the Ubuntu brand.  Simultaneously, Ubuntu needs to have a kind of marketing program/code of conduct where guys like Loudcakes can be given the tools to talk about Ubuntu in a way that doesn’t make people want to run away like from a fart in an Austin Mini.   Even though I know first hand of the dangers that lurk in the Jehovah Witness faith, who can fault them for looking bad? I bet they have attracted most of their members by dressing up well and politely handing out deceptive pamphlets.  They are well trained on how to act and what words to say, but also what not to say. On the occasions when I did stop to chat, they have always been polite and very well-adjusted people with a variety of racial and age representation.  They ‘appear’ as a family.

They don’t yell, “Hey man!  Do you commit?”

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Smack Me Again, Baby – I Like it

People who use proprietary operating systems (OS) are like those people who like physically abusive relationships.

I was having a business conversation with a non-profit organization on another topic. During the conversation I noticed that they had older computers. When I noticed the somewhat dated machines, she explained that they don’t want to waste the donor’s hard-earned money on new computers and these could ‘get the job done’. Watching her use it was quite painful.

During the conversation, she also mentioned to me that she didn’t reply to my email because she had received a virus which crippled her machine and that she was paying someone to fix it.

I left the meeting and went about my life for a while when all of a sudden it dawned on me – THEY SHOULD COMPLETELY SWITCH THEIR ORGANIZATION OVER TO UBUNTU!

It would solve everything:

  1. It would be free (no wasting any of their donor’s money)
  2. It would run faster (Ubuntu runs very lean on any machine)
  3. She would not have been affected by that virus that was designed for her proprietary OS
  4. It’s brain-dead simple and these people were clearly not interested in something complicated
  5. It’s more secure (no viruses, less risks of outsiders gaining access to the organization’s data)

I was so excited that I stopped what I was doing, contacted to inform her that I would – for free – come and explain Ubuntu and even help them install it and get started. To my complete surprise, she replied “We just set these computers up so no thanks.

I had to read it again.

Was she really rejecting a free solution and labour that would solve her entire organization’s issues? I couldn’t believe it so I made it even more convincing by reassuring her that some major governments and some of the largest technology and information companies are using Ubuntu.

She again rejected my offer.

That’s when it dawned on me that she actually liked the pain. There’s no other explanation. She’s comfortable in her abuse. Every time her proprietary operating system beats her and her colleagues down, they just accept it like it’s okay. They shut their eyes to the truth that there actually is a better way – a way that doesn’t hurt so much.

I then had the creepy revelation that it’s like the physically abusive boyfriend who beats the girl and after each beating apologises, tries to apply a band-aid solution and whispers kind words and promises of improvement.

But abuse is abuse.

We need to start a 1-800 helpline for these poor people. As for my family, we will use Ubuntu.

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Jesus is Not the Reason for the Season

MODERN DAY DISCIPLE OF JESUS DECLARES JESUS NOT THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Before I was a disciple of Jesus, I thought that Christianity and Jesus and all that virgin birth stuff was the root of the Christmas holiday. Even the word ‘Christmas’ seemed like ‘the mass of Christ’ – some kind of ‘Christiany-Catholicky-religiousy’ thing. It didn’t help that everyone around me – including those who attended Christian churches – boldly claimed ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’.

It wasn’t until I actually decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Himself that some of these claims about Christmas started to show some cracks. A little bit of study on these topics allowed some water to leak out and after digging in to the next level, the ship had sprung a leak and was on its way down.

One of the first thoughts that made me question this Christmas thing was the fact that many unbelievers around me had absolutely no problem ‘celebrating Christmas’. For many of them it was a chance to get more drunk for a longer period of time without work getting in the way. To take it one notch further, when I announced to people around me that I wanted to drop the gift-giving thing from Christmas (at that time it was just because I was broke and realized the nastiness of the commercial aspect of the season on broke people) it was the unbelievers who seemed to be most upset. They said ‘It’s fine if you don’t buy anything but don’t prevent us from buying gifts for you.” It was from these same folk from whom I received emails ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ or “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas’ or ‘I will say “Merry Christmas!” not “Happy Holidays!”’ as if they were standing up for something very dear to them. The notable thing was that I never heard the name of Jesus exit their lips at any other time of the year yet, for them, Christmas was about Jesus? They were ‘celebrating the birth of Jesus’ they sometimes said.

I have to admit – there was something about that ‘Christmas magic’ that compelled me. It had me addicted. Something about those gifts. Something about Santa. Something about that decorated tree. All these things are very deep, cultural, and most definitely unavoidable.

One of the second Christmas experiences that happened occurred while I was living in Korea. My wife is Korean and a believer, so I did Christmas Gangnam Style a few times. It was interesting for me to note that this entire country goes to work and school and don’t think twice about it. The Christians in Korea gather for a service focused on the birth of Jesus and that’s about it. I suppose even this is rooted in the long term connection between the North American and Korean churches. The Santa thing was considered an ‘American cute thing’ and no one treated him much more seriously than you would treat a fast-food mascot walking down the street promoting cheap burgers as you drive by. I don’t recall meeting anyone who would actually lie to their children telling them that this fat old man was real and had God-like moral authority over their lives. It made me question what this time of the year was all about and why I was even a participant as a Christian.

These events prompted me to search the history of all these Christmas symbols. I found that all of them were pagan or secular at best. There was even substantial evidence saying that mixing the birth of Jesus into this holiday was a way for the ‘church’ to be able to participate in the dominant pagan festivities of the time (related to sun gods and other winter solstice events). The ‘Christians’ may have felt left out and wanted a piece of the pagan pie. Or, another view was that they celebrated Jesus’ birth because there was already this event going on so you might as well ‘Christianize’ it. Regardless of the reason, there is no proof at all to substantiate that Jesus was behind this December event whatsoever.

There are, however, many reasons to believe Jesus is NOT the reason for the Christmas season. Here is just a snapshot:

  1. Christmas trees are a pagan ritual condemned in Jeremiah chapter 10
  2. Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. All scholars agree on this one.
  3. Santa has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible but instead is a significant distraction from the God of the Bible painting an inaccurate view of our Heaveny Father and the reality of faith.
  4. It wasn’t really until around the mid 1850’s that Christmas was even regarded as a special day in the United States. Before that the celebration of it was even condemned and the existence of a Christmas tree in a church was nothing short of heretical.
  5. {More to be inserted here one day, maybe winter 2013}

After having researched these things and inside of myself decided that as for myself and my family we will not participate in these aspects of Christmas, I started to realize the immense social pressure to do it so as to not ruin the fun for others. In fact, the very day after I decided this, our family ended up at a Christmas event where I was the only white guy (again). Within just a few moments I was handed a big box full of Santa gear and asked to be Santa for these kids, one of whom was my daughter. Instead of ruining the event I decided that I would give them one year’s warning of my non-participation and make sure that as for my daughter, she knew that it was daddy under the suit. The pressure to do all these things is akin to high school social pressure.

The argument against Santa for Christians, with which I concur is this: If you lie to your kids about Santa, what makes you think they will trust you when you are teaching about the God of the Bible? In fact, it is this exact ‘argument’ that many atheists use when trying to refute the stories of the Bible. They say ‘The creation story, virgin birth and resurrection are nothing more than fairy tales like Santa and the Tooth Fairy.” Is this the kind of foundation we want to leave with our children? I cannot stop you from lying to your kids but if mine ask me if Santa is real, they are going to hear the truth in the same way I will tell them the truth that God is real. Our words and actions must line up.

So, then, what is the solution?

I do not have a complete answer yet and it will likely be a work in progress over the next few years. The best one I have heard so far and I will attempt to implement it is the idea of following the feasts and celebrations of the Bible (mainly Old Testament ones like the Passover). This will create a better understanding of the Bible while allowing us to celebrate something with eternal importance. Further, I believe that preparing a solid answer as to why we’re not celebrating the Christmas that the world celebrates will open many doors of discussion.

One of my concerns, admittedly, was that someone might consider me a cult member like a Jehovah’s Witness. So, I think it’s important to create a ‘new thing’.

Something that’s fun: family, friends, social.

Something that’s different completely from the ‘Christmas’ that the world celebrates.

Something that honours God.

 

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