God's Penman

The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder?s first book, won the Reader?s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 8 books altogether.

Rev. James L. Snyder has a knack for making fun of daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so you too can discover that life is less stressful when you?re laughing. Through these essays, you will realize that humor and religion belong together and that its OK to keep from taking yourself and others too seriously.

man rethinkLooking back over my life I honestly can say, giving it a great deal of thought, the biggest problem I have is when I actually think. Thinking can get me into more trouble than anything else I do.

This was no more evident than recently we got a phone call from the bank. I hate it when the bank calls because they never call to wish me happy birthday or wonder how in the world I am doing today. They always have an agenda. Usually, that agenda has to do with my money.

When I answered the phone all I could say was, “Here we go again.”

Happy New YearIt is typical this time of year to prepare a list of resolutions for the coming year. I believe this goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve, "I think I'll turn over a new leaf this year." And so the tradition has come down to us today.

Normally, people will make a list of all the things they will give up during the ensuing year. All kinds of bad habits find their way on the list like smoking, drinking and other nefarious activities. Of course, nobody actually plans to keep his New Year resolutions but the act of writing them down on a piece of paper seems to give a sense of accomplishment to people.

One of the big things on the resolution list has to do with diet and losing weight during the coming year. I have often wondered why this seems to be number one on most of those New Year resolution list. Even Yours Truly has succumbed in years past to attend this resolution on his list.

the three magiOne feature of the Christmas story has to do with the wise men. I’m not sure if there were three or not, but if there were I should like to be number four.

Wisdom is such a rare commodity today I think it would be a wise thing to resurrect these wise men. After all, you never can have too much wisdom.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was going over my weekly “to-do-list.” I make one of these every week so I know what I’m supposed to do. As I finish one task, I check it off in red ink.

christmas tree burningOnce again, it is the Christmas season, which means I have to put up with people offended by everything, particularly that pertains to Christmas.

When I was young, we had a little saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.” And as far as I understand, we stood by that saying.

Most people today have never heard that saying and maybe somebody ought to educate them on some of the realities of life. If words are hurting you, something is wrong with “you.”

Everybody is offended by something. I am offended by people who are offended by things I say, which makes no sense whatsoever to me.

Where people got this offend-itis disease is beyond me. I wonder if there is any cure for this kind of disease?

I was in the restaurant the other day and behind me, a person sneezed. Instinctively, I turned around and said, “God bless you.”

Of course, I was not ready for the reply when the man said to me, “I’m an atheist don’t you dare use that word ‘God’ around me.”

I am a gentleman otherwise I might have been tempted to say something like, “Well, then, God curse you.” Thankfully, I did not say anything like that. I wonder if unspoken thoughts really matter along this line?

What puzzles me is why somebody who does not believe in God is offended by the word “GOD.” The fact that he was offended by that word tells me that somewhere deep inside of him he believes there is a God. Otherwise, it would never have offended him.

If I was an atheist and someone said to me “God bless you,” I would laugh it off because I do not believe in God. To be offended by something you do not believe has to be the epitome of stupidity.

Another offensive phrase is, “Merry Christmas.” I happened to mention this to a person I was passing in the store and they looked at me kind of Scrooge-like and said, “Don’t you dare wish me a Merry Christmas.”

I would like to know why two words like “Merry Christmas” are offensive to anyone?

Being an amateur wordsmith, I like to research words and try to find out their original meaning. There is no way I have found that the two words “Merry” and “Christmas” have anything whatsoever offensive to them. Those offended by those two words have a chimney that is not smoking.

If you are offended by those two words, maybe you should consider the fact that I may be offended by you being offended by those words. What offends one person does not make any sense to someone else. This is America so keep your offending attitude to yourself.

Just the other day I was going into a store and there was a lady behind me, so as a gentleman, I opened the door for her and said, “Ladies first.” I would have a hard time understanding the offensiveness of those two words.

The lady looked at me and said, “That is the most sexist thing I have heard all day.”

I have been trying to find out what is sexist about those two words.

I am either homophobic (whatever that means), racist or sexist. I do not know if I am all of these things at different times or what. I never know if I am one of these until somebody tells me I am one.

There are Christmas songs that we cannot play on the radio anymore, movies that we cannot watch at Christmas time, decorations that we cannot put outside our home anymore.

I heard recently that the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” is offensive to some people. I have listened to that for years and cannot figure out the offensive side of that song.

What’s crazy to me are those offended by that song are completely okay with some female singer getting on stage barely clothed, singing a depravity soaked song with lustful lyrics you can’t use in public.

Why is that okay and not sexist, but when I open a door for a lady and say, “Ladies First,” that is sexist?

Some people refer to this as the war on Christmas. If that is true, I believe those people are losing that war. No matter what anybody says or thinks I still will celebrate Christmas, wish people “Merry Christmas” and say, “God bless you” when somebody sneezes and open a door for the ladies.

If those things offend people, I am happy and most delighted to keep doing them.

For years now, there has been a war on Christmas, but it seems that Christmas comes every year at the same time. Isn't that simply amazing? No matter what people say or how offended they are by it, Christmas still comes.

I could think of quite a few things that would offend me. However, I have a thick skin and a tender heart. My life is not depended upon somebody being offended.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in the book of Proverbs.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I refuse to let people who are offended by everything direct my path. My trust is not in man, but rather “in the Lord.”

recipe cardChristmas is a wonderful time of the year and I appreciate it so very much. I recognize I’m difficult to purchase presents for because I have my books, my pens, what else do I really need?

Once in a while I get a Christmas present to beat all Christmas presents. This year was one of those “once in a while’s.”

It’s a pretty well known fact that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself differs when it comes to culinary likes and dislikes. How we got along for so many years is truly a miracle, I suppose.

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