Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Dear Reader, the following was brought to my attention when a former member of my congregation sent me an e-mail back in December. He has really grown in Christ, and I am grateful for my little touch on his life. He is now a very successful top administrator with a prominent Florida university. These words by Ben Stein (quoted here from the original transcript) are so outstanding I wanted to share them with you.

May 2011 be a most significant year of increasing your skill in your following of the Master. HDM

Stein: Confessions for the Holidays
CBS News Transcripts, 18 December 2005

CHARLES OSGOOD, host: We all have our own thoughts about the holidays. Here's Ben Stein with his.

BEN STEIN: Here at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart. I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are.

(Footage of People magazine; Us magazine)

STEIN: I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I'm buying my dog biscuits. I still don't know. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores who they are. They don't know who Nick and Jessica are, either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they've broken up? Why are they so darned important?

(Footage of People magazine)

STEIN: I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I don't care at all about Tom Cruise's baby.

(Vintage footage of congressional hearing)

STEIN: Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I'm a subversive? Maybe. But I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young? Hm, not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautifully lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees.

(Footage of Christmas trees)

STEIN: I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are — Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they're slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. I shows that we're all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.

It doesn't bother me one bit that there's a manger scene on display at a key intersection at my beach house in Malibu.

(Footage of manger scene; menorah)

STEIN: If people want a creche, fine. The menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too. I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way. Where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and aren't allowed to worship God as we understand him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we used to know went to.

A Summary Note from HDM:

For me, Ben Stein is easy to love! He’s certainly my kind of American. So long as my fellow citizens are not abusive to other or try to take away our heritage or become “expression police” to be sure my beliefs don’t offend the smallest minority, etc., let people believe and do what they want. It’s the crazies who have an illusional view of reality who try to make everything perfect and right “as they see it.” They seem to be offended by anything Christian or religious but have a wide open door to everything else, no matter how offensive it is to us, regardless of how dirty, suggestive, immoral or of unredeemable quality it might be.

Those who are wise with Judeo-Christian wisdom live by another standard, and it works for everyone who will listen and heed. “Great peace have they who love Thy law; nothing shall offend them and make them stumble.” (Psalms 119:165)