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Welcome to the Antrim Church of Christ Web Site
What's in a Preface? PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:22

BibleHave you ever been asked to do something where, instead of lamenting the burden you were just handed, you felt extremely honored to be chosen? If so, were you especially diligent in your efforts, being extra careful to do it right and to live up to the charge you were given?

If you haven't had that type of opportunity, what kind of request would cause you to feel that way? Being asked to be the best man or the maid of honor? The President personally ringing you up to help with an important initiative? Something else?

Perhaps for a Christian one of the most significant tasks we could ever enter into is translating Scripture. Unless you've had years and years of biblical Hebrew and Greek (I haven't), it is probably difficult to imagine, but just ponder what you would be involved with. These are the very words of God being converted from their original languages into your common tongue. Every decision you make directly affects whether your reader is being given an accurate rendering of what our Lord said, either directly or by inspiring prophets of old. When manuscripts disagree, did you choose the correct one? Is it better to translate word-for-word than thought-for-thought so as to avoid putting your own interpretation into the verses? Is it better to translate thought-for-though than word-for-word because the latter would be near impossible to read and would not make any sense to the average human?

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Last Updated on Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:26
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"Alan the Atheist" PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:46

If you are a regular reader of my bulletin articles, you already know that Twitter is often an inspiration for what I write. This week's motivation began when a Christian I follow retweeted:

I am #atheism, and the behavior of the most fanatically devout is so often my best argument. #islam #catholicism #christianity

I responded to the original tweeter:

Legit embedded criticism of religion acknowledged *****. However, do misbehaving rabid atheists equally disprove atheism?

What ensued was a conversation that continued long enough to mean I was a wee bit tired the next day. Initially it was painful—and I ultimately I found out why:

I started suspicious of you because you are a minister. I have found your profession to debate dishonestly in the past.

Ouch...but mostly because I suspect it is true.

The conversation improved after that, although he no more ended as a Christian believing in our resurrected Lord than I ended as an atheist believing in evolution. At best, we laid a foundation for future interactions. We will see what the future holds.

However, what I especially found interesting is something in common between the four atheists that crossed my path that night. Here is the Twitter bio of the original gentleman:

Atheist Twitter Bio #1

Demanding proof of all religions' legitimacy. How offensive you find my tweets is inversely proportional to your rationality.

That wasn't especially contentious, but also not very welcoming to those of us who believe. The second atheist of the evening was a biologist the first suggested could answer any questions I have about evolution. From his Twitter profile:

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Last Updated on Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:50
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Did Jesus Shed a Tear Over Judas? PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 09 February 2013 16:32

Eye with tearsConsidering the difference between today's culture and that in the early years of the kings of Israel, it may be a bit hard to do an "imagine"...but...

Imagine you are a popular king of your nation, blessed by God. You make a huge, huge mistake, but you are honestly (and completely) contrite.

You understand if your enemies try to take advantage of your error, but you expect your sons...the sons you love...to support you in your politically weakened state. Instead, your third oldest decides to try to grab your thrown. One of the maneuvers he makes to cement his coup is to sleep with your concubines...and, we aren't talking about a private approach here:

So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel (2 Samuel 16:22, English Standard Version).
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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 February 2013 16:58
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A Christian's Letter to Santa PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Friday, 28 December 2012 11:03

Letter to SantaAfter typing the title to this article, "A Christian's Letter to Santa," it hit me that there are brothers in sisters in the body of Christ who would immediately assert, "A Christian would never write Santa" or even "A Christian would never celebrate Christmas." For instance, after posting a quick "Merry Christmas from the Antrim Church of Christ!" (followed by four applicable scriptures) on our Facebook page, one saint commented:

Is this the true church of Christ who celebrate xmas? Church of Christ does not do such thing.

Although he hasn't taken me up on my offer to discuss it, I do not question that an argument can be made for not celebrating a holiday whose date (and some customs) have pagan connections. Additionally, I do think that certain aspects of the American Santa Claus tradition are problematic...but I'm not going to potentially start any firestorm here. :-)

Luckily, the Bible allows for differing views on the holiday:

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Church Bulletin Goulash PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 22 December 2012 20:22

Christmas Tree StarI had hoped to write this bulletin with Augie. I didn't know if it would work (never tried it before), but I figured that if he and I pulled it off it would be one of my best. Everything goes better with Augie. :-)

Alas, I also made the mistake of convincing him to try Amazon.com's new service, Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. Basically, it is a program that locks your Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD into books, applications, and videos that are appropriate for your child. (Even so, I've already let my munchkin know that SpongeBob and Yo Gabba Gabba are off limits. SpongeBob first because I really do think it's a bad influence on kids, especially ones who already are hyper and/or have behavior issues. The second 'cause it is just plain weird, and I'd rather watch Thomas the Tank Engine for seven months straight than view one episode of that bizarre show. For those wondering years ago...yes there could be something worse...far worse...than Barney the Purple Dinosaur. :-))

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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 December 2012 21:06
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Tempted by Half a Billion Dollars PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Friday, 30 November 2012 20:02

Powerball ticketDo you remember the 1993 movie, "Indecent Proposal," where Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson's characters (married in the film) are offered $1,000,000 by Robert Redford's character if she will just spend a single night with him? Or perhaps 2009's "The Box," where the couple played by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden are offered an equal amount if they'll simply press a button? The catch with their opportunity is that when they push the button in the box someone will die (although it won't be a person they know).

Would you take either offer? I'm assuming most people would immediately reject the second one...but I suspect there are some out there...folks in especially dire financial straits...where the first proposition might result in more than just a quick passing thought. One doesn't have to actually be greedy for money to be a terrible temptation—sometimes just wanting to be able to pay your bills can cause you to make questionable decisions. There immense of wisdom in Agur's words in Proverbs:

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When it Is Hard to Be Thankful PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 24 November 2012 17:05

Giving grace at the Thanksgiving dinnerOn Facebook, a couple of my friends have been posting daily entries as part of November "Be Thankful" Month. I'll admit that I skip right past those—not because I have anything against them—I'm just not a Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of guy. :-)

There is much to be said for the practice though, and not just in November. Especially when life is troublesome, it's easy to forget all the blessings we have and focus on that day's, that week's, that month's, or that year's problems. I remember from when I was "trained" to pray (by Mormon missionaries of all things)...that you start off with "Heavenly Father"...immediately thank God for X, Y, and Z...and only then ask for things (of course closing with, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.").

And although I don't think there is a fixed form for "correct" prayer, I do think it best that we first slow down and thank Him for everything He has so generously (and undeservedly) granted us. Augie seems to have this down, always starting off his bedtime prayer by thanking our Lord for a "good day" and school and whatever he can remember (followed by a, "Did I forget anything?" to mom and dad). He really does appreciate the simple things in life, and his prayers to "Heavenwy Fahder" reflect it.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 24 November 2012 17:09
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