Christmas Wishes

Dear Lord (and not Santa) We’ve wishes for you
And if it’s no bother, please make them come true…

An additional Bible to put on my stack
Make sure it’s KJV. Make sure it’s black.
A jean skirt that’s pleated, so modest (yet chic)
To wear when I’m soul-winning three nights a week.
A Sugar Creek Gang Book, more fun than TV
With Poetry, Circus, and sassafras tea.
Maybe Dutch Blitz? or a new game of Rook?
For rare evenings when ministry’s not undertook
A belt buckle cross, draped in red, white, and blue
With the words “We’re God’s Favorites! Too Bad for You!”
A shiny new pocket square; Blue Denim and Lace
And dear God, please…a ticket away from this place.

Merry Christmas, SFL!

88 thoughts on “Christmas Wishes”

  1. Twas the night before Christmas and all through Fundyland, the brothers were gathering, KJV Bibles in hand…………
    Merry angst free Christmas everyone.

  2. Dang! I remember the Sugar Creek gang! Was that a fundy thing too?! See, I was so steeped in fundamentalism I STILL haven’t dealt with it all.

    Oh well, happy holidays, and if that offends anyone, then Merry Xmas!

    1. I loved the Sugar Creek Gang! I had all the books and I listened to the radio show on Moody Radio (back before they got liberal and started playing music with a beat!)

  3. Far beyond the idea of Darrell wanting to go out soulwinning three times a week, I’m concerned that he wants to wear a denim skirt while doing so.

    In addition to that, he wants pocket squares, which are obviously those which pertaineth to a man.

    I think the poor man is confused. I am more so. Time to call all the ladies in my gossip club, I mean ladies’ prayer group.

    1. Speaking of denim skirts …. We stopped at a McDonald’s to refresh ourselves on the way home from my wife’s folks. Christmas had been great. Family and especially the Christmas Eve service at the Episcopal Church.

      So, at McD’s, the Sunday Evening crowd from a local IFB was out. Lots were gathered with the kids, ang which was a 3-year old dressed in a down-to-her-calf denim jean skirt.

      She was cute. But you could see her daddy was going to raise her “right” from tiny tot on up.

  4. The conceit is that each couplet is in the voice of a different person.

    I changed the opening lines to “We’ve” instead of “I’ve” to make that more clear. :p

  5. Bah! Humbug! It’s humbug, I tell you!

    I am ready to send my kids back to school, and it’s only half a week into break.

    1. I feel your pain, but as a teacher, I don’t want to see any children until January 5! (I have 240 fourth/fifth grade foreign language students).

      Do you have a garage you need to clean out? Put them to work, and they may be happy campers!

      1. The thing is, I’m also a teacher. And one of my darling offspring* is in my class. But at least at school they go to recess and specials every day.
        We have no garage. Our walls are cardboard. And it’s raining. There is no escape.
        *Not sure “offspring” is the right word. Perhaps “purchases” would be more accurate.

        1. Similar to Walmart. It’s a big building with a lot of very busy employees. But the letters out front read CHILD WELFARE.
          As I like to remind my kids, I paid good money for them, and they’d better make it worth my while! πŸ˜‰

  6. I grant you all 15 minutes of rest and reprieve in order to make merry then it’s back to the oars you scallywags! This ship ain’t gonna sail itself no matter what Scorpio tells you.

    Merry Christmas to the Capt’n and crew of “The Black Pearl of Great Price Before Swine!

    I love you all.

        1. We’d like to see Doc Proc in a short skirt and tank top too. It would be most… enlightening? entertaining?

    1. I live not too far from North Valley Baptist (Santa Clara ,CA) where jean skirts and jumpers are alive and well whenever the young ladies are off campus.

      They really stand out in a crowd!
      Darrell, I’m sure they appreciate that you care!

    2. I have a very cute jean skirt, thank you. It’s swirly and hits two inches above the knee. Paired with a tank top, would I be mistaken for a Fundy?

      1. Oh, I dunno. I think it would require a close personal inspection to make that assessment…is it a leather tank top?

  7. Pastor Ebenezer: You’ll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose.

    Bob Cratchit: If quite convenient, sir.

    Pastor Ebenezer: It’s not convenient. And it’s not fair! Think of the souls you might miss with a day off!

    Bob Cratchit: ‘Tis only once a year, sir.

    Pastor Ebenezer: That’s a poor excuse for not knocking on doors every 25th of December. It is a Thursday night, you know.

    Bob Cratchit: Yes, sir. I’m sure I’m very sorry, sir, to cause you such an inconvenience. It’s the family more than me, sir. They put their hearts into Christmas as it were, sir.

    Pastor Ebenezer: Family. Humbug, I tell you. Well, if it’s that important, then you must go out an extra day next week and save twice as many people.

    Bob Cratchit: I will indeed, sir. Thank you, sir! It’s more than generous of you, sir.

    Pastor Ebenezer: Yes, I know it is, you don’t have to tell me. I’m not the one you should feel guilty to. Just see to it your tithes and offerings don’t suffer also!

  8. I am the Sunday School director at our ECUSA church. We get a lot of donated material from parishioners and non-. I was looking for Christmas devotions for children that I could borrow for the 12 Days, because our Advent booklet ends with the 25th. I opened the one we had to the Christmas entry, and got a cute little story about a child being happy that candy canes have red stripes because they remind her of Jesus suffering and dying, and we should be happy on Christmas because Jesus was born for to die. Good grief, can’t you focus on the little baby and Heaven manifesting on Earth for one measly second?!

    It’s a Tyndale House publication. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have accepted it.

    1. This is a pet peeve of mine, also. Advent is for celebrating Advent. We have Lent and Easter for the other bits.

    2. So I’m standing by my tree on Christmas Eve and my little niece points at a candy cane and proceeds to explain to me about the white purity and the red blood, etc. All of this as if it is gospel truth. So to fundies the Santa lie is just horrible, but the Christian origins lies are perfectly ok?
      I think everyone should be taught a class in critical thinking once a year from elementary through HS–this should include an introduction to snopes.com.
      the Admiral

    3. The church I went to when I lived in Belfast didn’t have an evening service (yes, there *were* some saved people in it, so I would often go to a nearby Baptist church. They did a series on Luke called “More Than A Comma” the idea came from the Apostle’s Creed which says “….born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate….” with nothing between those phrases but a comma. What about all the stuff that happened in between? Does studying the life and teaching of jesus detract from the importance of his death and resurrection? I don’t think so? That series went right through the Gospel of Luke, from beginning to end. It was fascinating and confirmed my belief that jesus must have been and interesting person to be around.

  9. “O blessed Season! Lov’d by Saints and Sinners
    For long Devotions, or for longer Dinners.”

    Benjamin Franklin

    Presents are wrapped, salad is made, and we’re off to dinner with friends shortly for a Christmas potluck. Peace and joy to you all, whatever you’re doing today.

  10. Four calling birds
    Three French hens
    Two turtle doves
    And a partridge in a pear tree
    Now that’s what I call a Christmas dinner

    1. There are pear trees in the area. No French hens, but Canada geese. I have seen doves and had to swerve to avoid turtles, but never seen the combination turtle dove. I’ve never been called by a bird.

      I did, however, make a great turkey for dinner yesterday.

  11. Visions of Sugar Bowls dance in my head! Merry Christmas (all 12 days) to my SFL friends and especially to Darrell, the founder of the feast. And a special shout-out to BamaMan. Remember, y’all, there’s a reason why Santa wears crimson!

  12. “Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
    How we need to hear from God
    You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
    Welcome Holy Child
    Welcome Holy Child
    Hope that You don’t mind our manger
    How I wish we would have known
    But long awaited Holy Stranger
    Make Yourself at home
    Please make Yourself at home
    Bring Your peace into our violence
    Bid our hungry souls be filled
    World now breaking Heaven’s silence
    Welcome to our world
    Welcome to our world
    Fragile finger sent to heal us
    Tender brow prepared for them
    Tiny heart whose blood will save us
    Unto us is born
    Unto us is born
    So wrap our injured flesh around You
    Breathe our air and walk our sod
    Rob our sin and make us holy
    Perfect Son of God
    Perfect Son of God”

    Merry Christmas, SFL.

  13. In BJU news….

    http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2014/12/27/sexual-abuse-victims-find-healing-grace-report/20938675/

    Cathy Harris quickly read through the report criticizing Bob Jones University leaders for the way they handled reports of sexual assault and abuse.

    Now she’s making her way through it again, deliberately this time, trying to sort it all out, letting herself feel all the emotions she tries hard to hold back.

    Harris is one of the survivors of sexual assault who spoke with investigators from GRACE, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, which was paid by Bob Jones University to look into the school’s counseling practices.

    GRACE’s two-year investigation found that counseling services were harmful, some students were dissuaded from making police reports, and sermons and classroom lectures made victims feel as if they had brought the abuse on themselves by what they wore or how they acted.

    The report singled out Bob Jones III, the chancellor and former president, and Jim Berg, the former dean of students who counseled between 200 and 300 sexual abuse victims in 30 years. GRACE recommended personnel action against Jones and suggested that Berg not be allowed to counsel students, teach counseling and that his books on counseling be removed from the bookstore and online.

    Jones and Berg could not be reached for comment.

    BJU spokesman Randy Page said in an email, “For this particular story, President Steve Pettit is our primary spokesman. No other member of the faculty, staff or administration will be making comments or granting interviews. At this point, President Pettit has made all of the comment he is going to make publicly regarding the GRACE Report.”

    In a chapel service the day before the report was released, Pettit apologized to victims and announced he would form a committee to study the report and respond to the report’s recommendations. The study would take 90 days and no changes would be made until then, he said.

    Several people who spoke to GRACE administrators criticized Pettit, saying his apology sounded half-hearted, as if a lawyer wrote it.

    “Bob Jones University, in my opinion, needs to own the report,” Harris said in an interview with The Greenville News. “Steve Pettit needs to own the report. They try to minimize everything.”

    Like all the people who spoke to GRACE investigators, Harris was not named in the report, but she agreed to tell her story to The News.

    Harris said she was counseled by Berg for six months in 1996 after she started to have flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse. She said she’d go to his office on the second floor of the Administration Building weekly and sit in a wing-back chair. He remained seated behind his desk.

    She told him she wanted to go to the police, she said.

    “He said the police wouldn’t believe me,” she said.

    He told her a report would bring shame on the cause of Christ.

    Legal action

    Solicitor Walt Wilkins has said he intends to investigate the allegations made in the GRACE report, most especially whether people who by law should have reported abuse or assault did not and if university officials told victims not to report, which could be considered obstruction of justice.

    Wilkins said he had one report of sexual assault that came from the GRACE investigation. He encouraged anyone who wanted to report an assault or abuse to contact his office.

    Survivors have said they are considering bringing civil actions against the university and are looking for law firms that have had experience going up against religious organizations. Harris said she has spoken with a firm in Minnesota that has offices in eight states, including South Carolina, and has represented victims in dozens of lawsuits against priests, bishops and the Roman Catholic Church.

    “People need to be careful,” Harris said. “This is a big deal and you want people equipped to handle this.”

    Harris said her experience with counseling at BJU was much the same as others who spoke to GRACE investigators, that her problem was rooted in sin. She said Berg told her that when the flashbacks came she was to repeat Bible verses. GRACE said in its report that flashbacks are commonplace for abuse victims and are rooted in post-traumatic stress syndrome.

    “The epitome of victim blaming is to tell rape victims that their severe symptoms of PTSD are their own fault,” the report said. “Their debilitating fear, their wildly unpredictable flashbacks, their frequent dissociative blackouts, and their terrifying nightmares would all disappear if only they would: stop dwelling on the past, forgive and forget, memorize more scripture, and be a better Christian.”

    Berg also asked whether she felt any pleasure during any of the abuse and, if she did, she needed to repent, she said.

    The trust exercise

    During one session, she said Berg told her he wanted to do a trust exercise. He pulled a rat trap from his desk, set the hammer and put a pencil on it. The trap broke the pencil into pieces.

    She said he then told her to put her finger on the trap. When she refused, he got angry and put another pencil in. The trap did not snap shut.

    If she couldn’t trust the people God put over her, how could she trust God? she recalls him asking.

    “I kept being told how unspiritual I was,” she said.

    The counseling ended when he told her he couldn’t help her and God couldn’t help her either.

    “His counseling was more harmful than the abuse,” she told The News.

    In his interview with GRACE, Berg acknowledged that his counseling was often hurried due to his heavy workload and that he did not have extensive training in counseling sexual abuse victims. He said he did not know until 1992 that South Carolina had a law that required certain professionals, including educators, to report abuse, despite the law having been passed in the 1970s.

    He also acknowledged that some cases were not reported to authorities.

    Berg has operated an addiction recovery program and counseling program associated with Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, but the information on his services has been removed from the church’s website. His own website now requires a password for access.

    Berg is scheduled to teach Crisis Counseling next semester, according to the BJU website. His biography on the site says, “Under the direction of his pastor, Dr. John Monroe, Dr. Berg began Faith Counseling Institute to provide biblical counselor training for pastors and laymen. As part of his seminary duties he provides phone support for pastors dealing with difficult counseling situations in their churches. He also continues to counsel students, other university family members, and members of his local church who need biblical help for dealing with life’s challenges.”

    Monroe declined a request for an interview.

    Healing

    Camille Lewis, a former BJU professor who also graduated from the university, said she told GRACE investigators what she observed when she went to counseling with a friend who had been abused since childhood by her father.

    “I heard Jim Berg say, don’t go to the police. That ruins families,” she told The News.

    Harris said the victimization continued when she left school and information she gave during counseling was relayed to pastors and others.

    GRACE noted several instances of the school’s failure to keep information confidential.

    Several survivors praised GRACE for being especially mindful of not identifying anyone who talked to them.

    “It is just amazing to me how well they did,” Harris said. “They didn’t re-victimize anyone.”

    She also said the report was thorough in its collection of information and assertive in its findings and recommendations.

    Among the recommendations were a memorial on campus to victims, face-to-face meetings to hear them and to apologize, removal of all sermons that advance the idea that victims are to blame for the abuse and outsourcing all sexual abuse counseling to an organization that deals with sexual abuse such as Julie Valentine Center.

    Harris said an outgrowth of the investigation is that many of the survivors met while in Greenville, Charlotte or Hendersonville for their interviews. They had meals together and talked.

    They’ve kept in touch through Facebook and in phone calls. Harris said she speaks every day to one woman she met through the investigation.

    “It’s been healing for me,” she said.

    1. “GRACE’s two-year investigation found that counseling services were harmful, some students were dissuaded from making police reports, and sermons and classroom lectures made victims feel as if they had brought the abuse on themselves by what they wore or how they acted.
      “The report singled out Bob Jones III, the chancellor and former president, and Jim Berg, the former dean of students who counseled between 200 and 300 sexual abuse victims in 30 years. ”

      So Berg, with the full blessing and abettal of the University, obstructed justice and re-victimized an average of 7 to 10 abuse survivors for three full decades. That’s a hell of a lot of answer for.

      (I mean “hell” literally in this case.)

  14. “During one session, she said Berg told her he wanted to do a trust exercise. He pulled a rat trap from his desk, set the hammer and put a pencil on it. The trap broke the pencil into pieces.

    “She said he then told her to put her finger on the trap. When she refused, he got angry and put another pencil in. The trap did not snap shut.

    “If she couldn’t trust the people God put over her, how could she trust God? she recalls him asking.

    β€œ’I kept being told how unspiritual I was,’ she said.”

    So the measure of how much faith she has in God is whether or no she plays along with a cheap-ass parlor magic trick?
    Give me a break.
    Or, to use Henny Youngman’s phrase,
    Take this “Christian counseling.” Please.

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