Many people are often surprised to hear that some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. Being one who formerly celebrated Christmas (for the first 22 years of my life), I will presently set forth the reasons that I have renounced Christmas for the sake of anyone who cares to know.

I build my case upon the word of God as recorded in the King James Bible which is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore I esteem all [God's] precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Psa. 119:128) I didn’t know much about the Bible when I was growing up, except that it was hard to read, I didn’t understand much of it and most of it seemed like fairy tales. Years later I began to earnestly study it after being convinced by some friends that God’s word is truth and that we can know and understand it. If I liked my life before that point, I should have shut my ears and run away from those people, for as I discovered, God’s word would sit in judgment upon me: teaching me doctrine, reproving me, correcting me and instructing me in righteousness. By the grace of God, as I approached the study of the Bible with the attitude that it is truth and that it can be known, I began to learn and understand many things. As Solomon put it, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” (Pro. 2:1-5) It takes diligent work, but it can be done.

One of the many things that I learned is that when it comes to worshipping God, “they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Joh. 4:24). Since his word is truth, if I am not worshipping him in accord with his word, I am not worshipping him at all (1 Sam. 15:22-23, 1 Cor. 10:20). But what does all this have to do with celebrating Christmas?

When looking to the word of God, something is conspicuously missing concerning Christmas: it is not mentioned even once. The word “Christmas” does not appear in the Bible anywhere. From this we can deduce that God never commanded any of his people to celebrate Christmas, at least not by name. In fact, nowhere in scripture is there any record of any Christians commemorating the birthday of Jesus Christ with any kind of celebration whatsoever. It is certainly true that when Jesus was born there was great joy and glorying in God, for a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luk. 2:8-14) And after the shepherds saw the Lord they returned to the fields glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luk. 2:20) But this was the day of his birth (Luk. 2:11), and not one of the customs that attend Christmas is mentioned; neither Jesus nor any apostle ever gave the saints direction to commemorate Christ’s birthday with gift-giving, decorated green trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, etc.: each of these things predate the birth of Christ (any number of historical sources prove this). Clearly then – no mention being made in the scriptures either implicitly or explicitly that Christians should commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ in a winter celebration – such a practice is the tradition of men.

Turning to history then, let’s examine the origins of this tradition of men. Concerning the date of December 25, Encyclopedia Britannica says, “This was the date of a pagan festival in Rome, chosen in A.D. 274 by the emperor Aurelian as the birthday of the unconquered sun (natalis solis invicti), which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase of light. At some point before A.D. 336 the church at Rome established the commemoration of the birthday of Christ, the sun of righteousness, on this same date.” The same article says, “Christmas on Dec. 25 is first known to have been celebrated in Rome in the second quarter of the 4th century, when it commemorated the birth of Christ.” So the first known celebration of Christmas was not until the fourth century and its date is connected with that of the pagan festival of the birthday of the unconquered sun. Is this connection merely a coincidence? The article continues, “Its observance as the birthday of the Saviour is attended with secular customs often drawn from pagan sources; indeed, both Christmas and Epiphany, which falls 12 days later on Jan. 6, are transformed pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, and so closely linked that their origins cannot be discussed separately.” Apparently the dates for Christmas and the pagan festival of the birthday of the unconquered sun are not coincidental. History shows that Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

Now we can turn again to God’s word to examine what he has to say about mixing pagan practices into his worship. Deut 12:29-32 says (emphasis mine):

    29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

God strictly forbids worshipping him as the heathen worshipped their gods. He says it is abomination and he hates it! Also notice a very important command in verse 32, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” We’ve already noted that there is no command in scripture for Christians to commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ in any way whatsoever. Therefore celebrating Christmas is adding to God’s commands. Not only that, it is also expressly disobeying God’s command to abstain from worshipping him as the heathen do, for it is a transformed pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Lest you should think this was only an Old Testament commandment, please read 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. The temple of God has no agreement with idols. Christians today are no more permitted to mix pagan practices with the worship of God than Israel was under the old covenant.

At this point we can see that, because Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration, it is strictly forbidden for Christians. “But why?” you may ask. “It’s such a joyful time of the year. Besides, it’s not a pagan holiday anymore – we celebrate it now to worship God.” That is just it! God said DON’T DO THAT! He hates to be worshipped as the heathen worshipped their gods, and that is exactly what people do when they try to worship God by celebrating Christmas. It makes no difference if you mean well in your heart – it is abomination to God and he hates it. Just because we think something is okay does not mean God does. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa. 55:9) And when he pointedly tells us not to worship him as the heathen worshipped their gods because such worship is abomination to him, we cannot please him by so doing, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6) and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17) and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). Celebrating Christmas is a transgression of God’s law which is sin, “for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 Joh. 3:4)

What joy is there in adopting the practices of heathen who burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods? Remember, Christmas didn’t come from the Bible: it came from the same religions that practice child sacrifice and other horrors (Deu 12:30).

Consider the Christmas practice of cutting down green trees and decorating them with silver and gold and other ornaments. What does God have to say about this kind of practice? Surprisingly enough, it is mentioned in the Bible in the first four verses of Jeremiah chapter ten (emphasis mine)

    1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Immediately after stating that the customs of the people are vain, notice the one custom he identifies as an example – cutting down a tree out of the forest and decking it with silver and gold and fastening it in place. This practice is identified by God himself as a custom of the people (i.e. the heathen, v. 2). As we’ve already seen, worshipping God as the heathen do is abomination unto God and we are not to do it. He says, “Learn not the way of the heathen.” I ask you, can you honestly say in good conscience that you have kept this commandment of God if you have a decorated tree standing in your house and God himself says it originated from the heathen?

What about Santa Claus? Obviously Santa Claus is not in the Bible, yet who doesn’t know about Santa Claus? This is another tradition of men. Is it harmless? Consider these things about this fictitious character: 1) he knows everything 2) he can be in many places at once 3) he has white hair (Dan. 7:9) 4) he is a judge of works 5) his throne is in the north (Ps. 48:1-2). These are all characteristics of God and at least the first two cannot rightfully be said about any man. Do you think God appreciates people lying to little children, telling them about a fictitious mockery of God named Santa Claus? Certainly not. Lying is of the devil (John 8:44) and we are only aiding his cause when we tell our children about the traditional Santa Claus. I recently heard of an eight year old who found out that Santa Claus is not real and he said in effect to his parents, “How can I believe anything else you tell me?” That boy seems to have more wisdom than most parents today. If you lie to your children about Santa Claus, why should they believe you when you tell them about God? Why would they believe the record of God’s word concerning a global flood in the days of Noah, or of God’s deliverance of faithful Daniel from the den of lions, or of Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians through the midst of the sea on dry land? It is you that lie to your children, not God. You cause them to stumble, you cause them to doubt God because when you should be an example of truthfulness, you lie. Why would you do such a thing? Can you just not bear the thought of taking Christmas away from your children? Who would want to take from children a custom that teaches them things like lying is ok, greed is good, gain is godliness, and we don’t need to worry too much about what God says, after all his word cannot be trusted? I speak foolishly, and you do foolishly if you lead your children to believe in Santa Claus.

Note the words of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the traditions of men (emphasis mine): “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:7-9,13) The record is clear on this point: when we celebrate Christmas we are rejecting the commandment of God in favor of our own tradition, making the word of God void and our worship is vain.

I don’t know about you, but when I learned these things about Christmas, I could no longer in good conscience have any part of it. The lack of any evidence in Scripture that it is ordained or even approved of God and the overwhelming evidence that it is on the contrary abhorred by him moved me to renounce it with all haste. I’ve learned since then that you don’t make too many people happy by abandoning such a long-standing and ubiquitous tradition of men. People prefer to ignore what God thinks of it for the sake of keeping the peace with family, friends and brethren. If you find yourself in this position, please ask yourself who you are seeking to please, God or man? If you prefer to please men more than God, then continue in the celebration of Christmas. If instead you seek to please God rather than men, forsake Christmas. Consider Paul’s words, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10) Consider the word of Peter and the other apostles, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Even if you have lived many years and celebrated it every one of them, it is not too late to do what you know is right. Saul of Tarsus lived many years doing many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, even shutting up in prison many saints and calling for their death (Acts 26:9-11) until God spoke to him and called him to be a minister of the very faith he spent his life so vigorously despising (Acts 26:12-18) and went on to be among the very chiefest apostles (2 Cor. 11:5,2 Cor. 12:11), even Paul the apostle. It’s never too late to repent and obey God.

In summary, we have seen that Christmas is a transformed pagan celebration of worshipping false gods that is nowhere commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe. On the contrary, worshipping God as the heathen do is strictly forbidden. The tradition of decking trees with silver and gold and other array is also identified as a heathen practice and is therefore forbidden. Santa Claus is a mockery of God and a lie. So both God’s word and secular history confirm that Christmas and it’s associated customs are abominable in the sight of God and certainly not Christian. It is for these simple reasons that above ten years ago I renounced Christmas and have never looked back. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13) Do you fear God? Do you keep his commandments?

Well, it’s been nearly a year, but I’m finally riding the Rails again.  I’ve dusted off my old app that I was working on a year ago and in the past few days I’ve added some features to it.  The main thing I’ve been working on is support for uploading multiple images to a single model, with the ability to dynamically indicate how many you want.  As an added bonus, it also has the ability to crop the images.

After reading what seems like a thousand blogs, reviewing this plugin after that plugin, I found a great post by Mike Fischer.  I tried his sample application, and with a few tweaks, it seems like it will suite my need quite well.  The only problem is, my old app is on Rails 1.2.6 and it has some plugins that are old (and apparently not updated for Rails 2), but Mike’s technique requires Rails 2.

One of the plugins my Rails app uses is paginating_find, and it seems that is no longer maintained at all, as I cannot even access the site anymore.  Since Rails 1.2.6 is old anyway, I’d like to upgrade my app, and will probably use will_paginate instead of paginating_find, though I chose the former due to its performance benefits, and I haven’t yet read about the performance of will_paginate.  If anyone is familiar with that aspect of it, please let me know.

The idea came to me this afternoon while reading Beginning Groovy and Grails: From Novice to Professional.  As I was reviewing Chapter 4, I was thinking how much I would like to get paid for doing web site development using Grails. The first page of the chapter was enough to get me very excited about doing Grails development rather than traditional Java2EE/Java EE programming.  In fact, it reminded me why I got so excited about it earlier this year when I attended a presentation by Christopher Judd, one of the book’s authors, where he gave an overview of the book and walked through some simple development.

I enjoy doing web application development, but as the authors point out, it has become (and I might argue that it has always been) very cumbersome to do with J2EE/Java EE.  The number of different technologies involved is staggering and it is not very conducive to the type of agile development that is in such high demand these days.  Agile development enables rapid development of production software systems that provide business value.  Traditional Java web application development suffers from long development cycles and lack of sufficient standards (and thus the multitude of open source frameworks), among other things.

Grails solves this problem by focusing on convention over configuration and enabling the kind rapid application development today’s developers need in order to meet the increasing demands for working software in shorter times.  The purpose of my post is not to provide all the details as to why this is true (for that, get the book, or browse the plethora of Grails resources on the web), but rather to share how the idea of GrailsGig was conceived.

In short, Grails makes web development fun again.  When developers are having fun, they are more motivated and will produce better work faster.  This is how it is for me, anyway.  Thus the desire to get paid for working on Grails projects.

I don’t know of many companies who are hiring for Groovy/Grails expertise…yet.  I suspect this will change over time, and I suspect it will start with smaller to medium sized businesses.  Large businesses are slow to adopt new technologies (ironically even when they have the potential to save them a lot of money).

Thus, GrailsGig was conceived.  GrailsGig is a Grails application for bringing together Grails developers with the businesses who need them.

As normal in human life, where it takes time to go from conception to birth, so it will be with GrailsGig.  Stay tuned…

This morning I read an enlightening essay on Thanksgiving Day written by Pastor Tim Boffey of the Cincinnati Church.  Rather than attempt to summarize, I have reprinted the article below with permission.

Thanksgiving Day
by Pastor Tim Boffey

On the fourth Thursday of November, America takes time off from its ordinary pursuits to observe the civic holiday of Thanksgiving Day. Or, does it? For too many Americans, ordinary pursuits of life include beer, football, overindulgence and sloth. On Thanksgiving Day, these pursuits simply shift into overdrive, unhindered by that tedious interruption called work. Thanksgiving Day seems to underscore what is truly important to our culture: pleasure. Pleasure in and of itself is not evil, but when it becomes the summum bonum of a nation, watch out! The God of nations still reigns on high and when warning Babylon of its imminent demise, said, “Therefore hear now this, thou that art GIVEN TO PLEASURES, that dwellest carelessly…” (ISA 47:8). We do well to regard that at the root of the filthy debauchery of condemned Sodom & Gomorrah was “pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness” (EZE 16:49). Scripture describes perilous times as being typified (amongst other things) by the attitude, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2TI 3:4).

Thanksgiving Day means different things to different people, but for too many it only means a long weekend, a day of which is a paid bacchanalian pleasure-orgy. For others, it marks the traditional beginning of the most critical time of year for business: weeks of frenzied consumerism climaxing in that most “noble” of “holy” days, Christmas (Roman Saturnalia in a new Christian dress). If I sound somewhat cynical here, it is only because I earnestly decry the taboo on speaking out against what any discerning person knows: that the primary reason such holidays have almost universal support is “ye know that by this craft we have our wealth” (ACT 19:25). But for many, Thanksgiving Day has rich roots in American tradition which hearken back to a simpler and more reverent era. Thankfully, the significance of such a day is not entirely lost on all Americans but perhaps some historical review, and some practical and Scriptural exhortations are in order.

We would first take notice of the fact that since the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (“thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift,” 2CO 9:15), men are no longer (and never again shall be) under the dispensation of shadows and darkness known as “the law,” with its many obligatory holy-days. These things were only temporary portents of the reality of Jesus Christ and His work of salvation, they expired with the passing away of the Old Testament order (GAL 3:19-25; GAL 4:9-10; COL 2:14-17;HEB 9:9-12). For a Christian to set aside a special time of thanksgiving is not wrong, but as a “holy-day” it is not required and is certainly not a test of righteousness or fellowship. A civil government which recommends to its people a time for earnest thanksgiving to the true and only LORD God THROUGH the Lord Jesus Christ (by Whom ONLY supplications are acceptable—see JOH 14:6; 1JO 2:23; ROM 7:25) does well, for its secular power is ordained of God (JOH 19:11; 1PE 2:13-14) and should be used to encourage the people to righteousness, which exalts a nation (PRO 14:34). By contrast, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (PSA 9:17). How important is thankfulness to righteousness? Consider the wretched excesses, sexual immorality, carnality and violence to which the nations were turned over, as described in ROM 1:22-32. That slippery slope began with “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, NEITHER WERE THANKFUL…” (ROM 1:21).

Throughout U.S. history, various presidents have issued Thanksgiving Day proclamations: Washington, Madison and Lincoln for example. This was apparently done by men who lacked prophetic foresight of the inventive constitutional reinterpretations by modern activist federal justices who somehow found a “wall of separation between church and state” in the First Amendment, thus twisting the obvious intent of the constitution’s framers, to wit, ‘freedom OF religion’ to ‘freedom FROM religion.’ Nevertheless, federal authority continues to sanction Thanksgiving Day. Somehow, official encouragement to Americans to pause, recognize and thank God is not deemed a violation of the “separation” argument but permitting a prayer at a high-school graduation is a gross breach. One wonders whether this tolerance of Thanksgiving Day is because the atheists, humanists and other antiChrist forces have not yet devised a way of purging Thanksgiving Day without undermining the commercial value such a tradition represents. Let us be thankful that the Lord God reigns, of Whom it is written, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (PSA 76:10).

The recognition of a day of thanksgiving precedes the founding of our present form of civil government as witness the proclamations made by the Continental Congress (1777), or the colonies in New Netherlands (1644), Connecticut (1639) and Massachusetts Bay (1630). But it seems clear that the rootstock and model of all such declarations is that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation immediately after their first harvest in 1621. To these humble (yea, HUMBLED people, as their experience testifies) we owe much, not the least of which is a model of a free-enterprise capitalist system (they tried communism and it failed miserably) and Thanksgiving Day.

The Pilgrims were evidently a sub-sect of the Puritans in England, who opposed the oppressive and unjust policy of the Divine Right of Kings. The Puritans played a pivotal role in the English civil war of the mid-1600′s which brought about the cancellation of the Divine Right when the treasonous King Charles’ head one day fell into a basket. In these people breathed the sweet air of liberty; not just liberty from royal indifference and injustice, but liberty of soul and conscience. Whether the Pilgrims fully identified with the political objectives of Cromwell or other Puritans is a matter of conjecture. It seems that their primary reason for seeking a new country was to escape religious bigotry, assuming great risk for the opportunity to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Unlike the many envoys and adventurers which preceded them under the banner of the Roman Church, they did not come to exploit the New World, but to (as they prayed), “afflict ourselves before God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance” (EZRA 8:21). It has been noted that the President of Argentina once said to the statistician, Roger Babson, “I have been wondering why it is that South America with all its natural advantages, its mines of iron, copper, coal, silver and gold; its rivers and great waterfalls which rival Niagara, is so far behind North America.” After short contemplation, he answered his own question, “I have come to this conclusion. South America was settled by the Spanish, who came to South America in search of gold; but North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers, who went there in search of God.” A fair summary, indeed. Some have postulated that the Pilgrims had aspirations of establishing a theocratic kingdom of God on earth in the New World. This may or may not be true but it is virtually above suspicion that spiritual things, not carnal, were their primary incentives.

The Pilgrims left England in 1608 for the more tolerant lands of Holland, where they labored industriously until, after trial and disappointment, they secured a patent from the Virginia Company of London. Their first vessel, the Speedwell, returned home with a belly full of water and was declared unseaworthy but the Pilgrims eventually set sail on the Mayflower. For over two months they endured the confines of the dim, dank, infested bowels of the Mayflower surviving on “food,” the description of which could make one queasy.

At last, land was sighted on November 9th: not the shores of more moderate Virginia, but the colder and less forgiving Highlands of Cape Cod. Before any disembarking, the company on the Mayflower drew up the novel Mayflower Compact, of which it has been observed that this constituted the first time in recorded history when free men had voluntarily covenanted together to formulate their own civil government. Thus was the precedent for Constitutional America set.

After a few explorations of the area which proved the natives and elements less than receptive, they removed to find good harbor at Plymouth Rock. But in the week that it took to dispatch all goods and passengers from the Mayflower as it anchored in deeper waters, future colony governor William Bradford’s wife “fell” overboard and drowned. Some have affirmed it was suicide brought on by fits of depression. In time, 99 of the original 102 went ashore, and commenced to endure the most miserable of fortunes: hunger, privations, sickness and death. Before a year passed, only half of them remained alive.

The expected threat of Indian attack strangely did not materialize though. It was later found that the fierce, ruthless Patuxet Indians who once dwelt where the Pilgrims landed had been wiped out by plague in 1617. In the middle of March of 1621, an Indian who had been watching the Pilgrims walked boldly into their camp. I suppose if there was any doubt that the Pilgrims were surely arrived in America, Samoset’s first words to them in broken English removed it. He said, “Have you got any beer?” Funny, but apparently true. Samoset was a Sagamore who previously had interaction with English vessels and learned English in the process. He told the Pilgrims that the Wampanoags were the nearest Indian nation, about forty miles distant. Their chief, Massasoit, would be very “honored to establish peaceful relations with the people of the Great White Spirit.” Soon thereafter, a somewhat apprehensive parlay was arranged with Massasoit, who came in full regalia with a company of some sixty painted warriors. With them was the last surviving Patuxet Indian, named Squanto, who spoke excellent English and served as interpreter. Fifteen years earlier, Squanto had been providentially befriended by an English explorer, Captain John Weymouth, who took him to England. Upon his return, Squanto was kidnapped and sold as a slave to the Spanish in the Caribbeans. There, a priest befriended him and helped him to Spain from where he eventually got to England, met Samoset and returned to Patuxet to find it devastated. Though he had been misused, Squanto had developed an appreciation for the English and an affection for the Lord Jesus Christ, being “baptized” in His name.

A six-point peace treaty which lasted twenty-five years was hammered out between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Squanto then remained with the Pilgrims and taught them invaluable skills for survival in this new frontier. Fever took him in September of 1622; he died longing to see the Englishman’s God in Heaven. But in the fall of 1621, after a bountiful harvest for which Squanto’s industry was greatly responsible, Governor Bradford declared a day of Thanksgiving to God. It was enjoyed by Indian and Pilgrim alike, Chief Massasoit bringing ninety of his people and also
supplying a substantial portion of the repast.

In researching for this essay, I came across information which is shedding new “light” on Thanksgiving Day for public schoolchildren. The spin doctors are doing a marvelous job of revising this history to make it more politically correct. To sum it up, the real protagonists during the Colonial Period were the native Indians. The Indians were generally peaceful, harmless, flower-loving natives who lived in harmony with nature and one another. The antagonists were the profiteering Europeans (especially the English) whose ambitions were to pillage, plunder and exploit the New World and to tolerate the Indians only until they had the upper hand, deceiving them at every turn. It cannot be denied that there were mistakes, abuses, broken treaties and other shameful things that blackened Colonial and Constitutional relations with Indians. Such injustices are not acceptable. But to paint all settlers with the same brush is equally wrong. One of the most unacceptable things the Pilgrims did, according to one revised public school Thanksgiving Story was “The Pilgrims started telling their Indian neighbors that their Indian religion and Indian customs were wrong.” Apparently, changing men’s corrupt thinking by sound doctrine and reason is deemed in our enlightened age of tolerance as intolerable. The article closes, “But today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important.” Excuse me, but a Biblical worldview has always deemed people and nature to be important—just not so important that either should be worshipped practically or in principle.

Noble reader, there may be some things that European Christians did that were not beneficial for the Indians but converting them was not one of them. The “peaceful, harmonious, harmless” New World Indians could also be bloodthirsty savages at war with other tribes. Their religions were hardly harmless when you consider the human sacrifice that was demanded by the thousands every year by the Aztecs or Incas for example. The Mound-Builders of Alabama ritually sacrificed children to appease their “harmless” nature spirits. One should read the account of the first contact made with the Tsimshian Indians of the Pacific Northwest, when Mcdougall watched tribal members chase down one of their own women, carve her up while still alive and ingest her hot flesh while she screamed. And, these are not simply isolated exceptions. For many of the New World Indians, even an errant form of Christianity would have been a step in the right direction away from this devilish horror.

To the highly evolved intelligentsia of today, a truly great evil was the fact that Europeans moved in and took away the historic homeland of the natives who dwelt here. But is this not basically what has happened to the Palestinians in the Middle East for Israel’s sake and is almost universally lauded by the same intelligentsia? Emerson quipped, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds…” to which I retort, “A blatant inconsistency exposes the goblins of subtle minds.”

Returning to the Pilgrims’ experience, consider the heart of these people who had only recently seen the stormy clouds of trouble roll back from their lives. This first Thanksgiving Day was close on the heels of some of the most bitter times that try mens’ souls, and yet they fretted not against God. Their attitude was “What, shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil” (JOB 2:10)? Thanksgiving is not meant only for times of ease and prosperity. “In EVERYTHING give thanks…” (1TH 5:18). How easy it is to bless and thank God when “the Lord gave,” but can we do the same when “the Lord hath taken away” (JOB 1:21)? For every person who is sure he has Christ there is always something to be thankful for even if all creature comforts dissolve: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (HAB 3:17-18). The Pilgrims’ attitude sets in sharp relief that of the modern American who on Thanksgiving Day curses God because his cable company is not delivering a decent broadcast of the big game. How far as a nation have we deteriorated, allowing our success to undo us. To make a turn on Cotton Mather’s observation, “Humility and thankfulness begat liberty and prosperity; And the children have devoured the parents.” Sadly, the first Pilgrim Church eventually became a Unitarian-Universalist Church which embraces everything from syrup to sodomy. See:

First Parish Church

I hope those Pilgrims were buried face down.

Be thankful, brethren, that a merciful God has seen fit to preserve faith in the earth and, though it be in short supply at His coming, He shall certainly avenge it (LUK 18:7-8). Be thankful for having a part in it. Be thankful for the innumerable blessings that God has given, both spiritually and materially. Be thankful that it is as well with you as it is. Though it be a test of your faith, be thankful always, brethren, even for your civil government which is becoming the enemy of true religion, for so are we commanded (1TI 2:1-3). Give thanks also that God overrules all governments, saying to the proud waves of the wicked, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further…” (JOB 38:11). Above all, “thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2CO 9:15), Whose saving grace is a cause for rejoicing “with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1PE 1:8).

John McCain Pro Life? What A Joke!
By Chuck Baldwin
August 22, 2008

This column is archived at

http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20080822.html

Once again, “pro-life” Christians are doing back flips to try and justify
their compromise of the life issue by trying to convince everyone (including
themselves) that John McCain is truly pro-life. However, these same people
know in their hearts that John McCain shares no fidelity to the life issue
in any significant or meaningful way. Like many in the Republican Party,
McCain’s commitment to life is about as deep as a mud puddle.

Dare I remind everyone that the “pro-life” GOP controlled the entire federal
government from 2000 to 2006 and nothing was done to overturn Roe v. Wade or
end legal abortion-on-demand? When George W. Bush took the oath of office in
January of 2001, over one million innocent unborn babies were being murdered
in the wombs of their mothers every year via legal abortions in this
country. And when George W. Bush leaves office in January of 2009, over one
million innocent unborn babies would still be murdered in the wombs of their
mothers every year via legal abortions in this country. Eight years of a
“pro-life” President and six years of the “pro-life” GOP in charge of the
entire federal government and not one unborn baby’s life has been saved. Roe
v. Wade is still the law of the land, and abortion-on-demand is still legal
in America.

Had John McCain and his fellow Republicans truly wanted to end legal
abortion, they could have passed Congressman Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life
Act. Year after year, Dr. Paul introduced this bill, and year after year, it
sat and collected dust in the document room on Capitol Hill.

What would Congressman Paul’s bill do? It would do two things: 1) It would
define life as beginning at conception and, thus, declare the personhood of
every pre-born child. 2) Under Article. III. Section. 2. of the U.S.
Constitution, it would remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Court.
In practical terms, Dr. Paul’s bill would overturn Roe v. Wade and end legal
abortion-on-demand. So, where was John McCain? Why did he not support Ron
Paul’s bill and introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate?

How can John McCain, and his fellow Republicans in Washington, D.C., look
pro-life Christians and conservatives in the eye in 2008 and expect that we
take them seriously when they say that they are “pro-life”? If the GOP had
truly wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade and end legal abortion-on-demand, they
could have already done it. They controlled the White House, the U.S.
Senate, and the House of Representatives for six long years, for goodness
sake. The reason they did not do it is because they did not want to do it.
They merely want to use “pro-life” rhetoric as a campaign tool to dupe
gullible Christian voters every election year. And the disgusting thing
about it is–it works.

The vast majority of notable “pro-life” leaders in the country are now
trumpeting the candidacy of John McCain. And the best challenge they can
come up with is “McCain better not pick a ‘pro-choice’ Vice President.” Oh,
shut up (to quote Jay Leno)!

John McCain openly embraces embryonic stem cell research. In 2000, he boldly
said he did not favor the overturn of Roe v. Wade. John McCain was a member
of the infamous “Gang of 14″ senators from both parties whose purpose was to
oppose pro-life, strict constructionist judges.

Speaking of judges, John McCain voted for the pro-abortion justice, Stephen
Breyer, and the radical, pro-abortion, ACLU attorney, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
So much for the argument that we need John McCain for the sake of appointing
conservative justices to the Supreme Court. For that matter, Republican
appointments dominated the Court that gave us Roe v. Wade and the one that
later gave us Doe v. Bolton. Proving, once again, that the Republican Party,
as a whole, has no real commitment to the life issue.

John McCain also gave us McCain-Feingold. This is the law that keeps
pro-life or pro-Second Amendment organizations from broadcasting ads that
mention a candidate by name 30 days before a primary election or 60 days
before a general election. This proves that John McCain believes neither in
the right to life nor the right to keep and bear arms. (This is one reason
why the Gun Owners of America gives McCain a grade of F.)

In a debate with George W. Bush in May of 2000, John McCain attacked Bush’s
support for the pro-life plank in the Republican Party. Still today, John
McCain believes that babies who are conceived via rape or incest should be
murdered. I remind readers, however, that there are no “exceptions” in the
womb, only babies.

If all of the above is not enough, as a senator, John McCain has repeatedly
voted to fund pro-abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood with federal
tax dollars. In fact, McCain has voted to use federal tax dollars to support
abortion providers at home and overseas. Yes, this “pro-life” senator (along
with “pro-life” President, George W. Bush) has significantly increased
federal spending for abortion providers to levels eclipsing even the
appropriations authorized by President Bill Clinton and his fellow
Democrats.

John McCain also supports the United Nations, which not only works to strip
the United States of its independence and sovereignty, and banish our right
to keep and bear arms, but is also the most radical, pro-abortion
organization in the entire world. More babies have been aborted around the
world under the auspices of the U.N. than any other single entity.

Tell me again, Mr. Christian Leader, how “pro-life” John McCain is. What a
joke!

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“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev 3:14)

This phrase, “the beginning of the creation of God,” we are told by Jehovah’s Witnesses, says that Jesus Christ is the first creature, the first of God’s creation, and they assert it emphatically, so much so that they have blinded themselves to the fact that this phrase says no such thing. What it says is “the beginning of the creation of God.”

If you argue with them, they compare it with Col 1:15 and re-assert emphatically that both verses say Jesus Christ is the first of God’s creation, the first created being. Neither verse says any such thing.

Consider Col 1:16-17 which verses, please note, follow on the heels of v. 15, and state clearly that all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth were created by Jesus Christ and that he is before all things and by him all things consist (1. intr. To have a settled existence, subsist, hold together, exist, be.). So we have here that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things, for so it plainly says. This being the case, let us now reconsider the phrase “the beginning of the creation of God.” I submit that Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, for he is the one who began it, the creator, as we have seen from Col 1:16 (and many more texts could be cited besides).

Now consider Isa 44:24 and ponder: how can it be that Jehovah claims to have created all things by himself, yet Scripture declares, as we have seen, that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things? Are there two creators of all things? Two supreme beings, both who created the heavens and the earth alone? I trow not. The only plausible conclusion that stands the test of Scripture is that Jesus Christ is the LORD (Jehovah) manifest in the flesh, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Mic 5:2), who was in the beginning with God and who was God who created all things. Thus it was said of the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost that “these three are one.” (1Jn 5:7)

Thus, we see that Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, for he began it.

It’s obviously been a while since I’ve posted, so I wanted to provide an updated. I’ve been inured with too many things that have distracted me from my Rails project for a time, though I hope to return to it soon as I hope it will be profitable for me in more ways than one. I’ve lately been playing with Grails, the need arising at work for a quick and simple blog-like tool to provide status updates via RSS to an existing Java web application.

This exercise has been interesting and helped me see the great similarities between Grails and Rails, as well as some differences. Truthfully I haven’t spent much time with Grails, so I don’t have much to report yet, except that Groovy is and since it compiles to Java bytecode that makes it a lot easier to use at existing Java shops than Rails. On the other hand, for side projects that will live on the Internet on commodity hardware, be it shared or private, Rails is a great framework.

One thing I will make note of in the hope that it will be useful to someone else, is that if you are working with Grails and wanting to deploy a WAR to some servlet container that only implements Servlet Specification 2.3 you can do the following:

grails -Dservlet.version=2.3 war

This requires, I think, at least version 1.0.1 of Grails. I did it with version 1.0.1 and 1.0.3. Of equal or more importance, though, is to set the app.servlet.version property in the application.properties file to 2.3, since that is the value that will actually be used when generating the web.xml for your application (where it really matters).

Unfortunately I ran into other problems (NoSuchMethodError on org.apache.tools.ant.ProjectHelper.getImportStack()) which I have yet to get around. I was deploying to WebLogic 8.1.6 and, so far as I know, the only version of ant in the classpath is the version deployed with the WAR, which is 1.7.0.

I hope to play around with Grails more, preferably on a real project that might start small and grow into something valuable to someone. And I somehow have to find time to get back to my Rails side project.

Rails by default uses a system-generated primary key called “id” for all persisted objects. I personally like this (for the very reasons Dave Thomas outlines in the Rails book on pp. 286-287), but if you don’t, you can change it. Like Dave, I don’t recommend it, but here’s how if you must.

class Friend < ActiveRecord::Base
self.primary_key = "email"
end

Now the primary key of the Friend class is “email” and you must set this value before you can save the object. This is one caveat of being able to change the primary_key from the convention (but don’t complain, at least you can do it).

I chose this example to point out why I like using system-generated, non-model-related primary keys. Email address seems at first like a reasonable field to use for the primary key because they must be unique between people* and they don’t change (often). But they do change (for example if someone use’s their ISP for email and they change their ISP). If you use it as the primary key and your best friend moves from Boston to Idaho and gets a new email address, you have to update all of the places that it’s used as a foreign key (and in the case of your best friend, this may be quite a few places).

Stick to the default system-generated ID and you’ll be better off. But at least you can change the default if you must.

Composite Keys

Rails doesn’t support composite keys natively, but there are plugins available that accommodate this, such as Nic Williams CompositeKeys.
* In the case of a married couple who shares the same email address, you would not be able to include both the man and the woman (who might both be your friends) in your contact list.

Have you ever wish you could tell Rails the name of the table that mapped to your model class?  Perhaps you want a model to represent a legacy table (which could be any table that already exists which is either too painful to recreate or over which you have no control).  Or perhaps you just want to be strange and call your class “This” and your table “that” (not something I’d recommend, but if you must satisfy that urge, you can).  Here’s how:

class Customer < ActiveRecord::Base
set_table_name "customp"
end

Now Rails will look for the table called “customp” when persisting or reading instances of Customer.  You can also use the more direct form:

class Customer < ActiveRecord::Base
self.table_name = "customp"
end

This tip comes from page 282 of the Rails book.

I have found as I’ve been working on my project that Rails has many very useful little features that may not be used all that often but are sometimes needed. As I come across them I hope to note them here in the hopes that they will help someone (myself included) at some point.

Yesterday I was reading the Agile Web Development with Rails (2nd Edition) book (hereafter AWDwR2E) and came across these useful little pieces of knowledge.

Leveraging ActiveRecord in a non-Rails application

Start by including rubygems and then include the activerecord gem:

require “rubygems”
require_gem “activerecord”

Next, establish your database connection:

ActiveRecord::Base.establish_connection(:adapter => “mysql”, :host => “localhost”, :database => “yourdatabase”)

Then, create a class that extends ActiveRecord::Base so your class will take advantage of all of the ORM plumbing that ActiveRecord provides:

class Friend < ActiveRecord::Base
end

Note that you should have a table called friends in yourdatabase for this to work. Assuming your friends table has the columns name and email, you could locate a friend named “John Doe” and update his email address with the following lines:

john_doe = Friend.find(“John Doe”)
john_doe.email = “john.doe@gmail.com”
john_doe.save

That’s all there is to it, and that’s pretty awesome!  This (ActiveRecord) is one of the really great features of Rails that makes it so easy to write a database-driven application.  Unlike most ORM frameworks, ActiveRecord (and by extension, Rails) relies on convention rather than configuration and thus you don’t have to tell it what table represents your class or what columns in the table map to what properties in your class.  It uses reflection to determine all of this although you can override it’s defaults if you need to do so.

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