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Christianity

starbucks, red cups, #MerryChristmasStarbucks, Christianity, coffee, Christianity

I don’t drink Starbucks coffee that often because honestly, it usually tastes a little burnt and I prefer my Nespresso but the other day, on the way to physical therapy we stopped in for a chai latte and I noticed the cup was red which to me signaled my brain that it was the start of the holiday season.

A couple days later I saw a video that was being circulated around the Internet, Joshua Feuerstein, an Arizona-based evangelist who describes himself as a “social media personality,” was up in arms because the cup was too minimalist for his liking.He posted on his Facebook page that this year’s spartan red cup illustrated Starbucks’ dismissal of Christmas as a Christian holiday in favor of political correctness. He went on to crack jokes and decided to fight against the “war on Christmas” by giving his name as “Merry Christmas” when ordering. To really stick it to “the man” he wore his Jesus shirt and carried his concealed weapon into Starbucks. (I found that part the most offensive and scary myself).

In the video, Feuerstein says that Starbucks “wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups. That’s why they’re just plain red.” Feuerstein said that instead of boycotting the coffee chain, he wanted to start a “movement,” so he went into a Starbucks–with his gun, as Arizona has an open-carry law and Starbucks has not outright banned firearms–ordered a hot drink, and told the barista that his name was “Merry Christmas,” which was subsequently scribbled on his red cup.

“So guess what, Starbucks? I tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup,” Feuerstein said in his video. He urged his Facebook followers to do the same. The video has been watched about 12 million times and nearly 500,000 people have shared it.

Anyways, the video and verbiage in it made me feel like maybe the entire thing was a marketing stunt on Starbucks’ behalf, honestly. Anyways, I carried on and then I began to see all sorts of social media posts about some people being outraged that “Christmas” had been removed from Starbucks and then the rest of the people were outraged that the Christians were outraged. It quickly escalated to religious persecution by way of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Me, I am a Christian of what some might say is the worst kind, a Catholic, and this is what I think. If you don’t like Starbucks’ cups or you feel that they are stepping on your right to religious freedom, don’t buy their coffee. Don’t give them your money if you are so offended. But what I don’t say is to get over it because if it bothers you and is important to you, then draw your line in the sand. Mine however is not over coffee cups. That, my friends, is not the deciding factor to my ever-lasting salvation. I get my religion at mass and at home, I don’t need it on my coffee cup for validation.

On the other hand, if you feel that you can tell the Christians to get over their butt hurt over the cups, I hope you are not one of those ridiculous people who enjoy the benefit of all the Christmas holiday rituals (and time off) but don’t actually believe in or celebrate the birth of Jesus (yes, I already know that is not his actual birthday. I have the History channel.) P.S. A holiday tree is not a real thing people. It’s a Christmas tree. You can’t have your anti-Christian beliefs and celebrate Christmas too. Well, you can but then that makes you kind of an asshole.It’s like pretending to be homeless for the free food.

Like it or not, Christmas is a religious observance holiday and if you don’t believe in the religion then you shouldn’t be celebrating the holiday. If you want to celebrate the winter solstice or whatever, fine but it’s not Christmas so lets not pretend that we are celebrating the same thing. Celebrating “Christmas” and not being a Christian is the same as having a quincinera and not being a 15-year-old Latina girl or having a Bat Mitzvah and not being Jewish. These are religious celebrations. Christmas (not Winter Solstice) is a religious celebration.

So while you’re making fun of the Christians being up in arms over their coffee cups, I’ll be over here at drop off sipping my Chai Latte minding my own business. And if anyone wants to wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza I will happily accept it because even though I may not celebrate all of those holidays, I do accept well wishes and good tidings from all. I will smile and I will thank you because I don’t think you are trying to convert me. In my mind, you are saying, “Debi, live long and prosper!”

Are red cups worth getting upset over to me? No. It’s a cup, people. But if it really offends you, you have every right to not buy your coffee from Starbucks and I can respect that because I am an adult and as long as you’re not making the decisions for me, it’s not my business.

When did we start living in a world where people feel like they have to run every single thought, word and coffee cup design through a filter before they say it out loud? Stop that. I’d rather I know you, the real you, no matter who you are than only know some diluted, politically correct version of you. By over thinking every single word that comes out of our mouth, we are diminishing any hope of establishing true human connections.

Be happy, people. Just be yourself and let others be.

Do you find the Starbucks Red Cups offensive and why?

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prayer, religion, atheists, IQ

I’ve been doing a lot of praying over the past week and I have asked for your prayers and positive thoughts. Those prayers meant everything to me because I have a faith in God and I believe in the power of prayer. It gives me hope when otherwise, I would have none. It sustains me when otherwise I would give up. That means everything to me. So this morning while I was perusing Facebook and I came across an article shared by one of my friends titled Atheists ‘have higher IQs’: Their intelligence ‘makes them more likely to dismiss religion as irrational and unscientific’ it bothered meI read the article and it argues …

“Atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious people, according to a US study. Researchers found that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves – so did not need the benefits that religion provides.

They also have better self-esteem and built more supportive relationships, the study authors said.

The conclusions were the result of a review of 63 scientific studies about religion and intelligence dating between 1928 and last year. In 53 of these there was a ‘reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’. In just 10 was that relationship positive.

They defined intelligence as the ‘ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience’.

In their conclusions, they said: ‘Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme – the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better’.

‘Intelligent people typically spend more time in school – a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits.

‘More intelligent people getting higher level jobs and better employment and higher salary may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs.’

Okay, so all of that being said, I am calling bullshit. I am religious and I am also intelligent. I don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. And yes, I have proof that I am intelligent. I have graduate degrees and credible IQ scores. I have even taken theology courses on various religions but still, I believe in a God and my faith remains. This is why there is no conflict for me. At the core of my belief is that God created the universe and from there evolution happened. Time passed; people, the world and the universe have changed.

My faith was instilled when I was a small child. Yes, blind faith. I absorbed it all in and took it to my heart and gave myself over to it. I needed to believe there was something more. I’ve experienced hardships and I needed to believe in a savior if not, what was the point? Above all else, I believe that there is a God and through God, all things are possible. I see miracles every single day of my life and maybe they are all explainable by science but they are miracles to me nonetheless. Science and medicine are miracles to me. A baby being born is a miracle. Honest, raw, enduring, authentic, unconditional love is a damn miracle. The kindness of strangers is a miracle. All that being said, I know that man is only a man and I am cautiously skeptical of just about everyone.

Do I dismiss scientific facts? Not, at all. Do I dislike or judge atheists or people who are not of my own religion? No, because I also believe in choice and tolerance and everyone has their own choice to make. We live with our own choices so why should anyone else judge us? I judge people on how they behave and move through the world not by their labels. Many of my dearest friends and favorite people are Jewish, Hindi, Buddhists and every other religion and some of my friend’s don’t believe in God at all. Are they more or less intelligent than me? The answer is yes and yes because I don’t think your religious preference makes you intelligent or ignorant, your brain and nurturing do. How you act and behave with those beliefs is what determines that. Do I try to push my beliefs on anyone else? Never, because it’s a very personal. decision. Do I believe they will be damned or cast out of some afterlife utopia? No. I believe that God is tolerant and loving and I’m not dead so I have no proof about what happens after we die. Maybe we do just all go to the ground. Maybe we recycle and keep coming back until we get it right. Either way, I want to be kind to people. I want to live like every day is my last and I want them all to count, here on earth.

My faith in God is what gives me my faith in me. Through God all things are possible and through hard work and determination all things are possible for me. My faith is anchored in the belief that good people deserve good things. I know that life is not fair. I have experienced it first hand and I have questioned my faith. Believe me! But in the end, my faith is nourishment for my starving soul. My faith grants me serenity in this chaotic world of unpredictability.

My faith is based in my belief that doing the right thing is always right even if the other person chooses to reciprocate by doing the wrong thing to me, that is on them. I am only responsible for my actions and only accountable to my own conscience which maybe, that is what God really is, my moral compass. But when my fears and burdens are too great, faith allows me to hand them off to a higher place; to leave them on a shelf because worrying helps nothing. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t work to fix my issues first myself. I believe in modern medicine, working hard and doing good in the world. I believe in people. I trust in humanity. God helps those who help themselves.

I don’t expect to sit on my ass and hope for something/ someone to magically take care of me. For me, faith is hope. It is being able to have faith that good can come of even the worst of humanity. Having hope that when life looks dim and worthless, it can turn around. It helps me to see the good in people. How can that be bad or make me unintelligent? Naïve, maybe but I can’t believe that putting my faith in the good in people or the world is wrong.

Isn’t an atheist judging me to be ignorant because of my faith equally as offensive as a Christian judging an atheist to be the same for his lack there of?

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Easter, Jesus,Crucifixion, SalvationEaster is one of the few times you will read a religious post on here. My religion is the one thing I feel is very personal but being that my faith in God is so strong, I feel it would be remiss if I did not write a post about Easter. To purposely avoid it, would just be weird for me. I believe in a risen Christ so yesterday was our big holiday. If you are not into Easter and don’t celebrate, feel free to stop reading. I won’t be offended. This post is not for you. This post is for my children to someday read.

We decided a long time ago that for all the fun traditions associated with the holidays; elves, Santa, Bunnies and Leprechauns, my children would always know the true meaning of why we celebrate these religious holidays and holy days of obligation. This is why on Good Friday, as a family, we watched the Passion of the Christ.

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pope, Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Religion, Catholic church, vatican, papacy,cardinal, Rome

Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of Argentina

A new pope, Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected. The white smoke has risen and a new day for Catholics is upon us. Hopefully, a time to get back to the fundamentals,  a change back towards simplicity and faith and away from being a business; an entity.

I don’t usually talk about religion on here because my faith is very personal to me. I love all people and respect all faiths, not just my own. I’ve never bad mouthed anyone’s religion. I needed to mark this occasion. This is, after all, my chronicle of our life and is, in most part, written for my daughters to one day read. I want them to know and to remember this. So, if you don’t want to read about my feelings on Pope Francis or how I feel about the Catholic Church, then stop reading. I will not be offended. I don’t want you to be either.

Eight years ago, I had just given birth to my first child. Less than a month later, I remember holding my beautiful new baby in my arms and watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II. It was bittersweet to me. My life was completely changing. At this huge moment in my life, when God was more present than ever before, I lost the only Pope I had ever known. I was sad that my daughter would never know the leader of our church who had made such an impression on so many of us. I was sad that a man who had fought so strongly for our religion was gone and his mission would be ended. I was afraid that with him went the cohesion of our church and that all that was good was left to spoil.

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Catholic school girl, nun

Catholic school girl gone Nun~ Is this something that I should be concerned with? I enrolled my little girls in Catholic school because 1) we are Catholic and I loved the spiritual aspect of it 2) I believe faith is instilled not learned 3) the test scores are substantially higher at the Catholic school compared to the public school she would be attending 4) the uniforms are A.dor.able!!!Everyone knows that. But I’ve been noticing that there is a kind of catholic school girl mentality that is seeping in…almost taking over my little girl. Everything is Jesus this and God made me that, which, don’t get me wrong, is sweet but my little catholic school girl seems to be metamorphosing into a little nun. That scares me a little bit.

catholic school girl

This is a Good Catholic School Girl

I am very happy that my little catholic school girl is so spiritual and finds such comfort in religion. The other day, she brought home a picture that she had drawn and it read, “God Created me!”. To which I replied, “Well, I think Daddy and I had something to do with it too. But yes, God did  bless us with you.” Her reply, ” Mommy, it wasn’t you. It was God.” She was resolute in her answer and that was that. I fully suspect that every time she does anything these days, save for beat on her little sister, she first asks herself…What WOULD Jesus do? I find it absolutely fabulous that she is concerned with the moral ramifications of what she does on a daily basis.  I am very proud of her. She is learning her prayers and hymns. Today, she sang in the church choir and presented the wine to the Father. I have never seen her look so proud. Even when she got her part in the Nutcracker last year , she wasn’t this excited. I couldn’t help but puff out my chest a bit and think to myself, Look at my kid. She is amazing. I understood that whole holier than thou saying.

Amazing little Catholic School Girl

But then she came home and set up a prayer station and insists that I must use her vial of holy water , that she brought home, to cross myself each night before our prayers. I suppose that it could be worse, she could go all Angelina on me and carry around a vial of blood. Yes. I did just say that my 6 year old carries around a vial of holy water like a drunk carries a flask of whiskey on his person at all times. I think this may be a bit extreme. Or perhaps, my little catholic school girl is planning on battling Vampires while I sleep. Or maybe she’s just trying to prove her theory that I am, in fact, a witch. Will I melt? Will I not melt? Who knows. Either way, how can I argue with my little girl when she devoutly kneels in front of her makeshift prayer station and prays for her Daddy to return safely from his business trip or for or house to sell. My little girl really is amazing. She’s certainly a better person than I am. But I can’t help being a little concerned about the accelerated speed at which she is embracing her faith. I fear that by next year she will be choosing her ordination habit.

Have you ever experienced this? Am I the only one? Am I over analyzing? I mean, honestly, I should be thrilled that she is embracing something positive, right? This is what I wanted. I think. I wanted my children to be spiritual and have a solid foundation in their faith. I guess I just never realized just how young children are when they start becoming who they will be. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s like ringing a bell. You can’t un-ring it. I guess I just thought I had more time before she chose her path in life but I feel like she’s already forming opinions and beliefs and that is amazing and a little bit scary to me. My little catholic school girl is growing up so fast.

 

Catholic school girl, nun

Extreme Catholic School Girl

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