Friday, May 16, 2008

Days That Never Happened

Have you ever had a day that you wish never occurred? Me too. Even in the Bible you can find people cursing the day they were born. Do you have any idea what happened October 4-October 15, 1582? Go ahead, try to find any event listed on those dates...try to find someone born won't find anything because those days never happened. No, I'm serious, those days don't exist.

How did that many days never happen? Where did they go? Well, those days were wiped away and technically never happened. That is when the Western world transitioned to the Gregorian Calendar and to make it all fit some days had to be erased. I think that's really cool. If you met someone on October 3rd, 1582 the very next day you could proclaim, accurately be the way, that you had known them almost 2 weeks.

So what of the days before the Gregorian Calendar? Should one use the Julian Calendar to mark events prior to October 1582...which is what was changed to the Gregorian? If you run the Gregorian Calendar in reverse it is referred to as the Proleptic Gregorian Calendar. What is really neat and really insightful to me is that this one event...that occurred relatively recently in the scope of world that it has become accepted. No one even speaks in terms of Gregorian Calendar as compared to the Julian, ISO, Unix, Mayan, Persian, Islamic or Hebrew Calendars. We just accept that today is May 16th, 2008. If I implied that today is May 3rd, 2008 (Julian) I would be right...but not according to everyone around me. If I proclaimed today is 11 Iyyar 5768 (Hebrew) I wouldn't be wrong. I am wishing you Happy 1429 Jumada I-Ula 10 (Islamic) and you shouldn't technically be confused by this. When it is all said and done though, today isn't any day other than May 16th, 2008. So what?

What else do we accept as law, fact, or truth that in reality has not always been? What Biblical "truth" do we accept without realizing that a time existed when our assumptions would seem silly or even irreverent? I suppose many such assumptions exist...but here's a few I can think of:

Church: Today we ask people where they go to church. That kind of language isn't found in the Bible and it would have been a strange question to anyone in the first 300-400 years (at least) of Christianity. We are asking in effect, "when you go to a place to fulfill your religious obligations, where is it?". The first, and arguably most fundamentally sound followers of Jesus knew nothing of that kind of talk. They were followers of Jesus and if you lumped them together they were an Ecclesia or church...not based on location, creed or doctrine, but because they had exchanged their former lives for the life God had for them.

Morals/Ethics: This one is simple. How many things do we accept today that were never accepted just a few years back? My grandmother was for all practical purposes an atheist. However, I knew that "trashy shows" like Three's Company were not to be viewed at her house. She couldn't believe that men and women would live together unmarried...even if they had separate rooms. Of course that's just one example but you get the idea.

Alcohol: I remember being amazed as a child when I heard a missionary from Germany discussing that his entire congregation would go to a local pub for lunch after church each Sunday. I thought it was weird that christians would even attend a bar...and then he mentioned his congregation drinking beer and toasting one another while at the pub. AMAZING!
Now as an adult I think it isn't amazing at all. What is amazing is the hypersensitivity we have in the Bible-belt regarding alcohol. The truth is, Jesus was called a drunkard and a glutton for a reason. Jesus made wine for people who were already drunk yet he never sinned. The founding fathers of this country who many like to insist were christian men (and I suppose they were) spent on average 20% of their yearly income on Rum...RUM for goodness sakes...and Benjamin Franklin made a really cool statement: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". Enjoy a nice pint of brew or your favorite libation and isn't the faith issue we have assumed it to be.

Sex: Good Lord (literally) where to start? The hypersensitivity we have in this area makes the sensitivity we have regarding alcohol look minuscule. Simply put, God created is good. When christians learn to live out a more Biblical worldview regarding sexuality, perhaps the world will be more willing to hear other things we say. As long as we allow the world to dominate and define a creation of God I think we will continue to miss the blessing of sexuality and disappoint God.

I could go on but it would be better if I didn't type from now until May 4th or 5th...which would be one or two days from now had things never changed. I guess the point is for us all to put down our preconceived notions, traditions and prejudices and FREAKIN' THINK! That would be really nice and that would lead to great freedom for us all.

Have a great 1387 Ordibehesht 28...that's tomorrow for those of you not familiar with the Persian Calendar

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