Faith, Religion, Christianity And Jesus

I am not a religious person.

That does not mean I am ignorant nor do I have no knowledge of various religions and beliefs. And no it doesn’t mean I have no beliefs of my own only that what I do have fits into no other religions or has parts of many others.

But religion plays an important part in the world and probably none as much as Christianity. It is at this time of the year, with Christmas upon us that religion is often times forgotten in the midst of Snata and presents and turkey……

So, I must point out that I’m not trying to be offensive in any way. If I do offend then I’m sorry. However I have always prided myself on the fact that I am willing to listen to all viewpoints and all I ask is the same courtesy back.

 

Now I went to church every Sunday. I went to Girls Brigade, bible study and even spent weeks of the summer vacation in a church led club. I feel I have earned the right to an opinion here.

I always had two major problems with religion. There are many problems that I’ve had but two MAJOR ones.

The first was and always will be that no religion approves of murder, in fact they all consider it a sin of some kind. A sensless waste of human life that God/Gods have created.

My second was always the portrayel of Jesus Christ. Where did this pretty, delicately featured image of a pale skinned, slightly effeminate brown haired man come from? We know from where and when he was born that he would certainly be darker skinned and he would be ‘work roughened’. There would have been no easy gentle upbringing, he would have worked hard and have the callouses etc to show for it.

jesus1jesusmaryjoseph

So the fact that a new image has come to life, a more realistic image is great.

Forensic anthropologist and medical artist Richard Neave used computer tomography, analyzing three skulls from archaeological sites in Jerusalem. To determine the color of his skin and hair, scientists studied drawings from the same time period. The result was a man with dark skin and eyes, short curly hair, a broad nose and a beard. These features, scientists say, are what a first century Jewish man would have looked like. Scientists are calling this the most accurate image of Jesus they’ve ever seen.

jesus

I agree.

 

And if I’m going to hell anyway for my blasphemous thoughts then let me put another thought out there… why is it so hard to believe in the possibility of Jesus having married Mary Magdalene? Ge a grip people, he was a man. In a time when marriage and children were important The idea that he was some virginal man is ridiculous.

jesus-magdalene

So now I’ve riled up Christians i’ll wish you a merry christmas and be done with it!!!

 

 

By the way I have no doubts in the presence of Jesus. I just don’t believe he is the son of a God but I see no reason why he couldn’t of been a talented healer and speaker. Let’s remember that for a long time sneezes were considered a way of dispelling demons from the body… Modern medicine was at one point considered miraculous!

 

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Christmas Tree

Search for the roots of today’s Christmas traditions and you will find your way back to the ancient Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan, held during the Winter Solstice on December 21. One of the principle reasons for the rapid propagation of Christianity throughout Europe during the first millennium was the willingness of Christian leaders to incorporate the rituals, beliefs and customs of other religions. Few of the ancient displaced religions were more assimilated than the Druids, Wiccans and Pagans.

The custom of burning the Yule Log, the Yule-associated tradition that is most familiar to people today, was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log would be lit on the eve of the solstice, using the remains of the log from the previous year, and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck.

Decorating the Yule tree was also originally a Pagan custom; brightly colored decorations would be hung on the tree, usually a pine, to symbolize the various stellar objects which were of significance to the Pagans – the sun, moon, and stars – and also to represent the souls of those who had died in the previous year. The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the Pagan tradition of hanging gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to the various Pagan Gods and Goddesses.

The Christmas tree is said to have originated in Germany with the decoration of pine trees with fancy ornaments.

However, there are alternate theories that suggest otherwise. In fact, there are many legends about the Christmas tree that led to the widespread belief that the Christmas tree is an essential part of the Christmas season and its celebration. There is the legend of St. Boniface, an English monk, who is said to have saved a child from being sacrificed by pagans. When they were gathered around an oak tree to sacrifice the child, the Saint flattened the tree with one blow of his fist. A small fir sprang up in its place and St. Boniface told the pagans that it was the “tree of life,” and represented the life of Christ.

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The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree. In addition to these pagan rituals, the tree is also linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Pagans would celebrate the Winter Solstice, and as a part of that celebration, they would decorate trees. This celebration represented the end of the long, dark winter days and the beginning of the spring and its connection to life. The triumph over the winter darkness was the reason for the celebration. There are many other theories about the origin of the Christmas tree. Researchers have failed to accurately pinpoint a single origin, but it is correct to state that it evolved from pagan traditions. Understanding how the tree was used in the past will shed light on its meaning in the Christmas celebration. Many Christians unwittingly partake in tree decorating without knowing the cryptic meanings behind the adoration/decorating of a tree. The fact that the evergreen tree was considered in pagan religions to symbolize everlasting life, robs us of the reality of Jesus’ supreme sacrifice that enables us to have true eternal life. The evergreen tree is believed by some pagans to hold continual life, and as such, is commonly used in pagan worship and celebrations.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, fir or an artificial tree of similiar appearance.

varieties-of-christmas-trees

 

The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the invention of electrification. Today there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, garlands, tinsel and candy canes. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree normally represents the archangel Gabriel or the star of Bethlehem (from the Nativity).

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The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of it’s folklore.

Although the tradition of decorating the home with evergreens was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III’s German wife, Charlotte, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom didn’t spread much beyond the royal family to begin with.
Queen Victoria was familiar with them and even as a child had one in her bedroom. after she married Prince Albert (her German cousin) the custom became more widespread as wealthier families began to follow the tradition.

JOHANS~1

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Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums ‘who had never seen a Christmas tree’ would enjoy one that year. In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to Britain growing their own Christmas trees.

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By 2013 the number of trees grown in Britain for the Christmas market was approximately 8 million.

I mean, that’s a lot!!

In some cities, a  festival of trees is organised around the decoration and display of multiple trees as charity events. 

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Pilgrims Progress – Steven Payne – Mid 14th century pilgrimage

What this guy is doing is amazing.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/14thcenturypilgrimsprogress/
Everything is traditional mid 14th century. ALL his clothing, provisions and food.
All of Steven Payne’s clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365.
This is going to be a hard journey but an amazing experience for him.

All of Steven Payne's clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365

His aim is to be the first in 500 years to walk the Pilgrims way from Southampton, to the shrine of Becket at Canterbury. He has a letter from the Pope in case anyone objects to him sleeping in their churchyard or porch way.

He has done everything from scratch, crafting what he can himself and sourcing what he can’t make and having it done as close to authentic as possible.
We know he is taking a jar of honey, a box of block salt, an apple shaped box (which he made himself) full of apple and cinnamon leaf ‘tea’. A walnut box of aromatic herbs for bathing, some bags of coin to donate to people in need, a needle case and a case for thread in case the kit needs repair and a round walnut box of beeswax. He even made his own bowls! A larger one made of chestnut which should serve for main meals and a smaller one is just right for using as a maser (drinking bowl).

He received a lot of information on medieval food ‘on the go’ and is planning on taking items such as a heavy fruit loaf almonds, cheese, dried fruit, bread, boiled eggs, salt, cinnamon, dried apple slices, oat cakes and a pork and venison pie. He is also taking some Rochester dark ginger wine which is non-alcoholic.
He is taking a wash kit that will help with hygiene, he really did his research and found so much good and interesting articles and information. His wash kit includes home made olive oil soap, salt for the teeth, a block of deodorising alum, cloves, a boxwood comb and some liquorice root sticks, all on a woollen ‘towel’.
He also made his own  Staff.
The staff is of a particular design, shown in numerous carvings and paintings…….roughly 5′ 6″ to 6′ 6″ tall it had a double ball carved into the shaft. This meant that when carried over the shoulder, a bag of possessions could be tied to the end where the balls would prevent it from slipping off, but equally importantly the double ball acted like a pommel and cross guard, allowing the staff to be used much like a double-handed waster (practice sword) if the Pilgrim should come under attack by robbers or wolves along the way.

On his travels he will be taking a copy of a 14th century Paternoster that he made for a friend in the USA, he will have it blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the practice of carrying an object on behalf of someone who could not make the journey themselves was common in the middle ages, and was endorsed by the Church.

 

12 Days of Christmas

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The Meanings as said by religion.

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of power. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

 

 

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“Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol thought to be French in origin. It is a cumulative song, each verse building on top of the previous verses, enumerating a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. The carol was published in England in 1780 without music. An arrangement for the chant was composed by English composer Frederic Austin in 1909, who first introduced the now familiar prolongation of the verse “five gold rings”.

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

1

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

2

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

3

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

4

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

5

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

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On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

7

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

8

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

9

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

10

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

11

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

12

Her Highlander’s Promise – B. J. Scott

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00O2IROIC?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

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Having loved the Fraser brothers, I just HAD to have the book when I saw that B.J.Scott had blessed us with another.
Her Highlander’s Promise is such a sweet tale of love conquers all with just enough excitement, violence, passion and action to maintain another fabulous and loved book.
Now I’ll be honest here, I purchased the book simply because of the author, I didn’t think to like it from the description considering the idea too simple and to ‘tame’.
I hold my hands up and admit I was wrong.
The story starts with a ten year old Laurel burying her father and facing the prospect of life with her controlling aunt, uncle and cousin. A handsome 13 year old that she has not met before gives her a ring and promises to return to wed her.
It continues when Laurel is close to her 18th birthday. We find how she has suffered at the hands of a viscious, highly controlling aunt and a completely uninterested uncle who merely allows his wife to do as she pleases.
Gaining a small amount of freedom, laurel is permitted a quick trip to the village to purchase provisions. There she is startled by a handsome man, it seems that Blair has returned for her!
I don’t want to describe to much as I want you to have the pleasure of the tale unfolding as you read but it’s enough to assure you that their love is not easy and obstacles must be faced and defeated to allow the young couple to come together.
With well developed characters and introductions of many secondary characters that you will just love, B.J.Scott again captivates us.
(I love and am intrigued by the uncle! The returning one as opposed to the weak willed one.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend this author!

Sneak Peeks from Highland Fairlings Book One: Ina

twelve

 

This is a peek from Chapter Twelve of Highland Fairlings Book One:Ina

The Book can be purchsed here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ina-Highland-Fairlings-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00M77WI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406714074&sr=8-1&keywords=emma+ruthven-stevenson

Alternatively, if you go to this page you’ll find the links for purchase from

Amazon.co.uk
Kobo
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

https://eruthvenstevenson.com/2014/07/18/ina-highland-fairlings-book-one-availability/

Sneak Peeks from Highland Fairlings Book One: Ina

eleven

 

This is a peek from Chapter Eleven of Highland Fairlings Book One:Ina

The Book can be purchsed here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ina-Highland-Fairlings-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00M77WI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406714074&sr=8-1&keywords=emma+ruthven-stevenson

Alternatively, if you go to this page you’ll find the links for purchase from

Amazon.co.uk
Kobo
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

https://eruthvenstevenson.com/2014/07/18/ina-highland-fairlings-book-one-availability/

Sneak Peeks from Highland Fairlings Book One: Ina

ten

 

This is a peek from Chapter Ten of Highland Fairlings Book One:Ina

The Book can be purchsed here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ina-Highland-Fairlings-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00M77WI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406714074&sr=8-1&keywords=emma+ruthven-stevenson

Alternatively, if you go to this page you’ll find the links for purchase from

Amazon.co.uk
Kobo
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

https://eruthvenstevenson.com/2014/07/18/ina-highland-fairlings-book-one-availability/

Edinburgh Zoo

 

http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/

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Please note: Edinburgh Zoo is located on Corstorphine Hill, and some of the paths around the park involve steep slopes. We would advise visitors to plan their route and bring suitable footwear – the views from the top are worth it! The workout on your calf muscles has got to be equivalent to hours in the gym!

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It’s hard work but there are a lot of benches to take breaks.
Trying to find the tigers?  Lost near the lemurs? With over 80 acres of hillside parkland it can be hard to find your way around but the staff are very helpful, there are loads of maps and you can download one off the website so you can plan your trip before you go. Also the guidebook is informative and has loads of information on the various animals and getting around.
Wet weather and Indoor Activities
11 indoor animal housing areas and 6 sheltered observation areas ensure that even on a rainy day, a trip to the Zoo is an enthralling experience.

We didn’t get to see many of the big cats as they were cleaning enclosures at that time. And it took ages!

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However we hung around near the lions and were able to watch feeding time.

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Ticket Prices
Price as of 3/4/15 – 1/11/15
Adult
£18.00
Child 3 – 15 years
£13.50
Child (under 3)
FREE

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Wheelchair and Mobility Access
Many of the paths around the Zoo can be accessed by wheelchair.  However some routes involve steps or steep slopes which are unsuitable for wheelchairs.
We are also pleased to be able to offer a dedicated mobility vehicle to help visitors access areas of the park that may otherwise be difficult to reach.

I’m not sure if they are still doing it or how long it will last but they were doing specific studies on the lifes of various monkey species when we were there.
The information was really interesting and we were able to get really close.

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Sneak Peeks from Highland Fairlings Book One: Ina

nine

 

This is a peek from Chapter Nine of Highland Fairlings Book One:Ina

The Book can be purchsed here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ina-Highland-Fairlings-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00M77WI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406714074&sr=8-1&keywords=emma+ruthven-stevenson

Alternatively, if you go to this page you’ll find the links for purchase from

Amazon.co.uk
Kobo
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

https://eruthvenstevenson.com/2014/07/18/ina-highland-fairlings-book-one-availability