Throwback Thursday: Religion or Jesus? – A tale of two friends

For today’s “Throwback Thursday” installment, we’re going to revisit a slightly re-edited post that was first published on July 15, 2015:

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The gospel preached by the Catholic church is VERY different from the Good News! Gospel of Bible Christianity. Let’s use a couple of hypothetical old friends, Nick and Bill, to illustrate:

Nick is a devout Catholic. He was baptized into the church as an infant and attended Catholic grammar school where he listened attentively to the nuns and priests. In first grade, he made his first confession and received his first communion. When he was in fifth grade, he was confirmed. Nick grew up to be a very religious man. When he was twenty-years-old, he resolved that he would attend mass daily and receive communion. He also resolved to go to confession every Saturday and ask forgiveness for his “mortal” and even his “venial” sins. Nick is very proud of the fact that he kept up this religious routine for fifty years.

Now let’s take a look at Bill. Bill was also raised as a Catholic. Like Nick, he was also baptized as an infant and was introduced to the sacraments of reconciliation and the eucharist and attended mass regularly growing up. But when Bill was twenty, he felt like there had to be more to it than the ritual and constant striving so he bought himself a Bible and began reading the New Testament. He began to understand that he wasn’t a sinner because he sinned, like the Catholic church had taught him, but he came to realize that he sinned because he was a sinner. Huge difference! It was a radical realization!

The message of the Bible was different than from what Bill had learned in the Catholic church. The priests and nuns had taught him that by obeying the Ten Commandments and the rules of the Catholic church he would hopefully be justified before God and merit Heaven. But the Bible said there are none who are “good.” There is no one who can possibly obey the Ten Commandments in thought, word, and deed, except for One.

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12 

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20 

Bill had heard about Jesus for many years, but for the first time he really began to comprehend that God sent a Rescuer, a Savior, Jesus Christ, God the Son, into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for his sins. Although Catholics call Jesus the “Savior” they don’t think that they actually need to be saved.

“I have not come to call the [self] righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:32 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:2-4 

“For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21 

Bill understood that becoming a Christian wasn’t a matter of baptism, church membership, receiving the sacraments, or being “good.” Rather, becoming a Christian meant acknowledging one’s sinfulness before God, repenting of sin, and accepting Jesus Christ, God the Son, as Savior by faith alone. Bill humbly prayed to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as his Savior and was spiritually reborn for the first time. He realized that “good” works weren’t the means to salvation, they were the fruit of his relationship with Christ.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10.

Bill walked with the Lord for many years and often shared the Good News! with his friend, Nick, but Nick’s loyalty to his religion was the most important thing in his life and he could not imagine life without it.

Bill died unexpectedly of a heart attack on his 68th birthday. At the very moment of his physical death, he joyously joined his Lord and the other saints in Heaven, not because of his religion or “good” works, but only because of the imputed, perfect righteousness of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” – Philippians 3:9

A few days after his 70th birthday, Nick was on his way to morning mass when he happened to notice a very attractive young woman walking ahead of him who was dressed in a rather revealing outfit. For just a few short moments, the old gentleman lusted heartily after the young woman and didn’t notice the approaching car as he crossed the street. Nick, a devout Catholic for his entire long life, was hit by the car and died with the “mortal” sin of adultery on his soul (Matthew 5:28). Even after fifty years of daily mass attendance, he would have to spend eternity in Hell according to the Catholic theology because he did not die in a “state of grace.” Catholics are taught they must constantly sustain themselves in a “state of grace” through participating in the sacraments and through good works and “avoiding” sin. Most Catholics, if they’re honest, will acknowledge they haven’t been entirely “good” so they’re hoping they get the chance to wipe the slate clean by receiving the sacrament of Last Rites/Extreme Unction immediately before they die.

Nick died in his sin of adultery and all of his other sins and went to Hell for eternity because he was trusting in his religion’s sacraments and his own “good works” rather than repenting of his sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone as his friend, Bill, had done.

Which path are you on? The path of legalistic religion and attempting to merit your own salvation or God’s ordained path of salvation by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone?

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Bad bosses

Note: Because I happen to have quite a few drafts in the queue, there won’t be a “Throwback Thursday” post today or next week.

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Did you ever have a bad boss? Since I started working at Kodak in 1976, I’ve had A LOT of supervisors. How many? The other day, I sat down, put on my memory cap, and actually came up with a list of the 25 supervisors that I’ve had in that 43 year span. Wow, 25! Some of those supervisors were good, some were bad, and some were very bad. There were a couple of times I was treated very unfairly by my supervisor and I elevated the issue to their boss. Taking that kind of action is always risky. Both times, the issue was not resolved appropriately, however, in the long-term, it all worked out.

What prompted this post? My wife is a nurse and has worked 17 years for the largest healthcare network in the area. She initially worked in the hospital respiratory ICU that operated according to very strict procedures because of the critical level of patient care. Four years ago, she transferred to an outpatient department where the care level is much less critical and the standards are more lax. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say there were some personnel issues in the department that were not being addressed by my wife’s new supervisor. My wife and a few of her peers raised red flags several times. As her “reward,” my wife, who has always received an “outstanding” overall rating on her yearly performance appraisal, received just a mediocre, “meets expectations,” overall rating.

Yup, someone else in the department was seriously underperforming, but my wife was penalized for making it an issue. Many years ago at Kodak, I learned it’s often not a matter of right and wrong, but of playing the office politics game according to the boss’s rules.

My wife requested a follow-up meeting and things devolved to the point where the supervisor recommended that the hospital’s Human Resources department intervene. As of this writing, the issues are still being reviewed and may never be completely resolved.

As Christians, we should certainly respect our bosses and follow their leadership, but that doesn’t mean we should remain silent when company policies and/or fairness laws are being violated.

Justice! Where is the justice? There may not be any immediate justice for unfair treatment or a wrong that’s been done at the workplace. There are some situations that we can only hand over to the ultimate judge, our Just and Holy God. The Bible says we are to even pray for those who abuse or mistreat us. That’s hard. We desire justice and revenge when we’re wronged. But we also know the Father has shown us great mercy by forgiving our sins against Him; forgiving us through His Son, Jesus Christ! Let us show mercy and forgiveness as well. By repaying evil with goodness, unbelievers will see the love of Jesus Christ within us.

“17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:17-21

How many bosses have you had? Did you ever have a bad boss?

On the flip side, being a supervisor is a demanding and often thankless position. I was a production supervisor for ten years and the monetary benefits were not worth the daily stress and strain. This post was about bad bosses, but supervisors often have to deal with apathetic and bad employees.

Spring raking: If a lawn could talk it would say, “Ouch!”

Only four months ago, in early December, I was celebrating the conclusion of my Fall 2018 leaf removal campaign. See here. With the large number of oak trees in our yard and the surrounding neighbors’ yards, I usually end up hauling 50+ tarp-loads of leaves to the curb every November. There’s obviously not any yard work to be done during the Winter months – December thru March – up here in Rochester, New York, with the cold temperatures and an almost-constant blanket of snow. But the oak trees continue to drop branches and twigs on the lawn when the Winter winds blow. And the heavy accumulation of snow on the lawn for four months often results in what we call, “snow mold,” a type of white-ish fungus that ends up killing the grass if unattended.

So, every Spring, I must go outside with my flexible, metal rake and rake our entire half-acre lawn to clean out all the debris and dead grass and break up any patches of snow mold. I was able to get out there for the first time on Saturday, March 16th. Argh, raking is VERY hard work, especially the first outing when your muscles aren’t use to it. I ended up raking about a third of the back lawn that day, and twenty-four hours later, I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck! As of this writing, I’ve raked about 33% of the entire lawn.

It’s really rough on the grass when you’re repeatedly dragging a metal rake through it. While you are removing twigs, acorns, leaves, thatch, and other debris, you’re also pulling at the grass itself, removing the dead grass, but also dislodging some of the healthy grass. If the grass had feelings and a mouth it would constantly be yelling, “Ouch!,” as you continued to drag that unsympathetic rake through it over and over. As “traumatic” as the raking must be for the grass, the end result is very positive. With much of the clutter removed, the remaining grass and the soil beneath it have abundantly more access to air, sunshine, and moisture, making for a healthier, more vibrant lawn. Have you guessed where this post is heading yet? I’m guessing you probably have.

As with many of life’s challenges and circumstances, we can make a few spiritual analogies when it comes to Spring raking. The Lord often uses circumstances and events in our lives to clean out the clutter, distractions, and temptations. He prunes away the dead branches in our lives. It’s painful and disconcerting at the time, but the end result is we’re more receptive to His Word and His leading and closer and more reliant on Him. So when the “raking” comes into your life, and it will surely come, resist the temptation to be bitter and resentful. Use the opportunity to “lean in” even closer to your Father who loves you and desires the very best for you.

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11-12

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:7-11

Throwback Thursdays?

I’ve been blessed by being a part of the Christian blogging community here at WordPress for the last 44 months. It’s been a joy to read inspirational and informative posts from my fellow bloggers each day (and form some friendships) as well as to write my humble contributions, some serious and some on the frivolous side. We all pray the Lord uses our meager efforts to reach souls with the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Seeing as I’ve accumulated over 1200 posts in the archives to this point, I thought it might be a good idea to use Thursdays to take a second look at messages from the blog’s first couple of years (including some revisions if needed). That would serve two purposes: 1) It would bring back to light some older posts that very few folks ever saw when they were first published and 2) it would give me another day off from writing. I used to write every day, but about a year ago, I gave myself Sundays off with the goal of eventually taking another day off as well.

Thanks for your support! Next Thursday, I’ll be queuing up a post from 2015.

 

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A scene from the intersection of Main Street and Clinton Avenue, the busy hub of downtown Rochester, N.Y., during the late 1960s. These days, all of the retail stores are long gone.

UPDATE: “Jesus Saves” billboard changed to advertisement for fish fry in time for Lent

Back on February 21st, I posted about the mammoth “Jesus Saves” billboard (photo left) that sat along Route 490, the busiest interstate highway in Greater Rochester, New York. See the post here.

While I was driving to work two weeks ago, I noticed that the billboard had been changed. What new advertisement had gone up in place of “Jesus Saves”? I’ll give you a clue: Rochester has a large Catholic population and Lent began last week. That’s right, a new billboard went up advertising local fast-food restaurant chain, Bill Grays, and its self-proclaimed “Rochester’s Best Fish Fry” (photo right).

Fish fries on Fridays are hugely popular here in Rochester because of the large Catholic population. Prior to 1966, Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays throughout the entire year under threat of soul-damning mortal sin. But after 1966, the obligatory abstention was lifted by the U.S. Catholic bishops EXCEPT for Fridays during Lent. For more historical background, see my post on the subject here.

Isn’t it quite ironic that a billboard proclaiming that “Jesus Saves” with a reference to John 3:16 is followed by an advertisement seeking to profit off of Catholic legalism? It reminds me of how the simple Gospel of the early church was gradually institutionalized into sacramental ritualism and legalism.

Postscript: I had taken the photo of the “Jesus Saves” billboard one-handed with my iPhone through the windshield as I was driving my car at 60 mph. Very dumb. For the photo of the Bill Gray’s fish fry billboard, I exited the expressway, drove through the city neighborhood to as close to the billboard as possible, parked the car and took the photo. Much safer that way and much better quality.

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A photo of Bill Gray’s fish fry plate, which includes a piece of fried haddock, french fries, a roll, and cole slaw for $13.69. Haddock ain’t cheap, folks.

Oh, yes! She’s going back to work today! 🤗

On Mondays, we normally continue our examination of passages from Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong’s book, “The Catholic Verses,” but today we’re going to put our regular series on hold and celebrate a special occasion.

As many of you know, this past November 16th my wife fell in the bathtub and broke her left femur. She had badly fractured the same bone previously in 1984 while demonstrating to our two sons how to skateboard and the bone was never 100% afterwards.

My wife’s been undergoing physical therapy for the last thirteen weeks and has graduated from using a walker to a cane and now walks without a cane half the time.

After a three-month recuperation, my wife is returning back to work today, where she’s an RN at an outpatient headache treatment center. She’ll be working just three days per week initially.

My wife was REALLY getting to enjoy the retirement lifestyle, but, realistically, retirement is still a couple of years away for us. She has mixed feelings about returning back to work, but of course she’s grateful for her job and looking forward to seeing her work friends again.

I thank the Lord for helping my wife through this difficult time and continuing to heal her leg. She’s come a long way in three months and it’s all because of our Shepherd. We both had to “readjust our lifestyles” in light of the circumstances, and not always gracefully, but the Lord walked us through it. Thank you all for your prayers on her behalf!

New Year’s Resolutions?

Did you make any resolutions for 2019? It’s seventeen days into the new year, so are you still sticking to that/those resolution/s?

The subject of New Year’s resolutions brings to mind a period in my life back in the late-1970s and early-1980s. I was in my twenties, married with a couple of young children, and had my whole life ahead of me. My goals included:

  • Attending night college to earn a degree so I could ascend the Kodak corporate ladder.
  • Following a fitness regime that included running, weight lifting, and eating a very clean diet. My plan was to die a very healthy one-hundred-and-ten-years-old.
  • Becoming more spiritual. I was a Roman Catholic at the time and I knew all about institutional religiosity, but I desired to find “something” that really fulfilled my soul.

To the above ends, each December I went to the local stationary store and bought a red, hardcover, At-A-Glance Standard Diary-Daily Reminder (see photo) for the upcoming new year. Wow! Those things were expensive and they still are; $31.54 at Amazon! The idea was that every day of the year, I would diligently record my efforts to improve my mind, body, and spirit. In fact, that became my personal mantra: “Mind, Body, and Spirit.”

So how did I do? Well, I was attending night college at the time and definitely making progress toward improving my mind and earning a degree. I was also pretty good about working out and eating well. But becoming more spiritual? What did that mean? I had no answer for that one. I wasn’t a regular at mass. Did becoming more spiritual mean delving back into Catholic ritualism, legalism, and formalism? I’d been down that road as an altar boy for four years in grammar school and I knew that wasn’t the answer.

So my impressive daily diary was filled with henscratch ONLY under the categories of “mind” and “body” for the months of January, February, and March, but I usually fizzled out after that. The following December, I would go out and buy ANOTHER expensive diary and begin the process all over again. Repeat cycle. Repeat cycle. This went on for several years. At some point, I got the very bright idea that becoming “more spiritual” might include reading the Bible. Well, that was a life-changing thought! Through God’s Word and several other factors the Lord led me to the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. In 1983, I repented of my sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone.

I’m no longer thrashing about, trying to become generically “more spiritual.” I know exactly who my Savior and Shepherd is and my goal is to better serve Him each day by His grace.

Billions of people in this world would like to be “more spiritual.” They try a multitude of different approaches. But Jesus Christ is the only way to spiritual truth and life. Resolutions and goals are fine and can be helpful, but if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone, you’re on a spiritual Titanic and nothing else really matters.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

Update: As for climbing the corporate ladder, that dream fizzled out years ago with Kodak’s plunging fortunes. I eventually did earn a degree in 2000, which has helped keep me employed at a company that has leaked employees like a sieve for the last thirty-four years. My only goal now in that regard is to retire in one or two more years. As for that old fitness regime… Fitness? What’s that?

Ramblings about mental illness

I’m going to “think out loud” a bit about a topic that I know only a little about, but I do have some experience with it: mental illness.

Many of us have been touched by mental illness in one way or another and I have a few personal examples:

  • Many years ago, I worked with a person at Kodak who was convinced everyone in our department was conspiring with his ex-wife to cause him harm, although none of us had ever even met his ex-wife. He was becoming increasingly agitated, but Human Resources said they could not intervene unless he actually threatened someone. This increasingly tense situation continued for several months until the person was eventually dismissed in a general lay-off. It was my opinion that if the person had worked in the offices of management rather than on the production floor, he would have been dealt with promptly.
  • My wife suffered through a bout of depression and had suicidal thoughts after she severely fractured her leg in 1984.
  • My mom suffered from Alzheimer’s the last several years of her life.
  • A close relative grew up in a household with a mother who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and did not take her medications regularly. The close relative dropped out of college last Spring due to anxiety and depression.
  • A very good friend is going through a second divorce at the age of sixty-three. The situation has completely unnerved him. He contemplated suicide this past summer after his wife moved out. Although he is no longer considering suicide, he is almost completely debilitated by anxiety and depression. I’m reluctant to visit with him because every time we get together he talks about his woes incessantly, for literally hours on end. It’s the same “poor me” pity-party over and over and over, like an endless loop. Yes, I’ve interrupted him many times and told him he must “get a grip.” He acknowledges that and then goes right back to his loop. He has taken a wide assortment of medications and has seen therapists without much change. He stopped seeing a therapist because he says he can no longer afford it. My friend seems to “enjoy” being a victim and wallowing in his misery. He craves company (i.e., people who will listen to him), but his behavior is driving his family and friends away. The situation has “unnerved” me to some degree, which explains this post.
  • I won’t go into detail, but I have seen situations within my extended family that included bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, paranoia, paralyzing grief due to the death of a child from a drug overdose, and obsessive-compulsive disorder including hoarding. These terms aren’t “psycho-babble,” but describe very real circumstances that I have witnessed personally.

There’s a lot of controversy about mental illness in Christian circles. There are some Christians who say most mental illnesses are actually manifestations of a spiritual problem. In other words, if a Christian is suffering from depression or anxiety, then their faith in/relationship with the Lord isn’t strong enough. While that could certainly be true in some cases, I also believe there are pathological/neurological/chemical bases for mental illness. Not only must a Christian with mental illness deal with the problem, they must also deal with the stigma and guilt of allegedly not having the requisite faith.

Psychology and psychotherapy get a bad rap in Christian circles and sometimes for good reason. There are cases where drugs are mis-prescribed or over-prescribed and people become dependent rather than dealing with the root cause of their problem. Psychology is based upon humanistic, godless principles that are often at odds with Biblical teaching.

I haven’t suffered from any debilitating mental illnesses myself, although I have experienced depression and anxiety at times throughout my life. One morning, I was listening to a show on (c)hristian radio and the host mentioned her friend who has Asperger’s Syndrome (a type of high-performing autism). The symptoms that were described actually fit me to a tee, but we get into trouble when we self-diagnose. I subsequently took a couple of online tests and scored extremely high for the syndrome. No worries. I’m doing fine with my quirky self.

When a Christian experiences some type of troubling mental/emotional problem, the first thing they should do is pray. They then might want to see their pastor before they consult with anyone else. The situation may very well be a spiritual problem that can be helped with godly counseling. If not, the pastor can hopefully recommend a qualified Christian therapist. Obviously, there are serious cases of mental illness that require immediate medical intervention.

Okay, I’m done “thinking out loud.” Comments are welcome.

Postscript: Our eleven-year-old, forty-five-pound dog has frequent anxiety/panic attacks which most often occur in the middle of the night. She will start crying and shaking for no apparent reason and jumps up on the bed to try curl up around my wife’s head. We’ve tried various vet-prescribed medications without much success (also, my wife is against “pushing pills on her”). I must get up out of bed and put her in an enclosed room where she barks and claws at the door until she tires herself out. Not a good situation at 2 a.m. during the work week.

How Catholics craftily try to “get around” taking the Lord’s name in vain

Many people are well aware of the third commandment of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7. But using the Lord’s name as a frivolous exclamation or even as a swear word is quite popular throughout our society. Even atheists will mindlessly use “G–!” or “Oh my G–!” or “J—-!” as empty exclamations. Many people think nothing of also attaching filthy expletives to the Lord’s name as part of their profane utterances.

But pious Catholics think they have figured out a way to “beat the system” and avoid this sin while still vainly using the name of Jesus. Instead of exclaiming “J—-!” or “J—- Christ!” they will substitute the expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” They imagine they can take the Lord’s name in vain, but still not sin if they append the names of Mary and Joseph. They would defend themselves by saying they are only invoking the “holy family” trio in prayer rather than using the Lord’s name disrespectfully.

Two thoughts:

  1. No matter how they try to sugar coat it, they’re still taking the Lord’s name in vain.
  2. Invoking anyone in prayer other than God is blasphemy. Nowhere in the entire Bible does a believer pray to anyone other than God.

My parents went to mass every Sunday, but that was the visible extent of their Catholic faith as far as I ever noticed. However, I had a boyhood friend whose parents were very pious Catholics. Whenever the occasion called for a forceful exclamation of anger or surprise, the mother or older sisters would let out an animated, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” My sister-in-law, who also once fancied herself a pious Catholic, would also use this same “pasteurized” version of profaning the Lord’s name. This exclamation is used by MANY Catholics who think they are cleverly getting around the 3rd commandment. Whoops, Catholics actually number it as the 2nd commandment, which is another post altogether.

Have you ever come across Catholics who use the camouflaged curse expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph”? I’ve read that the phrase was once especially popular among Irish Catholics.

We are all sinners and all of us break the Ten Commandments either in thought, word, deed, or by omission every day. We can’t merit salvation because none of us are good. But God the Father sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to pay for our sins on the cross at Calvary. He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave three days later and now offers forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and fellowship with Him to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Won’t you trust in Jesus to save you?

Postscript: I’m a believer and I’m pretty adept at not using the Lord’s name as a curse word, yet I admit that I also take the Lord’s name in vain. How? I call Him my Lord, but I don’t always do what He commands me to. Praise God for His grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to keep pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! – Philippians 3:14

Polish Pottery – Genuine and fakes

My enamorment with my Polish heritage during my long prodigal journey away from the Lord (see here) dovetailed with the trendy popularity of Polish pottery in the U.S. Back in the mid-aughts, you could find displays of Polish pottery in many department and discount stores throughout the country. We even had a shop near us devoted exclusively to Polish pottery called Market Square Polish Pottery located at Northfield Commons at 50 State Street in Pittsford, New York. The shop was opened in 2007 by an enterprising young couple, Danielle and Jim Bonsignore (Danielle was part-Polish), and I bought three pieces, which we still enjoy today (photo left).

During the Polish pottery craze, you could find less-expensive, imitation pieces in discount stores. But all of the Polish pottery actually manufactured in the Bolesławiec region of Poland are stamped with a seal of authenticity on the underside (photo right).

Fads and trends come and go and Polish pottery is no longer anywhere near as popular as it used to be. Market Square Polish Pottery struggled for a couple of years and finally closed its doors. Even the Polish Americans living in the Greater Rochester area wouldn’t support the shop. Polish Americans are generally known for having little interest in their cultural heritage, but that’s another post.

The proliferation of inexpensive knock-offs during height of the Polish pottery craze reminds me of the proliferation of churches that claim to be Christian. There’s churches out there that deny the truths of the Bible, churches that preach works salvation, and churches that preach prosperity in this temporal world. But a true church preaches repentance of sin and the Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. That is the Lord’s authenticating mark. Don’t waste your time on the forgeries because they are spiritually toxic.

Bolesławiec Polish Pottery – Wikipedia article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boles%C5%82awiec_pottery