Sunday, December 04, 2005

is your church boiling mad too!

Well here we go.

It seems that yet another group of Christians feel that their rights have been violated! Evidently some of the non-Christian retailers around them simply want to acknowledge the fact that their customers are celebrating many different holidays around this time of year, from Christmas, to Hanukah, to Kwanza, to Eid, and even New Years! So, in an attempt to wish all of their customer a happy holiday, they’ve decided to use the phrase “Happy Holidays” in their promotion instead of “Merry Christmas”. SHOCKING! Why would I wish a Jewish person a Merry Christmas? And, if I were a retailer, why would I not acknowledge my Jewish patrons’ holiday? And the only way to do that is to either hang a million signs with every holiday listed, or simply say “Happy Holidays” which covers everybody. But the Christians are in an uproar and yet another right-wing political organization has come out of the woodwork to pass around a petition and get Christians to boycott these retailers.

I love you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, but every time you say something like “this is OUR country! If they don’t like it, they can go find their OWN country!” you sound like a redneck. Saying that we “discovered” this country is a lot like telling a police officer that I “discovered” your car stereo. And while it’s true that the majority of our white, slave owning fore-fathers were “Christians” (though not very good ones, evidently), it’s also true that our fore-fathers were smart enough to know that America would never truly be free and democratic if people of ALL religions weren’t free to worship there. In fact, that’s why SOME of the early European settlers came to America (learn your history).

I’ve always thought that one of the most remarkable things about Jesus’ ministry was the fact that he spent his days, not defending the “church” against the Roman government, but defending lost and defenseless people against the “church”. Jesus spent his days defending the poor and the lost against a religious institution that was interested more in intimidating and holding power of people than serving God out of a pure heart. And he did it because he wanted all of them to know that grace prevailed over power, and fear, and intimidation. He wanted them to know that God had come to save them.

This was a hard lesson for the Jews to swallow. They wanted a King who would liberate them from slavery and give them back their land. But that’s not what Jesus came to do. He came to serve and to teach us how to serve. So, when his disciples suggested that he not pay his taxes, Jesus handed them a coin, said “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and reminded them yet again that he had not come to be militant. And, when Peter decided to “defend Jesus” by cutting off the ear of the Roman guard, Jesus healed the Roman guard and reminded Peter that that’s not what he had come for. That’s what Jesus did, he healed and offered hope to the lost, and spent the rest of his time sorting out all of the religious elitists.

The world is turning to all manner of religion right now. And most of them do it looking for a way of life that promotes peace, and love, and good will towards all mankind. Isn’t it a shame that they can’t see that in Christianity anymore? Because that’s what Christ (the guy we named our religion after) was all about. But lost people don’t know that anymore because we don’t show it. Instead, too many Christians spend their time huddled in their buildings, planning the next political rally where they will picket and promise to boycott non-Christian businesses and institutions for not worshipping with us. What they see in us, far too often, is a militant political machine that’s out to force Christianity down their throats and stand up for our rights! As Americans, we have the right to worship any way we want to, but we don’t have the right to force everybody else to worship with us. God gave that right to all mankind long before Thomas Jefferson came along and made it a law, so why is it that Christians want to take it back?

Militant Christianity is the ugly side of religion.

Instead of spreading anger, and resentment, and hate, and venom, we should be spreading the love of Christ. We should be serving these people. That’s what Jesus did and that’s what he called us to do. And he did it, and commanded us to do it, because that’s what wins people’s hearts, not brow beating them with it.

The church has spent the last twenty years whining, and griping, and picketing, and boycotting lost people for acting like lost people. How ‘bout we spend the next twenty years serving the lost and helping the needy and see which one wins more people for Christ?

Comments on "is your church boiling mad too!"


Blogger Gordon said ... (8:25 PM) : 

oh my - what a make over!!!

Only thing that doesn't work on fire fox is that the pictures spill into the third column.

Looks great



Blogger BrownEyedGirl said ... (8:27 PM) : 

well said!


Blogger Evangeline said ... (11:01 PM) : 

Nah. The whining and griping is more fun. Heaven help us if church stops being fun.

(whoops, haven't had my morning coffee yet)


Blogger surrendered said ... (7:33 AM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Blogger surrendered said ... (10:34 PM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Blogger Cari said ... (4:18 PM) : 

I don't think that the retailers are being all-inclusive, though. That's my problem. They're excluding. Why else would they change the very secular Christmas tree to a "Holiday Tree"? I won't have a Menorrah on my mantle this year and just call it a "Holiday Candelabra". I don't have a problem at all with being all inclusive. If we remember the inclusive part. I agree that boycotting was a bad choice. Not my original idea, but I hopped right up there with them...I see your point, but I still see mine!
I'll give you the "ugly side of religion". We need to do what Christ did; He never forced Himself on anyone. He did tell the disciples though, in one of the earliest boycotts, to "tell the people" and if they continued to act out against them, "go out of the town, shake the dust from your sandals, and never return."


Blogger Bill said ... (12:35 AM) : 

Its just not a big deal. Now maybe thats because I'm a liberal from the left coast but the fact is that christmas in the west is not (ever has been?) a religious holiday. And I'm fine with that. I can't make people celebrate my holiday. I simply say, have fun. In doing so they maybe celebrating the incarnation more then they know. So in the words of the greatest philosophers of all time "Party on Dudes"

I appologize kettles are only half over so the insanity will only increase.

In the Army is Christmas a religious holiday or a money holiday?


Blogger surrendered said ... (12:52 AM) : 

I think there has to be a balance. Yeah, there are some nutcases who say stupid things like, "This is our country..." - but there is also a concerted effort in media outlets and anti-Christian voices (like Ted Turner) to push out of the spotlight anything that "smells" Christian.

It's a lot more difficult than just shutting up about the whole thing. There has to be intelligent, Spirit-filled dialogue happening ("let your speech be seasoned with salt") between believers in Christ and followers of other philosophies.

The whole political correctness thing in America has gotten ridiculous. A lot of the effort to put Christmas back at the forefront of the Christmas season comes not from those who are adamant evangelists, but largely from those for whom Christmas is really a part of their culture. Kwanza will hit its 40th birthday next year; Eid's timing differs from year to year; Hanukah is celebrated by Jews, among whose strongest allies are current-day evangelical "right-wing" Christians.

When you view the cultural/religious makeup of America, most are "Christian", if nothing else but by name. It only follows logically that we not bar Christian images and icons from public view when we necessitate the show of popular symbols from other religions.


Blogger shaun said ... (1:30 PM) : 

I'd just like to point out that although christmas is a fine holiday (I celebrate it myself) that has been a part of the church year for some time, it is never commanded in the scriptures. It is strange the things we get goofy about. I think that a solid return to sola scriptura would be really helpful for our respective dialogues.


Blogger Taminee said ... (2:46 PM) : 

Amen Tim! And for Bill, in the army it is a just a holiday, there are no bonuses given in the army unless that has changed in the last 8 years. Wow it's been awhile since I got out. Happy Holidays includes absolutely everyone. Yes,I shop at Target still and I am not offended. At my salon, I say Happy Holidays, unless the parents specifically state that they are celebrating Christmas or another holiday. Yes, if they say they are Jewish I will say Happy Hanakuh. It is consideration toward your neighbor. As I said in my blog, shouting about every issue only turns people off to these issues. No one ever got anything accomplished yelling at people how they should be living or celebrating. Peaceful actions do just fine.


Blogger Gordon said ... (9:33 PM) : 

Tim -just looking on a bigger screen and it looks great


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