Monday, January 02, 2006

Let's hear it for global warming

  • Yes, for today, and today only, I'm setting aside my normal anger and rage at the lack of concern for environmental issues in our culture, because it is a balmy 75 degrees on this January 2nd, 2006. For today, and today only, I'm thankful for a trend in the world that would allow such a thing. It really helps one's general outlook on a new year when it's so beautiful outside.
  • Before I forget, I'd just like to acknowledge the Mizzou Tigers for their rousing victory over the gamecocks of South Carolina. What a great come from behind win. Thanks to all of the gracious congratulatory e-mails and text messages from my SC brethren and sisteren (???).
  • I've decided to weigh in a bit on the whole Christmas vs. Holidays debate. Here are my brief thoughts:
    • We, as Christians, on a large scale, seem to have forgotten that the Christmas season doesn't actually start until December 25th, and then lasts for the 12 days following that day. Officially, all of the time leading up is Advent, so maybe saying, "Merry Christmas" isn't exactly right.
    • If stores, communities, schools, whatever, want to call it the "Holiday Season," that's their prerogative. I'm pretty convinced that it is NOT our job, as Christians, to transform our society into a purely Christian state. On the flip side, I think that organizations that wish to claim their religious affiliation and designate a specific holiday (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc.) ought to be able to do so without fear of persecution of some sort.
    • The incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ isn't about trees, decorations, parades, parties, or any of the other nonsense the surrounds Christmas. I think it was Buechner who said that the incarnation ought to be something scary, not a feelgood event. I'll check my reference for that.
    • Why do Christians in America feel such a great need for the state, schools, municipalities, etc. to legitimize our faith? The gospel doesn't gain its power from any of those places. God doesn't gain legitimacy from a public school's "Christmas/Holiday" concert. Why does it bother us so much that institutions that have no religious affiliation fail to use religious language? I'm sure Newbigin has something to say about all of this.
  • So, there are my thoughts on that, for today. Push me understand what I don't understand.


Robert said...

I agree with all that you said. My only concern is that as we Christians become more and more politically correct and we begin to support things like separation of church and state (and church and school and church and business) that eventually we are going to separate church from everything. Now I agree that we shouldn't force our beliefs on anyone, however I also believe that I am supposed to live my life like Jesus would have and that I am supposed to be a 'fisher of people'. So, how do I fish for people if I continually allow for the separation of my beliefs and the rest of the secular world? I believe that there most be a happy median. Politically correct doesn't have to mean (and shouldn't mean) that we don't talk about things just because of some separation of church and state rule. So, like I said, I believe and agree with everything you said, I just fear that if we continue down the path of separation that eventually we Christians will only be left with our sanctuaries to discuss God. I don't think we can fish for people very well if we can't tell people outside of our sanctuary about what it is that we do inside that building.

A very extreme response,

Robert "the Moderate" Hay, Jr.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of changing the subject, but I say hooray for Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, whatever, at least we are communicating with one another. We live in a world where (as so many have pointed out before) we can practically go through an entire day and never talk to a soul if we choose to thanks to the internet and credit/debit cards. I don't know anyone who has encountered God at the self check out at the grocery store or gas pump, but certainly in the faces of others. We seem content to rush through our day and climb back up to our own "Mt Krumpit" where our hearts can shrink a little more. (I'm being harsh, but I'm guilty of it.) Why should I be offended by how people choose to communicate their joy this season? I am glad to hear people greeting one another, exchanging small talk with strangers, taking a moment to spread some kindness to fellow human beings. I would much rather hear "Happy Holidays" than nothing at all. Aren't we all suppose to be in relationship with one another?

Maybe I'm making this too simple, maybe I'm making it complicated, maybe I'm making no sense at all. In the meantime, Happy New Year. (Is that politically correct? :)) And may your heart grow three sizes bigger!


Alan Bancroft said...

Thanks for the comments, Robert and the mysterious C. I thought I'd do some responding. Robert, I totally agree that Christians ought to be talking about their faith in their daily lives. I think students in schools should feel free to pray at lunch and to offer faith based answers to questions when appropriate (answering 2 + 2 with "Jesus" might not be appropriate). I do wonder if, in some places, the division of church and state is actually used to accomplish exactly what the framers of the constitution wished to avoid, namely religious persecution. Now, I doubt that too many students are failing, or workers losing their jobs because of their Christian faith/identity, but I totally understand what you mean about the reticence of Christians to share their worldview in their daily lives. I definitely love the idea of evangelism being the simple act of pointing out God in the lives of people who fail to see God's action in their lives.
Now, to the mysterious C, I say hooray for communication and relationships. I'm with you in your desire for there to be more opportunities for actually encountering "the other." For more on that topic, you could try reading Edward Farley's book entitled Good and Evil. Great book, but very difficult to read. Anyway, thanks for reminding us that we all often fail to reach our quota of human interaction on any given day.
And to close, C, are you saying that I have a small heart? I mean, what's up with that? :)

Anonymous said...

No, your heart seems quite large, but you can answer that one for yourself! I really intended that comment for anyone who would hear it.

As for being mysterious, that was not my intention, but it's kind of fun that it turned out that way--I've never been called "mysterious" before. So, here's a clue for you about who I am--this summer I was given an undesireable nickname referring to the color of my feet which, thankfully, never caught on. Got it? (If not, you may want to worry more about the size of your brain.) :)

The Mysterious C