Friday, December 16, 2011

Christians Wage Holy War With Each Other Over War On Christmas

Christians appear to be having a war over the war over Christmas it seems. This also partly related to the dreaded "commercialism" of Christmas. I am not saying commercialism is not a problem. However I am still with Ann Rice on this one as she writes in her book Called Out of Darkness:

... Even Christmas shopping was part of this festive and holy time of year. For me, it was a matter of roaming five -and-dime stores on Canal Street for the simple little presents I could afford. But I well remember the Christmas carols paying in every store I entered, and the gorgeous Christmas windows of the fine stores, Maison Blanche and D.H. Holmes.

It seems to me in retrospect that the department stores and the dime stores did and excellent job of extending the "sacred space" of Christmas those days. And I sometimes wonder whether people of no religion, this might have been the only sacred space they knew. When people rail now against the "commercial nature of Christmas, I'm always conflicted and unable to respond. Because I think those who would banish commercialism from the holiday fail to understand how precious and comforting the shop displays and music can be. (Pages 96-97).

Also complaints about the commercialism of Christmas seems as much as a tradition as Black Friday. I think many of the complaints are valid , but I am sort of put off the often looking down my nose at all of yall tone that comes with it.

Returning to the War between Christians over the War over Christmas , Mirrors of Justice had a good post. See The War on Christmas Revisited.

In that piece the author of the post examines what Jim Wallis has to say. Wallis States:

Jesus later calls on his disciples to turn the other cheek, practice humility, walk the extra mile, put away their swords, love their neighbors — and even their enemies — and says that in his kingdom, it is the peacemakers who will be called the children of God. Christ will end our warring ways, bringing reconciliation to God and to one another.None of that has anything to do with the Fox News Christmas. In fact, quite the opposite.Making sure that shopping malls and stores greet their customers with “Merry Christmas” is entirely irrelevant to the meaning of the Incarnation. In reality it is the consumer frenzy of Christmas shopping that is the real affront and threat to the season.

Prof Berg makes a good observation:

.....I'm basically sympathetic to [Wallis's] kind of critique. Isn't it true that many of the "keep America Christian" efforts seem to be motivated more by the idea of retaining (cultural) power than the idea of pursuing Christ-like servanthood?

But there's a big potential pitfall in this criticism too. The culture warriors may often overlook servanthood, but they are right to oppose secularism -- and the social-justice Christians need that opposition to secularism in order for there to be public space for their own critique. If it's improper to bring up Jesus's name in pluralistic public settings (including department stores), then you can't proclaim, "Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and oppressed," in those settings. The social-justice types need to give one cheer, maybe two, for the culture warriors.

I think that is very correct. No matter what your political/ theological Christian bent is on these issues it seems many Christians could find a common ground. That is those Christians that have a practice and LIVE a Liturgical year - ADVENT / CHRISTMAS TIME.

For Catholics, Orthoodx, Anglicans etc this seems to be a wonderful time to press it. Many of the concerns of the commercialism of Christmas can be mitigated by really "living out this salavation history, through that and promoting it.

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