Christians Getting Whiny During Advent, Or Furthering Cementing Our Bad Image

I had such a good blog planned for today on the topic of heaven and earth – but more urgent matters have arisen. This post is about the controversy over “happy holidays” substituting “merry Christmas” – and it’s also not about that. I’m using an example of the madness to show a larger thing going on. So hang with me, I know there are plenty of blogs ranting about this issue.

A mega church in Dallas, Texas has launched a website called GrinchAlert.com where users can add stores to its “naughty” or “nice” list. The “nice” rating is given to stores that say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” and display nativity scenes, among other things. As you can imagine, “naughty” is handed to stores who are more generic or do not acknowledge the holiday. Ultimately the “naughty” rating can imply boycott for not being Christmas friendly.

An artist's rendering of the building First Baptist Church is currently raising money to construct- costing $110 million

Before we get into it, how about a collective “ugh.”

Though the church claims the website is for “fun,” the annual ridiculousness surrounding the proper holiday season greeting is anything but. It just makes Christians look even more crazy and judgmental and trust me – this image did not need any more cement.

As I said above I’m not going to spend too much time shredding this church and it’s website. But the issue this brings up can apply to us as a whole. First of all – the Church is rapidly gaining a reputation for being people who nit-pick and criticize everything. I mean frankly we come across as whiny children, and something about this seems contrary to the grace we are supposed to radiate. I do realize this an unfair and gross generalization and that there are plenty of people out reversing this trend and image – but nonetheless this is still Jesus’ name and his body getting headlines for being mean, unreasonable people. And it’s not even like we’re getting known for criticizing legitimate issues.

By adding stores to the “naughty” list – it establishes that the church is anti-whoever made that list. At least if I worked for or represented one of those stores, that’s how I’d view it. I’d simply see me being added to the ever-growing list of people who Christians don’t like. They may even always remember Christians as being “against” them and have little incentive to ever research Christianity to see otherwise.

My main beef though is that this is just another way for churches to tell people that they aren’t “enough.” Because behind it all, that’s really the message here, isn’t it? That that store isn’t good enough or Christian enough. And everything inside of me knows that Christianity is not a religion meant to exclude you because you aren’t holy or pure of good enough. It’s a faith of grace and acceptance and come as you are. 

This is where I think we can all learn from First Baptist Church – are we communicating to the world a message of “you are not ____ enough?” Are people only hearing about their downfalls and failures and shortcomings? Ultimately are telling people to clean up their act before they can come join our ranks? Because these are dangerous and counter-productive messages to be sending.

Finally, these naughty complaints are about BUSINESSES. Since when did Christians become so concerned about the consumerism/business world? Why are we trying to make consumerism holy?

This may be the closest I’ve posted to a rant – hopefully we can still gleam a lesson from all the absurdity. What are your thoughts?

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13 Responses to Christians Getting Whiny During Advent, Or Furthering Cementing Our Bad Image

  1. i personally tire of this kind of stuff. I think they need to take a closer look at the $110 million price tag of their new building and begin asking what difference it will make in eternity. Do you realize how many wells that would build for Third World countries? How many people that would clothe? I pastor a church in the 2nd poorest county in Indiana and can guarantee that is more than the gross of everyone living in Owen County…many times over. Sheesh! Priorities people!! Charlie…rant away.

  2. David says:

    The real problem is that the church in America does not know how to interact with a fallen world. The Americanization of the Gospel, a mix of patriotism and Christianity, is problematic. The 1st Amendment is for every one. America is slowly but surely losing ground in terms of a national form of Christianity.

    I do think that a church sponsoring this site is foolish. The Internet is a great eqaulizer and can put pressure on people to change their views. In that sense, I think it is a great idea. From Wikileaks to Platewire and Trip Advisor we get to rate how we feel about things.

    As a country we have both strong deist and Christian roots which are becoming more and more meaningless. Everyone should take a close look at the Mayflower Compact. The US and Israel are the only two countries founded for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    As we give way to non-Christian expressions; for some Christians the erosion is saddening. If we believe that Jesus is really coming back, then we also need to believe that the season before that will be evil. It is part of the package.

    Regarding Christmas: It is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It was designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870. Christmas was celebrated on many different dates before the 200 A.D. The first Christmas is said to be celebrated on many dates before settling on the 25th of December. It is said that the first Christmas was celebrated in the 15th century in Victorian Britain.

    Until Christmas is outlawed, I am for “Merry Christmas.” It’s my right. 😉

    • i think you nailed it in the first few words you wrote – that the church struggles to know how to interact with the world it lives in. It takes the stance of judgment and condemnation as a way try to show they are separated.

      I am puzzled how we force non-Christians to celebrate our holiday – as you say it is a Christian holiday.

      • David says:

        It is also a Federal Holiday, Charlie – a law. That is my point here. If the majority doesn’t want it, get your Reps to vote it out. It is the same with the President, you don’t like him, vote against him.

        My half-cousin basically grew up in a country where they drive on the right instead of the left. When he comes here, he doesn’t like it at all (I won’t drive with him either, he make left hand turns into oncoming traffic!!). Should we allow him to drive on the right because that is his law?

        It this case, it is not about Christianity, it is about a law. If we can spend time yapping about the 4thof July and Memorial Day, then Christmas can be on the list. 😉

  3. Su says:

    I already ranted about this earlier this month, so I won’t repeat the whole thing here, however…

    I started reading a Christmas book last night. I knew from the title what it was going to be about, but I decided to give it a try anyway. I got as far as the part where the judge rules that you can’t have a live Nativity on courthouse grounds and one of the characters says “It’s unbelievable that in the United States we can’t celebrate Christmas anymore” before I closed it. I threw up in my mouth a little.

    I just don’t understand the insistence of claiming the materialism in the name of Jesus. I mean, really? By golly, if you’re going to waste money on crap, you’d better give God credit for it! Bleh. [/rant]

  4. jay @ bethegospel says:

    Here in Tulsa we’ve got tons of people upset because the city voted to change the annual “Christmas Parade” to the “Holiday Parade.” My friend and I have ranted about these kinds of things before.
    http://blueconfessions.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/ban-all-who-oppose/
    http://blueconfessions.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/we-cant-like-that/

  5. Angela says:

    Well at least that website isn’t categorizing people by heaven or hellfire…a step up from many churches.

    “First of all – the Church is rapidly gaining a reputation for being people who nit-pick and criticize everything”
    Charlie, I mean this in love, but I think it’s funny that you wrote you considering your blog is about criticizing modern Christianity and you are apart of the body:)

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