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.
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?