Monday, December 19, 2005
Christian Battering Rams
As most of you know, I am a Christian--spiritually born-again, accepting and proclaiming Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I am also a non-supporter of the Bush administration, and live in a "red" state. That makes me something of a minority, both in my community and in my own church. But that's OK, because my personal church home is a very comfortable place because of the well-observed separation of church and state there. Our pastor doesn't politicize, nor should he. I don't want politics involved in my worship, nor do I want matters of faith imposing on matters of government. I DO want freedom to worship as I see fit.
What is weighing heavily upon my mind of late are what I am calling the "Battering Ram Christians." I'm looking at you, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, James Dobson, Pat Robertson (ugh), Concerned Women for America, et al. Why not look to examples such as Billy Graham, Rick Warren, and Jimmy Carter? And do you realize who started all this "War on Christmas" tempest in a teapot? Bill O'Reilly. That's right--from FOX News, "Your Source," as reported in a recent episode of "The Simpsons"... "For Evil." This Bill
O'Reilly, paragon of Christian values.
What I want to say is, KNOCK IT OFF. Just stop. Shut UP, already. Take a deep breath, and STEP BACK. Realize that you are doing more harm than good to Christianity and its real mission. Did The Great Commission mention anything about protesting dollmakers or boycotting retailers? If Jesus were here now, resuming his work, would he be more interested in A.) SpongeBob and Tinky-Winky, or B.) bringing ever more people into his fold to enjoy eternal bliss at his side? Would His primary concern be to wage a war of hatred and intolerance against homosexuals and peoples of other faiths or of no faith...or would he be among them, ministering and witnessing unto those very people?
Would Jesus be more concerned over man-made labels such as "liberal" and "conservative", or over bringing all people together in a spirit of love and compassion? YES, He would desire to bring all people to the Father, through Him, but I doubt that the battering ram favored by many fundamentalists today would be among of His tools of choice.
This idea was perfectly illustrated on last night's episode of, of all things, the animated T.V. series, "The Family Guy." Peter's father, a devout, near-maniacally observant Catholic, is visiting, and once again berating his son for marrying a Protestant and for not having baptised the infant Stewie. Brian (the talking dog) asks him:
"You really think splashing (air quotes) magic water on Stewie will keep him outta hell?"
Grandpa: "Watch that kinda talk, or you'll getcher heathen head SMACKED!"
Brian: "Well, that's very Christian: 'Believe what I say, or I'll HURT you.' "
Grandpa: "NOW you're gettin' it!" (smacks Brian off his chair with a Bible)
I just think that we, as Christians, could be of a lot more use in this world and beyond if we did a bit more ministering and witnessing--to everyone--and a bit less "smacking of heathen heads."
And as for this "War on Christmas?" Squash that noise, too. Just stop it. Don't throw a fit about the use of "Xmas," instead go and learn how it came about, and that 'X' is the first letter in the Greek word for 'Christ,' and came to be a symbol for Christ. Wanna learn more about Christmas and its traditions? This is an excellent place to start.
In short, in this season, my fellow Christians, celebrate, contemplate...consider deeply the meaning of the occasion we are marking, arbitrary as its date may be. Follow the example of Mary, who "...kept these things, and pondered them in her heart."
I love that.