From the Bruderhof Community’s Daily Dig:
So That We May Awaken
There is perhaps nothing we modern people need more than to be genuinely shaken up. Where life is firm we need to sense its firmness; and where it is unstable and uncertain and has no basis, no foundation, we need to know this too and endure it. We need to recognize that we have stood on this earth in false pathos, in false security, in spiritual insanity.
For this is the message of Advent: faced with him who is the Last, the world will begin to shake. Only when we do not cling to false securities will our eyes be able to see this Last One and get to the bottom of things. Only then will we be able to guard our life from the frights and terrors into which God the Lord has let the world sink to teach us, so that we may awaken from sleep, as Paul says, and see that it is time to repent, time to change things.
From “Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas”
Read the whole thing
“She spun away, lost in the place where kids don’t even know their feet are moving.”*
Thought by the narrator after 83 year old Eddie, the protagonist, made a pipe-cleaner animal for a little girl.
The innocence and carefree-ness of children. The image, the feeling, the idea of that place where we are so involved, so rapturously involved, that our minds know nothing else. Our bodies do what they are supposed to do – we spin away – but we are completely unaware of those bodily movements. Imagine, or remember if we can. The simple joy of a pipe-cleaner animal, of running to who-knows-where but running nevertheless, of not worrying – oh, that all encompassing freedom enveloping us as we swim in the sense of what is possible.
God says to not worry, to be childlike in our faith, to know the sense of security in that He will care for our needs, to move in the peace that surpasses all understanding and the joy that knows no bounds, in all of this is our privilege – like being lost in that place were our feet don’t know they are moving.
Mitch Albom, the five people you meet in heaven, Hyperion: New York, 2003; 13.
We have come to this! The Religious Right / “Pro-Family” groups are on a new crusade to punish anyone who does not say “Merry Christmas” and boycott stores that use the word “Holidays” rather than “Christmas.” There has developed a mean-spirited paranoia among so many within the Religious Right that all the world is against them and take every little jot and tittle as an affront to God and their oh so godly lives (frankly, I think this has more to do with the emotional, mental, and spiritual disposition of the leaders of these groups than with most who sit in the pews!) It is an image of fundamentalism, no matter where the fundamentalist tendencies reside – liberal or conservative, Islam or Christianity, social theory, or where ever.
Target is their latest point of demonstration. Because Target does not use the word “Christmas,” just that one little word mind you, they are part of a 30 year old campaign to expunge Christianity and faith from the public square. Target uses the term “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” and for these guys that means that they are blatantly and intentional ANTI-Christian. Never mind that Hanukah begins around the same time as Christmas day this year. Never mind that their intent could well be in include all people, whether Christian or not, in their holiday cheer. There is no sense of fair play or consideration of others in the minds of these Religious Right leaders. Frankly, it infringes not one iota upon my faith and identification as a Christian or my free exercise of religion for these stores to use “Holidays” rather than “Christmas.”
Now, I will say that I am absolutely opposed to the politically correct notion, which I have experienced often, that it is an affront to wish someone else “Merry Christmas.” I was told by a fellow graduate student on a group trip to Cleveland to do some holiday shopping after final exams that it was horrible for me to wish someone a “Merry Christmas.” After all, I had no idea their religion, etc. Frankly, if someone came up to me and wished me a happy Hanukah or happy Kwanza, I would take it in the spirit the greeting was offered and not be offended one bit as a Christian.
Does the Religious Right really think that anyone not a Christian in our society will be persuaded to become one by this arrogant, mean-spirited, and unfair treatment? I think not. As a matter of fact, I believe the cause of Christ within the greater culture is actually harmed by this kind of fundamentalist display. We are to love – and these kinds of responses to cultural change and business decisions do not rise to the level of our high calling. I don’t mean that we should not or cannot advocate our positions strongly and forthrightly, but there is a time, place, and means by which to advocate (even demand) and this is not the way to go about being representatives of Jesus Christ in our society.
Here is the news blurb from Focus on the Families Citizen Link (which is similarly repeated through the American Family Association, et.al.):
Some Say Christmas Banning is Part of an Anti-Christian
SUMMARY: Pro-family leaders urge Christians to speak up and fight back.
Some conservative groups are claiming the banning of the word “Christmas” by retailers amounts to blatant discrimination against Christians.
Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, makes the case that taking Christ out of Christmas is part of larger agenda that has been taking place over the past 30 years.
“Once you start promoting Christian morality, Christian values, the claims that Christ, He is the Son of God and the only way to Heaven, then, the secular left and those who sympathize with them take you on,” he said.
Robert Morrison, senior policy advisor at the Family Research Council, said some on the left simply want to rid society of any mention of Jesus.
“That agenda is never sleeping. They’re pursuing their goals without any pause for holidays,” he told Family News in Focus. “This is a part of that agenda to drive underground any expression of religious faith.”
Morrison is urging Christians to smile and say “Merry Christmas” in response to those who say “happy holidays.”
“When they try to take away Christmas trees, Christmas parades, and all that, stand up,” he said. “Don’t be quiet. Don’t sheepishly go along with that. Stand up. Say ‘NO.’ ”
TAKE ACTION: One retailer that has been singled out for banning Christmas from its in-store displays and advertising is Target. You can send a note to the company’s CEO through the CitizenLink Action Center: