Archive for christmas

.::Merry Christmas Rant

Posted in Life, rant, Theology with tags , , on January 21, 2010 by Walter

I know this rant is a bit late for the season, but it struck me that our common way of greeting people during the Christmas season seems completely inadequate.  Here is what I mean,  the “Merry” on “Merry Christmas” seems woefully underwhelming as an adjective.  When I hear “Merry Christmas” I hear, “Have a nice, little, safe, quiet Christmas.”

But Christmas is perhaps THE most powerful event in the course of human history.  Could we not use a better adjective to qualify our desire to celebrate the incarnation of God for the redemption of humanity?  Merry seems to small of a word to truly call us to celebrate God breaking in history through the birth of Jesus.

“Awesome”  doesn’t seem to work for me as it has been repurposed in our cultre to mean “way cool.”

“Extraordinary” doesn’t roll off the tongue.

“Amazing” begins to move in the right direction.

I am now taking applications for new appropriate qualifiers as I hope to begin a new movement away from “Merry” to something much more powerful.

.::The Baby Jesus is Annoying

Posted in Ministry, rant, Theology with tags , , , , on December 21, 2008 by Walter

This clip from “Talledega Nights” used to really offend me, but after further reflection, while it may still be offensive at parts, it may speak more truth into our theology of Jesus.

Here is what I mean, perhaps we have a theology of Jesus that is a baby that we can admire, pinch its cheeks, fuss over and say “Isn’t he cute?”  It is a Jesus we like to keep in the manger.

A baby WE can parent.

A baby WE can control.

The problem is this baby Jesus doesn’t STAY in the crib.  He grows up.  In Luke 2:41ff we see Jesus bailing on his parents to go teach in the temple courts.  when his parents confront him, he almost gets snarky with them. . . yeah I said snarky.  If I had said what Jesus said to his parents, I would have been slapped (back in the days where slapping a kid wasn’t a crime but a character building experience.)

Then right after his public ministry begins in Luke 4 we see him reading scripture in the synagogue from Isaiah and just fires off a missile to the teachers of the law that says, “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.”

If that isn’t enough he begins to talk about things like his own death, burial and resurrection . . . creepy!  I can hear the apostles saying, “Way to be a downer Jesus!”

He disrupts commerce like the trade in the temple and calls out the apathy and materialism around him.

He has the gall to notice the widows, poor, orphaned and imprisoned that weren’t being cared for by his people.

And it seems our response to these teachings is to turn our gaze away as to not see that sign that says, “Will work for food.”  But Jesus notices our wandering gaze and says, “Look at the Poor!”

How ANNOYING!

Donald Miller says ” that He is always going around saying, You have heard it said such and such, but I tell you some other thing. If you happened to be a person who thought they knew everything about God, Jesus would have been completely annoying.”  (Searching for God Knows What p.21)

It IS annoying because what Jesus says and points out RINGS TRUE to our Soul.  But we have bought in to the messages of our culture that have said otherwise.  The safe Jesus, the Disinfected For your Protection Jesus, the Anti-Bacterial Jesus, The Precious Moments Jesus, The Footprints in the Sand Jesus is the one we have bought in to.

This is the Jesus we believe has taught us that Christians are ones who: are good, recycle, pay our taxes, put fish on the backs of our cars, give our leftovers to goodwill, pay our taxes, etc.

And we can handle and manage this Jesus.  this is a safe Jesus.  This is easy and doesn’t invade our space.
But the annoying Baby Jesus says:

  • Love Your Enemy
  • Turn the Other Cheek
  • Help the Poor
  • Visit the Imprisoned
  • Sell Everything

Annoying!

Iti s annoying because we can’t CONTROL those things.  It is annoying because:

  • To love my enemy means I can’t CONTROL the revenge or hate that I want them to feel.
  • To turn the other cheek means I can’t control the dolling out of Justice that I think they deserve, I have to trust God to do that.
  • To take care of the poor means I can’t control all my money or I may have to give up some of my money or that flat screen I have my eye on.
  • To visit those in prison means I can’t view criminals as “them” and I need to see them at people and I have to give up the CONTROL of believing that is what they deserve and embrace the fact what they really deserve is the Love of God displayed through my presence there.

So this Christmas, when you hear the angels say, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Beware, It may not turn out to be all eggnog and poinsettia plants, but you may just have to turn your cheek, give to others and other “annoying” things like that.

Merry Christmas!

Charlie Brown For Sale . . . Good Greif!

Posted in Life with tags , , on December 10, 2008 by Walter

 As Amy and I were thumbing through the Sunday Paper, I came across an ad for a replica of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  You know that pathetic little, scrawny twig that posed as a tree in the infamous Holiday TV Special.  I had to ask myself, “How much further will the consumerism go?”

The irony of it is that in the actual TV show, when Charlie Brown realizes the TRUE meaning of Christmas (See Luke 2) and understands how caught up he got in the rat race of the season, he find true JOY in the peace that comes through this baby born in a manger and you see it in his demeanor.  A smile beams across his big round bald head and the short-torsoed, stubby bodied little runt of a kid begins to skip!

When was the last time you began to smile and skip at the good news?  PErhaps, this Christmas we might all do well by stopping and asking ourselves, “Are wegetting caught up in the madness and forgetting the “Glad tidings of great joy” that the angels brought us?

Oh and that tree . . . they are asking $10-$15 for it.

Good Greif!