Secularized Christianity

(from my xanga)

It’s not that I don’t like Christmas. I love Christmas! Even the secular stuff … my favorite is seeing the lights on the houses … I remember getting bundled up in my pajamas as a kid, packing into the car with a jug of hot chocolate … and we’d go out for the evening looking at the lights on the houses. Please don’t hear me as a “bah humbug” sort of person. I like singing Christmas carols the day after Thanksgiving.

But I want to raise awareness about the fact that most of what we do around Christmas is NOT really related to the birth of Christ … it’s a cultural celebration of goodness and mystery (at its best) and consumerism (at its worst).

I feel the same way about most of the religious/political controversies these days. They are more cultural issues than Christ issues. A few years ago the paper called to ask me my opinion on prayer at football games … they were surprised by my answer and didn’t publish much of what I said (they already had the story written and were just looking for quotes that fit their thesis). I am not in favor of it … partly because I don’t care for football (sorry, I’ll never be a real Texan) … but, really, it’s because I think prayer is being used for the wrong reasons in that context. It often comes down to “pray so God is on our side”. And it seems trivialized to me. Do we really mean, Christ enter into our playing so that all players treat each other with compassion and kindness, generosity and sacrifice … of course not. How is the prayer at football games really Christian? It’s the same with prayer in school, the Bible or ten commandments at the courthouse. We’re fighting the wrong battle. These things are merely facades which keep us thinking we are a Christian nation. And that’s why they are such hot political issues. As long as we keep thinking we’re a Christian nation, the church loses its prophetic voice in society.

This is why it is so vitally important that we continue to fight for the separation of church and state; that we fight for all marginalized voices to be given the right to be heard and respected. Christ speaks through those marginalized voices.

This was all written in response to Anne’s post … canceling worship on Christmas Day because it happens to fall on a Sunday … that is the epitome of the Church acclimating to culture and giving up its power and influence on one of the most holy days of the Christian calendar.