Skip to main content

Join the Conspiracy!

(I'm a week late in posting this, but here you go.)

True story: several years ago when I served at a church in Duncanville, I visited a family in their home for a funeral visit. In the middle of the summer, a Christmas tree graced the living room. It was this family's practice to never take their tree down. The son of this couple met a young woman, and was going to her parents' home for the first time. She warned him: "You might think this is weird, but my parents keep their Christmas tree up all year long." "Mine too!", he thought. You knew the relationship was off to a good start!

Admit it: you love Christmas that much too. Maybe not enough to keep your tree up or lights on year round, but you dig the holiday. So do I. To get us in the spirit of things, let's count down our favorite Christmas cliches:

1. It's too commercial. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $600 billion this holiday season. FYI, that more than thirty times what we spend on Mother's Day!
2. The Christmas season unofficially starts too soon. Stores have had their holly, etc. up since Labor Day. Radio stations are playing 100% Christmas music three weeks before Thanksgiving. Your neighbor has already decorated her house.
3. It's lost its religious significance-- now, like Thanksgiving, it is a secular observance more than anything else.
4. Speaking of Thanksgiving, Black Friday is getting old. Forcing low wage earning employees away from their families so shoppers can save $10 on an iPad stinks. Retailers react differently: some are shaming those who open on Thanksgiving (because nothing says, "Give Thanks!" like shaming someone); others are stretching Black Friday to Black Week or month. $600 billion is not enough!
5. It's too busy. Office parties, Sunday school parties, school holiday concerts, you know the drill. Get those tacky sweaters ready!

Several years ago, a few pastors and congregations had an idea to combat some of our cliches. They called this movement Advent Conspiracy. They produced fun videos like this one. Instead of spending so much,  parishioners were encouraged to spend less. Instead of participating in the busyness, use your time more wisely. Instead of buying clothes or toys no one will wear or play with, donate that money to a worthy cause-- like water wells. In seven years, nearly $10 billion has been raised to provide clean drinking water to folks around the world.

Over the next few weeks at Custer Road, we'll learn more about this movement and invite you to join in. By doing so, you will rediscover the Christmas joy that is possible when we:

  • Worship Fully
  • Spend less
  • Give more
  • Love all

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…