WWJD in the War Against Christmas?

Because so many people are outraged that other people are saying things like, “Happy Holidays,” or that stores have signs which say “Xmas", I asked myself: What would Jesus do?

war-on-christmasAlthough not a Christian myself, I have read the New Testament several times. (Sound moral thinking is sound moral thinking, regardless of whether or not I agree with the direct divinity of the source.)  So I tried to imagine someone going up to Him and expressing anger that others weren’t calling the day of His birth by the right name. I like to think of Him pausing while washing the feet of the poor or feeding the hungry or befriending the most despised people in society and looking at the person with His infinite patience, “Oh, that’s too bad. Excuse me, I have important work to do.” And with that he would get back to preventing a crowd from stoning a woman to death or comforting the sick or teaching about the importance of having no God before God or treating your fellow human as if you thought they were also humans.

Whenever I hear someone say, “There’s no X in Christmas,” I am always tempted to ask, “But is there any Christ in Christmas?” I do not, because to do so would be to give in to my own ego and not treat that person with the love and patience he or she deserves. There are many great places to learn that and, while my personal preference is Buddhist,  it is also laid out very well in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Good texts, all.

Another fine take on this issue can be found at the website DefendChristmas.com:

We assert there is a war on Christmas. It is an old and unsettled debate. But it has nothing to do with television pundits, school grounds, city parks or Supreme Courts. The war on Christmas is fought in the home and in the heart.

The site’s mission is,  “to referee the passionate-though-misguided combatants in the War on Christmas. If we have to discuss these things — and evidently we do — then we will be a voice of reason for both sides of the debate and serve to provide simple reminders of “peace on Earth, goodwill to all men”. Amen to that.

BTW, if you are interested in a very good and very well informed discussion about how Dec. 25th came to be the approved date for His birth, please see this fine article from The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Concerning the date of Christ’s birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The censuswould have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion. Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended. But Rome was not thus considerate. Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season.

Press release of the day: “Film Sets New Christian Comedy Trend”

Back in the immoral age of comics, Christian comedians seemed out of place in any other venue besides a church.

Some would argue that the only thing that goes on in a church is comedy, but that would be going for the cheap laugh and I would never do that.

Or how about: “Three comedians walk into a church. Only one of them knows he’s a comedian.”

Aren’t all comedians Immoral? (“deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong“)  The basic job definition is holding up a fun-house mirror to society & letting people consider ideas that they would never think of otherwise.

It would be hard to come up with a bigger violation of currently accepted principles of right and wrong than humbly pursuing your faith, loving your God and your fellow man even over the pursuit of material gain. Thus Christianity can be pretty damn immoral. When the late Mr. Carlin went on about the seven dirty words that you can’t say on television he was making a point about the unpleasantness of swearing serving to distract us from the true obscenities of the world like poverty, war, bigotry. For me that’s a very Christian message.

I actually have a bunch of God related material in my act. “Two phrases I hate: ‘person of faith’ and ‘faith-based organization.’ Please do not insult my belief that way. Cubs fans are a people of faith and support a faith-based organization. Me, I believe in God.” (The way things are going I’m going to have another patsy organization. GM? The Knicks? The Fed?)

In case you were wondering what the hell: “Enter Ron Pearson, a Christian who is explicit about his faith yet is one of the top secular comics in the business. … Pearson’s latest project, Apostles of Comedy; The Movie, is a masterpiece that’s sure to set a new trend in both the Christian and secular comedy world. The film fuses 4 award – winning comedians that spotlights not only the quirks but explores their private lives as they share their journeys of love, faith, hope and forgiveness. You’ll see famed comedians Pearson, Anthony Griffith, Brad Stine and Jeff Allen as you’ve never seen them.”

“As you’ve never seen them?” Well, that’s setting the bar pretty low. How about as you’ve never heard of them?

And just FYI: Bob Newhart is GOD!

Punk god illustration by George Coghill.

God’s chosen racing team finishes 14th at Indy 500

Kingdom Racing was founded last year “to win on the race track, create value for sponsors, and to change people’s lives through on-track ministry events.” Despite this divine mission, driver Davey Hamilton was afflicted with an “under steer in the car” (don’t ask me) which caused him to finish 14th at this year’s Indy 500. Chalk it up to free will I guess. In words that echoed either The Book of Job or Dale Earnhardt Sr., Hamilton said, “This is the toughest race I’ve ever been in.”

As with all 14th place finishes, this was a team achievement.* The Kingdom Racing team is lead by Houston businessman George Del Canto who said, “The team’s vision is to deliver the word of God through Motor Sports. To reach this goal, we must field a championship caliber race team, as only front-runners earn credibility and deliver value to the sponsors’ investment.” (There has been considerable theological debate over whether credibility is earned through acts on the race track or by the grace of The Sponsor. The debate was eventually settled at the Wittenberg Raceway in what has come to be known as the Martin Luther 95.)

Del Canto says the idea for Kingdom Racing came to him, “Three years ago, after studying Awaken the Leader Within, a book that challenged Christians to have a “blow your socks off” vision for the kingdom of God, I said I was going to build an Indy race team to deliver God’s word through motor sports.”

We can only hope that — unlike Saul on the road to Damascus — none of Kingdom Racing’s drivers are blinded by this “blow your socks off” vision.

*Or maybe, as some have long suspected, God really is a NASCAR fan.

Car dealer allegedly apologizes for ad that insults all non-Christians

Here’s the actual text of the radio spot for Kieffe and Sons Ford of Kern County, California.

Did you know that there are people in this country who want prayer out of schools, “Under God” out of the Pledge, and “In God We Trust” to be taken off our money?

But did you know that 86 percent of Americans say they believe in God? Now, since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians who believe in God, we at Kieffe and Sons Ford wonder why we don’t just tell the other 14 percent to sit down and shut up.

I guess maybe I just offended 14 percent of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case, then I say that’s tough; this is America, folks — it’s called free speech. And none of us at Kieffe and Sons Ford are afraid to speak up. Kieffe and Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond: if we don’t see you today, by the grace of God, we’ll be here tomorrow.

OK, so now we know he’s bigoted, a bad businessman and can’t do research. Apparently every American who believes in God is a Christian. Good, pardon the phrase, Lord.

The apology is every bit as stupid as the ad.

“It’s just something that went by us,” said Rick Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.”

Oh, Rick, if you’d only insulted the atheists you’d be far better off. I am sure all the churches in Kern County are grateful that Rick doesn’t actually attend any of them — although he might want to start.

However this does give me enough of a thematic link to mention my latest post at The Ministry of Culture which explains why Julie Andrews + John Coltrane = God.

Ultimate in Sports Marketing: Vatican considering pro soccer team

“I do not preclude the possibility that the Vatican, in the future, could put together a football team of great value, that could play on the same level as Roma, Inter Milan and Sampdoria.” — Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State

Get a red card, say 10 Hail Marys.

Mascot: A guy carrying a cross? A rock? Someone not eating meat on a Friday? A sheep?

Nickname: The Indulgences? The Infallibles? The Rhythm Method?

UPDATE: He was joking. I would put the Cardinal’s joke-telling abilities ahead of John Kerry but behind Gallagher. Next time smash a watermelon, your religiousness.

General takes sucking up to the boss to a whole new level

“He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country.” — Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

Does beg the question which good Lord is talking to Rummy. I mean the G-d of the Old Testament had the whole Job thing and generally was never to nice to H-s followers. If it’s a New Testament good Lord, then are we talking Catholic, Protestant, Coptic, Russian Orthodox or what?

Or maybe it’s not even a Christian good Lord. Maybe he’s listening to Ganesh (an elephant-headed deity is a natural fit), or Loki or Anansi. Or maybe the general is just setting up the ultimate pass the buck scenario: Rummy was just following orders.

While I personally find the GL a great source of comfort, I am not certain I would rely on Him/Her/It/Them for direction on how to defend a nation. I mean is giving a slingshot to a kid really going to deter terrorists?