Here’s an example of the sort of stupidity I am talking about in my original post. From the AFA. Note how they ‘claim victory’ with the phrase: “Your actions make a difference!” and follow it up with this line of garbage:

According to Bill Chandler, vice-president of Gap corporate communications, Gap’s Old Navy division will launch a new television commercial this weekend which “has a very strong Christmas theme.”

Chandler responded to AFA last Friday, after a poll showed 90% of AFA supporters wanted to continue the boycott as a result of Gap’s initial “holiday” ad that mingled Christmas with the pagan “Winter Solstice” holiday.

Gap says the new ad will include the popular Supermodelquins proudly cheering “Merry Christmas”, and features Christmas trees, lights and ornaments as well.

In good faith, AFA is suspending the Gap boycott until it has an opportunity to view the new commercial this weekend.

As a result of your dedicated actions, we believe Gap is beginning to realize that Christmas is not just another “holiday” and will begin to advertise in a way that is respectful to Christians and Christmas shoppers.

Why does the AFA care if Jesus is associated with the Gap? Do they really think Jesus cares? I did notice, however, that you can spend $82 and get your own ‘merry christmas’ packs from the AFA. Here’s another fun page that tells us which stores do and do not say ‘merry christmas’.

Is this seriously what Jesus wants us doing with our time? Does Jesus really care if the person at Starbucks says ‘merry christmas’ or not? Seriously?!?! I’m going to purposely visit these stores that don’t say merry christmas and boycott the ones who cave into this asininity.

I’m taking Christ out of Christmas because I don’t want the Jesus I follow to be mocked any longer. Merry X-mas!

In order to provide for my family while I am in graduate school, I was provided, and accepted, a job at Blockbuster video. I believe that to an extent it was providential that I was hired at the store and I joyfully, dutifully and excellently do the work. I was hired as assistant store manager nearly to the day that I received my last severance check from my former church, the store works around my school and part-time job schedule, and I get along well with the employees I work with each day. The job is fun, I do the job well, and I am able to see a lot of people from the community every day. I am thankful, to be sure, that I was provided a job.

But the job has opened my eyes to something that they needed opened to. What I have seen is ugly, cumbersome, and frightening. I have seen American Capitalism in its fullest manifestation.

__________________

Today is ‘Black Friday.’ Today is the official beginning of the ‘Christ’mas season. Today is the day that everyone on Wal-Street looks forward to in order, and in hope, to bring to an end another year of economic worry, turmoil and disappointment.

Today is a day that the world has made, let us rejoice and spend in it.

Today is black Friday and, I don’t suppose, there is a more apropos name in the lexicon. Today is the day when all of America, joined together in a mass celebration of capitalism and freedom, will do her best to resurrect what billions in stimulus dollars, tax refund checks, and unemployment extensions have not been able to do: Drag our collective capitalist asses out of the dire misery of financial ‘suffering’ and ‘having to make cut-backs and/or do withoutness’ we have had to endure since…well, for a long time.

Today is black Friday.

___________________

I have never once gone out on a black Friday to spend, but today I will be going out to work in that insanity; today I will be another cog in the machine; another part of the problem.

“Hi, welcome to Blockbuster. Would you like some popcorn? Would you like some candy? Would you like another movie? Would you like another piece of plastic junk that will do absolutely nothing to enhance your standing with God; benefit your family; or prepare you for your future in this world?”

This is a day that the world has made, let us be glad and go in debt for it.

___________________

I know it has been said a thousand ways and a thousand times by a thousand people that we should ‘keep Christ in Christmas.’ There are even Facebook groups dedicated solely to the proposition of keeping Christ in Christmas. I’m also quite sure that the religious among us will start petitions, write sermons, and begin the media blitz informing us how it is important to ‘remember the reason for the season’ and all that, uh, crap.

And I get it. We want to keep people in mind of someone whom we believe to be significant to the season. So keep Christ in Christmas so that I can massage my conscience as I sliddddddee my credit card through the pin-pad at Best Buy.

Doesn’t matter: I voted to keep Christ in Christmas. I can do what I want.

And we do our best, don’t we, to keep our traditions alive. “Keep Christ in Christmas,” the purists will tell me as we begin stacking our nice artificial trees in the auditoriums of our worship houses.

Yes. Keep Christ in Christmas; and Easter; and the Fourth of July. It is important that all of the American holidays we celebrate are vitally linked to Jesus. It is important that all of our American holidays are tinged with the spiritual. This is, after all, the only way we Christians can celebrate without all of the attendant guilt. “I’m giving gifts because the wise men gave the baby Jesus gifts on December 25th while he lay in the manger and all the animals were lowing and while Herod was slaughtering his neighbors’ children.”

Make the celebration of capitalism about Jesus so that we can play too.

It is crucial to our Christian psyche that something we participate in, whether it is a holiday, or a major purchase (‘I bought that entertainment center so I can use my house for a small group ministry’), or a vacation (‘I went on a cruise, but it was a cruise for Jesus’), be about Jesus.

Keep Christ in Christmas. Don’t dare take his name out of it and replace it with an ‘X’.

This year I am doing just that. I am replacing the word ‘christ’ in Christmas with an ‘X’ because, I believe, Jesus, the one who ‘made himself nothing’, is sickened by what we call the ‘celebration of his birth.’ It is highly contradictory and ironic the way we fatten ourselves in celebration of the one of emptied himself of everything. Perhaps a better celebration of Jesus’ birth would be a church-wide fast or a candlelight memorial remembering all those who have been slaughtered in genocides and holocausts throughout the years of earth’s existence.

Am I being too harsh? Am I too naïve? Is it sacrilegious of me to disparage the season and ruin all the hopes and magic the little children have been brainwashed to expect? Am I cold and ruthless?

So why do we do it? What we ‘celebrate’ on December 25th in America, every year has zip, zero, zilch to do with what took place in Israel a couple of thousands years ago. But Keep Christ in Christmas and deplore those terrible heathens who, perhaps prophetically, have already take Christ out of Christmas.

Churches should probably have as many evergreens as American flags and crosses in the house of worship.

______________________

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I’m not necessarily opposed to this yearly pilgrimage. After all, it is fun and exciting and I suppose it does help America and those who are employed in America (and China)—people like me. But I don’t want there to be any mistaking what it is and is not. What we call Christmas is not about Jesus; it is about capitalism and the American dollar.

It’s the economy stupid.

So I have made the decision that I will replace ‘christ’ with an ‘x’ this year and I will not use convoluted strategies involving the Greek alphabet  in order to justify doing so.  I think it would do us all well to stop dragging the name of Jesus through this—even for one year.

I believe the name of Jesus deserves a little better than our schemes to inflate the egos and profits that are so uniquely this age and culture.

____________________

I have to go to work in a couple of hours and support the system. I’m going to mount my own protest this year, ironic I know, by not wishing a single person merry Christmas. Instead, I’ll find some way to say merry x-mas or seasons greetings or something similar. But for me, Christ is out.

It’s time to keep Christ out of Christmas.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 2:21 pm and is filed under Church and Society, satire really. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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71 Comments(+Add)

1   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

bravo, Jerry.

Strong words. I think you are right.

It’s one of the reasons I decided to buy nothing today, Black Friday. I won’t contribute to the “system.”

But it’s more than that and I think you hint at it in your post…

If Paul is right, we are up against “powers and principalities, dominions and cosmic forces of evil” (Eph. 6). Most Christians don’t even realize they are in a battle (one that is not against flesh and blood) but against the powers that seek to steal our hearts, to make us tell a less-than-perfect story (see Don Miller or Rob Bell).

What are the powers? They can take on many manifestations: War/violence, consumerism, government, fear of death, fear in general, apathy, religion, etc.

Paul is clear that we are to resist the powers. How we do that will look different depending on one’s context.

For me, avoiding the sales of Black Friday does a few things:

1- It is my way to acknowledge that the powers are alive and well and that our culture is inundated with a consumerist mentality

2- It is one way for me to avoid and resist the temptation to “keep up with the Jones’”

3- It models to my family, especially my kids, that our happiness, peace and joy is not tied to our possessions or the sales we run over other people to get to.

In these ways (and there are others) I am “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.” I am being aware and conscious of the story I am telling with my life (again, see Don Miller) rather than living the “american dream” story that I am told I ought to live if I want to be happy in this life.

peace.

2   Neil    
November 27th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

jerry,

i cannot follow your thoughts – exactly.

I understand that the greater culture does not celebrate a holiday that has anything to do with what happened in israel 2,000 years ago.

and for the greater culture “is not about Jesus; it is about capitalism and the American dollar.”

but what you are saying to, or about, or against true christians – i cannot tell.

3   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

These thoughts have been brought home to me powerfully with each passing day I work at the video store. It, the job, is all about money. In our sagging economy, I cannot believe how much money people spend on dvd’s, video games, and confection.

There are a couple of people who come in on a regular basis and spend $50 every time they walk through the door. They easily spend $300 apiece every month on dvd’s, candy, and otherwise.

It is mind boggling.

4   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Neil,

I am not saying anything about ‘true christians.’ i am saying something about me and what I have decided to do this year.

Other than that, what part exactly is incomprehensible?
jerry

5   Neil    
November 27th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Re #3: i wonder which is worse, the money they spend on that stuff, or the time i spend trying to show pastorboy his grid.

6   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

#5 – both would seem to have as their endpoints insanity.

7   Neil    
November 27th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

assume i am a christian who gets the difference between the cultural trappings of the holiday and any true meaning it may have. what are you saying to me?

8   Neil    
November 27th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

#6 – well, i just picked on pastorboy since we’ve just been down that road. there are plenty of other examples.

9   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I am saying that for too long, perhaps, those of us who do know the difference have been, in large part, key to the perpetuation of the myth.

As I said in the post, “I am a cog in the machine and not much more.”

10   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I am also saying that we, those of us who know, need to be more careful about the way we use the name of Jesus. Taking the Lord’s name in vain means a great deal more than making his name the first or last part of our ‘curse’ words.

11   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Jerry – This Sunday I will gladly give you the tattoo on the altar that makes you a member. Christmas is like calling Halloween “Saviorween”.

12   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

While I wasn’t planning on going out shopping today, maybe I’ll go out instead and make up for Chad’s purposeful lack of shopping by doubly helping out guys like you, Jerry, pay their salaries…

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Chris L. – You are a sweat shop slum lord.

14   john hughes    
November 27th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I think we as Christians should seek justice and combat explotation. I see nothing in Scripture about the evils of making a profit. Quite the contrary. If your scales are right, if you do not cheat, if you do not exploit then you should feel free to enjoy the fruit of your labor. However, if you see someone in need of food or clothing and do nothing when you have the means to do something then we have a problem.

I pay a tremendous amount of taxes to feed and clothe the poor, in addition I support my local food bank, tithe to my church, donate clothing, provide poor families with Christmas, etc. I provide for my family. How much is enough? The only other alternative is a vow of poverty or communism. I guess each of us have to listen to what God is telling us to do.

15   john hughes    
November 27th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Christmas is an enigma to me. I’m so conflicgted and confused over the whole thing. :=(

16   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Who buys Jesus a present on His birthday? He wants the new X-box. (whatever that is)

17   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I don’t have xbox-360 at my store, but I do have PS3 for a very reasonable price.

18   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

and, Chris L, I would appreciate it very much.

19   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

maybe I’ll go out instead and make up for Chad’s purposeful lack of shopping by doubly helping out guys like you, Jerry, pay their salaries…

Yeah, cause a pocket of Christians resisting the pull and power of consumerism on Black Friday is going to bankrupt Blockbuster.

And even if it did, this would be the end of the world. Because after all, our faith is in the “free” market. If it crumbles, so do all our hopes and dreams.

20   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Christ never was in “Christmas”. If you have a genuine desire to celebrate His birth, you might want to look around the later part of September.

21   nathan    
November 27th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

here. we. go.

22   Neil    
November 27th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

RE 9 & 10: works for me. a friend from my church posted a note on facebook listing retailers who were christmas friendly – i am still deciding how to respond.

23   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

So wait, we should only shop on days when things cost us more? Man, I’m so confused.

24   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Just for the record, “I’m a gun-toting Bible lover” or whatever Obama called us. I went hunting this morning with the full intent to shoot a deer until it was dead.
I did go shopping for a Christmas tree this evening and groceries. I hope that was OK. I also bought a Snickers bar, which I don’t need but they are SOOOOO good and fifty cents is such a good deal. So I guess I fed this evil system of ours too. Damn Consumerism! Hoping I can fill out emigration papers for Cuba soon.

25   nathan    
November 27th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

i think ya’ll are a bit too hard on Chad.

it’s not like any of us go out into the world to shop because of the kindness in our heart and concern for our fellow human.

we shop because we need/want stuff.

that’s how it is.

Chad is making a choice that bears witness to something to which we should all be sympathetic.

it doesn’t mean we all have to do it, but the substance is there.

it’s not deserving of ridicule.

I went shopping today for Xmas ornaments with my wife and her family (in town for the holidays).

Chad’s comment didn’t feel like an attack or smack to me…

why does a clear eyed awareness of the problems in this country and the challenges to our spiritual formation become tantamount to a desire to emigrate to Cuba?

sheeesh….

26   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Oh for the record, my comments had nothing to do with Chad’s…I didn’t even read them. I saw he commented and Chris L commented so I figured we would be going round and round about something I could care less about. I went back and read them after you posted this. I still think they apply.
I get tired of people bitching about America and Capitalism and acting like Socialism has worked somewhere in the history of mankind.
The old tripe about the terrible, terrible system gets old, so I posted some humor. But seriously, if America is so bad and Capitalism is the evil I’m always hearing about, maybe I should move to Cuba…or I can give Obama time I suppose. What do I know? I’m just a Bible hugging, gun toting whatever the quote is.

27   nathan    
November 27th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

to acknowledge the “over-consumption” of our consumer capitalist system is not a rejection of all consumption or capitalism, per se.

it just seems whenever there’s a critique, people just paint the critique as implying or claiming something it isn’t necessarily doing.

unreflective support OR theological defense of our current system as it stands is unwise.

that doesn’t mean saying so makes me a socialist.

i just wish more christians could admit that capitalism is just another broken human system that stands under judgement and will be swept away in the Kingdom.

28   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

It has nothing to do with America or captitalism, it has everything to do with what the kingdom of God is outlined in the Scriptures. If captilalism is taught, please let me know. For every capitalistic verse you can find. Im weill come up with three “socialism” verses.

29   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

thank, nathan and rick, for being charitable readers.

nathan’s comments are spot on. this isn’t about judging or painting people who buy stuff as evil or sinful or uncaring. I buy stuff too -and will continue to do so.

It’s about awareness.

30   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 9:49 pm

In economic terms, Christianity is socialism.

31   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Oh come on, this whole post doesn’t sound like a gripe session b/c the author has to work? Maybe I miss-read it. Maybe I didn’t.
Either way, I’ve been up since 5 am and I’m off to bed. I am a capitalist. I believe that capitalism is just a system that will be washed away when Christ returns as will all worldly systems.
I think the author should be happy as peach that those people are coming to his blockbuster tonight so that he can pay his mortgage this month. I wonder if Jesus sold his work as a carpenter for profit. I bet he did. I also bet it was a fair price.
I had a much longer response but it wouldn’t be fair because I intend to sign off.
I’ll be keeping Christ in Christmas and I’ll buy my kids gifts and my wife gifts and I won’t worry about the X. I’m glad that there were sales today. I’m also glad that there is a place like Blockbuster, although I’m a Netflix guy so that I can rent a romantic movie and have a fun date night with my wife.
I’ll take all of this hooplah seriously when we all start using computers and internet from the local library. Until then, we’re all wasting money that could be used somewhere else.
Now, have a wonderful night. I’m off to bed so tomorrow I can shoot a deer.

32   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Chad,
I honestly wrote my original comment and had not read your comments at all.

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I would be willing to guess that more money is spent on believers on believers than is spent on the unfortunate around the world.

Just guessing.

34   Joe    
November 27th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

#33
Let’s do some research, can we start with your checkbook?

35   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 27th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Absolutely, since I spend ALL my money overseas rather than here on my family – which is NONE! I do not celebrate Christmas.

36   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Rick, that is actually biblical: We are to care for those in the household of faith first and foremost; those outside come second.

Within the household of faith, you can see a bit of socialism inside of the early church, even a communal economy. Everyone who would not work would not eat, but those who did work, everything was held in common, and shared for those who were in need.

I would suggest that our responsibility in individual local flocks is to look out for our families first, then to those in need within our body second, and then outside our body third.

While we should seek to minister to the unfortunates, and we have opportunity to, we should minister basic needs to the household of faith first, and then with the overflow help the unfortunate outside the body.

When I return home I will supply you with multiple OT and NT scriptures that support this. As now, I am on supper break and I don’t have the time.

37   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

I can bet more (for sure) is spent on ‘christian‘ self help/ art books in one year in America than is given overseas.

Lets check Zondervan’s checkbook/balance sheet first, eh Joe?

38   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 27th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Jerry,
To your original OP, I would add a stronger critique- The Christian media houses, publishers, et.al really are in the world when it comes to this season, and other ‘religious’ holidays.

As a pastor, I receive mailers and catalogs from umpteen different places demanding our dollars for ‘Christian’ cards, books, gifts, etc. etc. etc. Then there are the community mailers so you can invite people to your special services to commemorate Christ’s birth which cost thousands of dollars. Not to mention the latest greatest petition drive hooked somehow to the government saving us, and donating money to ‘conservative’ causes, or petitions to refuse to shop at anyplace who says happy holidays.

This is not what Christmas is all about. Rick is right, we ought to celebrate the birth of Christ late summer/early fall but instead we have a pagan festival at its roots. In reality, the greatest gift we can give Christ and our families is love, devotion,., and obedience (to Christ)

Again, the best thing is to take advantage of the large crowds around malls in public areas and sharing the greatest gift ever given. We also go door to door in our community and share the gospel and collect food for the hungry at the same time. Like reverse trick or treat, it is a gift to the community and a way to help others. That is putting Christ into Christmas.

39   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 1:02 am

The post isn’t about capitalism or anything.

1. I posted it under ’satire’.
2. It is about the way we use the name of Jesus at x-mas time.
3. I said that I have no problem with shopping and spending money, let’s just not call it ‘christ’mas.

thanks.

40   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 7:47 am

#39 – But I recall some saying there is no difference between secular and sacred, and that “everything is spiritual”. So in that context, Jesus’ name can be attached to everything, right?

41   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

#40
STop it, Rick, you are just trying to bring Rob Bell into this argument!

;)

42   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

#35: Rick, do you have the names of a few good (respectable/responsible) organizations that you support? Can you send me an email?

#38: well stated PB.

We also go door to door in our community and share the gospel

Can you shed some light on how this is received? We’re thinking of doing the same thing here – not for Xmas, just generally. With so much door-to-door canvasing today, do you find people responsive and coming out to church?

Jerry, overall, this is one of the better posts I’ve read on this blog. I think I get your points entirely. Anytime you hit against idols like Xmas and others, you’ll take a little heat.

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Paul,

I have misplaced your e-mail address. Please send me your e-mail.

44   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Paul,
It is a mixed bag, and our goal is not stated to make people come out for church, but in hopes of sharing the Gospel. It is basically well received, and we did have a couple or two check out our fellowship.

The collecting food is key; we find out whether or not they need some help or we ask for food. When we distribute the food, we always include a Gospel tract and an invitation to church. We do not think it is evangelism to invite people to church, so we evangelize by sharing the Gospel then we invite them if they want to check it out.

45   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

i wonder if this is part of the christian publishing houses commodifying Christmas?

or this?

i mean, it’s all leveraging Christmas for ministry, right?

46   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

ah, yes…we include a tract in the food package so we can say that we shared the Gospel…nevermind we don’t really know for sure if someone even reads the tract…so it’s really no different than what is always criticized…but the tract is there so we can say our “gospel filled compassion” is better than someone elses…

oy…

47   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Nathan – I don’t find much objectionable with the Amazon site, but the Piper site is shameless. Of course I find the entire Christmas season as contrived consumerism wrapped in a very thin veneer of religiousness.

48   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Many people read tracts, and sometimes they plant and sometimes they water. I was affected by a tract, even though I threw it away. I do not understand the criticism of PB’s witnessing.

You may criticize some of his tone etc., but I find his evangelistic ferver to be Biblical.

49   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

my point is that MacArthur has a book that leverages Christmas and i know he’s not so dumb to believe that people wouldn’t give his book as a Christmas gift.

50   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

i don’t care about the tracts…my point is that PB clearly thinks he’s morally and spiritually superior to people because he includes a tract that there is no guarantee anybody would read.

his point is that his compassion is more faithful to the Gospel because of a tract that will probably be left unread.

51   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I do not care what PB thinks, tracts can be used of God. BTW – His CMA church seems to be much more evangelistic than the average CMA church.

52   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

i’m not denying or affirming the efficacy of tracts.

:)

53   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
November 28th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I actually don’t have a problem with Piper’s site offering the books as a bundle for a reduced price. Actually, I think books are one the few things that you can give or get that aren’t completely useless within a few months.

As far as MacArthur’s book, I do find these sorts of things kind of sad. I went into a Christian bookstore yesterday, and the amount of crap that’s on sale compared to things that have some sort of redeeming value it pretty high.

54   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Actually, I am superior to no one. I just think it is a good idea to put tracts everywhere, especially in bags of food.

55   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

my point is not that i think piper, et. al. are perpetuating the problem…the point is that they aren’t critiqued for doing the very same things their followers criticize others for.

56   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

#54:

but you do think your methods and understanding of the lived Gospel are better/correct in distinction to others…

so you do think you’re superior…

even if you don’t want to use that word or say it that way…

there’s a ton of comment threads that evidence this.

57   john hughes    
November 28th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

OK, so PB’s church is handing out food — an emergent’s touch stone — and just happen to add a tract to the basket. So the track invalidates the social gospel? I’m not following this logic.

58   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

The Desiring God website is a study in commercialism. They must have at least ten different T-shirts that say “Don’t Waste Your Life”.

Why is that any different than the Purpose Driven Life?

59   john hughes    
November 28th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Chapter and verse where a tract is not biblical. Sounds like personal preference in selection of witnessing tools to me.

60   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
November 28th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Why is that any different than the Purpose Driven Life?

It’s not, really… Of course, those that criticize Warren are just selective in their outrage.

61   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
November 28th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

#57 – A very poignant point. Evangelism is one area that we all should support regardless of the doctrinal differences.

62   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

never made any claims about the biblical/non-biblical character of a tract.

never made any claims denying or affirming the efficacy of said tracts.

go back re-read what I’m saying in my initial comments.

i’m not chewing my cabbage twice.

the point ISN’T the tract OR the food.

that’s abundantly clear.

63   Paul C    http://thepathtolife.wordpress.com
November 28th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

nathan and others seem to be as ODMish as those they castigate. Very transparent.

How in the world can you get upset about someone including a tract for goodness’ sake? Or make a character judgment that the person doing so feels superior to others? Please.

Evangelism is commendable. Judging by comments on this blog, if some of us were in the days of the early church we would have upbraided the Apostle Paul for his “in your face” approach in cities like Ephesus where they shouted “Great is Artemis!” for 2 solid hours to shut him up. How brash. How arrogant. How over-the-top his approach.

I just don’t get it. Please explain.

64   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
November 28th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

A tract is a very passive-aggressive and impersonal type of evangelism in my opinion. In my experience, they were used as a way to make the one who’s giving them away feel better more than anything.

The other thing I don’t like about them particularly is that it’s essentially buying into the modernist/gnostic notion that salvation is primarily about buying into a specific set of ideas. It’s driven from a very disembodied type of theology that puts information above relationship.

I’m not saying that all tracts are entirely wrong or that we can even avoid some the “knowledge transfer” aspects of evangelism, but I generally think they aren’t the best use of resources.

65   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

seriously, i know this is awful, but how stupid are some of you people?

how much more plain can i state the following?

never made any claims about the biblical/non-biblical character of a tract.

never made any claims denying or affirming the efficacy of said tracts.

so i guess i will have to chew my cabbage twice… sheeesh.

ok.

here we go…

i don’t give a flyin’ (you fill in the blank) if he includes a tract or not.

So please don’t speak of “ODMishness to me.

the point is that PB constantly castigates compassion ministry of others as being inherently sub-christian if such compassion isn’t done the way he does it.

my POINT…here we go…ready?

My point is that just including a tract doesn’t have anymore guarantee of sharing the gospel because there’s NO WAY to ensure it will be read.

If said tract IS NOT READ then his supposedly more complete compassion ministry is functionally the same as the very compassion ministries he castigates regularly.

Unless he makes the recipients of the food stop and read the tract in front of him there is a HIGH PROBABILITY that the tract is useless, thus making his compassion ministry NO DIFFERENT from the caricatures he traffics in about others who do not (or would not) include a tract.

sheeesh.

i never said anything about tracts good or bad.

seriously, how dense do you have to be?

66   Neil    
November 28th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

seriously, i know this is awful, but how stupid are some of you people?

take a breath nathan. i know it can be frustrating… but take a breath.

67   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

hope that explains it for you Paul C.

I don’t feel bad about a tract. Have at it.

But i will always stand by the evidence in numerous threads here that PB does have a superior sense of his evangelism methods.

he could stand in a paisley body suit and sing nursery rhymes for all i care, it’s not the methods, but his attitude with it when people don’t do things the way he does things.

if you want to talk about what’s “in line” with ODM land that would be the classic “if you don’t do it the way we do it, then you’re a God-hating manpleaser”…and that’s PB and his ilk to the “T”.

68   nathan    
November 28th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

#66;

tryin…

69   Neil    
November 28th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Judging by comments on this blog, if some of us were in the days of the early church we would have upbraided the Apostle Paul for his “in your face” approach in cities like Ephesus …

paul worked within a cultural context – so do we. paul was direct, but he used culturally natural methods to address people… and i’m prettty sure he never called any of the women who walked by “drunk whores.”

70   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
November 29th, 2009 at 1:00 am

Unless I am mistaken, Piper also offers his books as PDF’s for free at the Desiring God site. It seems to me he has plenty of disclaimers saying that money is not the issue for DG if you cannot pay. It could have changed; i could be wrong.

71   nathan    
November 29th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

i’m just poking at the selective “concern” some people have about writers they don’t favor…