Consumerism, Goats and Vile Persecution
by MW Cook
Tis the season to be whiny.
Sorry, was that negative? I didn’t mean it to be.
But it’s hard to miss during the festive seasons. Which is too bad, because I was raised thinking this time of year was about the greatest gift we ever got: Love in the shape of a baby.
And I can’t really point at anyone else and blame them for the complaining that marks December. It’s my own tribe. And there are two things you’ll be sure to hear us whine about until the new year.
First, we’ll whine about how the rampant consumerism has utterly destroyed the message of Christmas. We’ll complain about the sex-driven ads, the ridiculous rushes at the malls, the blatant love of stuff and money.
All the while, we shop with the rest of them.
If malls are temples to the great and terrible gods of commerce and materialism, the folks in my Christian tribe are just as devout as anyone.
My wife is using her wild, love-filled i117 project to fight consumerism. She’s buying goats for widows in Pakistan to help them get enough income to feed their families. Go to her facebook group or send her an e-mail if you want to help battle Christmas consumerism with her!
Second, we complain about how no one says ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore.
Seen this comic before? It floats around every year. Of course, no one ever gets sent to the Principal’s office for saying Christmas (sidenote: notice how the two on the left are dressed like punks and the poor, persecuted Christian boy is oh-so-spiffy?). Doomsayers have been predicting this kind of ‘persecution’ since the 80s, but it still hasn’t happened. And, no, the elimination of the state-sponsored promotion of Christianity does not count as persecution.
Guess what? Jesus is not threatened by folks who celebrate other holidays around the Solstice. He’s just not. He’s more secure in himself. And I’m not threatened by people who wish me a happy holiday. I say thanks, and wish that all their holidays are happy, too. Whichever holidays that might be.
Because the cause of Jesus (love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance) is not furthered by us whining about how good our religion used to have it back when we ran the show. It’s furthered by rejecting consumerism and intolerance both.
And now I’ll quickly hang a lantern on this post and acknowledge that I’m whining, too. But, at the very least, I’m whining about something different.
Now go buy some goats!
Great take on the madness this time of year has become. It’s sad and frustrating and irritating, all rolled into one. And Happy Holidays!
I see your first point and raise you a goat. :)
On the second, I agree with elements of what you’re saying. What we’re talking about essentially are the traditions of Christian culture as opposed to anything truly sacrosanct. (Or at least it’s only sacred insofar as the incarnation of Christ impacts the life of the individual)
I quite like the comic however, quite apart from what I’ve already said. It’s of course intended to be hyperbole, and to impart a delicious sense of irony as a result.
Societally we are in a race for the lowest common denominator when it comes any belief of significance. Secularism of the rabid sort which has invaded the halls where our educational philosophy is built (a religion in and of itself!) communicates to us that in order to have good relations with the world and our neighbour we must either abandon (or practice out of the public eye) any cultural element which another does not share or esteem. Indeed such practice is deemed offensive. It’s silly. The silly comic is intended I think to magnify that silliness to the extent that it’s visible even to those who wouldn’t normally care.
Personally I think the public practice of culture should not seek to remove any element which we cannot agree upon (which of course leaves little to nothing) but rather represent the most significant constituent demographic of the surrounding geography.
In other words, it would be ridiculous to put a Christmas tree in the lobby of a school which has 95% Islamic constituency. In the same way, it’s ridiculous to insist that a school in which 95% of it’s constituency identify with Christmas cultural traditions remove theirs.
If I lived in a community where more than 80% of the population was Catholic, or Muslim, or Hindu or of any other background, it would EXPECT that the public institutions that support that community would reflect that demographic.
I would be neither offended nor upset. And if I was offended or upset, it would behove me to relocate to a community where I could identify with the public cultural element.