Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Raining on Holiday Parade in Tulsa

Okay, I know I promised you holiday humor again this week. And I will keep my promise if I can with a second post later this week. But right now I have to be serious for a minute.

What is up with the big to-do about calling a parade a holiday parade instead of a Christmas parade in Tulsa?

I'm a Christian. Okay. I get it. Sometimes it feels like we get rejected for being Christians. And sometimes Christians take a beating in the media and in people's opinions. At times, we do need to take a stand against disrespect toward our religious beliefs. If, for example, I have to submit to being scanned or patted down in the airport, while a Muslim woman in full garb can walk past because being scanned or patted down violates her religion, that's not fair to me, and I can protest. If I get criticized for taking a principled stand against abortion (I believe you don't have a right to choose who lives and who dies), then so be it. I'll take the heat. I am not opposed to taking a stand for my beliefs, and for being criticized by those who disagree with me.

HOWEVER...

I also think Christians have a way of wasting time on non-issues instead of focusing on the issues that are truly relevant. Case in point: This stupid holiday parade in Tulsa. We had to debate the name of the parade politically, in committee, wasting government time that really needs to be spent elsewhere (like on figuring out how to fix our bleeping streets here). Why? Because it used to be called a Christmas parade, and now it's called a holiday parade.

Some would say this isn't just semantics. I agree with you. Some would say it's sending a message. I agree. I think the message it is sending is this: Jesus loves all the children in Tulsa, whether they know Him or not.

Yup. That's what I think. Because I think, at the bottom of it all, parades at the holidays are for our children to have fun. For them to know we love them. For them to know that adults like to have fun too. And I don't have any problem letting all the Jewish, Muslim, atheist, and other non-Christian children in Tulsa come to a parade during December. Maybe you do. I don't know what to tell you if you do.

I can tell you this, though. By making a huge deal over the word Christmas (vs. the word holiday), Christians in Tulsa are sending the message that we don't love people who won't use the word Christmas. I'm sorry, but my Bible never says the word Christmas will save anybody. Not even the name Christ will save anybody. It's believing in Him that saves, according to the Bible. And I don't know how you can convince people He is worth believing in, if His representatives on this earth are constantly acting full of themselves, snotty, argumentative, and angry all the time.

If I were not a Christian right now, I can tell you that seeing a bunch of Christians argue over a stupid parade would not make me at all interested in becoming a Christian. I think this argument over the parade does nothing to show the love of Christ, but goes a long way to showing the banality of human beings. No one comes to God through human idiocy. I think all religions would agree with that.

How about we put Christ back in Christmas by truly loving those who don't believe the same way we do? And finding ways to show them, to prove to them, that we love them in a way humans ordinarily don't love? That will show Jesus to people far better than any parade labeled "Christmas."

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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