Monday, November 27, 2006

Thank you for shopping with Jesus


My friend Eaglewood has taken me to task for mocking Christians who think Wal-Mart shouldn’t have abandoned its “Merry Christmas” message in favor of “Happy Holidays”:

You are also mischaracterizing the "Merry Christmas" thing. It is not that we
wanted to force them to say merry Christmas any to allow their employees to say
it if they chose to without repercussions. At least that is where I came from
being someone who works in the retail industry part time.


With all due respect to Eaglewood, who is one of the most truly committed and thoughtful Christians I’ve ever met, he’s missing the mark here. The Wal-Mart “Merry Christmas” debate wasn’t just about the freedom of greeters to say “Merry Christmas.” Right wing groups also threw a fit because stores replaced their “Merry Christmas” banners with ones bearing the more generic “Happy Holidays.”

Here’s the question I have for Eaglewood and other Christians who insist that the “Merry Christmas” message ring throughout the retail world:

Tell me, please, what Wal-Mart has to do with the Christian meaning of Christmas? What does shopping have to do with it for that matter? Can any of you please explain how racking up holiday debt for DVD players, video games or other frivolous gifts honor Jesus? Is shopping a religious activity? If you see shopping as a secular rather than a spiritual activity then isn't Happy Holidays more appropriate than "Merry Christmas in a retail setting?

If you ask me, having a greeter wish you a Merry Christmas as you prepare to max out your Mastercard in the Name of Jesus just mocks the whole message Christ came to preach. People argue that removing the "Merry Christmas" message from retail stores is an attempt to remove Christ from our culture. I'd argue that it's the other way round. Associating Christ with shopping does far more to cheapen His name.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was just sitting here trying to remember both what I gave and received for Christmas last year and couldn't completely recall and that is very telling because the list of people I exchange gifts with is very limited. Often we give (even if we can't afford to) because we are expected to give and are afraid we will fall out of favor with friends and loved ones if we break tradition. I don't think Jesus considers that kind of giving a tribute to him.
God Bless You,
Margaret

Andrea said...

Very true, Margaret. I can't remember half of what I exchanged last year either.

It also seems to me that shopping is a very neutral act, tending mostly toward the secular, as you said, Morgan. Most of what we buy, all year long but especially at Christmas, are not needs but wants. But the amassing of crippling debt is not what the spirit of Christmas is about, even at the most generous Christian interpretation of it.

The flip side is that retailers should thank their lucky stars that the bulk of their precious money comes from people shopping for Christmas gifts.

But people who get all bent out of shape over being told Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays and vice versa...should all just chill the hell out. Give a polite reply and be on your way.

But I think some people just enjoy having a wild hair up their butt.

Where did you find that picture of Jesus crucified with shopping bags? Can we look forward to something similarly shocking for the racist nativity scene post? lol

Suspect said...

Wow. Boy am I proud to be part of the homo sapien race. We argue about whether a shopping mall should honor an imaginary friend of ours. Brilliant.

Morgan said...

"Often we give (even if we can't afford to) because we are expected to give and are afraid we will fall out of favor with friends and loved ones if we break tradition."

You have *so* hit on one of my pet peeves here. I don't mind giving to people close to me, but I resent being expected to send stuff to relatives I hardly ever see (such as neices and nephews who already have more stuff than they need) or to co-workers I don't even like.

I've been in work situations where everyone exchanges small gifts, but those small gifts can add up when you're talking about a dozen or so people. And of course, you grow closer to some co-workers than others and are forced to give them the better gifts outside view of your less-favored colleagues for fear someone will be offended. It's ridiculous!

My older sister just gives in the name of charity in lieu of buying presents. That's fine with me, but apparently one of our other sisters doesn't think highly of that decision, which is puzzling since her kids have always had more toys and gadgets than they could play with or use.

At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, the whole thing gets more and more irritating each year. Of course, some relatives have told me Christmas is "for the children," but if it is it's sending them the wrong message.

Morgan said...

"Where did you find that picture of Jesus crucified with shopping bags? Can we look forward to something similarly shocking for the racist nativity scene post? lol"

Is that picture of Jesus not AWESOME??? I googled "shopping jesus" and when I found it I thought, "No, this can't be real. It's too perfect."

My sister had a similar reaction when she saw it.

I'll have to wait to pen my post on the racist nativity scene. Eaglewood just provided too good a segue into my shopping rant. And of course, once I found the picture....

Ha, convict. Duly noted. It does seem like a waste of time given that some people don't even believe in God. Of course, I blame the "faithful" for the lack of faith. If fundamentalists only realized how their nonsense alienates people from God maybe they'd buy a clue.

eaglewood said...

I can only post once, as I am at work right now.

Personally, I could care less what signs a retailer puts up. You are correct in that regard. I was a bit taken aback over the push to make people say "Merry Christmas". It is a personal freedom of speech thing in my book.

For the record I do not work for Wal-mart, but I do work for a very large national retailer, and I just wanted to be able to wish someone a merry Christmas without looking over my shoulder to see if a manager is there.

I do think that you are right on with the problem with equating going into debt and shopping with Christianity. It is not why He came.

For me Christmas is not about giving gifts and shopping, or any of the other things that are now associated with it. For that matter with the way things are it should just be completely removed from the birth of Christ and called Santa Clause Day. That would be more true to the current spirit of things.

Our household does celibrate the birth of Christ. We chose to do it at this time of year out of simplicity rather than when His actual birth date is. We do give gifts in the imediate family, but no more than one for the adults and three for the children. The gifts for the children are often small and represent the gifts of the wise men.

"If fundamentalists only realized how their nonsense alienates people from God maybe they'd buy a clue."

I for one do get it and am ashamed of some of the things that go on in His name.

Andrea said...

Eaglewood, you seem like such a good husband and father, so I wonder why you're trying to hang in there and use the word fundamentalist to describe yourself. I can think of absolutely nothing positive associated with that word. They seem to have no respect for freedom, unlike yourself. There just has to be a better word, because they've ruined that one.

Andrea said...

Morgan, I totally relate to not wanting to give gifts to relatives you never see, or don't even like. We're currently not really on speaking terms with my husband's parents (they left us high and dry when we really needed their help a couple months ago). Then yesterday we get a call from his mom, asking where she should send our Christmas presents....what the hell? We're like, why didn't they help us out when we really needed it? I don't want their "gifts" now.

Morgan said...

Andrea,

I hope Eaglewood doesn't mind my speaking in his stead, but I would argue that he is one of the Christians who is truly fundamental in his interpretation and attempts to live all the scripture and not just the parts he likes.

Eaglewood and I have not always agreed on things, but one of the reasons I like him so very much is because he is so thoughtful and seeks to measure everything against how he believes the Bible tells him to live his life.

The reason you and I have such a dim view of fundamentalism is because so many fundamentalists pick and choose scripture to support their narrow causes. For instance, they take a fundamentalist view against gays but try to dismiss Jesus' call to love our brother.

I think Eaglewood is one of those rare people who is able to stand by his beliefs because he has actually worked to develop them, rather than just allowing himself to be spoonfed.

He's also had some trying times this past year and I think of him often. OK. I should probably stop complimenting him before he thinks I've developed a crush on him. But there you have it, a Hippie's defense of a Fundamentalist Christian. It's probably a sign of the apocalypse.

As for your relatives, Andrea, I've had similar experiences. I think presents are often used as ways to alleviate guilt. People feel like they can blow you off or treat you like crap all year and then make everything alright with a fondue set. Pu-leaze.

Morgan said...

"I for one do get it and am ashamed of some of the things that go on in His name."

If more Christians were like you, Eaglewood, I might consider going to church sometimes.

When Christians blame the ACLU and liberals for driving God from society, they are refusing to acknowledge their contribution to the problem: cynicism.

Jesus inspired followers because his message was so radical. He healed and loved the unlovable without asking anything in return. He drove the moneychangers from the temple. Yet today, most Christians are like the rest of society; they worship material things and that worship ironically reaches its zenith on the holiday set aside to honor Christ's birth.

For all the talk of Christian values, I can't tell their values apart from the rest of this materialistic, debt-ridden society. How can you uphold Christianity when it's become unrecognizable?

Andrea said...

Oh, I wasn't trying to be harsh towards him. I totally apologize if it came off that way. Just the term makes me think of people who are outwardly pious and lord it over everybody. I don't associate it with anything peaceful and loving. Like you said, they have their pet hates, along with their inconsistent use of the Bible.
But Eaglewood does seem to try his best to be consistent. It's just unfortunate that the word "fundamentalist" lumps him in with so many hardhearted people.

Andrea said...

Just saw your next comment pop up:)

Funny you should mention the liberal angle. I have a Christian friend who is very kind, generous, and cheerful...yet she loves Ann Coulter and thinks it's hilarious that Ann prays (even if only jokingly) that God would smite liberals. Actually, it probably isn't a joke.
This good friend is also very...suburban I guess is one way to put it. She's very comfortable financially and spends quite freely, on stuff she doesn't need. I guess it sounds like I'm judging her, but it just puzzles me.

sammyray said...

The holidays are great: Giving and receiving presents that make nobody happy, and all for a God that doesn't seem to care about war, famine, disease, or poverty, let alone Christmas.

Morgan said...

"She's very comfortable financially and spends quite freely, on stuff she doesn't need. I guess it sounds like I'm judging her, but it just puzzles me."

I have an aunt like that. She goes to one of those Baptist mega-churches and talks all about God and missions and her church all the time but spends money like it's going out of style. There's nothing she needs, and I can't imagine that there's much she could even want so it makes me wonder what she's looking for when she goes into the stores. I mean, maybe it's nothing. Maybe shopping is a hobby for her the way sewing and painting and photography and canoeing are hobbies for me. I just can't relate because I don't have that kind of income and even though I don't have a ton of material things I can't think of anything that would compel me to go to the mall tomorrow, even if someone handed me a thousand dollars. Not that such a thing would happen, but if it did I'd have to sit down and really think about what I'd spend it on.

That Cleaning Lady said...

Right on sister... happy to see I'm not the only one jumping up and down about the commercialization of Jesus' birthday...and to see just how many people return/regift/exhange gifts reminds me just WHY I don't do christmas. As I said in my blog... would you buy your mom a present on your brother's birthday? Geez already and yahoo to you!!

sammyray said...

Cleaning Lady, it is NOT Jesus' birthday!!! By Bible chronology, he would need to be born in early October. December 25 is a PAGAN holiday that Constantine adopted and transformed into a so-called "christian" holiday. DO SOME RESEARCH on your own beliefs!!

Whew! Morgan, you're right about what you said. Christmas is a secular event more than anything else, and "Happy Holidays" is much more appropriate.

CJ said...

My wife's family is very religious and very into the church but Christmas is the one time of year they have the most conflicts. Right now she's fighting with her sister over who will host their mom for Christmas dinner. If I had my way we'd just do what Morgan's sister does and give to charity but I know if we did that my in-laws would never forgive me.

Morgan said...

Whoa, Sammyray. I think most people - even those who celebrate Dec. 25 as Christ's birthday - realize there's no real way for anyone to know when Christ was born. Cleaning Lady didn't say she believed Jesus' birthday was on that date, only that she hated to see the commercialization of the celebration.

Most of society is on cultural autopilot; people don't generally examine the majority of customs too carefully.

I don't care if people want to celebrate Christ's birthday, or even if they want to celebrate it on Dec. 25th. I just hate to see what used to be a faith of hope further pulled down by human greed. I think that's also what Cleaning Lady was saying.

CJ, your story sounds so familiar. Family members who don't speak to each other all year are forced together on holidays and the spirit of the season is supposed to somehow prevail over all the slights. It's fertile ground for the breeding of tensions.

It's not to say that Christmas can't be happy because it can. It's just that for a lot of families it can be a headache to get together on a day when expectations consistently fail to live up to reality.

I refuse to be miserable on the holidays. My husband has one brother who has held a grudge against him since they were children. He's also got a drinking problem and every social setting we've been in with him turned out to be a disaster. I draw the line at traveling six hours for any holiday celebration that includes the guy. If I must celebrate the season, I want the memories to be good and not filled with resentment over being forced into an uncomfortable situation.

I've found that setting limits and learning to say, "NO" has helped me have better and less stress-filled holidays.

Anonymous said...

I was reading Andrea's comment about how shopping is good for retailers and it occurred to me that now shopping is being promoted as an act of patriotism. Is a good economy tied to godliness now? The lines get so quickly blurred.
God Bless You,
Margaret

Andrea said...

Lots of people already do equate patriotism with godliness. I think that's pitiful. As for shopping, yeah I like to do it, but I don't think I'm being patriotic when I spend money.

Morgan said...

Ugh! I remember all of that Shopping Is Patriotic crap being at its peak the Christmas after 9/11. As if buying a bunch of junk is going to somehow stick it to the terrorists. If anything, it just showed the terrorists that even in the aftermath of tragedy we Americans are capable of remaining as shallow and materialistic as ever.
I'd move if I could afford to.

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

Jaysus, girlfriend, you weren't kidding!

"...as you prepare to max out your Mastercard in the Name of Jesus. ..."

I am going to do just that. Though secretly, it will be in the name of Saturnalia.
How's life at the corner of Haight & Ashbury these days, my tokin' hippie?

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

andrea - regarding the word 'fundamentalist" you say:

"...I can think of absolutely nothing positive associated with that word..."

What about Multiple Orgasmic Fundamentalism?
I'm all for that!
VD

Morgan said...

"How's life at the corner of Haight & Ashbury these days, my tokin' hippie?"

Hazy, my two-headed fiend. Hazy.

"What about Multiple Orgasmic Fundamentalism?
I'm all for that!"

You're talking about an entirely different type of fundamentalism there. I'm pretty sure that multiple orgams are in the "Thou Shalt Not" file of fundamentalist Christianity. Which is why I'm not one. It's like a friend of mine said, "I thought about being a missionary, but decided I wouldn't like the position."

mitzibel said...

Morgan, that was fantastic.

Even though I'm not Christian, it doesn't offend me in the least to be wished a Merry Christmas. For 99% of the people saying it, it's just a couple of words, like "Have a nice day," or "thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart".

The other 1% are wishing me happiness during what is for them a sacred time, and since when was it cool to blow your top over someone wanting you to not be miserable?

I think a few pretentious asshats just make a big noise about being "oppressed" by those easily-duped religious types to make sure everyone knows damn good and well that *they're* too smart for faith. From what I've seen, it's not Jews or Muslims who bitch and moan about Christmas, it's atheists. It's kind of hard to be respectful and tolerant of others' beliefs when you have none of your own, or at least that was my experience.

Morgan said...

Mitzibel,

I don't mind if people wish me a Merry Christmas either, whether they are on the street or giving me a cart at Wal-Mart. I just question the pressure to sell Christmas as THE holiday this time of year when there are others faiths that observe other holy days around the same time. No one should be stopped from saying "Merry Christmas," but by the same token they shouldn't be required to say it.

And I'm with you about the atheist asshats, as you call them. (Loved that). I don't have a problem with a manger scene on the courthouse lawn, so long as other religious displays should be allowed as well.

Hardcore atheists are no more tolerant than hardcore Christians. Anti-religion can be a religion within itself, when it comes right down to it.

Erik said...

I'm pretty sure that multiple orgams are in the "Thou Shalt Not" file of fundamentalist Christianity.

I dont know if you consider me a fundementalist or not, but I for one cannot stand the thought that so many women have never even had an orgasm. What is up with that? If G-d made women able to experience sex so fully, why shouldn't the man indulge her? 2-1 in her favor is my standard. Now if it weren't for my beliefs and that pesky conscience I would try to correct that imbalance singlehandedly! (the aforementioned lack, not the 2-1)

sammyray said...

Morgan, I beg to differ with you ... and I quote: "the commercialization of Jesus' BIRTHDAY"

Actually, if we use Bible chronology, we can discover that he was born in early October, although the specific date is not known. While many people may quibble and question how we can trust the bible, I might remind them that the only information we have about a Jesus even living comes from the bible entirely.

Anyway, my beef comes from two things: (1)People do not examine their own beliefs (2) Christmas is a PAGAN holiday that, by bible standards, should not be celebrated by so-called "Christians."

Morgan said...

If G-d made women able to experience sex so fully, why shouldn't the man indulge her?

Oh, I quite agree. And it's to his benefit if she is reaches climax more than once. If you love you're partner there's a mutual sharing of an almost electric kind of energy no matter who's climaxing.

2-1 in her favor is my standard.

That would make you a god by some women's standards. I have a male friend who started seeing a new girlfriend recently. He said she told him up front that it took her a while to reach orgasm. His response: "That's not my problem."

Morgan said...

"Morgan, I beg to differ with you ... and I quote: "the commercialization of Jesus' BIRTHDAY" "

Yes, that's what she said, but she didn't say she believed it was Jesus' brithday. Most of Christian society considers Dec. 25 Jesus' birthday. She simply stated that she hates the commercialization of it. She didn't directly say she shared society's beliefs and I was giving her the benefit of the doubt.

I completely agree with the rest of your post, as you already know.

Serena said...

Great discussion! We don't celebrate christmas and I have to tell you we sure did get some flak from my family when we stepped out of the craziness. I've questioned so much of it over the years and was pretty low key already, but when I became convinced from my own personal investigation that "Jesus" wasn't born in December, I could not continue to promote the holiday at all and be teaching my children a falsehood. I do believe that the true Jesus (hebrew name Yeshua) was born during the feast of Succot in either September or October. He also then fulfills that feast as He does all the others. He is Emmanuel, "G-d with us" and Succot in the scriptures is when G-d dwells with His people.

I'm not very patriotic if it comes down to being a shopper and money spender. I try to buy most things used, love hand-me-downs and freecycle. If I can make if cheaper than buying it, I'll make it if I can't find it used. I think it is horrible where we are now "consumers" instead of citizens. I'm glad my citizenship isn't here, and can't say that I am really patriotic anyway. I'm grateful for being born here and growing up in this country, but have no illusions that it is the promised land or anything like that. Actually, a study of history will show that we are far down the slide to destruction that other great nations have had in the past.

Shalom,
Serena

Erik said...

I might remind them that the only information we have about a Jesus even living comes from the bible entirely.

So you are saying that various historians like Pliny the Younger really didnt exist?

Erik said...

His response: "That's not my problem."

Morgan, I have to confess that my response would have been very similar. Just change "my" to "a"

Erik said...

I do believe that the true Jesus (hebrew name Yeshua) was born during the feast of Succot in either September or October. He also then fulfills that feast as He does all the others. He is Emmanuel, "G-d with us" and Succot in the scriptures is when G-d dwells with His people.

This is my belief also. All of the feasts are prophetic and are a way of ensuring that the people actively have that prophecy in their minds. Granted most people dont think of them as prophecy, but that is their loss.

My favorite is Passover. Such a beautiful way of showing us how our sin brings death, and how the Messiah is truly our Passover Lamb. Even the chonology of it is the same. She same time dwelling with the people as the lamb was to stay with the family, the same time to be sacrificed, the same blessing that could be given to the egyptians as well as the hebrews.

The richness available in the prescribed feasts makes me really wonder why Christians choose instead to celebrate hollow days like Christmas and especially Easter. At least with Christmas there isnt a proscribed feast that would be the better/right option

Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

Wow
Great post Morgan


It sickens me sometimes – to live in a country whose economy depends on how much money is spent on “Black Friday”

What can I say? I feel like the message of Christ has been blurred long ago to justify our cultural excesses.
Like greed, prejudice, war, death and taxes – to name a few.

A family in Colorado has been asked to take a wreath down from their home because it is shaped in a peace sign.
Apparently there were some “Good Christians” amongst those complaining about this horrendous errant symbol being displayed at Christmas time.
A few American “Patriots” joined in declaring “How dare you display a symbol of peace while America is at war”

The housing community has since changed their minds – in the spirit of the holiday season

Now I’m not a practicing Christian, I was lucky enough to be allowed to develop my own beliefs
But I am certain that Jesus would be totally cool with someone displaying a peace sign on their home – at any season.

When the Iraq War started I was the first on my block to display a peace sign – I put it right on my front door.
A few nights later – Jesus himself appeared to me in a dream.
He was on the battlefield – continuously placing himself in the line of fire – preventing our troops from shooting at the Iraqi armed forces.
A commander pulled him aside and asked him what the hell was he doing – protecting the Iraqis.
Jesus asked him:

“What’s an Iraqi?”

Peace Morgan
I love you

Anonymous said...

ewwwwwwww

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

"...You're talking about an entirely different type of fundamentalism there. ..."

Same in kind, different in degree.

VD and BP

Morgan said...

Serena, Welcome!
Wow. I completely agree with what you've had to say. I think my side of the family would be on board if we decided just to bag the Christmas gift-giving craze. I think a few of us would still observe it out of tradition; I personally enjoy decorating the house for the holiday and getting together with family. But we don't put a religious spin on it for the very reasons you state. The Christmas story is a bit of a farce, historically speaking, although I respect the right of people who want to designate Dec. 25 as Christ's birthday if they choose.

I'm also with you on the recycling and freecycle thing. I head up the Freecycle chapter in my community and also started a barter board for people who want to exchange goods and services. I sew a lot and regularly swap handmade clothing with other creative types (it's a good way to get funky, one-of-a-kind clothes because we don't use patterns). I also try to buy my clothes from artisans, as opposed to frequenting those big box stores. If I need something like blue jeans or a "normal" outfit I just hit one of the better consignment shops in our area. With the exception of shoes and underwear, just about everything our family wears is second-hand.

I've long though this country was on the way down the tubes. My older sister and I talk about it all the time. She hates the rampant advertising and is pissed off that she can't even take a road trip without having to stare at billboards, which she calls "Advertising On A Stick." We're a shallow, materialistic nation and it just seems to get worse as days go by. It's hard to be patriotic when you can't even recognize your own country, when the leaders tell you that patriotism means following their relition and agreeing with their policies.

I wish things would change, but I just don't see that happening. It worries me not just for my own future, but even more for the future of my children.

Thanks for your great comments. Your powerful perspective is welcome here anytime.

Morgan said...

"Morgan, I have to confess that my response would have been very similar. Just change "my" to "a" "

Erik, you just made me laugh out loud. I only wish I could hook you up with my friend's girlfriend. She's cute, and after a few weeks of him, she's going to be in the market for a real man.

Morgan said...

"It sickens me sometimes – to live in a country whose economy depends on how much money is spent on “Black Friday”"

Bobb, do you find it as ironic as I do that "Black Friday" sounds rather ominous?

Yes, I read about the family who were being forced to take the peace wreath down. I think that's such bullshit, and just goes to show you how hypocritical most self-professed Christians these days are. Have they not heard the term "Prince of Peace?"

Where have we gotten when godliness is equated with debt and war is considered holy and the peaceful are considered heretics? What the fuck!

I wish everyone would have had your dream, by the way. It's a good message although I think in your case Jesus was speaking to the choir. Most war-mongering type are obsessed with the "otherness" of people who don't look or think just like them. They want them eradicated, gone, slaughtered right down to the last olive-skinned child. And for those of you who think I'm exaggerating, I've heard and read self-professed Christians say this very thing.

I remember years ago reading "Animal Farm" where the pigs, who were supposed to be advocating for their fellow creatures, started conspiring with the people instead. At the end the pigs had joined forces with the humans and were wearing clothes, smoking and drinking. When the animals looked from pig to man, they couldn't tell a difference. That's how I feel about Christians and Evil. I can't tell a difference between a lot who claim Christ and the Evil the Bible warns us against. It's all been turned on its head.

If there is a devil, he must be bored with so little to do. The Christians have taken over his job.

And Bobb, I love you, too which will give anonymous another reason to wretch. ;-)

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

Profanity with derisive raillery is my schtick.
You know that, right?

Morgan said...

Uh, SR, I finally got that when I first visited your blog and saw that you refer to your readers as cunts. But I love your blog and keep reading, so what does that say about me? ;-)

So rail away, and as profanely as you choose. It's hard to know who to blame when I don't know which head is controlling the side of your body responsible for typing. I hope it's not the same side of the body responsible for masturbating. You might hurt yourself.

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

Masturbate?
Never!

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

That was BP.
Don't listen to him, he be full of the sterculian rhetoric.
I gots me a friend that I call the "Bullet"
VD

Morgan said...

Ah, the bullet. Portable and discreet and yet erotically powerful for its size. My kind of girl.

eaglewood said...

Morgan,

If I wasn't so male I would blush. I take that as high praise indeed.

To answer Andrea's question might take a bit more than a simple comment here (I may write on it at my blog) but to make it short words mean things and the title "fundamentalist" has a specific meaning. It has been our culture that has along with those who simply do not understand that pushing Christian morals on those who do not ascribe to the Christian faith has given what was a descriptive name and negative connotation.

eaglewood said...

My lack of proof reading is showing again.

and = a

Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan

Is that your high school yearbook picture? You were a cutie!

Next time could you please show more cleavage and teeth?

Erik said...

Morgan

I could use someone cute in my life right now! But unless your g/f lives a thousand miles or so to the west of you I dont think its gonna work...

Morgan said...

Very funny, anonymous. The picture was taken a few months ago by my own little 9-year-old papparazi. At 41, high school is but a hazy marajuana memory. How I graduated near the top of my class remains a mystery.

I have been blessed with good genes, though, and still get carded on a regular basis. It makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes, since I have shoes older than some of the clerks who ask for my ID.

Still, it always makes my day when someone flatters me. I'm all vain like that, and my boobs and I are grateful for the compliment. ;-)

Morgan said...

Damn, Erik. I wish you were closer. She could surely use a good throwdown from a guy who cared about pleasing her. My male friend and I get along very well, but he's totally wrong in his attitude about sex and I've told him so.

Eaglewood, no thanks needed. I meant every word I said. You're a good guy and a Seeker. I like that. I'd love to read your post about fundamentalism when you write it.

Erik said...

Morgan

when are you going to start up the point-counterpoint again? Tho they sometimes got a bit too wordy for reading at work I did enjoy them. And since I cant read them at work unless I get me a blackberry it really isnt a problem.

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

"...At 41, high school is but a hazy marajuana memory. How I graduated near the top of my class remains a mystery. ..."

It certainly does. A mystery, wrapped in an enigma and shoved up a dog's bum, my mar-i-juana and Cannabis sativa partaking girlfriend.
VD

The "Bullet" folks have come out with an extra attachment that allows for appropriate and timely "fuel Injection"

JohnR said...

Why don't you take Christians to task for posting their astrological signs on their blog profiles?

Not much difference between that and your Christmas rant.

The responses to your post are as rigid and Pharasical as a fundamentalist's reponse to people against the war in Iraq.

"No Christmas because Christ wasn't born in December."

"No running up CC debt (Ignore the fact that the bill will be paid in full by Jan.)" Will it be paid? Who knows, we pay cash every year.

"No Christmas trees because they're pagan symbols."

As far as the Happy Holidays thing goes, there is only one major holiday in December, Christmas.

The only other holiday in December is Hanukkah, actually a minor Jewish holiday that has become as Americanized as Christmas. The Muslims have no holiday in December and Kwanza (give me a break, I know some blacks that have never heard of it.) I don't know about the Hindus and the Buddhists, I am guessing not.

Really, it is pointless to take anyone to task over their holiday choices.

I can be rigid and complain that Eaglewood is in fact indulging a pagan tradition by giving any presents at Christmas. A close reading of the Bible states clearly that the wise men came to the house, not the manger. There were no wise men at the manger. Many Bible scholars guestimate that the wise men showed up when Jesus was about 2-years-old.

Celebrate Christams or don't, put up a tree or don't, give gifts or don't.

We celebrate Christmas with a tree.

We read about the birth of Christ before gifts are opened.

Why, because we want to.

Morgan, why do you let other's behavior bother you so much?

I know plenty of rigid Christans and non-Christians, but I don't focus on what I consider their hypocritical behavior.

Now have a Merry fucking Christmas!! ;D

Morgan said...

JohnR, when everyone agrees with me I can always count on you to stop by and bitch-slap me.

Since when are people not allowed to offer commentary on Christianity? Did George Bush pass a law overnight while I slept? If not, then it's a free country and I'm still free to spout off on what I see as major hypocrisy.

And for all your ramblings and justifications, Christmas as you and other Christians observe it is about as Christian as Halloween.

Now, I really don't care if you celebrate Christmas. I don't care how you celebrate it. What I do care about is pressuring retailers to say "Merry Christmas." I care that the willingness of so many people in society to cheapen Christmas by dragging it into their stupid Culture War is working. I care because Christmas is pushed so early, so hard and so meanly that we're getting blind to what the real message of the season was in the first place.

If you are completely comfortable with the way this society approaches Christmas, with the excessive consumerism and hypocritical insistence that people treat shopping as some Holy, Jesus-Honoring Act then I'm sure there's a place in the line for you with the other good Christians at the mall.

Not that there's anything wrong with shopping per se. We're all guilty of that particular vice; just don't try to tell me it pleases the Lord, which is what my original post was about in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Gosh there are so many comments since I last checked in. I enjoyed reading them all. It's nice to read such a good discussion.
JohnR you take Morgan to task but seem to ignore that some of the people concerned over what Christmas has become define themselves as Christians. You seem to want to criticize the messenger rather than looking at the message. I think Morgan may have to get used to that since she says things people don't like to hear.
JohnR do you really think the emphasis on shopping brings glory to God? I just can't see it.
God Bless You
Margaret

Serena said...

As far as the commerce of our culture (and it is pushed all the time - everything seems to be about money anymore), nothing shows how bad it is as that families are now starting to be referred to as consumer units now. I understand the city of Milwaukee started doing this some time back. I am not part of a consumer unit and I am trying to be less and less of a consumer. Our whole society is based on making products that have to be consumed and bought again. Light bulbs for instance. They can make them that last for years and years (even longer than the flourescent ones that are available now), but then where would the market be for light bulbs if they didn't burn out more frequently. I saw the one at Edison's place in Ft. Myers, FL and it had been burning for decades.

I recently learned that the commercialization of the christmas holiday didn't happen until the early 1950's. Again, it is all about money and most sheeple just follow along and become good "consumer units."

I love it when people question and study and don't accept the status quo, even when I don't agree with them. They are the kind of people who I enjoy spending time with and bouncing ideas off of and exchanging what we are learning. It makes you study more when someone disagrees. Just don't give me all the old, tired arguments that show you don't research and find out what the truth is.

Love and shalom,
Serena

JohnR said...

Tell me, please, what Wal-Mart has to do with the Christian meaning of Christmas? Nothing

What does shopping have to do with it for that matter? Nothing

Can any of you please explain how racking up holiday debt for DVD players, video games or other frivolous gifts honor Jesus? It doesn't.

Is shopping a religious activity? Not that I am aware of.

If you see shopping as a secular rather than a spiritual activity then isn't Happy Holidays more appropriate than "Merry Christmas in a retail setting? Because Christmas is the holiday the shoppers are buying for.

Is that better?

I reread my post but I can't find where I justified rampant consumerism.

I don't.

Now you are a comely wench and I am a lusty male so don't think of it as a bitch slapping, but more of a dick slapping.

And since I care about your needs, I won't stop until you orgasm, preferably multiple times.

So keep me posted as to how close you are and whether I need to pick up the pace, slow down, or just hold it there and flex.

I promise not to spray in your face, unless you want me to.

PS: As far as I know Bush hasn't passed any laws (that is Congresses job, not the Presidents), but don't complain when someone picks apart your argument either.

Sorry about the Merry fucking Christmas. In retrospect that was pretty harsh and not my intention.

XOXOXO

JohnR

JohnR said...

Also, it would be interesting to know your specific religous beliefs.

I know you believe in God, but what about the finished work of Christ?

Why do you celebrate Christmas?

To celebrate the birth of Christ or for more secular reasons.

Looking back, I never see much about your specific beliefs. Maybe if your readers knew, then some of your posts would be more clearly understood.

JohnR

Andrea said...

Eaglewood,
I'm much too sick to have kept up in this discussion, so I'll just say quickly that of course I know that words have meanings (!) and that meanings change culturally over time. My basic position is good luck trying change "Christian fundamentalist" into something positive. Try to take back "gay" while you're at it.

In These Flames said...

You're pretty hot.

In These Flames said...

Let me know if you want to send me some naked pics.

In These Flames said...

Okay?

Morgan said...

Now see, John, I prepare to trounce you and you go and disarm me by calling me a comely wench.
And the dick-slapping comment...I just love a guy who quotes scripture. I remember in the Bible when Jesus said something similar to Mary Magdalene..no, wait. Actually I'm wrong. I don't think Jesus ever used the term dick-slapping.

But no matter. Per your request that I specify my beliefs, how stupid do you think I am? I can recognize a Christian Litmus Test a mile a way. Here's how that game is played. I tell you what I believe, you compare it to your believes, find it wanting and then dismiss everything I say on the grounds that I'm not a "real" Christian. That's how fundamentalists absolve themselves from listening to any criticism. Discredit the message, discredit the messenger.

I will tell you that I was raised Christian, believe Christ walked this earth and adhere to his teachings the best I can. Not the twisted shit the mega-churches are preaching today, but the real teachings - the one most self-professed Christians have forgot about caring for the poor, loving your brother, and all that stuff.

What I think is what I think. I'm not sure if I need to spell out what I believe to give my readers context. I think they know pretty much where I stand by reading what I write.

Nice try, my lusty male. Hope you didn't mind that I pulled out the strap-on. ;-)

(And for the record the Merry Fucking Christmas didn't bother me. It's my favorite South Park song and if Wal-Mart greeters must say something to shoppers, it should be that.)

Morgan said...

To "in these flames"

Who *are* you people??

"Let me know if you want to send me some naked pics."

Subtle much? If you must send me pictures, I prefer a more titillating approach. Please, no shots of you on your sofa with your flacid member draped across your leg or an over-exposed side-shot of your erection.

Start with something nice, like yourself in a tux or a pair of well-worn jeans and a tight t-shirt. If I like I'll request more pictures with less clothing. If I don't like the pictures, I'll stil request you send more, but with a coat over what you were wearing in the first ones.

By the way, you're avatar is "hot," too. ;-)

Morgan said...

"It makes you study more when someone disagrees. Just don't give me all the old, tired arguments that show you don't research and find out what the truth is."

Preach it, sister. ;-)

There's a lot to value in the back and forth of debate. It drives me crazy how some bloggers ban people who disagree or claim their boundaries are being violated if their opinions are questioned. I've seen both happen and it's puzzling. How can you really know where you stand on an issue if you don't allow yourself to be tested.

It puzzles me, too, when people shelter their kids and only expose them to things religious in the belief it will make them good Christian. What it will make them is robots who either fold in confusion at the first challenge or run off to join the "crowd," having never learned the skills it takes to stand up to it.

Erik said...

It puzzles me, too, when people shelter their kids and only expose them to things religious in the belief it will make them good Christian.

I think that is a tough one. Both extremes I think are bad. Either completely sheltered or completely exposed. I think it is the job of the parent to know what and how much their child can handle/be exposed to. I hope that I will be able to do a good job of that with my little boy. A sad part of that is sheltering him from his mother's lifestyle. But at this age I dont have to worry about what to expose him to overmuch.

JohnR said...

Morgan, I don't think you're stupid but sorry, wrong.

No litmus test here. I just asked a question.

I don't plan on comparing your beliefs and mine and then telling you you're wrong. I don't play games.

I am not a fundamentalist.

Sometimes a question is just a question.

I just wanted to know what you think.

Sorry, didn't get the strap-on in that time. I'm still an anal virgin.

JohnR

Serena said...

I think when people ban others from their blog for expressing well thought out opinions, then they are the losers. From personal reflection about why they do it, I think it is fear. I know I have struggled with that before. When our beliefs are challenged we fear the "what if" if they should be wrong. But if we walk through that fear and study and search and find out what the truth is, or at least get a little closer to it, we grow and hopefully are a little wiser for it.

I know someone on here asked if you were (or someone else was) a Christian. I chose years ago to quit calling myself that name. I asked G-d about what I should be called after a friend challenged my use of "believer" in its place. The answer I got was "redeemed." So that is what I call myself now. It kind of gets it down to basics. From my research and study of history, being called a christian is not such a great thing. It was a derogatory term in the book of Acts and there have been many horrible things that "Christians" have done in the name of "Christ" over the years. I actually think they are just religious and follow the other "Jesus" (i.e. the false Messiah) that is mentioned in scripture. I have had my own beliefs shaken so many times over the last 12 years, but after the shaking, I find that the picture is just a little clearer. One of our biggest problems is approaching the scriptures from Western or Greek thinking. It is so different than the writers thought since they had a more Eastern and Hebrew type of thinking. That is why it is so important to not only read the scriptures but to also know the context and the culture in which it was penned. If we approach them from the 21st century and our Western culture, we can easily go off track from what is really meant.

As far as raising your child religious, that can really backfire. What is needed is a reality in the life of the parents and a searching for truth in teaching the children. That way they are prepared to deal with what is thrown at them. I have found since I have 4 that are already grown and in their 20's and 30, that they have to come to their own faith and walk for themselves and it is as messy as the rest of us. I erred too much on the religious side as my "olders" were growing up and am not so sure that it was a great benefit to them. The one thing of which I'm sure, G-d is able to deal with them whether or not I did the job right.

Love and shalom,
Serena

Morgan said...

JohnR, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and apologize if I mischaracterized your question. I've just seen that card played so many times it makes me cynical.

Serena, I learn something new everytime you comment. I love your using "redeemed" to describe yourself. I think that fits, and how can people really argue that without putting themslves in the place of God himself?

To just say "Christian" today puts one at risk of being lumped in with the raging fundamentalists.

Lord Omar said...

Morgan, I am not getting very good reviews for my new avatar. I value your opinion. What do you think?
I don't know if Woozie is going to speak to me again.

thimscool said...

It's flu season, son! Put yer clothes on.

Anonymous said...

Silly thimscool. You don't get the flu by being naked. It's a virus. You catch it. :-)

Morgan said...

Lord Omar, why is Woozie mad? Is the guy on the left his boyfriend?
Your avatar is fine with me, even if it is totally gay. But you've always been one to take chances, which is why I like you.

Woozie said...

I'm not mad, it's just shocking is all. I think.

Morgan said...

Woozie, I think I'd have been shocked if it had been anyone other than Omar. But doing something like that is so "him."
Now, if Eaglewood put that avatar up on his blog I'd consider it the seventh sign of the apocalypse.

It didn't bother me that bad. It's not like I haven't seen a dick before.

Woozie said...

He should make it his avatar for April Fool's Day.

Morgan said...

Give him time, Woozie. He'll change it. Omar doesn't keep avatars for very long.

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