Random Awesomeness AND Fail of the Week: Local Edition

Hey readers! We got ourselves a twofer! First, a FANTASTIC letter to the editor of the Kingsport Times-News – below is the text of the full letter. This is my pick for Random Awesomeness of the Week:

Jesus isn’t the reason for the season

Published December 2nd, 2009 |

Christmas originated as a celebration of Christ’s birth. Really? Christians spend most of their time, money, and energy trying to honor Christ. Really? Children identify Jesus with Christmas, not Santa. Really? Adults fret over not giving Christ enough praise, not gift debt. Really? Decorated trees represent the life Christ offers. Really? Historical facts suggest Jesus was born in December. Really? People rarely experience post-Christmas blahs or depression because they spent their time focusing on the Savior! Really?

Over 1,500 years before Christ’s birth, people celebrated winter solstice festivals around Dec. 25. Their focus was on their respective sun gods (Mithra, Saturn, etc.). It was only during the fourth century that military and religious leaders began strategically slipping Jesus into the yearly winter shindigs. Jesus became a token add-on, an afterthought, a pawn used to achieve their goals of controlling the masses. This would be like us declaring from now on going clubbing will represent our fight against world hunger.

Discovering that Jesus is not the reason for the season confused me. Some of my greatest memories revolve around Christmas as a child. Perhaps not all is lost. Christ was big on love, family, and friends, but also on honesty. Maybe some of our Christmas traditions wouldn’t continue to insult Him if we’d stop publicly insisting it’s all about Him while privately doing everything but focusing on Him. As counterintuitive and as religiously incorrect as this may sound to Christ followers, if we participate in holiday traditions maybe we should leave Christ out of it, rather than pretending He is the catalyst. He deserves better.

Mark Johnson

Church Hill

Kudos to you, Mr. Johnson.

And, of course, an online letter to the editor such as this is bound to gather some uber-fails of comments. Without further ado, I present you the SFL Fail of the Week:

I’m not even touching this one. Amazing that people call us morons because they cannot except the simple premise of a Son was born of a virgin, HE died on a cross at the hands of man to save all humanity, and HE’S COMING AGAIN! BUT, you can believe in something so stupid as environmentalism, carbon footprints, the ice is melting, and the big bang theory, Darwinism, and other such myths. Betcha believe in big foot and the abominable snowman too. You people just amaze me. So you know what, you keep believe in all the falsehoods and leave me and my Christian Christmas alone. If you don’t want to celebrate it, then stay by yourself in your cold old dirty apartment and leave me alone! MERRY CHRISTmas!

This has it all: first, the pretend superiority of “I’m not even touching this one.” Then we move on to the reverse-insult. Then some ALLCAPS proselytizing!!! Then some more nastiness for the MORANS who believe in science. Then a little offensive defense – STAND FOR CHRISTMAS!!! – some weird insults, then, of course, the mandatory  reference to !!!!!CHRIST!!!!!!!. signed, ResQLady B

Get a grip, anonymous harpy.

More of MY PERSONAL reasons for the season:

Birds are nice

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7 Comments

  1. December 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I stopped reading after the usage mistake (“except” for “accept”). I judge. I judge.

  2. December 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    And is it crazy not to “except” the premise of the virgin birth. Uh, no. Especially since the concept of the virgin birth is based on a mistranslation:

    http://accurapid.com/journal/18review.htm

  3. December 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    The concept of the virgin birth is in part attributable to the translation error which that article points out. More relevant, however, is that the notion of a virgin birth was a common folk legend for important figures in the ancient world. After Jesus’ death, he began to take on the status of legend amongst his followers. Indeed, he was worshipped in conjunction with God from very very early on in the post-Easter history of the Church. The Church, for its part, was interested in praising Jesus in a way such that he replaced other notable figures, particularly Caesar. Thus, for instance, Rome’s rulers had always been understood to have arisen from a Virgin Birth–the tradition extends back to Romulus and Remus, the twins who are said to have founded Rome. That said, Matthew’s quote of Isaiah is a bit like the common practice of citing Scripture to support one’s purpose rather than in adherence to the spirit of the text and what is actually being said (eisogesis vs. exegesis).

    That said, this does, obviously, cast major questions and doubts upon the concept of an actual Virgin Birth/Immaculate Conception of Christ. On the other hand, it highlights the reverence that the early Church had for Jesus, as they sought to both associate him with God and were bold enough to use royal imagery for him which was in competition with Caesar and Rome (other examples being things like “The Peace of Christ” rather than the Pax Romana, the “King of Kings” designation, which was a title specific to Caesar, etc.).

  4. Salvador Dalai Llama said,

    December 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    The early church just thought women and sex were icky. Paul, bless his heart, was part and parcel.

    I think I made some of my students uncomfortable the other day when I asked what part of the Bible story involved putting candles on evergreen trees. Oh, that’s right–the part where the Angel of the Lord appeared to the Scandinavians…

  5. Dr. Monkey said,

    December 4, 2009 at 12:28 am

    I hear the baby Jesus hates Christmas.

  6. CLambert said,

    December 4, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I almost dread the holidays now due to these small-minded cretins. Almost.

    I enjoy poking these people with a little logic and critical thinking, which usually results in a nice meltdown.

  7. December 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

    @Salvador

    I don’t think it’s as simple as they “just thought women and sex were icky”, particularly if what you’re suggesting is that this aversion to women and sex explains the Virgin Birth narrative. That’s an oversimplification that is just as blind to reality as the dogmatic version of the story.

    Rather, the early Church was a group of Jews who first and foremost lived under military occupation and who had come to detest Rome and therein sought to delineate their own culture from the pagan culture of the occupying power. Part of that included a rigid rejection of the occupation’s sexual ethics, which were in stark contrast to the code of sexual ethics of the Jews.

    Likewise, for the Jews who became the Church and came to revere Jesus, they clearly had a detest for Rome in that it was the occupation which was first and foremost responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. This may well have highlighted a desire to segregate the Church’s ethics from that of Rome, and can account for part of the Church’s “icky” feeling about sex and women. But it would be inaccurate to say that this ickiness is directly responsible for the Virgin Birth narrative, since as I said before, that narrative is pre-existing imagery that is first and foremost reserved for royalty. That said, while the two ideas may be congruent, I think that the Virgin Birth narrative is something that is quite separate from the sexual practices of the Church. If anything, as the Virgin Birth story became cannonized, it may well be that the VB story reinforced the ickiness of sex, not vice versa.


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