A CARDBOARD CHRIST
By Paul Proctor
December 13, 2006
The Des Moines Register reported in its December 10th edition, that teenagers from Lamoni United Methodist Church recently took a life-size cardboard cutout of "Jesus" and rolled it through the Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines on a two-wheeled cart and into the movie theater on their way to see "The Nativity Story."
The Register's Religion Editor, Shirley Ragsdale, reported the triumphal entry this way:
"As they took turns pushing the cardboard Jesus on a two-wheeled handcart through the mall's festive decorations and Christmas music, the faces of the shoppers around them registered surprise and curiosity.
They want people to know they believe in what, cardboard? Well, these kids may "take the Christmas season seriously," but obviously their pastor doesn't take the Son of God or His Word too seriously.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" - Exodus 20:4-5
Have our convictions gone on Christmas vacation? What part of "Thou shalt not" is so hard for today's pastor to grasp? And who says we are we to take Jesus anywhere? Did He not command us to follow Him - which begs the question: Who is in control of the relationship here?
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24
It's yet another example of absolute truth being sidelined by a pragmatic pastor teaching his youth that the end justifies the means - that love is a license to do whatever you feel is effective, as long as it's for Jesus - even when the Lord Himself says "Thou shalt not."
I mean, while angry Christian activists busy themselves year after year foolishly fighting for the ridiculous right to set up their plastic Jesus displays - what I like to call "Naivet� Scenes" - they ignore the very thing we were commanded by Jesus to do: Hear, obey and proclaim His Word - and in doing so, exchange Divine instruction for Christian idolatry!
Now I don't really blame the kids here because, according to the Register, their pastor is the one who told them to do it - and obviously their parents aren't anymore discerning than the pastor or they would have refused their participation - but consider what they're really being taught by this egregious exercise.
Whether the pastor knows it or not, these kids are learning a cardboard christ-likeness - how to mutely make your way through a materialistic world without uttering a single saving word of truth or bearing witness to a living Christ with a changed heart and a renewed mind. Is there a more perfect illustration of today's "evangelism" than kids pushing a lifeless prop around the mall for spectacle? How Pastor McElroy translates that into "an exercise in living their faith," Ill never know.
"Woe unto you�,hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." - Matthew 23:15
While martyrs are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed around the world for faithfully proclaiming the Gospel and refusing to deny Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, this is what Christians are courageously promoting and defending here in America and other affluent areas of the world: Jesus Dolls, cardboard Christs, Nativity Scenes, Christmas Trees and the right to hear "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" from the cashier at Wal-Mart. What's next - outraged believers rioting in the streets over liberal legislation brazenly banning the manufacture, distribution and sale of fruitcake?
We've traded the sacred for the superficial and substance for symbolism, while our children grow up in churches learning transcendental meditation, mysticism, materialism and Marxism right under our narcissistic noses! It's no wonder our churches are in the sorry state they're in and the numbers are dropping year after year. We're giving them everything they want and nothing they need.
Perhaps we should just go ahead and call this increasingly silly season "Xmas" after all. At least that would be more "relevant" and "authentic."
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools�" - Romans 1:21-22
accompanies teens on trip to movie, mall
� 2006 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.
E-Mail: [email protected]�
traded the sacred for the superficial and substance for symbolism, while
our children grow up in churches learning transcendental meditation, mysticism,
materialism and Marxism right under our narcissistic noses!