Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A War On What Christmas Has Become? Sign This Minister Up - Reverend Mark Sandlin at Sojourner's
The baby we remember this time of year was not part of the dominant culture (unlike us). The religious stories told in the time of Jesus' birth were told under the shadow of the dominant culture. They were stories of oppression and hardships; stories of hope for people living in times and cultural positions that felt hopeless.
Today, our stories are told from places and positions of power. So, instead of the story of a Middle-Eastern, unwed, pregnant woman who was seen as little more than property, giving birth to what her society would see as an illegitimate child who was placed in a smelly feeding-trough in an animal stall, we end up with a clean White Anglo Saxon Protestant woman giving birth to a glowing baby wrapped in impossibly white cloths and laid in a manger that looks more like a crib than any feeding-trough.
The Christmas story has been hijacked by the dominant culture. Our current story has become increasingly white-washed and sanitized. That has warped the comeuppance sensibilities of the original Christmas story. God's vision of liberating the oppressed and downtrodden has been air-brushed into a safe story that no longer brings fear to the Powers that Be, but rather supports big business agendas of profit and mass consumerism.
Does the story we tell bring light into darkness? Does it bring hope to hopeless? Does our celebration bring justice to those who have been treated unjustly?
Jesus' birth is a part of a story meant to teach us something about the value of every human soul; meant to teach us that "the least of these" is simply a human construct; meant to show us what life looks like when it starts from the assumption that all people are worthy of love.
So if there is a War on Christmas like many of the "not-least of these" claim, then sign me up. I refuse to let the story of my faith be co-opted by corporate interests who want us to believe we are entitled to a certain materialistic status that can be bought and that we should revel in our obscene abundance (in the 1st World which is carried on and carved out of the backs of the 2nd and 3rd World. I refuse to worship a cult of consumerism that sees the world, who worry about having enough food to eat, a place to live, and clean water to drink, as cogs in its supply chain. This corporate global dominance is enabled by an economic and cultural empire that dwarfs the Romans,) even as we celebrate the birth of a child who had no place to lay his head and told us "just as you do it unto the least of these, you do unto me."
The full article is available here