Category Archives: christian

>REACT: Ronald McDonald stomps out Santa

>After publishing my blog item on Macy’s de-Christmas’ing the 2000 year old holiday (November 21, 2007), I went to checked out Chicago’s traditional State Street Christmas Parade held each Thanksgiving – you know, the one that welcomes the arrival of Santa Claus.

Well, the anti-Christ(mas) has struck again – this time in the form of another corporate behemoth, McDonald’s. Not sure when this all happened, but there is no Christmas parade any more. Ronald (the Grinch) McDonald booted the Christmas theme, and the event is now known as the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forget about Christ. Ronald has knocked off even the secularized Santa image in favor of a logo featuring a trite and tacky turkey in a pilgrim high hat.

(As an aside: In the above logo, doesn’t that look like the front end of an old Pilgrim-style blunderbust rifle pointing at the turkey from behind the leafy bush? I am sure that is not the intent, but still a fitting bit of symbolism, don’t ya think?)

If you were hoping that perhaps the real Christmas parade was rescheduled for another time, you’re out of luck. The only other parade is the Michigan Avenue merchants Parade of Lights produced by Walt Disney. No celebration of Christmas. An obligatory Santa, but certainly nothing to symbolize the real meaning of the holiday.

Corporate America, in a fit of greedy political correctness has changed the “love thy neighbor” holiday message to “love thy neighbor’s money.”

On the other, maybe the Christians got just what we deserved. I mean, most of our religious holidays were superimposed over Pagan celebrations in an effort, successful to be sure, to drive the godless holidays into extinction. It would seem that the neo-Pagans of corporate America are providing pay-back time. They are driving Christians from the public forums in favor or superficial Disney cartoons, holiday trees symbolic of nothing, and irrlevant festivals of lights. Sure, it is all very pretty, but prettiness does not connote significance or relevancy. (Did the name Paris Hilton just pop into your mind, too?)

Kicking Christ out of his name sake holiday is nothing new. The transformation from the elderly St. Nicholas of European origin to the cartoonish pot-bellied, retail-hawking Santa Claus happened more than three generations ago. The “Xmas” abbreviation was the rage at mid-20th Century. The supporting roles once held by shepards were given to a bunch of elves. The drab animals of the manger faded in the face of the bright-eyed and bright-nosed reindeer know as Rudolph – the creation of the advertising department or the now defunct Montgomery Ward & Company.

It would seem that the austere message of Christ is not in keeping with the sales strategies of the big retailers. The maniacally generous iconic characters, such as Santa Claus, make for better sales. Can you image for one moment bringing your child, with a long selfish wish list, to Macy’s to sit on the lap of a actor dressed as Jesus?

The very modern-day buying orgy is an anathema to the biblical Christ. To celebrate this holiday in keeping with its theological origins would require feeding the hungry as opposed to gorging the gluttonous. Clothing the naked, not donning designer duds. Comforting the ill, not imbibing until we are. We are admonished to care for those less fortunate, not over indulge the already blessed.

When you look at it that way, I guess dumping Christ and Christmas makes sense. What has evolved is NOT Jesus’ holiday. It is the celebration of the new religion, Consumerism. Maybe … just maybe … the secular iconology is not driving out the Christmas of Christ. Maybe it is just filling in the vacuum we have selfishly provided. Maybe the Grinch is not the politically correct, but the theologically challenged. Maybe it is not “they” who stole Christmas, but “we” who too willingly abandoned it.

Something to ponder as we good Christians begin our annual pilgramage to Wal Mart. At least they still know it is Christmas.

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>OBSERVATION: Be a zealot for Halloween?

>As I look forward to the coming of Halloween, and selecting my hidden personality dress-up option, I suddenly realized that zealotry seems to be reflected through permanent fashion. I mean you can actually dress up for Halloween like some real people do every day.

Examples.

Today’s left wing radicals are often seen wearing their best 1960s radical hippie attire. While once a modern subculture style, the Jesus look-alike hair styles and rumpled poverty-esque Raggedy Ann and Andy attire can now only be viewed as some sort of neolib costume. Less radical liberals have sustained the pre-WWII tweedy cum academic look of the early Communist sympathizers.

Then my mind drifted to more extreme examples of zeal-driven dress codes. Until recently, Catholic nuns and priests were going around in clothing designed during the Renaissance – the remnants (no pun intended) of which can still be seen among the more zealous religious orders. What did God have in mind to decide that devotion depended on the resistance of modern style from that point in time? Why the Renaissance?

Then I wondered. What did the God of the Amish liked so damn much about that late 1800s? And not only haute couture but every other modern development from the electric light to the automobile.

Of course, up popped the Muslims. Apparently Allah decided that the fashion of devotion stopped about the time of the Christ, in whom they do not even believe. Did you ever notice that a lot of the Middle East war photographs depict scenes that look like sets for a Cecil B. DeMille biblical movie? What is with these theological fashion time warps?

Then I realized that as a conservative, I have no symbolic attire – no historic look that instantly tells the world what I am. (Okay. Okay. I heard that. Neanderthal? Very funny, but not truly relevant.) I cannot think of any right wing sect that has maintained a fashion for more than a season as an expression of philosophy. There was a moment that the Gatsby look of the Roaring 20s might have had a chance, but no.

I am eternally appreciative that the 1970s were not the time of conservative zealotry. I shudder at the thought of being permanently attired in hip hugger bell-bottoms (Yeah, men had hip huggers, too.), Nehru jackets (which were a throwback themselves) and ruffled tuxedo shirts

Looking back was no help in selecting this year’s costume. In the past, I have been a pope, a rock singer, a Chinese emperor, Dracula (not my most creative year) and a bumble bee (that may have been). Some say that customs reveal a portion of the inner psyche. If that is true, I don’t even have a theory as to the meaning of the bumble bee.

Still undecided is this year’s costume. Hmmmm. I could go in drag, but then everyone would mistake me for Rudy Giuliani. I could dress up like a liberal. Now, that’s a scary idea. If I can come up with enough global warming one-liners, I could go as Al Gore. Like: “A newly discovered major cause of global warming is hot air emanating for Al Gore’s mouth.” Hey! Cut me some slack. This is still a developing thought.

Maybe I will just stay home, put on a grotesque mask and scare the crap out of little kids who come to my door. Teach them a valuable conservative lesson. There is no such thing as free candy.