Christian culture is alarmed by all things politically correct. They say the increasing use of the phrase happy holidays is an affront to keeping Christ in Christmas and it’s just one more sign that this country is headed for hell in a handbasket.
The chance that Christ could actually be somehow removed from Christmas would seem impossible, yet Christian culture is urgently concerned it could happen. If anyone has a problem with their saying Merry Christmas they insist that person should respect their constitutional rights, but when other people say Happy Holidays the evangelicals don’t take too kindly to it.
Rather than show some Christlike goodwill to people with different beliefs than they, Christian culture tends to go on the offensive so that they can feel like they’re standing up for Christ. But the Christ of the Bible wasn’t threatened by disbelief. For his followers to take up this cause with such rabid fervor seems to be a contradiction.
For a bit of seasonal fun, wish the evangelical in your life a happy holiday or perhaps a blessed Kwanzaa. If you really want to get their dander up, ask them what they think of the American Humanist holiday ad campaign. The intensity of their reaction is a definitive gauge of how invested they are in the notion that Christ’s deity is inherently tied to a seasonal formality.
When encountering someone holding an “ANYTHING HELPS” sign, evangelicals will sooner pass them by than give them money.
There’s an unspoken bias in Christian culture that is skeptical of those asking for a handout. They wish the homeless would grab those bootstraps already and start yanking. But they are faintly aware of what Jesus said about the poor so they will sometimes give them food, but never cash, citing that they might use it to buy drugs or malt liquor.
When stopped at a light by a needy person holding a sign, the typical evangelical might rifle around a bit and see if there is a granola bar or Swiss Cake Roll to give them but they will not give them money. If the person stopped ahead of them sticks a dollar bill out the window, there’s a good chance an evangelical will say “They’re just going to go get drunk with it. Sighhhhh.”
Nothing gives your sermons that extra something quite like visual aids. They’re the only kind of AIDS Christian culture openly embraces. Ha ha haaaaaa but seriously, folks. The pastor really wants to keep your attention. He reckons a visual aid will make his sermon that much more intriguing and applicable.
In non-denominational churches and many Baptist franchises you stand an excellent chance of getting a visual aid with your sermon. Visual aids during sermons will never be found in the mainline denominations or in Episcopal/Catholic churches. Those guys do not follow the evangelical trajectory and wouldn’t even consider such cloying gadgetry.
Some common evangelical visual aids are vines (for a vine-and-branches sermon series) and a wall (for any number of biblical references to walls, literal or figurative). Pastors like to walk around and brandish the vines, or stand and sit on the walls. Then there’s the prop bed for the have-married-sex-for-30-days sermon. They’re making it interactive, y’all.
The sanctuary’s screen is a lax version of a visual aid, but it’s a visual aid nonetheless. It’s mostly used to display the words to non-hymnal worship songs and count down the minutes till the sermon begins, New Year’s Eve style. Lately they’re being used to illustrate points and display audience-engaging images (engaging the audience being a priority in Christian culture), as well as just flat-out ask for money (see below). No beating around the bush here.
Then again, some energetic pastors forego gadgetry and just try to make their speaking as engaging as possible. Do veins popping out of your neck count as visual aids?
Atheists don’t get much clemency from Christian culture. They are generally thought to be misguided and inclined to despair.
While Christians are busy thanking God on Thanksgiving they have been known to wonder aloud how atheists could celebrate this holiday with no one to thank. It may not occur to them that on Thanksgiving Day many atheists are thankful to their friends and families, thankful to people who don’t dismiss them, and that many are volunteering in soup kitchens and serving the needy like Jesus said to do.
**This post originally aired on November 25, 2009, and warranted reposting for holidaisical purposes.