25 December 2011

Christmas as a Federal Holiday...the Implications (Part 2)

What of the other symbols of Sacralism the Evangelicals fight for...the Pledge of Allegiance, the motto on our currency, Scripture quotations on public buildings?

These questions need to be thought through in light of the Sacralist or anti-Sacralist position.

The waters are muddied because there are some Sacralists who argue against the Pledge...because of its Socialist origins, not because Americans are swearing allegiance to a 'nation under God.' They have no problem with a Sacral pledge, just not that one.

Some wouldn't have a problem with it if the country was cleaned up and made Christian. Because it's not at present, they (at this present time) have a problem with it. Same with the motto on the currency. Change the Constitution to acknowledge Christ...and then yes, 'In God We Trust' belongs on the coins.

'We all know it means the Christian God,' they argue. Okay, then it must be removed. This nation has no right, Biblical imperative or sanction to enter into covenant with YHWH/Jehovah.

And if it's not the God of Scripture...then why would we as Christians argue for it? Either way, I'll be happy when it's gone. Frankly to try and pretend the US Dollar represents a nation and economic system that 'trusts' in the God of Scripture is a mockery of the Christian faith if not a blasphemy worthy of antichrist.

If Sacralism syncretistic idolatry? Is it just another representation of the false church in collaboration with Bestial power? The whore on the beast? (Revelation 17)

Of course for many it's about getting a paid day off. Christmas falls on Sunday this year and so now everyone has to get Monday off...to insure getting a weekday off work. My won't the retailers be pleased! Everyone will be off to the temples of consumption first thing in the morning.

How many Christians make so much noise about the day...keeping Christ in Christmas and all that rot...but then skipped Church today? Or perhaps their Church didn't even meet? How many Christian homes have I been in that trumpet the cause and then fail to crack open a Bible on the supposed holy day?

Navigating the law, society, the theological issues regarding the state and the holiday...it's all something of a tangled mess.

Perhaps it would be better if the state just stayed out of the religious holiday realm altogether?

Perhaps if employers treated their employees decently and allowed people to have special days off then we wouldn't require state action?

You see Free Market Republican Christians like regulation (a Federal Holiday)...a mandatory paid day off...when it suits their purposes, but scream when it doesn't. I guess some want the stores closed and resent having to pay their employees.

I went to school with lots of Jewish kids. Hanukkah of course lasts many days and yet some years it's all done before Christmas. They never really got any of those days off. I'm afraid the Jews in general have a better concept of living as a Pilgrim people than most Christians. For centuries they lived in non-Jewish Sacralist environments... and they just dealt with it. They prospered anyway. They kept their days and minded their own business. Where they failed (aside from rejecting the Gospel) is in making converts. They were salt but little light. We can't shut ourselves off into a ghetto. My rejection of Christmas isn't Pietism, but I also reject the default Transformationalism of American Evangelicalism.

The Jews don't clamour for the state to recognize Hanukkah. Until the Holocaust happened, they generally speaking were not a people that asserted themselves. Despite centuries of being an underclass and suffering occasional persecution, they were hardly destroyed. They forged a strong sense of identity. They knew very clearly there was an antithesis.

Incidentally the same may be said for many of the Medieval Nonconformists. Society was Roman Catholic and Orthodox. They weren't looking to take over, they just want to live out the gospel. As I mentioned in an earlier piece, I like the opening scene in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevya introduces the beloved Rabbi. The old man is asked...

          "Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Tsar?"

          "Of course. May the Lord bless and keep the Tsar....far away from us!"

Dominionists click their tongues at that line. I nod and raise a glass.

The Jews maintained a Pilgrim identity and they sure had a better sense of community. Pity that they've strayed so far even from the Judaism of the Old Testament.

In fact from a sociological or anthropological standpoint, their survival is quite remarkable. I reject the Dispensational teaching that their survival is due to prophetic-based national revival. They are our covenantally estranged spiritual cousins. They possessed the first oracle and it's a glorious thing when they embrace the True Prophet. It's like the prodigal coming home and a reason to rejoice. Providence has maintained them, but in terms of the Revealed Will...they are the enemies of the Gospel. (Rom 11.28)

Dangerous words when spoken by a Sacralist! Theologically true and with no threat of earthly violence when spoken by a Two Kingdom adherent. I'm happy to have them as neighbours and if I employed Jewish workers...it would be my social duty as a Christian to let them keep their days. It doesn't mean I theologically would agree with them. But forcing them to keep Christmas provokes wrath. Showing them humanity and love furthers the cause of the gospel which what they ultimately need.


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