Santa in March?

28 03 2007

‘Tis the Season for flowers, spring allergies and seasonally ineffective street evangelists.  

I was plodding along, completely engrossed in my own thoughts, when a little, gray haired lady — her arms filled with grocery bags — flagged me down.   In a quite voice, she leaned in closer to me, and with big eyes and a somewhat crazed smile plastered on her face, she informed me there was something she needed to give me. 

As she rummaged around in her brown, winter coat, I half expected her to pull out a plastic fork, or an old gumball wrapper, or even, something to help me contact the aliens with.  But instead of ET’s home number, her hand emerged with two small cards – each about the size of a business card.  She handed them proudly over to me.  Cutesy Christian poems were printed on them in flowery fonts; nope, I wouldn’t be helping ET phone home today.     

“Santa Claus,” she said his name with all the inflections a good storyteller would use when the zombies had emerged and were now wreaking havoc on society, “leads straight to the mall which leads to bankruptcy and depression.”  She looked up so she could stare right into my eyes.  It reminded me of the way a door to door salesman would stare at you while he was trying to convince you of your overwhelming need for the latest and greatest vacuum cleaner.  I smiled back uncomfortably.  

After an awkward silence, she apparently decided I was now ripe for the gospel, and added triumphantly, “But Jesus leads to peace.  Santa has deceived us all, we’ve all ended up at the mall, but you don’t have to stay there, because you can choose to either follow Santa or Jesus.” 

Santa or Jesus? Okay, so I’ve had a couple bad experiences with street evangelists in the past, but this “gospel message” takes the cake.  Not only did it not make any sense, but it wasn’t even seasonally appropriate!     

It was ironic she thought “following Santa” would lead straight to the mall, because I was on my way to stop by a friends house – who’s actually a friend from church — and then we were going to spend the afternoon at the local mall.              

She looked satisfied, and abruptly walked away without another word.  And I continued on to the mall thinking how her “gospel” was enough to make me feel turned off from Christianity. 

I didn’t tell the lady I she was preaching to the choir, because the “Christianity” she was selling was nothing I was willing to defend or own. 

It seems like we’re in need of a new term, because somewhere along the way the term “Christianity” lost its meaning.  It became about televangelists, concerts, cheesy bumper stickers, judgemental and stupid people, and somewhere in all the hubbub, true Christianity was misplaced; it stopped being simply about “Yes, Jesus loves me.”     




8 responses

28 03 2007

Santa and Jesus in the same sermon, eh? Not bad in theory, I suppose. I was just talking about this yesterday with someone at work. Christianity is almost a bad word in the mouths of so many people. It conjurs up pictures of judgmental attitudes and holier than thou ideas. It has little to do with love and lots to do with legality and morality.Christians come across as full of fluff, hot air and intolerance towards anyone that isn’t good like them.

I think that is sad and it certainly does not speak to the God I love and follow nor does it attract anyone into the church. Let’s call ourselves “Jesus Followers” instead or something equally less frightening.

Nice blog by the way!

Yes, it was an interesting message, to say the least. It did make me take some time to evaluate whether or not I’d be able to electively and accurately share the gospel with someone who asked without sounding like I’d completely lost my marbles, though, so that was good.

I agree, the word “Christian” has become almost a bad word in people’s mouths. It’s one thing when the gospel itself offends people, but too often it’s the negitive connotations and not Christ that’s keeping people away.

Thank you for stopping by. 🙂


28 03 2007

Awhile back I narrowed down my thinking to your last line…….”Jesus loves me.” That’s all I need to know. Well, and he loves you too.
We are loved.

When you strip away all the extra stuff, that’s what it boils down to; we are loved. 🙂


29 03 2007

A beautifully written observation of God at work in the world. Thank you.

Thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll come back again.


29 03 2007

Excellent post, Kelsey!
When did Christianity change?

Thank you, Tim.

I don’t know when Christianity started to change originally. Personally, I suspect it changed in the same way fashion does. You don’t really notice that people are dressing any different than they did yesterday, but when you watch an old ’80’s TV show you can’t help but notice how wildly things have changed. I don’t know where or when it originated, but I’d imagine it’s crept in, slowly, under the radar, until things have comepletely mophed. What do you think?

It’s nice to have you back, Tim! 😀


29 03 2007
Mrs. Nicklebee

I understand what you’re saying but I don’t think changing “Christianity” to something else will help. Besides, “Christian” is scriptural. Whatever it’s called, it’s always going to get twisted by someone. We also have to remember that the name of Jesus offends people anyway. Personally, I believe we need to defend true Christianity and pray for whatever we need to live our lives as authentic Christians so that people can see what’s real and what’s just a thrown-around label. KnowwhutImean?

Yes, I do know what you mean, Mrs. Nicklebee.

It’s true, Christ is an offense, but I think it’s sad when terminology confusion and not Jesus Christ is offending people. The term “Christian” has always had negative connotations — it was meant as an insult originally, but truly was a complement — but the current connotations are more of a true insult than the original ones ever were, because it speaks nothing of Christ and our likeness to Him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should completely scratch the word “Christian” from our vocabularies; I just find it sad.

Anyway, I agree that the main thing we need to do is live out authentic Christianity, so that we’d be known for being like Christ and followers of Christ.


1 04 2007

the two best alternatives to Christian I’ve heard are “Xn” or “Follower of Christ.” I so agree with your sentiments. Great blog!

I’ve never heard “Xn” before. Where did it come from? I think “Christ follower” and “Christian spirituality” are my favorite alternatives. “Christ follower” seems to be becoming more popular; I’ve been hearing it more lately.


1 04 2007

It’s true, Christianity has lost its meaning. Lots of people hate christians because an overwhelming number of them are prejudiced, stoic, and intolerant of other faiths. I propose we change it to “The Super Jesus Friends Club.”

Yes, sadly it has lost its meaning. “The Super Jesus Friends Club” sounds a bit like a children’s TV show to me, but who knows, maybe it’ll catch on. 😉


20 04 2007

I can’t help but laugh at the “Santa leads to the mall but Jesus leads to peace” thing, I’ve heard you talk about it before but it’s funny because when I read it I think of your imitation of her (it was great).
But it’s really sad how some christians now-a-days are not really geting the point across to people–not to mention that they sound crazy saying things like that.


Why, thank you, Shannon. I’m glad you liked my imitation. 🙂

It trully is sad when the messange is not only getting through, but Christianity starts to sound like craziness.


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