28 November 2006

Christmas....Without Christ?????

CHICAGO(AP) - A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.

"The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ," said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association..."It's tantamount to celebrating Lincoln's birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln.".

The city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another, said Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events. She acknowledged there is a nativity scene, but also said there will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups. She stressed that the city did not order organizers to drop the studio as a sponsor.

"Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza," Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement...


...Kounelias said she finds it hard to believe that non-Christians who attended something called Christkindlmarket would be surprised or offended by the presence of posters, brochures and other advertisements of the movie. "One would assume that if (people) were to go to Christkindlmarket, they'd know it is about Christmas," she said.

Back when I was the man I used to be, I went to strip bars on occasion. But I don't anymore, thanks to the grace of GOD and the power of the Holy Spirit. That said, how stupid would I look if I walked into a strip joint and told the owner to have the women working there to put their clothes back on because I was offended? If I am offended by naked women grinding and gyrating on men's laps, then I probably shouldn't be in there. Likewise, If someone is offended by the thought of Christ at Christmas (somebody please explain that for me!!), then they should probably forget about Christmas altogether.

On the other hand, Christ is offensive to many people.

Matthew 10:32-37--
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

Do these sound like the words of a Man who cares about our "feeeeelings"? So many people who don't know the Lord walk around with "What Would Jesus Do?" on their lips, not knowing the first thing about what He would do. What Would Jesus Do? He would stand in the middle of the Christkindlmarket and proclaim the kingdom of GOD, not giving a whit about who might be "offended". In fact, Jesus is an offense to many. 1st Peter 2:7-8--"Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense."

Why do we Christians worry so much about "offending" people. I'll admit, there have been times when I should have been more bold in telling someone about my Lord. And it's something I struggle with on occasion. But how ironic is it that the One who is the only Way to the Father is He who offends many people the most.

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