12.20.2005

Open for Christmas

I must say it's interesting that the media has jumped on the Christmas service/no service story so strongly. The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed me last week for a local story, but didn't use anything from our talk because, well, there's no news in Lutherans doing Sunday worship. Local Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison was quoted with a generous view, compared to one theologian who said there is something "missing" in communities that worship Christmas Eve and not Christmas Sunday:

But Bennison believes other houses of worship should decide what works best for their flocks.

"Jesus himself said, 'The Sabbath was made for human beings, not human beings for the Sabbath,' " Bennison said. "Our observance should enhance our lives."

Of course, Christians cutting themselves slack on Christmas is a news story, since some of the same Christians spend a lot of time telling others how to live their lives.

That the media ignores the many churches that are just doing their regular thing and have no controversy reveals a rather limited view of the religious world. Actions that might be hypocritical (and might not, in my view) and opponents who want to toss anathemas at the drop of a service are tailor made for media that eat up simple, black-white stories. And the mainline church has dropped off of their radar screens, now occupied by evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Maybe its because we're quietistic, maybe because we aren't as controversial...or maybe because simply being institutional isn't any more interesting to reporters than it is to the religiously unaffiliated.

We need to pay attention to this. The media's filter determines what a lot of unaffiliated and marginally affiliated people know about the church and Christianity.

P.S. -- St. James is open, doing something different...

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