Stop Trying to Save Christmas; Save Something That Really Matters

December 17, 2014

It wouldn’t be Christmas time without all of the traditional trappings…

You know our culture doesn't have a real war to fight when this is its hill to die on.

You know our culture doesn’t have a real war to fight when this is its hill to die on.

The lights, the gifts, time with family,

Some sermonizing from Kirk Cameron.

Now, I am assuming that most of you have not, and will not see Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (and a 32% user rating.) Even still, Cameron’s “movie” represents a bigger picture of American Christmastime, an annual tradition of defending tradition against the forces of paganism, liberalism, consumerism and whoever else may want to “destroy” Christmas. Every year, there is a part of our culture that makes it their mission as Christian soldiers to wage a culture war, to preserve American Christianity for the next generation.

You know what? I don’t think the liberals or the pagans or the retailers are destroying Christmas or Christianity. I think the culture warriors are. You shouldn’t not see Saving Christmas because it’s bad art. You should skip movies like Saving Christmas, because movies like this actually achieve the opposite of their goal.

It’s time we stopped trying to save Christmas and changed our priorities.

Bad Art Begets Bad Art

I am not going to see Saving Christmas for the same reason I’m not going to see Exodus. I do not need Hollywood to pander to me. Both

Good thing he cashed in on the considerable "celebrity" factor, or unwary movie-goers might think this was some cheaply made waste of time. But a poster this beautiful says "classy."

Good thing he cashed in on the considerable “celebrity” factor, or unwary movie-goers might think this was some cheaply made waste of time. But a poster this beautiful says “classy.”

movies are bad art. Both movies are condescending. Both movies do not need to exist.

Some misguided people believe that we need to circle the wagons, so to speak, to support our own. So when a Christian makes a movie, we need to see it. I disagree. Bad movies are tantamount to pornography. Faith-based movies are not going to get better just because we support the crappy faith-based movies. It only means we are going to get more crappy movies with a Christian-y gloss on them.

Cheap movies do not advance our faith whatsoever. In fact, they just cheapen it. We should not encourage bad movie makers to make bad movies, especially movies which “represent” our faith so terribly.

American Christianity Hits the Terrible-Twos

What’s even worse, and more relevant to all of us who are reasonable enough not to see movies like Saving Christmas is that the kind of Christianity it represents is the worst of what our American Christian culture has produced.

As Christianity has slipped from enjoying its place as de facto majority in America, there is a portion of it that has rebelled, thrown a tantrum, if you will, trying to reclaim its “rightful” place atop the cultural heap.

This is a Christianity that is like an immature child, that throws tantrums, interrupts adult conversations with irrational demands and requires the exclusive attention of everyone in the room, that must get his way, that accuses the other children of picking on him.

This is a Christianity that is dependent on being the unquestioned majority and authority on cultural life. It depends on an empire to enforce it. It depends on a government to endorse it. It is dependent on Manifest Destiny to sustain it. It is the kind of faith that needs constant attention, pandering, even babysitting because it’s so fragile that the slightest resistance breaks or frustrates it, and it looks nothing like the Christianity that existed in the book of Acts. As Christianity has become less of a majority in America, it has been revealed for all of its immaturity, selfishness and gaudy patriotism-disguised-as-religion.

Let’s Change Our Priorities This Christmas

It’s time we got our priorities straight. Christmas does not need saving, because American Christians are not being persecuted. Every time we play the “persecution card,” we cheapen it. We cheapen the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, China, Russia and northern Africa.

Oh, and playing the persecution card does not legitimize our cause either. American Christians have this really screwed up way of thinking that because our “enemies” are opposing us, we must be doing God’s work.

No, it might mean that we’re just being idiots and deserve to be resisted.

When we play the persecution card, we come off as spoiled, insolent children who got a shiny new bike for Christmas, that did not have the exact right bell that we wanted.

As Christians, and people in general, we have hit the jackpot. We live under a relatively stable, peaceful government, are free to worship, and generally have enough, or more than enough to eat. Let’s stop acting like a bunch of spoiled brats and change our priorities. Let’s forget about playing pretend “war” at Christmas, and donate something to help the Christians who are actually being persecuted by ISIS. Let’s give some proper attention to the actual injustices in our midst. Let’s sponsor some needy children instead of constantly trying to protect some silly traditions from some imaginary boogeyman.

If we want to “save” Christmas, it’s not going to be by wearing ugly sweaters or putting up trees. Christmas gets saved by loving our neighbors and dying to ourselves.

4 responses to Stop Trying to Save Christmas; Save Something That Really Matters

  1. Awesome. Thanks for saying this. We look like pinheads when we play the persecution card here in the land of plenty and free expression of our faith.
    Jim Grey recently posted..To the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Way to shoot yourself in the foot

  2. Wow. You literally nailed it. Last week I spoke infront of the crowd of about 100 Muslims and explain them what is the real meaning of Christmas. Many were shocked to hear that Christmas tree, Santa and decoration has nothing to do with the real Christmas. We really need to get the message out as the followers of Christ that He is the real meaning for this celebration, His salvation is the real gift not some silly boxes under the tree. I am glad that I am not the only one preaching it. God bless you and have a merry Christmas.

  3. Bad art begets bad art. I think this applies to more than Christian-made movies, but you nailed it. Faith-based films might get better if we refused to fund the crappy ones.

    Even Hallmark does a better job.
    KC recently posted..5 Reasons Why Every Dad Should Start Writing

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  1. Recommended reading | Down the Road - December 20, 2014

    […] Matt Appling has some blunt words for Christians who insist that there’s a war on Christmas. Those words involve “cut it the heck out.” Read Stop Trying to Save Christmas; Save Something That Really Matters […]