Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Churches closed on Christmas Day??

USA Today reports "Some Megachurches Closing for Christmas":

"Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day." (emphasis added).

The article mentions that these churches are holding many Christmas worship services in the days up to and including Christmas Eve, but quotes one source that "church leaders decided that organizing services on a Christmas Sunday would not be the most effective use of staff and volunteer resources. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was 1994, and only a small number of people showed up to pray, she said."

Your host here, SpaceNeedleBoy, is speechless at the thought that churches would actually CLOSE THEIR DOORS on Sunday morning worship, a tradition among most Christian churches for over two thousand years. It's one thing to reduce the Christmas schedule to a single small devotional service, but quite another to CLOSE THE DOORS.

And by the way: what exactly DO Christians commemorate on December 25th of each year?? It makes me wonder if American Evangelical Christian leaders are starting to behave more and more like "consumer-focused" businessmen focused on "maximum return on investment". I would anticipate that the churches which have publicly announced closure on Sunday, December 25th may well see a quiet backlash in terms of REDUCED donations in the offering plate.

Blogger Ben Witherington has a scathing and insightful analysis of the issue - coming from a deeply spiritual (and perhaps less cynical) perspective than my own:

"The mega-church in Lexington (Southland Christian) consulted with other mega-churches like Willow Creek and decided that they would close on Dec. 25th, even though its a Sunday and even though its Christmas Day! The rationale given in our local newspaper The Lexington-Herald Leader was--- people are so busy and Christmas is supposed to be a family day, so this decision was made as a family friendly gesture. But wait a minute--- whose birthday is it anyway? And which family is supposed to be serving which--- the family of faith or the physical family? Talking about putting the EM-Phasis on the wrong syl-LABLE."

SO, my fellow readers: Have churches in YOUR community, or which YOU attend, announced the closure of their doors on Sunday, December 25, 2005? Please post here, particularly if you have links to same.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tacoma Mall gunman incident revisited

A scant two weeks ago, North American mass media were inundated with horrific images of a deranged gunman holding hostages in a Tacoma, Washington shopping mall. A Seattle alternative media paper, The Stranger, has an interesting view of this situation.

The alleged gunman, Dominick Sergio Maldonado, demonstrated a reckless lack of personal responsibility as well as engaging in criminal trespass - but somehow I have doubts that the Washington State criminal justice system is going to give him the kind of correctional punishment which he so richly deserves.

In the meantime, the story reinforces the ridiculous stereotype many folks in the Northwest (and throughout the States) have that Tacoma is an abnormally dangerous city.

I'll post some more story links here, and more blog links on the story about Mr. Maldonado's attack on the lives and liberty of other citizens just because he wanted to punish the rest of the world.