Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas...Yeah, Right

It is difficult to hide my sarcasm and utter disdain, but this is the most transparently self-serving piece of promotional journalism I have seen in a very long time. In light of my Monday post on the "war" on Christmas, Baptist Press had this quaint little diddy come out yesterday that is a caricature of the scam that is the war on Christmas: LifeWay Stores point to Jesus amid Christmas season bustle. As you run around looking for another gift for another relative who doesn't need another gift from another relative, just don't forget that Jesus is the reason for the season.
With tight budgets, overwhelming schedules, frustrating traffic and politically correct retailers replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays," LifeWay Christian Stores is aiming to put the focus of Christ back into Christmas shopping.
As I pointed out Monday, the replacement of "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" is nothing less than a red herring to divert the attention of a harried shopper from the real issue, which is selfish greed dipping into their inattentive pockets. It is a nauseating attempt to divest Christians of their pocketbooks, laced with the supposed nobility of shopping at LifeWay because they really have put Christ back into Christmas shopping. Richard Mencer, manager of a LifeWay store in Texas, has some not so salient advice.
"As in everything, pray before you shop," Mencer suggested. "Ask God for direction on what to buy and for guidance in your shopping."
Don't forget to pray, but make sure you pray and shop. While you are praying don't forget to lift up LifeWay's burgeoning bottom line. If rampant commercialism does not convince the frenzied Christian shopper of LifeWay's true motivation, then maybe the hypocrisy of saying we don't focus on materialism at Christmas will.
Whether ministering to customers in the store or helping shoppers select gifts with a spiritual emphasis, LifeWay employees see the potential for eternal impact in Christmas shopping and giving in addition to increased opportunities to witness and encourage customers.
The self-centered, self-seeking, worldly focus of this article detracts from the true meaning of Christmas. As we become familiar with the truth, it becomes so commonplace to us that we become desensitized to pathetic attempts such as this to espouse the Scriptural commands of giving and helping the poor. Minister to LifeWay customers, ensuring they have a pleasant shopping experience, but what about those little kids who will not have a Christmas this year? It seems to me that LifeWay could have an even greater impact on eternity if they would broaden their target shopping base.

Just the other day in Belk's, I was buying a white shirt for my wife. A lady, wearing a "Jesus is the reason for the season" lapel pin, cut in front of me at the check-out line, without even a backward glance.
Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Revelation 2:4
Sincerely,
Tony

14 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Tony,

Great post! Of course in our consumer mindset, buying is given. What would Christmas be without buyting? (asked sarcastically)

Meanwhile Lifeway and other "Christian" retailers tack on Jesus so we will feel better about our pointless shopping.

Leave it someone like you to ruin it for all of us... (again, spoken sarcastically)

- Alan

Steve Sensenig said...

I decided to link to these articles from my blog. This is good stuff!

steve :)

Tony said...

Alan,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Seems you and I have a mutual friend in Brother Steve. He's alright, isn't he? ;-)

Sorry to be such a Grinch, though...

Steve,

Thanks for stopping by and the links. I left a comment over at your blog, too.

Blessings unto you both!

JenIG said...

I found your pg thru Steve Sensenig's pg. i don't think christmas is a Christian holiday at all. my family 'does christmas' but with the same mindset as we do Labor Day or the Fourth of July. It's fun, but not at all a 'holy day'. i posted on this topic recently.

it was neat to read your thoughts. well said.

Tony said...

jenig,

I assume you have a WordPress acct, but if you make it back this way, I would like a link to your blog.

You have an intriguing thought, that you would not consider Christmas a holy day. I would consider it a sordid mix of the sacred and profane, but I don't want to go quite so far as to say it isn't a holy day at all.

Any further thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that our local Lifeway store is among the stores in town with employees who are the *least* ministering. I have yet to go in there and feel as if I haven't horribly inconvenienced the employees because I wanted to buy something. Not that the local Family Christian Store is any better, since FCS ruined what used to be a wonderful locally-owned store.

mike

Tony said...

mike,

Thanks for dropping in.

I agree. The LifeWay stores' (3) employees that we have had experience with are notoriously condescending and patronizing. Funny, I have gotten the same response at the local FCS. Plus, the young ladies that work at the FCS generally are dressed so immodestly that I am embarrassed to carry my children in there.

However, there is a New Life Christian Store, locally owned, that is very friendly and courteous. The young ladies that work there are completely clad. I shop there when feasible.

I guess it just goes to show that bigger isn't always better.

Blessings,
Tony

Steve Sensenig said...

I'm not sure what happened to Jen's link, but it should be: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/JenIG. I'm guessing she just forgot to put the "http://" part in, so Blogger choked on it!

Les Puryear said...

Next thing you know, you'll be telling us there's no such thing as Santa Claus. :)

Les

Tony said...

LES,

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SANTA CLAUS??!!??

JenIG said...

:) Thanks, Steve, for correcting my blog link.

Tony, I'd be curious to know why you consider christmas as (or partially as) a 'holy day'.
Cheers,
jen

Tony said...

jenig,

Thank you for stopping back by!

I stated it simply in the war on Christmas post. Don't know if you read that one, but isn't every day in the life of a Christian a holy day?

Blessings!!
Tony

Heather said...

I popped over here from Steve's blog ...

I am laughing right now because I had no idea about Lifeway's claim to be focusing on putting "Christ back in Christmas". I was in there just last week and I was utterly AMAZED at how rude I was treated by one of their employees!!

Now, I do not make a habit out of complaining about service and the like, but she was SO incredibly rude to me that I had to call the manager to let him know.

Funny ... I have had no one in the secular "Happy Holidays" establishments be anything but accomodating and nice to me during this season.

Hmmmmmm ... interesting.

Blessings!

Tony said...

Heather,

Yeah, I find it pretty funny myself. It seems to me that this war on Christmas is a conservative fabrication.

Another story about LifeWay; the Raleigh store's employees must be the worst. Have you ever heard of any establishment locking their restrooms? The Raleigh LifeWay does.

I kid you not.

The only other place I have ever seen lock their restrooms is a truck stop on I-26 and that was because the bathrooms were accessed from the outside of the facility.

I asked a LifeWay employee for the key so I could take my children. There was a long drawn out SIGH accompanied by an eye roll and, "OK. I'll be righ-gh-ght baaaaack..."

Gee whiz!

Anyway, thanks for following those links Steve graciously posted. Hope to see you back again!