Festivus, Chrismukkah, whatever
Religion & Liberty Online

Festivus, Chrismukkah, whatever

Is secularism gutting holiday season? Five answers in Saturday’s roundup of Faith and Policy columnists in the Detroit News, including Acton’s Rev. Robert A. Sirico.

Notably, Rev. Edgar Vann, pastor of Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit, cites the decision of a some churches to “succumb to the secularization of the sacred by deciding to close their doors on Christmas Sunday.” I happen to agree with Rev. Vann that such a move is particularly ill-conceived.

For those who don’t know, a number of megachurches in the US have decided not to have Christmas Day services. Since Christmas falls on a Sunday, churches like Grandville’s Mars Hill and Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek in Chicago will hold a number of Christmas Eve services on Saturday and forego any Sunday services.

“It’s more than being family friendly. It’s being lifestyle-friendly for people who are just very, very busy,” said Willow Creek spokeswoman Cally Parkinson.

I’m certainly not willing to charge the leaders of these churches with intentional malfeasance, but such a move at best illustrates a serious lapse in judgment.

For more unsympathetic reaction to this decision, see Bunnie Diehl’s blog at WorldMagBlog here and here.

And here’s a reaction from Rev. John Weese, whose church will be closed on Sunday, Dec. 25, “I was deeply saddened by the knee-jerk response of the Christian community as a whole to give the benefit of the doubt to the media and not a church or a Christian brother. I’m still troubled that more Christians did not stand up for us,” said Weece. “Can you see or begin to see that the devil is stirring the pot on this?”

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.