It is the middle of December and the time for email notifications lamenting that a community or business does not allow the display of the Nativity scene or other religious symbols.
In the past, I thought that my lack of concern about this was an indication of lack of spiritual fervor. Yet, in spite of trying to dial up my fervor, I still find it difficult to burn calories over these cases.
Last week, I had some windshield time in a car that is not iPod compliant which gave me some time to think. Here are some thoughts on the move to ban religious displays:
- The church has always survived persecutions. I’m not sure that I would categorize a ban on religious symbols as persecution, but even so, we will not be hurt by this. As Ravi Zacharias has stated, “the Church has always outlived her pall bearers.” Even in communist states where no religion could be openly practiced, the Church survived.
- The trend against display of religious symbols is a symptom of the decline of the organized church, not the cause of it. In other words, the fact that much of the church lost its theological way through the 20th century is the reason for the decline in acceptance of Christianity.
- Does the Church (all believers) suffer because the distinction between believers and unbelievers is made more clear? The fact that unbelievers no longer revere religious symbols has no impact on the truth of Jesus Christ.
- We still have the freedom to be the Church and to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I question how much value a Nativity Scene in a park has in bringing people to consider the claims of Jesus.
My conclusion is that we should be living Nativity Scenes. We should live our lives in such a way that we demonstrate that God has indeed come among us and brought real change. We should stop whining about the loss of a veneer of respectability and be willing to do the hard work of living out the claims of Christ before a watching (and sometimes hostile) world.
Comments are welcome . . .