Acton Institute Powerblog

Festivus, Chrismukkah, Whatever

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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 a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.

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