I was driving through a small town in the Texas Panhandle a few days ago. It was already past my bedtime, which means it was dark.
(I get up early, so I go to bed early. Some have suggested that age has something to do with that. I suggest that they mind their own bedtimes.)
Back to my story.
So, driving through this town, I saw one of those scrolling LED signs outside a business establishment. The date was May 13. Here’s what the sign said:
My first thought was, “Wow! They really need to update their sign.” My second thought was, “Oh, my goodness! The same secularists who have stolen Christmas are now out to get Mother’s Day! First, they won’t let us mention Jesus! Now, they are taking away Mama! What’s next?
Let me remind you that, after bedtime, my SQ (sarcasm quotient) really ratchets up. Let me also remind you that this is not necessarily good news.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I should tell you that I am not offended by “Happy Holidays.” I wrote a couple of Life Matters columns back in December of 2011 where I addressed that.
So I’m thinking, just like the holiday season starts with Thanksgiving in November and runs through New Year’s in January, maybe this business was celebrating the season between Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day.
Some wag once said, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not all really out to get you.” I guess that could be adapted to say, “Just because you’re a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean they’re not really conspiring.”
Maybe there really is a conspiracy to steal Christmas. There is certainly an undeniable dismissiveness (at best) or loathing (at worst) for evangelical Christianity in many of the upper echelons of government and academia. We are certainly made to look like total dolts and/or hypocrites in most Hollywood productions.
I’m still not much of a conspiracy theorist. My third thought, on seeing the “Happy Holidays” sign on May 13 was, “Maybe they just put that up to draw some attention.” Maybe some of the people who are angry at or dismissive of Christianity just really want some attention.
So, let’s start our own conspiracy. Let’s take seriously the words of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)
What if we conspired together to give attention to enemies like Jesus gave attention to His? What if we conspired together to give skeptics and critics a reason to believe that our lives, and theirs, matter to God?
What if we conspired together to give people the impression that their ideas matter as much to us as we would like for our ideas to matter to them?
Maybe our holidays would be a little happier, and maybe we would have more impact on our culture.
Just a theory.
Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.