Grinchalert

 

Editor’s note: A glimpse of the $130 million building project planned by the good folks at First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor at First B, is urging businesses to put Christ back into Christmas through the website Grinchalert.com 

Best Buy, Kirklands and Alaska Airlines all made the nice list, but NordstromMacy’s and Barnes & Noble had better watch out. They’ve been tagged on the naughty side of Christmas. But don’t blame Santa – he’s not the one keeping this list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

This idea originated with Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Jeffress came up with the website, Grinchalert.com, because he wanted to make a point about keeping Christ in Christmas.

Grinchalert.com allows people to create their own lists of businesses that promote the Christ in Christmas and shame those who don’t. “It’s an attempt to do something positive,” Jeffress says.

 Admittedly, Jeffress has some warped notions about what it means to play nicely with others. This is the same fellow who during the debate over the placement of a mosque three blocks from Ground Zero warned his people Islam is an evil religion, one that promotes pedophilia.

“The deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam: It is a religion that promotes pedophilia – sex with children. This so-called prophet Muhammad raped a 9-year-old girl – had sex with her,” Jeffress said.

To be clear, it’s not Islam that Jeffress is fed up with so much as it is a namby-pamby propensity toward political correctness that our culture has cultivated. Jeffress is a man who says what he thinks, even when he probably hasn’t given as much thought to it as he should have.

Before the executives at Nordstrom and Macy’s storm the offices at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jeffress wants them to know he’s not the one keeping track of who is naughty and nice. The website is a public forum, like Letters to the editor, Jeffress told a FoxNews reporter. “In a pluralist society like ours everyone ought to be able to share their views,” he said.

You have to hand it to Jeffress for adopting the language of the politically correct and finessing it to suit his purposes. What those purposes are, however, is downright disturbing. If Jeffress is trying to put the Christ back into Christmas, he’s sure picked an ugly, Un-Christ-like, way to do that.

He says that the website is simply a positive way to reward those businesses that promote the spirit of having a Merry Christmas. It is not, he insists, meant to be a boycott of businesses that fail to do that.

It’s true that the comments praising the businesses that meet some nebulous standard of what constitutes a Christian Christmas far outnumber the comments on the naughty list. But it also true that those on the naughty list are getting a public spanking for their holiday, not Christmas, spirit.

After a shopping experience at Target, one person wrote: “I was looking for an ornament that reflected the reason for the season, and I could not find anything that said Merry Christmas. I’m tired of seeing ONLY snowmen, Santa Clauses, snowflakes, birds, glitter, act. I could not find a gift bag, an ornament, or a gift box with a manger or the Holy Family on it. My husband & I will make a conscious (sic.) effort to support stores like Mardel’s, Hobby Lobby, Life Way, or church bookstores that support Christmas wholeheartedly.”

Another said of Barnes & Noble: “Employees will not say “Merry Christmas” because they have been instructed to say ‘Happy Holidays.’ This has been going on for years and I quit buying from them years ago.”

Jeffress can deny it all he wants, but the message that comes across is loud and clear: Good Christians will only shop at the stores that give lip service to Jesus.

Ironically, Jeffress and his followers never address the question of how the babe in the manager became the poster child for Capitalism to begin with. If Jeffress and his Grinch Alert crew is so all-fired concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas, they might want to be begin by spending less time in the shopping malls and more time at the homeless shelters. That’s the most likely place Jesus would hang any time of the year.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • jaz

    The voice of one crying out in the wilderness, child. The voice of one crying out in the wilderness.

    Lovely thoughts, but the rest of us are busy gossiping about the latest episode of Gossip Girl, revising the last ten pages of our holiday must-have lists, calling the local constabulary to remove that unsightly beggar from the proximity of our favorite shopping spot, and tut-tutting about those awful people who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    Karen, don’t you know it’s our duty as Christians to call these businesses out? It’s in the bible. Seriously. Not sure where, though. Probably somewhere in the back.

    http://middletree.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-it-our-duty-to-call-out-businesses.html

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    This is a great quote from an unbeliever who’s a sister to a Christian I know:
    “Most of the so-called Christian traditions were adopted from pagan traditions – and then the Christians persecuted the pagans brutally and mercilessly. If there is any culture “war“ going on, it is based on Christians stealing traditions from other belief systems and then claiming that no other groups rightfully can claim a winter holiday at the same time they are celebrating theirs.”

    • Debbie

      Sad but so very true John.

      • Debbie

        sorry James – I was lost in a moment there.

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  • http://katdish.net katdish

    “Ironically, Jeffress and his followers never address the question of how the babe in the manager became the poster child for Capitalism to begin with.” –um, exactly.

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  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    By the way, the good folks at American Family Association have been doing this for years: http://action.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147486887

  • http://www.balancedandunafraid.blogspot.com Vasca

    My husband and I are doing something different this year; I imagine lots of others are doing things along the same lines. We lived/worked in China for 2-1/2 yrs and have many friends there…they never stop trying to flood us with gifts. We were a bit slow in coming up w/a solution but please read my post “Light My Fire”…we love giving but have changed our tactics…hopefully for the better.

    I agree w/you 100% ~ Thanks for putting it into good words.

  • Layne

    Golly, it appears that we are looking for Christmas in all the wrong places – seems that I recall something about finding Jesus in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick – those kind of folk – those of us with a church “edifice complex” seem to be left out.
    How ironic that the good pastor says that, “In a pluralist society like ours everyone ought to be able to share their views,” he said – EXCEPT THAT IS IN a community center/prayer center a couple of blocks from Ground Zero – EVEN though there was such a place in the World Trade Center!

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Layne: If I had to venture a guess, I’d say Rev. Jeffress is much more interested in keeping his name in the headlines than he is in keeping Christ in Christmas.

      • Peg Willis

        Yup.
        Well, I was informed that my comment was “a bit too short,” so I’ve added these words to it. But I stand by my original: “Yup.”

  • http://koinepdx1.blogspot.com AF Roger

    Even when we lived next door in Irving, TX more than 30 years ago, First Baptist in Dallas was the influential voice. Upcoming sermons were advertized in the papers, and it was the place for football greats and political leaders to be seen and heard. It’s hard to imagine how even the prospect of a $130M megaplex would or could color one’s thinking. I’m happy I won’t ever have that problem. And I’ve always wondered why one would want to be “First Baptist” or anything first when Jesus said the first shall be last, etc.

    As this time of year approaches, I often feel like I’m not only on the road less traveled but the one not traveled at all. As I look around and see very, very capable people I know who have been out of work for over two years and local charities flooded with calls for help with heating bills at 3 to 4 times the rate of past years, as I read about yet more devastating cuts to schools and human services, deteriorating buildings and bulging prisons, a Congress that “doesn’t know come here from sic ‘em”, I wonder if our blindness will ever bottom out. I think of Dr. Mary Pipher who as a young college grad once asked her grandmother if she’d had a happy life. Her hard-scrabble grandma gave her a strange look and said, “Honey, happiness comes from making good decisions.”

    Perhaps we and the Rev. Dr. Jeffress actually need a five-year moratorium on Christmas and a fresh start. Perhaps we need less Christmas and more Calvary. Perhaps we need more Advent Conspiracy: http://www.adventconspiracy.org/ .

    And maybe, just maybe, if we are really concerned about whether we or our neighbors have work today and in the future, we might look instead at the origin of everything we buy, use and dispose of. It doesn’t make any difference to me whether stuff says “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” because I buy almost none of the stuff. But it means the whole world to me whether something says “Made in U.S.A” or “Made in Communist China”. And if we protest that we no longer even have this choice, then we’d better think long and hard about what we expect our neighbors or our own family members to do today and tomorrow to support themselves and build communities. What false god has led us into thinking that ever-cheaper was ever-better when it meant throwing our own communities out of work and spending our children’s future on stuff that will be in a landfill six weeks from now, if not sooner?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Roger: Visited with the folks at Agape House here in town yesterday. We are fortunate in that we live in an agriculture area so there is plenty of food donated. Good thing, too, because dozens and dozens of people were coming for help … We really have no idea how many people are hurting. None. We are a generous people but the years of unemployment is taking its toll on millions. We don’t need more gifts from Junk Mart.
      What good is a Merry Christmas wish when all your dreams have dried up?

      • http://koinepdx1.blogspot.com AF Roger

        Karen: A little laugh/cry story fresh from a colleague let go from Teledyne Continental Motors in Mobile, AL. As you may know about my bi-polar life, I do non-paying ministry among our homeless and mentally ill. I eke out a bare living doing some aircraft engine engineering work for (very) small businesses. We have two piston engine manufacturers left in this country, one being Continental Motors. Formerly headquartered in Detroit and Muskegon, Michigan, the company moved to the old Brookley Field complex in Mobile in the late 60′s or early 70′s. For many, many years, the company’s logo was a red ring. In the red ring were the words “Continental Motors, America’s Standard”. In the center of the ring was a a rendering of the dome of the U.S. Capitol. Across the image of the capitol in flowing, uplifting script was the motto “Powerful as the Nation”.

        Would anybody here put that on their product today and not expect to be laughed right out of the sandbox? So here’s the punchline:

        The Chinese are buying Teledyne Continental Motors.

        Powerful as which nation?

        • Debbie

          The chinese are buying up our real estate at an alarming rate especially farming land – so they can feed the people in their own country – so rumor has it – our government are finally catching on and may put in restrictions but also don’t want to upset the little fella’s with the big bombs. The world frightens me lately. I can’t even bring myself to want to go to a store and buy a gift – a week to go and four kids and I can’t bring myself to go – help!

          • John in PDX

            Yep. Sort of like a Southern Yup. Peg, I was too short also. So, I took the dirty old man to lunch today and I am going to learn how to make Carmels for my customers (MOW) for Christmas.
            Jaz, JamesW, Gary, AF Roger, Peg, and of course Z and the rest of everyone that has spent the effort – thanks. Merry Christmas. Let Karen know if you want a picture of the teeny tree this year.
            I think this is long enough.
            Regards,
            John

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  • http://www.balancedandunafraid.blogspot.com Vasca

    Earlier I wrote that my husband and I worked/lived in mainland China for over two years. As a result of our efforts there we have many believing Chinese friends. They are determined to shower us w/gifts during Christmas and while we appreciate their thoughtfulness, we came up w/a new tactic. We suggested that we would like for them to gift us with their effort to reach out to a co-worker or neighbor…someone…and share their faith w/them and as the relationship progressed to give them a copy of ‘The Book’…One of them who has ‘adopted’ our last name responded w/this “Michael, I think I understand what you mean, I will do what you said. I am sure my friend or colleague will be surprised to get the gift.” We understand the risk involved, just as they do…just as God does. A circle that goes ’round and ’round and keeps on giving…pass it on and on.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I can’t imagine the courage it takes to pass along The Book, Vasca. Imagine giving a gift that could cost you your life… Imagine it.

  • Pat

    “Jeffress can deny it all he wants, but the message that comes across is loud and clear: Good Christians will only shop at the stores that give lip service to Jesus.”

    Amen, sister! Further up in the article you mention “some nebulous standard of what constitutes a Christian Christmas” and that’s what I was wondering the whole time that I read this. Just how are those businesses on the good list keeping Christ in Christmas? Are they holding candlelight prayer vigils? Are they evangelizing their customers and employees? Are they actively practicing Christian values or are they simply cashing in by carrying Christian merchandise (excuse me, I mean merchandise branded with Christian symbols) and saying and doing the things that would appease those prone to complain? I don’t know, it doesn’t bother me one lick if someone wishes me “Happy Holidays”. The spirit of Christmas lives within me, as it should for every believer. If people get upset because others won’t acknowledge their holiday, I suggest they need a reality check.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I am stupefied that anyone — much less a pastor — would think this is a good idea.