Monday, March 21, 2005

What have religious holidays become?

So I work with an interesting mix of people. One of them, who (thank God) is no longer my cube-mate, is deeply and annoyingly religious. But he's got funny ideas on holidays:

Halloween - strictly forbidden at his house. Says it promotes Satan, even though it was created by folks who were neither Christian nor Jewish.

Christmas - No Santa Claus (respectably appropriate for Christmas), but HE HAS A CHRISTMAS TREE! WTF? Do you have pagan iconography or not? You can't sit on the fence, here, people!

Easter - Very respectful of Easter. He doesn't let his kids do Easter Egg hunts or celebrate the bunny.

OK, so, let's compare that to some of the people of authority at our church:

Halloween - Evil people love Halloween. Burn, sinners! Burn!!!

Christmas - there was a Christmas tree at church this year. Utterly reprehensible.

Easter - There's already been an "Easter Party". Easter Egg hunts, fun and activities for the kids, and, oh yeah, some trivial thing about a Savior being crucified and resurrected. But, hey: how 'bout that Easter egg hunt?

So, a few years ago, I got really (REALLY) disgusted by the hypocrisy and wrote the missing book of the Bible that allows these fun-time Easter celebrations.

And now, I present to you, the Book of Seder...


And so, as the Seder feast approached, Jesus called unto his disciples and said, “I have received news which is my Father’s news, and that is to be given unto you. That you are to collect the eggs of hens throughout all the land, and bring them to the temple on Seder-eve. There the eggs will be emptied without breaking, and brightly colored so as to show the love of my Father.”

And so the disciples set out upon the land to collect the offerings of hens. And it was so, that they rejoined unto each other on Seder-eve at the temple, each with his measure of eggs. And Peter asked, “Lord, how are we to drain the eggs without breaking them?”

Jesus replied, “Does not the ewer empty with even the smallest hole? We shall prick tiny holes in each end, and blow with forceful breath upon one end, that the yolks shall flow forth. And we shall collect the yolks in great urns, so to bake treats for the children.”

And they began to drain the eggs, with Jesus draining many times his measure. But the disciples were discouraged, for their eggs broke. And they asked unto the Lord, “Lord, our eggs are breaking. Soon there will be no more eggs. How can we present broken eggs in the temple?”

Jesus considered this and replied, “Not all eggs need come from hens, though those that do not must be rich indeed. Peter, look in that urn, and bring forth what you find.” And Peter peered into the urn, and drew forth strange material, shiny and smooth. “Lord, what is this treasure you provide us?”

“Plastic.” And so they continued, filling the plastic eggs with small treasures, baked goods beyond measure and coins bearing Caesar’s image. The eggs of hens were brightly painted to capture the splendor of the Seder feast, and the plastic eggs were filled.

And on the morning of Seder, Simon went to fetch a hare for the noon-day feast. And Jesus said unto Simon, “Cook not the hare, for he represents the work of my Father on this day. Nay, praise the hare, and place an egg before him, that you have painted. And when you see a hare before Seder, say unto any who stand near, ‘Happy Easter’, for the Lord my Father has brought the beasts of the land upon the East winds, so to feed his children the Israelites.” And he asked of Luke, who had thus far sat quietly, “Luke, go to Mary’s house, and request from her that which she has been keeping for me.”

And Luke went to Mary’s house, and retrieved Jesus’ bunny-suit. Then Jesus did say, “Let us go to the mall, and pass out our eggs, but hiding several for the children to find. And afterward, let us dine together, as a family might.”

And so Simon went to fetch an ox, which was not protected by the word of God, and they feasted heartily. And afterward they ate chocolate.


Evelyn said...

Hate to disagree, but we do teach the kids at church about the true meaning of Easter. AND several of the activities at the "Easter Party" were directly related to the religious importance. God also lovs kids and enjoys their smiles - not thinking he'd disapprove of our fun activities so long as we do not leave out the actual importance of the holiday.

As for the church Christmas tree - it's called the Angel Tree and we buy gifts (some provide fun, some fill needs) and provide food for needy families who else might not have a Christmas. Not that we're taking away the importance of Christmas as being the birth of Christ, but that we're showing God's love on a level that people will understand.

I actually appreciate the fact that our church family is not so staid that people do not want to come or feel that church isn't fun.

It concerns me more that children at church who are in middle school find it hard to sit through one hour of a worship service - since I was doing so at 3. This I address to the children as they are old enough to understand that you've got to put something into the service to get anything out of it.

Anyway, just thought that I'd defend the fun sides of our church, since we do not lose the meaning or focus of the "religious holidays".

See ya soon! Keep on blogging!

ahamos said...

I keep looking for the passages in the Bible about church being fun, or where the disciples created a neon sign that read: "Boogie down with Jesus". I just can't find any scriptural basis.

And I'm fairly certain that the disciples did not get together for a hoe-down with chocolate and a pot-luck when Christ was entombed.

I, for one, can't see any real reason for church(es) to strive for being fun. Again, I can't find any scriptural basis. Church should support a religious doctrine, and should be there to assist people in their walk with God. It is not a civic center. Otherwise, what sets church apart from the library, the schools, parks, or the myriad of other social options? Heck, it could be argued that people have more religious experiences at bars than at church.

Should a church compete against the community for popularity? The Catholics and Mormons don't seem to think so. For those two faiths, the church is where you come together to offer up praise and participate in the formal aspects of religion, and yet neither seems to have problems getting people to come. There are 1 billion Catholics, and the Mormon church is the largest growing denomination in the US.

Say, weren't there eggs with money in them? And didn't Judas betray Jesus for silver? So what message are we sending to the children? And why do we wonder about their inability to sit through an hour of church when we're offering them the promise of great fun immediately thereafter?