A minor news story that mentions that the US Marine Corps has rejected some talking Jesus dolls that were donated at the “toys for tots” program shows not only the growing intolorance of Christianity among some segments of the population, but also shows the growing trivialization of the sacred in our society.In some ways, the first is easier to write about.

Just as an example, take This Blog. A nicely written thoughtful and humorous post, but one that echoes the “politically correct” line that calling the holiday “Christmas” insults “Muslims and Jews”. Well, her teachers have indoctrinated her well. Presumably when she grows older she will find Non Christians who celebrate Christmas, Muslims who will tell her Jesus is a revered prophet in their religion, and that to Hindus, Jesus is a holy man, and that good Buddhists and communists in Japan celebrate the holiday.
However, her commentors are less placid. One ridicules Christmas as pagan.
Historically, this ridicule comes from those strict fundamentalist creeds that hate Catholicism’s toloration and acceptance of what is good in paganism. It’s a pagan holiday? So what, says the Catholic. If something is good, then it honors God. But this writer then goes on to claim that Christians took over the Roman festival to become spoil sports, so no one could enjoy the holiday. Again, the Catholic in me wonders how she lived in the US without going to a Christmas celebration in an Italian or Mexican neighborhood. Where does she live? Minnesota?
Another claims the whole program is about promoting religion, i.e. Christianity. This again is absurd, since it implies religion is a forbidden zone for anyone who works for any government agency. So the idea that government should not interfere with people’s speech or religion gets turned on it’s ear so the religion is now censored and forbidden, even in it’s most innocent aspect, and even though 90 percent of people follow parts of that religion.
Finally,we see one lady claiming:”What percentage of North American children would you say actually observe Christmas as the birth of christ? Most kids just like getting presents when all their friends do…” Again, one wonders who her friends are.
Christians of course are spoil sports, they are mean, they are trying to push their religion on everyone, etc etc.? When I read some bloggers criticism of Islam, at least I suspect they don’t know any Muslims. But to say this about Christianity is beyond my comprehension. Either they live in a cave, or they are spouting the cliches of indoctrination.
Sounds strange in a country where 90 percent of people believe in God and 80 percent in Christ.

People talk about Jesus camp and cults, yet few seem to be bothered by apparantly college educated people who are completely clueless about religion, except to use exaggerations and cliches. Has our elimination of religion made it easy for our intellectuals to be so clueless?

Yet the very idea that “Jesus dolls” exist point to another problem: The trivialization of Jesus.

And this “trivialization” is one reason that ordinary, intelligent people reject such a childish religion, even those that “learned” about it in Christian schools. One wonders how the religion of Augustine and Aquinas turned into bad art and simplistic ideas.
Jesus as a doll? Do the preachers pushing these dolls have any idea of what children actually do with dolls? LINK

Key selections from John,
Mark, Psalms, Luke and
Exodus… all recorded in an
easy-to-memorize format so
that parents, pastors and
educators alike can use
Messengers of Faith to
teach children these vital
lessons from the Bible in a
fun, entertaining way!

Do any of these people think children are computers, and that spouting verses out of context actually teaches right and wrong?
And a doll is not a sacred object. It is frequently torn apart, spit up upon, dressed and undressed, and thrown across the room by the child. Yes, it “talks” but after five minutes, the talking part gets….boooring.
(The Marines turned down the dolls for “not being fun”…they are right).

Jesus is not a doll. He is a man. He is God. Even those who hate religion and don’t believe in God find his words to be so full of love that they love him.

Giving a “jesus doll” shows lack of reverence. It would be like taking my husband’s world war II ribbons and giving them to our grandchild to teeth on. It is like putting the American or Philippino flag on pants. It denies the deep reality of what the object symbolizes. The flag, the ribbbons, and the man behind the sermon on the mount deserve better.

We teach children through stories, not by talking toys.

I used to teach my granddaughter by showing her photos. This photo is grandmother. Did you know she was a missionary? Then I’d tell a short story of Africa. This one was of your uncle. He fought in World war II and was a policeman. I would tell her a story stressing how strong men protect the weak This picture is Mama Mary who raised Jesus as a little boy. When we put flowers in her shrine, it reminds her of Jesus bringing her flowers. At Christmas, we tell not only stories of “Santa Claus” who rewards good children, but the Christ child who was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn. The Shepherds and the angels and the kings tell that all, rich and poor, gentile and Jew,believer and unbeliever, country and city folk, came to honor him and give him gifts. So therefore we need to honor the poor, because every poor child is Jesus, to be honored and loved.

The Christmas story, like all great stories, has roots and branches and links that go far beyond a simple narrative. Christmas is about this spirit of giving, not receiving. It is about good will toward men, who are our brothers. And if it has “roots” in a Roman festival where owners honored and gave gifts to their slaves, and the solstice that tells us that darkness does not conquer, but that there is light and love beyond our daily struggles.
It’s just too bad that some modern day Scrooges want to stop the celebration…hmmm…Scrooge. That’s another story I need to tell my granddaughter..

–Nancy Reyes is a retired Physician who lives in the rural Philippines with her husband, eight dogs, three cats, and a large extended family. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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