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An Open Letter to President Obama

An Open Letter to President Obama

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As I write this, you are giving your final speech to the American people as our 44th President.

I feel compelled, maybe even driven, to write a few things to you (even though they are words you’ll probably never read). Perhaps, what I have to say is just for me; writing tends to be therapeutic. Maybe it’s for my friends who need to hear what a white, Republican, evangelical Christian pastor has to say.

First, I need to say “thank you” for all of the sacrifices you have made to serve our country. Thank you for facing the unbelievably challenging task of leading this great nation. I lead a fairly large church, and the stress is unbearable at times. I can’t imagine how you ever sleep.

Thank you for staying dedicated to who you are and what you believe. Frankly, I haven’t agreed with you much, but I respect a man who is true to his convictions.

For the record, I voted for you in 2008 (sadly, some of my friends are shocked and looking for the unsubscribe button right now).

I didn’t vote for you because I agreed with all of your political positions. I didn’t vote for you because you were a great orator. I didn’t vote for you just because you were black either (although I’ll explain how that fact did influence my vote).

I voted for you because it was a personal act of repentance for me.

As a child of the 50s, I was raised with “an attitude” toward African Americans. I remember very well attending an all-white school in Abilene, Texas. I remember being told and believing that it was “best for Negro children to go to school together” (implying that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with white kids).

I was eleven years old when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I remember watching the story on the news and hearing, “It was only a matter of time; he was a trouble-maker who brought this on himself.”

My vote for you was my way of saying that “white privilege” and American racism must stop. I voted for you because I desperately wanted to contribute in some way to what I pray will be a lasting shift in our country.

If the trend continues, by 2045 most of those who are US citizens will have African, Asian, or Latin American ancestors. We will no longer be a white majority nation, and that fact demands a profound change in attitude and action if we are to thrive and survive as one nation, under God.

I know we still have a long way to go, but by voting for you, I was willing to sacrifice my political passions to see a little bit of that change in my lifetime. I am honored to say that I had an extremely small part in helping the first black man become President.

President Obama, I apologize for my brothers and sisters in Christ who spoke about you with so little honor and respect. I’m sorry for the vile things that were said and written by men and women of faith.

We Americans, and we Christians, too often allow our moral compass to become a weapon of hate. We also conveniently ignore the Biblical mandate to show respect and honor to those in leadership, regardless of their politics.

I’m sorry for the way you have been treated by some who profess to love God.

Some of my Christian friends will say, “NO true Christ-follower would ever vote for a man who supports the LGBT agenda and abortion!”

I would humbly remind them that no true Christ-follower can say they love God while maligning, belittling, or hating a leader, a race, or any group of people, no matter how much they disagree with them.

We can disagree, but we should never throw any human under any bus. In doing so, we dishonor our Maker.

Sometimes, sadly, we have made “being right” an excuse for being malicious rather than being gentle, kind, and loving peacemakers.

Forgive us. Forgive me.

I’m not sure how history will recall your presidency in a hundred years. I have no idea how you genuinely feel about the past eight years.

I recognize the ebb and flow of American politics will always be unpredictable and volatile. I’ve been around long enough to know that policies and presidents come and go, and yet my faith in God is still secure.

So I pray tonight that you know there’s an old, white, Jesus-loving, generally Republican preacher who hates some of Obama’s policies, but loves Obama as a man, and honors him as a president.

Because of Him, you are loved,

 

 

 

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56 Responses to An Open Letter to President Obama

  1. Being a former Calif Liberal and now a North Idaho conservative follower of Christ, I understand your rational in this. It is very, very hard for me to separate the man from his politics of divisiveness

    • I understand your struggle, Allan. All I’m attempting to do is honor the office and to thank the man for his service. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  2. I have always wondered how you felt about our President mainly because you’re a Pastor and leader of our congregation. I have the upmost respect for you especially after reading this blog. You’re true to your word, true to your church and true to your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • I tend to not say much from the “pulpit” or on my blog about politics, but sometimes I must, and this is one of those times. Thank you for the kind words.

  3. I want you to know I look forward to reading your blog whenever you post…I may not always write my reply or opinions but I do like/enjoy what you have to say. I tend to shy away from posts that push buttons or hot button topics but I respect your stance on quite a few issues that I felt comfortable to weigh in, as it were…. I chose not to watch the President’s last address to the nation. I have not cared for this Presidency nor his policies….but on the other hand being the Leader of this country is something I would not want nor wish it on anyone I like/love. I cannot imagine the stress/pressure/responsibility…Your compassion and willingness to still love the human while not judging is something I try to aspire..and hopefully teach my kids..and yet I know I fail more often than not. Its something, Lord knows, I am working on…I DO like hearing your perspective on these hard things…mostly because you try to be mature/what God wants…I try to work towards that as well…I am just truly glad God has patience and understanding for us all and love us still.

    • It is “risky” to write about something that may or maynot be understood by others. Like you, I’m just trying to do my best, Kelly, to be like Jesus. Thank you!

  4. As a child of the 60s, I had parents who had that “attitude” you speak of, which seemed to contradict the awakening anti-racism all around me. Needless to say, I was a little confused, but generally agreed with what I was being taught in school: a superiority attitude is not okay. But I was on the west coast (Cali, to be exact) & I know that region was a little more progressive in their thinking. Interestingly, our parents moved us to Oregon in the late 60s, the year before Bay Area schools had decided to desegregate and start busing black kids to white schools. My mom was relieved at the timing of our departure, but when I asked her why, she couldn’t really explain what she was afraid of.

    • I think the generation before us was afraid. Frankly, fear is still now an issue too often in our relationships with people of color. thanks for adding a bit of your story to the conversation!

  5. Nicely stated. If more of my Republican friends and friends-of-friends saw things the same way you do, my Facebook feed would be a happier place.

    We should treat politics like a speck of sawdust in the eye. Love of another’s true heart matters far more than any human-conceived policy.

    May God continue to bless you.

    PS You’re not missing much on social media, so continue to enjoy 2017 without it. 🙂

  6. That was an elegant and strong letter. Thanks for approaching this very politically divisive topic from a Godly perspective. I also haven’t agreed with much that he did in the last 8 years, and I’m very happy that his time is about to conclude. But maintaining a Christlike perspective is crucial no matter whether we like, or voted for whomever is in office. From Abilene, huh? I always knew there was something about you that connected with me. I was born there and raised in San Angelo, and I know we’re pretty close in age. I’m a pastor myself, near Houston, TX, and I always enjoy reading your blogs and posts.

    • Thank you, Bryan. Fortunately, a lot of things have changed in Texas (and elsewhere), but we do still have a long way to go. Appreciate you brother. Stay the course.

  7. I agree with most of your opinions concerning Brock Obama. That he became our first black president was inevitable, not only for our country, but for history going forward. While we did not vote for him , he won fair and square.We are required, as it says in the bible, to honor our leaders.Now I feel the same about our president elect. While sometimes watching his comments through hands held to face ; we pray his behavior will not follow him into the presidency as past presidents ! With his supposed immoral past,comments and tweets unbecoming to our president; we can only pray that he will reach out for guidance, listen and accept advice. Hard to watch and read the constant negative reporting , and unwillingness to give him a chance to prove himself.

    • I share your concerns, Chris, for our soon-to-be President Trump. I will continue to do my best to pray for him and to honor the office no matter what. Love and appreciate you!

  8. Do you believe repentance could have been achieved, first and foremost, before God and secondly, before close family and friends? Can we effect change (which I agree needs to happen) by not voting for someone with Mr. Obama’s dangerous policies?
    Love you and the blog Kurt!

    • Hi Adam, I think, at least for me, this act of “repentance” was also an act of obedience. I would never tell anyone how to vote. Until this blog, I’ve never spoken publicly of my decision. My hope was to use my experience as a statement of how passionately I feel about the issue of race relations and the need for healing in our country. Truth be told, whether someone/anyone agrees with what I did or not by voting for Obama, genuine repentance is always a “public” experience. When we repent and become Christ-followers, we do publicly. Though it is a private and personal decision, it is professed to others and even publicly demonstrated in public water baptism. That being said, again, it was necessary for me to demonstrate a change of heart through a very radical change of action. Hope all is well with you my friend. Love you guys too!

  9. Thanks, Kurt!
    Wow!!! Thank you for reminding us that we need to love and show respect no matter what our views. I see and hear so many negative comments and bad behavior on many issues and against many people that I have to disconnect myself from T.V. and Facebook. I appreciate your letter and the expectations of Christ followers. May we all become a little more like Him and show love, kindness, tolerance, and compassion for one another.
    🙂

  10. Excellent work, Kurt. Growing up with my dad in the military gave me more exposure to other races and Dad made sure I understood there was no difference. When we had just moved to central California in 1961 I was in the 8th grade and someone asked me if I favored segregation and I honestly didn’t understand their question. Now the big word is “hate” and I’m afraid this might be a distraction from the real problem I find in me which is self pride. I don’t hate people, I just like things my way and I don’t like people who get in my way. If I want to know what is wrong with the world, I have to quote G.K. Chesterton “I am.”

  11. Hi Kurt, your letter to the president is great and it caused me not to write a letter to the Spokane paper about how glad I am to see his administration come to an end. I have prayed for him but not as often as I should have. Anyway, I appreciated your letter and will continue to read your blog.

    • Hi Gary, I think we are always free to express our opinions and views. What concerns me is how some do so in such a nasty and unChristlike way. It’s all about tone, words, and our hearts. Thanks for reading my blog. Thanks for your friendship! Be safe out there on the road. Love you buddy!

  12. Hi Kurt,
    Your letter is awesome. It made me cry. I know so many people who hate and have really badmouthed the president. It has saddened my heart. I don’t tolerate badmouthing in my 2nd grade class. Maybe some of those people need to come back to 2nd grade and learn something! I did not vote for Obama, but when he was elected, I thought Wow! Our country elected a black man for president! At that, I am thrilled for all black people. I don’t agree with most of Obama’s politics, BUT God didn’t tell me I had to agree with the leader He put in place! He did tell me, as you said, to honor and pray for our leaders. Hopefully, we will pray for our president elect and quit the badmouthing. Love you. God bless you!!

    • Great insight and truth, Laura, a lot of us need to “go back” to our more humble upbringings and learn to control our tongue. Thanks for the encouragement.

  13. I agree with you on many points Kurt. I have always disliked when people disrespect the President. Whether one agrees with his policies, decisions or stances I have always believed that you should honor the role he has. I for one would not want that job, nor do I wish or pray for Ty to become President. I do not post about politics and generally try not to comment on post regarding them, like you I have been off social media and it’s nice not to be bombarded by the negativity that can be posted about our President and President-elect.
    Our job is to pray for them and our leaders, to teach our children respect for the position they hold and to continue to live our life in a manner glorifying our Lord. Good job Kurt.

  14. I also voted for Obama and never felt like he didn’t do or say what was in his heart. I am so sorry our people show so much disrepect for our leaders who are taking on the hardest job anyone could have. Hopefully we can start acting like adults and support who ever is our president and make this nation look great again. Thank you for posting your letter.
    Diane

  15. Pastor Bubna,
    I appreciate your using your own platform to demonstrate what the tangible manifestation of God should look like in this world. As a pastor, chaplain and adjunct religion professor, I wish I could meet you and dialogue about the poison that has become political discourse in America. I wish we had advanced as a nation as you’d hoped. Blessings and peace my brother. Soli Deo Gloria!

    • Thank you, Michael. Sounds like we would have a great discussion over coffee! We do have a long way to go still as a nation. I appreciate your kindness.

  16. oh, kurt…. thank you so much for taking the time and thought, to put to words what i have so deeply wanted to hear. i grew up on an indian reservation, and most of my friends and neighbors were something other than white. i didn’t really think about race issues, nor did i understand them. so, although i didn’t vote for obama, i was excited to see that our nation was finally able to see people past their color, and imagined that to be progress in the right direction! however, my upbringing also taught me that whether or not you agree with the person, … you respect the position,…. and although i did not agree with many of our presidents policies, i certainly have respected him as a president and a person. sadly, i believe it will be harder for me to “feel” respectful of that position over the next 4 years than the last. but i will “choose” to continue to pray for our president, and respect his position, and incredibly difficult job.
    may we all feel an urgency to pray for our nation and our leaders passionately, not because we agree with them, or even like them…. but out of obedience to the One who can truly change hearts, and love people into wisdom! 🙂
    thoughts of an old, white, mostly republican grandma

  17. Thank you Kurt for speaking truth and love. Truth that is needed today as much it ever was. Jesus walked and lived in times like ours full of judgement, hatred, hypocrisy and division. We have so much yet to learn from him. Thank you for saying what needed to be said! Love you brother!

  18. Wow. Just wow. Clearly we didn’t have the same experience growing up, and we aren’t from the same generation, but this physically made me I’ll. Not because I am a racist, or that I agree with what you were protesting. Just like I don’t understand racism, I also don’t understand feeling guilty for the color of your skin.

    As I look around at the mess this president has made (not just in our country, but around the world), I am profoundly disgusted by the fact that you would celebrate voting for someone based on the color of their skin! Is that not racism?? I would proudly vote for a black man or woman, but I cannot imagine voting for one who would spit in the face of Isreal, promote the killing of the unborn, incite violence against law enforcement, give money to terrorist nations that want to kill us, and honestly I could go on forever, but I won’t. I’m sad that he was such a disgrace. Not because he is half black, but because for the past 8 years I have been living in fear. Before you point your finger at a lack of faith, take a look around at our current state of affairs. Never in my life have I seen our nation so broken, and truly divided. Obama has promoted class warfare, incited racial division, and terrorism is not only rampant around the world, but right here on our shores.

    I think your letter was nothing but a showboat. While you may have a whole group of followers who hang on your every word, just remember the vast responsibility that comes with that. As I read your letter, it appears that you are either completely politically uninformed, or your need to suppress your white guilt over rides the values to which you preach.

    I’m sorry if my comment comes off as being unloving. Your letter made me angry, and I will own that. Truly I wish you the best.

    • Dear Heather, I fear you missed my primary point: we are to honor and respect those in authority (as commanded to do so in the Word) regardless of their performance or political bent. As I said, I “hate” most of Obama’s policies, but I must love the man and honor him as President. I would encourage you to do some honest study about racism in America (you might want to read America’s Original Sin, by Jim Wallis). I would also ask you to consider why you are so angry. What’s in your heart? Is it reflecting the fruit of the Spirit? Accusing me of “showboating” is so far from my heart and my intent. That being said, I forgive you, and pray God’s blessing on you. You are loved.

    • Interesting response; having not voted for the man I still can look around and see a general sense of improvement over the past 4 years.
      I’m still proud to be an American and love praying for wisdom for all of our local and national leaders.

  19. Thanks for writing and posting that letter Kurt, I agree with all you wrote, and must say I spoke on the same things with others, but it was received with sarcasm. Thanks again, it would be great if President Obama could read that.

Jesus at the Bus Station (Busted By Love)

Jesus at the Bus Station (Busted By Love)

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I was downtown last week, and to avoid the cold, I went through our local bus transit center on my way to get a cup of hot coffee. Many cities have stations like this, and they often are filled with the poor, the homeless, and lots of street kids.

Apparently, the loitering laws aren’t enforced in a public place designed for people supposedly waiting for a bus.

I’ll be honest; my first thought was, “Wow. This place is just a little bit scary.” On a bench an older guy was sitting by himself and having a conversation—with himself. There was a scraggy-looking woman with a cart full of who-knows-what, and she smelled so bad I choked.

Several rough-looking teens were glued to their cell phones listening to something, and when one of them looked up at me, I could see the hopelessness in his eyes. Another emaciated young woman, probably a meth-addict, stood staring out a window.

That’s when another thought hit me, and this one was far godlier, “I’m pretty sure Jesus would hang out here, a lot, and He wouldn’t be scared or put off by anyone.”

Those I labeled losers, Jesus labeled love.

Busted.

It’s funny how a change in my perspective brought about a significant change in my attitude. And attitude is one of the most important choices any of us can make.

In an instant I switched from concern for myself to compassion for others. The people in that transit building didn’t change, but I did.

Why?

Because I started to see the poor and the disenfranchised there as humans who are profoundly loved by the Father. Interestingly, these were the people Jesus felt the most comfortable with, and the lowly and impoverished always felt accepted by Him.

Of course, I know what the Word says about the poor. I understand our call to be generous, kind, and Christ-like. Good grief, I’ve taught about compassion for the marginalized many times.

But there’s nothing quite like a walk through a bus station, on my way to spend nearly four bucks on a cup of coffee, to force me to a profound realization.

Jesus didn’t just talk about the poor—He talked to them.

Jesus didn’t just teach about love—He loved the unlovely.

Recently, in my new favorite book, People of the Second Chance, I read this quote by the author and monk Thomas Merton, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business. What we are asked to do is to love.”

Obviously, I still have a long way to go.

Maybe I should go on a bus.

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled,

the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.

Although they cannot repay you,

you will be repaid at the

resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:13-14 (NIV)

 

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13 Responses to Jesus at the Bus Station (Busted By Love)

  1. I had the opportunity to ride the bus for ~6 months last year and I loved every minute of it. Everyday I was challenged to try and talk to someone at that same stop.

    I’m hoping things work for me to hop on the ole’ STA again this year.

  2. Being in truck stops is a similar experience Kurt. Actually being on the road among drivers challenges me to have grace.

  3. It’s amazing how God can open our eyes to see things from a new, and more compassionate, perspective. I’ll definitely look up Thomas Merton’s book, too!
    Blessings, Kurt!

  4. In current society situations it IS very hard for myself personally to take that step.. while “I” know the poor & helpless & addicts are all around us…it’s just so VERY hard to not think about personal safety & emotional safety when helping others… I get defeated so quickly because there never is an absolute solution to this epidemic… but not doing anything is not a godly Christian(?) attitude/answer either..

    • Thank you for being so honest, Kelly. I know it’s fear that holds us back. I also know that not being like Jesus because of our fear isn’t the answer either. Wisdom is good (I would never want my wife to enter into a dark alley to interact with a drug addict), but love is still our call (she could talk to a homeless man at the bus station where security guards are always present). Pray for me and I’ll be praying for you. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Help, I’m the Old Guy on Staff! (How to Manage Millennials with Mercy)

Help, I’m the Old Guy on Staff! (How to Manage Millennials with Mercy)

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I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I became the old guy on our church staff. I don’t think of myself as old. I’m social media savvy. I text on my iPhone 7+. I don’t use it, but I even have a Snapchat account (I’m not sure why.).

Of course, I don’t wear skinny jeans, spike my hair, have a long beard, or have the coolest eyeglasses. I don’t sleep more than 6-7 hours a night. I still say “dude,” and I enjoy a mid-afternoon power nap. I also now qualify for the senior discount at a growing number of places.

Okay, at almost 60, maybe I am old, but I’m learning some things about relating to millennials. I’ll get there in a second, but let’s first attempt to describe who is what.

The generation breakdown is a bit difficult to define. In fact, the census bureau doesn’t classify the different generations except for Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964, who are roughly 52-70 years old).

The media, or some self-proclaimed pundit somewhere, have said that Gen-Xers are those born between 1965 and 1981, those who are 35-51. Millennials are typically those under 35, born between 1982 and 2004.

I’ve never been a big fan of pigeon-holing people, and there are plenty of folks who defy definition, but I recognize that some significant differences exist among these age groups.

That being said, how does a Boomer love and care for a staff comprised of some Gen-Xers and lots of Millennials?

Here are seven lessons I’m learning:

  • Be a good listener. If you’re a pastor, you’ve told couples a thousand times, “You’ll see some major improvements in your marriage if you work on your listening skills.” We all know how important this is, but we senior pastors (pun intended) have a nasty habit of liking the sound of our own voice when it comes to managing staff. However, it’s better to ask insightful and useful questions and to listen sincerely. You’ll make great headway with a Gen-Xer or Millennial who feels genuinely heard.

  • Clearly define your expectations. Listen first and listen well, but you’ll avoid a lot of frustration with everyone if you work hard to spell out what you want (or don’t want) and when you need it. Communication is a challenge when assumptions are made and ambivalence and indecision are present.

  • Pick your battles. On a regular basis, while being challenged by one of the young bucks on my staff or in other areas of my life, I’m consciously thinking, “How much does this truly matter? Is this a hill worth dying on?” Be honest. When it’s all said and done, does their way conflict with your ultimate goal? If you’ve defined the “win” (your clear expectations), it’s okay to give a lot of latitude to those doing the work. Of course, there are times when you should pull rank and say, “Thank you for your input, but this is what you’re going to do.” Just make sure those times are done in love and after you’ve listened to them well. Also, learn to under-react rather than over-react.

  • Don’t get defensive. Millennials are sometimes combative. I know that’s a generalization and not always true, but it is a common trait among the young. They rarely lack an opinion, and they often won’t back off until they feel valued and heard (review the point above about listening). Yes, it’s irritating when it seems like you aren’t being respected and your experience is being rejected or discounted as irrelevant, but take a deep breath and work hard not to be aggressive, defensive, or cynical because doing so never ends well for anyone. Remember, Millennials want to be valued (which is a good thing), and their opinions matter too.

  • Be mindful of the common ground you probably have with Millennials. Keep in mind, many Boomers (myself included) once were the arrogant, cocky, self-absorbed, know-it-alls who challenged everybody. Sooner or later, most people figure out that the generation before them weren’t all idiots and that experience actually does matter.

  • Lead by example. Words matter. Actions matter more. If you want them to work hard—then work hard. If you want them to have a servant’s heart—serve. If you want them to listen more and talk less—listen more. If you want them to learn from their elders and be teachable—you keep learning too. Being a lifelong learner isn’t easy. At my age, I’ve caught myself thinking, “I deserve a break. I shouldn’t have to work 10-12 hour days anymore. Where’s that life cruise-control button?” But relevance and respect must be earned, even if you’re old.

  • Be patient. If heading up a church staff and being the lead pastor were easy, you probably wouldn’t be needed. Believe me when I say, staff challenges are common. Put two or more humans together and some conflict is inevitable. Be patient with your young staff, and be patient with yourself.

Mistakes will happen. People will fail you, and you will fail them, but failure is always an opportunity for change and growth.

I’m thankful for the younger staff who surround me. I believe in them, and I see enormous potential for the future of the Church led by these young people. I deeply value the input and perspective of the young. In many ways, my Church is what it is because of the Millennials who contribute so much to who we are and what we do.

Sure, you and I might be old, but God’s not done with us yet. We still have the opportunity to shape the generations in our wake. Whether we do or don’t will have a lot to do with our attitude.

Enough said. Time for my nap.

 

 

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8 Responses to Help, I’m the Old Guy on Staff! (How to Manage Millennials with Mercy)

  1. This is really sound advice Kurt! I find as I get older, I much more enjoy listening to others rather than myself (which use to be the other way around when I was younger, lol).

    However, I do enjoy the wisdom and discernment that comes with growing old too!

  2. Yep! There’s still lots of life (and wisdom) in this Baby-Boomer yet!
    Great advice on how to communicate with and encourage the younger generations, Kurt.
    Blessings!

Why We Took “Christ” Out of Christmas (Or did we?)

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xmas-4I get a call or email from her every year. I don’t know her name. She doesn’t go to our church, I only know she’s mad, and she considers it her spiritual duty to correct me.

The issue?

Xmas.

For years now, we’ve placed an electronic reader board near the street in front of our Church building before Christmas that lists our Christmas Eve service times. The sign says, Xmas Eve.

And every year she accuses us of taking Christ out of Christmas.

Hers is a common misconception.

First, she is historically wrong. The use of “X” has been common in the Church for a long time, and it stands for CHRIST. (See this link for an explanation.)

In fact, its use was a very popular practice, particularly by religious scribes, who are thought to have started the whole “Xmas” thing in the first place. Indeed, the practice of using the symbol “X” in place of Christ’s name has been going on amongst religious scholars for at least a thousand years. (Here’s another link just in case you need more convincing.)

biblical-scribes

Second, we use Xmas on our sign for a very practical reason: Space. To use “Christmas Eve” and list all our services would take too many panels. People driving by have time only for a glance.

Third, of all the things that matter, like the billions who don’t have clean drinking water or the millions suffering from starvation, this issue is not worthy of an uproar by Christians. (Especially, when they are being inaccurate. See my first point.)

Maybe instead of worrying too much about taking Christ out of Christmas we should be a lot more like Christ at Christmas. I’m quite certain Jesus wouldn’t mind the use of “X,” and He’d be way more concerned with things and people that matter.

Fourth, to think that a Christian, evangelical church has taken Christ out of Christmas is a unfortunate false assumption. Every week we preach Jesus, and our stated mission is to “help people find and follow Jesus!” For the record, Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do and say at Eastpoint! Everything.

Fifth, our mission as a church is to reach the unchurched. And trust me, the unchurched are not the ones calling and complaining. Frankly, they tend to think arguments about “X” are stupid, and they sometimes use this foolishness among believers as an excuse to avoid Christians. How sad.

x-logo
A = Alpha / W = Omega / X = Chi (first letter in “Christ”)

When the sign got delivered this past week, one of my staff said, “Are we going with ‘Xmas’ again this year? Are you sure it’s worth the flack we’ll get?”

“Yup,” I said, “We’re not trying to be offensive, but the only people who will be offended aren’t the unchurched folks we’re trying to reach.”

She smiled. So did I.

Merry Xmas!

(Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family. Thank you!)

 

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8 Responses to Why We Took “Christ” Out of Christmas (Or did we?)

  1. Bless you, Kurt, for taking the time to elaborate on the meaning of the “X” in Xmas. I had read about it before, but it is sadly something so many folks don’t get.
    Have a blessed Advent and a Merry Xmas!

    • Sadly, some Christians seem to just need a “fight” to find worth. Unfortunately, they (we) tend to pick things that a watching world just shakes their heads at while wondering, “Why don’t they fight for something (like better drinking water) that truly does make a difference.” Thanks for adding to the conversatio, Martha.

  2. Learned about Xmas from a Lutheran Pastor many years ago. Maybe the person with complaint needs to take a little class. Pretty sure ALL of the Christian Pastors could school her. Proud of you for sticking to your guns. Merry Xmas!!

  3. This is a fine explanation. But I ask you, how many people who drive by your sign know Greek? How many people remember when it started happening (Xmas instead of Christmas)and felt the change as a slight by commercialism to save space on the signs for shopping and remove religion from a holiday we weren’t allowed to talk about in schools. I am 65 years old and it will always hurt just like cussing and putting Christ’s name in the sentence when you are not praying but angry. At school, we can’t say Christmas but have to say Happy Holidays. I kind of feel like saying Christ’s name for the good whenever possible.

    • Hi Judy,
      I agree, very few know Greek, and I don’t pray to “Dear X” — but I would respectfully ask you to consider all five of my points in this blog (including the “space” issue). This blog was written to: 1) educate the uninformed (ignorance is never a good excuse for anything); 2) to explain the use of Xmas on our sign; 3) to remind Christians (the only ones who get upset about this) that we are trying to reach non-Christians (and they tend to think our fighting over “X” is “religious nonsense”). Remember this too…we have not taken Christ out of anything at Eastpoint. In fact, over the last 3 Sundays, over 25 new believers have given their lives to Him at the conclusion of our services. I humbly suggest that we best keep Christ in Christmas by doing our best to reach those He came to earth to reach.
      Thank you for adding to the conversation.
      You are loved.

  4. The only sharing I will be doing will be adverse to your explanation, which is nothing but a cop out. If I recall I said “whatever your reasoning, you are yielding to a secular idea of Christ.” I do appreciate your attempt with the cute story (I’ve got a few of them myself in the opposite direction) you used to make a case for your reasoning behind the word (is it really a word?) on the sign, but it doesn’t fly with. Other Christians that I have spoken to were appalled, whereas I am merely disappointed. Merry CHRISTmas to you. Sincerely Lee W. Pitts

    • Lee, I would encourage you to read my blog again, and perhaps more carefully, I can assure you we have not “yielded to a secular idea”. Facts, history, and our clear and evident passion for Jesus at Eastpoint, are not the results of human “reasoning” or a cop out, my friend. Frankly, the divisive and judgmental nature of some Christians continues to break my heart. We have not taken “Christ” out of Christmas at Eastpoint. But sadly, too many who follow Him have taken His prayer for unity (John 17) out of their lives and out of their practical experience with others within the Body of Christ. We can disagree, but we cannot, and I will not, make our pet peeves a point of disunity.
      Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “We need not all agree, but if we disagree, let us not be disagreeable in our disagreements.”
      – M.R. DeHaan
      You are loved,
      Pastor Kurt

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