Political vs. Spiritual Correctness

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Adam's Apple, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Political vs. Spiritual Correctness
    By Chuck Holloway, The Herald-Times
    December 28, 2004

    It’s been interesting this holiday season to note how much people are focusing on trying to be politically correct. This year, more than any other in my memory, people have taken time to share their thoughts and opinions about the difficulty in simply celebrating Christmas without offending some portion of the population. Examples include multiple salutations for people to have a Merry Christmas, A Happy Hannukah, a Joyful Kwanzaa, and a peaceful whatever the other groups do.

    Many words have been written this year extolling the desire to “chill out” about the PC-ness of the Christmas season and focus more on the spirit that is supposedly connected to the holiday. For me it has become not a question of political correctness, but a question of spiritual correctness. Let me try to explain.

    This year I was invited to attend a Christmas Eve church service, an activity that has not been part of my traditional holiday activities since I was in college. I was reluctant to attend simply because my belief in Jesus—or, more accurately, my lack of such belief—would make me feel like a liar and a hypocrite to participate in such a service celebrating his birth.

    Now it’s not that I haven’t believed something at SOME point in my life. People who think they know me are often surprised to learn that I was president of my church youth group for three years when I was in high school. I was also one of the first two youth lay readers our church ever had. Christmas at my church was the highlight of the year. I still have wonderful memories of the holiday traditions. The fellowship and love were abundant in that place at that time.

    I was younger then, and time passes. Long before 2004 and all the commentary about the need for political correctness this Christmas season, I stopped sending Christmas cards with “Merry Christmas” or even the word “Christmas” in them. My cards would contain sentiments such as “Happy Holidays” or ‘peaceful greetings.” But this was not out of concern for political correctness, but simply out of a pretty simple, concrete lack of belief in the concept of Christ.

    I totally believe in the spirit of Christmas. I believe in the spirit of what the birth of Jesus Christ is supposed to symbolize. I believe in caring for others, in giving to others less fortunate, in lifting up those in need and doing good instead of bad.

    For a very long time, it has been a major question for me to accept the existence of Jesus Christ. Too much harm is done to people in this world. Too much pain and suffering is perpetrated on others, and often in the name of somebody’s religious convictions. (And the given religion doesn’t have to be Christian, either). The longer I have lived, the harder it has become for me to believe.

    My longstanding questioning of the existence of Jesus Christ naturally caused a level of dissonance at the prospect of attending a service to celebrate his birthday. I attended anyway, and it was fine. Wouldn’t you know that the major topic for the service was to emphasize that ALL people were welcome in that church, regardless of the level of their belief? It figures!

    This holiday season then, for me, the issue is not one of being politically correct about Christmas, but being spiritually correct about it all. Why?

    Well, what if Jesus Christ really DID exist? What if the spiritually correct thing is that he really WAS the son of God? What if “god” really exists? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

    I guess it comes down to a question of faith. The only Bible verse I ever committed to memory was from Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1. It defines faith in a way that pretty much sums it up for me (whether I embrace it personally or not). You might want to look it up. Or not.

    I certainly am no closer to having an answer to all this than I did prior to the invitation to the Christmas Eve service. But I sure have spent a great deal more time thinking about it, and that’s a good thing.
     

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