Archive for December 2011
The world has lost one of its favorite modern philosophers and the church militant has lost one of its greatest modern foes.
How should Christians deal with the death of someone that so vehemently opposed everything we hold true? As Americans, many rejoiced in the death of Osama Bin Laden, but those who reveled in it went too far. With a man like Hitchens, whose attacks were purely academic, it seems even poorer taste to give thanks in his passing.
So, I won’t.
I will not mourn him either.
Dirty fact about me–I liked Hitchens’ writing. Never have I so thoroughly enjoyed something I so ardently disagreed with. When I say “like” or “enjoy,” let me be clear–Hitchens wrote in a way that I found profound and engaging. At the same time, I found the content of his writing reprehensible and completely misguided. I would feel guilty about writing that, but I am confident he would feel the same about my devotions and I am also confident in the truth of God’s word.
But why would confident Christians shy away from the work of Hitchens? Just as the writing of C.S. Lewis teaches my head to say what my heart already knows, the writing of Hitchens teaches me to better object to what I already know is false. Iron sharpens iron.
I would have loved to meet Hitchens. I like to think I would have had the courage to speak God’s truth to him–even in the face of his famous and learned opposition.
Yet, as the world says “Rest in Peace” to a man of the world, I cannot. What rest is there without the God who says, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest?” What peace is there without the “Prince of Peace?” According to Hitchens’ beliefs, he wouldn’t have wanted your platitudes anyway. If there is no afterlife, there is no rest–just nothingness.
So instead, I pray today–like every other day–that God protect his church and keep it in the one true faith until he bring his own into life everlasting.
It seems that a lot of people don’t really misunderstand this phrase. I have seen numerous claims–both from friends online and also on T.V.–that it is a sinister way of removing Christ as part of the much larger “War on Christmas.”
And I’m sorry, forget X-M-A-S. Malcolm X? Yes. X replacing Christ? No.
While I refuse to debate whether there is really a “War on Christmas,” this particular claim is astounding.
From the Christian Writer’s Manual of Style.
“The abbreviation Xmas (sometimes spelled Exmas) for Christmas should be avoided in formal writing. It is appropriate only for advertising copy and is usually considered substandard even there. Oddly enough, the abbreviation has a long and established history in English, dating back to its Old English form found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the twelfth century. The X is actually the Greek letter chi and has been used as a symbol for the name of Christ (Christos) since the first century.”
So, all-of-a-sudden, in 21st century America a term is “warring on Christianity” when its roots go back to a cherished Christian tradition tracing all the way back to the time of the apostles, really?
Most Christians know the chi rho, the symbol on the right, even if they don’t know exactly what it means. What looks like “xp” to English-speakers, is actually two Greek letters that are the equivalent of “chr” in our language. Those two letters begin our Lord’s name, Χριστος.
Essentially, replacing “Christ” with the letter “X” has been in place just as long as that “Jesus-Fish” on the back of your minivan.
Respectfully, this is nothing more than a misunderstanding of language, history and symbols. While it is simple to say “just write Christmas,” a stand against “Xmas” should be followed by a stand against all abbreviations or symbols. Once upon a time, the Christian church needed this abbreviation to save printing costs in the 14th and 15th century. Now? It’s just shorthand.
Merry Christmas, or Xmas…because it means the exact same thing.