Posts tagged Political Correctness
Good morning. Hope your Christmas was awesome. We got 2 inches of snow here in Atlanta, which is quite a rarity. It’s been 100 years since it has snowed on Christmas. Usually (if we get snow), it’s not until February that anything like that happens.
Anyway, here’s a hilarious video of one of my best friends, Bill. It’s a new hobby for him. If you’ve read my book you know he is probably the funniest person I know.
Enjoy! And cut back on the calories, fatty.
*Here’s a little tongue-in-cheek article I wrote to add some levity and focus to this time of year.
The holidays are upon us. I’ve been through enough of them now to know come January 1st I will have a list of things swimming around in my mind. And it’s not a “resolution” kind of list. It’s a “Where did all the fun that I was supposed to have go this holiday?” kind of list. It’s a “I have bunch of regrets mixed in with my fond memories” kind of list.
To preempt the regrets in order to create a reservoir of overwhelmingly positive memories, I have decided to make a list of all the things I hate about the holidays to bring out what is (or should be) most important to me. And I think we can all see ourselves somewhere in this list. So I hope it helps with your holiday celebrations whatever they may be—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, or Festivus (for the rest of us). Plus, I hope it might add a little levity and bring some focus to this busy time. Sometimes it helps to have a sense of humor.
10. Decorating. I hate all the time it takes to decorate. Now, let me be clear, I love decorations and things being decorated. I just don’t like doing it! The untangling of lights, finding hooks for each ornament, finding the one bulb in a string of 50 that is keeping the whole string dead, and pretending like I am having so much fun for the kids sake is all very frustrating. A few years ago, we even resorted to having an artificial Christmas tree. As much as I hate it and vowed to NEVER sink to such a low, it’s so much better (and easier)— less mess, less money, no maintenance. I even keep it stored, fully assembled in the basement. So I literally have the tree up in ten minutes when it’s time to get started. We also light a pine tree scented candle so our visitors think it’s real. But the kids like all the hoopla and that’s enough for me. Plus, I do love putting the train around the tree. That’s pretty awesome.
9. Shopping. UGH! I’m not a good gift giver or receiver. My wife, Lisa, does the shopping for the gifts for the kids. That is VERY good! I do love that. Sure, we talk about what to get, but she does all the work in the end. The problem is, I always wait until the last minute when shopping for her. Yes, I know it’s a man-cliché. It’s just how it happens. Thank God stores are open Christmas Eve! For me, there is nothing worse than going to the mall during the holidays. You just can’t get everything on-line. Some people get recharged emotionally shopping at the mall (like my wife). I just get suicidal. I’m also not good at telling others what I want. That doesn’t make it easy for others to shop for me. It’s not that I don’t want stuff. I just hate telling people what I want. Plus, everything has a dollar value to me nowadays, so I think about how much we’re spending constantly. Besides, I like life simple. I like relaxing, going to the movies, and eating. It’s not like you can put a rib-eye in the stocking, right? Plus, the things I really do want are just too much money (a remodeled house, new truck, 1,000,000 copies of my book to be sold etc. are some things that come to mind).*Update: I just had someone email me their total after Christmas shopping. It was $666.66. They instantly thought of this and had to tell me. Hilarious!
8. Fighting. Don’t lie, we all have several snippy moments during the most wonderful time of the year. And yes, some of us even argue. We might even yell at the kids a little. It’s hard, stressful, and tense trying to have so much fun and make something so special. We want it all to be so perfect and that can set us off quite easily. Tempers flare during what is supposed to be a very satisfying and relaxing season with the family. You may also be tense from the traveling to visit family. Now throw all the other things on my list in and you have a recipe for disaster.
7. Fat. Not you, but me. We all gain a little around the holidays and it’s not usually character, patience, or anything useful like that. It’s weight. Overeat? That doesn’t mean anything to me this time of year. Full? What does that have to do with anything? Eating is a state-of-mind for me. You have to be disciplined and really apply yourself if you want to do it properly. Portion and rationing are the smart thing to do. But since when is smart fun when it comes to food? Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, honey-baked ham, rib-roast, sweet potatoes, apple pie. Yes please! Anyone hungry yet?
6. Montezuma’s Revenge. If you don’t get that reference, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it from eating so much food. Tums and Pepto-Bismal will help. That’s right, I said it. Fried this and saturated that starts to catch up. For me, there’s no way around it because I refuse to eat responsibly during the holidays. That just wouldn’t be any fun now would it! As a matter of fact, I am a handyman by day and I’ve even put Tums in the first-aid kit for just such an emergency.
5. Holiday Blues. I hate the fact that the holiday mindset doesn’t set in until it is all nearly over. I think if I could take off work from Halloween until News Years Day, it might get me in the right holiday mindset sooner and keep me there longer. Sounds good, right? You’d have time to get the stressful ‘to-do’ items done, relax, and know there is even enough time to recoup. But mostly we’re working and shopping right until the last minute, so the holiday feeling doesn’t set in because we haven’t been still or relaxed enough to ‘detox’ from the regular routine of life. I usually hit the ground running during holidays. What’s worse is, once I realize the relaxing euphoria has finally set in, it is followed by the thought that the holiday season will be over in a day or two.
4. Political Correctness. This is a relatively recent development. Over the past five or so years there have been some ridiculous things happening surrounding the holidays. From public school teachers being threatened with formal reprimands for saying Merry Christmas, to Christmas trees being removed from public grounds because they have a religious meaning. And if the trees aren’t removed, they are simply called ‘Holiday Trees’ in order to be more inclusive. The funny thing is, Christmas trees are actually a pagan practice that Christians adopted. That’s the problem with political correctness gone wild. You forget who you are and what it’s really about. So Happy Ramanahanakwanzmas? NO! Merry Christmas! I wish you all the best. But that’s how we role around here.
3. Spenders Remorse. In order for it to feel like a holiday, I spend freely. This is because in our everyday lives we have to be budget conscious. I hate the feeling like I am spending too much, but at the same time, I ignore it so it will still feel like a holiday. This only compounds the issue. We always go over budget. Not sure how not to do that one.
2. Santa. I don’t hate Santa, but hate the issue of Santa within our family. Why? Because most of us who’ve grown-up in America were told there’s Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, and Jesus. We teach kids they’re all real, but they’re not all real. Eventually our kids will be okay with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy being cute little white lies, while accepting Jesus and God as completely legit—right? Not really. At least I don’t think so, and it’s something I talk about in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. This is something that my wife and I have spoken about in depth. Will we tell our kids about Santa? Will Santa be the one who gives them their gifts? It’s funny how many atheists(and some agnostics) have railed me over the years for teaching my kids about Jesus and God—something that can’t be proven. You know, they want to wait to introduce ideas of faith and religion when their kids are old enough to decide for themselves. Sounds so intellectual and enlightened, right? But these people have had no problem telling their kids about a fat guy sliding down the chimney with a sack full of gifts and eating the cookies and milk, his elves, flying reindeer, and somehow doing this at midnight in every home all around the world. What’s with that? Do I have a problem with the story of Santa? Not at all. We’re not Grinches. We tell our kids the story of the real Saint Nicholas. But we’ve decided that’s where it stops. Sorry Santa. No cookies for you at the Berggren home.
1. Forgetting. I suppose #2 really leads to this one. I don’t know what it is all about for you (the holidays, that is). But for me it’s supposed to be about the birth of Jesus— you know, the most influential person in history. I hate that all of the above stuff on my list tends to get in the way of what these times are supposed to be about. I have to tell myself more than once during the holidays, “It’s all about Jesus, stupid!” I don’t want to forget to remember what my priorities are supposed to be. Whatever you believe in, I hope you’ll add value to yourself and those around you by relaxing, spending time with loved ones, and celebrating. That’s the #1 thing. It’s what the holidays are supposed to be all about. And I love that.
This will be the only news item I highlight this week. I don’t want to get to heavy. But I thought this was appropriate.
Below is a video clip what NPR’s Nina Totenberg said on PBS this weekend. Notice as she’s talking. She apologizes for saying that she was at a “Christmas Party.” It’s not that she’s sorry for admitting she went to the party. She’s sorry that she had to say the word “Christmas” in order to describe it–because I guess Christmas is so offensive to so many.
How dare you Nina!
Is this what we we’re coming to in this country? Do we really have to be that politically correct? This is not liberty, this is legalism.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!
Now that may sound stupid to you. But most of us who’ve grown-up in America were told there’s Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, and Jesus. We teach kids they’re all real, but they’re not all real. Eventually our kids will be okay with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy being cute little white lies, while accepting Jesus and God as completely legit—right? Not really. At least I don’t think so, and it’s something I talk about in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. So Santa is something that my wife and I have spoken about in depth, because ultimately we want to be honest with out children.
Will we tell our kids about Santa?
More importantly, will Santa be the one who gives them their gifts?
On a humorous side-note, it’s funny how many atheists (and some agnostics) have railed me over the years for teaching my kids about Jesus and God—something that can’t be proven. You know, they want to wait to introduce ideas of faith and religion to their kids when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.
Sounds so intellectual and enlightened, right?
But these people have had no problem telling their kids about a fat guy sliding down the chimney with a sack full of gifts and eating the cookies and milk, his elves, flying reindeer, and somehow doing this at midnight in every home all around the world. What’s with that? Do I have a problem with the story of Santa? Not at all. We’re not Grinches. We tell our kids the story of the real Saint Nicholas. But we’ve decided that’s where it stops. Sorry Santa. No cookies for you at the Berggren home.
It’s not always easy. Last year our middle child (who was 5) confessed that he told a friend at school that day that Santa isn’t real. Of course, this is something we have coached our children notto do extensively. So we reprimanded him.
This issue may not be a big deal to you, and I understand. For us, this all came together when our oldest was about three. Like most, he was still enamored by the story Santa. We had to explain it again.
And when he added “…and Jesus and the Bible!” we were floored. Now, I’m sure there are some (that don’t believe in God) that love the fact my son made that connection. But for us, Jesus is real and we explained that to him all over again.
So there is a little dynamic about our family and Christmas. I’m sure you have some funny family dynamics as well. It’s what makes life interesting.
*Some of this has already appeared in my article 10 Things I Hate About the Holidays.
So we had some friends over last night. We were relating some hilarious stories from our past weekend’s events (Thanksgiving). Mine included getting food poisoning on vacation, my 3-yr-old eating the pellets from the candy machine meant for feeding the ducks (because he thought they were candy, since they were in the candy dispenser), and my 6-yr-old running head first full stride into a mirror (in a mirror maze). Good stuff.
Anyway, a friend was relating the events of the weeks. Now, it was only Tuesday, so what could possibly be going on already?
He works at the public school up the street. This weekend they put up all the Christmas decorations around the school. But who could ever imagine Christmas decorations would mean trouble? Unfortunately, it does in this day-and-age where people cling to the false virtues of political correctness and ‘tolerance’ (because those crying about tolerance, never seem to be themselves).
First, everyone on staff (all the teachers etc.) were instructed to call the trees “Holiday Trees” and not Christmas Trees–because Christmas Trees are highly offensive, right?. As if that weren’t enough, a parent complained the first day the decorations were up (Monday) about the “Holiday Trees” being lit. So they had to take down all the lights on all the trees.
And it makes me wonder, who complained? it must have been either an Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish person, Muslim, or Hindu (or something). And why? Why is someone so annoyed or angry or bored, as a person, that they have to create controversy where there is none?
I’m sure you’ve heard about this nonsense in the news in some distant California town, but it’s another story to hear about this firsthand down the street in Atlanta. It’s sad really. How have we decided we have a human right in the US not to be offended? And we’ll spend money and effort defending that?
Besides, who gets offended by a Christmas Tree? Because the Christmas Tree is not actually a religious symbol (not even a Christian one). That’s the implied tension in this dispute–that a Christmas Tree is a Christian symbol and therefore not appropriate at a public school. Actually, that’s all false.
The Christmas Tree is actually a pagan symbol. The irony.
The last couple of weeks the Christian community has been buzzing about legendary vampire author (remember Interview With The Vampire ?) Anne Rice ‘quitting’ Christianity. If you didn’t know, she became a convert about 10 years ago. More specifically, she released some statements on her Facebook fan page. They were things like:
“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian … It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
“My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me…But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might become.”
She also said that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.” She said that she is leaving ‘organized’ religion’ but is still a follower of Jesus Christ.
So what can I say to Ms. Rice? What needs to be said?
Ah yes, trying to balance being a follower of Jesus, current events, and your worldview. I know it well. I do it every week here on my blog.
I do it in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. In fact, your (Ms. Rice) “not calling yourself a Christian” is a challenge I make in my own book. I get it.
It’s my own Interview With The Savior. HA!
Following Jesus, Ms. Rice, isn’t easy. In fact, being Jesus wasn’t easy. That’s what I discuss in my post on why Jesus Was So Darn Offensive.
Remember how they killed Jesus because he was so divisive? That’s just one idea to keep in mind.
I understand. I also don’t want to be perceived as “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.” And I’m not any of those things.
But sometimes, just sometimes, words of Jesus call us to value certain things, regardless of our own popularity, that are unpopular with some people. And since my faith informs, guides, and corrects my worldview, there often ripples that go in all directions and splash people inadvertently.
That is why I, as a ‘Christian’ (and I admit, I reluctantly use that term at times), am also things like anti-lying, anti-stealing, anti-divorce, anti-adultery, anti-substance abuse, anti-crime, anti-relativism, anti-pluralism, and, well, you get the idea. Sometimes people like to flirt with edge of those things. I don’t. And when I don’t, if I happen to have a relationship with someone who does, it makes them uncomfortable. Sometime it even makes them mad.
It’s not that I do anything to make them mad. I just won’t do what they do. They think I am ‘judging’ them. I’m not. I just refuse to compromise one certain things. Some positions I hold are essential, if you will, and some are nonessential. It’s the essential ones that make people mad. But that’s how I try to honor Jesus, or follow him, as you say.
Sadly, this had ended many relationships over the 22 years that I have been a Christian. Not by choice, just by default.
The truth is, it’s not that I am anti anything. It’s that I am pro stuff: pro-family, pro-fidelity, pro-justice, pro-life (yes, I am pro-life), pro-moms, pro-dads, pro-reconciliation, pro-forgiveness, and so on… And I don’t compromise my principles (the essential ones) based on comfort level, environment, or company.
It’s not easy. I understand.
I wish someone would have told that sooner, Ms. Rice. It sounds like you have never had a spiritual mentor. I haven’t either. In fact, I’ve never had a mentor in any area of life.
I’ve had to just stumble around and clumsily learn things the hard way. Would you have listened if you had a mentor, I wonder?
Well, perhaps you will listen to the words of Jesus himself:
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, motheragainst daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”–Luke 12:51-53
Just something to keep in mind, when people don’t like your positions. It’s doesn’t mean to go out of your way to divide. But sometimes, by default, your values will. We all fall in love with the popular warm and fuzzy Jesus. His words fill Holiday cards, because he is so very marketable.
But let’s not forget the less popular Jesus. The one they killed because of his values and positions–which is what his words above are alluding to.
Know why Jesus said this? Know what he meant?
Sometime, just sometimes, following Jesus (or God) isn’t about your reputation, image, popularity, feelings, or convenience. If it is, it leads to moral relativism and philosophical pluralism every time. Even if you, Ms. Rice, try to leave ‘organized’ religion or stop calling yourself a Christian (which I support, rhetorically speaking)…it will suck–that is, if you base your ‘following’ on the words, life, and teachings of Jesus.
I hope this was helpful, because it was meant to be.
I wish you all the best, Ms. Rice!