Additional Titles









Religious Relativism

Hating Holiness

Bedridden Believers

Good Intentions

The Power Of Money










By Paul Proctor

December 13, 2006

The Des Moines Register reported in its December 10th edition, that teenagers from Lamoni United Methodist Church recently took a life-size cardboard cutout of "Jesus" and rolled it through the Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines on a two-wheeled cart and into the movie theater on their way to see "The Nativity Story."

The Register's Religion Editor, Shirley Ragsdale, reported the triumphal entry this way:

"As they took turns pushing the cardboard Jesus on a two-wheeled handcart through the mall's festive decorations and Christmas music, the faces of the shoppers around them registered surprise and curiosity.

Chatter at the food court quieted when the kids pushed Jesus by. Kiosk shopkeepers asked what was going on.

One older man burdened with shopping bags was so fascinated, he nearly blundered into a glittering Christmas tree.

"The cardboard Jesus is an exercise in living their faith and 'taking Jesus Christ with them everywhere,'" said the Rev. Steve McElroy.

Earlier this year, McElroy had talked to about 20 middle school and high school students in his church about the challenge in living as a Christian.

The discussion became more real when the pastor showed up with the cardboard cutout and asked the youth group if they would take Jesus with them any time they were together.

"It's one thing taking Jesus around local places. It's more difficult to be a public Christian when you're hauling him through the mall crowded with shoppers," Pastor McElroy said. "It's a good test."

"It's a chance to show people we are Christians and we're not embarrassed about it," said Agnes Ansong, 16, of Lamoni.

"We want people to know what we believe in and that we take the Christmas season seriously." McElroy said.

They want people to know they believe in what, cardboard? Well, these kids may "take the Christmas season seriously," but obviously their pastor doesn't take the Son of God or His Word too seriously.

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" - Exodus 20:4-5

Have our convictions gone on Christmas vacation? What part of "Thou shalt not" is so hard for today's pastor to grasp? And who says we are we to take Jesus anywhere? Did He not command us to follow Him - which begs the question: Who is in control of the relationship here?

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24

It's yet another example of absolute truth being sidelined by a pragmatic pastor teaching his youth that the end justifies the means - that love is a license to do whatever you feel is effective, as long as it's for Jesus - even when the Lord Himself says "Thou shalt not."

I mean, while angry Christian activists busy themselves year after year foolishly fighting for the ridiculous right to set up their plastic Jesus displays - what I like to call "Naivet� Scenes" - they ignore the very thing we were commanded by Jesus to do: Hear, obey and proclaim His Word - and in doing so, exchange Divine instruction for Christian idolatry!

Now I don't really blame the kids here because, according to the Register, their pastor is the one who told them to do it - and obviously their parents aren't anymore discerning than the pastor or they would have refused their participation - but consider what they're really being taught by this egregious exercise.

Whether the pastor knows it or not, these kids are learning a cardboard christ-likeness - how to mutely make your way through a materialistic world without uttering a single saving word of truth or bearing witness to a living Christ with a changed heart and a renewed mind. Is there a more perfect illustration of today's "evangelism" than kids pushing a lifeless prop around the mall for spectacle? How Pastor McElroy translates that into "an exercise in living their faith," Ill never know.

"Woe unto you�,hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." - Matthew 23:15

While martyrs are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed around the world for faithfully proclaiming the Gospel and refusing to deny Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, this is what Christians are courageously promoting and defending here in America and other affluent areas of the world: Jesus Dolls, cardboard Christs, Nativity Scenes, Christmas Trees and the right to hear "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" from the cashier at Wal-Mart. What's next - outraged believers rioting in the streets over liberal legislation brazenly banning the manufacture, distribution and sale of fruitcake?

We've traded the sacred for the superficial and substance for symbolism, while our children grow up in churches learning transcendental meditation, mysticism, materialism and Marxism right under our narcissistic noses! It's no wonder our churches are in the sorry state they're in and the numbers are dropping year after year. We're giving them everything they want and nothing they need.

Perhaps we should just go ahead and call this increasingly silly season "Xmas" after all. At least that would be more "relevant" and "authentic."

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools�" - Romans 1:21-22

Related Articles:

1. Jesus accompanies teens on trip to movie, mall
2. How The Nativity Story Breathes Life into the Petrified Dime-Store Cr�che
3. Coalition Calls for Nationwide Push on Public Nativity Scenes
4. Christmas Trees Being Returned to SeaTac Airport
5. Americans want to see 'Merry Christmas' in stores
All I Want For Christmas Is My Jesus Doll

� 2006 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved

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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.












We've traded the sacred for the superficial and substance for symbolism, while our children grow up in churches learning transcendental meditation, mysticism, materialism and Marxism right under our narcissistic noses!