Another Dumb Thing Christians Do

In 2006, I wrote a book called The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do.  People ask me all the time if I’m going to write volume two and volume three and so on.  I certainly could.  Let me give you a sneak peek at a chapter that will appear in volume two if I ever write it.

Yet another dumb thing Christians do is pour their energies into efforts that have little or no hope of ever making a real difference.

Case in point: The American Family Association’s boycott of Radio Shack.  Here’s the exact text of the email they sent out a couple of days ago:

Radio Shack refuses to use the word “Christmas” while marketing to Christmas shoppers.  Radio Shack is fully aware of this boycott, which proves they don’t care if they offend you.  Want proof? Go to www.radioshack.com and type “Christmas” in the search bar.  As of today, the website brings up zero results.  At Radio Shack you’ll find “holiday” deals, a”holiday” kickoff, “holiday” cash, and a “holiday” gift guide, but you won’t find “Christmas.”  The company is censoring the word “Christmas” pure and simple.  Until Radio Shack proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, and television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted throughout this Christmas season.

First, let me say that I am not opposed to Tim Wildmon and the AFA.  I’m sure their hearts are in the right place and that they do some good work.  But boycotting Radio Shack because they run a “holiday” sale instead of a “Christmas” sale?  Really?

First, when did Radio Shack ever promote itself as a Christian company?  I know all about the corporate faith of Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby, and applaud them.  But Radio Shack?  I’ve never heard a word about their corporate leadership being Christian.  So I’ll ask the question for the ten thousandth time:  Why oh why do we expect non-Christian companies to behave in a Christian manner?

Second, this boycott, like so many others, is all about Christians being offended:  Radio Shack is fully aware of this boycott, which proves they don’t care if they offend you.  Actually, I’m much more offended by Christians who are always offended by every little thing that doesn’t suit their fancy.  Please…can’t we just try to have a little thicker skin?  Do we have to be offended by everything?  It’s no wonder unbelievers have such a negative view of us.

Third, if we’re going to boycott Radio Shack for omitting the word “Christmas” from their ads, how many other companies are we going to have to boycott in order to be consistent?  Ah, but you see, that’s one of the problems with us Christians.  We’re often very inconsistent.  Call it selective outrage.  We rail against that coworker who curses and then pay money to see a movie that has profanity all through it.

Fourth, boycotts like this infuriate me because they make Christians feel like they’re doing something when they really aren’t doing anything.  How many of our brothers and sisters will sign the petition and tell their friends they’re boycotting Radio Shack when they never intended to shop there anyway?

Fifth, let’s say the boycott is successful and Radio Shack starts using the word “Christmas.”  What have we really accomplished?  Has even one soul been led to Christ?  Has a starving child been fed?  Has a fractured marriage been healed?  Has a broken heart been encouraged?  I seriously doubt it.  But you can bet there’d be a celebration.

Finally, don’t we, as the old saying goes, have bigger fish to fry?  I go months and months and never even think about Radio Shack.  I go years without walking into one.  I don’t even know where the closest one is to my house!  Whether or not Radio Shack uses the word “Christmas” has zero impact on my life, and I’m betting you could say the same thing.  To me, this boycott is the perfect example of turning a molehill into a mountain.

Living here in central Florida, I well remember when a large denomination decided to boycott Disney.  There was much railing and gnashing of teeth over the godless empire that was doing so much harm to our world (though again, I don’t recall Disney ever claiming to be a Christian company).  “We’re going to teach them a lesson!” was the battle cry from those outraged believers as they shook their fists in the air.  I seriously doubt that Disney gave that boycott any more thought than an elephant would give an ant.  One thing I do know: traffic in the Disney area was just as bad as ever.

Here’s an idea.  Instead of organizing petitions and boycotts, why don’t we concentrate more on showing our neighbors the love of Christ?  Why don’t we witness to people we know who need Jesus?  Why don’t we give more to missions?  Why don’t we repent of the secret sin in our lives?  Why don’t we spend more time in prayer?  As I look at the world, my first thought is not, “We need to get another boycott going!”  My first thought is, “We need to do a better job of living our faith at home, at work, and in the marketplace.”

So sign the petition and boycott the store if you want.  There certainly wouldn’t be anything wrong with it.  But please, try to aim a little higher in the future.  There’s a lot more you could do for the Kingdom than typing your name.

 

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13 Responses to Another Dumb Thing Christians Do

  1. Barbara says:

    Mark, you are right! We’ve got to quit expecting non Christians to act like Christians. This is a good reminder.

  2. Dan says:

    Many people seem to think we are a “Christian Only” nation. We were supposed to learn the following in grade school….
    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    • Dan says:

      And I wonder what would happen in any particular area if it was noted that the team working in a Radio Shack was mostly Chinese or Iranian and the company had randomly offered a toy or device that just happened to become very popular for people of that background. Would that cause an uproar because they had also decided to call Christmas a holiday?
      Christmas has become a thing of large purchases of items we don’t really need so everyone can feel ‘happy’ and think we have somehow made God happy. Maybe if we first made Christmas a time to seriously worship God, consider what we could have done the previous year and how much God blessed us in that time, then having a ‘holiday’ the week following Christmas where we seriously searched for and followed through on finding meaningful ways to help those so much less fortunate than us, maybe some people would begin to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

    • Mark says:

      Well-said, Dan.

  3. tina says:

    All I can say Mark to your response is AMEN!

  4. Pat Dane says:

    Bravo Mark. You have always had such a good way with words… I am getting really weary of small minded people.

  5. R souce says:

    This makes sense in every respect. Some would say, and I would join them, 1000 per cent. Such rational thinking is so rare in this 21st century. We need more people to imitate this kind of reasoning as it is not taught in school, perhaps rarely in the home as
    the majority of this generation is taught by a generation of dumbed-down parents that became infected with irrational thought and behavior since the 1960’s. Two thumbs up!

  6. Marg says:

    Free speech what a wonderful thing it is or is it?
    Good job Mark

  7. Travis says:

    I agree with you on most of your points. Christians do tend to spend too much energy complaining about non-Christians acting like non-Christians, especially since we were never called on in scriptures to make a special holiday out of His birthday anyway.

    However, I need to point out, in this case, that I think the complaint here is not about non-Christians who turn Christmas into a non-Christian holiday, but about the ridiculous trend over the last 10 years to be politically correct and pull the word Christmas out of this holiday so as not to offend a relatively small group of minority religions. No Christian should expect Radio Shack to celebrate Christmas as a Christian company and to start putting manger scenes in their stores to celebrate the birth of the savior. But Christmas has been the name of this holiday for Christians and non-Christians alike for 100’s of years, and it is only recently that retailers have been trying to rename it. All anyone is wanting is for them to call it what it is, and for everyone in this country to stop bowing to the blow-hard hot air of a small fringe of society that likes to complain and see who they can make jump.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t disagree with you, Travis. My primary concern is the waste of time and energy. Surely, as Christians, we have bigger fish to fry. When we identify a retailer like Radio Shack as the enemy and marshall our troops to take them on, it seems to me we have veered off track.

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