Saturday News Roundup #94

Worth Knowing

  • Kingsmen: Bass singer Ray Dean Reese had prostate cancer surgery last Wednesday. He took the weekend off to rest at home. His medical team is recommending further treatment of lymph nodes affected by the cancer.
  • McKameys: The McKameys’ hometown, Clinton, Tennessee, honored them with a recent Lifetime Achievement Award. The award commemorated their thirty-one years of full-time Gospel Music ministry.
  • Hissong: Baritone David Price has left HisSong. He has been replaced by singer/songwriter Michael Frost. [EDIT, 2/21/13: Broken link removed.] Frost’s five-year run at Pigeon Forge’s The Miracle Theater ended last month when it canceled its production “The Miracle,” a musical about the life of Christ.
  • Revelation: Revelation, the Southern Gospel trio from Northern Ireland, recently signed with Christian and Sophia Davis’s Adoration Agency for U.S. bookings.
  • Rambos: Dottie Rambo will receive a star in Music City’s Walk of Fame.

Worth Watching

When Sisters presented earlier this year at a Dove Awards pre-ceremony, they generated some buzz with a four-style take on a hymn. Though it’s not footage from the Dove pre-show, here’s a recent performance of that routine:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

But this week, I’ll kick the discussion off with a question. I went to Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon and was astonished, as I am every year, at the sudden and stark juxtaposition of Halloween merchandise giving way to Christmas merchandise. Should Christians be more offended at our society’s widespread celebration and commercialization of Satan at Halloween—or our society’s widespread commercialization and trivialization of Christ at Christmas?

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21 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. It all depends on the merchandise.

    If you’re selling a friendly, toothy jack-o-lantern or a cute princess costume, no biggie. Something gross and/or sexual is another matter entirely. And there’s all too much of the latter. One neighbor had lawn decorations so disgusting we stopped walking by his house.

    The commercialization of Christmas is less viscerally disturbing, although it should also be a matter of concern. Again, somewhat depends on the merchandise. A snowflake Christmas tree ornament can be useful, but a stuffed toy that plays “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” if you put batteries in it… (I actually made that up, but I’m virtually certain it’s out there.)

  2. Good discussion. Quite frankly, Satan gets too much credit with some evangelicals. It is much more disturbing to trivialize Christ and make less of Him than it is to make less of Satan. Satan is powerful, but he’s on a leash. Making less of Christ is much more accepted around Christmas time. And Christians get caught in all the hoopla. I mean, so do I. I’ve kept Egg Nog in my fridge since Halloween. I spend more than I should. Mindlessly, the season sucks us right in. That’s not to say Family traditions don’t have their place.

    But here’s an alternative question regarding Satan…are we celebrating him at Halloween or making a mockery of his power with the commercialization of it all? It might not be a good idea to trivialize him either…

    • The alternative question is intriguing.

  3. Can you imagine the poor fella that gets the call to fill in for Ray Reese while he is recooperating? 🙂 That’s like trying to fill in for George Younce – it can’t be done! Or maybe they will travel as a trio for a while? Anyway, I wish Ray a full and speedy recovery!

  4. Great to see our local boys Revelation doing so well! God bless u boys!

    • Even if they’re not quite local for me, I’m also thrilled to see them doing well!

  5. I think the thing that bothers me the most is when people us “xmas” instead of “Christmas.”
    I believe that is intended to take Christ out of Christmas, but a lot of people do it without even realizing what they are doing. I have seen boxes at christian thrift stores with xmas written on them. I try to always point it out, in a nice way, because I believe we don’t realize the different ways that we all do that in some form or other. Our preacher told us that he was going to be a guest speaker and was going to speak on “identity theft” We take the name of christian and then disgrace our Lord by the way we act. We ALL do it!!!!

    • X did start as an abbreviation for Christ, not a way to ignore Him. Of course, others have since used it for that reason.

      • Really? I haven’t heard that before?

      • Oops, that second one wasn’t a question, I guess

      • Oh, I have heard that for probably 20 years or more. I have mixed feelings. Even if the intent isn’t to remove Christ’s name (as far as taking Him out), it still does for people who don’t realize what the symbol is about and can also rile Christians. I do think most of the time people are just abbreviating or simplifying. However, I would be more apt to put Cmas or something.

      • It’s true; here’s an explanation of the Greek involved:

      • Yeah, it shocked me when I saw John Wesley write it that way in some of his writings! I’m not sure which side “made an issue out of it” first in recent years. I don’t do it. The “Christian” abbreviation in text messaging seems to be “Cmas” (which is exactly the same thing in English instead of Greek!)

      • I don’t abbreviate that, either, but I’m not as offended as some by those who do.

  6. I’m glad to hear that some US concerts will be booked for Revelation! I have their CD and I’d love to see them in concert.

    • I’m thrilled to see them, too! I’ve seen them sing live … in studio rehearsals. 🙂 But I really hope to catch them in a live concert sometimes.

  7. Both Halloween and Christmas have historical origins in Pagan holiday lore. I certainly understand that this is not the case for modern Christmas celebrations however.

    As main-line conservative church of Christ members, we do not celebrate Christmas or Easter as a religious holidays as they are not authorized as such in the New Testament.

    For my personal faith and view, I do not get as upset regarding the “X” issue or Halloween etc. as they are not related to what is on my radar, faith or church-wise.

    This is just my belief and certainly I respect others who are concerned about these things and who feel deeply regarding them.

    • Sam, I’m intrigued by your position.

      In Reformed circles, the Regulative Principle of Worship states that we (a) must do and (b) can only do in the course of worship what God has regulated.

      So does the Church of Christ’s position on holidays follow a similar construct—i.e. (a) we must observe every holiday God has commanded and (b) we cannot observe the others? If so, where do you fall down on, say, observing the Passover as a historical or cultural educational tool for children, explaining how it is fulfilled in Christ?

      • Daniel,

        Thanks for your interest and questions. Essentially the history of the churches of Christ has been to re-set the religious or church “clock” if you will. This is to say, we want to abandon any man-made creeds or man-made worship patterns and return to the purity of worship and faith as established by the Lord in the New Testament church as it began to be recorded on the day of Pentecost in Acts.

        Our philosophy regarding instruction from the New Testament, in regard to looking for that original pattern if you will, is to seek and ask; what has God deemed/authorized and set forth as acceptable for His church? So where we find contextual, repeated examples of what the early church was instructed to do, we want to adhere to those.

        You may have heard the saying associated with the churches of Christ, “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.” Since we do not find any example of the First century church celebrating a Christmas or Easter type occasion, we believe this is not deemed by the Lord to be a part of what He wants.

        So your statement would be correct in that where it is clear from appropriate examples given in the New Testament as related to what the first century church was instructed to do or conversely, not instructed to do, we would adhere to. So we would not be using the Passover etc. as examples by which to teach our children or new believers about Jesus and his mission and how it was fulfilled.

      • Thanks! This, then, would indeed be much the same as the way Reformed churches approach worship (do and only do what God has commanded, and, by extension, what we see the first century church doing.)