Eugene Cho

the jesus patriotic cross christmas tree

“It’s not just a tree. it’s a movement.”

Is this for real? Seriously?!?

I don’t want to be that guy that just spews random hate and criticism – especially during this season of generosity but I’m just going to be real:

I’m going to turn over some trees.

Straight up. If this tree pictured above or below is in your home, I don’t care if I’m a bad guest and you’ll never invite me to your house again but I’m going to turn over trees. For realz.

Okay, I get it. I understand that some Christians are irritated, upset, and threatened by the ongoing cultural tension and opposition to their perception of Christianity and all things glorious Christendom of America.  But starting a movement of Christ-mas trees – with some decorated in the American colors of red, white, and blue – is not the remedy. Nope.

Frankly, I’m getting tired of it. It’s the same routine every single Christmas season, right? It goes like this:

  • Christians want Christ back into Christmas.
  • Atheists hate Christmas and religion and want Christ out of Christmas. They prefer “happy holidays.”
  • Christians fight back and claim America has always been a Christian nation.
  • And in between the above bullet points, we all shop away.

Every single year.

I don’t really care because I think there are more important things to pursue as we seek to participate in the work of the Kingdom of God. We can be secure in knowing who we are and who our Christ is so that we don’t have to start “it’s not just a tree, it’s a movement.” This reminds me of last year’s post, “What are we exactly standing up for when are stand for Christmas?”

Your turn. Thoughts?

Update:

And how about this one? This is Marsha, the founder of CHRIST-mas TREE demonstrating the perfect storm.

Religion, Patriotism, Money, and Sex.

She posted this on the FB page of her company, Boss Creations. The comments about her picture are well…interesting.

  • Tammy: This is sinful.
  • Tammy: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
    when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
    James 1:14-15
  • David: I’ll take every single tree you have in stock. Every last one. And that girl’s phone number.
  • Janice: You’ll need to pay extra for her lips. They are still under a financing contract.
  • David: Money is no object to obtain a Christian woman like that. She’ll fit nicely into my household and will raise my children to fear the LORD.
  • Janice: I am already fearing something…
  • Tammy: The only person who should be seeing that young lady like that is her husband. The Bible tells us to dress modestly. We should be praying for that young lady and the men she is causing to stumble, not posting pictures of her next to the symbol of the Lord.
  • David: No, I think this is just perfect.  And by the way, from the looks of her forearms, she’s not that young.
  • Gabriel: I wouldn’t have that tree in my living room if you gave me the tree, but I will take the women.
  • Boss Creations: yes wearing a dress if very sinful and extremely low body fat equals age?? cud it be extremely low body fat? of course not, haha! bodybuilding competitor – haha which I’m sure is very sinful, too.. suure… ha! and of course anyone who looks half way decent must have augments anything to make yourself feel better. I don’t waste time critiquing pictures of people all day – I have a life! haha…. when you have something meaningful or interesting to say, I might chat some more… I won’t hold my breath… poor poor lonely misguided legalistic unhappy people 😦 n why on a page you don’t like? just looking for someone/ place to spew your pent-up nasty venom.. ugh sad! Thanks again! -Merry Christmas!! 🙂
  • David: I LOVE this page. It has made today so much cheerier. We need more TRUTH on Facebook.
  • Gabriel: I am so glad that Stephen Colbert talked about Boss Creations’ trees last night. How would I have known to look for this company on Facebook?
  • Tammy: I will pray for you. The young lady should use her body only to glorify the Lord in the way He intended. Christians should NOT be using sex to sell crosses!
  • Boss Creations: that is sex? sorry sweetie. that is a dress. nothing sexual. If I happen to wear better than you dont be a hater. that dress on some stick figure, unattractive person would get no comment whatsoever… last words on this silly topic go read a bible and live in a bubble and judge everyone – what a great ministry you have…. do something useful
  • David:  OMG, I feel the same way! TRUTH is spoken by Boss Creations. May Jesus Christ be praised!

Ok then. Merry Christmas, everyone.

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18 Responses

  1. James says:

    Put Christ BACK into Xmas! Buy your kids a Christ-box 360!

  2. Wayne Park says:

    a PrayStation, haha (could pass for a Korean Christmas too)

  3. Pretty sure God didn’t ask us to remember Jesus coming into the world–God incarnate–by buying more stuff. Somehow we’ve equated presents for US with celebrating Jesus. I’m tired of all these lame attempts to bring “Christ” back to Christmas. All we have to do is remember Christ’s life and those who Christ had special favor for: the poor, the outcast, the widows, the immigrants, the orphans–the marginalized in our society. How is a tree with a glowing cross, or more stuff from wal-mart going to help us walk with those who we are called to serve?

  4. Thank you. I was seriously getting sick of Christians going around saying put Christ back into Christmas.

  5. TreyBear says:

    This reminds me of the church I saw in Memphis that had a replica of the Statue of Liberty in their parking lot.Holding not a Torch but a Cross. And we wonder why they call Christians weirdo’s..

  6. lauren says:

    why why why does it always tie into being AMERICAN?! I really can’t stomach that. I agree with Sophia above, let’s just actually remember Christ at Christmas and then we won’t need a huge cross tree. But more than that let’s please stop making it some patriotic thing as well. Dude, Eugene, that letter to Obama that’s signed “American Patriots”!!! that makes me want to jump out of my skin. Also the thought of you tipping people’s trees over is hilarious and will be my moment of zen for today!

  7. jennyraearmstrong says:

    Normally I would be disturbed, but frankly, those trees just crack me up. Especially the red, white, and blue one with the patriot scroll. I mean, seriously? People are putting those things in their living rooms? UGGGLYY!

    I don’t think we have to worry about those becoming a trend. 😀

  8. Deborah says:

    Wow…

    Those trees just leave me speechless

    Have you heard about Advent Conspiracy? It gets right at what you are talking about in that in the midst of fighting to put Christ back into or taking him out of Christmas we all just keep spending away. Advent Conspiracy focuses on that consumeristic aspect, by “reclaiming” Christmas through attacking consumerism and encouraging people to give presence instead of presence. The few churches who have done it the past few years have taken the tiny dent their congregations are in the millions usually spent on the holidays and used it to provide fresh water wells in third world countries. Its pretty cool!

  9. ben adam says:

    I want to turn over some trees, too. I also want to turn over some malls and maybe a church or two. I want to have conservative friends just so I can do that. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  10. Laurel says:

    What I would like to know is why conservative Christians never consider that hiring a graphic designer might be a good idea.

  11. Annah says:

    Sorry, but when I read the comments all I get is a sense of intolerance. A condescending sense of how stupid the rest of you are for not celebrating Christmas “the right way”. The way I do.

    Yeh, I get it. It is a bit much – the patriotic trees, the crosses. But somewhere there are families who think those types of decorations are important. I don’t understand it. But they do. I’m not sure I want to make fun of that.

    • Andy M says:

      We do need to be careful about who we make fun of. But nobody here is arguing for celebrating Christmas the “right” way. Rather, it is a critique of the ridiculousness of how some people have chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Much of what they are celebrating, Jesus would either be indifferent to, or in opposition to, but it feeds their narrow worldview. In all likelihood, it is the people with those trees who are probably arguing for celebrating Christmas the “right” way, which only means “their” way.

      If something is ridiculous, why shouldn’t I be able to call it out for what it is without being labeled as “intolerant”? I don’t want to be mean, and I don’t think that anyone else here does either. And I don’t think that they have been.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family, in whatever way that you may celebrate it.

  12. Jason says:

    I think the trees are neat, but think the purpose of them is kind of lame. Take back Christmas? Did not know it was taken, and to where? And by whom? Can anyone truly “take” anything?

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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