If I were Satan…

The devil doesn’t really compete with God.  It’s not like if God ran McDonalds, he’d start Burger King.    Satan doesn’t create alternatives.  He corrupts what’s already there.

If God were behind McDonalds (He’s not, but work with me here) then Satan would just busy himself ruining McDonalds, sabotaging the big macs.

And so I guess we ought to expect that Satan wouldn’t try to diminish our interest in Chistmas.  He wouldn’t create a counter-holiday, or convince the world that Christmas isn’t worth it.

Instead, he’d try to pervert our very understanding of what the whole thing means.

If I were Satan, I might begin by making it all about materialism.  And I’d put the emphasis on us, not Jesus.  Because we are so inconsistent, if I were Satan, I wouldn’t worry that it’d be a problem, if at exactly the same time, I created all these expecations of peace and joy around Christmas.  We goofy little humans would hardly notice if Christmas was simultaneously an orgy of materialism and a “promise” of divine tranquility and peace.

Instead of trying to de-emphasize Christmas, I’d try to make it  important in people’s brains for all the wrong reasons.  I’d nurture an endless parade of things that must be done before Christmas:  Shopping, decorating, special outfits, cards.  I’d laugh as the human’s scurrying increased to a frantic pace, as the space between them and their God widened because they’d be so lost in a parade of dead-end actions.

Then, in the aftermath of Christmas,  people would feel hung over by the fact that all the material goods that didn’t deliver,  they’d  feel ashamed at the human focus, they’d feel betrayed that their own lives weren’t perfect on December 25th.

If I were the devil, I’d use the fact that New Years Eve is only a week after Christmas.  I’d encourage people to drink and party to drown their sorrows.  I’d emphasize the making of empty resolutions with out plans on how to get there, so that the hopelessness increased when people tried to change and the change didn’t stick.

Man, I am so glad that Satan isn’t busy doing these exact things…


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “If I were Satan…”

  1. i don’t remember how i found your blog…but i like it. i refer to christmas-time materialism as an orgy as well. just thought that was interesting. i like this post 🙂


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