Thursday, December 24, 2009

Salvation Army Abandons Christ

We've all seen the bell ringers with red kettles swinging on the sidewalks of retailers and malls. Sometimes we even pause to stuff in a little cash and quickly move on. Most folks know that the collection is organized by the Salvation Army, a Christian outreach mission. The other day I passed a bell ringer and really looked. There was the red kettle, bell and even an attempt at a Santa suite but no where were to be found the words "Chistmas" or "Christ" or even "Jesus" on the kettle or signage which read in one corner "The Reason For The Season". What was the reason? Gifts? Santa?

I realized I didn't know all that much about the Salvation Army so I went to their website the next time I was at the keyboard. Sure enough they were pretty much as I imagined. The Mission statement for the Army reads:

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

I don't know about you, but Christmas seems like it might be a good opportunity to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ"; at the very least mention his name. If you explore the site a little more you'll find information about this "Christmas Charity":

The "miracle" of Christmas is repeated over and over again through the joy of caring and sharing.The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season.

Donations provide Christmas dinners, clothing, and toys for families in need. Financial assistance also helps with basic necessities, along with seasonal aid. Families of prisoners often are included.

Volunteers distribute gifts to shut-ins in hospitals and nursing homes, and shelters are open for sit-down dinners. The Salvation Army endeavors to bring spiritual light and love to those it serves at Christmas so that the real meaning of the season is not forgotten.

Many families receive aid over a period of months after the Christmas season as well, people struggling with difficult family, emotional, or employment problems.

Here, they toss "Christmas" around like a tennis ball. Why do they clam-up in public? It seems to me like a big "MERRY CHRISTMAS" somewhere might be in order (there's at lot of room to stencil on that red kettle). And also a sign explaining that even though it's Christians who are collecting the money, it's distributed to anyone in need...Islamics, Buddists, Atheists...even those from Area 51. Talk about a PR bonanza for Christ...or as we like to call it in polite Christian circles "testimony". I've written to the Army asking if they'd like to respond and as of this Christmas Eve they have not.  It just seems kind of strange that an organization that has done so much good would throw the Boss under the bus, especially at a time when we're celebrating His birth.