Passive-Aggressive Christmas Posturing

We Say Merry Christmas

I glanced at the car next to me while leaving the Post Office, seeing this colorful magnet stuck to the back. A nice looking older lady stepped out and into the P.O. with her boxes and letters.

The juxtaposition of her appearance with the message proclaimed from the back of her car was striking. She looked so nice and kind, while the capitalized bold letters of her bumper magnet drip with hostility.

What is it people are communicating when they plaster magnets or stickers like this to their cars for the whole world to see? When we communicate, there’s the literal content of our message (We Say Merry Christmas), while the psychological message rides along. We can just hear someone nearly shouting the first two words, “WE SAY Merry Christmas!” Now, aren’t we in the Christmas mood after this cheery greeting? (Uh, no)

So why are Christian people plastering this statement on their cars, using the holiday to passive-aggressively act out their anger?

Reaction. This is no less than a reaction to the demise of Christendom; the loss of their religion’s cultural privilege. Here’s what I mean. Christian people in America age 40 and over grew up in a culture wherein Christianity was the favored child among religions in this country. No, the United States does not officially endorse any religion over another, yet those of a certain age understood that conversations about religion always actually meant Christianity in particular. This was the majority religion, enjoying many privileges and opportunities not necessarily available to others. That was the age of Christendom, when the Christian faith was interwoven with culture so closely there was little daylight between them.

Now, we are in a new era wherein Christianity is one among many religions in this USA. Persons who were used to being the majority, enjoying the privileges afforded their religion, are responding in various ways. Many Christians are managing themselves well, recognizing new opportunities to shine the light of Christ in our broken world. Others though haven’t really considered the effects of their reactions, purchasing car magnets like this one. Some of the messages I receive when seeing these bumper messages are:

  • We are angry that other religions are receiving some of the attention we used to enjoy
  • We are resentful because we have been dethroned as the golden child, having to move over and make room for others
  • We are ready for to fight, trying to force our way back into the prime cultural position of the previous era
  • We believe getting in your face with this bumper statement will help rewind time

So, what’s the effect? What does this do for the Christian Movement? Is this what Jesus had in mind for the Church when commissioning us to go and make disciples? How much does this reflect the Way of Jesus; his approach to loving people?

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure these bumper magnets hurt the cause of Christ more than helping. I’m offended when I see it and I’m an insider. Imagining I’m an outsider, my perception of this car’s driver fits the images I see portrayed in the news….bitter, resentful, pouting Christians who are throwing a fit because they are losing their privilege. The beautiful and attractive love of God expressed through Jesus Christ which we celebrate at Christmas? I can’t see it since the anger volume is so loud.

So Christian people driving around with this bumper sticker or magnet, go outside and peel it off right quick. Don’t scare off those who may be curious about the Christ-child. Don’t confuse them about the Prince of Peace with anything but peace. They will know we are Christians by our love, not by our passive-aggressive posturing through bumper sticker statements.

4 thoughts on “Passive-Aggressive Christmas Posturing

  1. Michael Smith December 31, 2019 / 1:57-05:00Dec

    On target and well said to boot.——Mike Smith


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peg Taylor December 31, 2019 / 1:57-05:00Dec

    Thank you, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Megan Gray December 31, 2019 / 1:57-05:00Dec

    It might have been my in laws🤦‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Tidsworth December 31, 2019 / 1:57-05:00Dec

      You got me laughing with that one Megan! Very funny.


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