Skip to comments.A Look at Balancing Easter's Meaning With Commercialism
Posted on 04/20/2014 1:31:49 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Commercialism versus true meaning has been an ongoing battle for years when it comes to religious holidays, and Easter is no exception.
In the eyes of many, chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts are much too recognized in the place of a sunrise service on Easter morning ... especially when it comes to children who may be easily influenced by commercialism.
So, is there enough room to balance the commercial aspect and biblical meaning behind Easter? The Aiken Standard posed this question to pastors and Christian leaders in the local community.
Battling the distractions
For the Rev. Douglas Slaughter, pastor of Second Baptist Church, the issue of Easter commercialism goes far beyond Easter bunnies and candy.
One of the negatives he's seen are peoples' desires to dress them and their kids up for Easter Sunday.
For those who can't afford it, that may be a limiting factor and could also be discouraging, he said. So I try to create an atmosphere that says, 'If you want to dress up you can. But if you want to dress down, you can as well. Just as long as you come to church.'
Jimi Whitesell, the director of youth ministries at St. John's United Methodist Church, took it a step further. Whitesell said it can also be difficult to try to express the importance of the season when it's business as usual out in the world.
You try to say, 'Hey, this is a good time to come to church because this is such a monumental point in our faith.' Yet kids still have sports and other events and if they don't show up to practice, then they can't play in the game, he explained.
You can't fish without bait
While the issue can get frustrating, Slaughter has found ways to embrace it by using his favorite saying, You can't fish without bait. He has internalized that motto and uses it to promote the Christian faith, especially during the Lenten season.
My personal belief is that the commercial side of Easter can be leveraged to attract parents and children who don't regularly attend church, he said. Easter egg hunts and other events allow the whole community to attend, and, through that, we can practice our faith with those who may not have relationships with God.
He added, Those types of fun activities make great 'bait' to educate more people about Easter and what it really means.
The Rev. Ray Litts, pastor of St. John's, agreed that the way to find purpose in adversity is to turn it into a positive.
He used the example of a class on embracing social media, recently taught by Whitesell. Litts said, in many ways, getting parents and children to embrace social media is a reflection of the Lenten season.
Jimi was working to take something perceived as a negative and turned it into a positive, he explained. That's the Lenten journey right there. What is it that's negative in our life and what do we have to do to walk closer to God and turn it into a positive?
How to balance the two
While pastors may have different outlooks on the commercial aspect of Easter, they all agree on one way to balance Bibles and bunnies: Get the parents more involved. Stephanie Lord also oversees children ministries at St. John's and said one trend she sees is the positive effect parent participation has on children. We just have to make sure we can dumb it down in a sense so that they'll get the basics, she explained. And as they get older, we'll have other ways in engaging them and making sure their knowledge grows. Dunn agreed and said the church's desire is to engage children in learning about Christ in creative ways. That process, he said, has to involve the parents.
The most effective way we can teach our children about Easter is through the opportunities we take as parents to answer their questions and help them see what Christ did for us on the cross, he said.
Slaughter added, We have to be good servants and (that) process starts with the pastors, congregation and parents.
Learning to coexist
Even in working to establish Easter's true meaning, religious leaders agree that Christian values and commercialization have to coexist.
Dunn related the issue all the way back to the days of the Bible, and said the goal is to keep Christ as the focus of worship.
Jesus' cleansing of the Temple during the Holy Week was, in part, a response to the commercialization of faith during his day, he said. So Christians have always had to hold fast to the message of Easter despite the commercialization of religious themes.
Lord added, An example of our access to Jesus is the temple curtain being ripped when Jesus died. Before he died, the high priest was only one allowed behind the curtain to be in the presence of God. With Jesus dying for us and the curtain being torn, we now have that personal relationship with him all the time, and Easter is a great reminder of that.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter
The commercialization has failed to make Easter into another Christmas orgy. The fiancial pagans have tried.
There is just something about the terrible bloody sacrifice of Jesus that doesn’t lend itself to shopping at Toys-R-Us or the absurdity of Neiman Marcus’ lurxurious gifts.
I have to give a pass on Easter outfits. We only got clothes twice a year, once at Easter and once for school. The Easter outfits symbolized that one put on a new life in Christ.
...saw his shadow and ran back in and there were six more weeks of winter!
Bless me Father for I have sinned, Bless me Father for I have sinned...
So that’s why its so darn cold today?
And I’m in Virginia, not Minnesota.
If Obama convened a Council of Washington with the heads of Scientology and the Nation of Islam to make Kwanzaa the replacement national holiday that was enforced upon pain of death, would it be rational to ask three centuries later, what is the meaning of Kwanzaa?
History easily shows that Easter was established as a edict enforced by government and in collusion with the Roman Church, to serve the secular interests of Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.
Neither Kwanzaa nor Easter appear in the original language texts of the Bible. Not there. Total fabrication.
So true! One doesn't "shop" for Easter, put up decorations, visit relatives or buy gifts.
Candy and Easter egg hunts are no match for the entire Christmas
Jesus' sacrifice was for OUR sins, past, present and future. Sad to think that, no matter how hard I try, I WILL commit more sin, even though I know the FUTILITY of it.