December 18, 2013
Vol: 20 No: 51

Rev. Rich Lang

It’s Christmas season, let’s sing: Joy to the world, the hell raisers and rabble rousers have come

by: Rev. Rich Lang

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Christmas is almost here, so I thought it might be a good time to remind us what the real story is all about.

Once upon a time, in a very insignificant backwater town of the mighty Roman empire, a very insignificant boy was born to insignificant parents. The boy’s mother, Mary, was a hell raiser. Even before her baby was born she was singing tunes with lyrics like:







My soul is rippin’ and roarin’
Because God is gonna use my baby
To throw the mighty off their thrones,
To fill up the poor with good things,
And to send rich people away empty.

Hell-raiser Mary had expectations, and her baby, whose name meant “God saves,” was no disappointment. We don’t know much about his childhood, but as an adult he kept causing all kinds of ruckus. He kept saying things like:


God’s Spirit is all over me,
I’m giving good news to the poor.
I’m declaring freedom from debt to everybody.
I’m declaring free health care to anybody who needs it,
And amnesty to all the prisoners.
I’m declaring new sight, and a new way to live.


Needless to say, the rabble-rousing son of a hell raiser didn’t really go over well with the bankers, police, politicians and religious types who helped maintain the status quo. Those with power, wealth and status, those with something to lose, didn’t much care for Mary’s son. And, eventually, they strung him up as an example to all of us who might follow his example.

And so here it is, 2,000 years later, and we treat his birthday like it’s all about a fat man who eats cookies, delivering mostly useless crap that distracts us from the reality that poor babies are still being born in insignificant places across our own American empire.

But if the story is true, then I think that somewhere, in some burned-down, bombed-out burg of a backwater town, there is a hell-raising momma bringing up a rabble-rousing kid who is gonna lead a movement to dismantle our own corporate war machine. It won’t be reform. It will be revolution. It won’t be “Kumbayah,” it will be insurrection. It will divide blue and red, rich and poor, liberal and progressive. It will speak clearly about the truth of who and what oppresses us. It will unmask the wizard behind the curtain, and it will pierce the heart of every one of us because it will cause us to pray and rejoice in the defeat and dismantling of the American way of life.

But fear not. Such good news will not be proclaimed from any Christmas pulpit. The silence of the so-called saved will keep mum. We’ll sing our Christmas cheer on key with splendor. But God has a baby’s voice, and it is already crying in the wilderness. Liberation is on the way.

Ho, ho, ho.



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