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My Take: #GivingTuesday creates better Christmas narrative than Black Friday
Police respond to a Black Friday shooting in Florida.
November 27th, 2012
11:18 AM ET

My Take: #GivingTuesday creates better Christmas narrative than Black Friday

Editor’s note: Rick McKinley is pastor of the Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon, and author of "A Kingdom Called Desire" and "Advent Conspiracy."

By Rick McKinley, Special to CNN

No one knew there was an underwear shortage in this country until Friday, when thousands of shoppers lined up in front of Victoria's Secret stores like young girls waiting for Justin Bieber’s autograph.

As I watched the scene on TV, I imagined my grandfather fighting his way through the mob as the doors opened and the mad rush began. Though we may never remember that pair of underwear that Grandpa bought for Grandma, we will never forget the punctured lung he received when he was trampled upon by the crowd.

Some Christmas memories are just that special.

Thankfully, that was only my imaginings. But guns were pulled at a Sears in Texas, and two people were shot outside a Walmart in Florida in a scuffle over a parking space.

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We see the scenes every Black Friday: shoppers standing in line for hours, the doors bursting open, elbows and expletives flying, pushing, shoving, waved weapons, threatened lives. Once again, America is ready for the Season of Peace, Love and Good Will toward all.

But there is a groundswell toward opting out of crazed consumption and breaking free from the anxiety and chaos it creates, so people can tell a better story. Evidence of this includes the Twitter movement called #GivingTuesday.

It’s a simple concept that calls us into a better story.

I am a pastor, not a sociologist, but I can compare the scenes of people running over each other at the mall with those of people waiting in line at a refugee camp as they anticipate a U.N. food drop.

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The scene is totally different in one sense, but the anxiety that drives it is the same. We live in anxiety over the fear of scarcity. Which means we are afraid there will not be enough.

From bags of rice and beans to underwear, when the scarcity alarm goes off inside of us, the anxiety comes rushing to the surface, along with our fears.

In that moment, we are all capable of throwing an elbow or two.

The story of scarcity is a sad story. There is a better one.

As a follower of Jesus, I believe that the only thing that breaks us free from the fear of scarcity is a radical act of generosity.

That is the Christmas story of the manger. At a different time and different place in our history, God performed the most radical act of generosity the world had ever seen or will ever see.

He gave a son, born into the world by an unwed teenage girl in a hillside cave and laid to sleep that first night in a feed trough.

The son who God gave would grow up to become a carpenter-turned-itinerant preacher with a heart of compassion for the people the world had trampled as it fed its scarcity fears.

This generous love drove him to a cross, where he hung and died for people whom he loved and who didn’t love him back, and to overcome with new life that he offered to pour over us and into us with grace and forgiveness.

This is the story of Christmas. It is a story of abundance. There is love enough and grace enough and forgiveness enough and healing enough for everyone who believes. Generosity breaks people free from the lie of scarcity.

A group of us started to dream of what it would look like to live in the Jesus story, and we started something called the Advent Conspiracy.

We decided that we would worship more, spend less, give more and love all. We replaced consumption with compassion because we believe that Christmas is about Christ. The Advent Conspiracy is now a global movement of faith communities.

We have watched people around the world scale down spending and redirect dollars to build wells in Liberia and other parts of the world.

In June, when no one at our church remembered what they got for Christmas, we watched video of Liberian children dancing in streams of clean water. We heard village elders say with tears in their eyes that their children are no longer dying.

Saving kids with clean water - that’s a better story.

In Portland, the faith community has worked with the city to build rescue homes for victims of sex trafficking. Now, girls who are running literally for their lives can come and be rescued and given hope, safety and a future.

Kids enslaved being set free - that’s a better story.

There are thousands of other stories like this, from people working with those in Vietnam who are dying of HIV/AIDS to people who are simply having Christmas dinner with a friends who live on the street.

These people are doing more than charity; they are breaking the cycle of fear and scarcity through radical acts of generosity. That’s a better story.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rick McKinley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Holidays • Opinion

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

    Peace

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=390]

    May 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  2. mylifedaybydaybyday

    Love the article

    December 4, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  3. VanHagar

    Hawaii...I appreciated the debate, but I think we're at a standstill (and I'll let you have the last post if you want it). Besides, I see that we've been relegated to the "older posts" section anyway. Perhaps will pick this up on another thread soon.

    Thanks.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.