I am writing to complain about the start to your book — the one that, according to you, is a “Gospel,” not the sequel on the acts of the apostles. It’s mostly good. Some good stories, clever lines, interesting characters. However, I take offense at how you decided to politicize Christmas in the first couple chapters.
How dare you! And to think you call yourself a follower of Jesus. It’s bad enough that your friend Matthew criticized Herod and made Jesus a refugee, which people keep trying to actually apply in real life. But he’s just a former IRS employee and we all know how political they can be. I expected better from you, a learned doctor. I hope that after my letter, you will apologize and edit your book accordingly.
Like your tax collector friend, in chapter one you name Herod just before having an angel announce that this baby will get “the throne of his father David” for a “kingdom that will never end.” While Mary seems more surprised about the just getting pregnant part of the proclamation, it angered me to see your obvious political attack on Herod and your endorsement of the effort to remove him from office. There’s no need for that. Just focus on the virgin stuff. That’s a sexy story.
And don’t think I didn’t catch your trick with Elizabeth’s words just a few lines later. Having her call Mary the most blessed among women may sound nice, but I recognized those words. You probably thought you were so clever taking those words from Judge Deborah’s song about Jael right after that woman used trickery to kill a military leader. Just what are you implying? Why does a scene with two pregnant women need such coup language?
And then don’t even get me started on Mary’s “song.” Music shouldn’t be political! When I go for entertainment, I just want to leave the politics behind and accept the status quo. Knocking rulers from their thrones? Really, Luke? Your bias is showing.
When I turned to the next chapter, I found we were finally getting to the birth of Jesus. Why not just start there and cut that first chapter? But then I noticed some gratuitous political references in chapter two as well.
I see what you’re doing by trying to critique Caesar Augustus in your birth story. And just to make sure we catch it, you even mention our political leader in the opening line of the chapter. And then you again use an angel to voice your political critique, apparently to make it seem like God agrees with you. Here’s a thought: The angels should look pretty, maybe even childlike, and sing a couple of nice songs. Not a song like Mary’s; happy songs about a cute little baby being born. Or better yet, just have them sing words we don’t understand but that sound pretty — like “noel or “excelsis” — so we can focus on their heavenly voices without distractions. I think people will like that.
I happened to notice that this comment allegedly by an angel about Jesus being “Savior” is the only time you use that word in your book. Thus, it’s clear you were just being rude in trying to take that term about Caesar Augustus and now apply it to Jesus. Maybe you could talk about Jesus as a “personal Savior,” but otherwise you should just cut that line from the angel.
And then you piled on by having the angel add “Messiah” and “Lord,” which are clearly political terms. I also noticed you had an angel in the previous chapter refer to Jesus as “Son of God,” which also challenges Caesar Augustus’s authority since that term was already in use about him and how he brought on earth peace. And while we’re on the subject, I have the same problem with calling your book a “Gospel” since we both know that word refers to the good news of Caesar Augustus’s birth and ascension to the throne.
We should submit to those in authority, and so I find your critique of Caesar Augustus quite troubling. And as if your insubordination wasn’t bad enough, you then decided to bring your politics into the Christmas story. So, I request a rewrite. Cut out all that politics stuff and focus on the true meaning of the season.
Although, the more I think of it, this Jesus might just be too political for your Christmas story. Have you instead considered a couple chapters about that talking snowman or that reindeer with a glowing nose? Those are some good, nonpolitical Christmas stories — just as God intended!
An American Christian