As an imperfect and always-struggling Catholic Christian, I can certainly appreciate the spirit of evangelism. As a father and grandfather, I can also appreciate the the nuances of time, place, and audience. All of those eluded David Grisham Jr, a Texas pastor who decided to ruin the Christmases of dozens of children in this bizarre rant that he captured himself:
At an Amarillo mall, children were waiting in line to see Santa Claus when David Grisham Jr. decided to steal their Christmas joy. Like the Grinch descending upon Whoville, Grisham, of Last Frontier Evangelism, told children who were waiting in line that the jolly man in red was an imposter.
“The man you’re going to see today is just a man in a suit, dressed up like Santa, but Santa does not exist,” Grisham said in a video posted on Facebook, which appears to have been removed. “Santa’s not real.” …
“We’re going to tell the children today, the truth — that there is no Santa Claus,” he said in the video before approaching the line of eagerly waiting children. “Christmas is about Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And Jesus was born in a manger 2,016 years ago.”
Ahem. Who wants to tell Pastor Grisham that Jesus almost certainly wasn’t born in the year 0? Perhaps he should get his own facts straight before lecturing others on truth. Motes, beams, eyes, some assembly usually not required, etc.
Besides, effective evangelization welcomes people to the Lord. How many of the people in this video look like they’re getting intrigued about this expression of Christianity in the public square? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? The children look frightened by the strange, ranting man, and the parents are telling him to shut the hell up. How’s that working out for the salvation of Christ? It’s enough to convert everyone there to “Happy Holidays.”
One has to suspect that Grisham’s out in the mall delivering this sermon because he’s (a) either trying to conduct some self-promotion, (b) has few people listening to his sermons in more traditional forums, or (c) both. I’m sure Grisham sees himself as a John the Baptist warning everyone about the evils of childhood imaginations and joy, but he’s coming across much more like a Pharisee demanding absolute compliance with Grisham’s interpretation of proper behavior by parents and children. That would be annoying enough in a sermon during a service in which people came of their own free will to participate, but it’s another level of arrogance entirely to go out and ruin everyone else’s day and interfere with parental relationships of those who never wanted to seek him out in the first place, in a forum not your own. Frankly, it’s a demonstration of basic public decency — dare I say Christian fellowship? — that one of these fathers didn’t send Pastor Grisham off to the clinic with a bloody nose.
Given all of the bizarre aspects of this rant, including Grisham’s publication of it as some sort of triumph, I feel certain that Grisham will win the Unhinged Grinch of the Year for 2016. Not that he won’t have competition, mind you …
— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) December 9, 2016