Franchising has Disenfranchised

christcoAn increasing number of Christians are leaving the church, even though they grew up in church. According to the Barna Group, more than 50% of young Christians drop out of church after attending regularly due to  internal politics or disunity, or simply being utterly unprepared to live out their young faith in a secular context. They were the result of churches which prioritized  programs over its congregation; and immediate attendance over depth of spiritual growth?

The attempt to “Franchise” the Church has simply left a generation or more dis-enfranchised, cynical and unreached. What has awakened the Church at large to this? Sadly, that giving is plummeting.  Be that as it may, whatever rings your bell.


Human beings are essentially relational and they hunger for meaning and real connection in relationship. You  cannot get that from passively watching the show for an hour once a week. Oh…and when the real trials and questions of life show up? They will crush infantile made-up faith.

Who is to blame? Church leaders for sure. They went for cheap fixes, big numbers and fancy toys instead of the real work of discipleship and teaching. Now their espresso bar lines are getting shorter and they’ve cut back services. Giving is down, so staff is down.

You are asking the wrong questions people.

Start asking what it really means to be a human being;then ask what the core of the Gospel is.


jesus outed is now available at Amazon via Kindle at

For information on a speaking engagement at your church, or a teaching series, contact Christopher MacDonald at


“Jesus outed” excerpt: Jesus Nativity at Tussauds


Historically, Jesus’ crib was in fact literally a “feeding trough” in an old cold barn, warmed only by the family, and later, some shepherds. Oh, and there was also probably a lot of livestock, so there was also the warmth and smell of their methane creating defecations (the beginnings of “Global Barn Warming”).

So as I contemplated these events, it had never dawned upon me that I would have my own Jesus crib stolen.

As an Internet researcher and journalist, my curiosity drove me to do some digging; so I searched for news of other crèche-related events…Omigod! Here is just how pervasive the global crèche crisis had become that year. In London,  at Madame Tussauds wax museum, the “Joseph” (David) and his wife “Mary” (Victoria, otherwise known as the “Posh” Spice Girl) wax figures were attacked by a man offended by their attempts to look after the baby Jesus in his crib. It was rumored that the attacker tried to abscond with one of the waxened Holy Family in order to start a small mail order candle business, but he has not yet been apprehended.

Fortunately, Real Madrid star defender Walter Samuel, who just happened to be touring the museum at the time, was able to successfully deflect all of the following attempts to score on the Holy Beckhams.

“It was just second-nature,” Samuel said later.

In harmony with the star thematic renditions of the Tussaud exhibit, the baby Jesus was a simple wax rendition of “Mini-Me”.


As I continued to search I found all manner of bizarre world-wide crèche events.

In Naples, 32 chefs decided to construct a huge nativity scene entirely out of chocolate. It took them 4500 hours to construct the 7,250 pound nativity scene. The baby Jesus was made of white chocolate despite his likely brown-skinned Middle Eastern ethnicity. This crib also sported celebrity figures that watched over the delectable chocolate Jesus. That year the babe in the manger was surrounded by chocolate renditions of Dubya and Osama bin Laden.

I have questions about all of this.

First, after the Beckham incident in London I really fear for the baby Jesus. I mean some fanatic is gonna get past the guards and eat him (no doubt citing a literal biblical reference in his defense later). And if not, what do they do after Christmas is over? Do they melt the King of Kings down and make smaller white chocolate Jesus bars? (I do not have any problem with them melting down Dubya or Bin Laden…it would have solved a lot of the world’s problems at the time.)


But what’s with the three wise men being in the scene at all? If you read the historical texts they come days later to a different house with their gifts. WTF (farce)?

I guess it ups the price of the collectible scenes to have more figurines.

But if so, why not go all the way and add other significant figures to the story? Why not have a King Herod figure lurking in the background? Where is the Innkeeper and his family? It’s not his fault that all the rooms were taken! It was “Census” time for God’s sake! At least he found some safe space for them to have the birthing! He probably didn’t even charge them full rate. He deserves to get in doesn’t he?