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Here is a quiz.  What is the date of Easter 2011?  All I know at this point is that it is very late next year, which will really mess up our May calendar at the church.  Sigh.

Here is another quiz.  If you are hoping to identify the release date of a major motion picture what would you use as a marker?  A season of the calendar year?  Sure – “Coming – Spring 2010!)

Yesterday, K2 and I ventured to the neighborhood theater to watch Shrek – The Final Chapter and one of the many previews was for a movie called Rio – it looks cute and I imagine we’ll end up seeing it

a nerdy macaw who leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to Rio de Janeiro. He embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, learning to open himself up to all that life has to offer along the way.

But here is what surprised me.  After the funny scenes and requisite emotional clip came the dark screen with the release date.  Easter 2011. I think I would get it if it was going to be released on December 25th, 2010 – Christmas is a set date.  But Easter?  Unless you are a church nerd you probably don’t know how the Easter date is even set!*

Then I started thinking about my neighbors, our friends at Kol Chadash, and the non-Christians down the street…  Easter 2011? We know the influence of the Christian Church is waning (or has simply waned!) but somehow 20th Century/Fox hasn’t heard that news.  I’d love to know if this advertising was intentional or an oversight.  It would make complete sense if this was a “Christian” movie but I don’t think it is (or don’t recall any mention of nerdy macaws in the Bible).

To some degree, it is offensive to those who don’t mark Easter.  For others it doesn’t help them remember when the movie will even be released.  Although I suppose when the ads come out with the floppy eared bunny wearing pastel colors it might trigger the memory of this movie preview – don’t get me started on how the dang bunny is NOT a symbol of Easter!

And it waters down my faith.  I’m weary of my faith traditions being usurped.  I’m quite happy to be living in a post-Constantinian world.  Maybe it is my Southern California upbringing that dealt with the cultural “death” of the church earlier than any other part of the country I’ve lived in.  I’m happy that most store clerks don’t wish me Merry Christmas when I shop during the month of December.  I don’t need K2 singing the songs of our faith at public school.  I want folks to make a concerted effort to live their faith not fall into it through the Ten Commandments posted on the walls of the town courthouse or even, God forbid, confusing the worship of God with the worship of one’s own country.

And in case you are curious, yes, this means I won’t be wearing a red, white and blue stole this Sunday.

*the first Sunday after the paschal full moon (or the vernal equinox).