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Dumb Things #1

This week I’ll be covering some of the more dumb things I’ve ever done as a Children’s Pastor. Be sure to visit www.jonathancliff.com/tags/dumbthings to keep up with all the dumb-ness happening here this week!

Years ago I worked at a great church in Dallas, TX. Unfortunately for this church, I did many of my dumbest things while there…

We had planned a special Christmas outreach event. It included families in the most need, many free Christmas gifts, a Christmas lunch, Christmas songs, a huge Christmas tree, and last but not least a visit from Santa Clause. Now many of my more conservative Kidmin friends are already seeing the red flags here. I can feel your thoughts towards me, but trust me. Santa Clause was not the issue. The issue was the color of skin of this Santa Clause.

I had let myself be talked into allowing Santa Clause to make a visit. Now let me say that I in no way have a problem with a black santa. I endorse and fully appreciate the asian Santa’s, african-american Santa’s, and white rosy cheeked Santa’s; and in no way would I care one way or the other what color Santa’s skin was. So when we marched out Santa at the end and offered to let kids from the lower-income areas of town have their picture taken with him we ran into a problem. Nobody wanted pictures with “Black Santa.” Let me be clear. I did not call him “Black Santa”, the kids called him that. Black, white, hispanic, and all varieties of kids refused to sit with “Black Santa.”

The event was a great success, but I’ll never shake the image of our “Black Santa” sitting in the corner all alone with kids keeping their distance and watching him closely to make sure he didn’t make any sudden moves…

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Wayne Stocks · November 2, 2010

    It sound like that church should have some sort of plaque in recognition of you hanging in their hallway. :) Maybe you should have gone with “Purple Santa.”

  2. Greg Baird · November 2, 2010

    You’re killing me Jonathan…that is hilarious!!

  3. Terry Cuthbertson · November 2, 2010

    I want to see the pic’s!!! That’s hilarious!

  4. Stephen · November 5, 2010

    This is hilarious. Mainly because I saw something very similar happen while at the mall last christmas season. The non-white Santa was not high on the demand list for photos. While a different ethnic Santa doesn’t really bother me, I find skinny Santa quite creepy.