The Sense of Christmas– Part Three

The Christmas story, as we now celebrate it, is a winter's tale. Never mind Luke's mentioning that shepherds were out in the fields watching their flocks by night, rather than huddled in a cave, which suggests an event sometime other than winter. Never mind that people didn't tend to 'travel from afar' during the winter season of the year (and yet we are told the wise men undertook such a journey). Never mind that usually the census and levying of taxes would come after the New Year in the … [Read more...]

The Sense of Christmas— Part Two

I intimated in my last post that one of the real problems for Protestants in celebrating Advent and Christmas is: 1) that Advent is hardly celebrated at all, with too many Protestants only having a nodding acquaintance with the whole notion of the 'Christian year'; and 2) too much is loaded into Christmas day itself, whereas we should be celebrating a season, not just a day. Indeed, if we want to talk about days, then we should be talking about two days--- the day of his first coming, and the … [Read more...]

The Sense of Christmas— Part One

crowng

If you are able to wade through all the nonsense of Christmas--- the materialistic excess, the narcissism of giving yourself and your immediate family tons of gifts, while ignoring the needs of the homeless and the poor and the hungry at Christmas, and you burrow down to the heart or sense of Christmas, what is it really all about?Unfortunately, and to a very large degree low church Protestants have managed to miss a lot of what the Advent season is about, because they don't really … [Read more...]

The New NIV– A Perfect Christmas Gift

NIV

I don't often take the time to endorse a particular translation of the Bible. There are many useful ones, and several really excellent ones in English, but in this case both the season and recent publication of the new NIV have led me to say something on behalf of this translation. This 2011 translation, based on the best of both the previous NIV and TNIV with updates gets so many things right that it really eclipses its competitors. It goes for both clarity and accuracy of expression in good … [Read more...]

The Nonsense of Christmas– Part Three

nativ

I was standing in the Three Arches shop in Bethlehem looking at one nativity set after another, after another. They were all basically the same. Carved out of the native olive wood, they involved: 1) a barn; 2) animals (including camels); 3) a manger; 4) Mary and Joseph and the baby in the manger; 5) wise men; and 6) shepherds. It may surprise you to know that St. Francis of Assisi, a great lover of animals ('All Creatures Great and Small'), was the first person, apparently, to cook up this … [Read more...]

The Nonsense of Christmas– Part Two

There are all sorts of myths floating around about Christmas, and some of the worst come from the myth-makers supreme (e.g. the Zeitgeist sort of people). I am referring to those who: 1) deny that Jesus existed; 2) insist that all Christian celebrations are really adaptations of earlier pagan practices such as some Egyptian rites, or Roman rituals like Saturnalia and the like. It is surprising to me that this sort of nonsense has gained such a hearing in a skeptical age. If you doubt that it … [Read more...]

The Nonsense of Christmas— Part One

angels

Risking the possibility that I might be called Scrooge, I am going to muster up my courage and hope that it might be useful to do some demythologizing of Christmas. Christmas today is of course a time off from work where one tends to spend time with one’s birth family or extended birth family, having done far too much shopping, and then far too much eating, while spending time with those who are supposed to be our loved ones, and sometimes are.That is what normally happens for many f … [Read more...]

A Diet of Worms

worms

Subject: Four worms in churchA minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.Four worms were placed into four separate jarsThe first worm was put into a container of alcohol.The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.The … [Read more...]

Five Factors which Changed Church History

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Scholars have often debated why it is that the church of Constantine’s period looks so very different in various respects from the earliest church. What were the factors which led to the change or transformation of the early Christian movement, so that by the time we get to Constantine and thereafter the roles of men and women in the church have changed, and indeed the church becomes much more like an OT institution than one like what we find in the letters in the NT itself? While it would be … [Read more...]


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