New Testament 4

A happy and historic meeting

  Luke 1:39-56 This narrative of the apparently private encounter between the soon-to-be mothers of Jesus and of John the Baptist seems further suggestion that Mary was among Luke's "eyewitnesses."  (Elizabeth was already old at the time of the encounter, which occurred several decades before Luke was written, so she's unlikely to have been one of them.) The most famous part of this passage is what's often known as the "Magnificat" (1:46-55), the t … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer 22

Opposition in all things

  There's so much hatred and eve and violence in the world that one is sometimes tempted to despair.  But there's also remarkable goodness:,AAADUxzzImk~,ZRG9vr9In2CmLypfGW8tCAvJzWo_aD3c&bclid=0&bctid=3943706782001   … [Read more...]

Bill Maher, deep thinker

A very public idjit

  I came across a striking statement today that's attributed to the alleged comedian Bill Maher.  "Faith," says Mr. Maher, "means making a virtue out of not thinking." Now, I can't plausibly be described as a fan of Bill Maher. I believe that I've recounted the story somewhere of sitting with my wife, my brother and his wife, and a friend in an open-air restaurant in Vienna (I believe) several years ago, and hearing a familiar voice.  I turned, and … [Read more...]

All we like sheep have gone astray.

Clive Staples Lewis, of Oxford and Cambridge, in the UK

    … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer 21

Now in Austria. Same place? I think so.

  A fascinating story from Christmas season of 1944 in war-ravaged Central Europe:   … [Read more...]

“All real life is meeting”

the first LDS temple in Florida

  Chapter 14 of That Hideous Strength, the concluding novel in C. S. Lewis's brilliant "Perelandra trilogy," as it's often called, is entitled "Real Life is Meeting." The title comes from a passage in the Austrian-born Israeli Jewish thinker Martin Buber's famous 1923 book Ich und Du ("I and Thou"):  "All real life is meeting." The sentiment strikes me as profoundly true on a number of levels.  Relationships are the most important aspect of our l … [Read more...]

A modern apostolic experience

President Brown at the pulpit

  I pass on a little story that, among other places, I've seen in D. Michael Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power.  I mention that particular source in order to win some credibility for the story.  For some, Dr. Quinn (perhaps alongside Grant Palmer) is the only honest historian of Mormonism, and his works have attained something like canonical status. Having served for nearly a decade as a counselor in the First Presidency (from the time I was con … [Read more...]

Music of Christmas 20

Incomparable beauty in the winter

  The great lyric soprano Renée Fleming joins the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square for a performance of What Child is This?   … [Read more...]