New Testament 3

A nice Mormon view of the Annunciation

  Luke 1:26-38 This account of the Annunciation, as it's called, occurs only in the gospel of Luke.    Such stories, told from Mary's perspective, have suggested to many readers that Mary herself was among the "eyewitness" sources used by Luke in the composition of his gospel (see Luke 1:2).  I find that very plausible. Note the occurrence of the term "the Most High" (hypsistos) in both 1:32 and 1;35.  Latter-day Saints see this, of course, as a ref … [Read more...]

Some tweets related to that jihadi hostage-taking in Sydney

Quasi-Venn diagram of Islam and terrorism

  I'm quite confident that some will accuse me of bleeding-heart liberalism for posting this, and of trying to whitewash or minimize Islamist terrorism.  They'll do this despite my impeccable libertarian/conservative credentials since I was a teenager; despite my innumerable public denunciations of Islamist terrorism; despite my votes for George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney; despite my public condemnations of Hamas; and despite my support of military action against … [Read more...]

Dwarfing the stable

A quote from Clive Staples Lewis

    … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer 20

A quote from Gordon B. Hinckley, whom I miss

  Is there anybody out there for whom you, or a group or neighborhood of which you're a part, could do something like this?   … [Read more...]

Music of Christmas 19

DWS of St. Paul, Minn.

  The Dale Warland Singers, a Minnesota-based ensemble founded in 1972 and disbanded in 2004, were one of America's great choirs.  Here, they perform the traditional Catalan carol Fum, fum, fum! Incidentally, there's plenty of speculation about what Fum, fum, fum! might signify, but nobody really seems to know:,_Fum,_Fum   … [Read more...]

New Testament 2

Shalmaneser III's black obelisk, with Jehu, or not

  Luke 1:5-25 Out of all the things that could and should be said about Luke's account of the appearance of Gabriel to Zechariah and the promise of the birth of John the Baptist, I choose to focus on one little detail that I find both funny, in a way, and significant: In verse 18, Zechariah, having just been told that he and his wife are to have a son, responds rather doubtfully, "I am an old man." To which, in the following verse, the … [Read more...]

“Some organizing principle”

What it really looks like, I suppose?

  "I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing."  (Allan Sandage [d. 2010], American astronomer who determined the first plausible values for Hubble's constant and the age of the universe and discovered the first quasar)   … [Read more...]

Intimations of Pre-Mortality?

A conception of the world before this

  “My soul is from elsewhere.  I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”  (Jalal al-Din Rumi, d. AD 1273)   … [Read more...]