New Testament 10

From Wikimedia Commons, map of Egypt

  Matthew 2:13-21 Matthew's account of the flight into Egypt exhibits nicely one of the signature elements of his style and approach -- his constant effort to illustrate how Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecies.  And it demonstrates how he reads those prophecies. For example, in 2:15, he says that the exile of Jesus and his parents fulfills the prophecy given in Hosea 11:1, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."  However, when that verse is read i … [Read more...]

“How academia’s liberal bias is killing social science”

Wikimedia Commons is boring to write

  Geoff Biddulph called this article to my attention: Very interesting.  And parts of it ring particularly true to my personal experience in academia, particularly (of course) beyond BYU.   … [Read more...]

Who can celebrate a genuine Christmas?

King, Romero, Bonhoeffer

  No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need ever of God — for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.  (Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero [a … [Read more...]

Tradition in animal culture

Awkward name.

  A fascinating article in the 6 December 2014 issue of The Economist ("Left or right wing?") concerns the existence and nature of culture -- yes, culture -- among animals, and particularly among the unfortunately/awkwardly named birds known as "great tits." Back in the days when milk was delivered each morning to doorsteps across the United Kingdom, some of these little birds learned how to peck through the dairymen's foil bottle-tops in order to get at the … [Read more...]

“Why rape is so intrinsic to religion”

Seattle psychologist, former evangelical

  I actually hesitated to share this, in view of the season.  But then I thought that some of you might be interested, and that people ought to understand what some of the more verbally aggressive enemies of religious belief are up to.  This article is Valerie Tarico's offering on the Sunday just before Christmas: Ms. Tarico is some sort of psychologist living in Seattle ( … [Read more...]

A Qur’anic account of the annunciations of John and Jesus

 I've borrowed the Arabic text -- a portion of Surat Maryam, the "Chapter of Mary," Surah 19 -- from Sahih International, and have (very) slightly modified their translation: A reminder of the mercy of your Lord to His servant ZechariahWhen he called privately to his Lord.He said, "My Lord, truly my bones have grown weak and my head has filled with white, and I've never been unhappy in my supplication to You, my L … [Read more...]

Music of Christmas 26

From Wikimedia Commons, of course! Did you doubt it?  I have travelled many moonless nights Cold and weary, with a babe inside. And I wonder what I've done. Holy Father, you have come And chosen me now To carry your son.I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone, Must I walk this path alone? Be with me now. Be with me now.[Chorus] Breath of heaven, Hold me together. Be forever near me. Breath of … [Read more...]

New Testament 9

From Wikimedia Commons

  Luke 2:21-38 The accounts of the presentation of Jesus in the temple and of the prophecies of Simeon and Anna are preserved only by Luke.  But they're exactly the kind of early family memory that one would expect parents to treasure and to share.  This is consistent, once again, with the idea that Luke interviewed Mary, that she was among his "eyewitnesses."  (Joseph seems, pretty clearly, to be out of the picture by the time Luke's gospel is composed.  He's p … [Read more...]