Epiphany as both theological and literary term

Today is Epiphany, a day and a season in the church year that I especially appreciate, old English teacher that I am, since the name is both a theological and a literary term.  I explain that after the jump in a post from four years ago. [Read more...]

Happy Circumcision & Name of Jesus Day!

I hope you had a big celebration last night and stayed up past midnight to see in the big holiday today.  Namely, the commemoration of the circumcision and naming of Jesus, a ceremony that took place one week after His birth.  To honor the occasion–and, oh, yes, it’s also New Year’s Day, isn’t it?–I am reposting something I wrote back in 2009:

Today is. . . the ancient feast celebrating The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. The week after Christmas, the Christchild was circumcised, thus taking upon Himself the fulfillment of the Law, a rite in which He was also officially given His name.

“Jesus” means “God saves” (literally, to put it even stronger, “YHWH saves”). Notice how the very name of Jesus attests to His divinity and to the Gospel.

Several years ago, we went to church on New Years Day and heard one of the most memorable sermons on the Name of Jesus. The pastor went through the different places in the Bible that talks about doing things “in the name of Jesus,” then bringing in the meaning of that name, that God saves. We are told to pray in the name of Jesus, because “God saves” gives us full access to the Father. When even two or three meet in the name of Jesus, He is with them, because “God saves” makes a new kind of worship possible. Disciples could cast out demons in Jesus’ name; that is, in the reality that “God saves.” At the name of Jesus, “God saves,” every knee shall bow and every tongue that Jesus is LORD. (Try that correlation yourself in your own devotions.)

via The Name of Jesus.

This is also a fitting contemplation for  the new year ahead.  So happy New Year’s, everybody!  May 2015 be a good and blessed year for all of you!.

The #2 most popular Cranach post of the year

Why do Americans say “merry Christmas,” while the British and denizens of its Commonwealth say “happy Christmas”?  Those who Googled that question were directed to this post, which was written for Christmas of 2013:

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Christmas.

This post was number 3 for most of the year, but for the last few weeks, page views for this post surged by the thousands, and it made it to #2. [Read more...]

Pun control

The Chinese government is forbidding the use of puns in state-supported media.  Alexandra Petri objects.  (If you are one of those, like Chinese communists, who can’t stand puns, do NOT read her punitive words after the jump.  I invite you, though, to respond in kind in the comments.) [Read more...]

Party riots

An essay in the Washington Post about the non-spontaneous riots in Ferguson, Missouri, included a digression on another kind of uprising:  the “party riot,” what some college students do when they lose or win a big game or what breaks out at Mardi Gras or other festivals when revellers just want to have a good time. [Read more...]

Human ecology

A useful concept and a clarifying name from Pope Francis:  People worry about the state of the natural environment, he observed.  But they also need to worry about the social environment.  Family breakdown, rampant immorality, and materialistic hedonism damage what he calls the “human ecology.”  [Read more...]