I would like to wish all of you readers–conservatives and liberals, Lutherans and non-Lutherans and anti-Lutherans, Christians and other religionists and atheists, moralists and libertarians, Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters, experts and textperts and choking smokers, and all of the other varied souls who frequent this blog–a merry, merry celebration of the Incarnation of our God and Savior (whether you believe in Him or not)! Read more

Last time Christmas fell on Sunday it came out that a number of churches had decided to cancel services, which provoked some controversy.  I haven’t heard of churches doing that this year, whether because they have all come to their senses or because it has become no big deal.  (Does anyone know of churches that have cancelled Sunday services?) The reason given was that if people don’t have to go to church they can spend more time with their families,… Read more

I continue my custom of offering you a Christmas poem, poetry being “a trap for meditation.”  Here is one that I just discovered by the Welsh Anglican cleric Rowland Watkyns (1662): Upon Christ’s Nativity, or Christmas From three dark places Christ came forth this day; From first His Father’s bosom, where He lay, Concealed till now; then from the typic law, Where we His manhood but by figures saw; And lastly from His mother’s womb He came To us, a… Read more

The online radio program Issues, Etc., is planning a marathon of sacred Christmas music beginning on Christmas Eve. You’ve got to love their promo: Read more

Greg Forster, in the context of a discussion about Europe’s economic woes, makes some fascinating connections between the doctrine of vocation and economic productivity: A historically unprecedented phenomenon has been unfolding—in Europe for the past five centuries, in America for the past two, and more recently everywhere across the globe except sub-Sarahan Africa. That phenomenon is explosive economic growth. After millennia of basically stagnant wealth levels from the earliest recorded history forward, God’s world is at last beginning to flourish… Read more

What do you think of Newt Gingrich’s expressed plan, if he is elected president, to ignore court rulings that he disagrees with, to legislate judicial districts out of existence, to arrest judges in order to haul them before legislators to explain their rulings, to over-rule the Supreme Court with the agreement of the other two branches of government, and to attach riders to some laws that make them unreviewable by the courts? What I think is that this would be… Read more

An interesting article in the British business publication Financial Times about how many companies–including high-tech companies–are trying to do away with e-mail: “We believe email is fundamentally unproductive, you need to sift through too many documents and things get lost,” says Leerom Segal, president and chief executive of Klick, a Canadian digital marketing company. “It has no prioritisation, no workflow, and assumes that the most important item is the one at the top. My business partner became so frustrated with… Read more

Michael Gerson gives the most lucid explanation I have found for what the Higgs boson–a.k.a. the “God particle”–is.  He also explores the implications of the strange fact that mathematics, which is a function of the human mind, can actually predict what things exist in the external world: Modern physics can explain just about everything, except why anything has mass. The Standard Model of physics, which emerged four decades ago, employs an elegant mathematical formula to account for most of the… Read more

President Obama on himself, speaking in an interview with 60 Minutes: “The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got… Read more

Aaron Lewis, who hung out a couple of times with Christopher Hitchens, pointed out that the British assessments on the occasion of his death are rather more measured than what the Americans are saying.  Aaron alerted me to this comment from Alexander Cockburn on Hitchens: He courted the label “contrarian,” but if the word is to have any muscle, it surely must imply the expression of dangerous opinions. Hitchens never wrote anything truly discommoding to respectable opinion and if he… Read more

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