At The Intersection Of Time & Eternity: Christmas

On December 26th, Christmas wrapping paper is marked down for clearance, and suddenly all that red and green decor festooning the house starts looking a little stale. Christmas is over, right?Actually, the liturgical season of Christmas begins on December 25th and lasts twelve days. The song about those twelve days - you know, the one with the partridge in a pear tree - references the time span, but is a secular celebration of the sacred Christmas season. The Jewish festal cycle and the … [Read more...]

#AdventWord 2015

I've enjoyed participating in this year's #AdventWord Instagram journey with the online community connected with St. John the Evangelist. Each day, the brothers of the order gave us a word we could use for contemplation. We were invited to share our Instagrammed images inspired by that word with others. Here are mine. Blessings as you make your way to the manger this … [Read more...]

My favorite (media) things: 2015

I'm a sucker for Top Ten and Best Of lists at this time of year. Just for fun, here's my own list of media favorites from the past year: Netflix binge-watch favorites Bloodline - This Netflix original series was slow going for the first couple of episodes, but the simmering anger in the performance of Ben Mendelsohn as his family's prodigal on steroids kept me hooked. Season 2 is scheduled for release in 2016. Can't wait to see where they take this family's story next.The Time In Between - … [Read more...]

Jewish Evangelism In Light Of “The Gifts & Calling” Document

I am not Catholic, but am grateful for my Catholic siblings in faith. I've been strengthened by many Catholic writers over the years, particularly those from the contemplative tradition. I've been encouraged by Catholic pro-life activism and challenged by the Church's commitment to social justice and care for the least of these. I love studying the Bible with Catholic friends.So much kingdom goodness in these things. These affirmations of goodness also carry deep sorrow with them, an … [Read more...]

Reader’s Theater: Where Love Is, God Is

One of my favorite Leo Tolstoy short stories is "Where Love Is, God Is". It is profound in its simplicity at any time of year, but certainly suits this season. A few years ago, I turned the story into a reader's theater for seven voices. It takes about 12-14 minutes to perform. A couple of churches of which we've been a part have used it during Advent or Lent.Avdeich rested his head upon both his arms, and did not notice how he fell asleep. “Martin!” suddenly seemed to sound in his ear … [Read more...]

Unintended Consequences Of The Jesus Movement: The Christmas Edition

There is probably some significance that the last animated Christmas TV special for popular audiences to mention the (to borrow a phrase) reason for the season premiered in 1965. You know the one to which I'm referring:America was a-changing, only in 1965, most Americans didn't know it yet. The Christian-y sensibilities that once informed the way all Americans related to both culture and one another, were veneer, not solid wood. The second half of the 1960's would begin to peel away that … [Read more...]

The Blessing Of Missing Christmas

When I was a kid, I knew Christmas as the otherDecember celebration. I spent most of my secular Jewish childhood in a heavily Jewish Chicago suburb. Of course, there were still the Christmas commercials, Christmas specials, and Christmas songs at school, but our family celebrated Hanukkah. Our eight-night “Jewish Christmas” had its own miraculousbackstory. My Gentile classmates had only one day of presents to anticipate during December. I felt pretty lucky to have eight nights of gifts (even if, … [Read more...]