The Week That Collapses Time

Today is Palm Sunday in Liturgical Christian circles. It begins the week known by many as “Holy Week” and it focuses on the Last Supper, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Many devout Christians — let alone those for whom Christianity is only a set of moral principles– have not had the opportunity to go deeper into the meaning of this week and the liturgical celebrations that the Christian Community participates in. The meaning of these rites goes far beyond what is seen on the surface, and, in many cases, even beyond the words and gestures used in Continue Reading →

The Evangelical-Catholic Heresy and the Betrayal of Jesus

Heretic

Chapter 1: Heresy Heresy: now there’s a word we don’t see very often anymore. Of course, I encountered it when I was in the seminary, studying the history of the Christian Church. Even when I was studying the matter, heresies were little more than strange Greek-sounding names that we had to memorize in order to pass our exams: Adoptionism, Arianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Nestorianism, Manichaeism, etc. ad infinitum. It’s such an anachronistic word, and such a foreign concept now. It originated in centuries long past, when academic clerics wrote long letters to one another arguing about arcane details of belief. At Continue Reading →

What’s the Good Word, God?

Gospel of John

As I write this, the feast of Christmas begins at sundown tomorrow. It brings me to think about the awesome masterwork of faith and understanding that is the Gospel of John, and probably the key concept that forms the foundation of John’s understanding of who Jesus was and is: his very nature or essence. His understanding goes far beyond just an appreciation for Jesus and his role in the history of humanity; it goes to the heart of Jesus’ role as essential bridge between the divine and, not only the human, but even the entire universe. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 5)

Christ Child

This is the last of five articles in my “The War on Christmas?” series, entitled “The Birth of the Christ.” I hope that readers of this series will be able to distinguish the “true meaning of Christmas” from all the accretions that have been added to this celebration throughout the centuries (and consequently come to realize how silly the notion of a “war on Christmas” really is). When all is said and done, what is the “true meaning of Christmas?” Christmas (Christ Mass) is a liturgical celebration of the Christian Church that commemorates the appearance of God in human flesh and blood and his Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 4)

Scrooge

This article will look at “True Meaning of Christmas.” All tthe gift-giving, the Santa myth, the decorations, etc. take second place to what must be the most transformative influence on Christmas in history: the publication of Scrooge by Charles Dickens in 1843. By this time, many of the English Christmas traditions were well-established. But Dickens wanted to point out the hypocrisy of the upper classes with regard to the destitute poor in early industrial London. Taking his cue from the babe in the manger (and a genuine Christian focus on the poverty of the Christ child in contrast with the richness of God), Dickens Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 3)

Coca Cola Santa

In the first two articles in this series, we’ve been focusing on the dynamic behind those who claim a “War on Christmas” exists. Now, in this article that I call, “The Coca Cola Saint,” we can turn our attention toward sorting through the layers of tradition surrounding Christmas to see if we can lay bare more of its true meaning. In the US, Christmas evokes images of Christmas trees and Santa Claus and flying reindeer (especially Rudolph) and stockings stuffed with gifts and lights and stars and angels and special seasonal songs. Sometimes, there’s Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 2)

Holy War

This is Part 2 in my series on the “true meaning of Christmas.” The topic today is “War, Victims, and the Satanized God.” If people believe that there’s a “War on Christmas” going on, then there must necessarily exist an enemy who causes this war, victims of this warfare, and a god who justifies the war and who rescues the virtuous (the “us”) and punishes the impious (the “them”). Let’s start by looking at war itself. War is waged ostensibly for self-preservation. No sane person puts him/herself in harm’s way for the pure enjoyment of it. The costs of war — great as Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 1)

War on Christmas

Today (during the 3rd week of the liturgical season of Advent), I’m going to start a multi-part article on the so-called “War on Christmas” that some people believe is being waged in our culture. Needless to say, I am most decidedly not one of those people. It is almost as if our culture needs another excuse to find fault, lay blame, avoid responsibility, increase hatred and division, and, generally, offer service to the satanized god of death. I believe that I am among a small minority of people who actually understand the feast of Christmas and I have an opportunity to prepare Continue Reading →

The Mantle of the Prophet

Prophet

The first book of Kings describes the word of the Lord coming to Elijah at Horeb. The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.1 So Elijah went and did what he was told. So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of Continue Reading →

I’m in with the In-Crowd

It’s said that the first thing we do when we enter a strange social environment is to try to figure out where we fit in. We attempt to join with our fellows based on shared characteristics. We try to establish commonalities of status, class, backgrounds, experiences and goals. Starting from a feeling (really a conviction) of being an outsider, we want to bridge the distance that we experience between ourselves and others in any way we can. We desire to be included. We want to be accepted among those singing: I’m in with the in crowd I go where the in Continue Reading →