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 →

My People

Covenant

Sometimes, I find it difficult to write, not because I don’t know what I want to say, but because there’s too much to say. So, let’s talk about relationships. As a species, we’re not especially known for our capacity or willingness to get along. All of us have a survival instinct that no longer serves us very well. We’re skeptical, distrustful, prone to jump to conclusions, easily angered, and aggressive. Do you doubt it? Then just look at how “special” we view people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa of Calcutta or the Dalai Lama. We are Continue Reading →

Prophetic Voices

Prophets

Ever heard of “literary forms”? Sure you have. You probably know at least two different forms: poetry and prose. Of course, these are not the only literary forms in existence. There are plays, fiction and non-fiction, songs (a subset of poetry, perhaps?), history, fables, myths, etc. There are even blogs. There are literary forms that we use today and forms that went out of style centuries ago. When we look at the writings accepted by the Judeo-Christian communities we can see many different literary forms. Don’t forget: we’re considering a library of writings, not just one big one. Different writings Continue Reading →

The Word of the Lord

Torah

Ok, faithful readers . . . now we may be getting into it. Ready? Here’s what I’ve gone over with you so far: God, the Unknowable, the Transcendent is unreachable directly by the human mind. Even our language is practically useless talking about God. We use analogies because we cannot experience anything from a God’s-eye view: eternal, changeless, infinite. If God were to want us to know anything about what being God is all about, the communication would have to be in terms that we understand (like a mathematician trying to teach calculus to a chimp). God’s self-revelation has been Continue Reading →

. . . and God said . . .

and God said

So far in our wanderings around the subject of faith, we have come to appreciate that God — the Transcendent — is also the Unknowable. If we think back to our example of the chimp learning calculus, we can recognize that the poor chimp would have no idea where to begin. The chimp would be utterly lost. But what if a very patient and kind person were to start teaching the chimp the fundamentals. Of course, under present circumstances, the chimp could never be taught higher mathematics. But, that’s because the animal’s instructor couldn’t get inside the chimp’s head. What Continue Reading →