Debra Dean Murphy is assistant professor of religion at West Virginia Wesleyan College and author of Teaching That Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education (Wipf and Stock). She blogs at Intersections, part of the CCblogs network.
With the imposition of ashes imminent—this stark ritual signalling the onset of a season starker still in its confrontations with mortality and its fleshly (and fleshy) deprivations—I am reading about food. Glorious food.
In his role as prophet to the nation, Martin Luther King, Jr. drew on the ancient wisdom of both the Greeks and Hebrews. From Aristotle he learned that the character of an orator is of prime importance, but not in the ways we moderns might imagine.
In 1595, the English Jesuit Robert Southwell wrote “The Burning Babe,” a startling, unsettling poem about the incarnation—which means, given Southwell’s rich theological imagination and deep Catholic piety, that it is also a poem about suffering and salvation. And about the human predilection to resist divine love.
Three hundred seventy-one years later, Denise Levertov penned “Advent 1966.″