to do the Advent thing, I thought last Saturday night as my husband and I
prepared to study the Annunciation passage with an adult ed class. My mind went
to the hope that I'd be able to get away for a day or two this Advent season and
do some hiking, reflection and prayer at a retreat center.
A few times I've come across Anthony Bourdain's food show No Reservations. Bourdain is the "bad
boy" of TV gourmets--he's profane and sarcastic, and apparently an erstwhile
user of hard drugs. This is, of course, a different persona for a host of a
On a Sunday when John the Baptist's call
for repentance roars in our ears, we need reminders of the precedence of
gift, the prevenience of grace. For John's sermonic cry to "prepare the
way of the Lord" can seem all task and no gift. It calls out the Pelagian in all
of us, the voluntarist who wants to build the kingdom. Careless hearing leads
us to imagine that if we "make his paths straight," he will come.
On this second Sunday of Advent, perhaps the paraments should be red rather than blue or purple. Red has become our Holy Spirit hue, the liturgical color that accompanies occasions of heightened concentration on pneumatological presence and power. Hanging red isn't like firing a signal flare, as if the Spirit has suddenly been glimpsed after a long absence or concealment.
LifeWay Research found that 53 percent of 1,000 Protestant pastors polled agreed that sometimes their congregations seem to love America more than God: 59 percent of pastors in the South, as compared to 51 percent in the Midwest and 42 percent in the West (LifeWay Research, June 30).