Those of you who are preachers: are you working on your Sunday sermon
yet? We didn't think so. Perhaps you'll find this extra lectionary post
helpful in planning those other little services you have to worry about
first—it's based on the Nativity readings. The writer is Tom Steagald,
who will be taking us through the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany.
I read somewhere that in a survey to identify what people thought was the most obnoxious holiday or Christmas music, “The Little Drummer Boy” narrowly won out over “Silver Bells” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” That kind of music is omnipresent in the stores and on the street corners near where I live.
My wife and I recently went to see William Inge's play Picnic,
which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. It was a riveting performance. I
was moved by how deeply the characters struggle to figure out who they
are in their corner of the world, a small town in Kansas.
Michael Bransfield, Catholic bishop of West Virginia, seems to be taking his cues from the coal industry when interpreting Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato si’, which calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels. Bransfield says the pope’s call for ending fossil fuel use is qualified: it should happen “only after” greater progress is made in using alternative fuels, and only where economically feasible. In fact, Pope Francis makes no such qualifications. Bransfield is also promoting the idea of “clean coal.” A spokesperson admitted that the Wheeling-Charleston diocese has “energy related investments” (National Catholic Reporter, July 1).