The birth of Jesus contradicts the idea of a God who "lay above the earth like a layer of icy cirrus." The birth means that we encounter God, not only in elegant theology but in work and in our enjoyment of beauty, friendship and love—in love particularly.
We typically think of name-calling as trash talk, violent speech, all harm and no good. Often it is. In the aftermath of the midterm elections, I'm well past my quota of derogation and defamation. But not all name-calling is violence.
A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, movies and music. Categories include theology and spirituality, history and current events, fiction, poetry, children's literature, movies on DVD, classical music and popular music.
Early modern versions of the argument from design relied upon a simple analogy: the universe looks like an artifact, which implies a maker. But as David Hume pointed out, one would need experience observing universes being made to judge that the analogy holds true.
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.