We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Most sermons I hear are pretty good. Some are more on the intellectual, apologist side; some more spirit-soaked and uplifting. All good, but all mainly addressed to the converted. (In my view, to become a capital-C Christian one must become a convert regardless of how raised. Some term it "re-born," which is an ok term.)
Jesus didn’t come because humans had somehow missed the point of moral teaching and needed to be set right on a few points and given some inspirational coaching. He didn’t come to do TED talks. He came, the gospel writers believed, because history revealed the failure of the ‘moral approach’ to the problem of evil, and God decided that something more and something different needed to be done.
I recommend it especially to non-Christians and to the Christ-curious, but it refreshed my mind in a good way too.
For those truly interested in the Catholic Church's teachings of Marian Doctrines read Tim Staples persuasive, "Behold Your Mother". Mr. Staples takes the reader through a biblical and historical defense of our Catholic devotion to our Blessed Mother and answers all objections.
Thank you for this grounded post. I liked the line about TED talks. Jesus is quite surprising at every turn, bursting out of the limits that every agge tries to simplify him to. I have been asking my readers to open the gospels at random and note how often something opaque or counter-intuitive is there.
I recommend JB Phillips Your God Is Too Small, a short but solid book from two generations ago.
Assistant Village Idiot
Agreed. I saw this earlier today and thought the same thing Took mild exception to his closing nod to current culture, but a great read.
My take on the Christian narrative is that - while we are all sons and daughters of God - Jesus had a special relationship with God. Some years ago, had the very good fortune to attend a seminar which featured Madeleine l'Engle. During a really spiritually-stretching weekend, did note her comment to the effect that there was a legend that Mary was not the first woman Gabriel approached; she was the first woman who said "yes".
My approach to Christmas is not to wonder at the details as to how God did it, but to wonder and be grateful that God bothered at all.