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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, January 27. 2023
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 12:49 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 23. 2022
‘The Nativity Story of the Gospels.’
Great books (30-min) podcast on ‘The Nativity Story of the Gospels.’
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 13:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, December 17. 2022
A Christmas Carol
The only version worth watching, 1951 with Alaistair Sim. They sure packed a lot into a short movie about rebirth.
The only essential Christmastime film.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 15:00 | Comments (23) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 29. 2022
The Ark of the Covenant
The meaning of the Ark of the Covenant. This 7-minute piece is a stunning summary of the metaphysics of Christianity (via American Digest)
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 14:28 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 17. 2022
Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Happy Easter
"Be not affrighted. Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him." Mark 16:6
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
The wonderful tune which brings back every Easter in one's life, and a few tears, too. Composer? Unknown. Words by Charles Wesley, 1739. The verses were written for the opening of the Wesleyan Chapel in London, in an old foundry. Hence the term Foundry Collection of hymns.
The rest of Wesley's verses of the song are on the continuation page, below.
Continue reading "Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Happy Easter"
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 06:00 | Comments (27) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 13. 2022
Christmas is easy. Easter is complicated.
WSJ: The Challenge of Easter - Whether you’re a believer or not, there is no way to ignore the radical claim of the Resurrection
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 12:19 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, April 11. 2022
Why did God lay me low? Reposted
American Digest reminded me - I had intended this hymn to bookend the Lenten season. This hymn/praise song was new to me recently, by John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace). I felt it was powerful and tough.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion, The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:15 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 13. 2022
Been to church today?
We occasionally attend our friends' church's Sunday service (streamed). It is called The Church of the City New York.
Fired up for Jesus - lots of praise music. Pastor is as compelling as Tim Keller. He begins talking around the 45-min mark.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 16:02 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 14. 2021
The Christmas "Risk"
Today I received a note from a friend about the Christmas "risk" and it gave me pause. After all, we humans tend to think so linearly at times, we tend to miss the bigger picture. I'd never actually fallen for the 'Christmas is at risk' story, though for reasons entirely different than what I'm about to share. Her note is as follows:
"The latest fear tactic is saying that "Christmas may be at risk" due to supply chain issues. Christmas is not at risk. The ability to buy a bunch of crap no one needs or knew they wanted may be at risk, but Christmas is not at risk. Let's not allow these fear-mongers to screw with our joy, please. The joy of Christmas isn't stuff, it's family and tradition and celebrating love. And, if you're religious, it is about Jesus' birth. Not STUFF. Christmas is not at risk. Christmas will go on. Maybe in a different way for now, but...
The real story of Christmas won't be the TV we couldn't get on time, or the doll your daughter didn't get. It's going to be the time we spend together with friends and family and enjoy each others company. That isn't at risk, though Fauci is trying very hard to push it, and we should continue to look forward positively and set aside most of the fear-mongering that the Democrats and Democrat-oriented media push our way.
Her note has altered how I was thinking about the upcoming holidays in a very positive way, and I am 100% in agreement with this point of view.
Wednesday, August 11. 2021
I'm re-reading Let Go . It is a short compilation of letters written by Fr. Francois Fenelon in the 1600s.
Most of them were written to parishioners or to his spiritual advisees. One of his main themes is to do what you can to let go of self to make room for God in your heart.
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 13:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, July 25. 2021
Here's a sample: Christians are called to live differently from the rest of the world. That requires a different way of thinking.
Lots of his 20+ minute sermons on that website. Give him a try.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 09:34 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 24. 2020
A Damaging Change in Posture
It seems WHO has descended fully into madness. Herd immunity seems to have shifted from being acquired to being delivered by Big Pharma.
Posted by Bulldog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects, Medical, Politics, Religion at 09:30 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 22. 2020
Is the Pope Catholic?
Is the Pope Catholic? Francis’s new encyclical reads like a UN mission statement.
The RC Church has a long and ancient history of being politically-involved and taking sides. Politically, and financially. It's their strength and their weakness. Mind you, spoken as an olde-tyme Protestant.
However, after many years, even Protestants have gotten into political games. It is a shame, in my view, for church to become too worldly.
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 15:56 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, June 14. 2020
The Old Testament
That's what Christians call it.
At The Great Courses, Prof. Amy Levine does a wonderful job with it. Only $45 right now. She's a fast talker, so she keeps you engaged.
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 14:40 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 19. 2020
Not from today's Lectionary: Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves
35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
10Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, The kingdom of heaven has come near. 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16 See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 05:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 12. 2020
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Image: William Blake's Resurrection
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 05:10 | Comments (10) | Trackback (1)
Saturday, April 11. 2020
Holy Saturday: A new commandment
The commandment was preached by Jesus at the seder, the day before his crucifixion and death. From John's Gospel, Chapter 13:
31Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
32If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
33Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 05:20 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 10. 2020
Good Friday is a Christian day for prayer and reflection - not that every day is not.
A quote from Kevin McCullough:
Image: El Greco, 1695
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 05:00 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 22. 2020
The Jesuit Way
Book recommendation: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
One does not need to be Roman Catholic to appreciate this.
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 16:06 | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 29. 2019
The New Jerusalem Bible
Described as "less literary, more literal." The New Jerusalem Bible
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 14:57 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, October 11. 2019
Yom Kippur, Lent, etc.
Like the Greeks, the Jews were prone to animal sacrifice. Human sacrifices were not unusual (see Abraham) but when animals were precious possessions, these were real sacrifices too beyond the symbolic.
Christians didn't keep Yom Kippur because Christ's death was taken as the ultimate sacrifice to cleanse all sins for confessors and believers. A final human sacrifice. However, Mother Church kept weekly confession and Lent anyway. Fortunately, because of human need. I do not get the doctrine of that.
I have a personal confessor, but a Jewish pal and his family do group confession over dinner on Yom Kippur. Even his kids and parents speak out about their dark sides and their shameful actions, and their aspirations to be more worthy of G-d. Wow.
Not in a million years can I imagine my Protestant family doing such a thing.
I read this bit: How Christianity Co-Opted Yom Kippur to Explain Jesus’ Death
I welcome any insights into all of this.
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 15:25 | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 8. 2019
My Yom Kippur Miracle (Repost from 2010)
Each year at the start of the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, I ask a question, usually how to be more constructive and helpful in my personal relationships in general or with a special person. The answer eludes me and it troubles me that I can't see the way.
As I go through the days of prayer and reflection, various alternatives come from my mind, only to be rejected as too unreal or hollow or evasive or inadequate to the need.
On Yom Kippur, which begins tonight, the longest night and day of prayer, and of a 25-hour fast, the worry that I won't find the answer gets more urgent. My fear rises of not finding the answer. As my mind gets submerged in repetitious prayers and wanders, as I get more light-headed with hunger, as the prayers of repentance get more fervent, an answer always comes late in the day, from my heart.
It's never what I thought it would be. It is complete. It is not complex, though requires more focus, discipline, understanding. It always works for the coming year.
Life is only complicated when avoiding simple truths.
The miracle brings me closer to the person I want to be. It keeps me coming back for more.
Posted by Bruce Kesler in Our Essays, Religion at 16:27 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, September 7. 2019
Cicero on God
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 15:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, April 18. 2019
Holy Week, Maundy Thursday
"The Last Supper" is thought to have been a Passover seder. That supper was the source of Communion: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes again."
In our church, we remember this event with a group Passover supper on Maundy (Middle English, "holy") Thursday, eaten in silence. No wine, though, as a consideration to the abstinent.
Below, Bassano's Last Supper (1542), depicting the reaction to Jesus' prediction that one of them would betray him.
Posted by Bird Dog in Religion at 05:00 | Comments (21) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 14. 2019
Archbishop Chaput on Vocations
Posted by The Barrister in Religion at 13:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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