George Weigel on Christmas as a cure for cynicism and irony:
There is neither cynicism nor irony in Mary’s reception of the angel Gabriel and her acceptance of the divine invitation to become the Theotokos, the “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” There was a question; there may have been fear; there certainly was wonder (all three are captured in Henry Ossawa Tanner’s magnificent painting,The Annunciation, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art). But there was neither the cynic’s response (“Are you kidding me?) nor the ironist’s (“What did I do to deserve this?”).
Also today, Wesley Hill on Bonhoeffer’s argument against religious blackmail:
Bonhoeffer suggests, contra Stendahl, that if we’re really to preach about the sin of humanity, we have to avoid yoking that preaching too closely to the feelings of guilt that may or may not be a feature of our hearers’ experience. Regardless of what a person may feel, Bonhoeffer implies, the gospel truly addresses them and lays claim to their lives. The truths of sin and redemption aren’t dependent on the rising and falling of human emotional states. And to dismantle a faulty view of the importance of those emotional states isn’t equivalent to a wholesale revision of Christian teaching on sin and redemption.