A Faustian Christmas

A bit of nonsense from several years ago. Scene 1 Mr Faust sitting in a big chair, with Little Faust on his lap, reading. Mrs Faust sitting in another chair, knitting or something. Mr Faust: And I heard him exclaim As he drove out of sight Merry Christmas to all And to all a good night. (Closing . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Third Advent

INTRODUCTION The Roman Catholic church teaches many false things about Mary the mother of Jesus, but in reaction Protestants have sometimes simply ignored her. Like Joseph, she is a model of discipleship; and she is a living portrait of the church, the people in whom Christ takes shape (cf. . . . . Continue Reading »

Oracular and Death

Michel Foucault suggests that the modern exalation of sight, the gaze, particularly the medical gaze, is associated with death: “That which hides and envelops, the curtain of night over truth, is, paradoxically, life; and death, on the contrary, opens up to the light of day the black coffer . . . . Continue Reading »

Identity and time

The Western quest for “personal identity” rests, in part, on a confusion of different senses of the term. We recognize that there are degrees of sameness among things: Identical twins are never strictly identical. Paul Ricoeur has pointed out, further, that we tend to confuse two senses . . . . Continue Reading »

The Book of Mordecai

Grading several papers on Esther, it occurs to me that the book is more about Mordecai’s exalation than about Esther. Esther’s exalation to queen is part of the means by which Mordecai and the Jews are ultimately saved, and the story climaxes with Mordecai at the right hand of the king . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Foundationalism

Calvin O. Schrag has this helpful critique of what he calls the “foundationalist paradigm”: It “profeers a theoretical construct of mind that is designed to determine in advance the criteria for what counts as knowledge, both knowledge of oneself and knowledge of the world. It is . . . . Continue Reading »

Magi, the true Israel

The magi come searching for Jesus from the east, from Persia, moving west toward the promised land, as Israel did following the Babylonian exile. As they travel, they follow a star, as Israel followed the pillar of cloud and fire from Egypt. They bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to worship at . . . . Continue Reading »

Joseph, son of Yahweh

The Israel that the Son of God entered in the incarnation was not some pristine, sinless Israel. God took on a genealogy that included harlots, adulterers, murderers, and idolaters. God did not keep his distance from his bride, but came near to rescue her. Though initially intending to put Mary . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation, Second Advent

Matthew 1:24-2:1: And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called his name Jesus. Now . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king. By his very . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Second Advent

Joseph is often a neglected character in the Christmas story. In paintings and crèches, he politely stands to the side so that the Madonna and child can be at the focal point. In medieval mystery plays, he was often a comic character, a doddering old man more marginal even than the shepherds . . . . Continue Reading »