The pattern of the Christian year is an exercise of the Church’s discipline. The annual celebrations of Christmas and Resurrection Day force the Church to ponder again the truths of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection.
It is impossible to deny that in the last few decades, modernity has unleashed an attack on the notion of truth. This assault modernity has unleashed on truth has certainly taken its toll–not that modernity has weakened truth, for the truth stands inviolate. Rather, the toll taken by modernity’s assault is measured in the increased secularity of the culture and the churches, in the compromised witness of many Christians, in the accommodated messages preached in many pulpits, and in the deadly confusion of the age.
The photographs and images are now seared into our consciousness. One of the most troubling aspects of the disaster in South Asia is the death of infants and young children. Moving at the speed of a jetliner, the walls of water fell on the young and the old alike–and so many of the youngest were simply swept away.
The tragedy unfolding in the Indian Ocean demands the world’s attention–and calls for a clear Christian response. In the aftermath of the disaster, some religious leaders suggested that God was simply unable to prevent the tsunamis that destroyed so many lives. Some secularists jumped on the opportunity to argue that the tragedy was further proof that God does not exist. Others simply blamed the earthquake and tidal waves on fate or claimed that God had sent the destruction as punishment for the victims’ sins.
The scale of suffering and the magnitude of the disaster in Southeast Asia defy the imagination. Sitting comfortably in our own homes and offices, we can look at the images, video segments, and computer simulations, knowing all the while that, in the nations that encircle the Indian Ocean, the death toll continues to mount.
In his recent column in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof pointed to belief in the Virgin Birth as evidence that conservative Christians are “less intellectual.” [see this week’s WebLog entries] Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Is belief in the Virgin Birth really necessary?
Nicholas Kristof must be a very smart man — but a very slow learner. A columnist for The New York Times, Kristof is a Harvard graduate and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. But when it comes to something as significant as the nature of Christianity, Kristof and his columns are dumb and dumber.
Newsweek magazine has launched a frontal attack upon Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” but the real target of the magazine’s article is the truthfulness of the Bible itself. In “Who Really Killed Jesus?: What History Teaches Us,” Newsweek’s February 16 cover story, writer Jon Meacham labels Gibson’s movie “controversial,” “powerful,” and “troubling.” More seriously, he blasts the movie as anti-Semitic and potentially dangerous. Newsweek raises the specter of a new wave of anti-Semitism spreading across the world, directly due to the influence of “The Passion of the Christ.”
The annual Festival of the Incarnation, what we commonly know as Christmas, comes to the commercial world as a windfall, but it comes to the Church as a summons. Substituting the truth of God for a lie, the secular world cannot but confuse the manger with Santa’s sleigh, or the shepherds with elves. We should not be surprised by the commercialization of Christmas–it is the natural reflex of a fallen world in unbelief.
Americans by the millions are still tuning in to watch Downton Abbey — now in its fifth season — eager to enjoy the continuation of the saga…
The vision of sexuality glorified by Playboy is no longer on the cutting edge of moral change. Playboy won the battle and can now leave the battlefield commercially wounded but culturally victorious.
Barely five days after The New York Times ran a major news article on the firing of Atlanta’s fire chief for his views on homosexuality,…
The pattern of the Christian year is an exercise of the Church’s annual remembrance and proclamation of the Gospel. The annual celebrations of Christmas and…