Advent

Whose Christmas?

I had an interesting encounter at my favorite coffee shop (Beans ‘n’ Cream, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin — greatest people in the world…) last week.  One of the regulars made the following observation, which led to a spirited conversation — “Christmas would be so much more enjoyable if all the religious […]

Manipunativity

I can quite honestly say I am having a “cognitive dissonance Advent”.  Late in November I received a monograph from two graduate students for review and comments.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the monograph is that its authors are young females — one Israeli and one Palestinian.  Their […]

The Story of Yuletide Carol

In every town, in every time, there are those rare individuals who become part of the “local color.”  If they are wealthy, they are labeled eccentric.  If they are poor, they are simply “crazy.”  Outsiders see these people and marvel.  Townies hardly notice them – they become part of the […]

Christmas C.S.I.

My posts of the past two weeks have generated some fun and interesting discussions around Christmas.  While I am not a fan of the “war on Christmas” rhetoric adopted by evangelicals operating from a victim mentality, I do agree that Christmas as a religious observance is in trouble.  My contention, […]

An Unlikely Proposal

I have been commenting on the commercialization and cultural co-opting of Christmas, and a number of people ask, “So, what do you suggest?”  Well, here is a suggestion — though I know full well and good it won’t fly.  Solutions are only solutions if they work, and this doesn’t stand […]

Verbundenheit

When I was in college, I was good friends with two German students (Angela and Hans) who introduced me to a concept that shapes my understanding of church to this day.  The German word is “verbundenheit” and while the simplest translation is “solidarity,” in has a much deeper, textured, and […]

Occupy Christmas

I need to confess.  I missed four opportunities to witness to my Christian faith this week, where I had clear occasions to challenge, confront or correct opinions about Advent and Christmas.  I didn’t say anything then, but I’m going to say something now. #1 Advent is NOT Christmas (or Epiphany) […]

The Reason For the Season: Evil

I have been laid up with a bad sinus infection pretty much since Thanksgiving, so I spent an inordinate amount of time surfing daytime TV.  What an amazing amount of noise passing for entertainment…  However, two tidbits caught my attention while navigating the vast wasteland of morning programming.  First, I […]

Once More, With Feeling

It’s Advent time again; the beginning of the “church year.”  We change the paraments to purple (or blue, in some cases), hang the greens, set up the advent wreath with candles, and we engage in the ceremonies of the season leading to the birth of Christ.  How do we keep […]

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