Friday, December 26, 2008

Peruvian Jesus Born to Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary, a 20-year-old Peruvian woman, gave birth to a baby boy on Christmas day and named him Jesus, Peru's state news agency said on Friday.
Full Article from Reuters "Virgin Mary" her name? Or was this one of those freak "conceived without sex" births like Allen Iverson? Maybe Peruvians are just that bored...

-Steve K.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Man in a Santa Suit Kills at Least 8 at a Party

The New York Times reports on another senseless killing, and this time the tragedy involved not only children but a killer who dressed as one of the most symbolic representations of Christmas - Santa Claus.

What's saddening is the nightmares and trauma of those who survived, and the re-living of this event on the day the world celebrates the birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ. May we all pray for strength for the survivors, mercy for the victims who died and forgiveness for the killer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bartholomew I: Turkish bureaucracy is trying to make us disappear

The Ecumenical patriarch, the "first among equals" of all Orthodox hierarchs, has accused the Turkish government of trying to diminish his office.

' It seems that the Turkish foreign ministry is trying to make the Ecumenical Patriarchate "disappear," continuing to call Bartholomew I "the patriarch of Fanar [editor's note: the neighborhood where the Ecumenical Patriarch resides]," refusing to use the title "ecumenical" and acknowledging only that he has spiritual responsibility for the domestic Greek minority, and not for the Orthodox communities connected to Constantinople. It also seems almost a concession from above to accept that Bartholomew I uses the title "ecumenical" abroad. All of this has an impact on the juridical status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on its freedom to travel abroad, and to host foreign delegations in Turkey.'

It's quite amusing to me that the Turkish government thinks it's opinion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has any effect on how H.H. is perceived by the church. The Patriarchs of the church derive their powers and privileges from the church. For the Turkish government to think it has any authority over the same is laughable. Personally, I think the Ecumenical Patriarchate should be relocated to some place where the government is a little less silly, and natural rights are taken more seriously.

Dress Like Jesus to Work Day...

So what happens when Mall Jesus and Mall Santa meet?

Members of a church in Kansas City, Ks., are protesting the secularization of Christmas by dressing like Jesus at their jobs, malls and restaurants.
"A lot of businesses and people are saying that they have to say, 'Happy Holidays' and 'Season’s Greetings,'" church receptionist Chelsea Johnston told "They’re not allowed to say 'Merry Christmas.' It makes us upset because that is the holiday and it goes against our freedom of speech."

full article

I can imagine their hearts being in the right place, but I don't think this is what is meant by "imitation of Christ." At what point does protest become mockery? Based on the same logic, why wouldn't you dress like Jesus throughout the entire year?

Also interesting to me (and perhaps unrelated): Protestantism and Puritanism have historically been against the celebration of Christmas. When the Puritans overthrew the English monarchy, they cancelled Christmas. Whereas in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Christmas (and Epiphany) are major pillars of the Church calendar, many evangelical Churches scramble to put together a Christmas Service. In fact, I'd say that 50% of our modern Christmas imagery comes from medieval Catholicism (the other half coming from Dickens, and slick advertising).

-Steve K.