Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Silent Night

Christmas Eve at dusk we and a few friends gathered outside of Bethlehem overlooking a hillside field. As the sunlight disappeared we read the story which occurred here one night nearly 2,000 years ago and afterward sang a few songs. Today, Bethlehem is much different and the situation is, well, a bit crazy. However, it was nice to know that despite the lack of external peace, we can experience internal peace no matter what the situation. Merry Christmas to all!

(Bethlehem is in the background)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Crossing of the English Channel - Updated

In a BBC radio interview the day before yesterday the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams said that the minor detail of Virgin Birth of Jesus should not be a stumbling block for those who want to join the church.

Dr Williams was speaking live on BBC Radio Five to the presenter Simon Mayo when Ricky Gervais, star of The Office and a fellow guest, challenged him about the intellectual credibility of the Christian faith.

He said he was committed to belief in the Virgin Birth “as part of what I have inherited”. But belief in the Virgin Birth should not be a “hurdle” over which new Christians had to jump before they were accepted.

He hinted that decades ago he was not “too fussed” with the literal truth of the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. But as time went on, he developed a “deeper sense” of what the Virgin Birth was all about.
Seems the Anglican church has found it necessary to remove those pesky obstacles, be they important theological tenets or whatever, which potential members may find a bit troubling.

And in related news today, it is now official: former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. Any wonder?UPDATE - Another related story today - "Britain has become a 'Catholic country'"
Roman Catholics have overtaken Anglicans as the country's dominant religious group. More people attend Mass every Sunday than worship with the Church of England, figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph show...

In an attempt to combat the declining interest in traditional religion, the Anglican Church has launched radical new forms of evangelism that include nightclub chaplains, a floating church on a barge and internet congregations...

The Catholic Church has also suffered a serious fall in the size of its congregations...
That's post-Christian Europe for you.

UPDATE 2 - In the UK's hyper-leftist Guardian newspaper, a Muslim journalist expresses his disappointment that Tony Blair didn't convert to Islam.
Blair certainly admires Islam. He said "under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture." If I admired a faith so much I would convert to it. So I am baffled to know why he has converted to Catholicism and not embraced Islam.
As noted earlier, there is little surprise that Tony Blair either left Anglicanism, or embraced Roman Catholicism (although that would not be my first choice, by any means). I, however, am not the least bit "baffled" why he didn't even consider Islam. That's just me, though.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Home Sweet Home

When we arrived back in town 36 hours ago after another grueling flight from USA we felt our welcome back by the busy people of the area. As I rolled down the car window to assess the coastal winter temperature, the night air was broken with the familiar tunes of helicopters and fighter jets on their way to that Palestinian seaside resort just south of here. Ah, it's good to be back? Our early jet lagged morning brought us the familiar news of more dead "militants" and the ever familiar rumblings of our neighbors' calling cards. If I ever forget how home here feels, just a few minutes' wait and it all quickly comes back. Seems we didn't miss much while we were gone.

Anyway, congratulations to my baby sister for finally getting married! And, sorry Moose - you're now part of the family and we're officially no longer obliged to be on our best behavior (yes, that was our best behavior). Seriously, we love you both and have a great honeymoon!