Sunday, December 23, 2012

Announcing the Godbaby


Well, it's better than 'He pukes. He poos. He loves you'.

This is the impressive work of ChurchAds, who compare their 2012 Christmas campaign to Marmite: "You either love it or you hate it," said the company's sophisticated spokeswoman Rachel Farmer.

His Grace hates it. Apparently ChurchAds secured the services of top designers who worked on the campaign for free. Hint: something to do with peanuts and monkeys.

Compare that crass poster campaign with this beautiful and touching video of the Christmas story, starring the children of St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand:



Shed a tear?

Funny, isn't it, what the Spirit can do with the heart of a believing child: apparently an awful lot more than with the mind of a sophisticated adult.

99 Comments:

Blogger len said...

Whatever where they thinking?.


Unless we become like' little children' comes to mind.

The 'sophisticated mind'is a carnal mind opposed to God and cannot grasp the reality or the simplicity of the gospel.

23 December 2012 at 10:33  
Blogger Judy W. said...

Such a lovely video until they got to the music at the end.

23 December 2012 at 11:28  
Blogger Terry Hudson said...

Thanks for this, hope you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas!

23 December 2012 at 11:54  
Blogger Preacher said...

The problem is,that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ, the Saviour. The long awaited Messiah.
The gospel has been under attack since the Lord ascended to Heaven. Now people are reduced to trying to find fulfilment in excessive eating & drinking, spending money they haven't got on things that many don't want.
The run up to Christmas is a frenzy of piped carols & cash registers ringing in the season of stress, family rows & lonely people being made more aware of their isolation. The tarnished tinsel, lights & cards depicting Victorian coaches in the snow or plump Robins on snow covered branches has more relevance to the old Pagan origins of the mid winter feasts from which the season came than it ever had to do with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every year people think it will be different, & year after year they are disappointed & let down.
Thus the tasteless tawdry offering that graces ChurchAds poster & blights humanity with despondency, lack of hope & blinds them from finding a God who loves & cares so much for every one of them, that he was prepared to be rejected beaten & killed in their place. To give them peace of mind, security for eternity & the true joy & fulfilment that only comes from knowing Him. He truly said "Not as the World gives I give". Money cannot buy what The Lord has given freely. Taste & see that The Lord is good.
Only Jesus Christ can fill the void inside, He alone is big enough to fill the Black Hole in the middle of mankind's soul.

23 December 2012 at 12:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I've seen (and appeared in) a few school Nativities in my time. That video must rank as one of the best.

This old agnostic thanks His Grace for raising a smile.

23 December 2012 at 12:45  
Blogger IanCad said...

Preacher

How very well stated.
Thanks for that.

23 December 2012 at 13:19  
Blogger David B said...

It is not only Christians who can become extremely peeved by the gross commercialisation of what could be more a tasteful celebration of the coming of a new year.

As is in fact the true meaning of the Christmas festival before the Christians hijacked it.

Be that as it may, though, my pet hate is the plethora of pretentious ads consisting of footageof sometimes attractive, sometimes ugly (Calvin Klein especially for the ugly) young people seeming to be deep into sexual abandon, followed by the announcement of the name of some person who has made a name for himself as a designer, selling over-priced and over packaged smelly stuff.

David B

23 December 2012 at 13:42  
Blogger Kinderling said...

"Pope Benedict XVI claims in a new book that Christ was in fact born between 7 and 2 B.C. To further eradicate long-standing beliefs about the Nativity, or perhaps just to frustrate the sales of Nativity scenes, Benedict further made the claim that there were no animals present at Christ’s birth nor angels singing."
...

"Besides laying out seriously debatable premises, Benedict has chosen to release this right at the head of the Advent season (Orthodox traditionally begin the Nativity Fast next Wednesday), following what appears to be the post-Vatican II general Papal policy of “please don’t trust anything Christianity has ever taught before”."

Source: http://nftu.net/pope-nativity-wrong-year-animals-angels/

The Bible, obviously then, is not the Literal Word of God.

23 December 2012 at 14:50  
Blogger Roy said...

@ Kinderling

The Bible says that Christ was born in a manger. It does not say that there were animals in the stable at the time. It could have been empty but I would have thought that the donkey Mary rode would probably have been inside the stable instead of being left outside.

The Angels appeared to the shepherds who were in the fields, not in the town of Bethlehem.

23 December 2012 at 14:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Truly awful but what can you do. You have to watch it if your child is involved. Of course, everybody else ignores the screams and delights of children. What do they know as they go through the thoughtless motions rehearsal after rehearsal have taught them. Now, get them to sacrifice a chicken on an alter during a mock black mass, that would be attention grabbing...

Now the advert, that something different. Get’s a fellow’s attention. Most importantly of all, gets todays shallow consumer’s attention. Maybe we are not placed here just to shop after all...

pip pip !

23 December 2012 at 15:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This article doesn't look terribly Semitic to me!

23 December 2012 at 15:21  
Blogger David B said...

The story of the nativity is pretty clearly made up after the event, anyway, along with the dating of it to December.

One would think, would one not, that if there were some history to it then there would be non biblical evidence supporting the star, the massacre of the innocents, and the Romans sending people home for censuses.

Is there any?

Have seen none that fits. Bit like the earthquakes, zombies walking etc following the crucifiction really.

David

23 December 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len.The 'sophisticated mind 'is a carnal mind opposed to God and cannot grasp the reality or the simplicity of the gospel.

Humanity really disgusts you, doesn’t it...


23 December 2012 at 15:36  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Inspector

Of course "sophisticated" has a number of meanings. And one has to be ... well .,.. somewhat sophisticated to appreciate this.

There's a "sophisticated person" in the sense of being at ease in social situations and knowing about culture, fashion, and other matters that are considered socially important.

Then there's a "sophisticated person" in the sense being intelligent, well informed, and showing an ability to understand and interpret complicated, subtle matters.

Some people have neither attribute.

23 December 2012 at 16:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, as we approach the feast day of our Messiahs birth, one cannot help but feel a certain extreme protestant actually ups his message of humanity’s hopelessness. As you imply, there is no discussing with him for his mind is closed. Let’s hope the angels and saints wring his neck for that...

23 December 2012 at 16:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Inspector

Let's pray instead that he receives some joy in his heart at this time of year.

He's what he wrote a few threads down:

"If all that Christians have to offer the World is 'charity' then we are the poorest of the poor.

The depiction of a corpse hanging on a Cross to me defines' religion'It is dead and cannot provide Life as God intended.The greatest negative in this World is the Cross.... the Greatest positive in this World is the Resurrection.

The Law(religion in the worst sense of the word) kills.... the Spirit gives Life.

Away with your Popes, your rosaries,your dead bones , your holy relics,your dead words from a dying man,keep them away from people ...consign them to the tomb.God does not want religion anywhere near HIS Saviour

Jesus said MY Words are Spirit and they are Life!.

Your religion has the stink of death about it."


How troubled a mind must be to write this in the season of ADVENT when we focus on the JOY of Our Saviour's birth.

The liturgical calendar gives balance and perspective to worship and to our lives, helping us reflect on the stages of Jesus' life and ministry.

God Bless you this Christmas.

23 December 2012 at 16:37  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Excellent ! Hear warming. Beautiful interpretation of the timeless story. I just love the NZ accent.
Many thanks Your Grace,
God Bless us all.

23 December 2012 at 16:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

There are two striking errors with this campaign.

1. The doll is portrayed as a typical Anglo-Saxon Jesus. He was a Jew. He should be represented as a Jew. He isn't an infinitely malleable archetype that we can re-fashion according to our individual tastes and biases. There isn't a British Jesus or an American Jesus or an African Jesus. There is a historical Jesus.

2. The add is built around a doll, and a doll is self-evidently the focus of a child's make-believe game. This ad implicit exports the topic of the Incarnation from history to fantasy. Now, I realize there are vast swathes of people who want it located in exactly that place - and many of them inhabit churches. But the CoE isn't supposed to have traveled that far along the progressive road to oblivion just yet. It still (formally at least) believes what it teaches.

carl

23 December 2012 at 16:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Quite Dodo. Although it is clearly not his own composition, but that of his web masters, we should pray for his enlightenment.

23 December 2012 at 16:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl. There is also an icon danger here too. The cross removed from the altar and the doll placed there instead. As a Calvinist, you have done well :->

Kill the doll !


23 December 2012 at 17:02  
Blogger Kinderling said...

I wonder if Jesus in his time had had the luxury of the advertising funds of the Church of England and had be more like a Pamala Geller, he would have written on the side of caravans:

"Judaism? Want to find out what is missing and not be killed as an apostate? Call 123"

23 December 2012 at 17:04  
Blogger Roy said...

David B said...

The story of the nativity is pretty clearly made up after the event, anyway, along with the dating of it to December.

One would think, would one not, that if there were some history to it then there would be non biblical evidence supporting the star, the massacre of the innocents, and the Romans sending people home for censuses.


There is nothing in the Bible about the nativity occurring in December. According to a current posting in Mark Steyn's blog the Catholic Encyclopedia estimated that the number of children in Bethlehem under the age of 2 would have been about 20.

Although the shooting of a similar number of children in Connecticut last week attracted world wide publicity that would not have been the case before modern communications media were developed. Even today can you be sure that the murder of 20 children in a remote part of the Sudan or Somalia, say, would attract much attention?

Have seen none that fits. Bit like the earthquakes, zombies walking etc following the crucifiction really.

There is nothing at all about "zombies" in the Bible. Earthquakes are not uncommon in the Middle East and, apart from Christians, who do you think would report the events you allude to, Pontius Pilot or the Sanhederin perhaps?

23 December 2012 at 17:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Roy. The Inspector remembers being told the feast day of Christ’s birth was used to supplant the winter equinox festival. But the question is this, would it have been originally moved to what would have been the 21st of December, but calendar changes over time resulted in it ending up on the 25th ?


23 December 2012 at 17:21  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

ChurchAds.Net is an ecumenical network which leaders from across the church denominations. It includes Anglicans, Baptists, the Church Army, Methodists, the Evangelical Alliance, and a Catholic (Joseph Kelly, Managing Director of The Universe). No sign of Calvinists you'll be relieved to discover!

Here's how they explain the ad campaign:

Last year we focused on fashion, the year before we featured a baby scan and before that a bus stop nativity.

This year, we're retelling the story with an eye-catching, brown-eyed Godbaby doll in a blue babygrow, with the slogan, "He cries. He wees. He saves the world."

The striking image of a fictional "Godbaby toy" aims to make the Christmas story appeal to the younger generation and puts Christ at the centre of conversations. The doll represents the baby Jesus and plays on the idea of Christmas being a time when everyone is searching for that "must-have" Christmas gift.

This obsession means we focus too much on the material nature of the festival and miss the point – that Jesus, the true Godbaby, was born human and must never be turned into a commodity."


Sophisticated?

Maybe.

23 December 2012 at 17:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Sing An Alternative Christmas Carol

I HATE PEOPLE

Scavengers and sycophants and flatterers
and fools
Pharisees and parasites and hypocrites
and ghouls
Calculating swindlers, prevaricating frauds
Perpetrating evil as they roam the earth
in hordes
Feeding on their fellow men
Reaping rich rewards
Contaminating everything they see
Corrupting honest me like me

Humbug! Poppycock! Balderdash! Bah!
I hate people! I hate people!

People are despicable creatures
Loathsome inexplicable creatures
Good-for-nothing kickable creatures
I hate people! I abhor them!
When I see the indolent classes
Sitting on their indolent asses
Gulping ale from indolent glasses
I hate people! I detest them! I deplore them!
Fools who have no money spend it
Get in debt then try to end it
Beg me on their knees befriend them
Knowing I have cash to lend them
Soft-hearted me! Hard-working me!
Clean-living, thrifty and kind as can be!
Situations like this are of interest to me
I hate people! I loathe people! I despise and abominate people!
Life is full of cretinous wretches
Earning what their sweatiness fetches
Empty minds whose pettiness stretches
Further than I can see
Little wonder I hate people
And I don't care if they hate me!

23 December 2012 at 17:52  
Blogger David B said...

Roy what about Matt 27 52-53?

Looks pretty zombyish to me!

David

23 December 2012 at 17:57  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Carl Jacobs

"Jesus was Jewish"

Quite. I was going to regal you all with a few of the 'Jesus was Jewish" jokes I've picked up. But you don't know who'll you'll offend.

Just out of interest, I've never worked out why Christians use the English from Greek version of the name Joshua?

23 December 2012 at 18:03  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Mind you, it does help in the following exchanges :

Perplexed guy : "Kavanagh isn't a Jewish surname, shouldn't you be a Goldstein, Goldman, Einstein, Lipman or Oppeinhemer"

Me : "well, was Jesus Jewish?"

Perplexed guy : "yes"

Me : "Jesus or Christ, is not Jewish, but a Greek transliteration, yet you agree that he is Jewish".

Perplexed guy: "oh F off, smart ass Joo".

23 December 2012 at 18:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

David

The names Yeshua and Yehoshuah are used by followers of Messianic Judaism as well as other Christian denominations who wish to use what they consider to be Jesus' Aramaic name.

Still, Jesus is derived from a Jewish name that means "to rescue" or "to deliver".

I rather like the name Yehoshua, a compound of "Yeho-" and "shua". Together, the name means "God is a saving-cry," that is to say, shout to God when in need of help.

However, we get into dangerous territory if either name is confused with that of Yeshu, so probably best to stay with Jesus.

23 December 2012 at 18:54  
Blogger len said...

Inspector and 'sidekick.'

As per usual you both have completely utterly and entirely 'missed the point'.

If it was from the 'extreme hopelessness' of their position that Jesus came to save humanity.
It is only when humanity perceives the 'extreme hopelessness' of their situation that Jesus is able to save them.
I can only assume that perception has not enlightened you both yet?.





23 December 2012 at 19:41  
Blogger David B said...

Dodo, if you go to Youtube and search for Tom Lehrer Christmas Carol, and watch it then perhaps you will agree that it is perhaps the most realistic homage to the modern Christmas.

David

23 December 2012 at 19:45  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 December 2012 at 20:03  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dodo,

Thanks for that info- quite an education I'm getting!

I have to admit I am trying to broaden my knowledge, as my eldest daughter is studying her A Level Religious Studies. I'm learning about Hinduism, Islam, Christianity etc.

"However, we get into dangerous territory if either name is confused with that of Yeshu, so probably best to stay with Jesus."

Indeed. I wouldn't want to set off our resident Talmudic/Old Testament/Torah scholars Dreadnaoght and Mr Magee off, as that wouldn't be ecumenical of me.

Merry Christmas.


23 December 2012 at 20:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Len, your message understood extremely well. You say that Jesus is yours and no one else's, unless they jump through an few hoops and pull their local church down. You remain a ridiculous fellow on this site, whose posts are usually skipped past by the more discerning...


23 December 2012 at 20:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


David B, from BBC Radio 2 this night. The ‘star’ was mostly likely a conjunction of 3 planets in such a way there is 900 years between the event. The ‘star’ had to be low key as to only interest the astronomers of the time, who were of course studying them for astrology, and not arouse the fear or interest of everyone else.

At the time, planets were considered ‘stars that move’. The name planet is derived from this description...


23 December 2012 at 20:11  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Come on chaps. I'm not even a Christian and I'm trying to get into the spirit of Christmas.

All together now :

"I am the Jewish man, I come from down the way, and I can play!"

"What can you play?"

"I play the piano!"

"Pia-pia-pia-no, pia-no, pia-no; pia-pia-pia-no, pia-no"

"I play the trombone!"

"oomp-pa-oomp-pa-ooomp-pa-paaaa, oomp-pa-paaaa, oomp-pa-paaa; oomp-pa-oomp-pa-oomp-pa-paaaa, oomp-pa-oomp-pa-pa".

23 December 2012 at 20:13  
Blogger John Magee said...

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

23 December 2012 at 20:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Greetings John, one hopes he finds you well.

Carl. The Inspector has been conversing with one of his little grand cousins. She would probably say to you on having heard your opinion of the doll “You’re funny, Carl”. Or quite possibly “Begorra, the man doesn’t know himself...” as the little thing is Irish...


23 December 2012 at 20:22  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

And of course, to put everyone at their ease, here is a joke :

A man walked to the top of a hill to talk to G-d.

The man asked, "G-d, what's a million years to you?"

And G-d said "A minute."

Then the man asked:
"Well, what's a million dollars to you?"

and G-d said: "A penny"

Then the man asked:
"G-d.....can I have a penny?"

and G-d said:
"Sure.....In a minute."

23 December 2012 at 20:23  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

John Magee,

Good carol. Here is another one :

1. Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Veníte, veníte in Bethlehem.
Natum vidéte, Regem Angelorum:

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

2. Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine,
gestant puellae viscera
Deum verum, genitum non factum:

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

3. Cantet nunc io chorus Angelórum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo:

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

4. Ergo qui natus, die hodierna
Jesu, tibi sit glória
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum:

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum


5. En grege relicto, Humiles ad cunas
Vocati pastores approperant;
Et nos ovanti gradu festinemus.

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

6. Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum
Velatum sub carne videbimus,
Deum infantem, pannis involutum

7. Pro nobis egenum Et foeno cubantem,
Piis foveamus amplexibus;
Sic nos anamtem quis non redamaret?

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

8. Stella duce, Magi, Christum adorantes,
Aurum, thus, et myrrham dant munera;
Jesu infanti corda praebeamus.

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

23 December 2012 at 20:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

len
Do stop trying to dress up your hatred of all things Catholic (Anglo and Roman) with these pathetic "explanations". I'd respect you more for it.

David K

A Jewish Christmas Smile for Christmas

Admiring the Christmas trees displayed in his neighbour's windows, David asks his father, "Daddy, can we have a *Hanukkah Tree?"

"What? No, of course not," says his father.

"Why not?" asks David again.

Bewildered, his father replies, "Because the last time we had dealings with a lighted bush we spent 40 years in the wilderness."

A Jewish Christmas story

The teacher was very curious about how each of her students' celebrated Christmas Eve "Tell me Patrick, what do you do on Christmas Eve?" she asked.

Patrick addressed the class. "Well Miss, me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight Mass and we sing hymns, then we come home very late and we put mince pies by the back door and hang up our stockings. Then all excited we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys."

Remembering there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked, "Now David Cohen, what do you do on Christmas Eve?"

"Well Miss, it's the same old thing every year. Dad comes home. We all pile into the Rolls and drive to his toy factory. When we get inside we look at all the empty shelves and sing 'What a friend we have in Joshua'. Then we go to the Bahamas."

23 December 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John. One for you.

google ‘Leonard Stanley St Swithun’s Church Tour’ and catch a glimpse not only of a beautiful church, but next to it an Anglo-Saxon chapel of some import which would have been tended to by monks.

Imagine a glorious time when the English were a spiritual people before Henry VIII ripped the infrastructure and soul out of them...

One visited there earlier this year. And behold, the village is blessed with a pub opposite !

23 December 2012 at 20:43  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 December 2012 at 20:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

I am not a child, and so I do not think as a child. I am a man and I think as a man. Children think adults do many silly things. That is because they are children and do not know any better.

John Magee

This not an issue of race, but of choice. You can't separate the design of the ad from its context. That context is the marketing of toys. Children choose a doll to reflect themselves. It is not a coincidence that the doll in the advertisement reflected the majority culture. The subliminal message is "You can choose a Jesus just like yourself." That's why it is problematic. We don't conform the Living Lord Jesus to ourselves. He conforms us to Himself. It is only an idol that can be conformed.

carl

23 December 2012 at 20:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

You do realise the doll is not for sale and is aimed at adults to generate precisely this type of conversation?

Judging by its effect on here, I'd say it is proving successful.

23 December 2012 at 20:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

You do realise the doll is not for sale and is aimed at adults ...

Yes, I realize those things. That changes nothing.

... to generate precisely this type of conversation?

Yes, well, so is this designed to "stimulate conversation." That doesn't make it right.

carl

23 December 2012 at 21:04  
Blogger David B said...

Inspector, I've done some fairly extensive searches on this, though some years ago, and I know of no significant conjunction that fits the dates of Herod and any known Roman census - and, as far as I know, none of them required people to travel to their places of birth, nor would there be any rationale for them to have to do so.

Think of the economic chaos that would result from a Brit or American census that would make any such requirement.

The whole story stinks of being made up, presumably to give a false meaning of historicity, and/or to make supernatural claims regarding the birth, and/or to justify some or other prophesies from the OT regarding the Messiah.

Back at the timing of it in December, there is no justification for that that I am aware of. You?

But that does not stop - does it? - lots of clergymen teaching children that Christmas day is literally the birthday of Jesus, though they must know that it is a lie pure and simple.

I can only imagine that it is a deliberate lie, to indoctrinate children by leading tjem to a false sense of the historicity of the nativity story and its association with December.

Lying to children to indoctrinate them is wrong, to my mind.

To me this is yet another example that there is nothing so poisonous to the human moral compass than religion.

David

23 December 2012 at 21:15  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

That's because that is anti-Christian. This advert may be crass but at least it is attempting to focus on the right issues.

God Bless you and your family and have a happy Christmas and a peace filled New Year.

23 December 2012 at 21:17  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I thought it was the advertisement for that new breastfeeding doll that has caused controversy lately.
What is the Church doing lowering itself to this mass consumerist level?
The St Paul's video is delightful and far more engaging than that ugly doll.

23 December 2012 at 21:54  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

I understand your point but I disgree with some of your details.

Jesus is for all people. If white people in New Zealand chose to represent a Jesus who is "Anglo-Saxon" in appearance in their art or in a play about the Nativity that's their choice and they don't have to make apologies to anyone because it's no one's business. If blacks in Nigeria chose to portray Jesus as black the same thing applies. Also for Asians, Eskimos, Arabs, Mayans,Norwegians, etc, etc, etc.

The ancient black Orthodox Coptic Church in Ethiopia asks their icon painters to paint beautiful icons showing the Holy Family and their saints as black Africans which is natural. They've been doing this for over 1,200 years. Blond Russians (and most Russians are blonds being partial descendents of the Vikings as well as being Slavic) portray the same Holy Family and saints in their icons looking like the average Russian. This is natural and makes everyone comfortable. The concept of portraying Jesus in art as the ethnicity of the people who will see it and be inspired exists throughout the Christian world and always has and I hope always will.

Who cares? Only the politically correct art and ethnicity police would in my opinion.

The doll representing the Baby Jesus in the children's Nativity play was discribed in your post as "portrayed as a typical Anglo-Saxon Jesus". This isn't so because, if the picture included in the article is accurate, the Baby Jesus in the play had brown hair and eyes and would be ethnically "correct" when portraying a baby from the Middle East with a Semitic DNA. He is definately not a blue eyed blond haired baby representing the Saxons from north western Germany and the Angles from Denmark who came to eastern England about 1,500 years ago. As you well know the vast majority of Anglo Saxons had/have that "offensive" blond hair and blue eyes the politically correct and multicultural brigades hate and fear and are obsessed with.

The dolls "ethnicity" in this Nativity Play is ridiculous because it has brown hair and eyes.

It's the event this children's play represents for them and their audience which matters.Even if the doll in the picture in the article is just a bit tacky.


23 December 2012 at 22:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. Regarding population, we are talking of a small number of Jews living outside the main centres, for example Jerusalem. (Even just a couple of hundred years ago when the Americans declared UDI, there were 2 mil of them but only 8 mil English).

It is well recorded that of Roman acquisitions, the Jews were among the most troublesome. No attempt to buy into the new rulers ways whatsoever. We also know that locally the Romans could be very authoritative. For example, registering yourself at your place of birth would define you in their eyes. If you couldn’t prove who you were, you didn’t go back. How was this achieved ? At the point of a Roman short sword of course. Registration would therefore be a rather useful device for ridding an area of trouble makers. We must not forget that the individual himself would not just be killed, but his family sold into slavery.

Everybody is happy Christ's birth feast day was moved to the equinox. No problem there...

The Radio 2 programme, available through the ‘listen again’ web thing, is “Follow the Star” BBC 2, Sunday 23-12-12 7pm.

Lying to children to indoctrinate them is wrong, to my mind.

Agreed. The Inspector has never really got over that Santa doesn’t exist. You too ?

23 December 2012 at 22:10  
Blogger John Magee said...

Lord Lavendon

Beautiful carol sung either in Latin and English. The composer was an English Roman Catholic named John Francis Wade.

Here is the history of "Oh Come all ye faithful". Thanks of course to Wiki.

John Francis Wade who composed the famous "Adeste Fideles" appears to have been produced by at least 1743, and possibly as early as 1740. Both the words and the music appear in five existing manuscripts (four of which were signed by Wade). Wade was born circa 1711 in England the son of a cloth merchant, John Wade, who had numerous connections to Leeds. A Roman Catholic layman, he fled religious persecution in England, and by 1731 he was copying plainchant at the Dominical college at Bornhem, Flanders. Subsequently, he settled in Douai (or Douay), France, the location of a major Catholic college established by Phillip II of Spain in 1559. Wade made his living "by copying and selling plain chant and other music," and the teaching of Latin and Church song. According to his obituary, he produced beautiful copies of plainchant and hymn manuscripts for local chapels and private use. Wade was also well connected with prominent Catholic musicians of the time, including Thomas Arne (1720-1778), and Samuel Webbe (1740-1816). According to Bennett Zon, Wade was also an instrumental force in the English revival of plainchant.

I recently watched selections on Youtube of a Christmas Eve Service from St Paul's Cathedral, London dated 2009. This carol was of course one of the selections and was sung by the choir and congregation accompanied by the mighty organ of that great Cathedral. I was astounded by the joy and beauty of it all.


23 December 2012 at 22:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

What?! Santa doesn't exist?!

Noooo .... he does.

23 December 2012 at 22:18  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I'm not sure that the Church has ever officially been literalist with regards to the December birthday of Christ - the Liturgical Calendar is really rooted around Easter, which is the site for the literalism regarding dates (and also schisms), but which is also easier to calculate owing to the fact that the Passion occurred during the Passover week (cf. Orthodox/Catholic calendars though).

Many of the rest of the feast days are pieced together according partially to the hierarchy of the saint (more important you are, more likely that the date will be relevant to a hagiographical event), whether the day is available, and where it fits thematically in the calendar. Sometimes the dates will correspond to when relics were discovered, or when a miracle ascribed to the saint was said to have occurred.

In short, the calendar really isn't the piece of literalism that many outside the Church (and, funnily enough, Jehovah's Witnesses) seem to think it is, which is probably why the Pope's announcement really didn't cause much of a stir. The vast majority of Christian denominations are perfectly capable of understanding that a selected date may be arbitrary, or according to criteria no longer used, without detracting from their ability to use the periods to reflect upon specific aspects of Scripture or particular liturgical events without limiting their importance to them. This is especially true of the Nativity and Easter.

So I don't think anyone has been lying, because very few ministers or priests have the kind of reductively literal mindset being ascribed to them.

23 December 2012 at 22:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Ironic. My wife and I made a decision to tell our children the truth about Santa Claus precisely because we didn't want to be found in a lie. It wasn't the most popular decision with a few relatives but ... well ... tough. They think I am too ideological (that should read 'Theological'), and not sufficiently impressed by things like 'magic' and 'mystery' and 'wonder.' Whatever. By tradition my family has always opened gifts on Christmas Eve so it wasn't much of a problem in any case.

carl

23 December 2012 at 22:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Shame on Carl. You are a heartless daddy and no mistake.

23 December 2012 at 22:35  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dodo,

Very droll.

Here is another joke :

Q: How does a Jew celebrate Christmas?

A: He installs a parking meter on the roof.

LOL.

23 December 2012 at 22:51  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Carl

I'd agree with that position wholeheartedly, and I say that as someone who could very easily go into a state of Tolkienesque nuttery at a moment's notice.

23 December 2012 at 23:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

David K

It's the way I tell 'em.

The Jewish Father Christmas comes down the chimney, having paid the parking meter charge, of course, and asks, "Right, who wants to buy a Christmas present?"?

What, what, what ...??

Lol

23 December 2012 at 23:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Belfast.and I say that as someone who could very easily go into a state of Tolkienesque nuttery at a moment's notice.

Anyone who is prepared to read Tolkien's literary bollocks deserves the sympathy of us all. But it does explain some of your posts :->

23 December 2012 at 23:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

AIB

If it had been the Christmas Ring Wraiths instead of Santa Claus then I might have changed my mind, because the Ring Wraiths are just cool.

carl

23 December 2012 at 23:38  
Blogger David B said...

@Belfast

"In short, the calendar really isn't the piece of literalism that many outside the Church (and, funnily enough, Jehovah's Witnesses) seem to think it is, which is probably why the Pope's announcement really didn't cause much of a stir."

Yabbut, it is presented as literal on church signs, and in my memories of my infant and primary school, and in the carol services I have attended in the course of my work, when I have conducted mentally handicapped people to services.

It is one thing to say that sophisticated Christians do not take 'Christmas is Jesus' birthday' literally, but when it is presented without comment to the effect that it is symbolic to children and the mentally handicapped, then how can it be viewed as anything other than deliberately misleading?

I imagine that ardent Christians might justify it on the grounds that the ends justify the means, but that would bugger up the claims that Christianity reflects an objective morality, does it not?

"So I don't think anyone has been lying..."

Well what sort of term would you use to describe leading the young and innocent to believe what is not true?

'Mental reservation' perhaps? I take it you will not need reminding of the iniquities of that in the context of the sexual abuse scandals in Ireland.

"... because very few ministers or priests have the kind of reductively literal mindset being ascribed to them."

Well some don't certainly. Especially among Quakers, and the wing of the CoE represented by Cupitt and Jenkins. But others - priests and the hard core of their flocks - seem to me to have a selectively reductive literal mindset, in which they take literally bits of the bible that confirm their prejudices, while rather brushing aside the inconvenient bits.

Look at some of the commentators here, like Carl, Len, and that eccentric woman who keep triumphantly quoting bits that confirm their prejudices with no seeming doubt as to their literal truth.

She seemed to take the Sodom and Gomorrah story literally in a recent thread, did she not?

Look at the recent furore about that college Christian Union that didn't want women to speak. Look at the literal use of the bible in the CoE to justify treating women as unfit for office, look at those who condemn homosexuals.

Some seem to take the Creation and Flood myths as literal, though to do so involves such a denial of reality that it can be described as wilful ignorance to the point of insanity.


Very few, though, seem to treat the things about giving everything away, hating their families, cutting their nuts off, and only inviting the great unwashed to their parties seriously, though.

Can you not see a selective literalism there?

David







23 December 2012 at 23:44  
Blogger David B said...

Inspector

"It is well recorded that of Roman acquisitions, the Jews were among the most troublesome. No attempt to buy into the new rulers ways whatsoever. We also know that locally the Romans could be very authoritative. For example, registering yourself at your place of birth would define you in their eyes. If you couldn’t prove who you were, you didn’t go back. How was this achieved ? At the point of a Roman short sword of course. Registration would therefore be a rather useful device for ridding an area of trouble makers. We must not forget that the individual himself would not just be killed, but his family sold into slavery."

Is there any non biblical historical evidence you know of that supports the idea that the Romans anywhere, at any time, had a census that made people return to the place of their birth?

There's none I know of.

Making stuff up is not a good argument.

Isn't it Christ's alleged death that was more or less at the equinox? I fear I can be a little pedantic, but Christmas is more close to the winter solstice.

I tend to be more tolerant of the Santa myth that can only last so long than I am of indoctrinating people into untrue stuff at a young age which they are not always told is not literally true.

The number of young earth creationists in America particularly is frightening.

David

23 December 2012 at 23:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Goodness, David B, do calm down! As I recall, you had this very same debate debate with Albert last year.

I remember the Sisters at my Primary School getting into real bother with irate parents for informing children that 'Father Christmas' was not real but a symbol of giving and love.

We were certainly informed about the Church calendar and left in no doubt that Jesus' real birthday was unknown and was probably sometime in August/September.

Inspector

Are you suggesting Hobbits are not real? Shame on you!

24 December 2012 at 00:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. We must remember that the way the Romans behaved is not necessarily worthy of record. After all, if that’s the way it was then, why write about it, it’s nothing special...

Christ’s birth in only recorded in one gospel. At least we can be assured he was born on the planet.

As we know, the Jews were a particular tiresome lot, as far as the Romans were concerned. We must also appreciate that humanity then was as cunning as humanity is now. Had the Inspector been an advisor to the Roman governor at the time, he may well have suggested everyone in a troublesome area prove who they are. And to do that you get proof of you lineage from wherever you where born. If you fail to, well , what do you think an army of occupation would have done..



24 December 2012 at 00:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B wrote:

The number of young earth creationists in America particularly is frightening.

One with authority has spoken, and my relief is palpable. Because I assert that the age of the universe is scientifically indeterminable, I have escaped the designation of 'frightening.' On the other hand, I hold to the whole concept of special creation which renders me 'insane.' I guess I should be grateful the gov't hasn't removed my children from me lest I fill their impressionable heads with lies. Perhaps I shouldn't be relieved after all. Perhaps I should go underground.

Just curious, David B. Do you have any children?

carl

24 December 2012 at 00:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Carl

Help the man; don't ridicule him. Leave that to the likes of the Inspector and myself. You are better and it does not suit you.

The age of the 'known' Universe is probably determinable - what went before is not, or where 'it' came from. There may or may not be 'creative design' in it. Einstein thought there was and who can argue with him?

Creation is splendid and awesome. I cannot fathom it; I believe in a God and, thankfully, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the God who became man. The Greeks had an 'unknown god'; the first step.

24 December 2012 at 00:44  
Blogger John Magee said...

David

"The number of young earth creationists in America particularly is frightening."

Why?

Americans got a man on the moon and sent satellites into the outer reaches of the universe. I am sure most of those scientists and astronauts were believers since almost of of them came from middle class Christian backgrounds. The kind of folks atheists love to hate.

Scientific discoveries advanced by leaps and bounds over the past 300 years by extremely intelligent believers in the West who took the Bible and their belief in Christ seriously. Here are a few names:

Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler,Gallileo Galilei, Descartes, Sir Francis Bacon,Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, Sir Alexander Fleming, Max Planck, and many many others. All were all devout or practicing Catholics or Protestants.

My personal favorite Blaise Pascal, a devout Roman Catholic, who was a theologian and a mathmematician. He established the foundation for probability theory and invenetd the first mathmatical calculator (the ancestor of our computers).

Be careful. One of these days an ancient dusty manuscript in a remote monastery like St Catherine's in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt will be found by researchers and that elusive census ordered By Caesar Augustus will be proved. The one you hope never happened will be discovered.

It's only a matter of time.

24 December 2012 at 00:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ps

There may come a time when governments attempt to proscribe religious instruction. I work in the secular State apparatus and it disturbs me how much it has been overtaken by atheistic and secular ideology.

24 December 2012 at 00:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

I wasn't ridiculing David B. In fact, I respect him as a commenter. If I didn't respect him, I would have ignored his comment. I was simply drawing out his argument to its logical conclusion. There is a difference.

In addition, I have great difficulty accepting criticism about how I have raised my children from those who don't have any. When you have stood in a hospital room wondering if your daughter aged three weeks will live, you are permanently changed. Such experiences give you a credibility to speak that non-parents do not and will never possess.

carl

24 December 2012 at 00:57  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 December 2012 at 01:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

The age of the 'known' Universe is probably determinable

If the universe was created as a functioning system at steady state then it will show apparent age. All 'age of the universe' calculations are predicated upon assumptions of continuity. For example, they must assume that time starts at zero. Otherwise, the universe would display a discontinuity and materialism cannot account for discontinuities. So they are precluded from the start.

Whenever an atheist asks you to prove the existence of God, he has implicitly stacked the deck with his own presuppositions. He is really asking you this: "Given that materialist presuppositions are all true such that everything can be explained in immanent terms, prove the existence of God." A similar thing happens in arguments about such things as "age of the universe." He is implicitly asserting materialist presuppositions to make his case. If those presuppositions are true then he would be correct. But his presuppositions are incorrect. The proper tactic is therefore to deny his presuppositions.

carl

24 December 2012 at 01:13  
Blogger John Magee said...

Inspector

I am a church building addict. Gothic Revival churches and cathedrals in the UK and the USA is my drug.

If you or anyone here live near or plan to visit the beautiful Anglican Gothic Revival church St Margaret's Church, Bodelwyddan Wales send me post cards. It is a Gothic Revival gem.

It's known as the "Marble Church".

The "new" 19th century Anglican Cathedral at Truro in Cornwall is a beautiful GR cathedral I would love to visit.

24 December 2012 at 01:13  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

@ John Magee,

Good carol there sir. And I always like the education regarding where these ancient hymns come from.

I trust that you have survived the snowstorm you mentioned in previous dispatches.

If you like old Churches look up 'Olney' (a few miles from Lavendon Village) which is in Buckinghamshire. The Church there, which has quite a big spire, is the place where Newton as a Curate wrote the Hymn 'Amazing Grace'.

24 December 2012 at 01:17  
Blogger John Magee said...

Lord Lavendon

I am looking at aerial views of Lavendon on the village of Olney on the river Ouse showing land across the road being developed on the site of a former brewery called "Hipwell".

This particular photo shows the church from the east end from above. Very nice.

I have to say it's embarrasing to be able to "snoop" on demand like this on the internet but it's also a LOT of fun..

The parish church dedicated to St Michael does have a handsome "fat" spire! Another view I am looking at on Yahoo images is from the from across a field by the "river". The aerial view shows the church at the edge of the village about 200 feet from the "river" Ouse(a small "crick" here) Does this church still have any original Medieval stained glass?

Thank you very much!

I collect postcards of churches and spend hours early in the early in the morning looking at them on Ebay UK, Germany, and France. I think I've become sort of an visual "expert" thanks to the miracle of the internet and Ebay.

Many many years ago we visted Baroque churches in Bavaria and Austria and they are wonderful too.

For a moment I thought your village church was the famous one in Lavenham in Suffolk which has a very famous "wool church" I know from post cards. The Lavendon church is beautiful too.

We received only 8 inches of snow but a lot of wind. The usual false alarm. Roads are icy.

Merry Christmas. JM

24 December 2012 at 02:07  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

David B:

Nope I'd not use either the terms "sophisticated" or "mental reservation".

Someone lies when they knowingly mislead - the lie is the dissonance between that which they hold to be true, and that which they state to be true. Generally speaking, I don't think that's the case. Within that, one can be literally minded with regards to the 25th December and not be a liar. Insofar as the 25th is unlikely to be the date, this might be described as an error, but it is not a lie.

However, I'm struggling to think of an occasion where I've been told that the 25th is the literal date, and I've been a member of chruches where the majority of my fellow worshippers are Creationists, so I'm not simply speaking from some kind of middle-class intellectual commune in Christianity.

I'd say you've conflated reductive literalism on a number of subjects and assumed that any form of literal reading is the problem. I take Sodom and Gommorah to be a literal example insofar as I hold the account to be true. That doesn't prevent me from using my faculties.

I don't, for instance, find a naturalistic explanation mutually exclusive inasmuch as it describes a natural process. I note that there is archaeological evidence in the Dead Sea region for settlements affected by phenomena that would easily qualify.

Likewise, I have no problem with the possibility that places associated with Sodom by tradition may be erroneously ascribed - just as the 25th is "erroneous" in the most literal sense of marking a specific anniversary. I'd also say that I'm aware of the way in which the story has acquired different emphases over time, so that its association with homosexual activity is an accumulation rather than a single unbroken thread of meaning. But given that those associations were well-established by the 1st Century, that also means I have a fair bet of understanding the sense in which Paul invokes it (quoting Isaiah), though it need not exclusively apply to a single type of sexual sin.

The problem is, that the kind of reductive literalism, where, essentially, the only kind of meaning is taken from the literal meaning of the words on the page cannot be employed in any text without making it nonsensical excepting perhaps a handful of technical manuals. Christian exegetics have grappled with the application of different ways of reading for centuries - but it isn't the arbitrary "pick and choose" that many atheists often characterise it as.

Few of us would struggle to recognise where idiom has been used to express meaning non-literally, which largely covers most of the "cutting of your hand" material. And if I'm wrong, and this really is beyond people, then I'd say we'd best hold back literature, or we'll be overrun with orcs in no time.

The upshot is, that the questions, probes, and assaults rarely bear any relation to a standard understanding of the terms under discussion. A classic example is the chapter in Dawkins' God Delusion dealing with apophatic theology and divine simplicity, in which he not only completely misunderstands, but quite literally (!) argues with the exact opposite of the theological position he attempts to rebut. I understand that non-believers rarely see the virtue of theology, nor the point of devoting much of their time to its study, but there is something absurd about the way in which this wilful ignorance can be fashioned into a lens on religion that is paraded around as being fundamentally inerrant insofar as it "exposes" its enemy. Maybe I've just been lucky, but in all the churches I've been a member of, from high-church Anglican to low-church evangelical & Pentecostal, the leadership has tended to be guided by the knowledge that for now we see through a glass darkly.

24 December 2012 at 02:28  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"But others - priests and the hard core of their flocks - seem to me to have a selectively reductive literal mindset, in which they take literally bits of the bible that confirm their prejudices, while rather brushing aside the inconvenient bits."

Where we do have common ground, is that I am not in any way in favour of reading the Bible selectively to conform its use to one's prejudices. Scripture is good for exhorting, teaching, and rebuking.

Liberals are inherently selective in their reading of Scripture, discarding what does not conform to the society in which they happen to live. So too are the likes of the Westborough Baptist Church who have decided only to use the parts that condemn, not those that preach the Good News. But they're an easy target: so too are the Christians who make homosexuality to be a special kind of sin, who use Scripture to drive gay people out of Church, and who condemn others' sexual immorality whilst remaining silent, or even tacitly supportive of their own and others'.

My own journey from liberal faith to my present orthodox convictions came about when I read the Bible. The Jesus I encountered bore little relation to the Lib-Dem voting one I had invented. Though not a sudden revelation, I knew that I did indeed have a choice about how to respond. I could have continued with "my" Jesus - I could easily have set out to develop increasingly complicated ways of ignoring the statements, passages, and Pauline Epistles that so contrasted with my vision. But I also knew that this would be a fundamentally deceptive act - that my reasons for doing so would not be founded in any intellectual honesty, but rather my desire to conform Scripture to my vision of what it should be. Before this issue had become clear, I was not lying when I said that Jesus was a Liberal, but after, I should have been lying if I had. The first act is inherently one of self-deception. It also crossed my mind to give up on faith entirely - a position I assidiously held to as an undergraduate (having loosely arrived at it for largely selfish reasons beforehand). But I didn't not believe - I simply realised that what I believed in wasn't in Scripture. So I chose the third way, which was, very simply to say: "Lord, I trust that You will guide me as You Will, and I accept Your teaching, wherever it will lead me".

In short, I started being willing to obey. I have found myself challenged by my faith ever since.

24 December 2012 at 02:43  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 December 2012 at 02:47  
Blogger John Magee said...

Lord Lavendon

I am fan of the Mitfords and their books. One of their daughter's, Deborah, married the late 10th Duke of Devonshire.

The present Duke of Devonshire's uncle, I think he was his uncle, I don't remember, married the sister of President Kennedy, Kathleen who's husband the Duke of Devonshire was killed during WW II. His brother, the 10th Duke of Devonshire, married one of the eccentric Mitford sisters, Deborah. She had two crazy sisters. One was a Nazi and one was a Communist. Unity the Nazi became a fanatic supporter of Hitler and eventually through her minipulations met him in Munich and became a "pal" of "Wolfie" (her nick name for der Fuhrer and fell in love with him) and thought she would become "Mrs" Hilter someday.She knew nothing about Eva Braun Hitler's "true love".

Had the Duke of Devonshire's sister in law, Unity Mitford, married Hitler as she wished more than anything (she shot herself in Munich when war was declared in Sept 1939) that would have meant that President Kennedy would have been have been a brother in law of Adolf Hitler.

Think about that.

I think I got all of this right.

Jessica Mitford married an English Communist and they left England in the early 1940's to live in, of all places, the USA. She lived out her life in California.

Isn't history fun?

24 December 2012 at 03:15  
Blogger Chas Bayfield said...

As one of the creators of this poster (Godbaby) can I explain it's Genesis? We live in a nation where Christianity is fast being pushed off the agenda and where Christmas is a Festival of consumerism. Our poster is a critique of this - the must have toy that does what? Saves the world? How does that work? Our message is that Christmas starts with Christ. Maybe it's too subtle? As Christians, I would beg you to imagine someone who doesn't have your belief system - this poster is for them. And as Christians, I would ask you to be a bit more forgiving of other Christians who don't do things the way you would do them yourself - we all love the same Jesus! Happy Christmas on behalf of Churchads, Chas

24 December 2012 at 06:15  
Blogger Ian said...

Thanks for the video YG.

Wishing you and the communicants a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

24 December 2012 at 06:39  
Blogger Naomi King said...

The NZ children were beautiful. Thank you, it made me smile and cry.

God bless you and yours this Christmas.

24 December 2012 at 06:48  
Blogger Naomi King said...


FAITH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL.

Many people say that Jesus never claimed to be God, and yet when asked, Jesus pointed to the miracles He performed, miracles that only God can do. To those who were willing to hear, He proclaimed quite clearly that He was God, that He and the Father were one.

John 10:25-27, 30

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me… I and My Father are one.”

Isaiah 61:1-4 cf Luke 4:20-21; 7:22

Healing

Isaiah 35:5-6

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, 
and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, 
and the tongue of the dumb sing. 
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, 
and streams in the desert.

John 4:43-54; Matthew 12:9-14; Luke 8:42-48; Matthew 9:27-34

2 Kings 5:10 cf Luke 5:12-13

Control over creation

Exodus 7-14; 2 Kings 20:9-11; Psalm 105

Matthew 8:23-27

Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Feeding of many

Exodus 16:14-35; 2 Kings 4:2-7, 42-44;

Matthew 14: 13-20; 15:32-38

Raising the dead

Luke 7:11-17


PRAY THIS NATION WILL CHOOSE TO HEAR AND BELIEVE.

24 December 2012 at 07:00  
Blogger Marya said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 December 2012 at 07:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thanks for the video, Your Grace. It made me smile too -- though I'm with Judy W about the noise at the end.

May Your Grace enjoy every blessing at Christmas and throughout the coming year. The best to your Communicants, also.

24 December 2012 at 07:07  
Blogger len said...

We live in a time of 'Political Correctness'when man is trying to redefine morality and eventually if this 're definition'succeeds then the Gospel will become irrelevant to our youth.The Gospel is being attacked by the secular world as least as much as it was at the outset.Also much within the religious system has negated the Power of the Gospel.

Jesus came to save the people from their sins....let us never forget that. Jesus also came as predicted in Bible Prophesy as 'evidence' to the unbelieving.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
........
Blessing to His Grace and to all communicants.

My disagreements(as ever) are with 'systems' not with the people entrapped within the system..... may all have their eyes opened to the reality which is Christ.

24 December 2012 at 07:35  
Blogger David B said...

Thanks to all who have responded to my posts - some of which will bear re-reading.

I was interested to see the piece about the Mitfords, who I have also read, and read about, extensively.

They were all (perhaps except Unity) girls whose cleverness exceeded their eduction, which is perhaps something that contributed to their eccentricity.

As I recall Nancy was a close friend of Evelyn Waugh, and a talented writer of what seemed at first sight to be light social novels, but with more depth to them than, say, Wodehouse.

Jessica I rather thought the most sensible of them, and she, as I recall, honourably recanted her support for Russian communism when the evils of it became apparent. In contrast to many of her contemporary champagne communists, like Anthony Blunt.

She married a Jewish civil rights lawyer, as I recall, but her greatest accomplishment was a magnificent and thoroughly deserved hatchet job on the American funeral industry.

I will re-read some of the posts above, but apart from that I shall declare a unilateral Christmas truce in my ongoing defence of liberal enlightenment values, of scepticism regarding supernatural claims, and a defence of secularism, as the best defence of religious freedom as well as the freedom to reject religion altogether.

I wonder if Merry Christmas is an appropriate thing for an atheist to say, rather than, say, Happy Holiday (which, taken literally, has problems of its own), but I shall say it anyway.

A merry Christmas to you all.

David

24 December 2012 at 08:09  
Blogger Roy said...

When the last census was held in this country (was it only last year?) I made sure I was back in Wales so that I could put myself down on the census as a Welsh speaker. The question about the ability to speak Welsh was not asked in the rest of the UK.

When the census described by Luke was held (and historical and archaeological investigations show Luke is normally pretty accurate in both his Gospel and Acts about things that have been questioned by some scholars) the Roman authorities in Palestine might have done some things differently from the way they were normally handled in the rest of their Empire.

Alternatively it might have been the Jewish authorities, acting with the permission of the Romans, who encouraged everyone to go to their home town.

24 December 2012 at 08:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 December 2012 at 08:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Chas: "As Christians, I would beg you to imagine someone who doesn't have your belief system - this poster is for them."

I can see what you're trying to do with it, though, as an atheist, it just comes across as marketing for a product I'm not interested in.

Christmas is a 'Green Man' festival for me, perfectly placed in the dark winter months. I doubt I'd actually take part if I lived in Australia.

I liked the nativity video. That's a good use of multimedia, it's very well made, and it's quite sweet. I'm still not buying the product though.

24 December 2012 at 08:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This atheist usually asks for compelling evidence for the notion of a god rather than proof of a god. He's also inclined to ask for evidence supporting a specific god hypothesis rather than a god 'place holder' which looks rather more deistic than theistic.

I recall having a debate at one point which included the 'infinite regression' thing. It's still not clear to me why our created universe couldn't be the product, perhaps a by-product, of another created one with different attributes, one of which is creational.

Also, I still don't understand how defining an uncreated, intelligent creator as something that creates space-time avoids the issue of how that creator came to be. To say the 'to be' there is not the same 'to be' as our type of being is fair enough but it still exists in some sense and how did that come to be?

Finally, I don't really get why we don't get the same sort of choice as angelic beings i.e. proper knowledge of god and the free will to follow its rule or not. That'd be true free will, surely? This whole thing, touched on in the nativity video, of having to search is a bit weird.

24 December 2012 at 08:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As such, I'd rather carry on with what we know as best we can, using working assumptions where appropriate, rather than make a load of stuff up in great detail, layer on layer, to construct a reality which suits the emotional needs of some people.

24 December 2012 at 08:55  
Blogger TigerO said...

If anyone has any doubt about our PM being a true member of New Labour then his Christmas message is really one to savour;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9764148/Camerons-olive-branch-to-the-Church-in-Christian-Christmas-message.html

This year he has chosen to rewrite the scripture on religious and non religious marriage for gays and then instructs the church "to get with the program" on women Bishops.

His latest foray into the Christian World is an insult to true Christians and the institution. Dave do us a favour and keep your religious beliefs to yourself. You are an embarrassment to true Christians and your own Party.

24 December 2012 at 09:45  
Blogger bluedog said...

A wonderful video from iNZud, Your Grace.

Thank you for posting it and a very Merry Christmas to all communicants and HG.

24 December 2012 at 09:55  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

David B:

Merry Christmas!

24 December 2012 at 11:11  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 December 2012 at 19:48  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 December 2012 at 07:47  
Blogger David B said...

@ John Magee re Jessica Mitford

The English Communist who married Jessica was a nephew (by marriage) of Winston Churchill, though there were rumours that Churchill (among others) was his father.

He did not enjoy a long period of married life in America, since he volunteered to fight Hitler, and went missing in action as an airman in the RCAF in 10942.

Her second marriage was to a Jewish civil rights lawyer.

David B

26 December 2012 at 17:15  
Blogger JohnPD said...

Simply lovely.

I smiled all the way through.

Here's wishing a great 2013 for all.

29 December 2012 at 12:22  

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