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Scandalous, divine, or both?

Christmas is associated with the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, or more accurately the doctrine of the Virginal Conception.

It’s an esoteric doctrine, as well as a stumbling block for many modern people.

This year, I have re-discovered something more compelling and ‘miraculous’ than the Virginal Conception.

It has to do with Joseph.

According to Matthew, Joseph discovered that his betrothed was pregnant, ‘from the Holy Spirit.’ (Matt. 1: 18) Albeit a divine attribution, it didn’t negate a potential scandal.

Christmas and the Menin Gate

Some of you know of my interest in military history.

Currently, I am reading Paul Ham’s ‘Passchendaele; Requiem for Doomed Youth.’

I am always intrigued by the meanings that various cultures give to war, its terror and suffering. Truth be told, I am vexed by the way the Christian faith is often utilised to underpin such meanings.

In the Battle of Third Ypres fought in 1917, more commonly known as Passchendaele, the British, including the Anzacs, suffered 271,000 casualties and the Germans 217,000. The Allies gained about 5 miles of ground.

Once upon a time...

‘All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story.’

So wrote Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa.

For the last few months, a question has haunted me: Does love drive out fear? (I John 4:18)

It arose when our church was deluged with hate mail following the visit of Dr. Ibrahim, the Grand Mufti, in September.

It has persisted because it is hard to answer.

Politics, fear, and discernment

On election night after the surprising victory of Donald Trump, President Obama said, ‘no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.’ He sought to soothe the fears and antagonisms that have split apart the American community in recent months.

It would be reassuring if the promise of the sun rising were sufficient to achieve that. Sadly, it isn’t. Yesterday, I saw a Latino woman with a little baby interviewed, and she spoke of her deep concern for her child, living in a country recently polarised by race and threats of walls.


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