Jesus birth2
Christian Persecution

Behold your God!

 

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Out of the political confusion, spiritual darkness and devotional dissolution, the prophet Isaiah looks forward to the ultimate day of redemption, when God rescues His people Israel, leads them to victory and ushers in an era of perfect rule. This, he prophesies, will be the eschatological climax of history: from the chaos of ‘In the beginning..’ we come to a form of government and a time of peace of which there shall be no end: the Throne of David will be inviolable, and the Kingdom ordered with justice and peace for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

And still Israel awaits this zeal, little knowing that its Messiah came almost 2000 years ago, not as victorious warrior of power and might, but as a defenseless baby clinging to his mother’s breast, subordinate to the forces of nature, exposed as tender flesh and a bundle of love.

God became flesh.

What a wonder!

And His parents weren’t invited to the palace in a chauffeur-driven chariot to dine with the great and the good. They weren’t lauded by the media, honoured by the local synagogue or awarded the OBE for services to messianic propagation. She carried on cooking and cleaning and he banged nails into wood, while the Son of God did what little boys do in space and time: they eat, grow, learn, laugh and cry. The Word became flesh and played with his mates. He got things wrong and grazed his knees, like all little boys. He made things and broke them; He built things and knocked them down; He changed things, because things had to change.

You can try to ignore babies, but it’s not possible for long. If you’re not seduced by cuteness and clean hands, you’re ambushed by constant blubbering and interminable wailing. Innocence looks a bit different through tears.

And you can try to ignore this baby, which is entirely possible, if not wholly recommended by a world which increasingly sidesteps what is essential and passes over all that it true, beautiful and meaningful. The Christ-child is certainly cute, sleeping in His manger all meek and mild, neatly wrapped in Daz-white swaddling clothes. But this baby’s tears are for a world of pain: they change things because things must change.

There is on this birthday an eternity of expectation wrapped up in a straw crèche: some see the power; others feel the love. But most haven’t got a clue what to think or believe. A baby God? What pathetic weakness. Born to give us second birth? Don’t make me laugh. Foolishness to the Greeks? You might as well be speaking Klingon. O little town of Bethlehem? It’s a turbulent marketplace of historical conflict, theological anguish and perpetual injustice.

What can a baby in a manger say to save those many thousands of His followers who are paying for their faith in Him with their lives? What can a baby in a manger do to end the misery of their suffering and unimaginable distress? Anything? Nothing?

The God who emptied Himself to save us is the One who calls us to a life of self-emptying brokenness and sacrifice. He came that we might have eternal life, and we are called to witness to that light even though the darkness of the world will hate us for it. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us in order that we might know the peace that passes understanding. He told us to take up our cross, faithfully and daily; not to lie wrapped up nightly in a lukewarm duvet of cosy compromise and spiritual neutrality.

Christmas is about a baby, but it’s a baby born to redeem the world. If you glimpse Him through the tinsel and fairy lights, you might just see the tear He sheds for the Church of the Martyrs. If you wait to hear Him cry, you will find your destiny.

The richest of blessings to all His Grace’s readers and communicants as we remember the birth of Our Saviour, and rejoice together in the wonder of the coming of the promised Messiah.

Merry Christmas.

  • The Explorer

    Blessings to you, Your Grace.

  • Albert

    Happy Christmas to Dr C and everyone.

  • sarky

    Merry christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Shadrach Fire

    Very good post Your Grace. A Happy Christmas to you and yours.

  • dannybhoy

    Lovely post.
    God is the God of new beginnings, His wisdom far above ours, and even when
    “We’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’d first begun.”

    I seriously wish everybody here (including our resident unbelievers and cynics!) every blessing and a revelation of how much He loves you!

  • Thank you, your Grace.
    A very merry Christmas to you and all who post here from Martin Marprelate

    Martin’s take on Christmas 2014

    http://marprelate.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/hark-the-glad-sound-the-saviour-comes/

  • I am one of Your Grace’s regular readers who rarely comments, but I am much encouraged by all that you (Adrian) write, and always interested to read what other contributors and commenters have to say. Keep up the good work. Thank you for today’s excellent message. Wishing you every blessing in Christ this Christmas time.

  • SidneyDeane

    LOL

    • The Explorer

      Too general. Please elucidate.

      • William Lewis

        Lots of Love, surely.

        • The Explorer

          Unless it’s ‘Laugh out Loud’. With the individual concerned, it could well be either.

          • Tourette’s syndrome is a more likely explanation.

          • carl jacobs

            Beyond the pale, Jack. You shouldn’t use disabilities like that.

          • Carl,

            Happy Jack suffers occasionally from Tourette’s syndrome. He hates it too. It makes him shout out things he doesn’t want to shout out.

            For example, recently Jack was walking along the road when he noticed an American guy walking on the other side of the road and he shouted out, “Good morning, sir. What a fine nation you hail from.”

          • dannybhoy

            Witty, very witty Jack..

    • The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it.

      4:00, wallow in self pity;
      4:30, stare into the abyss;
      5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one;
      5:30, jazzercize;
      6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again;
      7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing…

      I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.

      But what would I wear?

      • CliveM

        Merry Christmas Happy Jack.

      • Leacock

        Merry Christmas, but the best way to deal with self-loathing is to ditch the Jazzercize. No one can feel any self-respect after spending an hour doing something with a name as silly as that!

        • ‘Tis true, Leacock. Let’s hope Sidney pays attention.
          Have a Happy Christmas and God Bless.

      • PaulOfTarsus

        a good psychologist may be helpful. one that deals with split personalities exacerbated by bipolar & med noncompliance.
        in your state of mind you could wear a tutu. weather permitting, of course.

        • Ah, the friendly and welcoming post-Christian, post-modern, ever so clever person from America who pesters Happy Jack and calls him rude names.

          The man who ‘questions’ the authenticity of Divine scripture, and the integrity and authority of the Church fathers for putting forward such “preposterous” ideas about Jesus’ as the Virgin Birth. The man who knows his faith ‘in his sleep’ but doesn’t actually believe any of it. He doesn’t agree with the way God did things and so must construct another explanation that he feels comfortable with. He wants original and credible ideas.

          Thanks, but Happy Jack will remain as he is – tutuless. And Happy Jack doesn’t suffer from insanity – he enjoys every minute of it. And do remember, it is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have the range of doubts you do.

          • PaulOfTarsus

            False logic Jack. Sanity with doubts confirms one’s sanity whereas the insane never fully comprehend their illness and as much as they do understand are unable to help themselves. This from one with a graduate psychology degree who’s treated chronic mental illness.
            Hopefully, this will be of some assistance. Your posts are generic. There are 100 other Trads that your posts resemble. NOTHING new. Rather, regurgitation of the RCC storyline. A mindless puppet can do that or, one who has a reservoir of cut & paste quotes taken from other sources.
            You ARE “weird” as one poster noted. your 3rd person reference is bizarre. Your type of “weird” tires quickly. Why – no originality, no humanity, just 1 of 100 “orthodox” posters who claim a 2,000 year stream of “truth”. That thinking clearly shows you don’t know or don’t want to know the “truth” because you have never studied. Hence, the empty headed replies.
            Your rude comments are no bother because your type is a dime a dozen. you clog up the screen with inane words not worthy to be considered an intelligent contribution to the discussion. your words are a waste of time. your comment box is collapsed and happy jack disappears.
            This is being written as an attempt to have you rethink your “weird” happy jack persona as it seems to be an extension of your personhood. Without personal reflection, and yes, professional help, the mask of outwardly “happy jack” will crumble over time and leave you totally empty.
            No reply necessary. Take it for what it’s worth. you’ve likely heard this or something similar. It will be a new year and a time for a fresh start. you are wished the very best – no harm intended, only some hopefully, helpful thoughts – not unlike Pope Francis’ recent Christmas comments to the church fathers. That example shows nothing in the RCC has changed over the centuries. It could have been said in 535 AD. Consider that when defending the totality of “truths” purported by Holy Mother Church. Hopefully you had a Blessed Christmas & will have a Happy New Year!

          • My, my you are an angry man. Did Father Christmas disappoint you this year or have you always been like this?

            Happy Jack is very impressed you have a a graduate psychology degree and have treated chronic mental illness. Were mummy and daddy very proud? Jack thanks you for recognising he is “weird”. Not many people spot that. Nine of ten voices in Jack’s head agree with you too. More succinct than your initial, diagnosis of “split personalities exacerbated by bipolar.” Well, at we have each other to keep company. Who have you got?

            “Sanity with doubts confirms one’s sanity …” Do you find that a reassuring thought? You shouldn’t. Who wants to live with constant doubt? Be honest, you’re just jealous because the voices never talk to you. You see, some people hear voices; some see invisible people; and, sadly, others have no imagination whatsoever. They are just normal. People like you do make good pets though.
            You views on faith are not worth replying to. Rest assured though Happy Jack will continue commenting away in 2015.

          • CliveM

            Bizarre

          • Troubled …

          • CliveM

            Yes agreed. Probably best not to engage.

          • PaulOfTarsus

            My use of “split personality” is because it is what the public understands. It is an arcane term that hasn’t served a clinical purpose in many decades. You are mistaken for giving me credit for using the word “weird”. That was used by another commenter. A comment section is not the place to conduct a psychiatric analysis. I only made a brief comment because your post exhibited a psychological condition that was not tongue-in-cheek. This time of year can be difficult for some and depressive symptoms common.

            you equate the RCC’s “story line” with GOD’s. That has already unraveled. Read the Study Guide in the Catholic Study Bible where it is clearly stated. Advances in Scripture study and understanding can no longer support RCC dogma. Those who oppose this are stuck pre-Vatican II and likely I as well – all the way back to Trent (TLM).

            GOD did have a more ‘rational plan’ – the church has distorted it largely for their own gain and profit. Is the present church structure based on Christ or secular governments? Why do we have All Souls Day? Why was Marian dogma largely the work of one man strong arming clerics to get in line? Why too is papal infallibility a weak link that has been challenged since its inception (and will likely end up in the dustbin of irrelevance once church reunification begins in the next few years)?

            As a sane, clear thinker I am able to use all my GOD given attributes. Certainly one is called upon to use one’s brain. Doubt is a positive force spurring one on to grow personally & spiritually. Do you think I don’t know the Trinity, Resurrection, and virgin birth are beliefs of other Christian religions? Again stating the obvious. As for “Star Trek” poor analogy. However, you likely know some of the far-out technological ideas have since become reality. Don’t discount that anything is possible – especially with GOD.

            Actually, GOD has been very good to me in my search for Him and an understanding of my relationship with Him. I have had a few minor miracles along the way that have strengthen my belief in GOD. I have NO doubt GOD exists and Loves me/us very deeply – deeper than I/ we can love ourselves. I believe in Jesus Christ, His life, death, and resurrection – I have NO doubt. I believe one day I will be in Heaven if I stay the course – hence, my moniker PaulofTarsus. I believe in Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ as understood by the RCC – which agrees now with Methodists. I believe Sacred Scripture puts forth basic truths – with lots of fluff and other “stuff.” I have 3 1/2 yrs of RCC seminary – which can be shrunk down to 1 year of relevant study with the rest learning not to ask the wrong questions, challenge a superior, but to conform. Hence, it is called “formation”. I saw the underbelly of the snake shortly before the pedophilia pandemic broke and when thousands of priests and religious died of AIDS. Some think the large numbers dropped because they all left – WRONG. I was a heterosexual male in a predominantly homosexual environment – faculty and staff – and they were not compelled to hide it. I can go on but, I think you’re astute enough to understand I don’t come at this as an uninformed neophyte. One’s life experiences are not to be denied especially when solidified in prayer.

            So, throw stones – my vision is clear. Having shared this with some Trads they minimize it and discard it as a few bad experiences that – well you know the rest. They are the blind who cause themselves destruction and those around them. They win no converts to Christ and those linked to Christ are repelled by them.

            A final thought crossed my mind. For some, the ROCK of Religion needs to be unchanging because of their psychological construction. You may fall into that category. I will be more cognizant of this going forward. My intention is never to pull the rug out from underneath someone or to be hurtful. I’ll end it here. Again, my Best Wishes to you.

          • “This time of year can be difficult for some and depressive symptoms common.”

            Lol ….

            Trust Happy Jack, Paul, he has been like this ever since he can remember. Ask any of the regulars on here. They will tell you that in the 4 years he has been here, he has always appeared “weird”.

            Okay, your intention to help Jack was genuine. He can accept that. It is not wise to try to “conduct a psychiatric analysis” of Happy Jack. People have been trying for years. Jack just writes whatever the voices tell him to and It all depends on who yells the loudest. So, you see, it wont be Jack you’ll be assessing. All Jack does is try to keep them is order and try to give them all a chance to have their say.

            Anyway, now we have cleared all that up, tell Jack: what is it you believe about Christianity and where it departs from Catholicism? Is it the power structure of the Church, the Creedal doctrines, or both? What you shared above seems orthodox to Jack. The Church wounded and hurt you by your experiences in the seminary. And Jack doesn’t doubt this. He knows some seminaries at the time were dens of iniquity and perversion. God will hold those responsible to account. And, if it pleases Him, with your cooperation, He will bring good from this evil.

            “Read the Study Guide in the Catholic Study Bible where it is clearly stated. Advances in Scripture study and understanding can no longer support RCC dogma.”

            Jack has seen statement a couple of times recently on American Catholic websites. He has been unable to verify the statement or the context of the statement. All he can say is that if the Catholic Church formally declares this about herself, then she will cease to exist.

            Happy Jack sends his best wishes, Paul.

          • PaulOfTarsus

            The source is the New American Bible Revised Edition, The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Edition – specifically in the Reading Guide Section, pg. 67, last paragraph, though the entire RG Section is educational. You’ll have to do the rest of the work. You are exactly correct the RCC can not accept this without imploding. Which is why it does not. That does not mean it is not true. It means the RCC turns a blind eye to the work… ‘ignorance is bliss.’
            My self-revelations are over. My seminary experience was not harmful or detrimental – quite the opposite. My eyes were opened to the face of the church not presented to the public. Pedophilia threw back the curtains the clerical hierarchy hid behind for hundreds of years. The IOR scandal has helped to do it for the Vatican. These events, now made public, give me the opportunity to hammer home the point for some who think it’s ink on a page or a far off video. Francis is finishing the job started by secular society – thanks be to GOD the RCC has such a brave man at this crucial time.
            While working with the chronically mentally ill (various types of schizophrenia) I used to mention to them when they were not doing well in public because of the social stigma. They appreciated it because with the voices they lacked that awareness. You seem not to care because you are in cyberspace anonymity. As a suggestion. you might want to use some caution with your rapid fire multiple postings – that will draw attention to you by the moderator while upsetting some. That you are able to manage the voices is good. Some are not. Working in counseling I always put the responsibility on the individual where it belonged. I viewed myself as the guide as the person confronted their issues – not unlike a spiritual director.
            Thanks for your well wishes. I’ll end it here.

          • So the text you cite is:
            “New American Bible Revised Edition, The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Edition – specifically in the Reading Guide Section, pg. 67, last paragraph, though the entire RG Section is educational.”

          • PaulOfTarsus

            I have heard the comment it is liberal however, it is Catholic and I will leave it at that because the alternate argument is the other (Jerusalem Bible) is conservative. One argument negates the other – there is enough room under the tent for a variety of Catholics – something that is lost by those on the right & left fringes.

            your link is a poor quality source. The site is out of date since 2011. It is the work of one Michael Marlowe a conservative Baptist who describes himself theologically as conservative and Reformed. He has no current work and what is online is very near being considered rubbish. Quote: “I consider the Westminster Confession of Faith to be an accurate summary of Biblical theology….” Translation: NO Catholic bible meets his criteria. I am sorely disappointed in the quality of your source. Consider it unacceptable and disregarded. That you, or anyone, accepts the critique of a single person with such low professional credentials and who likely hates Catholics and anything associated with them is beyond me! I’ll disregard your suggestion to throw away a perfectly good Catholic Bible. Know that your future cites will be suspect.

            You have as much as I will give regarding my reference. The paragraph is extremely lengthy – one column of small print on a large book – you get the picture. One really needs to read the entire chapter – and better yet, the entire Reading Guide. Why not see if there’s a copy at your church, library, seminary, etc.. You have rejected the bible version as liberal so, you won’t agree with its conclusions in any event. I’m not a BS artist as some posters. I don’t make false claims. While one can’t be 100% correct my intention is not to deceive through misrepresentations and half truths.

            Unfortunately, I can’t be more help to you. The journey is the reward so, it may be you’ll come across the bible in a fortuitous way.

          • carl jacobs

            PaulOfTarsus

            Far be it from me to stand in the way of a Roman Catholic beating up the RCC. You’ll get no argument from me that RC dogma is sustainable. Even so.

            1. Exactly what kind of Roman Catholic are you? If you reject the dogma of the RCC, then you are wise. But what do you accept? What do you know about God and how do you know if? The correct answer is not “I have searched for God and found him.” Man cannot begin with himself and find God. Man has no access to the transcendent except it is given to him.

            2. Why do you presume to speak with such authority? Certainly it does not proceed from a graduate degree in psychology. Said degeee gives you no particular authority on theology. Neither is there reason to place unreserved faith in academia. One must always examine the presuppositions of the Academic or one will end up crediting the Jesus Seminar. So from where does this presumption of authority cum arrogance originate?

            3. Why do you use your profession as a weapon? The acidic contempt in your post was not successfully masked by your feigned generosity and concern. It was actually disturbing to see your pretense of helpfulness when it was obviously nothing but animosity and ad hominem. I’m surprised you would prostitute your profession like that.

            Feel free to keep tearing at the roots of RCism. But it would be nice to know your desired end goal. One hopes you aren’t seeking to turn the RCC into TEC.

          • Carl, despite our differences we both accept scripture as the divinely inspired word of God and as a trustworthy source of His revelation and account of Jesus’ life and ministry. This is what ‘Paul of Tarsus’ is rejecting. He sees it a manmade ‘story’, written after Jesus’ life to justify claims about Him. It is Jesus Seminar territory. Oddly, whilst he says he regards Jesus as the Son of God he doesn’t trust either the bible or the Church as a source for this belief.

            And, btw, an American degree in psychology counts for little in Britain. Over here, depending on the particular degree, he would probably have to do a conversion course followed by 3 years post-graduate research and training before being able to practice. It might get him a job as a nursing assistant or some equivalent para-professional position, not much more. Do they really let the likes of him loose on the vulnerable and trouble in the States?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            I resisted making a comment about Psychology degrees being sold 2 for £10 at Tesco. Yes, as a conventional rule of thumb, you need a PhD in psychology in the US to actually work in the field. At least that is my understanding. There are scores of undergraduate psychology degrees issued because it is relatively an undemanding major. Many go on to graduate school because… well, what do you do with an undergraduate degree in Psychology?

          • Hi Carl, Jack added some commentary above in his first paragraph. Unlike you not to go for the jugular. Perhaps, like Jack, you were aware something else was going on. Are you developing empathy and understanding, Carl?

          • CliveM

            Jack I’m confused, although not in a ‘needs professional help’ kind of confused.

            Is he a Catholic?

          • Who is Jack to judge?

          • CliveM

            Or any of us. However does he claim to be?

          • Honestly, Jack is not sure. He dismisses both the authority of scripture and the Church.

          • CliveM

            Glad it’s not just me being stupid.

          • PaulOfTarsus

            kindly continue reading my posts. happy jack has upvoted you so, it is safe to surmise you align yourself with him – if you are not one of his numerous “voices”.
            you overstep your bounds. if you have read and understand my posts you have your answers. you open with a lengthy personal attack and, of course, I am under no obligation to respond. Rather, I would ask you to first explain yourself and your motives.
            that you purport to know my motives & intentions is laughable. happy jack accepted my sincerity and responded accordingly. that of itself should disprove many of your false assertions demonstrating you have no valid position from which to make your absurd claims.
            I will end it here because you never should have started. I hope this is a lesson to you as it has been to happy jack. he needs all the support you can give him as he does for you.

          • “happy (sic) jack (sic) accepted my sincerity and responded accordingly .”
            That was just one of Happy Jack’s more generous voices. Some others do not agree. Some have still to decide.
            *chuckle*

          • carl jacobs

            PaulOfTarsus

            My motives are transparently obvious. I stated them clearly. If you think either Point 1 or Point 2 was a “lengthy attack” then I suggest you point out the nature of that attack. I asked two questions.

            1. What is the nature of your religious beliefs? I asked because they were not clearly stated in your previous posts.

            2. What is the authority behind your comments? Your posts were basically arguments from authority but that authority is never stated.

            Here is a basic fact of life. You ain’t an authority. A degree in Psychology means next to nothing to me. And, for all I know, you are a zit-faced 19 year-old university student trying to punch above his intellectual weight. There are people on this weblog I respect intellectually whether they be my opponents or not. They earned that respect by the quality of their arguments over time – whether I agreed with those arguments or not. But who the hell are you? I don’t know you.

            In regard to Point 3.

            that you purport to know my motives & intentions is laughable.

            Yes, you go right ahead and try that line. I’m sure someone around here might take it seriously. I won’t however. I understand the personae of Happy Jack. I understand where he came from, and why. I am in fact the person who identified Happy Jack to the board. There are four years of history behind Happy Jack. If you don’t know it, then you probably shouldn’t be offering opinions about his mental state. To anyone with knowledge, those opinions are self-evidently proceeding from the vicinity of your rectal orifice.

            I like Jack and I respect Jack. However, I am not a Roman Catholic. I reject the RCC and all its works and all it ways. I posted because I couldn’t believe the arrogance and condescension displayed in your post. You came across as a wannabe academic who desired to cloak himself in the mantle of academia – the modern day priesthood of truth. I suppose we were all supposed to genuflect towards your mighty graduate degree in psychology. Sorry to disappoint you.

          • CliveM

            ROFL ;0)

          • PaulOfTarsus

            you haven’t read my posts where you will learn my academic credentials in theology in addition to being a life-long Catholic who has done considerable reading, studying, prayer, and reflection for which no academic credits are given. according to you & happy academic degrees are meaningless hence, his dependence on an obscure, out-of-date source.

            if you can read and understand my posts I give a specific reference down to the paragraph. Get off your high horse and go out and read it. you waste your time making outlandish statements that serve only to put your ignorance on public display.

            A wise priest once said “not every question deserves an answer” – consider yours in that category. again, if you’ve read my posts it clearly states my self revelation has ended. your ridiculous posts are all the proof needed – you make personal attacks ie – 19 year old…. that make no sense for and intelligent 19 year old can easily debate you under the table.

            I have already ended it with happy though I see he has written again. I have no intention of reading it because it can only be a regurgitation of your bile. Being a man of my word he will get no response – nor will you so, don’t waste your time.

            in spite of your rude, unfounded personal attacks I hold no grudge. Rather, one has to expect in a public forum the wind will blow trash into the house if the door is left open. with this I will wish you a happy New Year and end it here.

          • carl jacobs

            PaulOfTarsus

            you haven’t read my posts…

            I read your posts – several times through, in fact.

            … where you will learn my academic credentials…

            You mean the Seminary course work you didn’t finish? Do you want me to provide a list of people who have completed seminary whose work you would reject out of hand as “rubbish?” That credential means nothing to you, and yet you expect your non-achievement of that selfsame crediential to mean something to me? Do you want me to provide a list of faithless men who have completed seminary? It means nothing to me unless I know the man behind the credentials. I need to know the presuppositions behind the work.

            … in theology in addition to being a life-long Catholic who has done considerable reading, studying, prayer, and reflection for which no academic credits are given.

            What, and you think you are the only person in the world to do this? You think your mere ipse dixit is enough to make men cower in fear of your “considerable reading, studying, prayer, and reflection?” I would be willing to bet I have been an adult longer than you have been alive. And you think you are going to instruct me? You haven’t even “self-revealed” what you think a Catholic is.

            … according to you & happy academic degrees are meaningless hence, his dependence on an obscure, out-of-date source.

            I’m an Engineer. I don’t come onto this board and say “Behold! My knowledge of differential calculus gives me unique and authoritative insight into theology. Suffer thou awe, mere plebeian!” Which is a pretty good description of how you arrived on this board. I don’t give a tinker’s dam about your degree in Psychology in relation to this subject matter. It’s not relevant.

            your rude, unfounded personal attacks

            You haven’t been attacked. All I did was point out the arrogance with which you arrived on this board. Here, let me quote your original post in its entirety:

            a good psychologist may be helpful. one that deals with split personalities exacerbated by bipolar & med noncompliance. in your state of mind you could wear a tutu. weather permitting, of course.

            And you talk about rudeness and insult. That post is nothing but rudeness and insult. Evidently, you feel entitled to say such things because you have a graduate degree in psychology, and you can hide behind professional concern. Except it was obvious to all exactly what you were doing.

            nor will you so, don’t waste your time.

            Well, good for you. Respond or not as you see fit. It makes no difference to me. I don’t just post for you gentle eyes. There are other people reading. And I am quite content to shape their opinion of this sub-thread by illustrating the arrogance of your posts.

          • Now you’ve definitely frightened him off ….

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            No, there is no fear in him. If I read him correctly, I suspect he thinks he acquitted himself quite well. He won’t have an answer to my question on authority, but I don’t need him to answer. His authority is “Academics with whom I agree.” Those academics with whom he disagrees all produce “rubbish.” He covers himself with the cloak of the former and wants very much to believe he is a member of that club. That’s why he was so anxious to parade his education.

            It’s Academia as Priestcraft. If they can solve the riddle of Linear Algebra then certainly they can solve the metaphysical mysteries of the Universe. All we plebeians have to do is submit to the Academic Magisterium, and all will be made clear. Except it’s not given to them. They can’t solve the metaphysical mysteries of the Universe no matter how much “reading, studying, prayer, and reflection” they perform. Not that prayer is high on the list of actions considered important by your average academic. It’s hard to pray to a silent, amorphous, enigmatic, unknown god.

          • If Paul keeps his word, he’ll leave Jack alone when he wanders from home. This is a result.
            Tell Jack, is it a feature of American bloggers to throw around their academic achievements? Or is it just the insecure and big-headed? Jack has come across this quite a bit and has been challenged to reveal his. Many bloggers also ask for one’s source when expressing an opinion. If one says the Catechism, Encyclicals, or Church Councils, they dismiss these. Writers about the bible and about evidence for the historical Jesus are preferred to discussing actual scripture. This is all very strange behaviour to Jack who has obviously led a sheltered life. The other striking thing about this dissenting wing is that many of their liberal opinions are prefaced with a reference to the abuse of children being caused systemically by an “unbiblical” i.e. a culturally conditioned ‘script’, imposition of a male, clerical-patriarchal system.
            Jack knows this is probably all music to your old Calvinist ears, but he finds it very disturbing. Hopefully, the sites he has visited are not representative of mainstream Catholicism.

          • CliveM

            Probably best to avoid such sites, always a risk of further cyber stalking otherwise!

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            What? Did you first encounter him at the NCR?

            My judgment (FWIW) is that Academics use their degrees to intimidate people in argument. “My presuppositions are right because I have a degree.” If you dare to challenge that assertion, you are called ignorant. I don’t think this is a uniquely American thing.

          • Yes, and then at Crux. He jumped into comments and accused Jack of ‘trolling’ and being a ‘trad’. He followed Jack here.

          • CliveM

            You would have thought a country so welded to the idea of freedom of speech would be more accommodation to different views. Still their are worse things then being called a ‘Trad’!

          • CliveM

            I got the feeling he was flouncing off in a huff.

            I don’t think a simple thing such as quoting him verbatim will change his opinion of himself, or what he believes is his due.

            To much self confidence, not enough self doubt.

          • carl jacobs

            CliveM

            It’s not unlike the reaction of the Pharisees to the man born blind in John 9.

            They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

            He was after all just an ignorant blind man. Who was he to lecture the educated and sophisticated? So, I don’t think PaulOfTarsus went off in a huff so much as in a gaseous cloud of intellectual superiority – he being the representative of education and sophistication. We were dismissed as unworthy. Our purpose was to listen and be educated. His purpose was to educate. Why? Because he says so. But we would not listen to his wise words. As far as he is concerned, our willfully stubborn refusal to listen simply chains us in darkness. Poor us.

            But when you ask him why anyone should listen to him as opposed to (say) anyone else in the world, he responds that he has read, and studied, and prayed, and reflected, and almost finished seminary. Well, there is a unique set of criteria. What he means is “Because I agree with these (to me) really impressive modern academics and their decidedly post-modern approach to truth. And if you don’t agree with them, then you are just ignorant.” And don’t forget the blatantly-stated obvious implication of this logic. “Therefore I am much smarter than you, and can condescendingly ignore everything you say.” Just one example:

            Why – no originality, no humanity, just 1 of 100 “orthodox” posters who claim a 2,000 year stream of “truth”. That thinking clearly shows you don’t know or don’t want to know the “truth” because you have never studied. Hence, the empty headed replies.

            And he immediately follows this with a rebuke about Jack’s “rude replies.” His lack of self-awareness is hilarious. But to stay on point, please note that statement about “you have never studied” and the unspoken but loudly heard phrase “Unlike me. I have studied” that is supposed to be silently attached by the reader. There is an implicit definition of “study” in that sentence. It produces people who agree with him or it isn’t studying. Isn’t that a convenient way to argue?

            The whole episode was nothing but a vaporous mass of arrogance from beginning to end. He will return from whence he came to congratulate himself on his wisdom, and pity us for our backwardness. And we will call him a blind fool who thinks he can see.

          • CliveM

            Carl in light of what Jack says below, it seems to be he was playing to a gallery and you are right, he will have felt he aquited himself well.

            I don’t think I have come across someone so self deluding before.

            Ps I’m not so sure how much of an academic he actually is.

          • “I am sorely disappointed in the quality of your source. Consider it unacceptable and disregarded.”

            Well, Jack thought he made a perfectly good reference to the liberalism and twisting of scripture contained in the version you cited. Does it matter what denomination he is for his point to stand?

            “You have as much as I will give regarding my reference. The paragraph is extremely lengthy …”

            You’ve given Jack nothing other than this assertion:

            “Read the Study Guide in the Catholic Study Bible where it is clearly stated. Advances in Scripture study and understanding can no longer support RCC dogma.”

            That is a sweeping generalisation. You really should be prepared to give more rather than running around citing this as authoritative. It isn’t. What dogma does this new understanding reject? The whole of the Apostles Creed? The Virgin Birth – where it suggests these accounts were inserted as a polemic, not as history, to demonstrate Jesus’ Divinity?

          • PaulOfTarsus

            unfortunately this finishes it for me. you have taken no responsibility for your lack of scholarship.
            you chose an unreliable source because it supports your preposition. One would venture you hadn’t researched beyond the link to verify its veracity.
            you choose to accept this source above a Catholic Bible! How very unCatholic.
            you were given every piece of info you needed to read my reference. for you that is not enough, you need to be spoon fed. that will not happen.
            like a good ultraconservative whiner you then go on to make false accusations. just as to expected. your poor scholarship is uncovered so you take off in another direction attacking the Catholic Bible.
            As previously stated my seminary experience opened my eyes. The seminary I attended taught the truth about the bible by prominent priest/professors who were prominent biblical scholars in their own right – much of which was refreshed and brought up to date by the Catholic Bible referenced. This affirmed my understanding of scripture.
            I’ll leave you to yourself and your voices. I will not respond to your Crux posts because I now know I am dealing with an unserious, cut & paste poster with nothing to add to the discussion – all of which you have proven here. you add yourself the cacophony of ultra conservative voices. numerous yellow faced posts that echo all the other ultraconservatives acts as a pesky fly drawing attention to itself by being a nuisance.
            It’s reaffirming to learn Catholics across the pond are as uninformed as those here. Good bye.

          • CliveM

            You don’t really suffer from self doubt do you.

          • Is that an ironic comment, Clive?

          • CliveM

            Not really.

            What he seemed to be saying was that his was was the most up to date, theologically learned understanding of the Gospel and the origins of the Bible.
            Unlike us ‘conservative’ theological dinosaurs who are to stupid to embrace his version of the faith.

            I just wonder if he is as self confident (or arrogant depending on your personal take) as he seems.

          • “Troubled” is the kindest word, Clive.

          • CliveM

            I will take out the word arrogant then.

          • carl jacobs

            ROFL!

          • “unfortunately (sic) this finishes it for me .”

            What are you running away from, Paul? Too unsure of your position to see through a debate? Afraid of being challenged?

            “you (sic) chose an unreliable source because it supports your preposition. One would venture you hadn’t researched beyond the link to verify its veracity.”

            Jack chose the source because it, unlike you, actually quoted from the *study guide* accompanying the words of scripture. From this it is apparent neither the historical account or inspirational source of Jesus’ Virginal Birth was accepted by the *experts*. Its premise being scripture is a polemic put together to justify faith in the Divinity of Jesus and descent from King David as the Messiah.

            Now tell Jack this statement posted yesterday:

            “I have 3 1/2 yrs of RCC seminary – which can be shrunk down to 1 year of relevant study with the rest learning not to ask the wrong questions, challenge a superior, but to conform.”

            Is consistent with this posted today:

            “The seminary I attended taught the truth about the bible by prominent priest/professors who were prominent biblical scholars in their own right – much of which was refreshed and brought up to date by the Catholic Bible referenced. This affirmed my understanding of scripture.”

            You seem to want it both ways, Paul. Were you oppressed or taught to be a free thinker? Are you confused? Forgetful? Disingenuous? Or, just untruthful?

    • CliveM

      Come on Sidney, how about a little Christmas cheer. Have a good one. Ho, Ho, ho!

  • A very Blessed and Holy Christmas to you and to Gillan, Archbishop.

    And a Happy and Blessed Christmas to all communicants on the ‘Good Ship Cranmer’.

    As we set forth for 2015, just remember, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat & drink beer all day.”

  • carl jacobs

    Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have Thee.

    Merry Christmas to all and Sundry

    • CliveM

      Start a trend, do Boxing Day!

      • carl jacobs

        So what exactly is Boxing Day, and what does one do on Boxing Day?

        • A Happy and Blessed Christmas Day to you and your family, Carl. Jack has enjoyed our conversations this year and thanks you.

          Just about to watch Her Majesty’s Christmas Day message, so no time to explain the mysteries of Boxing Day.

          • CliveM

            A good message from HM the Queen. Again.

          • Got ecumenical Christmas crackers this year. Here’s the joke Jack got:

            There was an ecumenical blessing of a fire truck. They asked the Catholic priest, a Pentecostal minister, and a Jewish rabbi to come for the dedication of the volunteer firefighters’ new fire truck. The Catholic put some holy water on it and blessed it. The Pentecostal laid hands on it and prayed for it. And the rabbi walked all around it, took out his pocket knife, and cut a quarter inch off the hose.

          • An Episcopalian vicar, a Catholic priest, a Methodist minister and a Jewish Rabbi all shared a seasonal meal together. They decided they were going to show their ecumenical trust by revealing their sins to one another.

            The priest says, “Well, I must tell you that once in awhile I go down town in disguise and go to the burlesque show.” The Episcopalian says, “Well, I just can’t help myself. I’m a miser. I hoard money.” The Methodist says, “Well, about once a month I just lock myself in my cellar and get drunk.” They all turn to the Rabbi, and he says, “Oy vey iz mir. My chatta’ah is gossip …”

          • CliveM

            Ouch lol! :0)

          • What’s a quarter inch …..?

          • CliveM

            About 6mm!

          • Are you bragging or seeking help?

          • CliveM

            Sympathy………

          • carl jacobs

            Thanks Jack. The blog wouldn’t be the same without you. Hope you had a good Christmas as well.

          • Many agree the blog would be different without Happy Jack.
            Your contributions enhance it. And you should have more conversations with Albert. Just ask him to slow down a little and to say less. Less is more ….

        • CliveM

          Well you know how on Christmas Day you eat to much, perhaps drink to much, fall asleep in front if the TV? Well on Boxing Day you try to recover from all these exertions by doing as little as possible!

          Boxing Day is for recovering.

          Originally it was the day the Servents and Serfs had off after waiting on their ‘masters ‘ on Christmas Day. Hope your Christmas is a good one.

          Look forward to 2015 and reading your posts and wishing I had the skill to have said them first!

          • If he let Jack edit them they would be theologically much sounder.

          • CliveM

            I’ll let you and Carl argue that one!

          • carl jacobs

            You have ceased to be Roman Catholic then? I’m glad to hear you have finally made progress.

          • Truth be told, Jack is more Roman Catholic now that 4 years ago. He has made progress though. He now better understands his faith and objections to it.

          • carl jacobs

            Appreciate the kind words, Clive. But, you know, I don’t consider myself particularly quick or skilled. I’d be terrible in verbal debate because I don’t think quickly enough. Unless I know the subject, I often have to take a significant amount of time to develop some kind of response. Oftentimes, I will read a post at 7:30 in the morning and not respond until lunch because I need the time to cogitate.

            That’s one of the things that has always impressed me about Albert – the effortless way he can reel off responses. He can bury me on a thread with an avalanche of words. I can’t keep up with him on some subjects. I just can’t write or think fast enough, and so I fall behind. After a while, one must collapse from exhaustion. But Albert never seems to get tired.

            Fortunately, Jack is there to make me feel better about myself. Arguing with Jack is like playing paddle ball where Jack is the ball attached to the string. He’s… Oh, Hi Jack. I did’t see you standing there.

            😀

          • CliveM

            Of course HJ sometimes plays dirty, he keeps adjusting his post after you’ve commented!! At least he does with me ;0)

          • ‘Tis not Happy Jack. Time and space are subject to temporal disturbances and fluctuations.

          • CliveM

            So the “Doctor” is to blame?

          • The “Master” is behind it..

          • CliveM

            Now known as “Missie”. Had a sex change!

          • No ‘Missie’ is rally a man trapped in the female construction.

          • CliveM

            Not a man at all, a Galifreyan. Now female of the species.

          • Still, he’s the male of the species. Watch. He will have a relationship with another woman and discover his error.

          • CliveM

            He has regenerated as a woman. Did you see the last series?

          • No, Jack watched a couple of episodes and passed.
            As Jack said, he is a male with a same sex attraction towards the Doctor and deliberately manufactured a regeneration in female form.

          • CliveM

            Well that is still to be decided!

          • CliveM

            Carl

            Well you still get there faster then me!

            With regards Albert, I agree completely. I have taken a vow to avoid all debates RC with him. Their is no point fighting a battle you know you are going to lose!

          • “Well you still get there faster then me!”

            No …. it’s Christmas …. Jack will not say it.

          • CliveM

            No feel free……….:0)

          • Jack is entering a post-ironic phase.

            Btw, you should not say things like that as you don’t know who might overhear.

          • CliveM

            I have a pure mind, unlike some I could mention. ;0(

            It’s a burden…….

          • Grrrrrr ……..

          • carl jacobs

            Oh wait! You’re being ironic. See all that instruction is paying off.

          • The ‘up-vote’ is ironic.

        • dannybhoy

          Boxing Day was the day when gifts were traditionally given to friends and family, but like all (non Biblical) traditions there were variations and add ons.
          http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/xmas/boxingday.html
          You must remember dear Colonial, that in times past before mechanised transport, our English counties were pretty self contained and had their own traditions and customs.
          If you have any interest in English history there are some very fine books that help understand how this little waterlogged island developed over the centuries…

          ps
          Personally I still hold the best of the United States of America in high regard and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by Americans in two world wars.
          You just gotta stop trying to impose your version of democracy on the rest of the world!

  • alternative_perspective

    What can he say: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me.”

  • Uncle Brian

    Happy Christmas, Your Grace, and thank you for a further year of inspiring sermons. A Happy Christmas also to Your Grace’s new archdeacon, Gillan Scott, and to all communicants. It’s good to see that the Explorer is now well enough to be putting in a regular appearance once again, and I hope we shall soon be able to say the same about Blofeld.

    • Inspector General

      We’ll make a Cranmer of you yet Scott !
      Fear not….

      • But will we make a Christian of thee, Inspector?

  • preacher

    While enjoying the festive season, please remember the Mission that brought Christ to our/His Earth.
    Blessings to ALL.

  • Where be ole Cap’n BadBack Blowers?
    Not still perched in yon Crow’s Nest,
    weathered eye a open?
    With cutlass, spyglass and pirate headband,
    he be on constant watch.
    Alert, scanning the Holy See for scurvy Buccaneers.

  • Merry Christmas and God bless you all.

  • IanCad

    Over the years we have come to expect an uplifting and awkening Christmas message from you, YG.

    Thanks for this one. Keep soldiering on.

    Blessing of the season to you and yours and to Master Gillan and his.

    The same to all fellow communicants.

    Wonderful service from Kings. “In The Bleak Midwinter” has to be the best English carol.

    A quiet evening ahead.

    Tomorrow the blessings of family.

    Problem is, a round half score of them, including my wife, are warrior females.

    Not sure exactly this year who I must not be too friendly with. Nor to whom I must appear overly attentive. Certainly not to be effusive about the dinner if the one who cooked it is out of favour. It is a minefield.

    Again; Blessings to all.

    • dannybhoy

      Ho Ho Ho!

  • CliveM

    Whether Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Atheist, A-theist, Agnostic or whatever, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

  • Inspector General

    Ah, yes, the sound of a baby screaming. What memories there for this man as his siblings popped out many many years ago, one of them around this time…

    The Inspector was first. He was born on a wagon of a travellin’ show. His mama used to dance for the money they’d throw. Papa would do whatever he could.
    Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of doctor good….

    Altogether now, “Gypsies, tramps and thieves”. We’d hear it from the people of the town…

    Merry Christmas from the Inspector, everybody. Merry Christmas to you all….

    • dannybhoy

      To you too Inspector, and God bless you.

    • CliveM

      And a Peaceful New Year to you.

  • William Lewis

    Happy Christmas Your Grace. To you and yours, your blog and all who sail in her. Blessings one and all.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Have not heard from dear old Blowers. Hope he is OK. I did read that E S Blofeld was on location, filming the new Bond film.
    Shake a leg old boy and have a very happy Christmas.

    • len

      Hope’ Blowers’ is OK and not over doing it on that film set?.

  • len

    A blessed Christmas to one and all.
    The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you.

  • uppitynorth

    Christmas blessings to one and all

  • Jill

    A very happy Christmas to Your Grace and all who inhabit this place.

  • Away in a Sweatshop
    (Tune: Away in a Manger)

    Away in a sweatshop,
    a pittance for pay,
    are children like ours,
    who slave night and day.

    The bosses above them
    look down where they are,
    the world’s poorest children,
    with no Christmas star.

    No presents, no Santa,
    no parties, no cake,
    Just long hours of working,
    our bargains to make.

    No playtime, no schooling,
    no medical care –
    for these sweatshop children
    there’s nothing that’s fair.

    Be near me, cheap clothing,
    I ask thee to stay.
    Don’t charge me fair prices
    or give them fair pay.

    Bless all sweatshop workers
    at Christmas this year,
    but don’t ask hard questions
    about all my gear.
    (Mark Earey)

  • Pubcrawler

    A marvellous wonder has this day come to pass:
    Nature is made new and God becomes man.
    That which he was, he has remained;
    And that which he was not, he has taken upon himself
    While suffering no confusion nor division.

    How shall I tell of this great mystery?
    He who is without flesh becomes incarnate;
    Thw Word puts on a body;
    The Invisible is seen;
    He whom no hand can touch is handled;
    And he who has no beginning now begins to be.
    The Son of God becomes the Son of man:
    Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Merry Christmas, all.

  • jfmarks777 .
    • jfmarks777 .

      Although members of our local Baptist church in South Bristol, my wife and I decided to go to St John the Baptist Church, Keynsham, for a “proper” Carol Service. The wonder of the Incarnation hit me right between the eyes when their choir performed a Will Todd piece called “My Lord has come”.

      As the piece is copyright, I have not been able to download the lyrics, but there are plenty of performances on YouTube, e.g.: