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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent Simplicity, light and beauty- Friday Five

Sally posted this elaborate and thoughtful Friday Five: "Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving....." (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)
The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound....
But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor....This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask "Who is your Saviour the Emperor or Christ?"
And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism....
Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...
Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.
What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?
In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings....
1. Living in the heart of the financial crisis, I wish that things settle down, financially and that we all could stop worrying-on a daily basis-about our financial futures. I passed a job fair a local hotel the other day and the line was around the block.
2. I pray that our new president is the genius that we are expecting and not just the Wizard of Oz.
3. I give thanks for the love of my family and friends daily. I look forward to the visit of my Aunt Julie between Christmas and New Years.
4. As we are a bi-religious family, I look forward to celebrating the Festival of Lights, the miracle of Hanukkah beginning on the eve of December 22 when there was just enough oil for one night but it lasted for eight blessed nights.
5. I thank God for the RevGals and I long for all of you to continue into the new year in joy and peace. And to meet some of you one day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And a tip of the hat to the Catholic Church of England and Wales

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The Catholic Church of England and Wales warned Roman Catholic priests against using language in their parishes that might offend gay and lesbian worshipers.
Priests have been told by their bishops not to assume that every parishioner is heterosexual, The Daily Mail reported Saturday.

"Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful -- a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain," bishops said in a memo about how priests can be more welcoming to gays.

The advice to be more tolerant of homosexuality appears to be in conflict with Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to gay marriage.

But English gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said the leaflet represents a "positive initiative" that could help gay Catholics and their families, the newspaper reported.

"It's sympathetic, understanding message is a big improvement on the past homophobia of some Catholic pronouncements on homosexuality," he said.

ed. note But who is the the Catholic Church of England and Wales? Is it the Anglican Church? Or is it the Catholic Church or something else?