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The day after

[Another one of Jessica’s wonderful posts, this one from last year. Neo] Secular Christmases, like our lives in general, have a great build up to important events, quite often the event itself does not quite live up to it, and then the day after is a bit of a let-down – and that’s where we […]

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O Holy Night

I wanted to give you something for Christmas Eve as we are thinking about the birth of our Saviour. I found I didn’t have much to say, at least that was new or interesting. Most of what I want to remind you has been said, and better than I can, and on this blog, no […]

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The Coming of Christ, the Golden Blossom

Advent is, for Christians, a time of waiting, in some ways, it is like Lent, but not exactly, here we await the birth of the Lord, and by extension, his return in Glory. It is the time of beginning, of promise. My favorite Clerk gave us Sunday, a homily from an anonymous Anglo-Saxon author, in […]

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The Changing Faces of the Papacy

This is a fascinating overview of the last 50 or so years of the Catholic church, not so much a lecture as an audio/visual memoir. While he doesn’t take anybody’s side in the controversies racking our churches, he gives a perspective on why things are as they are, one of the best talks I’ve heard […]

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Feed my sheep?

Jesus spoke about how when we ignore the hungry and the homeless and the dispossessed, we ignore him. His followers hadn’t cottoned on, and as so often, he ended up having to explain to them. In becoming man, he saved us, and we are all made new in him – and have a common bond. […]

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Easter: Past and Present

I sit here now, in the dark of an early Nebraska Saturday morn, and look back over the week we call Easter week and think it truly named. That’s because a week ago, I was watching a friend of mine founder in a situation, not of their making, which was coming very close to stealing […]

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He is Risen

That’s the importance of the day. Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead. A few words on some of the symbolism, The term Easter comes from the old Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, although the only real mention is from the Venerable Bede. The egg being proscribed during Lent was offered in abundance at Easter […]

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‘This doubtful day of feast or fast’

Something unusual today for Good Friday. It falls on Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, something that won’t happen again until 2157. Our forefathers in the faith considered it to be the true date of the Crucifixion. A Clerk of Oxford tells us: This day was not only a conjunction of man-made calendars but also […]

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What’s Good about Friday?

In our workaday lives the answer is usually obvious – unless you are one of the increasing number of people who have to work Saturday and or Sunday – it’s Friday and it’s time for that drink and to kick off the week-end. Indeed, by the time you read this, I’ll be enjoying some holiday […]

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Toward Easter

We’ve  had a quick detox dealing with old films and great stars, and we’re ready now, perhaps, to turn to the thing our secular-minded society finds it all too easy to avoid – Easter. Today, in the UK, the Queen will distribute Maundy Money where the Queen gives a gift of money to pensioners in imitation […]

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Have yourself a Merry Christmas

And so we come to the day when the world opens its presents – and we do the same, but we celebrate the greatest present ever – the gift of ever-lasting life. Paul is right, our minds cannot encompass what it means, or what it will be like, but we can know what it is […]

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All Saints Day

[This was my post from last year on All Saints Day on All Along the Watchtower, I thought I’d share it with you as well.] I think all know that in the west, 1 November is All Saints Day. But like so much, our definitions differ a bit. In the Roman tradition (and the Orthodox, […]

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Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham

So, today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham. Seems strange, even to me, that a hard-headed old Protestant like me would care. Like many of you, I was raised that the veneration of Saints and such tended very close to idolatry. And it can, Martin Luther, himself, warned of it but, he […]

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Gay Marriage: God’s Law, Legal Reasoning, and Ideology

Mixing religion, jurisprudence, and ideology together is one potent drink. Ingestion can cause palpable heart-burn as well as migraine headaches. In the case of gay marriage in the U.S., sorting out and evaluating the three elements can be rife with controversy and thus confusion. In this essay, I discuss the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples because doing so would violate God’s law and thus betray Jesus. Her religious rationale makes for interesting legal reasoning. I then look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay-marriage decision. I contend that a natural-right (and thus human right) basis clashes with ideological anger. Human nature itself is on display throughout, particularly as it wades into religion, legal reasoning, and ideology.



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Pope Francis On Taking In Refugees In Europe: A Basis For An Alternative Approach To Christianity

As tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East were seeking refuge in the E.U., Pope Francis “called on every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter refugees.”[1]It was not enough, he said, to tell them, “have courage, hang in there.”[2]Providing the Christian basis, he said that “the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”[3]Jesus went to those who had been abandoned by the hegemonic Temple-centric Judaism of his day, and healed them. In the Gospel of Mark, it is the strangers rather than the disciples who understand his message. I submit that this approach to Christianity could serve as an alternative to the dominant one that applies Christianity to every issue.



Pope Francis making the appeal. (Riccardo De Luca/AP)

The complete essay is at “Pope Francis on the Refugees.”


1. Alison Smale, “Pope Calls on All of Europe’s Catholics to Shelter Refugees,” The New York Times, September 6, 2015.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

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Is God the Father Marginalized in Christianity?

The name of Jesus (or Christ) is common on Christian lips. “Jesus saves” is a typical expression, whereas expressions highlighting the Father or the kingdom of God are much less frequent, and explicit references to the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) are essentially missing. As the three manifestations, or “persons,” of the Trinity are consubstantial (i.e., of the same substance), the hypertrophy (i.e., maximizing one part of a system) is worthy of investigation. This is not to say that equal attention to all three is optimal; Jesus himself says in the Gospels that he came to preach the mysteries of his Father’s kingdom. This statement implies that followers of Christ should focus most on the Father and his kingdom. That this is not the case suggests that historical and contemporary Christianity has missed the point. This should hardly be surprising, for throughout the Gospel of Mark, strangers get Jesus’ point whereas the disciples tend to miss it.


The full essay is at “Is God the Father Marginalized?


Jesus is clearly the focus at this church. (Maliz Ong)

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Hope, and Prayer

As I said in my last post, I do not feel competent to offer solace to the other victims in this scandal: the women who have been cheated, by themselves, and by pressure tactics from having their children. They too pay a heavy price. While I don’t have any personal experience of this, my dearest […]

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If You Can’t Speak the Truth in Love…

As a Christian, I interact not only with non-Christians who I don’t agree with, but often many Christians whose actions get my blood boiling.This may come as a shock to some of you, but I’m not talking about liberal Christians. I’m talking about those …

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If You Can’t Speak the Truth in Love…

As a Christian, I interact not only with non-Christians who I don’t agree with, but often many Christians whose actions get my blood boiling.This may come as a shock to some of you, but I’m not talking about liberal Christians. I’m talking about those …

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Pilate’s wife: a reflection

[I wanted to share this article of Jessica’s with you, because you and I know a lot of nonsense gets published about the history of Jesus this time of year. Jessica has more resources in this area than most of us can dream of, and knows how to separate fact from legend. So enjoy this article […]

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