December 23, 2012 Leave a comment
August 11, 2012 9 Comments
Ethiopian athlete Meseret Defar provided one of the most emotional moments of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games when she crossed the finish line in the 5000 meter race to win the gold.
She then pulled a picture of the Virgin Mary out from under her jersey, showed it to the cameras and held it up to her face in deep prayer.
An Orthodox Christian, Defar entrusted her race to God with the sign of the cross and reached the finish line in 15:04:24, beating her fellow Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba, who was the favorite to win.
A teary-eyed Defar proudly showed the picture of the Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus that she carried with her for the entire race…
Putting your faith on display. Speaking of which, may I suggest you check out BBC’s Censorship of Usain Bolt’s Christian Faith posted by Fr Tim Finigan.
Blogger “Cranmer” asks Why does the BBC ignore Usain Bolt’s God? It is a good question. Usain Bolt always makes the sign of the cross before each race, offers a prayer and then openly gives thanks to God after he has won. As Cranmer says:
The BBC have known for more than four years what Usain Bolt always does, before and after each race, without fail: how he chooses the moment the camera is on him to make the act of humble worship, as a very public witness that it is the Creator who made him fast. They have been briefed to bits by Bolt’s PR team and by members of his family: Usain Bolt is a Bible-believing, God-honouring, Jesus-worshipping Christian. But not a whisper from the BBC; not a word of explanation of the real significance of these ‘moments to himself’.
Thanks to the censorship of Bolt’s Christian identity, many people might simply assume that because his name is a bit like “Hussein”, he must be Muslim.
There may well have been some talk on the radio about his faith, but it is excluded from the multi-billion viewer coverage.
March 26, 2012 8 Comments
Transferred from March 25th.
And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
- Luke 1:26-38
December 29, 2011 1 Comment
A good read by the Rt Revd Dr Prof NT Wright with which to start the day off:
Jesus’ birth usually gets far more attention than its role in the New Testament warrants. Christmas looms large in our culture, outshining even Easter in the popular mind.
Yet without Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 we would know nothing about it. Paul’s gospel includes Jesus’ Davidic descent (Rom. 1:3), but apart from that could exist without mention of his birth. One can be justified by faith with no knowledge of it. Likewise, John’s wonderful theological edifice has no need of it: God’s glory is revealed not in the manger; but on the cross.
If you try to express any New Testament theology without Jesus’ death and resurrection, you will find it cannot be done. “Man shall live for evermore,” says the song, “because of Christmas Day.” No, replies the New Testament; because of Calvary, Easter and Pentecost.
Nevertheless, the birth stories have become a test case in various controversies. If you believe in miracles, you believe in Jesus’ miraculous birth; if you don’t, you don’t. Both sides turn the question into a shibboleth, not for its own sake but to find out who’s in and who’s out.
The problem is that “miracle,” as used in these controversies, is not a biblical category. The God of the Bible is not a normally absent God who sometimes “intervenes.” This God is always present and active, often surprisingly so.
Likewise, if you believe the Bible is “true,” you will believe the birth stories; if you don’t, you won’t. Again, the birth stories are insignificant in themselves; they function as a test for beliefs about the Bible.
The birth stories have also functioned as a test case for views of sexuality. Some believers in the virginal conception align this with a low view of sexuality and a high view of perpetual virginity. They believe the story not because of what it says about Jesus, but because of what it says about sex-namely, that it’s something God wouldn’t want to get mixed up in. This, too, has its mirror image: those who cannot imagine anything good about abstinence insist that Mary must have been sexually active.
More significantly, the birth stories have played a role within different views of the incarnation. Those who have emphasized Jesus’ divinity have sometimes made the virginal conception central. Those who have emphasized Jesus’ humanity have often felt that the virginal conception would mark him off from the rest of us.
None of these arguments bears much relation to what either Matthew or Luke actually says. But before we turn to them, two more preliminary remarks…
Read on here.
And from the conclusion:
If the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two of Luke had never existed, I do not suppose that my own Christian faith, or that of the church to which I belong, would have been very different.
But since they do, and since for quite other reasons I have come to believe that the God of Israel, the world’s creator, was personally and fully revealed in and as Jesus of Nazareth, I hold open my historical judgment and say: If that’s what God deemed appropriate, who am I to object?
December 18, 2011 7 Comments
A couple of hundred protesters are outside an Auckland Anglican church calling for a controversial Christmas billboard to be taken down.
The group, which began gathering at 11am, were praying the Rosary and said the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test kit was an attack on her fecundity.
Catholic Action’s Arthur Skinner, from Whangarei, said they were protesting because the image was blasphemous.
They had a statue of the Blessed Virgin with flowers around it as part of their procession.
Arthur Skinner said the image had nothing to do with scripture.
Yesterday, stunned passers-by watched as a scissors-wielding zealot slashed the billboard and tore off a large chunk.
The grey-haired man appeared to be alone as he attacked the poster outside the St Matthew-in-the-City church in central Auckland before driving off.
Skinner later claimed responsibility for the incident. He was believed to have earlier phoned St Matthew’s vicar Glynn Cardy to say he would “roast slowly in hell” for erecting the billboard.
“He told me I would burn in the fires of hell, that would be my final destination,” Cardy said.
Catholic Church spokesman Lyndsay Freer said she, too, had received an unhappy phone call from who she thought was Skinner about the poster.
I’ll be glad if it’s gone!
December 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Lyon, France — For 700 years Catholic faithful expressed their devotion to the Virgin Mary by creating an elaborate wardrobe for the mother and child, on display in a new exhibit in the French city of Lyon.
Playfully entitled “Fashion Icon”, the show explores how from the 12th to the 19th centuries, clothes were cut to adorn the Virgin, sometimes becoming objects of worship in their own right.
“When you clothe a statue you give it a powerful presence — and since the fabrics used were extremely precious, you also introduce a distance,” explained Maximilien Durand, director of the Lyon fabric museum and curator of the show, which runs until March 25.
“Clothes were cut for all kinds of statues — from great icons in sanctuaries and the mannequins used in religious processions, down to the tiny statues of Mary worshipped in convents and household chapels.”
The practice spread massively from the 13th to 15th centuries, but come the 16th century, with the Roman Catholic Church under attack from Protestant critics, the clergy started to worry the statues of Mary had become indecent.
“They were dressed like real women, like fashion icons, with real hair, wigs, even make-up,” Durand said.
In 1530, Catholic authorities ruled that the Virgin could be dressed — so long as the clothes were not too close-fitting — allowing the practice to thrive until the 19th century when the Church turned against it.
“The clothes people gave were always special, either precious or because they symbolised a key moment in their lives,” said Durand.
“Women would often donate their wedding dresses for the statues, symbolically a way of holding onto their own virginity.”
When Marie-Antoinette’s eldest daughter was born, the French queen asked her dressmaker to fashion a costume for the Virgin in Monflieres north of Paris, from one of her own dresses.
“Today it is the only surviving dress known to have belonged to Marie-Antoinette, since her entire wardrobe has since been lost,” said Durand.
November 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Yes, the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus:
Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, famed for nude photo shoots and a homemade porn video with Tommy Lee, is to play mother Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms on Canadian TV this Christmas.
Anderson, a native of Canada, will headline A Russell Peters Christmas Special for CTV and The Comedy Network, where she will appear in a sketch comedy scene set in a Christmas manger with Canadian funnyman Russell Peters, who is hosting the one-hour special to bow here on December 1.
A Russell Peters Christmas Special will also star Michael Bublé, Ted Lange (The Love Boat), Saturday Night Live alumnus Jon Lovitz and Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall)…