Advent Alphabet: Z is for Zoroastrian

Z is for Zoroastrian. Do know this word? Some scholars suggest the Magi who appear in Matthew’s Gospel as visitors to Jesus were Zoroastrian priests. The word Magi derives from an Old Persian word “magus”, an occupational title for members of the priestly caste of the Zoroastrian religion. The Zoroastrians were interested in the stars, and had […]

Advent Alphabet: Y is for Yeshua

Y is for Yeshua. Yeshua ben Joseph is the “reason for the season”! (The “ben” means “son of”) When I was growing up, I thought that his first name was Jesus, and his last name was Christ. It was actually not until I was studying the philosophy of religion in my under-grad years that I […]

Advent Alphabet: X-rated?

Xis for Xmas. As in Merry Xmas. How do you react when you see that in print? Over the years there have been emotion-laden campaigns to “do something” about the use of this abbreviation. There seems to be something about this letter that gets people x-cited. As if it is x-rated or something! I found […]

Advent Alphabet: W is for Waiting

W is for waiting. Advent is a season of waiting. When we were children we may have anxiously waited for a special gift on Christmas morning. With the passing of years, material gifts that once seemed so important come to matter less and less, and the meaning and feeling behind them matters more and more. […]

Advent Alphabet: V is for Virgin

V is for Virgin. A word with volatile overtones of sexuality, judgement, and purity codes. In the western world at least, there is no time of year we hear that word more often than the season leading up to Christmas. “Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright  round yon virgin mother and child.” Did […]

Advent Alphabet: U is for the United Church of Canada

 U is for the United Church of Canada The last few letters have been about ways to read the Bible I hope are helpful to efforts to think about God, and our relationship to God. I am grateful much of my formation as a person of faith, and as a preacher, teacher, pastor, writer, and […]

Advent Alphabet: T is for Theology

T is for theology. The first half of the word, “Theo” refers to God. The second half, “logia” (study) is connected to the word-family that includes “logos”, which means “word”, and “logic”, which suggests a system or method. We are doing theological reflection when we think about God, and the activity, the identity, the purposes of […]