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 […]

Advent Alphabet: S is for “So what?”

S is for So what? (It’s also the title of my favourite track on the classic Miles Davis jazz album, Kind of Blue.) Over the last twenty or so years, when I have taught the material in yesterday’s letter about the “real story” of Jesus birth, I have encountered three basic responses. People have asked, […]

Advent Alphabet: R is for the “Real Story”

At our house on Christmas morning we have a tradition of reading about the birth of Jesus, usually from the Gospel of Luke, before we do anything else. At times it is enough to hear the story again, listen with the heart, and open our spirit to receive God’s gifts. (Then we move on to exploring […]

Advent Alphabet: Q is for Questions

Q is for questions. I asked in an earlier letter if it was possible to have faith, and also have questions, even doubts about what we have been taught about God, and Jesus. I quoted a friend who makes the distinction between having faith in God, and believing everything put forward in our religious tradition. […]