Monday, December 22, 2008

Keeping up with Advent

I didn't think it would come to this. A long year had made me eager for reflection. Then again, a long year extended further on.

Babies come and go every day. Why is this one so important?

Why are any?
Why is it so hard to hold the idea of 6 billion one-time babies in the mind?

Things I learned this Advent:
1. Jews have the Torah along with two other books, the Mishna and the Gemara. Some say Xians don't have the full story, yet that sounds like something the Xians might say.

2. Reading takes time, but mostly love. If your religion is based on a book, it will always be spiraling, splaying, and interlocking with other texts. Be comfortable with that, even if it means wrestling with all things canonical, apocryphal, dogmatic, poetic, or heretical.

3. Classical Judaism reads the scripture four ways: literal, metaphorical, homiletical, and spiritual. In the spiritual or Kabbalistic mode of reading, you take the leap in believing that God created the world using the Torah.

4. Commandments are. They don't need human reasons to be (though humans usually do). Proving that following a commandment is beneficial (for instance, not eating pork is good for digestion) does not get at the spiritual truth that comes from obedience. Obedience does not require benefits.

5. Advent is more buoyant than Lent because it ends with a baby. Lent ends with a crucifixion. (Alright, I know there's more)

6. Mary's suffering: Jesus life:: Jesus' suffering: Xian life (That's an oldy, but goody, ala the late middle ages)

7. Nothing good comes easy or free. No gift is free. Does even agape carry obligations?

1 comment:

Beth B said...

You have inspired me, Paul! See my responses on my blog:

"No Gift is Free" at

and "Nothing Comes Easy or Free" at http://medievalmind.

Christ's grace and peace be yours this Christmas!