Saturday, December 20, 2008

A New Web Journal- The Christendom Review

MereComments has highlighted a new journal The Christendom Review. It is not light reading but it is thoughtful writing. Those of you poor souls with the philosophical bent (you know who you are) will no doubt enjoy it very much. Those of us who wish we were capable of such discussion will enjoy it as well but it just may take us reading it more than once and in the company of good beer. One of its first articles THE IRRATIONAL FAITH OF THE NAKED PUBLIC SQUARE is a good example. Enjoy!

Advent Study #13

The last in the genealogy of Jesus as given by Luke. Please refer to previous parts of this study for the focus questions. after this Sunday I will provide some notes and thoughts on Matthew's genealogy. I hope you will provide your own.

Joseph the husband of Mary

From Christian answers:

Joseph (the foster father of Jesus Christ)
Meaning: remover or increaser
Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23) livedat Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4).
He is called a "just man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55).
He is last mentioned in connection withthe journey to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2). His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.
Joseph's ancestry - Joseph was in the line of King David and therefore held a legal right to the throne. However, because he descended from Jechonias (Matt. 1:11-12) (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin, he would have been disqualified by God from taking the throne. However, Mary's son would not (see: Mary).

From the Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Matthew (1:16) calls St. Joseph the son of Jacob; according to St. Luke (3:23), Heli was his father. This is not the place to recite the many and most various endeavours to solve the vexing questions arising from the divergences between both genealogies; nor is it necessary to point out the explanation which meets best all the requirements of the problem (see GENEALOGY OF CHRIST); suffice it to remind the reader that, contrary to what was once advocated, most modern writers readily admit that in both documents we possess the genealogy of Joseph, and that it is quite possible to reconcile their data.

At any rate, Bethlehem, the city of David and his descendants, appears to have been the birth-place of Joseph. When, however, the Gospel history opens, namely, a few months before the Annunciation, Joseph was settled at Nazareth. Why and when he forsook his home-place to betake himself to Galilee is not ascertained; some suppose -- and the supposition is by no means improbable -- that the then-moderate circumstances of the family and the necessity of
earning a living may have brought about the change. St. Joseph, indeed, was a tekton, as we learn from Matthew 13:55, and Mark 6:3. The word means both mechanic in general and carpenter in particular; St. Justin vouches for the latter sense (Dialogue with Trypho 88), and tradition has accepted this interpretation, which is followed in the English Bible.

It is probably at Nazareth that Joseph betrothed and married her who was to become the Mother of God. When the marriage took place, whether before or after the Incarnation, is no easy matter to settle, and on this point the masters of exegesis have at all times been at variance. Most modern commentators, following the footsteps of St. Thomas, understand that, at the epoch of the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin was only affianced to Joseph; as St. Thomas notices, this interpretation suits better all the evangelical data.

The Incarnation
This marriage, true and complete, was, in the intention of the spouses, to be virgin marriage (cf. St. Augustine, "De cons. Evang.", II, i in P.L. XXXIV, 1071-72; "Cont. Julian.", V, xii, 45 in P.L. XLIV, 810; St. Thomas, III:28; III:29:2). But soon was the faith of Joseph in his spouse to be sorely tried: she was with child. However painful the discovery must have been for him, unaware as he was of the mystery of the Incarnation, his delicate feelings forbade him to defame his affianced, and he resolved "to put her away privately; but while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. . . And Joseph, rising from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife" (Matthew 1:19, 20, 24).

The Nativity and the flight to Egypt
A few months later, the time came for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, to be enrolled, according to the decree issued by Caesar Augustus: a new source of anxiety for Joseph, for "her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered", and "there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7). What musthave been the thoughts of the holy man at the birth of the Saviour, the coming of the shepherds and of the wise men, and at the events which occurred at the time of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, we can merely guess; St. Luke tells only that he was "wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him" (2:33). New trials were soon to follow. The news that a king of the Jews was born could not but kindle in the wicked heart of the old and bloody tyrant, Herod, the fire of jealousy. Again "an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee" (Matthew 2:13).

Return to Nazareth


Advent From MereComments and STR

Advent postings from MereComments:

19 December:

Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.
Isaiah 11:1 In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings will be glorious.

and 20 December:

And I will place upon his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. Isaiah 22:22

The Advent Antiphon for December 20:
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

With the added treat of having the audio link over at STR blog. This link will not last long so enjoy it while you can. Highly recomended. Also there at STR is an explantion of the O Antiphons

The top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year

It's from Australia but still is rather humorous. As is pointed out many of the alamist predictions can now be checked out (e.g. the so called increase in hurricane activity). But of course the weather guys will tell you we are now in a low period cycle...

From the Herald Sun:

GLOBAL warming preachers have had a shocking 2008. So many of their predictions this year went splat.
Here's their problem: they've been scaring us for so long that it's now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned.
And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer - the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year.
Read, so you can end 2008 with optimism, knowing this Christmas won't be the last for you, the planet or even the polar bears.

IN April this year, the papers were full of warnings the Arctic ice could all melt.
"We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time," claimed Dr David Barber, of Manitoba University, ignoring the many earlier times the Pole has been ice free.
"It's hard to see how the system may bounce back (this year)," fretted Dr Ignatius Rigor, of Washington University's polar science centre.
Tim Flannery also warned "this may be the Arctic's first ice-free year", and the ABC and Age got reporter Marian Wilkinson to go stare at the ice and wail: "Here you can see climate change happening before your eyes."
In fact, the Arctic's ice cover this year was almost 10 per cent above last year's great low, and has refrozen rapidly since. Meanwhile, sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing. Been told either cool fact?
Yet Barber is again in the news this month, predicting an ice-free Arctic now in six years. Did anyone ask him how he got his last prediction wrong?

Lesson: The media prefers hot scares to cool truths. And it rarely holds its pet scaremongers to account. the rest of the top ten here

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tis the Season for Porn?

From Townhall:

...We all know how far the pornification has gotten. A mainstream movie apparently treats the subject as cute and fun ("Zack and Miri Make a Porno") and it runs at the multiplex next to "Four Christmases" and "Madagascar." Hotels offer pornographic movies and omit the titles from the final bill. Victoria's Secret graces every mall -- and its windows resemble the red light district of Amsterdam.....

...Last week the Witherspoon Institute convened a conference on pornography at Princeton University and invited scholars from a variety of fields to contribute. The statistics are mind-numbing. ...

...Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself," noted that pornography use actually changes the brains of consumers. Like other addictions, pornography use breeds tolerance and the need for more intensity to get the desired result. He quoted Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons," in which a college kid asks casually, "Anybody got porn?" He is told that there are magazines on the third floor. He responds, "I've built up a tolerance to magazines I need videos." Tolerance is the medically correct term, Doidge notes, which is why pornography becomes more and more graphic.
The men (and they are overwhelmingly men) who become hooked on this bilge are often miserable about it. They know that it affects their capacity to love and be loved by real women. As Doidge explained, "Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and a release from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction, tolerance, and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn't like it." Hugh Hefner, the godfather of mainstream porn, apparently does not have normal sex with his many girlfriends. Despite the presence of up to seven comely young women in his bed at a time, he uses porn for sexual satisfaction. Think about that. ..(more here)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent Study #12

Where is Advent Study #12? Good question.

After Eliakim we have Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, and Eleazar. Interestingly there does not seem to be any information on these individuals.
Then we have:


Meaning: gift
one of our Lord's ancestry (Matt. 1:15)

and then


A later man named Jacob was the father of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:15-16). Nothing more is known about him.

And so because I know you are going through withdrawal not having anything to read I offer these possibilities:

First, a chart of the Kings of Israel. Notice Matthew's genealogy goes through Judah. The chart outlines nicely whether the King did evil or good or some combination.

Second, I offer two Advent postings from MereComments which once again I don't think are entirely unrelated to our study:

First from December 17th this excerpt which includes canticles from the Orthodox : (you can read the whole posting here)

..Also from the Orthodox synaxarion: The "new martyrs" Paisius the abbot and Habakkuk the deacon: Saint Paisius was Abbot of a monastery in Serbia and Habakkuk was his deacon.
They were both impaled by the Turks at Belgrade on December 17, 1814. Dragging the stake on which he was to suffer through the streets of Belgrade, Habakkuk chanted the hymns of the Church. When his mother threw herself at his feet, begging him to adhere to Islam in order to save his life, he thanked her for her maternal solicitude, but rejected her advice as he recalled the great men of the Old Testament who suffered for the glory of God.

"Great men of the Old Testament"--like Daniel, and the Three Young Men in the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar. Habakkuk the deacon, in chanting the hymns of the church may well have sung one the traditional odes from matins before Christmas:

Scorning the impious decree, the Children brought up together in godliness feared not the threat of fire, but, standing in the midst of the flames, they sang: "O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou." (Canticle 7)

The furnace moist with dew was the image and figure of a wonder past nature. For it burnt not the Children whom it had received, even as the fire of the Godhead consumed not the Virgin's womb into which it had descended. Therefore let us sing: Let the whole creation bless the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever. (Canticle 8)

Take courage!

And this from today:

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,who to thy tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times did give the law,in cloud, and majesty, and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
(more here)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Campus PC Gone Crazy

From FrontPage:

Political correctness ran amuck in our nation’s school system this past year, and Young America’s Foundation has once again compiled our “best of the worst” academic abuses for 2008. From “free speech zones” to transgendered speakers at military academies, the following list may make you both laugh and cry in the same breath. That probably isn’t too surprising, however, since we are talking about academia after all…

1. The free speech “zone.” A student at Yuba College in California was sent an ultimatum by the school’s president: discontinue handing out gospel booklets or face disciplinary action and possibly expulsion. That’s right—gospel booklets. Ryan Dozier, the 20-year-old student, had the audacity to distribute Christian literature without a school permit, which restricts free speech to an hour each Tuesday and Thursday. Yuba College even directs students to where on campus they are allowed to exhibit free speech. In this case, it’s the school theater. Campus police threatened to arrest Ryan if he didn’t comply with the “free speech zone,” oblivious to the fact that students don’t need permission to exercise the First Amendment’s free speech and religious clauses.

2. Transgendered activists in, pro-life speakers out. Liberal administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution in Minnesota, censored the appearance of prominent pro-life speaker Star Parker because campus officials felt “uncomfortable” and “disturbed” by previous conservative speakers at the school. The University’s mission statement claims it values “the pursuit of truth,” “diversity,” and “meaningful dialogue.” Except, not really—or better yet, as long as the said “pursuit” doesn’t offend leftist predilections. Meanwhile, within the past year, the same school hosted Al Franken, the bombastic liberal comedian, and Debra Davis, a transgendered activist who believes God is a black lesbian. Realizing they had a public relations disaster on their hands, the head honchos at St. Thomas eventually reversed the ban on Star Parker....

the rest of the list is here

Haggai & the Persians- Just in Time for Study #11

Just in time for Study #11 is this fine post from over at MereComments. It is not entirely unrelated to our study and may help with some of our own meditations...or not. but I hope you'll find it interesting just the same...

Today the Orthodox church remembers the Prophet Haggai, who prophesized in the 6th c B.C. after the exiles returned to Jerusalem. The Persian King Cyrus sent Zerubbabel back to govern, and gave authority to the Jews to rebuild the Temple under Ezra the High Priest. Haggai spoke on behalf of the Lord, urging the Jews to get on with the rebuilding, scolding them for leaving the Lord's temple in ruins while "you busy yourselves each with his own house." He asks, "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?" The Lord notes that they harvested little, eat, but never seem to have enough. Why don't they put first things first? We know the Temple was built, of course.

Cyrus the Persian is spoken of in Scripture as the Lord's instrument in history when it came to the fate of the Jews. Fr. Pat Reardon reminded me of this story about President Truman recently:
Once, after his retirement, he was introduced as "the man who helped create the state of Israel." Without a moment's hesitation, Truman shot back, "What do you mean, helped create? I was Cyrus, I was Cyrus" - referring to the Persian monarch who enabled the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem after the first dispersion. [A websource for this here].

...At the close of the short prophecy of Haggai, the Lord reminds us of his Lordship over history: "I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations..." (2:21-22)..

You can read the entire post here

Advent Study #11- Finally

I got back from working the Christmas tree lot (in windy 32degree temps) with my son last night and crawled into my recliner and hacked and coughed the night away. In between coughing fits I napped. Alas, the Advent Study took a back seat. My apologies to the two of you who are reading it... Tonight we start back in earnest. Get your specs on...

Here is #10
#9 is here #8 can be found here

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Continuing with Matthews genealogy, the third group beginning in exile in Babylon:

All of the below information comes from ChristianAnswers


Meaning: asked for of God
father of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:2, 8; Neh. 12:1)

And then returning from exile:


Meaning: the seed of Babylon
theson of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Hag. 1:1; Zorobabel, Matt. 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chr. 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word "son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel.
He is also known by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8, 11). In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of servants,who returned from captivity at the close of the seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13; ch. 4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place, inasmuch as he was a descendant of the royal line of David.


Meaning: father (i.e., "possessor") of renown.
One of the sons of Bela, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:3); called also Ahihud (ver. 7).
A descendant of Zerubbabel and father of Eliakim (Matt. 1:13, "Abiud"); called also Juda (Luke 3:26), and Obadiah (1 Chr. 3:21).


Meaning: whom God will raise up
The name of four biblical men… Our guy is simply:
The son of Abiud, of the posterity of Zerubbabel (Matt. 1:13).

Monday, December 15, 2008

‘Layoff survivor syndrome’??

Organizational psychologists call it “layoff survivor syndrome,” the collection of emotional, psychological and physical reactions long documented in workers who remain on the job. Being left behind, they say, can sometimes be as distressing as being let go.

“In fact, the survivors are also victims,” said Harold G. Kaufman, a professor of management and director of the organizational behavior program at the Polytechnic University of New York.

No Laughing Matter

I am bewildered, as if stumbling around in a dream. Why is the throwing of shoes by an Iraqi reporter at President Bush not receiving more attention? Why is the attention that it is receiving limited to:
  • amusement over anything anti-Bush
  • amusement over a social curiosity
  • outrage, in the Middle East, over the detention of the reporter

Perhaps I have missed it, but there should be outrage over a physical attack on the President of the United States and questions as to why the Secret Service did not immediately put themselves between the projectiles and the President. The goofy nature of the event and the unpopularity of the President have obscured the more important facts. This is not about shoes or George W. Bush. A citizen of a foreign country directly and physically assaulted the person and therefore the office of President of the United States. It is utterly irrelevant that Mr. Bush himself laughed off the event.

It is troubling that our "entertainmedia" have obscured a serious event. Legitimate protest has its limits. It is one thing for someone to burn a flag or an effigy in protest and quite another to launch a physical attack, however harmless, at a person holding office.

I am fairly certain that no one would be laughing had an American reporter acted in a similar fashion when the President of Iran visited the U.N.

Advent Study #11- confession

I could blame it on the cold or something noble but the truth is I watched the Cowboy game last night instead of doing #11. Sorry- #11 will be posted this evening after I work the Cristmas tree lot....If I don't freeze or get blown away in the wind it should be up around bedtime (2200) (that would be 10 p.m. for those who might have a question...