Episode: Episode 7: Christmas 1, The Feast Of The Holy Name


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Episode 7: Christmas 1, The Feast Of The Holy Name

In this week's episode we discuss the texts for the first Sunday after Christmas: Numbers 6:22-27, Philippians 2:5-11 and Luke 2:15-21.

Show Notes:

As a strictly intellectual matter, I am very confident that God exists. In dark times, though — and this has been a dark year in many ways — I wonder if the Absolute relates to us in the way that my church teaches, if he will really wipe away every tear and make all things that we love new...This is the wager that Christmas offers us, year in and year out. It isn’t Pascal’s famous bet on God’s very existence; rather, it’s a bet on God’s love for us, a wager that all the varieties of religious experience, wonderful and terrifying and inscrutable, should be interpreted in the light of one specific history-altering experience: a divine incarnation, a baby crying beneath a pulsing star...The odds on that wager feel different year to year. They change with joy and suffering, tranquillity and crisis, sickness and health...But I haven’t found better ones. Merry Christmas.
-Ross Douthat,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/opinion/sunday/varieties-of-religious-experience.html?_r=0

One cannot simply read the Bible like other books. One must really be prepared to put questions to it.… The reason for this is that in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot just proceed to think about God under one’s own steam; instead one must ask God questions. Naturally one can read the Bible like any other book and so study it from the point of view of textual criticism, etc. There is absolutely nothing to be said against this. Only this way of going about things does not unlock the essence of the Bible but only what lies on its surface. Think of how we come to understand something said to us by a person we love not by dissecting it into bits but by simply accepting it as the kind of word it is, so that for days it echoes within us simply as the word of that particular person whom we love; the more we, like Mary, “ponder it in the heart,” the more the person who has said it to us becomes accessible to us in that word. That is just how we should treat the word of the Bible.… Every other place outside the Bible has become too uncertain for me; I am afraid that I will encounter only a divine double [einen göttlichen Doppelgänger] of my own self in it. Is it possible, then, for you to comprehend that I would rather make a sacrificium intellectus by confessing that I do not yet understand this or that passage in Scripture, with the certainty that it too will one day reveal itself as God’s own word. I would rather do that than on the basis of my own opinion declare: this is what is divine in it and that is what is human!? (I make the sacrificium intellectus in just these matters and only in these matters, that is, with the true God in view! Who after all would not make a sacrificium intellectus anywhere in this respect?) I also want to say to you now by way of an entirely personal note, that since I learned to read the Bible in this way—which is by no means such a long time ago—it has become more wonderful to me every day.… In a few days it will be Easter … Resurrection. That is certainly not an idea that is in itself reasonable, an eternal truth. I take it to be what the Bible also takes it to be, of course: resurrection from real death (not from sleep) to real life, from being far away from God [der Gottesferne] and from godlessness [der Gottlosigkeit] to new life with Christ in God. God has spoken—and we know this through the Bible—See, I am making all things new. God made that come true at Easter.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer



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In this week's episode we discuss the texts for the first Sunday after Christmas: Numbers 6:22-27, Philippians 2:5-11 and Luke 2:15-21. Show Notes: As a strictly intellectual matter, I am very confident that God exists. In dark times, though — and this has been a dark year in many ways — I wonder if the Absolute relates to us in the way that my church teaches, if he will really wipe away every tear and make all things that we love new...
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