What Child Is This

Everybody knows the Christmas story, or at least the part about how the baby arrives. Less familiar to many people, I think, is who this baby turns out to be and how he really matters. In one of those prophecies from Isaiah that sound a lot like Jesus to Christian ears, the prophet says: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named W…

Continue reading

Out of the Depths

Psalm 130 “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” The psalmist doesn’t say why he is brought so low, only that it’s a long way up to where he wants to be. The Bible got to be the Bible because people have found that so much of it speaks to them across all time and space. We don’t need to know why the psalmist is down; we just resonate with his words. He gives voice to what we have felt. Apparent…

Continue reading

Our Dwelling Place

Psalm 90 “Home is where the heart is,” or so an old saying goes. The notion is that home is where we go to relax, or at least where we hope to get rejuvenated from the cares of the world. Home can have its own demands, of course, when a new baby arrives or someone is sick and needs to be cared for. But even then, home is where the heart is because people we love are there. The psalmist says, “Lo…

Continue reading

Faith at Work

Faith means different things to different people. To some, it’s a kind of optimism, as in “I have faith that things will all work out.” Maybe there are good reasons for that optimism, based on a sense of the way things are. Or maybe it’s more like a choice to see the glass half full, a preference for looking on the bright sight when the facts don’t point either way. Or maybe it’s just a sunny disposition…

Continue reading

Not So Blind Faith

The evangelists for atheism—Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the gang—like to contrast science and reason with what they call the “blind faith” of religion. There may be some religious folk whose faith is unquestioning, but the most faithful people I know are also among the most clear-sighted and probing, and critics who see only caricatures and stereotypes might do well to have their own vision checked…

Continue reading