Friday, December 24, 2004

What did Adam say to Eve the day before Christmas??


I just wanted to say that this Christmas Eve I really enjoy singing and reviewing the old Christmas carols that I used to sing all the time when I was a choir boy. The church where I was brought up is trying to be more dynamic in services apparently, so there was a whole array of moods to the music tonight. We sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" heard a beautifully sung solo of "O Holy Night" and there was even a tropical sounding song that got some moving through the use of shakers and other raw instruments. I wanted to hear "Oh How the Rose Er Bloometh" but was satisfied that "Silent Night" was sung in fairly good German, pleasing me with the language I find very beautiful though others find it so ugly. My favorite line that I like to hear in German is "schlaf in himmlischen ruh" (Sleep in heavenly peace). After the service I went over to my fellow friend's house and saw his adorable baby doing just that.

My pastor investigated the significance of Jesus's birth and the hang-up people have about whether or not Mary was really a virgin. For some reason, these details make a world of difference for us because who was Jesus exactly? We want to do an exegesis of him if we're interested in him at all, or maybe we can just enjoy the story. It's kind of like celebrity gossip: "I heard that Ben Affleck knocked up..." Why are people so nosy about details?? The pastor made the point that in Samuel's account, perhaps he couldn't convey the importance of Jesus as an initiator or "prince of peace" or the future significance of his controversial teachings, or his uniqueness without talking about what was at that time so common in Greek mythology: humans being impregnated by gods. In some translations, apparently "young girl" and "virgin" meant the same thing. How can you separate any story from its myth? It was around the third century that Christians became so rigid about virginity and the sense of purity that they thought it ennobled. I think this reflects the changing gender roles and conflicts between men and women more than it shows a flaw in the story. Historiagraphy and history never seem to converge after all. There have always been fierce debates and secular divorces over this issue but my pastor doesn't feel the need to take a stance one way or another. Isn't humanity and birth and the will to do good amazing in itself?

I think so. Christmas time encourages me to think more about it and learn some things I don't know about human nature. I would like at some point to read Aesops Fables and compare them to the bible as well as check out some of the Apocrypha. In every story, there always seems to be secrets. Every text has a key, you just need to know how to read it . Then finding out the truth gives more insight to the fiction. Well, now it's late and I still have to prepare for the big birthday bash tomorrow. Don't give me greif about it not being on Jesus's "actual" birthday or anything I just said I'm celebrating. Don't hate me for not hating Christmas, just be happy for me. I know many have been turned cold about Christmas because of all the bastardizations of the meaning and commercialism and all that jazz but I think we should all just chill out and remember that you have the choice every year to make Christmas what it is for you, even if that's just a normal day.

Sclaf in himmlischen ruh!


Blogger The Lioness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:02 a.m.  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

Your belief is beautiful. It is refreshing to read your writings, so earnestly seeking the Good in humankind, not cynical, not fearful. I am an intensely pragmatic Jew, with a large dollop of Hellenistic Aesthetics thrown into the mix. Mine is a religion of doing, not believing. So what matters to me most is not what you believe but what you do about it: to others, and for yourself. (And especially what you do when you make a mistake.)

8:47 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

That's very good. Doing will always make much more of a difference than believing, but belief is part of it. One has to have a hope or an idea to direct their actions other than self-interest. In our interpersonal day-to-day relationships it's not as if believing in one name as opposed to another for God will make a difference in how we act, but our image of human capability and our sense of ideal purpose will. I saw a man fall down twice while he was walking across the street, then two men ran to pick him up. This is the kind of good anyone can do whether they be religious or not. I hope that religion inspires people to do more, not less, so I admire organizations of all faiths that do mission work as I admire rituals and the importance of doing in your faith.

10:03 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

sorry, I meant to write Savtadotty. Please forgive my sins of spelling.

10:05 a.m.  

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