ENTRY 1657 | SATURDAY,
The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles
by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying,
"in you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who
are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. For
all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is
written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things
written in the book of the law, and do them." Now it is evident
that no man is justified before God by the law; for "the righteous
shall live by faith"; but the law does not rest on faith, for
"He who does them shall live by them."
letter to the Galatians, chapter 3:8-12,
from today's Orthodox lectionary
See the homiletical thought below. «
diary - life in the Republic of Malta
I got a lot of new, more exciting, pictures than the kind I used yesterday,
so even though it keeps me hunched over a hot computer until all hours
of the night, here's the first of them. When I came out of the MUR
(the gates of which are seen above in the background, two of the posts
of which are topped by globe-shaped light fixtures), on my way to
the bus that would take me to Costa Coffee, I ran into my Canadian
friend, Paul, along with 100 or so other people gathered just outside
the gates. Paul told me they were waiting for a procession to begin,
from the primary school that's directly across from the MUR gates
to a church three or four blocks away, in Hal Balzan, Hal Lija's next-door
So I decided
that Friday's blog could wait; this is what we in the biz refer to
as a photo op extraordinaire. One of the first members of the procession
to show up was the one with the long ears in the center of the photo,
the donkey brought in to transport "Mary," sitting on his
back, and led by "Joseph," holding the bridle, front left.
The donkey's "handler" is the boy on the right, holding
the reins. It turned out that the procession caused the bus I was
going to take to Costas to be delayed, so I got to have both my seat
(on the bus) and my pictures in this instance.
informed me that last evening a "live Nativity" was also
getting underway in a section of our neighborhood just a few blocks
away. That turned out to be much more elaborate than just a manger
scene with live actors and animals in the corner of a church yard.
It actually recreated a whole "Roman Palestine village"
in a cordoned-off section of Hal Lija with various occupations being
enacted, a brass band playing, Roman soldiers, and more. I'll begin
running photos of that wonderful event in Monday's blog, Lord willing.
After my blogging
shift at Costa, the skies were threatening rain, so I decided against
trying to get to my "gorge" pictures yesterday. Instead,
I set out to find the central library of Malta, which I had been told
was within a manageable walk from the main bus station. I eventually
found it, learned that it is normally open 9 to 5 weekdays and to
noon on Saturdays, and that it has excellent free wifi, which I used
for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. I'll probably be spending
time there most weekdays for the duration of my time here in Malta.
I never did
see any rain on Friday, but will probably save the photos of the gorge
for use after Christmas Day, at any rate. «
to news, features, and opinion pieces. See caveats,
sin is assuming that teenagers don't have religious motivations
Net: the relevance of Saint Silouan the Athonite for our time
school punished blind boy by trading his cane with a pool noodle
News - No US help as Islamic State closes in on Iraqi air base
Latour’s 1993 We Have Never Been Modern a neglected masterpiece
justifies Pakistan school massacre, vows more of same is coming
What lawsuit might mean for Obama immigration fiat
singling out 'Christian' adverts for disclaimers really says to public
tolerate so much immorality that we release outrage on trivial infractions'
film makers discuss the making of Serbian film, The Healing
book review: The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning
cheap over-the-counter painkiller (ibuprofen) may extend life 12 years
40 years as a shoulder-level double amputee, man gains two bionic
cops protestors' seen as the new Puritans in Christmas-fest opposition
Bottum: Joyous surrender: a rhapsody in (tacky) red and green «
(This department alternates with Writing
using "liberal" as the name for the party leading the ideological
war against orthodox Christians and the traditional beliefs and values
of Christianity and classical humanism, because I believe that in
the classic sense of the word, today's American conservatives are
I prefer calling the adversaries "Progressives," as Progressivism
is more readily understood as a philosophical movement based on Darwinism
that has always admitted some affinity to Karl Marx.
But time and
emphases have changed, values have been clarified, and Obama has evolved;
England's tories are now conservatives and its labour movement is
now its liberals, American liberals virtually never advocate limited
government these days, and though I can well remember when most Democrats
didn't want to be called liberals, that day has also passed. Lots
of Republicans (Eisenhower, Rockefeller, Nixon) were happy to be known
as liberals in their time, but now even the liberal Republicans (John
McCain, Jeb Bush) run from that label, knowing they can't win without
conservative backing. And those whose politics is inseparable from
their Christian worldview have a God who, with His truth, are the
same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
I know lots
of self-described liberals who do not equate "Christian"
with Westboro Baptists. But certainly in the social networks, when
anyone defends Christianity, he will be attacked by outspoken "liberals"
who take the position described in the meme. They see us all as "flat-earthers,"
"homophobes," "racists," "gun-slingers"
wrapped in our religion and deniers of science, modern medicine, and
use of the Internet. So I guess today's point is that a Christian
worldview needs to clarify where the lines between the forces of darkness
and light are drawn today, while never forgetting that the real line
between those "sides" is drawn, as Solzhenitsyn recently
reminded us, right through the middle of every human heart. «