Mary

Chris Hoke 12-22-2011
The Holy Family by Margret Hofheinz-Döring via http://bit.ly/rK5376

The Holy Family by Margret Hofheinz-Döring via http://bit.ly/rK5376

I noticed this Christmas season, for the first time, that not only were Mary and Joseph forced to migrate under Rome’s census; not only was the Incarnate God born into a humiliating space — but, as they fled to Egypt, they never registered in Bethlehem with the census. A dream, an angel, told the migrant father to gather his family and run from the authorities. Unaccounted for in the empire, baby Jesus’ first movement in this world was a government-evading trek through the desert by night.

I think about this as, right now, my friend Estuardo is probably crouching in the dark somewhere in the desert along the Mexican border. At the same time my wife and I hang electric Christmas lights on our tree, get out our nativity sets, and read familiar illustrated books about the stars in the sky above the shepherds. Estuardo has told me, from previous voyages across the border by night, how clear the stars are when hiding from the border patrol lights.

Image via Wylio: http://bit.ly/rRaH5G

"Away in a manger" at the Holy Cross Monastery, NY. Via Wylio: http://bit.ly/rRaH5G

I think of Mary, the young woman whose eyes were opened to God’s messenger, whose womb was opened to God in human flesh. The Greeks call her theotokos — the God-bearer.

She is the one who welcomed Jesus to make his home in her. Blessed among women, she is a model for us.

She’s not just an inspiration for a house of hospitality. She is one.

Two years ago, Leah was very pregnant during Advent. Because of high blood pressure, she was on bed rest for most of it. So we waited.

We waited for our daughter to come, and we waited for Christmas. We waited with Mary to greet face-to-face the One whom we invite into our lives every time we whisper a prayer.

Waiting, we learned, changes your relationship to time. You stop partitioning it into blocks, and you learn to receive it.

Joshua Witchger 11-28-2011
New Bishop of Durham knocking on door at Saturday's ceremony. Image from durham.

New Bishop of Durham knocking on door at Saturday's ceremony. Image from durham.anglican.org/news-and-events.

The real Dunder Mifflin Paper Co., the goods and evils of the pepper-spraying cop, N.T. Wright's fiery predecessor, the belt of the Virgin Mary closes Russian tour, Parker J. Palmer, and more.

Timothy King 10-04-2011

kibera1

Scripture constantly should be challenging our assumptions about our lives and in every aspect of society. Transformation is needed on a personal and also a political level. Scriptural priorities shouldn't be glossed over in order to protect political ideologies and comfort zones.

If we believe that what Jesus taught remains just as relevant today as it did when he physically walked among us, then it should still be a comfort to those on the margins of society and offensive to the wealthy and powerful. That doesn't mean that the wealthy and powerful can't be good and faithful followers of Christ, but Jesus did warn them that their walk will be a hard one. Wealth and power bring unique and difficult temptations ... If you never feel uncomfortable when you read the Gospels then you aren't paying attention.

'The sun' photo (c) 2007, John - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/An account in The New York Times by Ethan Bronner reports that Israeli women and West Bank Palestinian women and girls have once again broken Israeli laws. They have gone swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

More than two dozen Israeli women invited Palestinian women and girls from the southern part of the West Bank of the Jordan River -- who are not normally allowed into Israel and have no access to the sea -- to go swimming with them. Under Israeli military occupation since 1967, according to Bronner, "most had never seen the sea before."

Our current practice in the U.S. actually reflects the earlier legal reality of coverture: In the process of the "two becoming one flesh," the wife lost her rights to property, legal representation in court, and even her public identity as her husband became the sole representative for the family. This combination of identities (or, rather, the wife becoming lost in her husband's identity) led to wives taking their husbands' last names. For me, losing my surname would have represented silent assent to this oppressive practice.

Jim Wallis 6-30-2011

My iPhone died and I didn't even care. A cooler full of water and ice was dumped on my head, which soaked not only me, but also my phone. My older son Luke's Little League team, called the Nationals, had just won the Majors championship in Northwest Little League.

Jim Wallis 4-06-2011

[Editors' note: During the season of Lent we will be posting excerpts from the Rediscovering Values Lenten Study Guide. We invite you to study God's word with us through these posts.]

Nadia Bolz-Weber 1-07-2011
I have a pastor friend who collects a lot of crèche scenes. He especially likes really bad ones.
Mimi Haddad 11-03-2010
If you are concerned about the question of gender and Christian faith you have probably heard someone say, "Yes, the woman's question is important, but it is not a 'primary issue.'" What is at the
Rose Marie Berger 7-29-2010

Art and Peggy Gish are career peace, civil rights, and human rights activists who embody the motto of their primary affiliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams: "Getting in the way."

Aaron Taylor 5-25-2010
In March, I wrote a piece praising the Biblical character Boaz for showing compassion to Ruth, w
Debra Dean Murphy 5-03-2010

There's a scene in the film Food, Inc. that reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of U.S.

Ernesto Tinajero 3-30-2010
The other has been a philosophical idea with a rich history.
Aaron Taylor 3-23-2010

Every once in a while I get an "aha" moment and I can't turn my mind off, thus preventing me from a good night's sleep. Last night's "aha" moment came as I was reflecting on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.

Kathy Khang 3-08-2010

Hollywood isn't real life, but when real life (mine and the lives of the actors) and Hollywood converge it is great fodder for thinking and conversation. Peter and I can't stop talking about a recent date night movie, Up in the Air, starring Vera Farmiga and George Clooney.

Onleilove Alston 1-26-2010

After college I completed a year of service with Public Allies New York, an Americorps service program.

Nadia Bolz-Weber 1-19-2010
My family and I returned from vacation Tuesday to news reports of the devastation in Haiti.
Nadia Bolz-Weber 12-22-2009
Again this Wednesday we joined the broader church in singing vespers, the evening prayer which always includes Mary's song, the Magnificat.

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