Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

                   As you may or may not be surprised to learn, Santa Claus is an American. That is, he was born on American soil in 1823 and his poetic father was Mr. Clement Clarke Moore, who in that year published a poem (anonymously) entitled, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. (He ‘fessed up to the authorship in 1837.) Until that time mention of St. Nicholas…

Destination Weddings

I am doomed, I think, never to become a trend-setter, because culturally I never seem to discover the latest trend until it has been around for a while and starts to become Yesterday’s News. Thus I have lately discovered the popularity of Destination Weddings. Googling “Destination Weddings” brings up 12,100,000 results in .20 seconds, the first one of which informs me that I should choose them for my Destination Wedding, because they…

Apocalyptic Spirituality

There are three Hebrew words which the first century church used often in their worship, and we have retained only two of them. These Hebrew/ Aramaic words were so important that they were carried bodily and untranslated into the worship of the non-Hebrew Gentile churches, where they functioned not as Hebrew words but as international Christian ones. All Christians today use two of them every time they worship. They are: “amen” and…

That Was Then, This Is Now

I was born and raised in the greater Toronto area (known to the natives there as “the GTA”), and came to faith in the early 70’s. For the students of ancient history among us, that was the time of the so-called “Jesus Movement”, when tens of thousands of young people came to Christ, many of them former hippies and drug-addicts. It was a brief blip on the cultural radar, and was over…

“Apologize and Then Keep Quiet Forever”

Recently the news has been full of the story of a Roman Catholic monsignor, Krzysztof Charamsa of Poland, the Adjunct Secretary of the Doctrine for the Congregation of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church. The Reverend Charamsa was a former Vatican official, and he was stripped of his post recently after he publicly acknowledged that he was gay and also in a gay relationship with another man. He has written the Pope…

A Poor Man Named Lazarus

Our Lord’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man is unique among the parables, for in this parable alone one of the characters has a name. The parable begins, “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus”.  Compare how the parable of the Prodigal Son begins: “There was a man who…