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Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas from DRC

To all of DRC’s contributors… readers… and friends….

Have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

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Tony Blair has become a Roman Catholic. CNN’s account here.

You have to feel bad for the Church of England.

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I just saw this over at the Crunchy Con: here

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Do you believe in Santa Claus?

I sure do. So do my kids. That might make us odd among Reformed-types but I am unrepentant.

This Lord’s Day evening I will be giving a lecture in apology… I don’t mean I am saying I am sorry. I will try to write the argument out and post it. For now, here is the outline:

Why I believe in Santa Claus:

Intro: Santa Claus hating is a popular Reformed pastime

1. C.S. Lewis: Myths are lies and therefore worthless, even though breathed through silver.

2. Tolkien, “They are not lies… best way… sometimes the only way of conveying truths that would otherwise remain inexpressible.

3. Ours is a world of rationalism and scientism

4. Russell Kirk, “Our time, sick nigh unto death of utilitarianism and literalness, cries out for myth and parable.”

5. Christmas season is a time of great magic produced through the beauty of myth and fairy tale. These myths and fairy tales… including the the myth of Santa Claus, are not lies but deep truths rooted in the deep magic of the True myth.

I. I believe in Santa Claus because I affirm the deep truths of Faerie

A. Faerie is a land of signs and symbols
1. Reflect deepest truths of our experience with the transcendent
2. They reflect truth much deeper than the realm of fact
B. Myth and symbols are foundational to community
1. Legend is more important than book of history
a. Legend is shared by the village and is sane
b. Books are written the one man in the village who is insane
c. G.K. Chesterton
2. Shared symbols and myths give meaning to a people and how they relate to the transcendent.
C. So what does the myth and symbol associated with Santa Claus teach us?

II. I believe in Santa Claus because I affirm the mystical body of Christ

A. Santa Claus WAS a very real person

1. Saint Nicolas

2. Bishop of Myra

3. Attended the counsel of Nicea

4. Known for his generosity and giving of gifts:

“One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value— a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.”

B. Santa Claus IS a very real person

1. Augustine, “there are no dead”

2. The dead in Christ are alive in communion with us

3. Church militant and triumphant are one body

4. We have real fellowship and communion

5. The mystical body of Christ is timeless

a. How does Santa get to so many houses in one night?

b. It is just not logical? (Teach that to your kids and watch their faith grow into rationalism!)

c. How well does your four year old understand the mystical body of Christ?

d. How well do you?

e. Santa Claus teaches us much in this regard

III. I believe in Santa Claus because of what he teaches about God

A. Santa Claus is a means to teach a number of things about God

B. God’s invisible attributes include

a. Omniscience: He knows everything about you

b. He rewards good behavior

c. He shows grace and love

d. He cares for children

C. Although one must be careful not to allow the development of a God substitute, Santa Claus is an excellent, visible, symbol that makes God more easily understood.

IV. I believe in Santa Claus because the death of magic is the beginning of unbelief

A. The great enemies of the faith: modernism, rationalism, scientism,

i. Paganism is not the threat of our day

ii. Paganism a much easier convert

B. Easy for our systematic formulations of the catechism to fit neatly into a modernist faith without mystery.

C. Easy to think that we have all the answers and forget that we see through a glad dimly

D. A faith without mystery is a faith without magic and vice-versa. Kill the magic in your children, take away their ability to be captivated by mystery… and you are breeding unbelief.

E. Therefore, I say without reservation, that I believe, with all my heart, in Santa Claus.

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Peggy Noonan on the Huckabee Christmas commercial:

“Is there a word for “This is nice” and “This is creepy”? For that is what I felt. This is so sweet-appalling.

I love the cross. The sight of it, the fact of it, saves me, literally and figuratively. But there is a kind of democratic politesse in America, and it has served us well, in which we are happy to profess our faith but don’t really hit people over the head with its symbols in an explicitly political setting, such as a campaign commercial, which is what Mr. Huckabee’s ad was.

I wound up thinking this: That guy is using the cross so I’ll like him. That doesn’t tell me what he thinks of Jesus, but it does tell me what he thinks of me. He thinks I’m dim. He thinks I will associate my savior with his candidacy. Bleh.

The ad was shrewd. The caucus is coming, the TV is on, people are home putting up the tree, and the other candidates are all over the tube advancing themselves and attacking someone else. Mr. Huckabee thinks, I’ll break through the clutter by being the guy who reminds us of the reason for the season, in a way that helps underscore that I’m the Christian candidate and those other fellas aren’t. As a break from the nattering argument, as a message that highlights something bigger than politics, it was refreshing…”

I liked the commercial but am bothered by the recurrent Huckabee theme that he is the Christian candidate. What about Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Barak Obama, others? How do the get excommunicated by the Huckabee campaign? I am glad for Christian statesman but the implied exclusivity is a turn off.

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Here

Have conservatives co-opt Martin Luther King as their own? Do Religious conservatives know mark him as their patron saint?

Let me know your thoughts.

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I had a conversation with a member of my congregation last night. He was hard core that he would never vote for a Mormon (or a Catholic for that matter). This is a question that we have kinda assumed the answer to here at DRC. Blame DGH for turning us all into 2K secularists!

Anyway, let me ask a theoretical question. Forget Mitt Romney…. would you vote for a Mormon who otherwise well represented your political position? Could it be sinful to do so? What do you think?

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