Another Christmas

So it’s Christmas again . . . always a bittersweet time of year for me. I bend my knee in wonder at Christ’s condescension in coming to us as one of us, laying down His Godhead and assuming our human frailty, trading the crown of eternal glory for one of thorns . . . and yet, I feel alienated from, and by, the trappings of the season. I described on this blog, two years ago, the night Christmas became real for me. Ever since that night, the traditions of the season have meant little or nothing to me beside that

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The Pope’s message at Christmas

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today broadcast a Christmas Eve message on the BBC to listeners in the United Kingdom. Here’s an excerpt. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom. God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in

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A church that gets it!

I’ve said on numerous occasions that as far as I’m concerned, religious faith isn’t something you believe; it’s something you live, something you do. Anything less is an intellectual fad rather than something really meaningful and life-changing. I was very pleased to read about a church in Alabama that seems to grasp that reality. We American Christians have a way of taking the Jesus of the Bible and twisting him into a version of Jesus that we are more comfortable with. A nice middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and would never call us to give away

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Taking it all off . . . for journalism???

Via Dustbury, we learn of a journalist who – at the request of her editors – agreed to live nude for a week. Most people wake up in the morning and get dressed. Last week, I agreed to hop out of bed and not get dressed. I called it Naked Week. I believe that a lot of things are better without clothes: Bubble baths, swimming under the stars, frolicking between the sheets. When it’s time to cook dinner, scrub the tub or watch “The Big Bang Theory,” I prefer to be wearing clothes. I agreed to take it all off

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For California, ‘The Big One’ may not be an earthquake

I was intrigued to read that the US Geological Survey believes that California may be threatened one day by a ‘perfect storm’, one so great it would be several times more damaging – and more costly – than another major earthquake. They call their scenario ‘ARKStorm‘. This video clip outlines what they fear may happen one day. The USGS points out that such storms have occurred in the past. Beginning on Christmas Eve, 1861, and continuing into early 1862, an extreme series of storms lasting 45 days struck California. The storms caused severe flooding, turning the Sacramento Valley into an

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More on the FCC and ‘net neutrality’

It seems several commenters to my article yesterday about the FCC’s power grab over the Internet disagreed with my perspective, and that of John Fund. I’m afraid they’re wrong . . . dangerously so. To clarify the situation, I wanted to put up a couple more links. First, Adam Thierer points out the real danger of such a power grab. … all the wishful thinking in the world isn’t going to change the fact that any government agency or process big enough to control a major sector of our economy will be prone to influence by those most affected by

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I see AMVER is alive and well

I was pleased to read about a rescue at sea earlier this month, involving the US Coast Guard’s AMVER network. The acronym stands for the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System, first established in 1958. It has a long and illustrious history, with many thousands of seafarers owing their lives to its existence. I have a somewhat paternal interest in it, as in my youth I worked at Cape Naval Radio in South Africa for a time (callsign ZSJ), receiving AMVER notifications from ships in the South Atlantic for onward transmission to the USCG. ZSJ was hosted at the South

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Pre-Christmas music 1

In preparation for our celebration of the birth of a Savior, here’s one of the most ancient Advent carols, and one of my personal favorites. This particular version is modern, but the words date back to the 8th century. If you’d like the words, you’ll find them here. This version uses only three verses, 7, 5 and 2, in that order. Click here to play a more complete rendition of this hymn, in more traditional style. There’ll be more Christmas music tomorrow. Peter

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The FCC and ‘net neutrality’

Readers are doubtless familiar with the FCC’s attempt this week to regulate the Internet – something which is patently outside the bounds of its legal authority. John Fund, writing in the Wall Street Journal, leads us through the background to understand how and why the FCC is so desperate to overstep its authority, and why it’s important that the new Congress act to rein it in before it’s too late. President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn’t have

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