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958Jon Kennedy's blog from Belfast; sixth day of Christmas

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Dec 30, 2013

      Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
      his soj
      ourn in Northern Ireland'
      My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

      Jon Kennedy        

      JONAL ENTRY 1365 | MONDAY, DECEMBER 30 2013

      Today's Scripture: . . . shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

      From St. Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapter 2,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary

      Exciting developments are afoot for the new year. Jack Lamb and I hope to launch the C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland before the end of January, and I got an eletter out to those who have emailed their interest in joining us. We are also considering a wider ministry in the arts in Belfast, so please stay tuned. Jack is back to near normal from his cold of last week, so we began today going over the plans. If you or anyone you know would like to be on that email list, please write me, jrk@....

      Yesterday's drizzle continued today. Moist but not quite wet, chilly but not quite cold. I think they refer to this as "good complexion weather," or at least half-full people do.

      Today's Christmas fare

      Sixth day of Christmas

      Crisis, my favorite magazine despite the fact that it calls itself "a voice for the Catholic faithful" and I'm not Roman Catholic, has taken up a cause that I've tried defending with mixed results for some time. Their article, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore: The Doctrine of Santa Claus, by Sean Fitzpatrick, a fellow Pennsylvanian, takes my argument for Santa Claus another step. It begins:

      "Twas only a matter of time.

      "And it came—as it comes to all.

      "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, a small creature was stirring—my seven-year-old daughter.

      "'Dad,' (I knew the time was come,) 'does St. Nicholas bring us presents at Christmas, or is it just you and Mom?'

      "'Daughter,' (I knew the time would come,) 'the world is full of mystery—things that we do not understand, but still believe in. St. Nicholas does indeed come on the night before Christmas, but he holds a special and strange partnership with mothers and fathers. He comes and fills all the stockings hung by the chimney with care, but he uses the hands of parents to do so. Santa Claus is real—believe it—but like a great many things we believe, he works invisibly through visible things.'"

      Post script: I said about a month ago that I had an idea for an article for Crisis for Christmas, and I asked for feedback. I got no feedback, so I waited until the inspiration passed.

      Today's quotes

      (Of "laws" that can't be read until they've been enacted and interpreted by the courts): . . . our representatives have long ceded to cadres of lawyers the writing of bills that no one can read, much less grasp in their entirety, and have ceded to bureaucrats the actual fleshing-out of the bills, so that indeed no one can possibly know what the law really is until that vast machinery of the executive power infuses it with blood and covers it with flesh, or rather with a triple armor of insulation against the chances and changes of electoral politics. We still call them “laws,” and in some sense they are, since we have to obey them, just as in some sense a cancer cell is a cell and a part of the body, even though its aim is to devour it.

      — Anthony Esolen in Crisis
      (Click here for the whole article)

      Reluctant testimony (spoken as a true post-modern):

      In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality—as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again, they have a right of religious freedom there.

      —Feminist / lesbian author and professor
      Camille Paglia (article linked below))

      There is nothing progressive in being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake.

      —C.S. Lewis
      Homiletical thought: In Orthodoxy, all passions are warned against as competitors for faith. Passion is not regarded so much as deep feeling or enthusiasm as it is idolatry. The original meaning of "fan"—fanatic —is closer to the Orthodox understanding of passion than the typical Western European/American sense of it. Sports fans are often recognized for their fanatical, passionate, obsession with their games, and this is probably where we are likely to see passion as idolatry, though it can be seen in every part of life.

      Paul is saying to Timothy, don't get passionate about things that don't matter in God's perspective. Make your priorities the things that God cares about: righteousness, being separated from worldly pursuits, being spiritual rather than sensual; loving others before yourself and God above all. This is one of the foundation stones of a Christian view of life and the key to acquiring the mind of Christ.
      §     §     §
      Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. 
      Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

      § I have now uploaded over 2,700 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
      For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand (click on either icon to go to the site). 

      Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there.
      Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....

      Feedback is always welcome.

      §     §     §

      Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.


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      C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
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      © 2013 JRK
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence