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By In Culture

Recipes and readings for Advent (4)

One of our members at Emmanuel in London, Lucie Brear, has compiled a fantastic collection of recipes and suggested Scripture readings for advent. If you want to discover a traditional English way to prepare for Christmas, then just read on! I’ll post them here one week at a time. Here’s the fourth:

Christopsomo (Christ’s bread)

The baking of Christopsomo (literally, “Christ’s Bread”, in Greek Χριστόψωμο, pronounced hree-STOHP-soh-moh) is a sacred tradition in many Greek Orthodox homes. On Christmas Eve, traditional recipes for plain or sweet spiced bread are prepared with great care and using only the highest quality ingredients.

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By In Culture

Recipes and readings for Advent (3)

One of our members at Emmanuel in London, Lucie Brear, has compiled a fantastic collection of recipes and suggested Scripture readings for advent. If you want to discover a traditional English way to prepare for Christmas, then just read on! I’ll post them here one week at a time. Here’s the third:

A Reformed Christmas – The Butter Letters

Given that we have just celebrated its 500th anniversary, it’s festively fitting that we explore the impact of the Reformation on Christmas, along with a traditional Advent recipe that is closely linked to this period.

It may surprise some to learn that the Reformation had a profound influence on the way we celebrate Christmas, in more ways than we might expect. Read on to discover how Luther and the Reformers shaped the Christmas traditions that many of us hold dear.

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By In Culture, Theology

Family Matters

“Peace on earth.” This was the proclamation of the angels when they announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Luke 2.14). “Peace on earth.” The promise of salvation in the Christ was not escape from the earth, but rather its rescue from the bondage of sin and its rearrangement under the lordship of Jesus. The eternal Son became a man, not so that we could leave this earth, but so that the earth would become everything that God intended it to become.

Creation matters to God. The way he created the world and his purposes for the world have not been abandoned with the incarnation. In the incarnation of the eternal Son, God has affirmed his love for the creation and his purposes for it. Creation is not being abandoned but rescued and glorified. (more…)

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By In Culture, Theology, Wisdom

For the Sake of the Church, Don’t use Transgender Pronouns

The Gospel Coalition published an article last week by Stephen West titled “Speaking the Truth in Love: Can Christians use Gender-Neutral Pronouns?” This article was appalling in a number of ways.

Stephen West is wrong on this issue primarily because he fails to see the bigger issues involved. He takes such a narrow view that he seems to think this issue is merely an academic discussion about the placement of a grain of sand: should it go here or over there? Meanwhile a tsunami is heading our way. This discussion is not primarily about loving people who suffer from transgender dysphoria. This is about the reality of the world and how our culture is trying to reject that basic reality. California already has a law on the books forcing doctors and nurses to refer to patients by their “preferred” pronouns. The law says it is illegal to “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.” If this isn’t a law straight out of 1984, then I am not sure what is.

West says he is aware of this larger cultural issue: “I certainly do not believe that Christians—or anyone else—should be coerced into using gender-neutral pronouns. I think that we are seeing an abuse of power by people who support an extreme left-wing ideology. Christians need to speak up and take a stand for biblical morality, God’s design in creation, freedom in society, and the danger of Orwellian thought-police using human rights’ tribunals to force people to use invented words.”

But then West fails to realize that the very advice he gives is setting things up so that the “left-wing ideology” can “force people to use invented words”. He seems to think that we can maintain these basic freedoms by freely agreeing to use these invented words. How is that not being controlled by these people? He is suggesting that we don’t have to be coerced to use these words, we will do it gladly ourselves. The title of his article should actually be: “How to use the pronouns the thought-police want us to use.”

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By In Culture, Family and Children, Film, Humor, Wisdom

On Crude Humor

Author Remy Wilkins is a teacher at Geneva Academy.
His first novel Strays is available from Canon Press

“You wouldn’t hit a man with glasses would ya?”
“No, of course not. I’d hit him with a bat.”

In our culture of frivolity it is tempting for Christians to think that solemnity should be our defining attribute. The coarseness of the world impedes us from enjoying an y sort of sexual or bodily function jokes because we do not want to be guilty of approving that which is sinful. Even though we know that the bed is undefiled and the body is good, and are therefore free to enjoy those aspects of life in humor, we are stunted in our ability to appreciate them due to the folly and poor taste of our age.

So while we are not to be characterized by coarse jesting, we must learn to distinguish jokes that laud wickedness (the ribaldry forbidden in Ephesians) from those jokes that merely highlight the glorious and comedic world. We cannot merely clam up and play it safe, throwing out the good jokes with the bad. If we are to be characterized by joy then we must be leaders in laughter, but Humor is not a tame lion. It is invasive, subversive and mysterious. It is hard to determine where it is anchored, whether it mocks or praises, and what it is standing with or against.

For this reason many hedge their laughter, guard their mirth like an untrustworthy servant. There is a temerity that would rather not laugh at something funny than to laugh at something sinful. So how can we train our minds to laugh wisely? (more…)

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By In Culture, Scribblings, Theology

a poem for advent

E. E. Cummings

 

maybe god

is a child
‘s hand)very carefully
bring
-ing
to you and to
me(and quite with
out crushing)the

papery weightless diminutive (more…)

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By In Culture, Family and Children

Recipes and readings for Advent (1)

One of our members at Emmanuel in London, Lucie Brear, has compiled a fantastic collection of recipes and suggested Scripture readings for advent. If you want to discover a traditional English way to prepare for Christmas, then just read on! I’ll post them here one week at a time. Here’s the first:

Stir Up Sunday

The first Sunday before advent, which this year fell on November 26th, is traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday, when families gather together to mix and steam the Christmas pudding.

The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer:

“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Christmas pudding would traditionally contain 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples. Practically, stirring the mixture is hard work, so as many family members as possible join in the task. The pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour of the Magi (three wise men) who visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The customary garnish of holly represents the crown of thorns.

Most recipes for Christmas pudding require it to be cooked well in advance of Christmas and then reheated on Christmas day – but even though Stir Up Sunday has passed, there’s still plenty of time to prepare your pudding. You may even want to follow this traditional Victorian recipe, made with shredded beef suet.

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