"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas is coming....

In their observances of Christmas, Americans had begun to create a symbol of non-denominational Protestantism that fit well into the pluralist culture in which they lived. The festive air of churches, draped with nature's greenery, shining with candles, and filled with music, invited wary strangers to enter. Inside, they could imagine a haven in which old and cherished values survived, a world removed from an ever more complex and confusing temporal one. Church visitors and members alike could bypass the theological questions that divided them along sectarian lines and participate together in the pomp and ritual of the services. Synthetic, short-lived, and to some degree superficial, this association of believers at Christmas helped satisfy a vague but growing need to identify and solidify a sense of community that went beyond the confines of church walls.
Penne L. Restad, Christmas in America. New York: Oxford University Press 1995, p. 33.

Ms. Restad is writing about America in the early 19th century, not America in the early 21st century. I thought the context might need that much explanation.


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