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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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82 Responses to 611

  1. Your Brother says:

    Wow I’m the first to comment!!
    Did you realise that Bedlam is derived from Bethlehem? It just occured to me as I was admiring the glorious cacophony of praise!!

  2. Kim says:

    That’s so beautiful.

    Glad to see you back – hope you are feeling much better, and wishing you the very best at Christmas and the new year.

    Thanks for all your humour, thought and inspiration this year.

  3. jonbirch says:

    oooh… nice point your brother. like it! i’ll use that as a caption next year when everyone’s forgotten where it came from. :-) glad the college years and all that lecturing hasn’t been wasted! :-)

    thanks kim… happy christmas to you too! :-)

  4. Robb says:

    Don’t get me started!!

    I had someone try to argue that it was a silent night because Mary was immaculately concieved and therefore didn’t suffer the same birth pains as everyone else because she was “pre fall”.

    Erm…. Life, going free to a good home. Come and get a life over here. Life, going free!!

    Welcome back Mr Birch. Good to have a focal point for my humbugness :D

  5. JF says:

    Immaculately conceived? Isn’t that just a construct for the Original Sin brigade? Or did it really happen? Christmas two years ago, I heard a Christian friend utter that they didn’t believe it. Is it important?

  6. LindyB says:

    The Immaculate Conception of Mary was a very popular item of doctrine in the medieval period (after Eadmer, I think) but wasn’t officially incorporated into Catholic belief until the nineteenth century.
    For Christians in the Middle Ages, it was crucial to the doctrine of salvation because since Mary herself had been born without sin, she was an appropriate ‘vessel’ for the incarnated God; she was able to give birth to him without original sin and therefore he was able to be fully human and fully divine. Some Middle English texts explain the idea to their audience through incorporation of the midwives legend in the nativity story.

    (Linda takes off PhD hat)
    but I don’t think it’s crucial to most people’s Christianity today. And there are many Christians who don’t believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, let alone that the virgin herself was immaculately conceived.

  7. Robb says:

    Ooops. I wasn’t opening that box. I was opening the ‘peaceful’ birth box. I have never had kids but people I am friends with who have are far too candid. They use word like “tearing” and “stitches”. They certainly don’t use the word “silent” nor do they use the word “elastic”.

    I think the most endearing image that has been etched onto my mind like the shadow of a man covering next to a wall during a nuclear blast is that of my own birth. It has been reported on numerous occasions (usually when there are people for me to be embarassed in front of) that my (serene and holy) mother bit my father and screamed “YOU DID THIS TO ME YOU BASTARD!!”

    Silent night, holy night, all is calm all is bright….

  8. subo says:

    spot on, it’s christmas, lets have a good knees up

  9. jonbirch says:

    haha! i came out eventually, sucking my thumb with my elbow jutting out, so naturally i got stuck. i haven’t changed much! :-)

    as far as i’m aware jf, the only thing that makes you a christian is saying you believe in and follow christ. different established traditions have their own myriad ‘add-ons’… but none that i’d be prepared to die arguing over. my own ‘christianity’, although i’m loathe to call it that, is based on the simple premise that i am flawed etc… the person of christ offers me grace and i accept it gratefully. end of. i’m still flawed btw… but i know you’re well aware of that. :-)

  10. jonbirch says:

    before someone takes issue with my definition, i should add… my faith does inform my decisions on what i will and won’t do, just like anyone else’s worldview… but as i said above… my faith and thus my developing worldview are still mighty flawed i have no doubt.

  11. James says:

    woah woah woah hang on a min. The baby Jesus did NOT cry have you ever heard Away in a Manger?


  12. Good to have you back Mr Birch. Great post. As for Mary’s serene labour, like your mother and billions of mothers around the world and down the ages have rightly testified, it wasn’t exactly ‘silent night’.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  13. soniamain says:

    I’m with you Rob- of course it wasn’t silent, and whether Mary conceived without the help of a man or not what difference does that make to the whole child birth experience- it is Bl**** painful in my experience (2) and amazing but not quiet! ( from either the mum or the baby or the dad!!)

  14. RockingRev says:

    Not only was it not silent, but there is nothing to say Mary came on a donkey, neither is anything said about a stable, only a manger. There were not necessarily three magi, only three gifts and they were not necessarily wise, nor Men!! In fact Zoroastrian astrologers were often women, and we have to face it, when they got lost they did ask for directions!

  15. Robb says:

    Rockingrev – much more succinct than I would have put it. I was given a lovely knitted nativity set. I asked her for another magi. She obliged. The four of them are currently traipsing across my living room from the east. They will arrive by epiphany I am sure :D

  16. I don’t think the Magi got there for a year or two, and by that time the family were housed.

  17. Forrest says:

    “Glorious Cacophony of Praise”.
    I like that phrase!
    Now, if we could just get the Music Minister to get on board with that concept . . . ;-)

    Speaking of glorious cacophonies, our 3 grandkids are here for the day – 6 years, 5 years, 3 years.

    Oh, oh! They just found their Nana’s Veggie Tales Nativity set :D

  18. drew says:

    I just love the angels – I wonder which one is wearing the ‘shining thong’?

  19. LindyB says:

    I am just playing the asbo equivalent of devil’s advocate here but…
    … the idea of silent night makes beautiful theological sense in terms of soteriology. Eve is told she will suffer labour pains because of the first sin; through giving birth painlessly (and therefore potentially silently), Mary is part of the process by which original sin is overcome and mankind is saved.

    I admire this theology for its capacity to encapsulate the significance of Incarnation in the moment that it happens. Whether I believe that it actually happened is, to me, insignificant; its importance lies in the fact that it speaks to us of Christ’s saving power.

    And the idea of a symbolically silent nativity night throws up the mayhem of our present-day celebrations into sharp relief. For me, the idea that the Prince of Peace was born peacefully is a powerful antidote to some of the excess of the season.

  20. Robb says:

    Don’t mean to be all pendantic but…. if we’re opperating a truly Catholic theology (to get to the pre fall eve like state of Mary)…. surely the incarnation happened 9 months previously….

  21. LindyB says:

    true – but I haven’t worked on the Annunciation yet ;-)

  22. becky says:

    Jon – you and Naked pastor are thinking alike … only I think he has his mind a bit more in the gutter than you do.

    Let us not forget the stench that followed – I rode a donkey at Petra and the smell of their sh*t during the long hike was almost overpowering. Much worse than dog doo. Add to it all the other manger smells, and oh my God.

    BTW-Saw a 1st century manger in Israel – it is roughly carved piece of stone – add to it straw and there’s no way anyone could have a pleasant night sleeping in that.

  23. sarah says:

    Amen! Come Lord Jesus.

  24. Joe says:

    LindyB – to be another devil’s advocate;

    “whether I believe that it actually happened is…insignificant.”

    Is theology that is divorced from reality any good to anyone? I don’t want to feel good if my good feelings are based on lies.


    P.S. Hope that doesn’t come across too harsh…

  25. LindyB says:

    I see exactly what you mean Joe. I just believe that there are ways of expressing mystery (because I think the idea of an incarnated God can’t help but be mysterious on some level) that can enable us to understand that mystery.

    But I think I and my attempt to bring a different perspective to this debate will now gracefully retire.

  26. shelly says:

    Brilliant. (Also: you can throw out the second verse of “Away in a Manger”, particularly this bit: “But little Lord Jesus / No crying he makes”.)

  27. where did the donkey, cow and camels come from??

  28. James says:

    Thank you, you and rocking rev have inspiring my nativity based Christmas quiz for my youth group’s website.

  29. Robb says:

    LindyB – Please don’t! It is refreshing and thought provoking. Systematics isn’t my bag but I’m up for a laugh about anything!

    For me the mystery button (what they called it at college)is something that should only be pressed in systematics when you really have nowhere else to turn.

    As a liturgist* – my area – mystery is sadly lacking in many of our reformed traditions! We can’t experience God without trying to put him into the defined terms. We spend so much time making God accessable through introductions and page numbers and words that we can’t let God take control.

    Heck, even perhaps……

    …. a little silence *gasp*.

    Mystery is where it is at – ‘cos God is very big and we are very small. When we try to cram the very big God into our very small brains……… BOOOOOOOM!!!

    *a liturgist who says he is no good at systematics, oh the cliche – how will I get through life like this…. How will I look my Grandchildren in the eye having been such a cliche??!!??

  30. LindyB says:

    thanks Robb :-)

  31. Joe says:

    ahh… you have helped me see your point more clearly. thanks for the response and please do not retire!

    mystery is so important — perhaps what makes me such a fan of God (see, if i could understand all of Him, he wouldn’t be much of a God, right?).

    i think the mystery of God is why the Bible is written not as a doctrinal statement, but as a collection of stories, songs, and sermons. perhaps systematic theology is ill-equipped to define God for us?

    thank God for poets and artists, theologians all!


  32. Pingback: Some ‘gentle’ Christmas carol corrections | The Daily Scroll

  33. subo says:

    how sad is our culture, where it’s almost impossible not to feel a frustrated ‘yea, right!’, about stuff your told.

    we are told war is good, greed is good, money is good, ……., trust is bad, love is addiction, homelessness is failure, poverty is shameful.

    for me one of the most powerful aspects of the birth of Christ, is the holding out against rejection, exclusion, shaming and fatigue

    knowing George Bush was the most powerful man in the most powerful nation, leaves me feeling alien and irrelevant. knowing our Lord came in to this world almost as a refugee, makes me like a brother

    sometimes I’m awe struck by Joseph and Mary, two people who found out how to make room in their lives for God, even though at times their life, during the Roman occupation, must have left them beyond tears

  34. Robb says:

    Joe – you hit it!!

  35. ED... says:

    Where’s Santa?

  36. jonbirch says:

    i always preferred silent night sung in german… maybe it’s because i like the tune and as i don’t speak german i don’t have to worry about the words.

    btw. i believe in original creation. i was originally created. i was not born into the world a sinner. i did that myself… and even then i refuse to be labelled by any brand of church as a ‘sinner’. i was a new creation at my birth and am a new creation if i accept grace. yes i was born with my elbow sticking out, but that’s not ‘sin’, that’s ‘quirky’. :-)
    i’m not saying i haven’t sinned and won’t again… a lot… but that’s not my point. all the names the god of the bible gives his human creatures and we get stuck on ‘sinner’. well that’s just defeatist in my book! :-)
    there is no original sin in the bible i own. sorry if that upsets anyone… but it’s not there… i’ve looked. in the genesis story, sin enters the world through disobedience… in that story, sin is new to adam and eve, and the repercussions send shockwaves down through time and space… but original sin… nope… made up i think. we can’t just go on blaming adam and eve for all the stuff we get up to… it’s our responsibility… anything else is a cop out.
    i have many good friends who will probably disagree fully with what i’ve just written… ah well, it’s a good topic. :-)

  37. Robb says:

    Sounds good to me..

  38. jonbirch says:

    hey ed… there’s santa maria and santa giuseppe… how many more santas do you want? :-)

  39. jonbirch says:

    i knew you’d agree with that robb… i think there’s a difference between what the bible says and the gaps that people fill in. even if genesis were trying to give a history of events, like the story of the exodus for example, i still see no reason fot the theology of original sin. it seems to be there to make us feel like we’re all awful beings born out of guilt and shame… well that’s simply not true. the bible and even jesus likens god to good mums and dads and likens good adults to children. so jesus isn’t as condemning as this theology… he seems to see a lot of good in us.
    okay rant over. :-)

  40. jonbirch says:

    btw ed… i absolutely love the headline of your blog…

    “Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity.

    We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

    hope you don’t mind me quoting it, but i love it.

  41. subo says:

    “i believe in original creation.” – me too, we are created in the image of God

  42. Laura says:

    Great comments! Well worth the wait, glad you’re back Mr. Birch. Your definition of “christianity” was spot on. Also…like the one about being “orginally created”

    Robb- love this!
    “Mystery is where it is at – ‘cos God is very big and we are very small. When we try to cram the very big God into our very small brains……… BOOOOOOOM!!!”

  43. JF says:

    The more I read this blog, the more I think that the lines between Christianity and Humanism are not so clearly defined. No angels, no supernatural events in answer to prayers, no virgin birth… just individuals and groups of people working towards fulfilling their potential to be Good and to be a force for Good, working through the ‘flaws’ that limit the positive things in their lives and in their relationships, knowing that Heaven is a place here on earth, reached whenever we achieve / live up to the qualities of which we are capable; the Perfect Me that lurks (somewhere) inside, beneath all the flaws, the problems, the things that people dislike about me and that I dislike about myself. Working through all that to try to be perfect. To fail, but to try again. And again. In Jesus name?

  44. Chris F says:

    Well, JF, humanists are not stupid after all, and are genuinely searching for truth and meaning – so it’s hardly surprising that many of their conclusions overlap with ours!

    Of course you’re right – it because we do it in Jesus’ name that we are different – ultimately very different, with an eternal perspective that is full of Hope.

    Anyone who is genuinely searching for truth and knows they haven’t arrived is certainly nearer to the truth than those who think they know the truth already

  45. jonbirch says:

    i think the only difference between a ‘christian’ and a ‘humanist’ is what the individual professes to be. don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying they are the same. you can be a ‘christian’ and kill muslims on a crusade… heaven forbid any of us should think that’s right!
    the jesus of the bible tells me i am saved through grace… nothing else… there’s no good work i can do that is impressive enough to cover my flaws… i need a free gift. knowing myself a little, that sits true with me. no end of ‘trying’ has not stopped me from being selfish and stupid.
    if we are created in the image of god… then the idea that christians and humanists are different is something i can make little sense of. in fact i certainly have far more in common with many humanists than many of my supposed bros and sisses in christ.
    i think many humanists too have an eternal perspective which is full of hope. they may attribute it differently, but good works were seldom or never motivated by ‘no’ hope.
    the only difference between me and someone who would label themselves ‘humanist’. is jesus and the grace he gives. many christians believe (wrongly, in my view, from a bible standpoint) that we’re escaping off to heaven one day… i don’t… i believe in the redemption of everything… so my worldview and the priorities that gives me are gonna be way different from at least 50% of ‘christendom’.
    i guess what i’m saying in the end jf, comes down to my sense that my struggles to free myself from those things you correctly identify are all in vain, grace takes away the need we feel to redeem ourselves and frees us from its chains (in theory)… but i still really relate to your last sentences and as a definition of myself it works quite well… “…beneath all the flaws, the problems, the things that people dislike about me and that I dislike about myself. Working through all that to try to be perfect. To fail, but to try again. And again. In Jesus name.”
    you’ll notice i left the question mark off the end, so it’s a bit of a misquote… hope you don’t mind. :-)
    a quick nutshelling… the grace that christ offers and what he underwent in my place, should allow me to get on with living guilt free. i confess, i move on… however, you know me… and you know that i do all of this in a very flawed way too… so i have to say ‘thank you’ for grace. grace came at a high price for the individual who i choose to follow… and even from a humanist perspective, what he did is mighty impressive as a statement. so i choose him and i choose grace.

    i’ve wittered… and maybe fluffed what i was trying to say… but that’s a stab at it. :-)

  46. All the additions to the Nativity story come from the Protevangelium of James (c150). In that you’ll find the animals, cave, light, 3 wise men, donkeys, midwife, Joseph’s sons to a previous marriage; the whole kit and kaboodle. There is a fantastic bit, where Joseph goes in search of the midwife. He experiences a vision of the stilling of time. I’ve just done a piece of music based on it, especially for Christmas: http://ascendinganddescending.blogspot.com/2008/12/music-for-christmas-nativity.html

  47. Mark says:

    Here is the most compelling argument for Original Sin I can make (other than Romans 5). Death is the curse placed on humanity because of sin. Everyone dies. Even new-born babies, terribly still die. If they were sinless, then God could not let them die and still be just.

  48. becky says:

    What attracts me to Asbo Jesus is that I feel Christ is truly present. I have been in post-Christian god-without-god, church-without-church type navel gazing gatherings and they bore the crapola out of me – talk, talk, talk that might be an interesting intellectual exercise but in the end, doesn’t touch the heart.

    My encounters with Jesus over the years transformed my heart (though some days you’d never know it). And that’s why I’m not a humanist. I find their basic philosophy to be quite compelling – a focus on doing good. If more Christians shifted their focus from deciding who gets to heaven and who gets barbecued for all eternity, my guess is many more folks would be attracted to follow Jesus.

    Where we differ on this site (and this is a good thing mind you) is how we interpret Jesus – my thinking is strongly informed by the fact that I encountered Christ primarily in Anglican settings. Others have a different encounter with the Living Lord and that informs how they see Christ. In a safe place like Asbo Jesus, we can share our different stories and learn from the other what the face of Christ looks like to them. Where I find myself in disagreement with other Christians is when they have decided that they have received the ONLY revelation and anyone who disagrees with them is destined to spend eternity being barbecued.

  49. subo says:

    “humanists, …and are genuinely searching for truth and meaning”

    I believe God invested something of herself and his wisdom in Creation, and that this is there for us to discover, for instance many people have discovered unique and wonderful mysteries via a search for meaning, that does not include Christ. And they do indeed get something right, and find ‘truths’. I’m thinking of the Findhorn community’s apparent powers with plants, and systems of medicine ‘discovered’ in some of the worlds religions

    we are as we know, made in the image of God, so for humanists to discover our ‘humanness’, is great, sadly they don’t go on to see that this amazing quality is a gift of God!

    the thing is, sin came into the world, – post creation in my view, and muddled our thinking, so what was good and perfect, has become subject to decay, and obscured by our loss of perfect vision

    God in her generosity hasn’t withdrawn his gifts, or re-coded the universe so we can’t discover stuff, and by her desire to reconcile us through Christ, I think some Humanists will wake up on the New Earth and think ‘Ah, of course, I missed something, only God could have made something so wonderful as a human like me and my mates.’

  50. subo says:

    and anyone who disagrees with me, might be destined to spend eternity being barbecued.

    sorry becky, I just love the phrase you use, sadly I am inclined to a little frustration towards people who miss-shape my faith, in particular confusing zionism with chirstianity!!!

  51. janetp says:

    Thank you ASBO for this wonderful, thought-provoking, informative, funny thread. :)

  52. Mike says:

    This creation is great. It sums up the time well.

    Jon, a Merry Christmas to you.

  53. JF says:

    Mark (48) We die because we are biological organisms. Apes die, fish die, sheep die, dogs die. Trees die. We die. At all ages. For all sorts of reasons.

    Becky (49) In my mind, it’s not just a “focus on doing good”, but on maximising potential. We all have different potential. The quest is to explore and maximise one’s own personal potential. That the result is beneficial to others is a natural result.

    Subo (50), but I can internalise God and say that God = Perfect Me, because “being in his image” means just that to me. And this saves me from stretching my own credulity to believe in the supernatural.

    Mike (53) Agreed!

  54. Pingback: …..links for your linking pleasure 16…… « Community of the Risen

  55. Robb says:

    I can’t remember who said it (I’m not scrolling back up on my phone it’ll take forever!) – I’ll go with a belief in real actual virgin births and angels and miracles and stuff…. But only the ones that are actually written about!

  56. Mark says:

    JF (54) Yes, but why did death enter the world? Because of Adam’s sin. Would Adam have died if had hadn’t sin? Apparently not. Death is a direct result of us being sinful. Or, to think about it another way, God couldn’t let us die if we were without sin, because that would be injust.

  57. JF says:

    Mark, I simply cannot get my head around the logic of either part of what you say.

  58. ED... says:

    @JON 39/41

    Glad you like the title and tagline of my blog! Sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity is what Martin Luther King said that “nothing in all the world is more dangerous than”, and I quite like word plays like in the tagline.

    So here’s one for all this talk of sin…

    The heart of the problem of the human condition is the problem of the condition of the human heart.

  59. Carole says:

    I’ve arrived late for the party thanks to broadband connection problems. What a lot of clever ASBOers you all are! Thank you for making me think.

    Jon – this is like a freeze frame of your animation. Great stuff! Just 2 bits of inane nonsense from me, I’m afraid, to add to all this worthy comment:

    1. When I was having Lauren, I prepared a tape of music to play during the labour – I was most put out when the Hallelujah chorus arrived before the baby. I had it scheduled to start playing on the final push. Best laid plans…

    2. RockingRev (14) – As I read your comment I had this surreal image in my head of wise men with a sat. nav., “At the end of the road, turn left…” “Of course, we would have arrived earlier but the sat nav tried to take us through the eye of a needle…”

    Time for bed.

  60. jonbirch says:

    aaah… she’s back! :-) all those broadband troubles i had a few weeks ago really put me out. work life, social life everything made so much harder. we really are living in an age where being online is a big part of what defines us as westerners. amazing!

  61. becky says:

    51 – Glad you enjoy the comment – that’s why some days I don’t say I’m a Christian especially when I go to the Middle East.

    54 – I think we’re on the same page more or less – what is so appealing about humanism is they believe the life you have on earth is it, so you need to make the most of it in terms of taking care of self, neighbor, and the greater world. Compare that to some Christians who focus primarily on making sure they are rapture ready and can be very nasty to us fallen heathens not to mention their lack of concern for our planet – and I get the appeal of humanism. I’d be one if it wasn’t for the fact that Jesus entered my life.

  62. subo says:

    ah, liberate me from the angst of ‘rapture unready’ worries

    – the thing about knowing people have found aspects of God’s truth through diverse paths, is that it hits you ‘I might have the wrong end of the stick occasionally’

    – p.s., would you recommend A. Summers for Rapture Ready kits?, am always a little to shy to go in there

  63. Linus says:

    i wonder if Luther would prefer that my ignorance was insincere?

    JF i think Mark’s arguement pre-supposes a monotheistic worldview with a just God, in which context his arguement for original sin is quite compelling (although “why do the animals die?” is still a good question – if innocent creation suffers cos of Adam’s sin, why shouldn’t innocent – ie without original sin – babies suffer too?) outside of that context, it gets the response you have given: people die – well duh! so what?

    i think its a bit of a misrepresentation to imply this community, overall, would give the impression that there’s “No angels, no supernatural events in answer to prayers, no virgin birth” … are you guilty of reading into this blog what you’d like to hear? =P

    For me the question is not “is the ‘good news’ good?” the question is “is it true?” is it reliable? can i trust it not to let me down?

    i’m wrestling with those questions a lot right now, but the alternatives seem to me to be either this or this.

    The kind of Humanistic approach JF is espousing… i can’t connect with it and i have all these questions… why do you give Good a capital letter? what is it and where does it come from? and why bother persuing it? what stops your worldview unravelling into nihilism?

    what evidence do you have that there is a perfect you somewhere inside, or that Humans can ever tend towards perfection? what makes you think we can ever succeed in the struggle to be Good, and why do you think we don’t? and do you ever have doubts about the truth of your worldview, like i do about mine?

    so many questions… please forgive me.

  64. Linus says:

    sorry second linky should be this

  65. Carole says:

    Subo (63) – ‘fraid I lack the bottle to go into Ann Summers but I’m sure they stock lots of items which would facilitate the process of having you in raptures. And, of course, for the more energetic type who may overdo things, there is an extensive range of ‘Rupture-ready kits’

  66. jonbirch says:

    haha! very funny subo… anne summers, hmmm, don’t go getting yourself a rapture rupture! :-)

    “The heart of the problem of the human condition is the problem of the condition of the human heart.” oof, another good quote, ed. :-)

  67. ED... says:

    @ 67 –

    It is now…

  68. jonbirch says:

    ah, so it’s original. very good indeed!

  69. rebecca says:

    I’ve entered this discussion at the eleventh hour, but I do want to pick up on the people who said that “Away in a Manger” says that the baby Jesus didn’t cry. It’s only a carol, after all, not gospel!!! There are other carols which say he did cry, for example “Child of the Stable’s Secret Birth”, which contains the lines:

    Voice that rang through the courts on high
    Contracted now to a wordless cry.

    If you can get hold of a copy of the words to this song (I can’t find one online — it’s probably still under copyright) then do look — it is a beautiful poem.

  70. becky says:

    I am not familiar with Rapture Ready kits but I did interview a guy who heads up the Rapture Ready website. Does that count?

  71. Ros says:

    “Noisy night, Holy night.
    All around, drunkards fight!”

    Hear Thought for The Day on R4, yesterday?

    And is the composer of that Hallelujah chorus Handel, or Leonard Cohen? I’m sure the angels can make that chorus sound better than any of the X Factor finalists! ;)

  72. jonbirch says:

    ros… an angel already sang it… jeff buckley. :-)

  73. doctor ruth says:

    I think the problem with humanism is that it assumes we can be these wonderful, giving, caring people who make the right choices all of the time in our own strength. And we can’t. Without Jesus, I wouldn’t be half the person I am.

  74. jonbirch says:

    i’d agree with that take on humanism dr ruth.

  75. Joe says:

    I thought Rufus Wainwright did alright on “Hallelujah” too, though Buckley defined the song.

    I just sang a gig on Saturday night and we did Hallelujah. We also did “In the Bleak Midwinter” which I think is really pretty… but–

    “Snow had fallen, snow on snow
    In the bleak midwinter, long ago…”

    does it really snow in Bethlehem in the summer?


  76. jonbirch says:

    i love ‘in the bleak midwinter’… both tunes. it is more of a description of a christmas card than anything else, but your right, it is pretty. :-)

  77. LindyB says:

    My favourite tune for In the Bleak Midwinter is Darke. And the reason I love it is the final verse:
    What can I give him, poor as I am;
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
    If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
    Yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

    It makes me feel that even in the moments when I don’t feel worthy for Christ’s love that there is still something I have to offer.

  78. Robb says:

    Bleak midwinter redeams itself in the last verse. It has a limited world view – but that can be forgiven because it was written before easyjet. Infact, it was pre easyboat. More sort of easycart…….

  79. Linus says:

    haha! did they paint the horses orange Robb?

    Joe: Rufus Wainwright is covering the John Cale version, i learnt recently – everything you ever wanted to know about Hallelujah, and more.

  80. jonbirch says:

    yeh… that last verse is really good. :-)

  81. Pingback: Happy Christmas! | free Christian resources

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