Matthew 2: 13-23

In November of this year, the Oxford Research Group, which specialises in matters of global peace and security, published the first comprehensive study of the effects of the Syrian civil war on the children of that conflicted nation.  Its findings were horrific to say the least.  In the period between March 2011 and August 2013, of the nearly 11,000 recorded deaths among children, 70% of fatalities were caused by explosive weapons such as artillery rounds, while a further 25% were caused by small arms fire[1].  In other words, a staggering 95% of the fatalities among children in the Syrian conflict were inflicted by military-grade weapons.  As if this wasn’t disturbing enough, the study further reported that most of these fatalities occurred while the children were attempting to hold onto some form of normality in the midst of the conflict: they were bombed in their homes and schools, or were targeted by snipers while waiting in bread lines[2].    Continue reading “Matthew 2: 13-23”

Christmas is Offensive: Christmas Sermon, Year A

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about an English vicar who was forced to issue an apology after telling a group of primary school children that the character of Santa Claus has its origin in stories about the charitable gift-giving of the fourth century Christian saint, Nicholas of Myra.  Apparently, a number of the children were upset by the implication that Santa Claus “isn’t real”, which in turn upset a number of parents, who then demanded – and received – an apology from the vicar in question[1]Continue reading “Christmas is Offensive: Christmas Sermon, Year A”

Isaiah 7: 10-16; Matthew 1: 18-25

I recently read a news article which itself was a report about a study recently published in the British Journal of Medicine.  According to the authors of this study, from among a group of nearly 9000 American woman and girls aged between 15 and 28, of whom approximately 5400 had become pregnant over the course of the last year, nearly 1% reported that their pregnancy had occurred without them either having had sexual intercourse, or having undergone reproductive technology treatment such as IVF.  In other words, this group claimed that theirs were “virgin” pregnancies[1]. Continue reading “Isaiah 7: 10-16; Matthew 1: 18-25”