This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Pro-life Implications of the Story of Joseph

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde preached about the example of St. Joseph and the Gabriel Project at the annual respect for life Mass on the fourth Sunday of Advent. The homily can be found at

The Gospel for that Mass have even greater pro-life implications than even the Bishop taught. Joseph had three options under the Law when he found that Mary was with child. They were divorce her quietly, take her into his home and accuse her of adultery and have her drink an herbal solution which causes miscarriage, which if successful would lead to her stoning under the law. In essence, he could have both forced her to have an abortion and then have her killed since the abortion would prove she was pregnant by someone other than him.

Not resorting to this option was the ultimate pro-life act, as it affirms both the right to life of her child and the right to life of the mother, who would have presumed to have committed adultery and thus be liable for execution in what would be described in modern day custom as an honor killing (which still occurs in the region, though not in Israel).

The guarding of the right to life of both the child and the mother should guide our teachings on abortion, as the Gabriel Project does, as well as the progressive desire to fight abortion with expanded benefits and living wage protections for the poor (like increased minimum wages and health care reform).

Revelation of the Magi

Brent Landau has translated The Revelation of the Magi from Syriac from a manuscript found in the Vatican Library. In it, the Magi are said to have come in response to visions, rather than simply the promptings of astrology. They are said to come from the land of Shir, which the author speculates to be China. This manuscript is in the tradition of other non-canonical works on the early life of Jesus which seem to be based largely on speculation rather than reportage, although they may still reflect underlying truths. The link to purchase the book is at This work was recently reviewed in the Arlington Catholic Herald at

Whether the manuscript is true or not is lost to the ages, although the story it lays out seems more like pious wondering than a statement of what actually happened - although the Shir concept is interesting.

I would suspect that instead of China, the site of Shir is India, which like China had a developed system of astrology and also may have had a thriving exile community of Israelites. Recent analysis of the Romany lead to the belief that these people, who were in India at the time, were members of the lost tribes of Israel - the inhabitants of the northern kingdom who were taken in exile by the Assyrians. Might the Magi have been Romany astrologers? If so, it would upset the current understanding that they were Gentiles, but it would be consistent with prophesies of the return to Zion on dromedaries bearing gifts to the Christ child that are used on the Feast of the Epiphany.

What is even more interesting is relating this possiblity with the legend that Thomas the Apostle evangelized India and reached the Romany community there, who when they returned from India went to Europe rather than what was then Muslim Palestine. It adds a whole new meaning to the words of the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel if captive Israel refers to the lost tribes who were soon evangelized and are not lost at all but right in front of us all, especially in Europe. As I have written previously, this definitely has interesting implications for relations with Israel and the apocolyptic hopes of Evangelicals as part of that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Christian Left!

My Christmas show was last night on Blog Talk Radio (the link is on the pane to the right).

I wish you Peace this Christmas Season.