It is essential to be alone with God, waiting at His door, hearkening for His voice, lingering in the Scripture. No number of Christian meetings, no amount of Christian activity, can compensate for the neglect of this still hour.” The life around us, in this age, is preeminently one of rush and effort. It is the age of the instant this and instant that.” This feverish haste threatens the life of devotion to Christ… We must beware that we do not substitute Christian activities for the authentic relationship with Christ. Mary understood this and chose to be at Jesus’ feet. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.“ Luke 10:42
There’s a biblical passage that I really enjoy because it’s essentially a call out post to shitty Christians. It goes like this,
“What good is it, brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.“ James 2:14-17 NRSV
It straight up says if you’re not a good person, that doesn’t help others in need, your faith means nothing. You could go to church every Sunday, you could sing hallelujah at the top of your lungs, and go to Bible study…but if you don’t have anything of substance to back that faith up, well it’s…dead.
My kids will be raised on and taught from the Harry Potter books similar to the way my parents raised me on the bible. Similar/better morals are taught. Displays flawed humanity instead of perfectionism. Better story overall. My kids will never have to face confusion about it being real or not, and have that potentially ruin all the good things learned from it.
The Three Wise Men were more than scholars. They were also astrologers, who would be expected to interpret a rare astronomical event as some sort of significant omen. In 6-7 BCE, there were three separate conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn. This means that the two planets lined up with Earth and the Sun on three separate occasions. This would have looked like a single large, bright star in the sky (much like 2015’s Venus-Jupiter conjunction), and all three together would portend something major.
As for how the star “led them” to Jesus, the Star of Bethlehem was most likely the collective name forthree different conjunctions taken together. The Magi likely saw the first conjunction from their homeland in Babylon, then left for Jerusalem to tell King Herod that a competing king was on his way, only to see the second conjunction there, then another when they were arriving in Bethlehem. So rather than following a roving, mysterious star to see where it led them, the Magi were probably seeing the same remarkable event occurring over and over in different places.
It’s also possible that the phenomenon was a nova. There were reports of one in the Far East in 4 BCE that could have happened right over Jerusalem. Some also claim that it could have been a comet, and there were a few around during that time, but comets are usually interpreted as portents of doom, not bitchin’ new holidays on which you wake up early to unwrap a fire truck.
Biblical Hebrew is extremely euphemistic - it often substitutes an indirect and inoffensive term for one thought to be blunt or offensive. It never refers to the genitals when hand, or foot, or side, or heel, or shame, or leg, or thigh will do. It never says have sex with when a man can know a woman, or go into her, or approach her, or touch her, or lie with her, or just go up to the bed, or when, sexiest of all, the two can eat bread together…The Hebrew Bible’s penchant for euphemism can lead to surprising reinterpretations of familiar passages. Everyone knows that eve was created from Adam’s rib, right? But ribs aren’t mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew - that is a translation made by the Septuagint, the early Greek version of the Hebrew Bible. The word actually used is side (tsela), and, as we’ve seen, side can be used as a euphemism for the genitals.
Scholar Ziony Zevit takes this euphemism and runs with it, arguing that in the Genesis narrative Eve is actually made from Adam’s penis, in particular from his penis bone. Most mammals have a baculum, a bone in their penis, which helps with erections. Only humans, spider monkeys, whales, horses, and a few other species lack it, achieving erections through blood pressure alone. Zevit thinks that the ancient Israelites would have been quite knowledgeable about comparative anatomy, given that they probably encountered lots of skeletons…They would have known men and women have the same number of ribs, another mark against the rib theory, and would have seen that the bone men were in fact missing was the baculum. This explains the bone’s disappearance in humans and gives new richness to Adam’s famous welcome of Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” - flesh, of course being one more euphemism for the penis.
Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr (p. 83-4)