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Friday, January 3, 2020

Who Did Jesus Come for?

Who Did Jesus Come for?

We tend to think, rightly, that he came for the whole world. But it is more complicated than that, as I note at the beginning of an essay on Christian attitudes toward Jews through the centuries:
We tend to think the birth of Christ was intended to be a blessing for the whole world. No question it eventually was seen as such, and rightly so. “Peace on earth and goodwill to men,” after all. But when the wise men came from the East, they were not looking for the universal savior, but only for the “king of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2).
When the priests and teachers explained to Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, they quoted this verse: “And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah … a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel” (Matt. 2:6, NLT). Not the shepherd of all people. But “for my people Israel.”
Elliot for the Poetry Impaired
When it comes to poetry, I need help. When it comes to poems by T. S. Elliot, I need a lot of help. So I encourage poetry-impaired readers like me to look at this piece that unpacks Elliot’s “Journey of the Magi.” Maybe something to read on Three Kings Day, January 6!
The Perfect Storm of the Decade?
Here is a decade retrospect (subtitled: “How social media, the Great Recession and Donald Trump combined to bring out the ‘indigenous American berserk’”) that is admittedly a bit dark in outlook. It begins:
Apocalypse is not yet upon our world as the 2010s draw to an end, but there are portents of disorder. The hopes nourished during the opening years of the decade — hopes that America was on a progressive path toward growing equality and freedom, hopes that technology held answers to some of our most pressing problems — have given way, with what feels like head-swiveling speed, to a dark and divisive new era. Fear and distrust are ascendant now.
Given many conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks, I think there is more hope one might expect. But there is a great deal about this author’s analysis of our current situation to warrant a patient read.
On Resolutions
There is an inverse relationship between webpages that promise me that what I’m about to read “will make you laugh” and how much I actually laugh (or even find them funny). But perhaps the exception proves the rule with this older piece on “15 Funny New Year’s Resolutions,” which includes this one: “My New Year’s resolution is to stop hanging out with people who ask me about my New Year’s resolutions.”
Retiring—but Not!
As many faithful GR readers are aware, today is my last day as editor in chief of Christianity Today. This does not mean I’ll be fly fishing and playing golf for the rest of my days—though I hope to do a lot more of both. But retirement will give me an opportunity to spread my wings in ways a full-time job does not.
I will continue to publish the Galli Report, and I will publish occasional essays on my website, markgalli.com. Now that I’ll be retired, my essays will range more widely than has my work in CT, and The Galli Report will continue to point to articles that help me, at least, better understand our culture, our faith, and our responsibility in these times.
So I encourage you to continue to subscribe to The Galli Report, not to mention Christianity Today! And if you’re interested in longer commentary by me, then check out my website from time to time.
Grace and peace,
Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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