You may recall that last year I mentioned a possible new direction for the Logos software company, when they hired a Roman Catholic product manager. Since then, those of us who use Logos have noticed a fairly steady stream of Roman Catholic material advertised on our home page, along with everything else, as expected.
So now on November 16 I noticed this on their Twitter feed:
So, okay, quick review: "Advent Season" is about the "advent" of...who, class? The innkeeper? Noooo, that's silly! King Herod? No, worse! Joseph? Again no.
Well, even Wikipedia knows it isn't about the Advent of Mary. It's about the advent of Jesus Christ. It's about the first coming of Christ.
Now I don't read all of Logos' tweets, so I don't know if there was a later one that said "Explore the Life of the Innkeeper This Advent Season," or "Explore the Life of Simeon This Advent Season," or "Explore the Life of the Angel Gabriel This Advent Season," or any such. But there was this tweet about Mary.
Now, let me hasten to say, and to say with enthusiasm: my appreciation of Logos as a product is growing more and more all the time. As an active pastor now, I have invested more and more in building my Logos library. I have several reviews in the works of Logos and Logos products, and I'll tell you more about how much I'm loving it. The best way to read a substantial book is to read it in Logos.
So I can love Logos — without loving that one tweet.
Important supporting role.
But if one sticks to the Biblical data — which, for a Christian, is always a really important thing — any exploration of Mary's life would be pretty brief. I explained this a bit more fully a couple of years ago. At that time, I mentioned that my article on Mary in a Bible dictionary might look something like this:
The mother of Jesus. A pivotal yet minor figure in the New Testament, mentioned by name in only four books.I still think "pivotal yet minor" pretty much surrounds it. Am I saying that there's no place for studying Biblical data about Mary? Not at all. I'm all for preaching the whole counsel of God, all 66 books. Teach about Mary, when the text takes you there. It won't do so very often; but when it does preach it. Also preach what it says about Parbar, cubits, Zacchaeus, and Gehazi, and every other person and thing the text mentions.
And when you do, give the prominence the text gives it. Because you know, a Christian is (among other things) a person who doesn't think he's smarter than God. So if it's a big deal to God, it should be a big deal to us. If not, not.
So a brief exploration of Mary, among the other supporting characters, will likely have its place in preaching during Advent. But for a Christian, the longer it goes beyond what the text warrants, the more finger-drummingly obnoxious the exploration would be.
Have you ever gone to a concert where the opening act just would not get off the stage? Recently, we went to a show where an "opening act" was a fire-person of some sort. We were just out of easy-hearing range. Nearest we could make out, he talked and talked, even talked about lighting his entire body on fire (which, thank God, he never did). He did the same two tricks over and over. I began to wonder if he'd ever leave, and if the show would ever start.
Now, I can't blame Mary if she's kept on stage longer than warranted. She herself was eager to get off of it. "Do whatever he tells you," she says in John 2:5, then vanishes from that narrative. Good advice. If only those claiming to honor her were to take it, what a reformation that could spark!
The great heartbeat of a Christian is to preach Christ (1 Cor. 1:23), then to preach Christ (2 Cor. 4:5), and then to preach Christ (Eph. 3:8), and then go on to preach Christ (Col. 1:27-28).
And so, say: I've got an idea. You know what would be a great thing to do, this (or any) Advent season?