I am ever so excited about the new Abindgon Press book, Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom: Toward a Responsible Theology of Christian Hope. It's by Ellen Ott Marshall, my much-adored ethics professor from Claremont School of Theology. I took as many classes as I possibly could with Professor Marshall, even a four hour doctoral course on the brothers Niebuhr. (That's professorial appreciation, folks.) She also teaches feminist ethics, and does a lot of work in peace and justice studies.

As you might expect, I am also monumentally excited about the forthcoming Christmas album from Over the Rhine, Snow Angels. OtR isn't afraid to plumb the shadows of December (as they did in their first Christmas release, The Darkest Night of the Year). Much of their recent work has inhabited the same realm as Professor Marshall's work: the paradox of hope in a broken world. Among the new songs (which I haven't heard yet, though the lyrics are published on their site) is this new rendition of O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Little Town
(First verse: Traditional. Additional Words
and Music: Detweiler)

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy dark and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The lamplit streets of Bethlehem
We walk now through the night
There is no peace in Bethlehem
There is no peace in sight

The wounds of generations
Almost too deep to heal
Scar the timeworn miracle
And make it seem surreal

The baby in the manger
Grew to a man one day
And still we try to listen now
To what he had to say

Put up your swords forever
Forgive your enemies
Love your neighbor as yourself
Let your little children come to me


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