I have linked to Walter Russell Mead before. He specializes in writing about world politics, but sometimes ventures into spiritual topics.
This Christmas he has published a series of thoughtful essays as Yule Blogs.
In this essay he makes a point that I very much agree with. He says that a big mistake so many people make today is that Jesus’ importance lies primarily in his teachings. Progressives (I hate that word because it makes the arrogant assumption that those of us who disagree are regressive) downplay the metaphysical claims about Jesus, and instead try to use his teachings to buttress their idea of social justice. But Mead claims that no matter how lofty the teachings of Jesus, his teaching role “is the least important thing about him.”
And in this essay he gives us this great quote:
God could have made a world without Herods — if he had made a world without real moral actors and autonomous beings. He could have made a G-rated, namby pamby world like “Teletubbies” where nothing really bad ever happens. But it would be a toy world, not a real place with real people in it. God chose to make us real, we use our freedom as we do, and the result is the history we all read about and the cruelties, hypocrisies and moral failures that we all see and know.