10 Jul 2020

First Reformed and the Impossibility of Grace

Note: this article contains spoilers. Paul Schrader’s 2017 film First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, is a brilliantly dark film that explores profound religious questions. The story centers on Rev. Ernst Toller, a divorced pastor of the waning congregation at First Reformed, a historic Dutch Reformed parish in Snowbridge, New York. From the outset, it is apparent the pastor is undergoing a crisis of faith, which we glimpse by way of excerpts from

Wesley Walker 1 Read More
08 Jul 2020

Discovering the Late 19th Century Arguments for Women’s Preaching and Ministry

For all of my life, I have been a part of a US Presbyterian denomination which does not ordain women to the ministry. The extent to which women are allowed to teach men in church settings, lead in formal worship, or serve in non-ordained diaconal roles varies a good deal congregation by congregation. Nevertheless, across the board, preaching in regular services and serving as an elder is possible only for men. This fact, of course,

Guest Author 0 Read More
Locked ballot box used in Carson, North Dakota on October 30, 1940. Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration. (USDA)
06 Jul 2020

The Right to Not Vote

If you’ve ever been to a neighborhood association meeting or a church committee meeting, you’ve observed something close to true direct democracy. When a decision needs to be made, a vote is taken. All those in favor of the proposition say, “Aye.” All those opposed say, “Nay.” Everyone gets a say, and the simple majority wins. It’s an effective way to do things on a small scale. However, this is nearly impossible on a larger

Jarrett Dickey 0 Read More
03 Jul 2020

On Original Sin and Racism

A great thing about writing for Conciliar Post: any time I’m unsure of what to write about, all I have to do is read recent posts from my fellow contributors and without fail a) a writing topic is sparked by one of their pieces, or b) I find something I disagree with and decide to respond. Both are welcome sights. This time, it’s the latter and directed at AJ Maynard (my resident competition in facial

Timon Cline 0 Read More
01 Jul 2020

Trinity Brings Unity: Hope for a Divided World

Not long ago, my parish was offering the Prayers of the People as part of our Sunday liturgy. Worshippers were free to raise their own voices and add their personal petitions to those of the Book of Common Prayer. As we did so, two seemingly different prayers arose from our midst. One prayer was for the protection of police officers and first responders. Another was for the protection of protesters and all those seeking justice

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29 Jun 2020

Reclaiming Original Sin in the Face of White Supremacy

NASCAR’s recent decision to ban the confederate flag from their events, coupled with an increased willingness amongst policymakers to remove confederate monuments from the public square, has ignited much debate regarding what is, and is not, racist. The debate presents a question: Can honoring a socially relative symbol of family history and geographical heritage be objectively racist? Many say yes. Others say no. Indeed, members of my own family can be counted amongst those proclaiming,

AJ Maynard 3 Read More
26 Jun 2020

Trauma Porn and the Problems of Sustaining a Movement: A Lesson from Martin Luther King Jr.

By now, everyone who wishes to (and undoubtedly many who did not) has seen the gruesome death of George Floyd with a knee on his neck. The video of Floyd’s murder now joins a twisted pantheon of video evidence of brutality against Black bodies, that stretches back to the infamous videotaped police beating of Rodney King in 1991, and to public displays of brutality that were cast across the country during the Civil Rights Movement

David Justice 1 Read More
24 Jun 2020

Podcasts in Review, Two

One of our most popular posts is Podcasts in Review by Eastern Orthodox poet Kenneth O’Shaughnessy. I now present this compendium—with its shamelessly-stolen title—by Roman Catholic non-poet Benjamin Winter. 😊 My qualifications? Since 2014 I’ve listened to podcasts for at least an hour each day. That’s a bit scary when you do the math! They are my constant companions from car rides to laundry-folding sessions, and I fall asleep to them most nights. The recommendations

Benjamin Winter 3 Read More
22 Jun 2020

Al Mohler, Slavery, and the Bible

If we want to know what the Bible has to say about American chattel slavery, we’ll need to do more than type “slave” into the Bible Gateway search bar. Perhaps that is the lesson we should learn from Al Mohler’s recently surfaced denunciation of runaway slaves on Larry King Live in 1998. In that interview, Mohler contended that Harriet Tubman — and others who ran from slave owners or abetted runaways — disobeyed St. Paul’s

Guest Author 2 Read More
19 Jun 2020

“Critical Race Theory” and Its Dissidents

Given the continued protests and social unrest over structural racism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many American Christians have found themselves intensely grappling with the issue. In my own Anglican context, it has become a controversial topic as critiques like “Can the Christian Use Critical Theory” by Fr. Matt Kennedy and “Race and Redemption” by Fr. Gerry McDermott have been published in response to a statement on anti-racism put out by some clergy

Wesley Walker 2 Read More
17 Jun 2020

“Apocalypto” and the Exhaustion of a Culture

A few weeks ago, my wife and I sat down on a Friday night to watch Mel Gibson’s 2006 action flick Apocalypto. I hadn’t seen the film since college, and back then I was far more interested in chase scenes through the Yucatán jungle and brutal battles with snarling jaguars. What struck me upon revisiting the movie, though, was something quite different. About halfway through the film, our hero—a hunter peacefully dwelling on the edge

John Ehrett 0 Read More
16 Jun 2020

Conciliar Post at 6 Years

This is hard to believe, but today marks year six of our online project dedicated to dialogue across Christian traditions. We are so thankful for our authors and readers, and especially in these trying times, grateful to have a bedrock of community upon which to rest. If you haven’t stopped by the site lately, here are some articles that made waves in 2020: Round Table: Do Animals Have Souls? (Ehrett, Townsend, Dickey, and Cabe) The

Conciliar Post News 0 Read More
15 Jun 2020

Whose Side Are You On?

America is at war. Worldviews are clashing and the culture is divided. The rift penetrates even Christianity. Last week, Archbishop Wilton Gregory spoke out against recent actions of President Trump. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò then wrote a letter in support of President Trump. The left sees God on the side of justice, equality, systemic change, liberation, and progress. The right sees God on the side of law, order, hard work, family, morality, and traditional values.

Luke Townsend 0 Read More
12 Jun 2020

Who’s Afraid of Trinity Sunday?

If you worship in a Western Christian tradition that makes use of the liturgical calendar, then you probably already know that the first Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. What you may not know, unless you come from my particular Western Christian tradition, is that it is the unofficial practice of parish priests to invite their seminarians to preach on this feast day.  This is a recipe for theological and homiletical disaster,

Barbara Gausewitz 0 Read More
10 Jun 2020

Racism and Sin

“It is the divinely imposed task of the prophet to break down the wall of our indifference by voicing the suffering and anguish of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed of our society.” -Abraham Heschel A wound, when it is not properly treated, will fester to the point that it will suppurate. This is not only true of our physical wounds but, also, our interior wounds. Imagine a couple who begin a

Guest Author 0 Read More
08 Jun 2020

Christus Victor in Romans 5

Here I belatedly conclude a three part series on Christus Victor, first having attempted to clarify the meaning Christus Victor, then having considered its place in the Old Testament, and now pointing out one of its clearest presentations in the New Testament. To summarize the previous articles:  Circa A.D. 1200, Thomas Aquinas taught the Roman Church something utterly novel to the Christian tradition. He said that the suffering of Jesus satisfied God’s need to punish

Matthew Bryan 4 Read More
05 Jun 2020

Antiracism Defined: A Response to David Justice

One of my favorite things about being part of the Conciliar Post community is getting to read about (and discuss) what other writers are reading. Although Joshua Schendel and a few others write more or less from the perspective of my own theological tradition, most do not. That’s the best part. David Justice’s recent review of Irbam X. Kendi’s big hit How To Be An Antiracist is no exception. David’s review comes at an opportune

Timon Cline 3 Read More
04 Jun 2020

The Desecration of St John’s

Many of us have encountered the frequently quoted phrase, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” But this prophetic statement has never rung more true than on June 1st, 2020, when United States forces used tear gas and other violent methods to clear out St John’s Episcopal Church yard so that President Trump could stage a photo-op in front of it, Bible in hand.  These past

Jacob Quick 0 Read More
03 Jun 2020

Crisis Calls Us to Continue Community

This article is an adaptation of a sermon delivered on Mother’s Day as part of a “COVID Christianity” series at Rooftop Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Even when life is normal, mom-ing is hard—it calls for spending all day with tiny people who are cute, yes, but who are also demanding and exhausting. Moms need time with fellow adults, moms need time with friends: moms need community. Of course, what’s true in normal life is

Jacob Prahlow 0 Read More
29 May 2020

“How to Be an Antiracist” – A Review and Reflection

Though How to Be an Antiracist is accessible to a general audience, it is rigorous scholarship by Ibram X. Kendi, professor at American University and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center. In this book, Kendi applies the important historical work of his first major publication Stamped from the Beginning (Nation Books, 2016) to practical antiracist endeavors. In this review I examine the contours of his argument and investigate his controversial claim that it

David Justice 0 Read More