07 Dec 2015

“Fear Not,” Or, How I Learned to Love the Book of Revelation

By Blake Hartung The last book of the Bible, the Revelation (or Apocalypse) of John, has been a consistent source of mystery and bewilderment for Christians since its composition in the last decade of the first century. This is of course, shouldn’t be too surprising; we are, after all, talking about the book that has given us such bizarre tableaux as a pregnant woman clothed in the sun pursued by a dragon, four colorful horsemen,

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25 Nov 2015

Round Table: After Death

Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on

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14 Nov 2015

The Adventures of the Sea Kids (Book Giveaways)

The Adventures of the Sea Kids is a children’s book series that features Christian themes alongside fun (and fishy!) illustrations. To date, there are three books in there series: Fast Freddy, What a Bragger, and forthcoming I’m Not Afraid. The books are full-color, fully illustrated, fish-tales about a school of kids (fish) who learn not to discriminate (Fast Freddy) or gasconade (What a Bragger). The books also incorporate a hidden fish symbol for children to search for on each page. We

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28 Sep 2015

Pope Francis Speaks to Congress

Last week the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis, delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress. For my friends who are too busy to read the whole speech but who might be interested to know the gist of it, I have prepared this summary. None of this should be considered a quotation – just the gist of what was said. Thanks for letting me speak here. It’s good to be in the Western Hemisphere

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10 Aug 2015

Call It What You Will

Though many would argue that the “worship wars” of the 1990s are over, I have found that the church persists in its usage of some linguistic weaponry from that era. In past decades, conversations about worship have polarized worshippers into opposing camps: especially “traditional” vs. “contemporary.” These terms are based primarily on expressive style in worship, largely related to music. I want to suggest that we abandon the use of these words altogether, as they

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09 Jul 2015

Dating, Courtship, and What Really Matters

By Justin Megna “Date to the glory of God.” “We teach our kids to court instead of date.” “I kissed dating goodbye.” “Modern dating is broken.” “Courtship is God’s way for romance.” “Courtship is in crisis.” Such are some of the one-liners that mark the complex social arena of modern American Christians and their pursuit of romance and matrimony. For such a normal and age-old activity, finding a matrimonial partner has become a rather convoluted

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07 May 2015

Round Table: Baptism

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Since Jesus’ delivery of this Great

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21 Apr 2015

Unique Characteristics of Eastern Orthodox Spirituality (Part II)

Having discussed these differences between Eastern and Western forms of spirituality in general terms in my last post, let us turn now to some of the defining characteristics in Eastern Christian spirituality. I think you will recognize all or most of them, although this is not a complete listing of all the characteristics! Deification / Theosis What lies at the foundation of Eastern Christian spirituality? Its essential theological foundation is the idea of deification or

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16 Apr 2015

Unique Characteristics of Eastern Orthodox Spirituality (Part I)

When I first discovered Eastern Orthodox Christianity, I intuitively recognized a different “spirituality” from what I had experienced as an Evangelical Christian. Over the years, and especially since “spirituality” has become a buzzword within our culture, I have tried to identify the primary characteristic and distinctive features of Eastern Christian spirituality and to contrast them with where I came from. I did this first for the purpose of better understanding our Eastern Christian spiritual tradition

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01 Apr 2015

Round Table: Resurrection

This week, Western Christians celebrate Holy Week, the last days of Jesus Christ on earth before his crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate, torturous suffering on a cross, and death. Of course, the story of Christ does not end there, but continues on Sunday with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This act—the defeat of death—became the launching point of the Christian faith, the linchpin of the Gospel: God has come to earth and he

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30 Mar 2015

An Open Letter to Christian Bakers in Indiana

Dear Bakers, You have been getting a lot of attention recently, especially since the new law passed that would likely allow you to refuse to make cakes for gay weddings. It’s certainly worth asking how to interpret the First Amendment on this issue, but perhaps first we should ask what the gospels say. As you may remember, Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding party. He provided wine for a bunch of people who were

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04 Mar 2015

Round Table: Genesis and the Origins of the Universe

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The precise meaning of this verse—and the two chapters of “Creation Narrative” which follow in this Book of Beginnings—remains a hotly debated topic today. Consideration of Genesis 1-2 has often led to extreme responses, ranging from rejection of the Biblical text as useless hokum from an unlearned and backwards age, to overly-detailed analysis of this passage as the key to understanding all of natural science,

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27 Feb 2015

The Hidden Drama of Late Winter

For years I’ve dreaded February as one of the hardest months of the year. Maybe it’s because Christmas cheer is by now a distant fog, or because the weather acts like a hard-bitten old man. Maybe it’s because of inner maladies—winter blues and the like. February was my personal season of spiritual crisis for some time. I recently learned that early February is part of the liturgical season of Epiphany. Not having grown up paying

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27 Jan 2015

Round Table: Women in the Church

Few experiences are as formative as those which we repeat on a regular basis. Routines, habits, and liturgies: they all influence who we are, how we live, and the narratives we inhabit. As important as what we do is who we do it with. Human life comes filled with relationships, our interactions with other human beings, people who impact us as we in turn influence them. For Christians, this means that a formative part of

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14 Dec 2014

Heroes, Legends, and Bones: Part 3

What is up with these Orthodox and their bones? Essentially bones matter, stuff matters, matter matters because of the Incarnation. When the Pre-Incarnate, Pre-Eternal, Second person of the Holy Trinity was en-fleshed, when the Fully Divine became Fully Man, matter was redeemed and took on the (or begins to take on) the true nature of what it was created to be.

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07 Dec 2014

Heroes, Legends, and Bones: Part 2

When Christ commanded that the apostles preach the Gospel to “the ends of the earth,” this mandate was taken literally. “Ends of the Earth” in the Greco-Roman world was quite specific, not allegorical. Maps of the known world at the time literally had their ends.

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30 Nov 2014

Heroes, Legends, and Bones: Part 1

Part 1:  Heroes Feast of Saint Andrew Today, November 30th, is the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle on both the Eastern and Western calendars.  East and West don’t share all saints, and many of the saints that we do mutually venerate are not honored on the same calendar day.  Andrew is in the privileged minority of saints that are honored both simultaneously and universally.  (Don’t even make me go into the old calendar/new

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01 Oct 2014

Round Table: Communion

Perhaps no facet of Christian theology is more important and more often debated than understandings of Communion. Instituted by the Lord Jesus the night before his death, the practice of communing with fellow Christians using bread and wine (or, in some early Christian communities, cheese and wine) reaches back to the earliest Jesus Movement and continues to form and define Christians today. In order to demonstrate both the unity and diversity of Christian perspectives on

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03 Sep 2014

Round Table: Christian Warfare

Every month Conciliar Post offers a Round Table discussion, bringing together various Christian voices to reflect upon an important question or topic. Today’s Round Table considers the following question: Are Christians ever justified in supporting or advocating warfare, either on their own behalf or by the nation of which they are a part? Represented in this Round Table are some fascinating perspectives, including that of a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and that

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22 Aug 2014

Start Walking

An Ancient Remedy for Modern Ills. Some years ago, while visiting my grandparents in the central Pennsylvania mountains, my sisters and I went out for a long walk. It was a brown winter afternoon in a depressed area. We walked along the empty, curving road, remarking on the things we passed: a repair shop with misspelled words on the sign; some goats in a frozen barnyard. Then came the moment that has made me remember

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