“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? This is a question which has received much attention in recent years, with numerous theologians and cultural commentators weighing in on what has become a hotly contested debate. And rightly so, for as Christian and Islamic civilizations clash, a clarification of the foundations of each worldview remains necessary for understanding each religion and what is at stake. Yet the question of this month’s Round Table discussion does
Welcome back to our ongoing series following the thoughts of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. If you are joining the conversation for the first time, you might want to take a moment to read the first paragraph of the first post in the series. Otherwise, I hope you find the ideas as irresistible as I do. When we last looked at Calvin’s thought, we examined the relationship between knowledge of self
Gun violence and lethal force have been hot topics on the evening news and the subject of debate in the social and political spheres for quite some time. Because of this, people are often categorized in one of two camps: those who are for and those who are against lethal weaponry. Instead of jumping into a heated political debate, we here at Conciliar Post asked our authors how they believe Christians should understand lethal force in self-defense.
“This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”1 As 2 Kings 6 wraps up, the despair is evident. Samaria is under a siege that has lasted long enough that some of the inhabitants have resorted to cannibalism. Faced with a situation outside of his control, with no apparent hope of rescue, Jehoram (king of Israel) sends a messenger to kill Elisha. As the messenger relays the kings words,
Thank you for electing to read this post!1 If you are just joining this series, I would recommend reading the first part of the first post in the series. It will give you the context for my own exploration of Calvin’s Institutes and why you are invited to join me. Ironically, the selection we will be exploring deals with our basis of knowing. In the grand scheme of the book, we are beginning the first
As recounted in my last post, there is real value in exploring your tradition’s response to theological questions. This being the case, I thought that I should take a dose of my own medicine. To this day, despite my Reformed leaning, I have never actually spent any serious time reading Calvin. After challenging you all to spend more time studying the theologians that have impacted your beliefs, it seemed only right that I would begin
I don’t know exactly why, but the days at the end of December often feel a bit slower than the rest of the year. Perhaps time attempts to atone for rushing us through the rest of the year. In any case, this slow feeling creates space for reflection and planning. Reflection on what filled the prior year, and planning for what will come in the new year. Personally, setting New Year’s resolutions isn’t part of
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with family, food, and festivities. While almost all Christians agree that Christmas is an especially important time of year for the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, not all Christians concur on how to best celebrate the nativity of the Lord. This month’s Round Table reflects on how different traditions celebrate Christmas. As you read this Round Table, we encourage you to reflect not only on what you do
Happy Weekend, Dear Readers! As we continue moving through the Advent Season, we hope that you are able to find time to reflect on the gifts that God has given us through his Incarnation. As an aid to your own reflection, we have curated a list of articles from the past week for consideration. Articles considered deal with Christian theology specifically, religion in a broad sense, and current events. If you read a thought-provoking or
If you were a betting man (or woman), you’d probably agree that family stories are fairly memorable. So would I. Well, at least up until a couple weeks ago. It all started innocently enough. One of my sisters was taking a storytelling class. A recent assignment (beginning, you guessed it, a couple weeks ago) involved sharing one of those stories that must come up for a family gathering to actually be a family gathering. It
When reading of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, there is one section that catches me almost every time: Gimli’s thoughts on leaving Lothlorian. Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me
What follows is an attempt at lay theology. As you read, I ask for two things. First, have patience with my stumblings. Second, correct error as you see it. For the most part, I don’t believe that anything here is particularly novel or out of step with Christian belief and practice.1 At the same time, I am no more than a man, which means it is possible I have misread or misunderstood the Scripture. Where
Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscience.1 In reading the long hoped for follow up to To Kill A Mockingbird, one is struck by similarities and differences: similarities in setting and characters, differences from how we expected those characters and settings to turn out. Despite some minor quibbles (noted below), Go Set A Watchman presents a good companion piece for To Kill
What is Christianity? That seems to be a simple question. At least until you sit down and have to precisely and concisely answer it. Is Christianity a religion? A relationship? A worldview? A movement? An institution? A set of doctrinal beliefs? A series of philosophical arguments? All of these? None of these? Some of these? This month, Conciliar Post has collected no fewer than fourteen answers to this important question of definitions. Ranging across a
It was a warm, slightly sticky evening. Sitting towards the front of a crowd of friends and family, I observed the evening shade slowly growing on the mountains behind my friend. He, in his turn, was gazing back our way with (what I could only guess was) a mix of nervousness, fear, excitement, and joy. For, if the title hasn’t already given it away, my friend was looking past the rest of us toward the
It’s remarkable how much a clear night can help one gain a bit of peace and solitude. That is, once the security lights stopped showing the world that I was standing out on our driveway. While taking in the night view, my wandering thoughts were interrupted by a flash of light in the corner of my eye. Adjusting my head for a better view brought the realization that a lightning storm was rolling in. Lest
Perhaps this is merely my experience, but I grew up hearing that some prayers were dangerous. The prayers for things such as greater boldness in witnessing, further opportunities to give, or greater love for the person who’s a thorn in your side. These prayers have a way of being answered, or rather, of creating opportunities to outwork the desires apparently behind our prayers. Naturally, these opportunities feel uncomfortable and, at times, even hurt a little.
Our day-to-day lives constantly involve measuring size. Heading to bed we consciously (or unconsciously) determined the length of our sleep. At breakfast, we count calories (if on an appropriate diet) or at least guesstimate how much oatmeal to put in the bowl, or butter on the toast. Then there’s the time it’ll take to get to work, how long the gas will last in the vehicle, the number of items on the to-do list .
“ ‘The star-glass?’ muttered Frodo, as one answering out of sleep, hardly comprehending. ‘Why yes! Why had I forgotten it? A light when all other lights go out! And now indeed light alone can help us.’ ”1 The interplay between light and dark is an ongoing part of our lives. In the literal sense, we live in a world where the regular appearance of both provides a measure of regulation to our activities. Figuratively though,