04 Dec 2014

When My Impact Is Small

At a retreat several years ago, I had the chance to combine a few of my favorite things — great people and making music. Part way through one of our evenings, I pulled out my Mountain Dulcimer, was shortly joined by a Guitar, and we were shortly joined by a group of folks singing along. As we went around picking out hymns to sing though, I began to question the necessity of my contribution. At

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05 Nov 2014

What’s In A Name?

“When I forget my name, remind me.”1 Listening to Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing In The Minefields”, I was struck by this line. In particular, the importance of naming jumped out at me. The fact that names are special isn’t a huge surprise. One need only think about how strongly people feel about their own names to confirm this. Feelings aside though, when we look at Scripture, naming often appears to go beyond merely identifying an

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22 Oct 2014

Notes of Silence

If there is one thing that modern people are surrounded by, it’s music. Radio for the car (if you’re not plugging your phone into the speakers), streaming services for home and office, music piped through coffee shops and shopping centers – it’s not that difficult to live with a steady diet of music. In my own experience, spending the last month and a half in the middle of nowhere highlighted just how much music I

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08 Oct 2014

Sin’s Secret Service

Life is messy. Then again, that’s probably to be expected when spending time with sinners. When that intersects with our Christian community though, things can become a bit more puzzling. These are the people who are supposed to know right and wrong, follow Christ, and live holy lives. How should we react when coming across sin in others? Hopkins wrestled with this question, and provided his answer in poetry: Myself unholy, from myself unholy To

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24 Sep 2014

Participatory Community

Community. It’s one of today’s popular catch phrases. Thanks to that popularity, though, its meaning is a bit fuzzy. It usually seems to refer to an ideal interaction with others. What that ideal is, though, is hard to pin down. Recently reading Bonhoeffer and Lewis brought additional clarity to this puzzle for me. This clarity came from their comparison of heavenly and hellish forms of community. Bonhoeffer set the stage with the suggestion that, “The

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10 Sep 2014

The Perspective of Beauty

This fall I have the privilege of serving as a mentor at Summit’s Summit Semester program. One of the lesser benefits of this opportunity is the chance to spend the fall out in the gorgeous mountains of southern Colorado. So far, I’ve taken at least a few minutes each night to step out and look at the stars. Having grown up between Baltimore and Washington D.C., actually seeing stars is something of a novelty. As

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27 Aug 2014

Safety in Love?

The idea for the title came from a striking line in Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, which reads, “The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”1 The only safe place from the danger of love is Hell. Lewis’ thoughts might bring to mind my previous post, where we looked at the connection between a focus on self and Hell. The key

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13 Aug 2014

“myself am Hell”

Me miserable! Which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell… (b.4 l.73-75)1 Satan’s lament in Paradise Lost is striking. These lines, and the thoughts behind them, came to mind while perusing A Severe Mercy. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Sheldon Vanauken’s relationship with his wife, Jean. Early on, while explaining some of the ground rules of their relationship, Vanauken records an interesting

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30 Jul 2014

Resting Through Rejoicing

Rest is important. This may seem too obvious to need stating, but then again, some of my good friends will be surprised that I put rest and important in the same sentence. My personal sleep practices notwithstanding, the psalmist indicates that rest is part of God’s design for us when he says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives

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16 Jul 2014

Percolations of Peace

  “When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut, Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs? When, when, Peace, will you, Peace?–I’ll not play hypocrite To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but That Piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?”1 Peace can be such an erratic thing. One moment present, the next, somewhere else.

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08 Jul 2014

Round Table: Same-Sex Marriage

Having just passed the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision and with the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly’s recent vote, the issue of Same-Sex Marriage remains much discussed and oft debated in our culture. To help us think more clearly about this subject, we asked the Conciliar Post team and a few guest authors to offer their thoughts on some aspects of Same-Sex Marriage in a Round Table format. Round Tables are where

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02 Jul 2014

Inquisitive Gardeners

I never imagined myself writing the following sentence: I am a bit like Gollum. No, I don’t mean that I have a funny cough, proclivity to use the word “precious”, or frequently talk to myself (though, some might disagree on that last point). Nor am I trying to draw an abstract analogy about wrestling with sin nature. No, Gollum and I have similar passions, which Tolkien superbly describes: The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that

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18 Jun 2014

Fidelity in the Dark

I am constantly amazed by the poets’ ability to capture facets of human experience. Recently, Emily Dickinson caught my attention with her poem “The Duel”: I took my power in my hand And went against the world; ‘T was not so much as David had, But I was twice as bold. I aimed my pebble, but myself Was all the one that fell. Was it Goliath was too large, Or only I too small?1 Two

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