02 Oct 2014

Rain Glory

Yet again the eaves are drip-drip-dropping, and thunder throbs above the clouds. Rain scent falls, hushes the neighbour children, breathes its sweetness in at my open windowpane. Pattering droplets sing their song slowly today, and my heart is glad. Glad for slow rain to cool the day. For dark clouds brooding over the mountains, so I might see their creases and lines differently, like an ever-changing face on those long-standing rocks. If you ask me,

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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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26 Sep 2014

Tending the Tree of Friendship

Think for a moment of the most famous friendships in history and literature. What names come to mind? For me it is always King David and Jonathan; Frodo and Samwise; and Anne and Diana. In my own life there are nearly a dozen soul-knit friends, kindred spirits, whom God has seen fit to bring into the dark places when all other lights go out. Usually they come singly, but sometimes in pairs. Always they bring

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12 Sep 2014

A Word Aptly Spoken

“When Hugh and I went on a trip to Russia I almost didn’t get a visa because our travel agent put down my occupation as writer. Writers think. Writers ask questions. Writers are dangerous. She finally persuaded ‘them’ that I write only for small children and was not a threat. In any dictatorship writers are among the first to be imprisoned, and vocabulary is quickly diminished and language deteriorates.  Writers, if their vocabulary is not

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29 Aug 2014

Without Injuring Eternity

  You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, And grace before the play and pantomime, And grace before I open a book, And grace before sketching, painting, Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing; And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.1 ―G.K. Chesterton   Yesterday I woke to a pink, cloud-studded sky. I smiled at the rose-grey dawn and pulled the blankets a

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15 Aug 2014

The Fog of Holy Mystery

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “divine mystery”or “holy mystery”? Desert mystics wandering in flowing robes? Gilded saints on chapel ceilings? Clouds of incense wafting upwards in a beam of light? I confess, I have never had even a loose grasp on the mystery of the divine. My ideas were—at best—shadows in my head, nothing substantial enough to imagine even vague images.   Fog and roiling clouds hang low today, giving

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01 Aug 2014

Being Imago Dei

Imago Dei. That mysterious reality that humans are created in the image of God. Perhaps you have questioned—internally or verbally—what imago Dei means on an individual level. Do we look like God somehow? Perhaps the things we do image Him. After all, He made us as sub-creators in His world, cultivators in His garden of the earth.   Since Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories, the Christian community has seen sub-creation as one of the chief ways

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21 Jul 2014

A Shell Dishabited

The rumble of thunder reverberates off the foothills. Damp pine scent laces the air. A trio of squirrels seek refuge in the spruce that touches the sky with its tip-top branches. This is the stillness of the very first Summer Saturday–my day of solitude and sleep, of caramel-filled chocolate and endless mugs of PG Tips. It is a fairy sort of daylight, ripe for reading Phantastes or Lord of the Rings. I can see sunlight slanting

Johanna Byrkett 0
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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04 Jul 2014

Treading the Sea of Darkness

Noisy chatter clutters the lobby. The porch overflows with sound, seeping from every crevice of the hotel, like grapes, crushed. And I? I feel alone. Wearing the mask of a smile, while my soul wrestles with the Fall. I slip out into the rain-cooled air, the cloak of night hiding me from peering eyes and piercing laughter.   How many times have I sat in a crowd of persons, even those I know, and felt

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20 Jun 2014

Real Work Has Its Reasons

Vivid memories are stored for numerous reasons – from shock or surprise, to excitement or pain. One such memory of mine is of a friend picking me up for a weekend adventure. Five minutes into our drive, she asked the question that made my hackles rise, “How long do you see yourself working in your current position?” Even now my heart rate increases and my blood pressure rises. I hear her underlying question, “When are

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16 Jun 2014

The Art of Grieving

Drip-drop. Drop-drip. Plink! Glorious Spring rain drips off the gutter-less eaves of my cottage this forenoon; every now and then one drop making a sharp ping off something metal below. Steady, strong notes to set the rhythm for the day, those water-drops. I draw icy water for the kettle, waiting for its warm whistle as a Southwest wind kicks up its heels. The song of the rain slows, softens, becomes silent. Whirling this way and

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