19 Oct 2015

The Martian and the Water of Life

There’s a scene in the new hit movie, The Martian, which has likely disturbed some Christians. After realizing he is stranded on Mars for what could be years, Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney realizes he must grow food in able to survive, since the rations will only sustain him for a few months. He’s a botanist, so at least his knowledge will not fail him. The rations include a few potatoes, sealed and saved for

Laura Norris 7
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

Guest Author 0
23 Sep 2015

Laudato Si and My Baby Sister

The All-Encompassing Call of Love The beeps and whirs of surrounding machines and that too-clean smell of the hospital room washed over me as I held my newborn sister for the very first time: my parents’ fifth child and first girl. My mother observed how beautiful it was that we were all present, together as a family, to share in her first moments in the world. Her words made me realize, for what felt like

Deion Kathawa 2
14 Sep 2015

What is the Future of the Church?

This past Wednesday night, Biola University held an event titled “The Future of the Church.” The event brought together four theologians from differing wings of Christendom to engage in both predictive and normative dialogue on, you guessed it, the future of the Church. The four speakers included Pentecostal Simon Chan of Singapore, Anglican Ephraim Radner, Catholic Thomas Rausch, and Evangelical Free Fred Sanders. In what follows in this article is something of a truncated transcript

George Aldhizer 29
07 Sep 2015

Vatican II Catholicism: Nostra Aetate §4 and the Jewish Faith

“Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures … Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” —Nostra Aetate (1965) Nostra aetate translates as,

Benjamin Winter 1
24 Aug 2015

John Henry Newman and the Journey of Conversion

“Great acts take time.” – John Henry Newman         In 1839, Oriel College Fellow John Henry Newman was at the height of his career, both as a member of the Oxford Movement and Anglican priest at St. Mary’s. Within six years time, he had resigned both these posts and preparing to leave Oxford for good, not for retirement, or acceptance of a new job, but because he had converted from the Church of England into

Laura Norris 2
24 Jul 2015

Grace and Catholicism Part III – Repentance

Grace and Catholicism Part III – Repentance We approach the edge of a cliff. Flailing arms wildly, we careen toward the brink and launch outward into abyss. Abyss of inscrutability, abyss of love, abyss of justice. Abyss of knowing and unknowing, of God and man, of freedom … or something else? In line with the subject of our series, this abyss represents the dire difficulties raised when we speak about the human will in matters

Benjamin Winter 4
13 Jul 2015

Must Read Catholic Novels

Summer is almost synonymous with reading. Warm temperatures, long hours of daylight, and weekends on the beach or by a campfire invite the us to put down our phones and pick up a good book. A few weeks ago I wrote about Christian poets worth reading this summer; in this post, I wish to offer a list of must-read Catholic novels. Whether you are a tried-and-true Protestant, a cradle Catholic, or a non-denominational, you will

Laura Norris 0
29 Jun 2015

The Christian’s Guide to Talking about Marriage Equality (or any moral issue) on the Internet

This past Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that marriage equality must be legalized in all fifty states. I returned from a lovely eight mile run out on some of Seattle’s finest trails feeling spiritually refreshed and grateful for God’s gift. This mood, however, was dampened when I checked Facebook and saw Christians from all political leanings angrily posting and bickering with each other about the SCOTUS ruling. Each morning, after

Laura Norris 5
15 Jun 2015

4 Ways to Practice Christian Stewardship of the Environment

Both the Christian and secular media is currently abuzz with the upcoming encyclical on environmentalism from Pope Francis. Following in line with Saint Pope John Paul II’s sense of mountain-climbing adventure and Pope Benedict XVI’s call for stronger environmental protections, Pope Francis urges believers to adopt a strong environmentalism as an integral sense of their Christian identity. In a homily he delivered in February of this year, Pope Francis asserted,  “A Christian who does not

Laura Norris 4
12 Jun 2015

My Journey to Catholicism: Part III

If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).1 After an extended hiatus, we return for the third installment! This final chapter is a reflection about the past four years of my family’s religious life. I’ll attempt not to get bogged down in theological minutiae (featured prominently in Parts

Benjamin Winter 5
29 May 2015

Grace and Catholicism, Part II: Theological Definitions

Introduction In this post, we’ll delve into definitions with the goal of clarifying the Roman Catholic understanding of grace. Admittedly, the discussion is complex and multifaceted. It must first be stated that the theological categorization of grace is never meant to detract from its mysterious and deifying activity. Rather, such reflections are undertaken—via a hermeneutic of faith seeking understanding—with the twofold purpose of clarifying and defending the Church’s essential teachings. These teachings were passed down

Benjamin Winter 2
22 May 2015

Catholicism Undervalues Women?

Catholicism Undervalues Women? More like Frank Bruni and the New York Times Undervalues the Catholic Church and Women (Again) Frank Bruni, an opinion columnist at the New York Times, is quite fond of taking shots at the Catholic Church. He has sniped at Her when it comes to Her teachings on marriage, and his most recent attempt was in a column penned a few days ago1. The column focused on the relationship between women and

Deion Kathawa 2
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

Various 6
04 May 2015

There’s a Saint for That (A Brief Reflection)

One critique that some groups of non-Catholics rail against Catholicism that there are saints for very obscure or mundane purposes. Think of Saint Ambrose of Milan, the brilliant 4th century theologian who is the patron saint of beekeepers, or Saint Isidore of Seville, who anachronistically became the patron saint of the Internet in 2003. Why have saints for such small things, or designate saints to technologies they did not even use? There’s quite literally a

Laura Norris 2
20 Apr 2015

Men, Women, and Spiritual Friendship

In a catechesis address on April 15 at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke about the difference between men and women. Some who wish to develop a discontinuous narrative of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as traditionalists and Francis as a progressive pope expressed their disappointment at Francis’s statements, as the pontiff warned against the prevalence of gender theory in modern society. “We risk taking a step backward,” Francis stated, and he claimed that “so-called

Laura Norris 1
17 Apr 2015

The Love that Moves the Sun and Other Stars

As the geometer who sets himself To square the circle and who cannot find, For all his thought, the principle he needs; Just so was I on seeing this new vision. I wanted to see how our image fuses Into the circle and finds its place in it; Yet my wings were not meant for such a flight — Except that then my mind was struck by lightning, Through which my longing was at last

Benjamin Winter 3
03 Apr 2015

The Natural Desire to See God?

The human person—with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, his longings for the infinite and for happiness—questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material,” can have its origin only in God (CCC 33). Such says the Catechism of the Catholic

Benjamin Winter 8
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

Various 5
20 Mar 2015

My Journey to Catholicism: Part II

Hello again! Thanks for joining in on this second installment (Part I is here). I hope that my story encourages you—regardless of how you trace your Christian lineage—to delve deeper into the stories that shape our common past, while sharing your passion for truth in loving service to your own faith community. Last time, we chronicled my slow departure from childlike trust in the doctrines of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), and witnessed the

Benjamin Winter 16