04 Dec 2018

An Ecclesiology of Disenchantment: Hearing the Bad Christian Podcast Critique of the Church

Towards the end of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s life, he became disenchanted by all the hypocrisy he saw in the Danish state church. Apparently it got to the point where, instead of attending Mass on Sundays, he would sit outside at a cafe across the street from his parish and read the newspaper so that everyone walking to church could see him. This story, whether apocryphal or real, resonates with many of us who were raised

Wesley Walker 0
03 Dec 2018

The Problem of Irony

I recently had the pleasure of reading Leah Libresco’s fine new book Building the Benedict Option: A Guide to Gathering Two or Three Together in His Name. Despite the title, the book has very little to do with large-scale questions of Western civilization or the future of Christianity in a secularizing age. Instead, it’s something far simpler and more refreshing: a straightforward how-to guide for building “thick” Christian community with one’s friends and neighbors. It’s

John Ehrett 1
30 Nov 2018

The Second Exodus

“To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5b-6 NRSV).” The book of Revelation contains a series of visions meant to comfort and encourage believers under the heavy hand of persecution. When the author, John of Patmos, introduces himself in Revelation 1:9, he says that

Jarrett Dickey 2
23 Nov 2018

“And the Waters Bore up the Ark:” Genesis 7:17 as a Foreshadow of the Cross

“The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.” -Genesis 7:17 (NRSV) Recently, I had occasion to complain to a friend about the elasticity of the word “literal” when wielded in discussions concerning hermeneutics. The word is frequently used as a placeholder for vapid personal interpretations derived in absentia of authorial intent, historical context, and the traditions of the Church.

Wesley Walker 0
21 Nov 2018

A Protestant Thinks about the Blessed Virgin Mary

Talking about Mary can feel dangerous, especially if you are a Protestant who adheres to Protestant orthodoxy. Sure, we sing about Mary at Christmas, feel her pain on Good Friday, and maybe even read a little about her in the gospels. But for most American Protestants, almost any other interaction with Mary is borderline Catholic. So we don’t talk about Mary, we don’t engage with Mary, and we don’t think about Mary. Life seems easier

Jacob Prahlow 2
14 Nov 2018

Recovering the Beauty of the Christian

The beautiful is that which is pleasing when seen… —Thomas Aquinas As I indicated in my last post, I’ve been thinking about the topic of an apologetic for the Christian faith in light of our time and culture of ugliness (both inside and outside the Church). I suggested that theologians and leaders would do well to place a special emphasis on living beautifully. In this post, I would like to continue that line of thought,

Joshua Schendel 0
31 Oct 2018

Squirrels and Symbols

There is an inherent order to creation that becomes apparent when we slow down, set aside results-driven frameworks, and simply observe. For instance, a student of mine recently shared that the Iroquois people claimed to have been taught maple syrup extraction “by the squirrel.” While many dismissed this story as useless babble, a 1992 study observed red squirrels systematically tapping maple syrup via “chisel-like grooves.” It represents a profound failure of imagination that we tend

Benjamin Winter 0
29 Oct 2018

The Terrifying God

Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; if only I could vanish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face! (Job 23:15-17 NRSV) The book of Job opens with a description of the character of Job as a “blameless and upright” man who “feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). In the

Jarrett Dickey 0
26 Oct 2018

The Priesthood of the Church

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (RSV) As an Anglican priest, I am often reminded by my Baptist friends that members of the Church are part of the “universal priesthood of believers.” I have no serious qualms with this terminology but I also

Wesley Walker 2
24 Oct 2018

What Is Church Planting?

You’ve seen them in your community. They’re popping up in old buildings, fields, and other empty spaces. They show up with catchy names and make lots of loud noise, often attracting quite a crowd in the process. But what are they? Where do they come from? And why are they here? I’m talking, of course, about church plants—when a new local church begins where none had previously existed. Church planting is the process of beginning

Jacob Prahlow 0
20 Oct 2018

Dialogue on Church History and Tradition

Over the past few years, Timon and myself (Ben Winter) have engaged in fruitful discussion—via the “comments” section on Conciliar Post—about church history and the authority of tradition. Recently, Timon stated that many of the questions we worked through “are very common . . .from both Catholic friends and fellow protestants.” In light of that, we have decided to reprise our debate. Our goal is to further expand ecumenical dialogue, while learning something new in

Timon Cline 0
17 Oct 2018

Recovering the Beauty of the Theologian

The beautiful is that which is pleasing when apprehended… – Thomas Aquinas In 1970, looking out over the world, still picking up the carnage of its two world wars, and looking back over his own life, ravaged by the brutality of the USSR, Alexander Solzhenitsyn mused upon the ‘enigmatic remark’ of Dostoevsky’s idiot: “beauty will save the world.” “What sort of a statement is that?” Solzhenitsyn asks, “when in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save

Joshua Schendel 0
15 Oct 2018

Who’s Afraid of the Enneagram?

Perhaps the hottest thing going in American evangelicalism is the enneagram (pron. “any-a-gram”). In the past five years, the personality typing system has exploded exponentially in popularity, as evidenced by church conferences, church retreats, popular podcasts, widely successful book sales, feature articles in magazines, and, anecdotally, many a dinner conversation with fellow evangelicals. The enneagram is a personality system of nine types, including the reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger, and peacemaker. To

George Aldhizer 0
12 Oct 2018

Discovering the Church Fathers

Imagined Discoveries Take a few moments to image the following scenario: You wake up tomorrow morning to excitement on the news. Somebody has found a number of long-lost letters written by an early Church leader with close links to the apostles. The documents discuss issues such as the humanity of Jesus, the eucharist, and church governance. Christians across the world are beside themselves with intrigue: What does it say? What can it tell us about

Guest Author 1
03 Oct 2018

A Life Without Suffering

A life without suffering is no life at all. Like many of a certain age here in America, my childhood was perfect. I had everything I could ask for—from a supportive family to a consistent stream of toys, video games, and collectibles to keep me occupied. I had money of my own to spend (mostly from generous relatives) and an excess of unearned confidence derived from the many who praised my “talents.” When I think

Benjamin Winter 0
01 Oct 2018

The Wisdom of Birds

God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore… He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish. People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of

Jarrett Dickey 0
28 Sep 2018

The Discipline and Art of Lectionary Preaching

At the heart of vocational Christian ministry is the responsibility to faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ crucified and to administer the Sacraments of the Church. In the Anglican tradition, we depict this solemn duty at ordinations by presenting the ordinand with a copy of the Bible alongside a paten and chalice. In a liturgical settings, one tool used to more effectively preach the Gospel is the lectionary. A lectionary is a cycle of readings

Wesley Walker 0
24 Sep 2018

Book Review: Puritanism and Natural Theology

Wallace Marshall, Puritanism and Natural Theology (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2016), 144pp. H.L. Mencken once famously defined Puritanism as that “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy!” Thanks to the work of Perry Miller and Leland Ryken, among others, the caricature of Puritans as “gloomy, obscurantist foes of science, merriment, progress, and learning” has been debunked (2). The popular-level image of Puritans always did owe more to Arthur Miller and Nathaniel Hawthorne than it

Timon Cline 2
21 Sep 2018

Meditation and Incarnation

A few months ago, I began to incorporate the practice of guided meditation into my daily schedule. This particular form of meditation focuses on embodiment, which involves being more in tune with and aware of the body. What I have discovered so far is that this form of meditation not only has concrete benefits, such as remaining calm and being “present,” but also profound theological implications. In fact, I would go so far as to

Jacob Quick 0
19 Sep 2018

Between Defiance and Despair

I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. —Blaise Pascal Quietude. Calm. Collected. Consistency. These are not the buzzwords of our culture of revolution. If they make it on to the radar, it is as unwanted intruders. To use one’s voice is a virtue; to remain silent, a vice. To be calm is thought to be apathetic at best,

Joshua Schendel 0