23 Jul 2021

Three Things that Need to Change About Church

My husband and I went through a phase where we spent too much time watching Kitchen Nightmares, the reality show where celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey tries to turn around failing restaurants. In one episode, Gordon asks the owner of a sad and shrinking diner, “What do you think is the biggest problem with your restaurant?” “No customers” the owner replies. When he pressed her about why the restaurant didn’t have more customers she said “Because

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21 Jul 2021

God’s Story (Part 1)

Human beings love stories. Good stories. Bad stories. Funny stories. Sad stories. Fanciful stories. Stories about real life. We just can’t get enough of them. We have whole sectors of our lives devoted to telling and remembering and sharing stories. The movies we watch, the books we read, the social media that we share, the time we spend with family and friends—they all revolve around stories. Every part of human life revolves around stories. The

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16 Jul 2021

Church and Conscience

American Christianity, in certain intellectual quadrants at least, is undergoing a reassessment of established conceptions of church and state. The Gelasian analogy (from Duo Sunt) of church and state, now carried on by contemporary integralists but also by many more before them, is that of soul and body. The former represents the spiritual power and the latter the temporal. This is a proper analogy that, in various forms, was invoked by the magisterial reformers (like

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14 Jul 2021

Learning from the Latter-Day Saints, Part I

A few years ago, I was working on a sermon, listening absent-mindedly to hymns on a list generated by YouTube. Deep in my writing, I suddenly became aware that the music floating through the background of my mind was filled with strange and unfamiliar words: If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye And then continue onward with that same speed to fly, Do you think that you could ever, through

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09 Jul 2021

Godforsakenness and Redemption Pt. 1: The Lynched Savior

Julius Bloch, Lynching link to image In this series I examine atonement, specifically the cross and Christ’s cry of dereliction, in conversation with the historical reality of the lynching of thousands of Black people in America during the 19th and into the 20th (and arguably 21st) century. In this article I examine the relationship between the cross and the lynching tree made by James Cone in his book The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and

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02 Jul 2021

The Power of the Enemy or the Hands of a Friend?

It seems to me at this stage of my life that one of the harder parts of maturing in faith is coming to grips with the fact that all of scripture, all of our experience in Christ, all the core beliefs and convictions of the Christian gospel, all the ancient writings and creedal magnificence and great teachings and profound ideas of all the saints—all of this put together—is still not enough to answer some of

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18 Jun 2021

The Feminist Case Against “Inclusive Language” Liturgy: Part II

I was once involved in preparing the liturgy for an ordination service in an Episcopal diocese. During the planning process, the rector mentioned to me that he had been planning to use the “inclusive language” liturgies approved for trial use by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and asked for my thoughts. I gently voiced my opposition which generally followed the argument I make in this article.  He and I went back and forth

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16 Jun 2021

Calvin and Theonomy

I recently wrote a critique of Theonomy over at Mere Orthodoxy. Lots of feedback came my way, some constructive, most not. What seems to have been lost on many readers is that, first and foremost, my critique was aimed at the critics. I want to take Theonomy seriously and my criticisms to push them to better explication of their ideas. Finding the majority of recent criticisms of Theonomy either unfair or unthoughtful—when it comes to

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14 Jun 2021

Is God Patient? (Part 3)

An introduction to this series can be found here, and Part 2, exploring the Hebrew terms, can be found here.   The Greek Definitions of Patience—Endurance as Salvation: makrǒthumia/makrǒthumōs  Found fifteen times in the New Testament, fourteen in the first form and once in the second form (Acts 26:3), this word refers to forbearance or fortitude, to be longsuffering, or to endure.  How is God enduring? Linked alongside the Hebrew word, ârêk, the Apostle Paul

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04 Jun 2021

The Handmaid’s Tale and Human Dignity

“Cows don’t get married.” This line comes from the second season of the Handmaid’s Tale, which, to put it mildly, is a very difficult show to watch, for a variety of reasons. [1] It is said in the context of a concentration camp where “unwomen” – women deemed worthless by the tyrannical government, Gilead – are condemned to die a slow death while working to clean up radiation poisoning. Janine, formerly a waitress and sexual

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02 Jun 2021

Keep Scholasticism in the Schools

He was in Logick a great Critick Profoundly skill’d in Analytick. He could distinguish, and divide A Hair ’twixt South and South-west side: On either which he would dispute, Confute, change hands, and still confute. – Samuel Butler The title of this post is purposefully ambiguous. I could mean by it that contemporary academic theology—theology done in universities, seminaries, divinity schools—suffers from a neglect of scholastic theology, as it was developed and practiced in the

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01 Jun 2021

Methodist Circuit Riders in Old Ontario

Several times I have wondered what it would be like for aliens to learn about jazz through textbooks. If they knew anything about music theory, they could probably comprehend the basic characteristics as well as common elements like the Mixolydian mode and the triplet rhythm on the ride cymbal. With some historical study, they also might be able to understand, if only vaguely, the origins of jazz and its place in cultures around the world.

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26 May 2021

In Praise of the Holy Spirit

A rushing wind, rattling through a home Tongues of fire blazing in the empty air Living water bubbling up to revive the thirsty The form of a dove hovering over the River Jordan A man or a woman testifying to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Each of these images is a Scriptural rendering – a verbal icon if you will – of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Each is

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17 May 2021

Is God Patient (Part 2)

  An introduction to this series can be found at conciliarpost.com/theology-spirituality/is-god-patient/1   Wordplay  The English root word of “patience” is patient, which has two meanings in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:  Entry One: “1. Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint, 2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain, 3. not hasty or impetuous, 4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity, or 5. able or willing to bear.”    To begin with, I was hoping for a

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15 May 2021

Atlantic Interconnections and the Origins of Brazilian Protestantism

Today, much of the discussion on Brazilian Christianity focuses on the charismatic movement within the Catholic church and the growth of neo-pentecostal churches such as the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. As I have discussed in an earlier article, the Brazilian pentecostal movement is over a century old today, and it owes its origins to a variety of transnational and Brazilian actors. However, the emergence of Protestantism itself in this predominantly Catholic country (70%

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The Good Place
12 May 2021

The Insufficient Eternity of the Good Place

Welcome! Everything is fine. That’s what the wall in front of you says the moment after you die. Or, at least, that’s what The Good Place suggests that the wall in front of you says immediately after the moment of your death. Appearing on NBC from 2016 to 2020, The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series that traces the journeys of four “Good Place” residents (along with their celestial architect friend and his AI

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07 May 2021

Jean-Louis Chrétien and the Wounded Word

Photo: Paul Gauguin, “Vision of the Sermon” (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/4940/vision-sermon-jacob-wrestling-angel …what would prayer be without this inward combat with the dumbness in us? This prayer that is so violent and at first uttered against our will— who can say if it is authentic or inauthentic? Jean-Louis Chrétien, “The Wounded Word” In his provocative essay “The Wounded Word: The Phenomenology of Prayer,” Jean-Louis Chrétien argues that prayer is the “religious phenomenon par excellence,”

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05 May 2021

Theology as Reasoning Prayer

I was recently struck by a line from Peter Leithart’s review of Vern Poythress’ recent book, The Mystery of the Trinity. At the end of the review Leithart offers what he deems to be high praise for Poythress: Each chapter of Mystery of the Trinity ends with a prayer. Poythress and Frame want theology to speak to ordinary people in ordinary language, rather than become a playground for professionals who bandy intimidating technical terms about to keep

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03 May 2021

Is God Patient?

Why this Question? In The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer writes, “We wait for the sun to move from east to west or for the hour hand to move around the face of the clock, but God is not compelled so to wait. For Him everything that will happen has already happened.” Wait.  God is not compelled so to wait? What does that mean? Does waiting even factor into His existence? If not, is

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26 Apr 2021

Book Review: “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos”

In a right-of-center journalistic landscape that seems, all too often, to have collapsed into a mass of indistinguishable pundits all saying roughly the same thing, Sohrab Ahmari has long been a more interesting presence. The first book of his that I came across, The New Philistines, was a lacerating indictment of modern art reminiscent of Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. And in the wake of his conversion to Catholicism—a shift chronicled in his engaging memoir

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