14 Aug 2014

Past Tense Christianity

Lieutenant Dan: “Have you found Jesus yet?” Forrest Gump: “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, Sir.” The further I drift down this long and winding road called Christianity, the more I come to realize why I had problems with the Christian tradition for much of my life. One thing that has always been troubling for me is the tendency to speak about religion in the past tense. This past tense

Chris Smith 9
13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

Ryan Shinkel 0
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

Jeff Reid 2
12 Aug 2014

“Unto What Then Were Ye Baptized?”

One of the largest controversies within Christianity has been the rise of three movements associated with the fresh indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I consider myself to be a part of the Spirit-filled traditions. The confession of sin and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior does not necessarily bring this baptism of the Spirit. There have now been three ‘waves’ of the Spirit: Pentecostal, Charismatic and Third Wave movements. Each of these has placed

Stuart Kerr 2
11 Aug 2014

The Virgin Mary in “The Lord of the Rings”

Author’s Note: This post falls as part of a series on female saints, but since there is so much that can be said about the greatest of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I chose to focus on her as represented in the literature and movies of the Lord of the Rings, which provides a familiar common ground for many of us. The Lord of the Rings books and movies depict some of the strongest

Laura Norris 5
08 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part I

What the New Evangelization Can Learn from the Aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Mallick “Humility is the luxurious art of reducing ourselves to a point, not to a small thing or a large one, but to a thing with no size at all, so that to it all the cosmic things are what they really are–of immeasurable stature…to the spirit which has stripped off for a moment its own idle temporal standards the grass is

Ryan Shinkel 1
06 Aug 2014

Round Table: Christian Unity

A central task of Conciliar Post involves the gathering together of Christians from various traditions in order to reflect upon important issues. As author Stephen Sutherland reminded us in a post a few weeks ago, however, we must understand the purpose and appropriate use of ecumenism: “If good rules make for good neighbors and housemates, maybe a clearer understanding of what it means to be ecumenical can do the same here.” The topic of this

Various 32
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

3
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

Jeff Reid 3
28 Jul 2014

Writing as an Act of Charity

The newsfeed on Facebook (or any social media) is a troubling place. News of bombed planes, war in Gaza, murdered clergymen, and school shootings have all claimed prominent space over the past couple months as I scroll through my newsfeed. To quite literally add insult to injury, people post and comment on Facebook in a degrading, self-righteous, and outright obnoxious manner. Most people accompany the news of violence in the world with violence in their

Laura Norris 4
23 Jul 2014

The Nature of Truth

Ephesians 4:15 “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Why is truth so often served within the context of law and justice rather than love? In almost every instance where truth was used in the Old Testament, it was accompanied by love, kindness, justice, mercy, or another expression of who God is. Often truth was revealed as

Charles Heyworth 2
22 Jul 2014

Reformed Theology and Social Justice

In my previous post, I discussed the necessity of having a worldview of creation and resurrection to form a coherent vision of social justice, one in which we can be confident our work in the present will come to fruition in the resurrection.  In this article, I want to extend the discussion to the particularities of the Reformed tradition, hoping to see what a Calvinistic worldview has to say about social justice.  I will argue

George Aldhizer 0
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

0
17 Jul 2014

Learning a New Language is Hard

Learning and mastering any new language is an extremely difficult task. Since high school, I have studied a handful of languages including Spanish, Czech, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and German, though I have mastered none of those. This is, of course, my fault for having a short attention span and not sticking with one long enough to become proficient, yet I have greatly enjoyed the time spent learning each of them. The study of foreign languages

Chris Smith 3
15 Jul 2014

Blood Worship

In the beginning there was light, and this light became life for mankind.   From divine nostrils to feldspar veins was life breathed, and in the blood contained.   In the blood.   A body mystically woven from magic and mud exploded into action: pumping, cycling, consuming. Communing with an entire garden of food, air, and fluid. Taking into itself by some parasitic act of sorcery the entire physical universe and rewriting it as flesh.

Micah Carlson 6
14 Jul 2014

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

My last article was published on the same day as the SCOTUS ruling on the Hobby Lobby case. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that for-profit corporations, including Hobby Lobby, are not required to provide coverage on contraception and abortifacients if these violate their religious beliefs. (Let us focus here on the fact that Hobby Lobby was opposed to abortifacients, not preventative contraceptives; the Green family accepted 16 out of 20 contraceptive

Laura Norris 4
07 Jul 2014

Social Justice Without the Resurrection Is Dead

In today’s cultural climate, much is thrown around concerning the term “social justice.” Many are passionate about seeing the many injustices and oppressions of this world reversed into true human flourishing, and seeing the way the world is as different from the way the world ought to be. The primary worldview used as the foundation and motivation for this term is a notion of “progress,” fueled by a passion to make the world better. While

George Aldhizer 7
03 Jul 2014

In Defense of Saints

The practice of venerating Christian saints is one that is frequently misunderstood by certain Protestant and evangelical groups, especially those who, like me, were raised in the Southern “Bible Belt.” This misinterpretation, along with others, inhibits ecumenism and contributes to the disconnect between the so-called “high church” and “low church” traditions. As my understanding of theology and Church history has increased, so has my appreciation for saints. The problem for many Christians results from confusing

Chris Smith 6
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

Jeff Reid 5
01 Jul 2014

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

I do not watch much television, only occasionally go the theater, and, for the most part, do not watch YouTube videos. Among the various genres of television, films, and video streaming I especially avoid comedy, such as Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and the various sitcoms that occupy television network lineups. Why do I do this? I am somewhat picky, feeling uncomfortable with sensuality and adult humor. What causes me discomfort is how comedy presentations

Stuart Kerr 4