23 Sep 2014

Speaking Through Stories

A friend of mine recently commented that he sees too many references to C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the blogging world. As someone who tries to stay connected to the conversations of the interwebs, I can confirm that there are indeed a plethora of perspectives penned on these great 20th century authors. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without seeing an article evaluating what Lewis would have thought about this, or

Jacob Prahlow 2
22 Sep 2014

Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp, and English Vernacular Mysticism

Most historians of Christianity will note that mysticism peaked in the later centuries of the Middle Ages. Christian mystics experienced direct encounters with God, often through ecstatic visions of heaven and the divine. In relation to the increase in literacy of the laity during these centuries, many mystics wrote in their vernacular languages and gained followings among the laity. Thus mysticism itself bears different traits depending upon the region and language. Furthermore, while there were

Laura Norris 2
19 Sep 2014

The Ethics of Evil

Because religious institutions have placed such emphasis on avoiding evil, those who never do anything good consider themselves to be moral people. Contemporary understanding of ethics demonstrated by mottos of “Do No Evil,” “Just Say No,” or “DARE to Resist…” highlight certain actions that should definitely be avoided. However, the very act of defining something as off-limits often stirs a desire within human beings to cross that line. What is worth protecting with these rules?

Charles Heyworth 0
17 Sep 2014

Books, Film, and Christian Propaganda

Some thoughts are too big for fiction and movies. I was thinking that when I watched God is Not Dead for the first time a few weeks ago. Yes, I put it off for as long as I possibly could. As much as I like to support Christian films (I am a film script writer, after all), I find that I cringe my way through many of them. Though there were some commendable points to

Amanda Hill 12
15 Sep 2014

Christ and Consumer Culture: Small Groups and the Body of Christ

At Conciliar Post, we bring together a lot of Christians from various traditions who love to read, write, and think. This is a beautiful thing.  On this website, we want to challenge people to understand the gospel more deeply, appreciate the riches of church history and wisdom, and begin to see our daily lives and current events with the eyes of Christ. As much as I wish it were not so, this way of doing

George Aldhizer 7
10 Sep 2014

The Perspective of Beauty

This fall I have the privilege of serving as a mentor at Summit’s Summit Semester program. One of the lesser benefits of this opportunity is the chance to spend the fall out in the gorgeous mountains of southern Colorado. So far, I’ve taken at least a few minutes each night to step out and look at the stars. Having grown up between Baltimore and Washington D.C., actually seeing stars is something of a novelty. As

Jeff Reid 1
09 Sep 2014

The Seven Heavens and Planet Narnia, Part Two

My previous post introduced Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis,1 in which he argues that the medieval conception of the Seven Heavens serves as the basis for the seven Chronicles of Narnia, with Lewis using the characteristic ethos of each planetary intelligence as the paradigm for his books. In this post, we turn to an explicit consideration of how the evidence of the Chronicles of Narnia fits

Jacob Prahlow 2
08 Sep 2014

Five Ways to Pray in Everyday Life

To be completely honest, it is much easier to cultivate a healthy prayer life during the major liturgical seasons than during the most ordinary days of ordinary time. Aside from morning Scripture readings, blessings before meals, and nighttime Our Fathers, most of us do not pray a lot during the day, especially days outside of Lenten fasting and Advent devotionals. Prayer, however, ought to be central to the everyday life of the Christian, even in

Laura Norris 1
05 Sep 2014

The Seven Heavens and Planet Narnia, Part One

Some of my favorite books are the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. While Lewis’s tales of the adventures of the Pevensie children (and later Eustace and Polly) in the land of Narnia are for many little more than entertaining children’s books, I find myself returning to this series again and again. And while I cannot claim to speak on behalf of everyone who has read Chronicles, I know there are many other readers,

Jacob Prahlow 1
04 Sep 2014

Why So Teary, O Logie?

Robert Isaac Logie was born during the late half of the twentieth century in the Midwestern United States. His friends called him Logie. When he was seven, the Sunday School teacher from his parents’ church taught him about the Genesis account of creation. That day, his class learned about the snake, the apple, and the fall. Logie thought God seemed a little too upset about the whole apple ordeal. I mean, he could remember plenty

Micah Carlson 2
02 Sep 2014

Pharisees in a Strange Land

Religion News Service contributor David Gibson recently penned an opinion piece on the growing concerns of American Christian leaders that our beloved land of freedom and good Christian virtue “ain’t what she used to be.” These leaders apparently caught on that America as a whole is behaving precisely how we told it not to behave in Sunday School, and now some leaders are now equating the religious right’s loss of cultural and political clout with

Chris Casberg 2
01 Sep 2014

Christ and Consumer Culture: Stuff and Salvation

One of the standard narratives of today’s age is that Americans are obsessed with stuff. We are said to be hedonistic materialistic monsters that will stop at nothing to possess the next new thing. In this critique of the current day and age, we are all the rich young ruler of Matthew 19, rejecting Christ due to our attachment with our many possessions. In our consumer culture, as Bill McKibben argues, we are compelled to

George Aldhizer 2
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

Johanna Byrkett 2
27 Aug 2014

Safety in Love?

The idea for the title came from a striking line in Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, which reads, “The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”1 The only safe place from the danger of love is Hell. Lewis’ thoughts might bring to mind my previous post, where we looked at the connection between a focus on self and Hell. The key

Jeff Reid 1
25 Aug 2014

My Spiritual Guide, Tolkien

I was a fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit years before I discovered the beautiful example of faith in the life and writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read the Lord of the Rings as a middle schooler and frequently watched Peter Jackson’s screen interpretations, but I did not learn about Tolkien’s Catholic faith, his Eucharistic devotion, and the Christian truth driving the myth of his sub-creation of Middle Earth until my

Laura Norris 1
18 Aug 2014

Christ and Consumer Culture

We are all consumers. As finite, dependent, embodied human beings, all of us need goods and services to survive, flourish, and enjoy the lives we each possess. For Americans, the vast majority of our consumption comes by means of the wages we receive from our employers, rather than home production as in agrarian societies. So the simple question arises, “How should Christian congregations and individuals faithfully engage with the modern market economy as consumers?”1 This

George Aldhizer 4
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

Johanna Byrkett 2
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