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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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30 Jun 2014

The Feminine Genius

In my previous post, I spoke about the problems of modern secular feminism, and I offered Saint John Paul II’s teaching on the dignity and vocation of women as an alternative for the modern Christian woman. This week, I intend to delve more deeply into this teaching, which represents centuries of the Catholic Church’s teaching on women. In subsequent posts in this series, I wish to closely examine the lives, writings, and teachings of various

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24 Jun 2014

Love and Marriage

Love Is All You Need About four months after meeting my wife Sarah, I knew I loved her. I told her as much, and naturally we began talking about our future and the possibilities contained therein. When the question of marriage came up, however, I was slightly taken aback. I know that when people fall in love they traditionally get married, have kids, combine bank accounts, move in with each other, etc. But this was

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20 Jun 2014

Real Work Has Its Reasons

Vivid memories are stored for numerous reasons – from shock or surprise, to excitement or pain. One such memory of mine is of a friend picking me up for a weekend adventure. Five minutes into our drive, she asked the question that made my hackles rise, “How long do you see yourself working in your current position?” Even now my heart rate increases and my blood pressure rises. I hear her underlying question, “When are

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19 Jun 2014

Who is my Neighbor?

“The problem of acceptance with regard to other religions is closely related to the problem of the acceptance of diversity within the House of Islam itself.”1  The preceding quote by Vincent Cornell, one of the West’s most prolific scholars of Islam, is one I’ve been pondering since first coming across it, precisely because this sentiment is just as relevant for Christians as it for Muslims.  It is no coincidence that the very Christians who treat

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16 Jun 2014

How Then Shall We Speak?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey As the above quote from Stephen Covey notes, far too often “dialogue” consists of hearing the perspectives of others not so that we may understand them, but in order that we may show them where they are wrong. This is especially obvious on the internet, where 140 character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, rhetoric-oriented politics,#hashtagactivism,

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16 Jun 2014

The Church and Almsgiving

Introduction Awhile back, I found myself defending the Catholic Church to a few strangers. One young man—I will call him Adam—was convinced that the Church was not actually doing anything good in the world, least of all for the poor. (I was waiting for him to suggest that we should just “sell the Vatican.”) Crossing his arms, he asked me concretely: what is the Church actually doing for the poor? Although the answer would have

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16 Jun 2014

The Art of Grieving

Drip-drop. Drop-drip. Plink! Glorious Spring rain drips off the gutter-less eaves of my cottage this forenoon; every now and then one drop making a sharp ping off something metal below. Steady, strong notes to set the rhythm for the day, those water-drops. I draw icy water for the kettle, waiting for its warm whistle as a Southwest wind kicks up its heels. The song of the rain slows, softens, becomes silent. Whirling this way and

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16 Jun 2014

Before Christians Talk Politics…

Politics is a dirty word. Many associate it with backroom deals, slander, and doublespeak. It is easy to be disrespectful of our elected officials, but this is not in accordance with the Word of God. Consider the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 13: 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth

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16 Jun 2014

There Are No Rules In Christianity

There are no rules in Christianity. This statement may come as a shock especially if you are an Orthodox Christian. In essence being a Christian means that our life is no longer ours. “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). I love this verse of scripture, but we tend to focus on who Christ is and never contemplate what it means

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16 Jun 2014

Living A Christian Life Requires Constant Effort

When I was 13-years-old my dad challenged me to do 40 situps every day for two weeks. I informed him after the two weeks that I successfully completed his challenge and planned to continue the exercise. And I did. I kept it up for quite some time. When I began to see the slightest definition in my 13-year-old abdomen muscles I was ecstatic. I naively thought that I could take it easy for a while

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