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
12 Sep 2018

To the Church, from a Convert

It’s taken me too long to write this. About three years ago, I converted from a tradition that emphasizes individuality to one that champions the authority of the Church. I think I overreacted. That’s not to say that I don’t still believe in the claims of the Catholic Church. But when I made the decision to submit to Rome, I had only experienced one excess: the doctrines of Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura, which have contributed more than

Christian McGuire 0
14 May 2018

Theology, Sanctity, and the Academy

It could be said that, throughout history and even now in the “less enlightened” parts of the world, the cults of the Saints drive not only the practice of Christianity but also speculation (in the older, more revered sense of the term) about Christianity itself. That is, hagiography as such – the vitae Sanctorum – is not a strange collection of bygone myths (in the newer, less revered sense of the term), but the pulse

Guest Author 1
01 Sep 2017

Row the Wind

You scallywag scavenger, throaty chatterer, who rows through the sky with graceful pride, your wings black and white dipping the wind, tipping like a canoe but never capsized— that is you, O magnificent Magpie!

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09 Jun 2017

Sorrow and Stars

Last light is leaping from hill to hill spilling like liquid from an upset cup, A golden haze spreading o’er rock and rill until, until, until the valley has its fill and the glory thins and wavers and is taken up     The clouds’ creamy bronze hues drain clear, drop by drop—suddenly they run ashen grey in an eye-blink, in the drip of a tear giving way to darkness, uncertainty, and fear as the

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06 Jun 2017

Random Thoughts from a Western Adventure

My family recently returned from an excursion in the wild western part of our great nation, where we were summoned for my brother’s wedding. Going for drives—especially long ones—is something that I rather enjoy, even with a 9-month old in tow (though I should note that she is quite generous with her patience at being locked in her car seat for extended periods of time). Thus, we decided to extend our wedding trip and spend

Jacob Prahlow 1
09 Mar 2017

Scandalous Sacredness: Until the End of Time

This article is Part II of the Scandalous Sacredness: A Note from the Chaplain Chronicles series.  To view Part I, click here.   “Doubt is Christian participation in the weakness of God, the weakness of the cross” — E. Frank Tupper My mentor told me, time and time again, that one day I would have a patient that got to me. My supervisor and several senior nurses told me it’s inevitable for anyone in a

Larry Brown 0
11 Nov 2016

Swallowing Light

i am alive. i am awake. i am aware of what [life] tastes like.1 It tastes like meteors. Like sunshine spilling warmth over me as I lie on a mound of wood chips. Like black currant tea and dark chocolate. Like thought-full and heart-felt conversations. Like fear from a film—and fear of the unknown. Like crisp autumn air, scented by leaves crunched. Like solitude under the moon. Like sorrow piercing my heart. And it tastes

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19 Aug 2016

Resuscitated by Art

Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope? Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under

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28 Jun 2016

The Crisis in the Architecture of the Modern Megachurch and How to Fix It

Cookie-cutter houses and generic shopping centers are peppered across the fantastically unremarkable and uniform American suburbia. An appreciation of truly beautiful architecture has been jettisoned for the functionality demanded by a consumeristic culture. Alain de Botton, in his book The Architecture of Happiness, explains that “Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through the materials of the same tendencies to not understand

Wesley Walker 1
25 Apr 2016

Have You Noticed Beauty?

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have noticed that many people claim that humans are animals. After all, we are mammals and are classified as Homo sapiens in the scientific realm. But that is

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21 Jan 2016

Imperfect Gifts

Like many in my generation, I’ve been playing Adele’s mega-smash album 25 on repeat during the last few months. Upon multiple listenings, however, a strange realization has struck me: the album is so pristinely produced–so utterly devoid of mistakes–that it feels almost inhuman. This isn’t the fault of the singer: similar music performed in a more intimate setting, while not without its minor recording imperfections, is much more moving–and, I submit, more beautiful. Instead, the

John Ehrett 1
04 Nov 2015

The Danger of Light and Joy

When reading of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, there is one section that catches me almost every time: Gimli’s thoughts on leaving Lothlorian. Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me

Jeff Reid 1
24 Sep 2015

Charismatic in an Anglican World

From experience, I tend to believe that doctrine is an important factor to consider in choosing a church. For a Charismatic Christian who practices the gifts of the Spirit, it would be foolish and very difficult to become part of a community that regularly denounces my Christian practice. Similarly, if the peace of a Christian community is threatened by my beliefs, the loving response may be to walk away. The danger is that I could

Charles Heyworth 12
11 Sep 2015

Wanderlust

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings. . . The wings and the golden weather and the tang of frost in the mornings made Laura want to go somewhere. She did not know where. She wanted only to go. “Let’s go West,” she said one night after supper. “Pa, can’t we go West when Uncle Henry does?” . . . “I know, little Half-pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very

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28 Aug 2015

Is There Beauty in Things Not Seen?

Would a flower of the field still be Beautiful even if no one saw it? This question has followed me to many swaths of alpine tundra this hiking season. I have gazed on lavender thistles, white marsh marigolds, and tiny forget-me-nots amongst a host of other hearty flowers. My hiking companions often set their sights on the cathedral arc of a mountain range, a sun-dappled emerald lake, or towering waterfalls. Whereas, I am enthralled by

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06 Jul 2015

Embracing the Aesthetics of the Lab

I often enjoy visiting the various Smithsonian museums, particularly the National Museum of Natural History – and this past weekend, I did just that. Yet this time was different: wandering through the Hall of Mammals and into the Hall of Human Origins, surrounded by old fossils and countless instances of the the “millions and millions of years ago” language criticized by some as Darwinian indoctrination, I was abruptly struck by a hitherto-unfelt realization. The aesthetic

John Ehrett 0
19 Jun 2015

Creativity Begets: How Story Inspires

As the cerulean sky bleeds into water-coloured grey storm clouds, my thoughts are somewhere between Middle Earth and Pluto. Ringing in my head is a stunning symphonic melody about Saturn—its strength in Beauty has captured my memory. Reverberating in my ears is the sound of Tolkien’s prose—read aloud to hear the simultaneously earthy and heraldic tones played in his words. Treading the paths of my thoughts are an interesting pair, hand-in-hand. The first is a

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22 May 2015

Stars in the Pools

Ridges of foothills rise and swell, then swirl away in the fog filling the valley. Streams of melting hail run off the eaves with the sound of endless rain—and the look of thick snow. My neighbour’s flower box is one puddle of icy water. The gravel parking lot is more like a muddy-red pond than solid ground. All at once, a wave of thunder shatters the air, makes the ground shudder. Lightning flares pink and

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15 Apr 2015

Cosmic Communion (Part III)

The Role of Creation in our Journey with Christ: Part III There is a running joke that Orthodox Christians do everything in threes, so this will be my last article under this title.  In the past two articles I have been discussing the unique Christian approach to God’s earthly creation as a sacramental reality: that it can be and is in fact designed to be how we encounter intimate communion with God the Creator especially

Joseph Green 4