April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. T. S. Eliot “We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men,” Eliot begins his 1925 poem, “The Hollow Men.” Not the most positive of notes on which to start. But perhaps therein is its haunting power. Reality has a way of pressing beyond our rather feeble attempts at distracting ourselves.
If I may approach the subject of sacred music without diving into the worship wars, a recent time of personal devotion reminded me of one of the aspects of worship music I particularly appreciate. That is, songs which tickle my brain, allowing me to continue pondering God’s nature after the music has stopped, the service is over, and I am back into the grind of the everyday week. One such song is the hymn Immortal
The Book of Joy chronicles a series of conversations and interactions between two of the world’s great spiritual leaders. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the world’s most recognizable spiritual icons. Desmond Tutu was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa. He won a Nobel Peace Prize and played an integral role in helping the people of South Africa move past the era of apartheid. In
Father in Heaven! That which we in the company of other people, especially in the throng of humanity, have such difficulty learning, and which, if we have learned it elsewhere, is so easily forgotten in the company of other people—what it is to be a human being and what, from a godly standpoint, is the requirement for being a human being—would that we might learn it, or, if it has been forgotten, that we might
“Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda” — Proverbs 25:20 (ESV) Grief is miserable. Suffering and loss are perhaps the lowest points of human existence. Nothing compares to the emptiness felt inside after the death of a loved one; nothing can prepare you for the sting of loss. Yet far too often we act as if saying something
For my father’s birthday, I made him a set of bookends that featured the silhouette of a lion. I chose to design the bookends in this fashion because a lion seemed to fit with how I view my father. This reasoning may appear natural to some, and odd to others. Those who deem it odd are probably the more observant. Why should a silhouette of a lion have any connection with my completely human father?
Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) was an English philosopher of history and an essayist who has always been considered “a bit outside the mainstream of the conservative movement.” It has been said that he was a thinker who went beyond politics. While he remains little discussed by modern conservatives, his writings, particularly on the nature of historical inquiry, remain prescient. Oakeshott may also offer guidance for issues now facing American Christianity, specifically the discussion surrounding the recent
C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was used a few months ago to defend Eugene Peterson’s recent public discussion of openness to performing LGBT weddings (which has subsequently been retracted). Given Lewis’ stature as a giant of the faith, it is unsurprising that both liberal and conservative Christians claim him as a champion of their ideals. This raises an interesting question: would Lewis’ underlying philosophy and theology lead him onto the same
Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner Two weeks ago today, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91. Almost immediately, writers rallied to denounce (or acclaim) the fraudulent idea of his “legacy.” What he left behind him can be called a legacy only in the same sense as the aftermath of a disaster. My hope is that his life’s work, like that of the Marquis de Sade, will fade to the point that while
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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”1 —Frederick Buechner These were the words that marked a house fire and the death of a beloved dog for some folks that I met earlier this year. They are the words I wrote under a dark sky and a full moon, a picture I painted for my friend whose dear mom died on Easter morning. They are the words embodied
Last year, a curious little horror movie made something of a splash in the indie scene. The Witch: A New England Folktale follows an early American Puritan family’s descent into wilderness madness after their banishment from their community. As the story progresses, it becomes less and less clear whether the misfortunes that befall them are of their doing, or are the work of actual demonic forces. The Witch, with its surreal interludes and conclusion, was
In his post, “Does Experience Affect our Theology?” Peter Enns briefly speculates about the role of experience in the formation of theology. He concludes with this point, “We have to be willing to rethink who this God is, this God who isn’t as predictable as we might think.” This is a principle C.S. Lewis illustrates when it is said of Aslan: “He isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Christians should avoid feeling too comfortable with their
“I Will Betroth You to Me in Lovingkindness”: God’s Hesed in the Book of Hosea as an Apologetic Tool
According to Richard Dawkins: The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.1 One example he finds grievous is the jealousy of God in the Old Testament, which he attributes to insecurity.2 The caricature Dawkins’ describes is a deified infant, violently
The Christ you follow determines how you vote. If we want political unity, we need to find our way to a single Christ. Here are four possible paths forward.
A previous version of this post originally appeared on my own blog, Undivided Looking, where I mostly talk about physics and theology. I have divided it into two halves for purposes of publication on Conciliar Post. Note: It is my custom when blogging to refer to all serious Christians by the title of “St.”, because I believe all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. My Own Testimony I suppose I may as well start
I am the assistant pastor of a network of house churches.1 On Sunday mornings, we meet in two locations—one in a northern suburb and the other in a southern suburb. Throughout the week, we host Bible studies and small groups in private homes located in several different cities scattered throughout the greater region. My duties primarily involve preaching, leading worship, teaching Bible study, discipleship, and pastoral care. In addition to my pastoral work, I am
The first time I met a lion in the flesh was on a playground in suburban Nashville. I must have been only five or six years old when the enormous golden cougar peered out from its perch on the edge of the little park, its lithe, muscular body stretching out behind its curious face. Next to it was another feline comrade, an exotic, ebony-black wildcat, lying gracefully alongside the more familiar mountain lion. As would
Some philosophers say, “If you’ve seen a person, you’ve seen their soul.” And they mean that literally. But others seriously disagree. Who is right, and who should Christians side with?
On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14 was made law by the Canadian government. The bill, which focused on physician-assisted “death with dignity,” was made possible by the Canadian Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Carter v. Canada, which overturned the ban on euthanasia. Other nations and states who legally endorse this sort of behavior include Belgium, the Netherlands, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. In America, the issue has been gaining traction in popular culture throughout the