25 Feb 2015

Time’s End

Time is fascinating. Paradoxically, it both moves quickly and slowly, there is plenty of it and yet never enough. Embracing both of these realities is needed to live well. On the one hand, we need keep our focus on the end toward which time is headed if we’re to live well. At the same time, this focus should drive us back the present moment and the direction that has been given for the moment to

Jeff Reid 2
17 Feb 2015

The Skeletons in God’s Closet | Book Review

If you’re an even somewhat aware follower of Jesus in today’s post-Christian culture, then you’ve all but certainly encountered bizarre caricatures of God and Christianity hurled like spears at the faith by critics and detractors. Well-known English actor Stephen Fry recently went on a tirade against God in a now-viral television interview. Ricky Gervais’ 2009 comedy The Invention of Lying interprets religious belief as an emotional panacea, an outlandish lie we tell each other and

Chris Casberg 3
05 Feb 2015

Self-Surrender

What is it that causes people to act against their own self-interest? Two of the most popular conservative thinkers of the last century both addressed this question at a very personal level, which seemed odd to me until I started thinking about it more. At the national level, this last century was the age of Communism, the Great Depression, and Holocaust clean-up, when people were talking in depth about the need to help those less

Pepper Darlington 9
31 Dec 2014

Broken Or Crushed?

Milton’s Satan famously quipped that “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.” (b.1 l.254-255)1 The hubris required to make this statement is emphasized when Satan rejoices in his removal from God: “since he / Who now is sov’reign can dispose and bid / What shall be right: farthest from him is best / Whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme /

Jeff Reid 0
26 Dec 2014

To Know What Could Have Been

“But what would have been the good?” Aslan said nothing. “You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?” “To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.” “Oh dear,” said Lucy. “But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them

Nicholai Stuckwisch 1
19 Dec 2014

If God Is with Us, Why Are We Lonely?

“Our two little granddaughters have a sense of community which many adults have lost; people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only…The loneliness, the namelessness of cocktail-party relationships surround us. We meet, but even when we kiss we do not touch. We avoid the responsibility of community.”1       —Madeleine L’Engle   There is

0
02 Dec 2014

Reflections on Suffering (Part Two)

In my previous post, I reflected on some of the answers which have been offered to the “question of suffering,” the query about why there is evil and suffering in the world if there is a good and all-powerful God. In today’s post, I hope to begin crafting an “answer” to this question—not an answer in an absolute sense, but rather an perception and understanding by which we can try to make some sense of

Jacob Prahlow 3
22 Oct 2014

Notes of Silence

If there is one thing that modern people are surrounded by, it’s music. Radio for the car (if you’re not plugging your phone into the speakers), streaming services for home and office, music piped through coffee shops and shopping centers – it’s not that difficult to live with a steady diet of music. In my own experience, spending the last month and a half in the middle of nowhere highlighted just how much music I

Jeff Reid 0
24 Sep 2014

Participatory Community

Community. It’s one of today’s popular catch phrases. Thanks to that popularity, though, its meaning is a bit fuzzy. It usually seems to refer to an ideal interaction with others. What that ideal is, though, is hard to pin down. Recently reading Bonhoeffer and Lewis brought additional clarity to this puzzle for me. This clarity came from their comparison of heavenly and hellish forms of community. Bonhoeffer set the stage with the suggestion that, “The

Jeff Reid 2
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
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
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
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
22 Aug 2014

Start Walking

An Ancient Remedy for Modern Ills. Some years ago, while visiting my grandparents in the central Pennsylvania mountains, my sisters and I went out for a long walk. It was a brown winter afternoon in a depressed area. We walked along the empty, curving road, remarking on the things we passed: a repair shop with misspelled words on the sign; some goats in a frozen barnyard. Then came the moment that has made me remember

Guest Author 1
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
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
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

8