22 Jan 2016

Of Tribalism and Churches (Part II)

In my last post I outlined some of the contextual and doctrinal considerations surrounding my ongoing wrestling with tribalism and baptism. In today’s post, I attempt to apply these principles to my “on the ground” situation. All Things to All People? Saint Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people. Less helpful, at least for my purposes, is how far he expects us to go in order to meet people where they are. Building

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14 Jan 2016

Movement and Action, Growth and Change

“Become merciful (it says in the Greek) even as your Father is merciful.” There is movement and action. The word become implies change and growth and development. God is merciful and loving and he never changes. We are the ones who are changeable. The scary thing is that we have the same potential to become unmerciful as we have to become merciful. We are Orthodox Christians. I am very comfortable with that statement. I am also comfortable with

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08 Jan 2016

Of Tribalism and Churches (Part I)

Recently I have been thinking about the topic of tribalism. By tribalism I mean adapting one’s behavior and thinking to accord with the group of people with which we are associated. I have been thinking a lot about this issue not because I am thinking about becoming a St. Louis Cardinals fan (my fellow Cubs fans will be happy to hear). Rather I have been thinking about tribalism in the context of baptism and the

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22 Dec 2015

The Little Church Where God Spoke

I grew up in a small, quiet, unnoticed town in Michigan. Tucked in a corner of that town, hidden in the hills and woods, is a small, quiet, unnoticed church. You probably wouldn’t find it unless you were looking for it or happened to live on the humble, residential road that hosts it. On a crowded Sunday, it might boast about fifty attendees. Compared with the mega-churches, the televised multimedia worship experiences, and the intrepid

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24 Nov 2015

Stephen Colbert’s Ministry of Joy

Every weekday evening at 11:35 Eastern, and 10:35 Central time, a camera flies over an applauding and cheering audience and then zooms in on a man dancing with a melodica—a cross between kazoo and a keyboard—who bids the crowd to welcome the night’s host: “Please welcome, Stephen Colbert!” The man of the hour arrives on stage with a twinkle in his eye and a smile playing across his lips, outfitted with his trademark pressed suit,

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09 Nov 2015

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Luther and Lutherans have the market cornered on justification, sola fide.  Calvin and Reformed thinkers spend all their time trying to elaborate on the notion of election (I wish I had a nice Latin word for it, but I digress).  Baptists, well I guess it would be sola Scriptura, at the very least something about the individual conscience of the believer and reading Scripture.  These are all traditions that I have been shaped by in

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02 Nov 2015

Prayer for the Dead: Spooky or Saintly?

Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or

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26 Oct 2015

Sola Scriptura’s Relevance for the Modern Church

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there arose a group of men and women that had become disillusioned by the excesses and misappropriations of the Roman Catholic church and, in a reactive movement, spawned the Reformation, and consequently, the Five Solas: sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura, sola Christus, and soli Deo gloria. While these five principles were never clearly grouped and articulated together by any one Reformer during that period of time, they have

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13 Oct 2015

A Christian Defense of Video Games

Friends, family, fellow writers, and dear readers: I have a secret that I fear I can no longer hold in. Though we have long peacefully sipped our tea here in this ecumenical garden of theology and philosophy and literature, quoting our Chesterton and Tolkien as we read our Milton and laugh gaily together about the foibles of our denominations and, yea, even of the world, an unspoken darkness lingered just below the surface of this

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12 Oct 2015

Become Merciful

“Become merciful (it says in the Greek) even as your Father is merciful.” There is movement and action. The word become implies change and growth and development. God is merciful and loving and He never changes. We are the ones who are changeable. The scary thing is that we have the same potential to become unmerciful as we have to become merciful. We are Orthodox Christians. I am very comfortable with that statement. I am also comfortable with

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09 Oct 2015

Refusing to be ‘Singled’ Out

How Should the Church Treat Singles? “Another one bites the dust” is the relationship theme song I resonate with lately. I can barely go a month without one of my friends telling me they are dating or engaged. I have been in—or behind the scenes of—quite a few weddings in the last year or two. This is not the first round of this life-season for me. It happened a couple of years after high school,

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29 Sep 2015

The Gift of Ceremony

The way a congregation worships is very important. It is part of their identity and serves as a public demonstration of their beliefs. The use of liturgical rites and ceremonies is one of the means by which a church makes a confession of faith, both to their members and the greater public, and it makes sense that differences in practice can fuel dissent and controversy. However, even while these rites and ceremonies set congregations apart

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26 Sep 2015

Weekly Reads {September 26}

Happy weekend, dear readers! This week, whether we are Catholic or not, let us keep Pope Francis in our prayers as he travels through America. All Christians, no matter what denomination, can learn from his teachings on the environment, the dignity of life, concern for the poor, and living the Gospel in everyday life. Here is a round-up of different religion, theology, and current events articles from our own authors and across the internet. The

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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

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19 Sep 2015

Weekly Reads {September 19}

Happy weekend, dear readers! Here is a round-up of different religion, theology, and current events articles from our own authors and across the internet. The following articles do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of Conciliar Post. These articles have been selected based on their prevalence across popular blogs and social media and their relevance to current events. We invite you to engage in friendly and positive discussion about these articles. If you read

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15 Sep 2015

On Zombies and Scripture

Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with a couple fellow Conciliar Posters for an all-too-brief book club meeting over Google Hangouts. I was a little surprised—and more than a little nervous—about the book the choice; it was a book I wrote. Well, it’s the book I wrote, as currently there is only one. It’s called Genesis of the Dead, and in it I reimagine the early histories told in the Bible as a

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12 Sep 2015

Weekly Reads {September 12}

Happy weekend, dear readers! Here is a round-up of different religion, theology, and current events articles from our own authors and across the internet. The following articles do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of Conciliar Post. These articles have been selected based on their prevalence across popular blogs and social media and their relevance to current events. We invite you to engage in friendly and positive discussion about these articles. If you read

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10 Sep 2015

Cyprian on Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and Church Schisms

In AD 250, Roman Emperor Decius mandated every inhabitant of his empire to publicly sacrifice to the Roman gods in order to prove their loyalty to the empire. Refusal to sacrifice was punishable by death. Many Christians died under Decius, like the Roman Bishop Fabian, but many others chose sacrifice over martyrdom. To further his damage, Decius prevented the appointment of a successor to Fabian in Rome. When Decius departed Rome for war in the

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07 Sep 2015

Vatican II Catholicism: Nostra Aetate §4 and the Jewish Faith

“Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures … Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” —Nostra Aetate (1965) Nostra aetate translates as,

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01 Sep 2015

Saints Spitting Fire

In my previous post, I attempted to describe writer Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option,” a nebulous ideology Dreher himself unhelpfully described as “an inchoate phenomenon in which Christians adopt a more consciously countercultural stance towards our post-Christian mainstream culture”1—a definition one could be forgiven for dismissing as a curmudgeonly grumble. Still, I believe Dreher’s nascent philosophy is one worth pursuing, despite its half-formed state and its numerous critics. Before we go further, I’d like to add

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