22 Jan 2021

Servant of The Holy Mighty

In 1942 the San Juan River Valley, a remote waterless, scrubby corner of South Eastern Utah was possibly the last place someone would expect to find a middle aged, Anglo-Catholic priest like Harold Baxter Liebler. The area was not a hotbed of Anglicanism, or even of Christianity. The tiny town of Bluff, Utah was little more than a trading post. There were few white settlers and no church; the Mormons had tried to evangelize the

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14 Oct 2020

Of Gnosis and Seagulls

The first time I read Richard Bach’s beloved novella, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I was charmed. This slim volume tells the tale of a young seagull, Jonathan, and his quest to master both the art of flying and the depths of self. On the surface, there’s much to enjoy. The story has a forthright, fable-like quality. The themes of youthful idealism, self-discovery, and growing wise are compelling and relatable. Even the grainy, black-and-white photos of seagulls

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24 Aug 2020

The Evangelism or Social Action Question—A View from Late 19th Century Paraguay

One perennial question for Christians when it comes to a church’s local outreach or missions is the relative priority that should be given to evangelism and to social action. I am sorry to present this dichotomy, because many theologians have rightly spoken out against any polarization of these two tasks. The gospel news of Christ’s incarnation and work on the cross speaks so directly to how people should live, and anticipates so enthusiastically the new

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15 May 2020

None for Me, Thanks: The Challenge of Reaching the Unaffiliated 

Let’s talk about the “Nones.” The term refers to those who have no formal religious affiliation, and the group’s rapid growth has been the source of much hand-wringing in Christian America in the last decade. In 2014 the Pew Research Center’s study on religion in America showed that Christianity, which is still the dominant religion in America, was shrinking. Subsequent reports have shown that the decline is happening even faster than was initially indicated. A

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05 Aug 2019

Philosophy and the Re-evangelization of the West: An Interview with Elmer Thiessen

I find it interesting that many popular contemporary Christian figures are philosophers or at least philosophically oriented thinkers: William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Bishop Robert Barron, and others. Last year I went to hear Zacharias speak and was fascinated by the huge crowd that gathered to hear him talk about a few philosophical questions. As I thought about the event afterward, it reminded me of the accounts of the masses that would gather to hear

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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

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14 Mar 2018

Should I Hide When Mormons Come Knocking?

One of the great privileges of serving in the local church is the opportunity to hear intriguing questions from congregants. A couple of weeks ago, I had such an experience after talking about evangelism. The topic of door-to-door Mormon missionaries  came up, and eventually our conversation turned to how to interact with non-Christian missionaries—and if they should be shown any sort of hospitality at all. One participant in the conversation mentioned that they do not

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20 Mar 2017

Coffee Shop Ministry

“I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”–John Wesley, Journal As an adjunct lecturer at several local colleges and the pastor of a small house church, I have been given the gift of a flexible schedule. My pastoral duties

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10 Feb 2017

Modern Witness

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).1 One of my favorite operas is called the Dialogues of the Carmelites, which was composed by Francis Poulenc. The opera is an adaptation of a true life story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, members of a Roman Catholic order of nuns who were killed during the French Revolution of the late 18th Century. The story follows a young

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Are you hungry for God?
20 Sep 2016

The Gospel According to Taco Bell

Those who believe the good news about Jesus often seem reluctant to share it with others. Why? At the end of the world wars, everyone was excited to share the news of victory or at least the end of the war with those who didn’t yet know. Why not be excited to share the victory of the spiritual war? Perhaps the answer is because we are missing something. Perhaps what we think of as the

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Eastern Orthodox Evangelism Cover Photo
03 Jun 2016

The Eastern Orthodox Church and Evangelism

The Eastern Orthodox Church is often criticized for its “lack of emphasis” on evangelism; the Orthodox Church just does not care about “The Great Commission” or spreading the “Gospel” to the world—or so the argument goes. In my experience, the major proponents of this criticism are often low-church evangelicals who define evangelism according to a specifically narrow rubric. Within such communities, buzzwords like “The Great Commission,” “Gospel,” and “Evangelism”—and more recently “building the Kingdom”—are thrown

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25 Apr 2015

Weekly Reads (April 25)

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 a thought-provoking

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11 Apr 2015

Weekly Reads (April 11)

Happy Easter weekend, dear readers! And happy Easter to our Orthodox brothers and sisters! 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

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31 Oct 2014

Engaging Halloween

Happy Halloween! Or Happy Reformation Day. Or Happy All Hallow’s Eve. Or maybe I should just wish you all a Happy Friday. For many Christians, today seems to be marked with uncertainty. Yes, we all enjoy seeing (and buying, but this isn’t the place for personal confession) the gigantic bags of candy in the grocery store. And most of us enjoy seeing hilariously clever punny costumes (admit it, you chuckled at those). But for many

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13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

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