29 Oct 2018

The Terrifying God

Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; if only I could vanish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face! (Job 23:15-17 NRSV) The book of Job opens with a description of the character of Job as a “blameless and upright” man who “feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). In the

Jarrett Dickey 0
30 Jul 2018

Fear This, Not That

In 2000, sociologist Barry Glassner published The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. An updated version is expected later this year. Glassner’s thesis is that American concerns about crime, drugs, child abuse, and other issues are not founded on data but are instead the product of the scaremongering tactics mass media outlets depend upon to attract and maintain viewership. Negative stories capture more clicks, more eyeballs, and generate more conversation

Guest Author 0
29 Sep 2017

Do Not be Afraid

  “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

Johanna Byrkett 0
13 Sep 2017

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church Given that yesterday the Church celebrated the memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I thought that this week instead of my usual poem I would share a prayer, a traditional litany in honor of her beautiful Name. As I prepared this piece, I couldn’t help thinking that much of the prayer’s language will be unfamiliar to my Protestant brothers and sisters. It

Daniel Hyland 0
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

Johanna Byrkett 1
03 Jan 2017

The Missing Cardinal Virtue (and Deadly Sin)

There are four Cardinal Virtues and seven Deadly Sins. But both lists seem to be missing something huge. Solving this puzzle might actually help us make the world a better place.

Micah Tillman 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

Johanna Byrkett 0
28 Oct 2016

Squirrel Life

A pair of squirrels is playing tag in the autumn sun: around the fir, across my porch, over my roof. They flirt their tails and chirrup, they thunder boldly through the day, through life. Perhaps I envy them their simple lives—unworried about elections or the future. Yet, the squirrel can’t think about the fact that it is a squirrel. It can’t wonder what the purpose of its life is or if it matters in the

Johanna Byrkett 0
01 Apr 2016

A Barthian Public Theology

The first article in this series argued that religious reasons ought to be included in discussions surrounding issues of public policy. Barth’s rejection of natural theology makes it clear that, while natural premises might be shared by nearly all, they are ill-equipped to communicate religious ideas. With Stout’s second option, to translate theological reasons into reasons based on shared or natural premises, rejected as an unworkable compromise for the religious interlocutor, we will now turn

Creighton Coleman 1
07 Dec 2015

“Fear Not,” Or, How I Learned to Love the Book of Revelation

By Blake Hartung The last book of the Bible, the Revelation (or Apocalypse) of John, has been a consistent source of mystery and bewilderment for Christians since its composition in the last decade of the first century. This is of course, shouldn’t be too surprising; we are, after all, talking about the book that has given us such bizarre tableaux as a pregnant woman clothed in the sun pursued by a dragon, four colorful horsemen,

Guest Author 0
06 Nov 2015

To Be Fully Known

Omaha, Nebraska. That paragon of culture is precisely where I spent a long weekend with friends. Now, I know that many of you will think of steak, cornfields, and farmers when you hear the word Nebraska, but there is quite a lot to that Plains State aside from plains. The highlights of my weekend were all cultural experiences: from the Joslyn Art Museum, a symphony, and a gourmet dinner, to a tea emporium, exploring the

Johanna Byrkett 2
31 Aug 2015

Fear, Love, and Identity in Age of Ultron

“Yeah, what kind of monster would allow a German scientist to experiment on him to protect his country?” “We’re not at war.” “They are.” And with one short exchange, Age of Ultron immediately signaled something new and powerful; at least in this one instance, the enemy is a friend. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the Captain America of another nation, a nation just as valuable as our own, a nation filled with loves, hates, fears,

Pepper Darlington 1
14 Aug 2015

Silencing Fears

“Empty space tends to create fear. As long as our minds, hearts, and hands are occupied we can avoid confronting the painful questions, to which we never gave much attention and which we do not want to surface. ‘Being busy’ has become a status symbol, and most people keep encouraging each other to keep their body and mind in constant motion. From a distance, it appears that we try to keep each other filled with

Johanna Byrkett 3
11 Aug 2015

Cliffs Of Identity

Classic psychotherapy . . . starts at the bottom. So, you’ll look at those unconscious desires, beliefs, and wishes, and you try to bubble them up to the top, to the surface. The CBT therapists start up at the top, the everyday events that are happening, and begin sinking down further until we get to the point where the individual has achieved his or her goals. Now, the difference there is we’ve set the goals up front,

Pepper Darlington 0
22 Jun 2015

Inside Out | Movie Review

The latest confoundingly creative masterpiece from veteran Pixar director Pete Docter (“Up”) is a magnificent achievement. It’s by far the best film Pixar has made since “Toy Story 3”: for the sheer scope of its vision and the genius of its execution, “Inside Out” is unmatched in Pixar’s pantheon. Ostensibly centered on 11-year-old girl Riley Anderson’s psychological turmoil after moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, “Inside Out” emphasizes the reciprocal relationships between her anthropomorphized emotions.

John Ehrett 1
16 Apr 2015

Try Again

I can’t do it. I tried and I just can’t. I jotted down some notes two weeks ago for a blog post about Frodo and Bilbo, planning to expand on it for the Conciliar. My goal is two posts a month, but it’s hard to come up with the topics that I think will work in the more serious style of a group blog. But that one . . . I thought I could do

Pepper Darlington 1