22 Sep 2014

Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp, and English Vernacular Mysticism

Most historians of Christianity will note that mysticism peaked in the later centuries of the Middle Ages. Christian mystics experienced direct encounters with God, often through ecstatic visions of heaven and the divine. In relation to the increase in literacy of the laity during these centuries, many mystics wrote in their vernacular languages and gained followings among the laity. Thus mysticism itself bears different traits depending upon the region and language. Furthermore, while there were

1
14 Aug 2014

Past Tense Christianity

Lieutenant Dan: “Have you found Jesus yet?” Forrest Gump: “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, Sir.” The further I drift down this long and winding road called Christianity, the more I come to realize why I had problems with the Christian tradition for much of my life. One thing that has always been troubling for me is the tendency to speak about religion in the past tense. This past tense

8
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

0
04 Aug 2014

The Idol of Truth

I always had this odd thought in the back of my mind that ran something like, “If the smartest people in the world thought and thought and read and read for a while, they more than likely would turn out atheists. Atheism, though I don’t believe it to be true, is probably what intelligent thoughts lead to.” And so I typed “Atheism vs. Christianity” into YouTube at age sixteen, intent on discovering whether Christianity had

6
31 Jul 2014

A New Beginning: My First Month at a Greek Orthodox Church

Life is strange indeed. The way in which God works through different people guiding their lives in various ways is truly amazing. For a little over a month now, my family and I have been attending Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Winston-Salem, NC. This is especially remarkable considering my attitude towards religion and Christianity only a few years ago. Five years ago this week, I gave up my career as an aircraft mechanic to attend

10
25 Jul 2014

Imagine

At times, I feel within me a burning conviction of the truth of something that is at once more difficult to put into words than the doctrines of my Christian faith yet as clear as crystal to my soul and my seat of “knowing.” When I feel this way, it is time to sit down in front of pen and paper and muddle through until I can capture a solid thought from the elusive world

9
23 Jul 2014

The Nature of Truth

Ephesians 4:15 “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Why is truth so often served within the context of law and justice rather than love? In almost every instance where truth was used in the Old Testament, it was accompanied by love, kindness, justice, mercy, or another expression of who God is. Often truth was revealed as

2
16 Jun 2014

The Church and Almsgiving

Introduction Awhile back, I found myself defending the Catholic Church to a few strangers. One young man—I will call him Adam—was convinced that the Church was not actually doing anything good in the world, least of all for the poor. (I was waiting for him to suggest that we should just “sell the Vatican.”) Crossing his arms, he asked me concretely: what is the Church actually doing for the poor? Although the answer would have

3
16 Jun 2014

The Gray Hair Stays

It was early 2013, after a particularly stressful year, that I was at a friend’s house passing the time of day. As I got ready to leave, my friend looked strangely at the side of my head and then swooped in closer. “Amanda! You have a gray hair!” To my chagrin, I realized she was right. At the time, I was a mere twenty-seven years old—in my opinion, far too young for gray hairs. Since

5
16 Jun 2014

The Art of Grieving

Drip-drop. Drop-drip. Plink! Glorious Spring rain drips off the gutter-less eaves of my cottage this forenoon; every now and then one drop making a sharp ping off something metal below. Steady, strong notes to set the rhythm for the day, those water-drops. I draw icy water for the kettle, waiting for its warm whistle as a Southwest wind kicks up its heels. The song of the rain slows, softens, becomes silent. Whirling this way and

3
16 Jun 2014

The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse | Book Review

The Pursuit of Elizabeth Millhouse is a period novel set in early twentieth century America telling the story of the title character, Elizabeth Millhouse Brown. Following Elizabeth’s path of childhood rejection, marriage, and the challenges of a life amidst change and loss, author Amanda Barber paints a superb picture of the realities of the difficulties in life during the early 20th century, difficulties that find many a parallel in our current context. In this gripping

0