06 Nov 2020

The Books That Save Our Lives

Book lovers develop their own shorthand for the books that stand out from all the other books they have ever read. This compliment of compliments is unique to each bibliophile. For some it is “books I’ve read more than once.” For avid ebook readers (I have yet to actually meet one but I hear they exist) it may be “books worth owning in hardcopy.” Closely related is “Books I would pack and move across the

9
04 Nov 2020

Divisiveness on Conciliar Post

We live in a divisive time. As I write these words, the outcome of America’s presidential election is uncertain (and may remain so for some time). Regardless of the result, it will leave many unsatisfied and will further foment tension. Now is a fitting time to remind ourselves that, at Conciliar Post, our mission is to facilitate meaningful dialogue across Christian traditions. This is becoming more and more difficult. The reality is that our own

2
26 Oct 2020

The Longest Lent

Lent began eight months ago today.   Eight months ago I was in a cool, dark sanctuary, listening to my vicar say “You are going to die.” I didn’t know how accurate that statement would be for this year. We rose, row by row. Ashes were traced across my forehead, I returned to my seat. We rose, row by row, again going forward—this time to receive the bread, the wine. In darkness we stepped into

0
19 Mar 2020

Of the Plague that Stalks in the Darkness: What Coronavirus Taught me About Faith and Fear

I faced the first weeks and months of the COVID-19 crisis with a combination of steely eyed defiance and glib dismissiveness. The media never lets a crisis go to waste, I said, and this was just another lost Malaysian airliner on which CNN was capitalizing. I blamed social media for contributing to hysteria, and for promulgating false information. I cited statistics about how many people die from the flu in America (80,000 in 2019) and

1
03 Jan 2020

Mud beneath the Snow

Snow Every year, Ryan O’Neal, better known as Sleeping at Last, releases a Christmas song for his free Christmas collection. This year it was “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” from White Christmas, a dearly loved classic. However, my favourite offering is further down the list, a song simply titled “Snow.”     The branches have traded Their leaves for white sleeves All warm-blooded creatures make ghosts as they breathe Scarves are wrapped tightly like

0
A brick building with the word "work" on the side.
20 Sep 2019

The Work of Faith

“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NRSV). Paul’s second missionary journey began as an excursion to revisit churches planted throughout Asia Minor on his first missionary journey (Acts 15:36). Along the way, the Spirit of God gave Paul

0
08 May 2019

Broken Silence: A Lament for Rachel Held Evans

God of the margins, We encounter you in the ostracized, in the liminal, on the outskirts of town. We encounter you in the pariah, the reject, the apostate. Sometimes we are the pariah, plagued by the ghosts of failed expectations. Of merciless accusations. With no consolation but your deafening silence. Sometimes we find you again. In a fellow outcast whose words spark hope. Whose vulnerability is magnetic. Whose inspiration is contagious. Their voice reverberates with

0
03 Apr 2019

Ashes

The sky is the colour of ashes—       White and grey; The eaves drip icicle tears       falling away   My life is filled with ashes,       my mood is fey; Death upon death finds my heart       falling away   Across my forehead a cross      —charcoal dust— Reminds me that my frame       will soon rust   Over the shadow of death       a Cross Reminds me that life       can flame from loss   The kernel of wheat       must die,

0
14 Dec 2018

The Splendor of Light

If I may approach the subject of sacred music without diving into the worship wars, a recent time of personal devotion reminded me of one of the aspects of worship music I particularly appreciate. That is, songs which tickle my brain, allowing me to continue pondering God’s nature after the music has stopped, the service is over, and I am back into the grind of the everyday week. One such song is the hymn Immortal

0
19 Sep 2018

Between Defiance and Despair

I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. —Blaise Pascal Quietude. Calm. Collected. Consistency. These are not the buzzwords of our culture of revolution. If they make it on to the radar, it is as unwanted intruders. To use one’s voice is a virtue; to remain silent, a vice. To be calm is thought to be apathetic at best,

0
27 Jun 2018

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken (Part 2)

In the first part of this two part series on Psalm 46, I suggested that there are three strata of imagery in the psalm. The ‘city of God’ is a lush garden, providing for those inside her walls sustenance and shelter, calm and quiet, against all the wilds of life outside her walls. The city of God is, furthermore, protected against the judgement of God. The purging of evil involves God’s de-creative acts; yet for

0
06 Apr 2018

Creation’s Revelation and the Hope for Discovery

Does knowledge hinder the adventure of discovery? After concluding some work in mainland Japan one winter, my father made his way south to Okinawa—where I lived at the time—for a weekend visit, before returning to the United States. We had talked about this particular visit for some time, as it would coincide with the seasonal visit of the humpback whales to the warmer waters of our region. My father and I made arrangements to take

0
09 Mar 2018

What if the Season is Barren?

They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. —Psalm 1:3, The Living Bible   What if the season is barren rather than bearing? How if the leaves have curled and the river has curved away—away from from this tree, empty?   “Empty? Why art thou empty?” Asks the Spirit-wind, rustling through parchèd leaves. “Have you ceased to delight

0
16 Jun 2017

Three Years of Conciliar Post

“God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33) Dear Friends, It has been a banner year for Conciliar Post. We have composed a new “About” page that updates our mission and looks ahead to the future. We have revised and simplified our leadership structure. We have added an SSL security certificate, and are now backing up the website daily. We would also like to share some encouraging statistics: As of today,

2
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

1
17 Mar 2017

Unless I Die

Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it will bear much fruit.   —Jesus   A darkening sky greets the great eye blinking open its shutter to morn— o’erhead, coarse comes a rook’s cry, from here dreams appear bleak and forlorn   Here, in my cramped, close cell I hear the neighbour dog howl in lament— the dirt and the dark I fear, they

1
13 Mar 2017

Religion and the Democratic Party: Michael Wear

If one were to observe Democratic campaigning during the 2016 election, they may well come to the conclusion that the GOP is the only party claiming to speak for Christians. Such a conclusion is particularly bizarre given that a recording of the 2016 Republican standard-bearer braggadociously describing sexual assault was broadcast in primetime. Indeed, these are odd times. Characterizations of either major party in the United States as Christian miss the mark, largely because Christians of all

0
17 Feb 2017

The Telltale Heart

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Does it Listen to You? In our increasingly self-centered, self-satisfying culture we are propagandized by Hollywood happy endings and pop songs to listen to our hearts. When considering a new or an old relationship we are told to listen to our heart. When faced with personal loss we are expected to move on from it. The Roxette duo sings, “Listen to your heart / when he’s calling for

1
25 Jan 2017

St Xenia’s Day

For the past few years, I’ve marked St Xenia’s Day by writing about a topic that has become dear to my heart: miscarriage. Although my family has been through the pain of miscarriage several times, the first stillbirth I was close to in physical proximity was named Xenia, the daughter of close friends. Of our named lost infants, the first, Kaylee Dawn, was born before we knew anything about saints and their celebrations; and the

0
25 Nov 2016

Five Ways to Respond to Questions About Your Love Life This Holiday Season

The hashtag #OverheardAtThanksgivingDinner trended on Twitter recently. Of the first twelve tweets I saw, twenty-five percent mentioned vexatious comments from family members concerning one’s relationship status. It’s a universal phenomenon—you go home for the holidays, you see someone that you haven’t talked to for a few months or more, and they ostensibly voice their surprise that an attractive, young catch like yourself hasn’t made it to the altar yet. My late Grandma Louise was a

3