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
I had to get up out of the muck and mud slinging – you can’t sling mud without getting your own hands dirty – so I climbed up the only thing high enough to be looking down on the world, a cross. I had some help up; some friends who knew I needed crucifying nailed me. From up here I can see a lot of other crosses, people put there against their wills, the people
Round Table Responses: Angels and Demons; Hell and Universalism; Suffering; Christianity and Islam; Self-Defense; Martin Luther; What is Christianity?; Genesis and Creation; The Incarnation
Below, you can find an up-to-date catalog of my responses to various Conciliar Post Round Tables, as well as links to where they originally appeared. I pray that these thoughts will be helpful to some, and will encourage all to delve further into the mysteries of faith. May, 2017: Angels and Demons Spiritual beings—whether angelic or demonic—exist on a plane of reality separate from our own and are essential to the biblical worldview. Today, awareness
“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify
This weekend, we buried a beloved member of our parish, retired priest Father Gregory Heers. As a member of our burial society, I had the privilege of participating in his preparation. We wash and anoint the body, and dress the reposed, in this case in the vestments he wore in caring for us. It is humbling to be allowed to pay your respects to another member of the body in this way; and, like Lent,
The cold sidewalk barely gives way before the resounding thud of polished black shoes that plough a course through yet another mile of city streets where they have no place to rest. Overhead the blue skies melt into dark grey clouds and little splashes of colour where the sunset has begun to announce its arrival. Closer by, the crusty brown arms of sleeping trees wave cheerlessly over the empty sidewalk where they have learned to
Happy Weekend, Dear Readers! Below is a selection of theological and current events articles from around the internet this week. Rather than providing the final word on a given topic, we hope these articles will serve to spark friendly, yet thoughtful conversations. Consider this your welcome to join (or kick off) those conversations in the comments below! Conciliar Post Finding Yourself in Communion, Part One by TJ Humphrey By the Waters of Babylon by Kenneth O’Shaughnessy
Welcome back to our ongoing series following the thoughts of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. If you are joining the conversation for the first time, you might want to take a moment to read the first paragraph of the first post in the series. Otherwise, I hope you find the ideas as irresistible as I do. When we last looked at Calvin’s thought, we examined the relationship between knowledge of self
“This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”1 As 2 Kings 6 wraps up, the despair is evident. Samaria is under a siege that has lasted long enough that some of the inhabitants have resorted to cannibalism. Faced with a situation outside of his control, with no apparent hope of rescue, Jehoram (king of Israel) sends a messenger to kill Elisha. As the messenger relays the kings words,
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,
All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the
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,
Grace and Catholicism Part III – Repentance We approach the edge of a cliff. Flailing arms wildly, we careen toward the brink and launch outward into abyss. Abyss of inscrutability, abyss of love, abyss of justice. Abyss of knowing and unknowing, of God and man, of freedom … or something else? In line with the subject of our series, this abyss represents the dire difficulties raised when we speak about the human will in matters
Our day-to-day lives constantly involve measuring size. Heading to bed we consciously (or unconsciously) determined the length of our sleep. At breakfast, we count calories (if on an appropriate diet) or at least guesstimate how much oatmeal to put in the bowl, or butter on the toast. Then there’s the time it’ll take to get to work, how long the gas will last in the vehicle, the number of items on the to-do list .
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.
You are ugly. I’m sorry, but it is true. I have no idea what you look like, but I can say with absolute certainty that you are an ugly human being. This is because ugliness is inherent to being human in this fallen and sinful world and is completely independent of what you look like. Your body is broken and dying. With every passing moment you grow closer to the day when you will shut
A Baffling Story Christians need a coherent account of the Fall, but our forebears have not given us one. If they had, 20th century biblical scholars would not have written things like this: “The sheer irrationality of the command, not to eat of the tree, and of the threat to deprive of life if it was eaten, has had great effect on the history of understanding. . . . God . . . is placed
Artificial intelligence is clearly the menace of the cinematic hour. The old menace posed by the Skynet of the “Terminator” franchise has taken on additional credibility in the era of “big data,” which offers the possibility of algorithmic analysis on a heretofore undreamt-of scale. Alex Garland’s recent thriller “Ex Machina,” however, trades guns for words and explosions for psychological turbulence, raising fundamental questions within a deeply intimate context. “Ex Machina” opens as Caleb Smith (Domhnall
The following fictional conversation brings together two influential figures on completely opposite ends of an intellectual spectrum. On the evangelical “right,” we have John Piper, Baptist pastor and theologian, co-editor of the influential work Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The central claim of the book is as follows, “The Bible reveals the nature of masculinity and femininity by describing diverse responsibilities for man and woman while rooting these differing responsibilities in creation, not convention.”1 On
A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, often defined as the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. This article considers the value of speculative theology by reflecting on the question of whether or not Christ would have become incarnate if humanity had not fallen into sin.