06 Jun 2018

Struggling to Discern God’s Will

Our lives are often guided by the questions we ask. Great inventors are driven by the impulse to build a better world. Explorers ask what lies beyond the edges of their map. Great philosophers question and question until they find a satisfactory answer. The curiosity of children leads them to wonder “why?” without end. A question that has dominated my own life is, “How do I know what God’s will is?” I’ve asked this question—in

Jacob Prahlow 2
02 Dec 2015

Contemplating The Family Story

If you were a betting man (or woman), you’d probably agree that family stories are fairly memorable. So would I. Well, at least up until a couple weeks ago. It all started innocently enough. One of my sisters was taking a storytelling class. A recent assignment (beginning, you guessed it, a couple weeks ago) involved sharing one of those stories that must come up for a family gathering to actually be a family gathering. It

Jeff Reid 2
10 Nov 2015

Was Tolkien Manichaean?

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15,19)1 Perhaps I am being a smidgen anachronistic, but I am starting to wonder if Paul, in composing those famous lines in his letter to the Christians in Rome,

Chris Casberg 4
04 Nov 2015

The Danger of Light and Joy

When reading of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, there is one section that catches me almost every time: Gimli’s thoughts on leaving Lothlorian. Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me

Jeff Reid 1
11 Sep 2015

Wanderlust

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings. . . The wings and the golden weather and the tang of frost in the mornings made Laura want to go somewhere. She did not know where. She wanted only to go. “Let’s go West,” she said one night after supper. “Pa, can’t we go West when Uncle Henry does?” . . . “I know, little Half-pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very

Johanna Byrkett 6
19 Jun 2015

Creativity Begets: How Story Inspires

As the cerulean sky bleeds into water-coloured grey storm clouds, my thoughts are somewhere between Middle Earth and Pluto. Ringing in my head is a stunning symphonic melody about Saturn—its strength in Beauty has captured my memory. Reverberating in my ears is the sound of Tolkien’s prose—read aloud to hear the simultaneously earthy and heraldic tones played in his words. Treading the paths of my thoughts are an interesting pair, hand-in-hand. The first is a

Johanna Byrkett 0
17 Jun 2015

Holding Fast

“ ‘The star-glass?’ muttered Frodo, as one answering out of sleep, hardly comprehending. ‘Why yes! Why had I forgotten it? A light when all other lights go out! And now indeed light alone can help us.’ ”1 The interplay between light and dark is an ongoing part of our lives. In the literal sense, we live in a world where the regular appearance of both provides a measure of regulation to our activities. Figuratively though,

Jeff Reid 0
05 Jun 2015

Life is Deeper than Fiction

What shapes our ideals about what life ought to be like? Frighteningly, I think many individuals are shaped by various forms of banal media more than by their families and mentors, or by historical figures and enriching arts. The up-and-coming generation’s expectations and ideals of high school and college are too often formed by teen fiction a la Twilight and a host of other semi-pornographic novels marketed towards pre-teens and high schoolers. Ideas of what

Johanna Byrkett 3
01 Apr 2015

Cosmic Communion: The Role of Creation in Our Journey With Christ – PART 2

In a previous article I endeavored to outline a central uniqueness of Christianity in that it holds to neither a belief that the natural cosmos is all that there is, nor a denial of the material world as an irrelevant distraction or illusion from one’s spiritual life with God.  Rather, the Christian faith is a sacramental life of pursuit of God through the utilization of physical matter according to God’s expression to His creatures and

Joseph Green 3
14 Mar 2015

Weekly Reads (March 14)

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

Laura Norris 1
07 Feb 2015

Weekly Reads (February 7)

Conciliar Post John Ehrett, “The Ironic Conservatism of ‘Transparent‘” George Aldhizer, “Grace is for Yuppies: How Reformed Theology Engages New York City” Chris Casberg, “The Future of Christianity in America, Part III” Ben Cabe, “Why We Call Mary the Mother of God” Jacob Prahlow, “Book Review: The Church According to Paul” Kathryn Dubs, “Self Surrender” Benjamin Winter, “Brutality or Beatitude” From Our Authors Laura Norris, Aleteia, “Tolkien Is My Spiritual Guide” Jacob Prahlow, Pursuing Veritas, “Roman Catholicism in the

Laura Norris 2
14 Jan 2015

Everyday Warrior

I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he’s a jester. He’ll end up by becoming a wizard—or a warrior!1 Foreshadowing—it’s part of what makes stories worth re-reading. While you may not always catch it the first time through, additional readings can highlight the hints that the author left to key you into what was coming. In Frodo’s quip above, we have an example of foreshadowing

Jeff Reid 2
17 Dec 2014

“He Never Repaid Me In Like Kind”

In A Little Exercise For Young Theologians, Helmut Thielicke warns beginning theology students against abusing their new-found knowledge. This warning was prompted by the Church, which was “concerned very rightly for our spiritual health.”1 The concern Thielicke references highlights the nature of the Church. The Church is not just a collection of people but, in some sense, a distinct organism. At least this is the picture Paul provides when he states that God “gave the

Jeff Reid 3
05 Nov 2014

What’s In A Name?

“When I forget my name, remind me.”1 Listening to Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing In The Minefields”, I was struck by this line. In particular, the importance of naming jumped out at me. The fact that names are special isn’t a huge surprise. One need only think about how strongly people feel about their own names to confirm this. Feelings aside though, when we look at Scripture, naming often appears to go beyond merely identifying an

Jeff Reid 2
23 Sep 2014

Speaking Through Stories

A friend of mine recently commented that he sees too many references to C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the blogging world. As someone who tries to stay connected to the conversations of the interwebs, I can confirm that there are indeed a plethora of perspectives penned on these great 20th century authors. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without seeing an article evaluating what Lewis would have thought about this, or

Jacob Prahlow 2
10 Sep 2014

The Perspective of Beauty

This fall I have the privilege of serving as a mentor at Summit’s Summit Semester program. One of the lesser benefits of this opportunity is the chance to spend the fall out in the gorgeous mountains of southern Colorado. So far, I’ve taken at least a few minutes each night to step out and look at the stars. Having grown up between Baltimore and Washington D.C., actually seeing stars is something of a novelty. As

Jeff Reid 1
25 Aug 2014

My Spiritual Guide, Tolkien

I was a fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit years before I discovered the beautiful example of faith in the life and writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read the Lord of the Rings as a middle schooler and frequently watched Peter Jackson’s screen interpretations, but I did not learn about Tolkien’s Catholic faith, his Eucharistic devotion, and the Christian truth driving the myth of his sub-creation of Middle Earth until my

Laura Norris 1
11 Aug 2014

The Virgin Mary in “The Lord of the Rings”

Author’s Note: This post falls as part of a series on female saints, but since there is so much that can be said about the greatest of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I chose to focus on her as represented in the literature and movies of the Lord of the Rings, which provides a familiar common ground for many of us. The Lord of the Rings books and movies depict some of the strongest

Laura Norris 5
01 Aug 2014

Being Imago Dei

Imago Dei. That mysterious reality that humans are created in the image of God. Perhaps you have questioned—internally or verbally—what imago Dei means on an individual level. Do we look like God somehow? Perhaps the things we do image Him. After all, He made us as sub-creators in His world, cultivators in His garden of the earth.   Since Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories, the Christian community has seen sub-creation as one of the chief ways

Johanna Byrkett 3
30 Jul 2014

Resting Through Rejoicing

Rest is important. This may seem too obvious to need stating, but then again, some of my good friends will be surprised that I put rest and important in the same sentence. My personal sleep practices notwithstanding, the psalmist indicates that rest is part of God’s design for us when he says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives

Jeff Reid 3