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
Opportunities for meditation on the nature of God’s being often present themselves in surprising places. For example, on Holy Wednesday, I was in a Zoom class at my progressive, mainline Protestant seminary. The class was discussing accessibility for disabled people in the Church. In the course of this discussion a classmate of mine posited the idea that, because God is “super able,” our theology can easily tend to exclude people with disabilities. He then followed
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
Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land! Because I bore your name, O LORD, God of hosts. I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; Under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation. Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook,
With the arrival of Disney+, my family and I have been binging Marvel’s Infinity Saga films, beginning with Iron Man and culminating in last year’s mega-blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. I only saw it once in the theater and while I immediately formed a positive opinion of the capstone movie (up to this point) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I typically try to reserve final judgement of a film until I have watched it at least twice.
Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner Two weeks ago today, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91. Almost immediately, writers rallied to denounce (or acclaim) the fraudulent idea of his “legacy.” What he left behind him can be called a legacy only in the same sense as the aftermath of a disaster. My hope is that his life’s work, like that of the Marquis de Sade, will fade to the point that while
The Holy Names I overheard a man who burnt his fingers, blew a tire, tripped a wire in the undergrowth and called upon the worst things he could think to say: Jesus, Mary, Joseph! The holy ones spoke to my heart too, their names leapt up gently as benediction. How good, I praised, that you are with us, Holy Family! How good that you become the curse of many! How good that they are shorting
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
We asked two of our Editors—Ben Cabe and Ben Winter—to hold a discussion about an important theological question: How does your tradition view the saving work of Jesus? What follows are their replies, as well as responses to each other’s position. Ben Cabe Soteriology is inextricably connected to Christology. That is, what salvation is, how one “attains it,” and what it effects in the human person, cannot be understood without a proper understanding of who
Praise God from whom all curses flow Praise him who made the thorns to grow Praise him below infernal host Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost The sword that guards the Garden’s gate The sweat and death that are our fate The pain through which all life goes on For these we thank the Lord in song The night so short, the day all gone Serve to make us cry out, “How long?” Until the
Grief Observed In A New Light It doesn’t take a philosophy degree to understand that pain and suffering are two things people are naturally inclined to try and avoid. It is in our nature to run away from suffering, and to simply try and avoid discomfort at all costs. No matter how strong pain makes us, very seldom does anyone truly welcome it. Although time has opened up the windows of my world to the
Perhaps this is merely my experience, but I grew up hearing that some prayers were dangerous. The prayers for things such as greater boldness in witnessing, further opportunities to give, or greater love for the person who’s a thorn in your side. These prayers have a way of being answered, or rather, of creating opportunities to outwork the desires apparently behind our prayers. Naturally, these opportunities feel uncomfortable and, at times, even hurt a little.
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
Oh, the questions we ask you, Begetter of the universe… You, who spun waves and particles into golden light, we question if your hands are big enough to hold us. You, who breathed life into our spirits and our dusty frames, we pause to ask if you care about us. You, whose finger carved words into the dirt, we ask if you care enough to write our stories, to show us what you want from
Seven years ago, some of my friends got into a bit of a dispute with the powers-that-be at my college. (I have been told I have a gift for understatement). The nature of the dispute was incredibly personal, of the sort that is impossible to bring to anyone’s attention without making oneself intensely vulnerable. Talking to the dean of student life meant opening up to her judgment and allowing her to see things that were