31 Jul 2020

What Beauty Lurks in the Hearts of Men? Thoughts on Premium Bibles and the Men Who Love Them

My father still remembers listening to old episodes of The Shadow, a popular radio program about a mysterious crime fighter with the unique ability to cloud human minds and render himself invisible. When the mood strikes him, my dad will imitate the gruff voice and ominous laugh of the hero and regale us with the famous opening lines of the “Detective Story” radio hour: “What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

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08 Jul 2020

Discovering the Late 19th Century Arguments for Women’s Preaching and Ministry

For all of my life, I have been a part of a US Presbyterian denomination which does not ordain women to the ministry. The extent to which women are allowed to teach men in church settings, lead in formal worship, or serve in non-ordained diaconal roles varies a good deal congregation by congregation. Nevertheless, across the board, preaching in regular services and serving as an elder is possible only for men. This fact, of course,

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01 Jul 2020

Trinity Brings Unity: Hope for a Divided World

Not long ago, my parish was offering the Prayers of the People as part of our Sunday liturgy. Worshippers were free to raise their own voices and add their personal petitions to those of the Book of Common Prayer. As we did so, two seemingly different prayers arose from our midst. One prayer was for the protection of police officers and first responders. Another was for the protection of protesters and all those seeking justice

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29 Jun 2020

Reclaiming Original Sin in the Face of White Supremacy

NASCAR’s recent decision to ban the confederate flag from their events, coupled with an increased willingness amongst policymakers to remove confederate monuments from the public square, has ignited much debate regarding what is, and is not, racist. The debate presents a question: Can honoring a socially relative symbol of family history and geographical heritage be objectively racist? Many say yes. Others say no. Indeed, members of my own family can be counted amongst those proclaiming,

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05 Jun 2020

Antiracism Defined: A Response to David Justice

One of my favorite things about being part of the Conciliar Post community is getting to read about (and discuss) what other writers are reading. Although Joshua Schendel and a few others write more or less from the perspective of my own theological tradition, most do not. That’s the best part. David Justice’s recent review of Irbam X. Kendi’s big hit How To Be An Antiracist is no exception. David’s review comes at an opportune

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29 May 2020

“How to Be an Antiracist” – A Review and Reflection

Though How to Be an Antiracist is accessible to a general audience, it is rigorous scholarship by Ibram X. Kendi, professor at American University and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center. In this book, Kendi applies the important historical work of his first major publication Stamped from the Beginning (Nation Books, 2016) to practical antiracist endeavors. In this review I examine the contours of his argument and investigate his controversial claim that it

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11 Oct 2019

The Transfiguration of Scripture: Virtue-Hermeneutics and the Kenosis-Glorification Dialectic in the Philocalia of Origen

Born in approximately 185 CE to a Christian family, Origen experienced a tragedy in a formative period in his life when his father was martyred during the persecution of Laetus (201-203 CE). But far from serving as an impediment to his faith, his father’s courage and sacrifice spurred Origen into a life dedicated to Scripture and catechesis of the faithful. His work as a catechist was particularly important during the persecution of Christians under Aquila

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15 May 2019

The Reformed Tradition and Human Freedom: An Overview of the Scholarship

I have been both fascinated and, it must be admitted, frustrated with the some of the discussions on Conciliar Post of so-called “Calvinism” over the past couple of years. The most recent set of discussions has been for me, I happily admit, more fascinating than frustrating. Rather than inserting myself into the middle of so fine a discussion being carried out by Timon, Jody, and John (wouldn’t want to darken their counsel, after all), I

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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

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03 Oct 2018

A Life Without Suffering

A life without suffering is no life at all. Like many of a certain age here in America, my childhood seemed perfect. I had everything I could ask for—from a supportive family to a consistent stream of toys, video games, and collectibles to keep me occupied. I had money of my own to spend (mostly from generous relatives) and an excess of unearned confidence derived from the many who praised my “talents.” When I think

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23 Feb 2018

At Home in the Body

“…as long as we have a body and our soul is fused with such an evil we shall never adequately attain what we desire.” – Plato (Phaedo, 66b)   I often wonder     what it means          that God gave us               bodies   made of bones,     flesh, and water—          with fingers, for example,               to pop open sodas   for sipping on     some hot summer          day—or with               eyes   to wander into the gaze     of others—strangers,          enemies, lovers—

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20 Jul 2017

Is Genesis A Literal Account of Creation?

Is Genesis 1 a Literal Account of Creation? Before we answer the question, it’s helpful to recall that there are two ways of understanding creation (or two “levels” of creation). Level 1) God Simultaneously Creates All Things (All that Exists) All matter is drawn forth from nothing.1 There is no part of creation that somehow comes into existence “later” or “after” the initial creative act.2 This simultaneous creation of all things is a reality expressed by

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19 Jun 2017

Catholicism’s Uniquely Baptismal Theology

The basic doctrines that distinguish Christianity from all other religions have, at their root, assumptions that also differentiate Catholicism from all other forms of Christianity. I have spent some time illustrating this phenomenon in the case of several dogmas—the Incarnation, the authority of Christ, and the exclusive claim to grace. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since each one examines a different facet

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03 Jan 2017

The Missing Cardinal Virtue (and Deadly Sin)

There are four Cardinal Virtues and seven Deadly Sins. But both lists seem to be missing something huge. Solving this puzzle might actually help us make the world a better place.

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08 Nov 2016

Can You See a Soul?

Some philosophers say, “If you’ve seen a person, you’ve seen their soul.” And they mean that literally. But others seriously disagree. Who is right, and who should Christians side with?

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23 May 2016

The Blur in the Brushstrokes

Particulars matter. Of course, so do Universals and Forms. I hold to a healthy mix of Aristotle and Plato, tempered by Jesus and his word. I find it interesting that the particulars make up the whole, even if the universal was set into place first. For example, God said, Let there be light, and there was; then he went on to make the sun, moon, and stars. The universal preceded the particulars. However, we live

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28 Mar 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Movie Review

This movie is not as bad as you may have heard. It is much, much worse. This is the kind of movie that a fourteen-year-old, who thinks they’re “edgy” after just discovering Nine Inch Nails and Richard Dawkins, would make in stop-motion with their old action figures. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was supposed to be the movie that launched D.C. Comics’ own competitor to Marvel’s Avengers juggernaut. And while I’ve had a few

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08 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part I

What the New Evangelization Can Learn from the Aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Mallick “Humility is the luxurious art of reducing ourselves to a point, not to a small thing or a large one, but to a thing with no size at all, so that to it all the cosmic things are what they really are–of immeasurable stature…to the spirit which has stripped off for a moment its own idle temporal standards the grass is

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