20 Aug 2015

Bullet Points and Worldviews

Late last week, I found myself embroiled in a long online conversation with an acquaintance over my review of the recent film “Straight Outta Compton.” The movie, which charts the rise of controversial rap group N.W.A., is a well-made biographical drama that raises challenging questions. It also, as one might expect given the subject matter, contains a good deal of content that will be off-putting to certain viewers (and is undoubtedly inappropriate for audiences beneath

John Ehrett 2
12 Aug 2015

The Witness of Lightning and the Lightning Bug

It’s remarkable how much a clear night can help one gain a bit of peace and solitude. That is, once the security lights stopped showing the world that I was standing out on our driveway. While taking in the night view, my wandering thoughts were interrupted by a flash of light in the corner of my eye. Adjusting my head for a better view brought the realization that a lightning storm was rolling in. Lest

Jeff Reid 0
20 Jul 2015

Dogma and the Boy Scouts

I read recently that the executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America voted in favor of a resolution allowing openly gay adult leaders, and that the longstanding ban could be repealed as early as July 27. As an Eagle Scout, member of the Order of the Arrow, and a longtime Assistant Scoutmaster, my feelings are (to say the least) complex. Up front, it is worth noting that there is a material difference between the

John Ehrett 1
16 Jun 2015

Here We Raise Our Ebenezer: Conciliar Post After One Year

In honor of Conciliar Post’s one year anniversary, we asked the editorial team to reflect on the past year. You can read Managing Editor Jacob Prahlow’s reflections in his post “How Now Shall We Speak?“. Here is what some other members of the Conciliar Post team had to say: Jody Byrkett Senior Editor Fleeting as days are, it is a bit strange to find that three hundred and sixty-five of them can feel both long and

Various 4
22 May 2015

Stars in the Pools

Ridges of foothills rise and swell, then swirl away in the fog filling the valley. Streams of melting hail run off the eaves with the sound of endless rain—and the look of thick snow. My neighbour’s flower box is one puddle of icy water. The gravel parking lot is more like a muddy-red pond than solid ground. All at once, a wave of thunder shatters the air, makes the ground shudder. Lightning flares pink and

Johanna Byrkett 0
16 May 2015

Worthy Reads of the Week (16 May)

A merry weekend to you, dear reader! Laura and her husband are moving to the West Coast this week, which means your weekly reads have been entrusted to my care and may have a slightly different flavour. I invite you to curl up with a mug of piping hot tea or coffee to enjoy some quiet reading this weekend.   [The following articles do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of Conciliar Post. These articles have been

Johanna Byrkett 4
14 May 2015

Ex Machina | Movie Review

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

John Ehrett 0
08 May 2015

In A Glass Darkly

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself, or caught your reflection in a window and wondered, Who is that person? Sometimes I see my reflection in the mirror and I catch wisps of the flyaway, carefree girl that I am. Yet there are moments, usually in photographs, when I see the old soul inside of me. Hopefully that means I look wise and thoughtful, rather than crinkled and worn down by cares. But I

Johanna Byrkett 3
04 May 2015

There’s a Saint for That (A Brief Reflection)

One critique that some groups of non-Catholics rail against Catholicism that there are saints for very obscure or mundane purposes. Think of Saint Ambrose of Milan, the brilliant 4th century theologian who is the patron saint of beekeepers, or Saint Isidore of Seville, who anachronistically became the patron saint of the Internet in 2003. Why have saints for such small things, or designate saints to technologies they did not even use? There’s quite literally a

Laura Norris 2
30 Apr 2015

Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?

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.

Jacob Prahlow 6
03 Apr 2015

The Gayest Wedding Cake

A Response to “An Open Letter to Christian Bakers in Indiana” I recently read “An Open Letter to Christian Bakers in Indiana” by Russell Johnson. I appreciated it for several reasons, not least of which was its emphasis on showing Christ’s love to our gay friends, neighbors, and relatives. Christ did not shy away from engaging sinners in conversation, sharing meals with them, and allowing them personal access. I have seen signs in the past

Amanda Hill 4
25 Feb 2015

Waterfall Moments

They say a waterfall is created when the softer under-rock erodes faster than the upper layer. As the soft rock is swept away, the hard rock is left unsupported. Eventually, it falls under its own weight combined with the weight of the water, and the waterfall moves upstream. Once the harder rock is all broken away, there won’t be a waterfall anymore. Just rapids at first, then a swift-flowing stream, then a gentle river. I

Pepper Darlington 0
20 Feb 2015

Thinking with the Early Middle Ages

“When the thinker thinks rightly, he follows God step by step; he does not follow his own vain fallacy.”1 Studying the Middle Ages is a complex process, not only for the plethora of information one must process in order to have a halfway-informed perspective into the period, but also for the multitude of ways in which contemporary—modern and postmodern—attitudes that illuminate Christian opinions of this important period of Christian history. One need look no further

Jacob Prahlow 3
18 Feb 2015

Rising from Ruin

Ash Wednesday Reflections   Tonight, ashes smear Across my face From priest’s thumb— Sin’s dark drear Mingled with oil Leaves a smudge On my skin And my soul   Last year’s palms Burn deep upon My flesh and In my memory— All I see Is ashen, grey, Charred remains of Promises and dreams I peer inside At my soul Crumbling to coals Dead and lifeless— Not a spark Or an ember Of élan appears To

Johanna Byrkett 2
06 Feb 2015

Brutality or Beatitude?

“So this is where we are. Ashes, ashes, all fall down. How could I have forgotten? Didn’t I see the heavens wiped shut just yesterday, on the road walking? Didn’t I fall from the dark of the stars to these senselit and noisome days? The great ridged granite millstone of time is illusion, for only the good is real; the great ridged granite millstone of space is illusion, for God is spirit and worlds his

Benjamin Winter 2
29 Dec 2014

Lectio Divina and Christmas

One of the oldest practices of prayer and meditation in the Christian tradition is lectio divina. Lectio divina, Latin for “divine reading,” is a practice which originated in the monasteries of Saint Benedict in the 6th century. The practice of lectio divina continued throughout the centuries until the present day. It has evolved from a monastic practice to a spiritual practice commended for Christians in all walks of life. Dei Verbum, the Catholic Church’s dogmatic

Laura Norris 4
06 Nov 2014

Bitterly

You have a best friend. He is amazing and you’ve been with him for years. You are completely convinced that he’s the guy you’ve been waiting for all your life and now he’s asking you to get swords. “We have two,” you say, a bit doubtfully. “That’s enough,” your friend replies, and you remember the time he turned two fish into a feast for five thousand. Ah, well, it’s clear what he has planned, and

Pepper Darlington 1
07 Oct 2014

Kierkegaardian Reflections on the Present Age

Some authors make a lasting impression on one’s mind, for good or for bad. For me, one such writer is Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55), whom I first engaged while an undergraduate at Valparaiso University. While reading Kierkegaard, one cannot help but be flummoxed by large portions of his prose—there’s simply too much there to engage in its fullness. You are like a kindergartener, who is desperately trying to make sense of a chalkboard filled with Einstein’s

Jacob Prahlow 3
13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

Ryan Shinkel 0
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

Ryan Shinkel 1