Close your eyes, inhale slowly, deeply . . . hold that for a heartbeat then exhale. Steadily. Repeat this three times—eyes closed with breaths full and controlled. A conscious breath can both calm and invigorate. It is essential for daily rest and action. Oxygen In the material world, breathing requires physiological cohesion and internalizing that which is external to the body: oxygen. Among its many functions, breathing allows the body to oxidize available
The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-4 NRSV) A month or two ago, I was speaking with a friend about the extra personal time I gain working at home.
In Genesis 1, God creates the animals of the sea and sky on the fifth day and subsequently creates land animals on the sixth. On this same day God also forms a certain kind of land animal in God’s own image and likeness—humankind (Gen 1:26-27). As with the animals of land, sea, and sky, humans are told to “be fruitful and multiply,” but then receive a unique set of instructions from God: “Fill the earth
Theology “Then and Now” More than four years ago, I published my first essay on Conciliar Post. It laid out what I consider to be the first principles of theological reasoning, but it also noted that—like all of us—I am still “on the way.” I stand behind these principles: the centrality of Christ, the contingency of created order, the need for grace, and the soul’s ascent to God. I also stand behind the fact that
A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, Their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; But the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:6-8). On Sunday and Wednesday evenings, we attempt to have family devotions during dinner.
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
In the darkness came a chanting, a chanting, chanting, chanting— in the darkness as the world began came the song decanting into sea and star, into mere and man From the man came a canting, a whining discord, the song slanting at an angle from the thrumming tune our Composer was implanting in sand and soul, in sun and moon Darkness devoured when recanting, the broken song became a ranting swallowed inside, unmaking
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?
“Become merciful (it says in the Greek) even as your Father is merciful.” There is movement and action. The word become implies change and growth and development. God is merciful and loving and he never changes. We are the ones who are changeable. The scary thing is that we have the same potential to become unmerciful as we have to become merciful. We are Orthodox Christians. I am very comfortable with that statement. I am also comfortable with
Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or
Within the general framework of contemporary identity politics – a term that I use here to refer to a synthesis between one’s personal attributes, or the intersections between said attributes, and one’s political preferences – an ancient theological debate may be resurfacing under different conceptual umbrellas. Recent scholarship has advanced an “intersectional” understanding of how race and gender interact to perpetuate discriminatory structures. Yet where the philosophy of such a movement is concerned, the two
The All-Encompassing Call of Love The beeps and whirs of surrounding machines and that too-clean smell of the hospital room washed over me as I held my newborn sister for the very first time: my parents’ fifth child and first girl. My mother observed how beautiful it was that we were all present, together as a family, to share in her first moments in the world. Her words made me realize, for what felt like
Modern society has a temptation to compartmentalize our lives, and, too often, modern Christianity succumbs to this temptation. Work, relationships, family, recreation, and worship are put into separate boxes, separate sphere of our lives, for better or for worse. For many Christians, this compartmentalization trickles into how they integrate faith into the rest of their lives. There exists a temptation, at least as I have perceived in my 25 years of Christian living, to divide
“In principio, Primum principium invoco…” (In the beginning, I call upon the First beginning…) These words are taken from the opening statement of St. Bonaventure’s Journey of the Soul Into God.1 The Seraphic Doctor, like all articulate and responsible philosophers and theologians, lays out his first principles before engaging readers in a formative intellectual project. Likewise, my aim in this essay is to elaborate some of the theological assumptions that guide my thoughts, submitting them
“And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many
Most historians of Christianity will note that mysticism peaked in the later centuries of the Middle Ages. Christian mystics experienced direct encounters with God, often through ecstatic visions of heaven and the divine. In relation to the increase in literacy of the laity during these centuries, many mystics wrote in their vernacular languages and gained followings among the laity. Thus mysticism itself bears different traits depending upon the region and language. Furthermore, while there were