21 Aug 2019

Book Review: The Sparrow

Why is it absolutely essential that you read two books about Jesuits encountering aliens? I will begin to answer that question in part one of this (largely) spoiler-free review. Deus Vult? A Review of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow The Sparrow’s opening pages describe a Jesuit mission to an alien world gone horribly wrong. We hear the story from Emilio Sandoz—the book’s protagonist and the sole survivor of a small group who first visited the

Benjamin Winter 0
06 Mar 2019

Compendium of Round Table Responses

Below, you can find an up-to-date catalog of my responses to various Conciliar Post Round Tables, as well as links to where they originally appeared. I pray that these thoughts will be helpful to some, and will encourage all to delve further into the mysteries of faith. September, 2019: The Knowability of God “[The LORD] made darkness his covering around him…” –Ps 18:11 Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of discursive practice in Christian theology:

Benjamin Winter 1
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 was 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

Benjamin Winter 0
11 Jul 2018

Round Table: Euthanasia

The 2016 film Me Before You stars Emilia Clarke as an awkward young woman who needs employment to help support her poor working class family. After losing her job at a local bakery, she applies to become a caretaker for the adult son of a wealthy family. The son, played by Sam Claflin, was an active and successful young man before being injured in a motorcycle accident that left him as a quadriplegic. The two

Various 7
09 Jul 2018

The Book of Joy

The Book of Joy chronicles a series of conversations and interactions between two of the world’s great spiritual leaders. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the world’s most recognizable spiritual icons. Desmond Tutu was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa. He won a Nobel Peace Prize and played an integral role in helping the people of South Africa move past the era of apartheid. In

Jarrett Dickey 2
19 Mar 2018

Troubles and the Life of Faith

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distress. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins (Psalm 25:16-18; NRSV). Preachers on television constantly promise their viewers lives of health, wealth, and welfare. If you are sick, you will be healed. If you are struggling financially, a material blessing is headed your way. If

Jarrett Dickey 0
06 Feb 2018

Holy the Firm

To immanence, to the heart, Christ is redundant and all things are one. To eminence, to the mind, Christ touches only the top, skims off only the top, as it were, the souls of men. -Annie Dillard, Holy The Firm, (Harper & Row: New York, 1977), 80. Is it possible to live in this tension? Can humans achieve the “peace that passes understanding” (John 14:27, Phil 4:6-7) in a world that appears increasingly chaotic and

Benjamin Winter 0
11 Oct 2017

Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner

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

Daniel Hyland 0
23 Jun 2017

May We Be Selfless

Loving God, Our walls are too high Our gaze is turned inward We avert danger at the expense of love We seek ourselves to the extent of losing identity We focus on living so much that we never truly exist May the example of your Son be seen among us May his life be dramatized in the play of our lives May we improvise according to the story of the suffering king May we be

Jacob Quick 0
12 Apr 2017

Holy Week

Holy Week This week there is another, one more child lost within the darkness of my womb. How I have tried to care for them, and carry them, my life’s portion, delicate burdens, slowly forming crosses to bear–or prove unable to bear. As Mary watched her womb’s fruit, ripe in its own blood, fall on the road to Golgotha– once, twice, a third time, cords lashing around His crippled form, until it was impossible to

Daniel Hyland 3
02 Feb 2017

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 2

As discussed in part 1, proper expressions of suffering and grief (spiritual and physical) seem to be largely discouraged in modern evangelical churches. Unfortunately, this trend may be less of a recent phenomenon than we think. Pastor Tim Keller has bemoaned that early Reformed and Lutheran churches may bear some responsibility, despite Martin Luther’s efforts to correct the medieval church’s promotion of stoic-like endurance in the face of suffering.1 Luther argued that Christians need not earn

Timon Cline 0
09 Jan 2017

The Key to Christian Growth

The Key to Christian Growth “If man were happy, the less he were distracted the happier he would be, like the saints and God. Is therefore the man who finds delight in diversion not happy?” Blaisé Pascal, Pensees As most battle-hardened christians know, seasons that contain suffering and hardship can produce vast amounts of growth in one’s life. In a sense, suffering and hardship are simply the lock on the door which leads to Christian

Micah McMeans 14
suffering round table
02 Sep 2016

Round Table: Suffering

“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify

Various 7
28 Jan 2016

Blindness and Light

There is a lot of talk in the gospels about blindness, for Jesus is the light of the world. Most people are not blind, they just have no light. I want all of us to experience the fullness of what the body of Christ is offering us. But we keep our eyes closed. Some may think that all that is required to be Orthodox is to wear a head covering and learn how to ask

Fr Gregory Owen 1
16 Dec 2015

Rejoicing in Divine Emotion

Can God feel? For years, I didn’t think so.  I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment that imparted many benefits to me, but it also scarred me in some deep ways, particularly in leaving me with a flawed perception of God.  To its credit, this movement developed in rejection of the emotionally-charged mainstream churches that prioritize a “feeling” of closeness with God over the relationship itself, which ought to be steeped in the

Alyssa Hall 0
23 Oct 2015

A Christian Defense of Dark Films

As a filmgoer whose personal tastes run toward the eccentric and the macabre (Guillermo del Toro and Darren Aronofsky are two of my favorite directors), I’ve seen plenty of films that fall into the “horror” or “dark thriller” category. It saddens me that this genre is often written off by persons of faith as crude and crassly exploitative, and I’ve written elsewhere about the fascinating theological implications that lie beneath its grim exterior. Thus, inspired

John Ehrett 2
21 Aug 2015

Dealing With Pain and Suffering (Part I)

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

Micah McMeans 5
29 Jul 2015

Patience: Natural Heart’s-Ivy

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.

Jeff Reid 0
06 Apr 2015

What “Unbroken” Can Teach Us About Resilience, Hope, and the Christian Life

  “However dark the night, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness.” While stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific for 47 days, Louis Zamperini reflected upon the words he had heard years previously at an ordinary Sunday Mass. He clung to those words as Japanese planes shot holes in their raft, as a fellow crew member died of dehydration, and as with each day passing the hope of survival seemed less

Laura Norris 0
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