Shapur’s Great Persecution

I posted on the topic of early Christian martyrdom, arguing that the phenomenon was as widespread as Christian writers claimed, and that it truly was driven by religious motives. That was especially true in the Persian Empire. One of the great church historians of antiquity was Sozomen, who was born near Gaza, in Palestine, around [Read More...]

The Reality of Persecution

Rome was not the only empire in antiquity, nor the only one with a sizable Christian population. I stress that repeatedly because of the number of times we read about Christian engagement with the secular world, which seems to be defined as the Roman Empire. In fact, the Persian Empire also had plenty of Christians, [Read More...]

A Time to Mourn

Yazidi Temple in the Sinjar Mountains

There are so many things that compete for our attention. Gaza, Ukraine, and Ebola, deservedly so. Celebrity cheating rumors, royal baby rumors, not as important as wars and rumors of wars. Perhaps as it need be, most of us are consumed with our own jobs, our own families, and our own churches. For a short [Read More...]

The Passions of Perpetua and Frans van der Lugt

The martyrdom of Perpetua, Felicitas, and others, from a ca. 1000 illuminated manuscript

Jesus warned that those who wanted to be his disciples would have to take up their crosses and follow him, at the risk of losing their lives. During Holy Week, Christians rightfully focus their meditations and prayers on the passion of their Savior, but especially at this time it seems appropriate for us to remember [Read More...]

The Issue of our Day

This week I read a news article that broke my heart and called me to repentance. In the midst of the fight over the budget and debt ceiling, in the midst of the ongoing saga of the “Bling-Bling Bishop” in Germany, and in the midst of football season, most of us (myself included) have been [Read More...]