Integral Holiness

Mystical writers pretty much from the earliest years of the Christian era have insisted that the unavoidable first step in walking the way of the mysteries is to embrace a life of holiness. Not so much that we can just decide "I want to be holy now," like someone decides they'll learn how to play the guitar; for holiness is a grace given, not a skill achieved. Nevertheless, since Divine gifts are not foisted upon us without our consent, holiness demands that we at least choose to cooperate with … [Read more...]

Feast of the Visitation

Today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. This morning during mass the monks chanted this lovely hymn to the Mother of God: Alleluia. Ave, Stillans Melle Alvearium; Ave, Veri Salomonis Ferculum; Ave, Verbi Dei Tu Sacrarium; Ave, Deitatis Receptaculum, Maria.Here it is again in English: Alleluia. Hail, Beehive Dripping with Honey; Hail, Offspring of the True Solomon; Hail, Shrine of the Word of God; Hail, Recepticle of the Godhead, Mary. … [Read more...]

Thanks to Youtube and Robin Meyers, the UCC “Bouncer” Ad Lives On…

I'm reading Robin Meyers' wonderful if infuriating book Why the Christian Right is Wrong (I plan on posting a review once I'm finished). Today I'm reading the chapter on the Christian right's hostility to gay and lesbian persons, and Meyers mentions the ad that the United Church of Christ attempted to run on national television in 2004, but couldn't because the major networks deemed it "too controversial." In honor of that ad, which deserves to be seen by everyone, I'm happy to note that some … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Therefore the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word contains in itself the whole meaning of the riddles and symbols of Scripture, the whole significance of visible and invisible creatures. Whoever knows the mystery of the cross and the tomb knows the meaning of things. Whoever is initiated into the hidden meaning of the resurrection knows the purpose for which God created everything in the beginning. — Maximus the Confessor, as quoted by Olivier Clément in The Roots of Christian Mysticism … [Read more...]

The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition

The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys New Edition By Andrew Louth Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007 Review by Carl McColmanAndrew Louth, Professor of Theology at Durham University in the UK, is that rarest of literary treasures: an academic writer whose prose is engaging and delightful to read. A survey like this one, covering the key philosophers and theologians whose work comprise the headwaters of the "Christian mystical tradition" could easily sink under the … [Read more...]


Dr. Frank Beckwith of Baylor University has resigned his position as the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. Why? Because he has been received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Read about it here. Apparently, even in 2007 it's not cool for an evangelical theologian to be a Catholic.Even more interesting is Dr. Beckwith's blog (and the wide array of commentary that it engenders). Check out a few posts here, here and especially here. Alas, you don't have to look … [Read more...]

That Crazy Jesus…

Of the many qualities I love about Jesus, chief among them was his willingness to flout social rules and hang out with the kinds of people that "polite society" of his day wanted nothing to do with. Jesus himself was in all likelihood a solid member of the Jewish middle class, as exemplified by the earthy nature of the hard but honest work that he and his family and friends and associates did: carpentry, shepherding, fishing. Some scholars have speculated that Jesus was himself a Pharisee, since … [Read more...]