Holy Eros, or, “Only God can sleep with everyone”…

Other folks in the Christian blogosphere are worked up over a Michigan Assembly of God pastor's decision to post a lengthy quote on his blog from Ronald Rolheiser, a Catholic theologian who ponders the erotic dimension of life in Christ (not in a salacious or profligate manner, but certainly in an honest and candid way). One of these days, I hope that the average Christian will stop being afraid of the power of our God-given sexuality. I suppose it should not surprise me that this day has not … [Read more...]

Random Saturday afternoon thoughts about the existence of angels

When William Blake was a little boy, he saw an angel in a tree. On his deathbed, he sang songs with all the angels that were surrounding him.Like most people, I don't have angel-vision anywhere near what Blake enjoyed. I'm the kind of person who occasionally sees someone or something out of the corner of my eye, and then I turn and whatever it was is gone. If it was ever there at all.This most vividly happened a few years back when I visited a holy well near Clonmel in Ireland. I saw a woman … [Read more...]

The Stake and the Soil

This thought occurred to me this morning:So often, we approach religion as if it were a stake being used to hold up a plant in the garden. You and I and everyone else are the poor unruly plants, in need of the strong sturdy stake to provide firm, unyielding, inflexible (and completely external) "support." This support helps the plant grow, but it also restricts the plant movement. "Conservatives" are those who think the loss of freedom is worth the chance to grow straight and tall, while … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Our discontent with the church is the very reason that we engage rather than pull out. Within the brokenness of the church is our own brokenness. —Shane Claiborne, quoted in The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail by Becky Garrison … [Read more...]

Breaking the Mystical Thermometer

A reader named Judy comments on my Teresa of Ávila page thusly: ... as to the stages of mysticism, the less I know the better. I do not want that craving of evaluating or one could say taking their spiritual temperature ever again. That sneaky ego always popping up saying "well done". I am terrified of taking pride in what is "all God" and his work in me. I know myself and how quickly I can slide right down the chute, having done it several times. As for being "terrified" of pride, I'd like to … [Read more...]

Positive Thoughts

The Prosperity Gospel, The Secret, the Prayer of Jabez, What the Bleep?... like many people who desire to orient my life around the love of God rather than my desires, I find many of the pop-culture "think positive and get what you want" movements to be troubling. I think they are primrose paths that distract people into a tar-baby-like relationship with their appetites, encouraging a focus on the stuff of ambition rather than cultivating a deep faith shaped by gratitude for blessings and … [Read more...]


The Grotto at Lourdes Originally uploaded by Lawrence OPToday is the 150th anniversary of the first apparition at Lourdes. The Blessed Mother appeared to a sickly child named Bernadette Soubirous eighteen times over the course of 1858, beginning on February 11. Today Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics and all who have a devotion to the Lady. The water that flows from the site of the apparitions is believed to have curative powers. The story of Lourdes was eventually … [Read more...]