One of the joys of being a theologian is getting to know gifted theologians from non-Catholic traditions, whether Orthodox or Protestant. One of those I know lectures at Hillsong College, a pentecostal college which runs theology courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. At the invitation of this friend, I gave a guest lecture for a political theology course and led a class on Catholic conceptions of justice, framing the lecture around Aquinas’ conception of justice as one of the four… Read more

One cold night, a Seattle teenager named Rosie Larsen is found murdered, her body stuffed into the boot of a car pulled from the bottom of a lake. So begins the investigation that takes up the first two seasons of the American crime drama, The Killing. What makes this more than standard crime drama fare is the exploration of the ways in which the killing of this one teenager figuratively ricochets out to kill others, both people and institutions. Each… Read more

This week, I was reminded on social media about already dated, but still very endearing, video that focused on an Australian magpie named Penguin. The story focused on how Penguin, a chick that fell out of her nest, was cared for by the Bloom family of Newport, New South Wales. The central thread of the story was not so much Penguin, but the effect that she had on Sam, who sunk into a deep depression following an accident. Without saying… Read more

At the end of the movie Knight of Cups, the final moment is marked by Rick, the film’s protagonist, who says “Begin”. I just got back from a retreat run by the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation (CL), where Fr John O’Connor of Food for Faith, built on the spiritual exercises of CL’s leader, Fr Julian Carron. The exercises centered on a line taken from Isaiah (43:19), where God through the prophet says: See, I do a new thing…do you not perceive it?… Read more

I have just finished the Netflix anime series Violet Evergarden, which looks at the life of a brutally efficient and seemingly emotionless former solder with a fierce dedication to her former major, who was her mentor and only friend. Following the war, Violet tries to settle back into civilian life as a ghost writer for hire – an “auto memory doll” –  travelling through the land with her typewriter and writing letters and plays for royalty and commoner alike. The driving… Read more

Last Sunday, the Archdiocese of Sydney celebrated the bicentennial of the preservation of the blessed sacrament at what is now the site of St. Patrick’s church at the Rocks in Sydney. The bicentennial marked the time when, after the prohibition of Catholic practice in the colony of New South Wales, the last priest in the colony, just before his expulsion by the government, purposely left the Eucharistic host open in a private home for veneration by the colony’s Catholic faithful…. Read more

At the end of the anime series Berserk 2017, viewers would finally have an explanation of the association between the title and its iron slab/sword wielding protagonist, Guts. So just so you know, there are spoiler alerts. In earlier story arcs, Guts is a mercenary who in battle after battle, demonstrates an ability to defy the virtually-divine law governing the movements of his universe: the laws of causality. This would come in handy too, seeing that Guts’ main antagonist is himself a… Read more

As a creature of habit, I do not like surprises. I like the routine and the predictability. I like knowing when my train arrives, when a task can be feasibly completed, when I can expect to return home to make dinner, and so on. Big changes are scary and often dealt with by padding new routines around them, like a calendar’s version of a burrito. Very often, however, the routine can get to me. I become irritated by the predictability… Read more

Dr Anne Carpenter, an assistant professor of Theology at St. Mary’s College and a fellow Patheos Catholic blogger (follow her work on The Rule and the Raven), put up a post the other day that drew attention to a beautiful quote by St. Irenaeus of Lyon that I, to my shame, had not come across before. Drawing on the image of God as the potter and us as the clay, Irenaeus returns to the topic of our status as creature, but… Read more

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a link between the electronic dance music genre and themes of transcendance. I wrote then that of all music genres I frequently listen to, “it is the most upfront in bringing in the vocabulary of soul, redemption, transcendence, eternity, light and darkness familiar to many believers, including many Christians”. What comes out in particular is the secular version of an eschatological horizon, which is played out in one of my favourite tracks in this… Read more

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