Becoming a Neo-Pascalian

Pascal

Yesterday I wound up the last obligations of my fall courses. This included grading a handful of papers I couldn’t finish before the holidays. Many of these papers were from the Spiritual Formation class I teach—galloping through scripture and speed-dating with historical figures who have so brilliantly pointed the way for us. There they are, [Read More...]

Ad(vent)oration

adoration-of-the-magi-altarpiece-left-hand-predella-panel-depicting-the-nativity-1423

The darkness of December weighs heavily. Despite the glories of living in Colorado, with its bright blue skies and the heady weight of light during the days, still, December is dark early and late. Dark when we leave in the morning; dark as we drive home from work. The day barely peaks before the long [Read More...]

According to a Certain Studious Old Man, Objects in Mirror Are Closer than They Appear

mirror-Mr. Physics

I read the Psalms, and I imagine you do too. Many read the Psalms when they wouldn’t touch Leviticus with a ten-foot pole. The Psalms are on the “beloved” list, along with things like the parable of the Good Samaritan and Paul’s ode to love; Ezra, perhaps, along with Obadiah and some other books, on [Read More...]

Tales from My Father: On Prayer and Two Old Women, One with Blue Hair

steeple - macmoov

  As pastor’s kids (there were three of us—the “pretty” one, the “good” one, and “the one who put up Kiss posters”—I’ll leave you to guess which one I was), we enjoyed a certain amount of both notoriety and adulation, depending on who the observer was. As a little one, I remember weaving in and [Read More...]

Thanksgiving, Sin, and Naming the Hunger

confessional-tudor-rose

    My Catholic friends reassure me that I know nothing about guilt. They are experts. The very ritual of confession generates guilt, they say. They remember feeling guilty that they didn’t feel guilty, and making up sins to confess. The darkened confessional, the sliding door, the whispered prayers, the priest’s questions – all operated [Read More...]

Learning to Talk Like Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Today I read a review of Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood, her account of spending a year trying to “take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible.” This has her end up calling her husband “master,” keeping her mouth shut in church, and staying in a pup tent [Read More...]

Why, Today, I Am Still a Protestant

wittenberg-door

Tomorrow is Reformation Day, the day on which, 495 years ago Martin Luther posted his Facebook protest. Er, I mean, Wittenberg protest. I remember many years ago hearing a chapel talk that was supposed to be on the glories of the Reformation, but was instead a reflection in the tragedy of the Reformation. That speaker [Read More...]

What Difference Does It Make?: The Kaleidoscope Effect

kaleidoscope

  For the better part of a year, I’ve been working on understanding a book and a doctrine that, shall we admit, are not “bestsellers.” In fact, one of my readers very softly commented: “It was a long and complicated series, and I’m afraid that the truly interested layman ‘in all the details’ might be [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 27: The End?

  We’ve come to Anatolios’ conclusion, a chapter rich with ideas and summaries. I could have drawn this out for several more posts, but I became quite “Julian” in my threeness, wanting the series to have twenty-seven posts, no more, no less. So let’s oh-so-briefly look at the final comments Anatolios makes that might suggest [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 26: True Love

Princess

          Last week we addressed Augustine’s “psychological model” of the Trinitarian image: memory, knowledge, and will. Maybe that worked for you; maybe it didn’t. But Augustine had another model that you might find more compelling. It’s called a “social model” of the Trinity, and it begins and spins in love. When [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 25: Source Code

baby.

Our friend Augustine, trying to understand the Three-in-One God whom we worship, resorted to Source Code material. May Augustine forgive me for using a modern pap movie to talk about his great theological arguments. You needn’t see the movie—it won’t help you understand the Trinity. But sometimes weird ideas pop up in science fiction that [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 24: A Julian Diversion

  Augustine is going to take us on a deep, inner journey to the center of the soul, there to look for shadows of the Trinitarian image, and from that vision to return to the greater vision of the One who is Three. We are made in God’s image (imago dei), and we are called [Read More...]


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