The OTHER Woman: LOST as Metaphysical Soap Opera

I didn’t watch much of the ‘enhanced’ version of “The Constant” (last week’s episode), but I did catch a glimpse of one important point: the name of the military base where Desmond was stationed is a real place north of the Arctic Circle, and it appears in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy as a [Read More...]

Reminding You That All Religions Were Once New

I’ve long wanted to paraphrase the slogan from Composers Datebook to apply it to another interest of mine: “Reminding you that all religions were once new” The original phrase is applied to music, and the point is that all the music we label “classical” today was once simply “music”. Classical is what has stood the [Read More...]

The Lord’s Prayer of the Lingering Tillichian

Charles Allen shared this with me, and presumably those who would appreciate it, and those who read this blog, are overlapping circles. Let us pray… The Lord’s Prayer of the Lingering Tillichian Ground of Being, No object among other objects,Aahhh.Be.In history as well as beyond history.Support our finite freedom,And sustain us when our dreaming innocenceBecomes [Read More...]

Divine Patrons and Capitalist Democracies

When a North American reads the description of the cultural values of the Greco-Roman social world into which Christianity was born, they get the sense that they are dealing with a world closer to The Sopranos than the ideals that the United States, for instance, tends to view favorably. The analogy is appropriate, since the [Read More...]

Thinking about God

Questions Unlimited (a campus organization I am involved in) hosted a lunchtime discussion entitled “More Than One Way to Look at God?: Why the God Who’s Not There Might Not Be God”. I was one of the panelists; another was Rev. Charles Allen, who has a website with interesting pieces he has written on various [Read More...]

Quote of the Day (John Hick)

“Applying a kind of philosophical Golden Rule, it would be unreasonable not to grant to religious experience within other traditions what I affirm of it within my own tradition” (John Hick, “Who or What is God?” p.6). [Read more...]

Review of Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, The Great Stem of Souls

Review of Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, The Great Stem of Souls (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2005). 388 + xv pp. Reviewed by Dr. James F. McGrath, Associate Professor of Religion, Butler University, Indianapolis, USA. Buckley’s book The Great Stem of Souls derives its title from a phrase used to designate the Mandaean community. It is found [Read More...]

LOST of the Time Lords

One thing we learned on the most recent episode of LOST (“The Constant”) is that Desmond was not simply recollecting his past in a vivid hallucination, nor simply seeing the future, but going to the past and future (or, at least, his consciousness was doing so. It was stated at one point in the episode [Read More...]

Looking Forward To God’s Surprises

There’s been an ongoing bloggersation about pluralism, universalism, inclusivism and so on involving this blog and several others. I’ve already posted a quote of the day for today, but then I came across this: I can’t help but think of the scenario in Jn 8.1-11 involving the woman caught in adultery. I wonder, if at [Read More...]

Quote of the Day (Harold S. Kushner)

“We are always entitled to call the Torah to witness against itself, that is, to apply its own moral standards to some of its passages. We do it no disservice when we let it teach us the highest moral principles, standards so high that the Torah itself – the work of human hands and minds [Read More...]

LOST: in need of a constant

Tonight’s episode of LOST was wonderful. We learned how Daniel Faraday, in 1996, was working on an experiment that would allow the consciousness of a living thing (in practice, a rat named Eloise) to be “unstuck” in time. He meets Desmond, after his future self tells him to go find him at the Department of [Read More...]

Quote of the Day (Doug Chaplin)

“There is no gospel that does not wear cultural clothes, no simple faith that owes nothing to general education for its expression and understanding. It is a necessary corollary of the Word made flesh, that the message of Jesus wears the clothes of Jerusalem and Athens, Illinois or Cambridge” (Doug Chaplin, “The rhetoric of Athens [Read More...]

Teach Yourself Mandaic

It will not take you very far, and is focused on the modern spoken dialect, it would seem, rather than the classical form of most interest to scholars. Nevertheless, the resources recently made available on a Mandaean site in Australia for learning the Mandaic language are still a welcome addition. Thanks to those who’ve made [Read More...]

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

April DeConick proposed having a “blog co-op” on the theme “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Before proceeding to the source of this quotation, good old Tertullian, I do want to share an anecdote. I distinctly remember (although I cannot remember precisely when) suddenly realizing that “Joppa” (which I remembered from the movie Clash [Read More...]