The Judas Tree, And Other Legends of the Betrayer

This is cercis siliquastrum, the Judas Tree: It is, according to legend, the type of tree from which Judas hanged himself, and its once-white blossoms blushed with shame to be part of such a terrible history. Or perhaps it’s called the Judas Tree because the clusters of blossoms sometimes hang from the branches, suggesting a hanging [Read More...]

Embracing Mystery

Meditative mystical image of the Trinity, from the early 14th-century Flemish Rothschild Canticles, Yale Beinecke MS 404, fol. 40v.

We must not fear the unknown in our faith, but rather embrace it. There is no reason to be ashamed by the inscrutable aspects of God. Instead, we should point to these very mysteries as proof of His Being, for only when we stand in mystical awe do we truly experience the One worthy of [Read More...]

The Three Pillars of Lent

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We meet again, Lent, my old foe. This time I will have you! I joke. I love Lent, at least since I’ve learned to meet it not as my Everest to be conquered, but as 40 days in the desert with Christ. That’s a pretty tall order to fill, and our forebears in the faith [Read More...]

Charlie Hebdo and a Broken Europe

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How broken is Europe? This broken: That’s their response to the murder of twelve of their fellow journalists at the hands of jihadists. You cannot measure my indifference to the wholly imaginary thing called “Islamophobia,” which, like “homophobia,” is a way to pathologize those who disagree with a dominant narrative. A phobia is an irrational [Read More...]

Four Artifacts From the Time of Jesus

This is a short and interesting little video in which Marc Turnage, director of the Center for Holy Lands Studies for The General Council of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, uses artifacts to illustrates elements of the New Testament. [Read more...]

Ghosts in the Bible: The New Testament

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There are no ghosts in the New Testament. We do, however, find the language of spirits and references to death that can illuminate the subject. When we read passages such as Matthew 8:22 (”Let the dead bury the dead”) and 22:32 (”God is not the God of the dead but of the living”) we may [Read More...]

Ghosts in the Bible: The Old Testament

Samuel Appearing to Saul (Fuseli 1777)

Ghosts posed a problem for the early Church because they seemed to reflect a holdover of pagan belief and superstition. Yet reliable witnesses continued to report encounters with what to appeared to be spirits, and witnesses were not so easily dismissed as they are now. As we head into Halloween, I hope to do a [Read More...]

Christ the Apothecary

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There is a minor tradition in art of depicting Christ as the Divine Pharmacist, an Apothecary of the Soul, mixing and compounding the medicine for mankind. In this illumination from a 16th century manuscript, He is shown writing out the prescription to treat original sin. There’s no word on whether Adam and Eve had a co-pay. [Read more...]


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