Why missions can’t separate love and truth

While pagans and others observed the summer solstice, the Church of England announced that it would begin a special outreach those who identify with pre-Christian religions like druidism.“I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture,” said Rev. Steve Hollinghurst in the London Telegraph, the only place I could find the story.Assuming it's real, let's hope the effort demonstrates more spiritual discernment than Episcopal Bis … [Read more...]

Were there priests in the early church? Garry Wills says no. He’s wrong, and here’s why

In reading Garry Wills' new book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition, I passed through several stages: irritation, amusement, befuddlement, frustration, disbelief. Attesting to his immense talent, I occasionally felt all these things at once.Wills' argument is that priests are nowhere found in the New Testament, more or less, and that priestly power is advanced by a bogus understanding of the Eucharist and the inclusion of the Letter to the Hebrews in the Bible. And let's just pause to remember … [Read more...]

God can handle your anger–and your confusion, fear and doubt, too

An Egyptian court last week sentenced an author to five years in prison. His crime? Insulting religion. He penned a book entitled Where is God? which some Muslims deemed offensive.Egyptian law, according to one report, "gives all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated." But maybe God can take it. At least that's what Ian Punnett argues in his new book How to Pray When You're Pissed at God, a title that might spark similar offense in some … [Read more...]

Jesus vs. the philosophers

I just starting a new book by the contemporary Egyptian monastic elder, Matthew the Poor. He died in 2006, and Conciliar Press has published a collection of his talks under the title Words for Our Time. I plan on doing a full review soon but failed to make it past the first chapter before finding something I had to share:The teachings of Christ are not the type of wisdom boasted of by worldly philosophy; rather, Christ's wisdom is housed in very simple words. "Love your neighbor as … [Read more...]

The one thing kids need to hear most from their dads

I read a story yesterday that drilled right through me. It's from a letter Montaigne wrote to a neighbor about the love fathers show toward their children. The excerpt is long. Forgive me in advance. You'll thank me when it's done:After the late Marshal de Monluc lost his son . . . he used to stress greatly to me, among his other regrets, the sorrow and heartbreak he felt for never having opened up to him. He had lost, he said, by that habit of paternal gravity and stiffness, the comfort … [Read more...]

One forgotten Bible study tool every Christian needs

Everyone's got a Bible, or twelve. We've got access to commentaries, dictionaries, and other lexical aids -- any tool you need to dig deep into the original Hebrew. But what about the Greek?No, not the Greek New Testament. The Greek Old Testament. I've mentioned the Septuagint a few times in recent posts, though I've not done much to direct people to any resources for their own study.There are definite reasons for at least consulting the Septuagint in the course of Old Testament study. … [Read more...]

The Christians you don’t know

Some people are barely aware that there are native Christian communities in Israel, extending back to the time of the apostles. A new documentary, The Stones Cry Out, promises to tell their history and shed light on their struggles. Here's the trailer:I've covered acts of terrorism and vandalism visited upon these Christian communities in Israel before, and I realize that the region's complicated history cannot be untangled or fully appreciated in a fifty-six minute documentary.But … [Read more...]

What, angels are bilingual? They are now, baby!

Lifted by Angels -- Now in Spanish!

I'm excited (and deeply honored) to announce that Lifted by Angels is now available in Spanish.Lifted by Angels explains the role and significance of angels from the perspective of the early church. Building upon the biblical stories, it branches out to see how ancient Christians understood those accounts and what that meant for them. It serves as a helpful corrective to the often silly image of angels that dominate our culture.Get your copy at CBD, B&N, or Amazon.Now if we … [Read more...]

One priest making a difference

Fr. Paisius

"What the soul is in the body, this is what Christians are in the world," says the Epistle to Diognetus, an ancient Christian text. Nobody demonstrates the present-day truth of that more than Fr. Paisius Altschul of Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.Fr. Paisius, priest of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, is also the founder of Reconciliation Services, a ministry that offers desperately needed counseling, material aid, medicine, and job training to the city's poor and … [Read more...]

What an Orthodox bishop thinks you should know about the Book of Revelation

Metropolitan Savas (Zembillas) of Pittsburgh

Yesterday I posted a Q&A with Fr. Mark Arey about his stunning new graphic novel of Revelation. It features a fresh translation of John's Apocalypse, all 404 of its enigmatic verses, along with some 570 images to illumine the text.Though today Christians seem somewhat obsessed with Revelation, that wasn't always the case. In fact, the early church seems to have been rather ambivalent about it. While it's regarded as Holy Scripture, as Fr. Mark pointed out in the interview, even now … [Read more...]

A new way to see the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation

From the earliest days of the church Christians have illustrated the scripture. Whether it's biblical scenes in catacomb art outside Rome or fully illuminated manuscripts like the Rabbula and Lindisfarne Gospels, Christians like to visualize holy stories and characters. Now comes The Book of Revelation, a graphic novel adaptation of John's Apocalypse executed at the highest artistic level.Enveloped in the arresting artwork is a gripping, new translation of the book, the labor of Frs. … [Read more...]

If you could Instagram God, what would he look like?

Downtown Nashville features a full-size reproduction of the Parthenon, a temple for the Greek goddess Athena. The name comes from Athena's title Parthenos -- "virgin" -- and if you head indoors you can see all fourteen yards of the old girl, decked out in gold.No one in the ancient pagan world had any trouble imagining what gods and goddesses looked like. A person could just walk into a local temple and see. Or maybe look at the little idols they kept tucked in corner at home.Of course, … [Read more...]


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