June 22, 2013

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 Bishop Katharine Jefferts… Read more

June 20, 2013

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

June 19, 2013

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,… Read more

June 17, 2013

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… Read more

June 16, 2013

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,… Read more

June 15, 2013

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… Read more

June 14, 2013

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 whatever loyalties Christians… Read more

June 13, 2013

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…. Read more

June 13, 2013

“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 disenfranchised. He’s… Read more

June 11, 2013

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,… Read more

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