Henry Benjamin Whipple: Bishop of the State of Minnesota & Straight-Tongued Defender of the Minnesota Indians

Feast of Sts Porphyrios and Baptos the Monk Martyrs and Saturday of Souls

Whipple_Square_3.jpegWHEN ONE thinks today of the Episcopal Church and its contributions to the shared life and history of American Christians one thinks most readily, perhaps, of the unrivalled linguistic beauty of the traditional Book of Common Prayer or its built-heritage of many of the most aesthetically beautiful churches in the United States. Those contributions are easy... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: A Golden-Tongued Homily on the Great Delight of Friendship

Feast of St Gregory the Theologian

Paul_Square_2.jpegBUT WE WERE gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children; even so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us.” ~1 Thess. 2.7-8

[…] He who loves, ought to love, that if... Continue Reading

Pastors & Friendship: St. Paul's Call to Shape a Christoform Culture

Feast of St Xenia, Deaconess of Rome

Paul_Square.jpegAN EDITOR once told me, “Never begin a chapter with a quotation.” Now that I have gotten that advice behind me, I turn to the magnificent stylist of yesteryear, Edward Gibbon, who in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, said this of the young emperor Alexander Severus and his advisors and educators as Rome’s decline was sputtering along:

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The "Men's Group": Sanctification through Spiritual Friendship

Feast of St Timothy the Apostle of the 70

Men_Square.jpegI JOINED a men’s group five or six years ago, and we’re still meeting. It’s a strange thing, the phenomenon of the “men’s group,” and it takes many forms. Ours is an amalgamation of accountability, study, therapy, and most of all friendship. The five of us who started the group (there are nine of us now) did so because we... Continue Reading

The Trinity: Friendship's Alpha & Omega

Feast of St Macarius the Great

Trinity_Square_2.jpegWHAT IS friendship? Why is it important and why is it worth cultivating? These axiomatic questions form the heart of the Eighth Day Institute’s Symposium, of which I am honored to be a part. They also form a significant part of the thought and writing of C. S. Lewis. In a letter to his lifelong friend, Arthur Greeves, Lewis touched upon the heart... Continue Reading

Friendship & Community in The Wind in the Willows

Feast of St Anthony the Great

Wind_in_Willows_Square.jpegI AM OF the opinion, and I have it on good authority, that The Wind in the Willows is the most beautiful book ever written in the English language. If you haven’t read it, if you haven’t read it since childhood, if you’ve only seen the cartoon (or if you’ve only been on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” at Disneyland), I’ll ask you to... Continue Reading

Melancholy Musings on Friendship: Striving for Unity & Opposing Sectarianism

Feast of the Veneration of the Apostle Peter's Chains

Fr_B__Jim_and_Christopher_Square.jpegI HAVE BEEN Catholic now for a bit more than thirteen years. The estrangement from old friends, church families, and institutions has been difficult for me. Some of those relationships are just now really beginning to show any sign of healing. Some of them, because of things like the pesky interference of the limits of mortal life, never will, at... Continue Reading

Friendship & the Mystery of Personhood

Feast of St. Gregory of Nyssa

Adam_and_Eve_Scenes_Square.jpegWITH THE conjoined truths of the Trinity and Incarnation in mind, Christians may aptly consider how it is that the Triune God enlightens us through one of His created and recreated icons of Love – human communion, as seen particularly in the form known to us as Friendship. Though the world of human relationships is all-too-familiar, a close look at human fellowship discloses... Continue Reading

From Bethlehem to Calvary

Feast of St Melania the Younger, Nun of Rome

Nativity_Square_3.jpgCHRIST IS BORN in Bethlehem of Judea. And the angels sing and proclaim the Divine glory, and declare unto earth peace. But to the heavenly good news of peace, the earthly men respond with a gnashing of hatred, suspicion and malice. The very threshold of the Bethlehem cave was sprinkled by an innocent blood, by the blood of the innocent... Continue Reading

The Mystery of Daniel's Thrones

Feast of St Gideon the New Martyr of Mt Athos

Daniel_Square_2.jpegAS WE celebrate the Feast of the Incarnation, it behooves us to remind ourselves how startling this doctrine really is. A second century conversation between rabbis, recorded in Chagigah 14a of the Babylonian Talmud, might help us ponder anew this mystery. The dispute has to do with the appearance of “thrones,” in the plural, in Daniel’s heavenly vision of... Continue Reading