God: The Prodigal Father (Lk. 15:11-32)

Feast of St Hilarion the New

rembrandt_prodigal_son_Square.jpgGOD IS dead, and we have killed him,” cried the Madman in Neitzche’s The Gay Science. The Darwinian century (the 19th) offered a way out from under the nagging worry that there just might be a God, and perhaps, contrary to the devil’s promise to Adam, men might not really be gods after all, technology notwithstanding. Darwin painted a picture of an utterly mechanistic... Continue Reading

St Patrick the Monk: Byzantine Influence on Celtic Monasticism

Feast of St. Patrick

Patrick_square_2.jpegWHEN I pulled out my copy of St. Patrick’s works (Ancient Christian Writers by Paulist Press, available at Eighth Day Books) to begin preparing for this evening’s Feast of St. Patrick, I found an assignment I wrote back in 1998 for Dr. Anthony Gythiel’s class on the Middle Ages. In each class that he taught, he required students to read three books and to write a... Continue Reading

Where Is Our Ezekiel? Pastor & People as Watchmen

Feast of St Procopius the Confessor and St Raphael of Brooklyn

Ezekiel_Square.jpgJUST AS the Q & A began at the close of the seventh annual Eighth Day Institute Symposium, it struck me that not once had Ezekiel’s name been mentioned. An ecumenical gathering of Christians, centered on the theme, Where Are the Watchmen? Theology in the Public Square, and not once does the prophet—explicitly called to be a “watchman” (Ez.... Continue Reading

The God of Abraham, Isaac & Aristotle

Feast of the Martyr Tatiana
A Review of David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss

david_bentley_hart-620x350.jpgMUCH OF my education has been backward. I learned about Plato when my professors dismissed Platonic thought. I learned about literary criticism by deconstructing literature. And I learned about theology through revisionist criticisms of classical theism. And so it has happened that I have backed my way into many of the classical,... Continue Reading

Newman's Great Idea

Feast of St. Gregory of Nyssa

Newman_square_2.jpegIN OCTOBER of 2016, coinciding with the memorial (in England) of Blessed John Henry Newman, I wrote a blog post for the National Catholic Register about how my view of Newman has changed over the years. As I noted,

When I first learned about Newman as a sophomore in college, he was just Cardinal Newman. In many ways, he and his works... Continue Reading

John the Baptist as Public Theologian

Feast of St. Eustratios the Wonderworker

John_the_Baptist_Square_2.jpegHE MAY have stunk from the river water. Surely he was a bit repulsive, with locust legs stuck between his teeth. His hair, disheveled; his wardrobe, camel’s hair and leather; but his voice—oh, his voice was that of a prophet, “yea, more than a prophet” (Mt. 11:9)—if you are willing to accept it, is that of Elijah, the promised messenger who prepares the way... Continue Reading

Amos: Iron Age Theologian in the Public Square

Feast of Theophany and St Theophane the Recluse

Amos_Square.jpegAMOS HAS long been one of my heroes. His boldness in bringing an unpopular message to the antagonistic Northern Kingdom of Israel (he was from the Southern Kingdom of Judah) is admirable. His faithfulness to God in accepting a role that he had not been trained for is astounding (“I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman,... Continue Reading

Watchmen: Do We Want Them?

Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles

Samuel_the_Prophet_Square.jpegMANY A Sunday sermon has been preached on the subject of Christ’s words at the Pool of Siloam. Approaching a wounded man at this place of healing, Jesus asked him a strange question: “Do you want to be healed?” The answer seems obvious. The man has been waiting 30 years. He is alone, friendless, near the end of hope. Surely the man wants to be healed. But... Continue Reading

Christian Culture: Can You Imagine It?

Feast of St. Steven, Archdeacon and First Martyr

Eighth_Day_Patristics_Square.jpegIMAGINE A bookstore in a Victorian-style home filled with classics in religion, philosophy, literature, and history.

Imagine a coffee shop pub next door where Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants gather together on a regular basis for prayer and study and food and drink and dialogue and celebration.

Imagine local Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant pastors gathering on a quarterly basis for spiritual encouragement, theological... Continue Reading

Imitate Anna and Rejoice in the Conception

Feast of the Conception of the Theotokos, the Prophetess Hannah, and the Consecration of the Church of the Resurrection

Sts.Joachim_Anna_Gate_square_1.jpegTODAY the Church celebrates the conception of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, the Prophetess Hannah, and the Consecration of the Church of the Holy Resurrection of Christ our God.

Many are familiar with the story of Hannah (cf. 1 Sam. 1). Like Sarah before her, Hannah was barren, until she... Continue Reading