A Resurrected Imagination: Belief in Santa Claus & the Power of the Saints

Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra

Nicholas_Square.jpegI KNOW factually that Santa Claus existed, in the past tense: St. Nicholas of Myra was born on the 15th of March, A.D. 270, and died on the 6th of December, A.D. 343. A Christian bishop in what is now Turkey, he attended the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) and, according to tradition, was so zealous for the orthodox belief in the Deity of... Continue Reading

Not One Stone Left on Another: A Summons of Return to Our Original Social Covenant - Matthew 24:1-13

Feast of the Prophet Nahum and St Philaret the Merciful

Lincoln_Memorial_Square.jpegThe Temple and the Social Contract
If you were to visit me in Washington, DC, and it was your first visit, I would likely take you to two of my three favorite memorials. These two memorials tell our national story. They are fifteen miles from my home and within walking distance of each other on the Potomac Basin. Northwest of the... Continue Reading

Secularization: Religious Decline or Family Deterioration? - Pt 3 of 3

Feast of St Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria

Eberstadt_How_West_Lost_God_Square.jpegFurther Evidence for the Family Factor: Weakened Families Stop Transmitting Christianity
After providing three chapters’ worth of evidence for her theory (see Part 2), Eberstadt offers four additional chapters and a conclusion that works out its implications.

Chapter six explores how churches in the West contributed to their own decline by ignoring the family factor. In other words, Eberstadt suggests, by accepting... Continue Reading

Secularization: Religious Decline or Family Deterioration? - Pt 2 of 3

Feast of St Philip the Apostle

Eberstadt_How_West_Lost_God_Square.jpegMarriage and Fertility: Engines for Faith
Following a survey of the secularization thesis, Eberstadt offers three chapters in defense of her “family factor” theory. She begins by arguing for empirical links among marriage, childbearing, and religiosity. Her argument begins with an article by W. Bradford Wilcox (“As the Family Goes,” First Things 173) in which he offers three reasons why church attendance is connected to... Continue Reading

Secularization: Religious Decline or Family Deterioration? - Pt 1 of 3

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel & Barachiel

Eberstadt_How_West_Lost_God_Square.jpegSecularization Theory: Dead or Alive?
If the sociologist Jan Swyngedouw could look back from 1979 at the sheer volume of what had been written on secularization in the 1960s and 1970s and “find it difficult to suppress a certain feeling of ‘indigestion,’” what are we to conclude over five decades into the debate? Swyngedouw... Continue Reading

Wisdom Is Justified by Her Deeds: Was the Reformation Wise?

Feast of St Epimachus of Alexandria

Luther_Thesis_Square.pngAFTER 500 years, it’s worth reflecting on whether it was such a good idea, or not—this whole Reformation, that is. Or, to use the language of today’s Gospel reading: was the Reformation “wise—will Wisdom be justified by her deeds?” (Mt. 11.12-19).

To some extent, you could say it was necessary—the abuses were simply out of control. It was bound to happen one way, or another, whether... Continue Reading

Death Despoiled: A Poem for All Hallow's Eve

Feast of Sts Cleopas and Artemas of the 70

Pumpkin_with_Cross_Square.jpegFRIGID, fallow, the fainting, frosted earth
in silence sullen, souls of sylvan shorn;
wraiths and whispers upon now welter wastes
creep carefully out from crags and caverns.
Ancient arbors, by alien asters
luminous, by lore lyric leering lure,
issue imps in ire instructed idly.
Ghouls from gaps in Gaia’s greenish garment
emerge, ennobled evening ended,
vandals vicious, violence varied.
Beasts beguild,... Continue Reading

All Hallow's Eve: A Concise History of Halloween & Its Cosmic Significance

Feast of the Martyrs Zenobius & Zenobia

Pumpkin_Pantokrator_Square.jpegIN THE MIDDLE Ages, Halloween was known as All Hallow’s Eve. Though today a festival to celebrate the creepy, carnal, and calamitous, historically it was the vigil for All Saints Day (also called All Hallows). On All Hallow’s Eve, the local parish church would hold a vigil and then process to the local cemetery to offer prayers on behalf of the departed. On... Continue Reading

World War I in British Popular Song & Classical Music

Feast of Carpus, Papylus, Agathodorus, & Agathonica, the Martyrs of Pergamus

Royal_Irish_Rifles_ration_party_Somme_July_1916_Square.jpgPOPULAR music during World War I served to rouse the troops, comfort the grieving, and encourage patriotic spirit. Several classical composers served in the British armed forces during the war and their works reflected their experience, as did the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, subjects of this... Continue Reading

World on Fire: How the Inklings Responded with Hope and Creativity

Feast of the Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas 

Mordor_Square_1.jpegTHE TWENTIETH century was the bloodiest century in human history. It was characterized by two world wars, which killed collectively between 70-100 million people, and a cold war which potentially could have killed many more people than the two world wars combined. The members of the Inklings, including J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, lived through all three of these... Continue Reading