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

Because a Girl Surrendered: Everyone a Bearer of Christ

Feast of the Holy Prophet Nahum

caryll_houselander.jpgIN THE FACE of all this I sit here in a bombed city and say that because a girl surrendered herself to God two thousand years ago, human nature can be constantly new; life always young; and everyone bring not death into the world but the miraculous life of the Spirit; everyone a bearer of Christ into the world.”   ~Carryl Houselander

I can think... Continue Reading

Remember Thy Mortality and Rejoice in the Resurrection

Feast of St Stachys and Companions of the 70

Monk_with_Athonite_Skulls_Square.jpgTODAY IS All Hallows Eve, a liturgical remembrance of mortality in the historic Western Church, and the commencement of Allhallowtide (including All Souls Day and All Saints Day). In Classical Judaism and Christianity, the human person is understood as a composite of different parts—the main two of which are breath or spirit and body or flesh—which come together to form a... Continue Reading

Homo Viator Needs an Oil Change

Feast of the Righteous Theophilus

Christ_in_Desert_Monastery_Square.jpegI HAVE visited the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico several times in the last 40 years. Indeed, I became an oblate there in 1993. I think it was during that visit that one of the other guests was a woman who carried herself heavily like a depleted soul in her first days at a psychiatric facility. After breakfast one morning... Continue Reading

The Prophet Job: A Theologian of the Cross

Feast of Sts. Mark, Aristarchos, and Zenon, Apostles of the 70

Job_on_dung-hill_Square_2.jpegHOW MANY of us, at one point or another, have tried to comfort either ourselves or someone else by saying that God hasn’t caused this suffering (whatever it may be), but He has allowed it? Try playing that out with Job:

Who’s the one who started the conversation in that heavenly council?

Who’s the one... Continue Reading

The Glory of God: A Deified Human Being

Feast of the Holy Seven Maccabee Children, Solomone their Mother, and Eleazar their Teacher

Till_We_Have_Faces_Square.jpgHOW DID C. S. Lewis understand the concept of salvation, and how does it relate to his overall theological vision? In one sense, this question yields a simple answer: Lewis’s soteriology can be summed up as theosis, or the deification of the human person in Christ, coming to share in divine life. The present essay seeks... Continue Reading

Theosis and the Dialogue of Truth

Feast of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr & Healer

Florovsky_Square_5.jpegFOR THE LAST two years I’ve been emphasizing the importance of a “Dialogue of Love” (see our review of an important book by the same title). I think we’ve done a good job at embodying and facilitating this at Eighth Day Institute. As we continue forward I’d like to propose an equal emphasis on the “Dialogue of Truth.” As we... Continue Reading

Lord of the Rings: A Religious and Catholic Work

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal to the Apostles

Frodo_Square.jpgTOLKIEN described The Lord of the Rings as “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work.” Is it possible to summarize this dimension of Tolkien’s magnum opus in fewer than six hundred words? You better believe it!

The connections between The Lord of the Rings and the Catholic faith are numerous. There is a connection symbolically between the One... Continue Reading

Allegory or Otherwise? Reading the Chronicles of Narnia

Feast of Sts. John and Symeon the Fool for Christ

Aslan_with_Lucy_Square_2.jpgGREGORY the Great, the sixth-century pope and saint, described scripture as “a river broad and deep, shallow enough here for the lamb to go wading, but deep enough there for the elephant to swim.” The same might be said of C. S. Lewis’s use of scripture in the Chronicles of Narnia. Some of his references are obvious to anyone with... Continue Reading

From Fetus to Life: Theosis in Cabasilas & the Inklings

Feast of St Macrina the Righteous, Sister of St Basil

Cabasilas_Square.jpgST NICHOLAS Cabasilas, the medieval Byzantine theologian and master of the Mysteries (sacraments), offers a very interesting way of thinking about theosis. He writes, “As nature prepares the fetus, while it is in its dark and fluid life, for that life which is in the light, and shapes it, as though according to a model, for the life which it... Continue Reading

Chord of the Rings

Feast of St. Aquila of the 70

Silmarrillion_Square.jpgIN TOLKIEN'S Silmarillion the material universe comes into being by means of a song, the Music of the Ainur.

Actually, the song preexists creation, and Eru shares it with the angelic Ainur, the “Holy Ones.” As they sing under Eru’s direction, the world is “made visible before them . . . globed amid the void.”

I was a teenager when The Silmarillion appeared... Continue Reading

East Meets West in C. S. Lewis: The Summons to Become Icons of Christ - An Excerpt*

Feast of St Sisoes the Great

Pantrocrator_Square.jpgNOT MANY readers of C. S. Lewis know that, despite his well-known sympathies with the major texts and theologians of the West, he embraced a radically Eastern vision of the Christian life as a pilgrimage toward total transformation called theosis. This is a Greek word that does not actually appear in the New Testament. Yet like Trinity and Atonement, as terms also absent from... Continue Reading

The Golden Glove: Redemption, Atonement and Sacrifice

Feast of St Julian the Martyr of Tarsus

Golden_Glove_square.jpgERIC HOSMER made an uncharacteristic mistake in Game One of the World Series on October 27, 2015. He misjudged the angle of the ball’s bounce near first base and allowed Wilmer Flores’ groundball to get by him. The Golden Glove winner let the Mets score the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. He had sinned against the standards of his position and... Continue Reading

The Temptation of Christ: Who Is This Man?

Forefeast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Temptation_Christ_Square_2.jpegAND JESUS, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus... Continue Reading