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Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 | 0 comments

All the Company of Heaven: Praying to the Saints

All the Company of Heaven: Praying to the Saints

“You know,” I said to my friend, “I’m not sure that prayers to the saints are such a bad thing.” My friend looked at me with a troubled expression. “What do you mean?” “Well, the saints are our fellow Christians. I can ask you, or other Christian friends, for prayer, so I don’t see why it’s necessarily wrong to ask those who’ve gone to be with Christ for prayer in the same way.” “But that’s different. I’m alive. They’re dead.” There was no delay in my friend’s response. There never is. You see, I’ve had the above conversation many times, and while it doesn’t always go down this road, it often does. The saints, those Christians who have gone before us, those whom the Christian tradition has called the Church Triumphant—they’re dead. Gone. Out of the picture. The ease with which so many of us move to thinking of the Church Triumphant as simply dead, and so utterly separated from us, is deeply disturbing. It makes our material reality...

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Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 | 0 comments

How to be Thankful

How to be Thankful

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.- 1 Tim 2:1 In my previous post I wrote about the life of thankfulness that comes from intentionally partaking of the Eucharist with a spirit of thanksgiving. I shared how my fear of God’s judgment limited my experience of joy when I received the bread and the wine. In this post I will ask how does a life of thankfulness inspired by the sacrament help us destroy the envy that seeks to rule our lives. To do this I am going to turn to St. John Chrysostom: a fourth century father of the church who is celebrated this week in Catholic and Anglican churches. John Chrysostom was born in Antioch in 349. He was classically trained in rhetoric and Greek. When he turned 26 he left Antioch to become a hermit. His severe asceticism had detrimental effects on his health. He returned to Antioch where he preached his famous homilies—most of which we have till this day....

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2016 | 11 comments

C.S. Lewis, Roman Catholicism, and Bad Apologetics

C.S. Lewis, Roman Catholicism, and Bad Apologetics

After giving his talk, the venerable old Dominican friar came and sat near me, sipped his beer, and began to ask me questions about myself. Before long, it became clear to him that I was not Catholic but Anglican. As seems almost inevitable among intelligent Catholics, the discovery that I am an intelligent Protestant with high church leanings led to the question, “But why aren’t you Catholic?” Among some (my girlfriend on our first date, for example) this is a genuine question. For others, it’s more a reaction of incredulity—it seems that some believe that any intelligent thinking person will through a process of simple syllogistic logic arrive at an understanding of the superiority of Catholicism and convert. Which brings us to C.S. Lewis, because the venerable old Dominican brought him up as an admirable Christian thinker. And, reflecting the attitude I experience towards myself, he expressed his puzzlement at how such a great thinker (certainly greater than I am, I hasten to add) could have remained Protestant. The...

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Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 | 3 comments

The Nicene Creed: “one baptism for the remission of sins.”

The Nicene Creed: “one baptism for the remission of sins.”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series “We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.” I do not remember my baptism, and because regular church attendance was not an essential part of my childhood, it was not until I was 20 that I became concerned with the event. Upon returning to the faith when I was 18, I considered being rebaptized. The evangelicals I spent time with did not seem to care either way. Reflecting on that time of questioning, I suppose I felt like I was missing out on an essential Christian experience—a sort of profound experience that I could easily say was the moment I encountered the divine. I did not know at the time how profound my baptism really was. Paul states that to be baptized is to be buried and raised with Christ (Col 2:12, Rom 6). The cross is the lens from which we interpret the power of baptism. To take baptism seriously,...

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Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 | 4 comments

The Nicene Creed: “One Church”

The Nicene Creed: “One Church”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>     “And we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” “Pope Says Having A Personal Relationship With Jesus Is Dangerous” ran the headline. Of course, the Pope had said nothing of the sort. He had only called dangerous the temptation to think that you can “go it alone” in your faith, without the support of others, a statement with which most Protestants would heartily agree.[1] But the accusation points to a crucial question with which the Pope and his accusers probably nonetheless differ: Is Christian faith communal by its very nature, or only by accident? Can someone be authentically Christian, a true disciple of Christ, if they have nothing to do with the Church? At first sight the answer would seem that faith can be individual. Believing in Jesus and following his teaching matters more than going to church services. Aren’t there millions of hypocrites who attend church but...

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 | 2 comments

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>   “…who spoke by the prophets.”   Semi-Arian, Pneumatomachian, Spirit fighters. These titles designate a heretical sect that emerged in the fourth-century whose followers denied the divinity of the Spirit. As Alex outlined in his introductory post, the Nicene Creed underwent a two-part development, the first in 325 and the second in 381. One of the important developments of the Creed in 381 regards the proclamation about the Holy Spirit: 325: And in the Holy Ghost. 381: And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. As can be seen, the 381 additions emphasizes the full divinity of the Holy Spirit as the third-person of the Trinity. But why the addition of “who spoke by the prophets?” In 379, Gregory of Nazianzus was...

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