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Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 | 0 comments

Hildegard of Bingen: Theology Spoken, Seen, and Heard

Hildegard of Bingen: Theology Spoken, Seen, and Heard

    Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) was born as the tenth child of an honorable family in a town to the northwest of Worms. She was handed over to the church at the age of ten to the hermitess Jutta, who taught Hildegard to read Latin, chant the Office and live out the Benedictine Rule. Throughout her life Hildegard experienced mystical visions alongside severe bouts of illness, but it was not until her later life that she experienced her prophetic call. In 1141, at the age of 43, she received a vision where she is called by a voice from heaven to share what she sees and hears in her subsequent visions. This call is recorded at the start of Scivias along with the infamous image of Hildegard sitting to write with pentecostal flames dancing on her head: “‘O human, speak these things that you see and hear. And write them not by yourself or any other human being, but by the will of Him Who knows, sees and...

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Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 | 1 comment

Facing Apathy: Spiritual Practices and Cultivating Desire for God

Facing Apathy: Spiritual Practices and Cultivating Desire for God

I am TA-ing for a course this fall on the Inklings with Dr. Ralph Wood. Earlier this week, while discussing G.K. Chesterton’s The Ball and the Cross, Wood said that the world desires to “pave over with concrete” the deep longing for God. Now what here is designated as “world” can be disputed, but what I want to argue cannot be disputed is that one of the greatest temptations of the Christian, particularly the intellectual Christian is to be paved over with concrete—to be apathetic in the Christian life. This particular kind of apathy is most often seen by people like me. People who spend much of their time reading the great works of Christianity—Scripture, Church Fathers and Mothers, the mystics over the ages—or preaching and teaching from these great works. It is a particular sort of habit, dare I say sin, that continues to follow me year after year. My friend Michael Yankoski just finished and will soon release a book where he recounts his own year where...

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Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 | 1 comment

Salvation: What is it Good for? Absolutely Nothing?

Salvation: What is it Good for? Absolutely Nothing?

Why do you do what you do? How do you make a decision? If it is an important one perhaps you think it through, weigh the costs against the benefits. Do you try to forecast the outcomes and determine which course of action proves most useful, prudent, or profitable? Certainly this is the way we imagine we make decisions in the public sphere. In politics or corporate life the value of utility or profit defines the best course of action.  But how does one determine what is a cost and what is a benefit? Can you use the cost/benefit analysis to determine what you value? Emphatically- NO. At some point in the rational decision making process we all bump up against the irrational: is risk worth the profit? Is price worth the quality? Is pain worth the gain? No analysis can tell us the answer to these basic questions, because our actions and decisions are not rooted in rational reflection. Recent work in philosophy and (oddly enough) neuropsychology has...

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Salvation is not the point.  The point is what we do with Salvation.

Salvation is not the point. The point is what we do with Salvation.

At this moment a 450 ton, 385 foot long, monstrosity of mining equipment is parked in southern Idaho. This so-called “mega-load” is headed for the tar sands oil operations of Northern Alberta and thus has another 1300 miles to travel before it is used in the most energy and water demanding mining process in the already-black history of oil drilling. A profoundly well argued critical analysis of the dangers and costs associated with the mega-loads can be found in David James Duncan and Rick Bass’ The Heart of the Monster. Sitting here in Idaho, the local papers document, rather, the crawling 60 mile-per-day progress of the load: mostly to inform us about the impending traffic closures. The Christian community has responded in its typical fashion—with silence: silent about the tar sands, silent about our backyard mega-load corridor, silent about clear-cutting, dam building, and fracking—silent. Christian political discourse in this county has become so warped that you would think God cared more about stopping gay folks from having sex than...

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 | 2 comments

On Forgetting Our Many Horizons

On Forgetting Our Many Horizons

Sometimes Christians run the danger of creating too much of an epistemological gap between the “us” (Christian) and the “them” (secular). This danger is often done as a reaction to belonging to an intellectual culture that seeks to deny all mystery for the sake of clarity. To name the danger is to say that sometimes we deny what we share in our humanity when we try to make room for the divine in our midst. I want to argue that we see this not just in radical fundamentalist arguments that deny the intellectual pursuit in matters of faith, but also in intelligent arguments, say, about apologetics. This past week Many Horizons has posed and offered responses to the question “Is Apologetics Dead?” As Lance highlighted, the journey to faith cannot be understood simply as a logical progression. There are elements of encountering God that can be understood only experientially. These are aspects that fall outside of the intellect and fit best in Marion’s concept of “over-saturated phenomena.” These phenomena,...

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