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Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 | 3 comments

The Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God…”

The Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God…”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>   We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. The catalyst for the Nicene Creed, as Alex detailed in his introductory post, was the question: WHO IS THE SON OF GOD? To enter into this historical discussion is to wade into a truly complicated and often descriptively oversimplified discussion of the Christological debate in the early Church.[1] The central question revolved around the issue of the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God—was the Son a divine soul embedded within a human body? a moral exemplar, the best of what it is to be human but not divine? a divine person who only appeared to be human, but was not? To begin the creed with the affirmation of one God, Father, and Creator, might appear at first glance to be concerned with something other...

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Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 | 5 comments

God is (Super) Dead: finding God in forsakenness

God is (Super) Dead: finding God in forsakenness

  Holy Week is essential for most Christian denominations and sects. Similar to Christ’s own experience upon his entrance into Jerusalem, our eyes cannot help but look to the impending cross, and the hope found soon after. I think this is why I have witnessed so many conversions and rededications to the faith during Holy Week. Death has a way. The death of the God-Man beckons reflections on other deaths in our lives, whether it is the physical deaths of those we love or the other kinds of death that impact us so immensely. A lot of ink has been spilled about God’s suffering with humanity. I believe there is a catharsis in this. Christ’s cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is often read as our own cry—as if the original Psalm had the fundamental human experience in mind. But a paradox seems to exist here, no? In the face of suffering and death, people find ultimate faith, as if there is also sovereignty within the forsakenness....

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Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 | 4 comments

Does (Visible) Church Unity Really Matter?

Does (Visible) Church Unity Really Matter?

How should we feel about the existence of multiple denominations? “If we are aware of the true nature of the Church,” writes von Balthasar, “we must feel this split not only as a daily wound but even more as a constantly burning shame.” Why? Because, he says, “the essence, and not merely the name, of the Church is agape: unity in love.”[1] Karl Barth says with equal strength that “we should not try to explain the multiplicity of churches at all. We should treat it the way we treat our own sin and those of others: as sin.”[2] These passionate words from two theologians, one Catholic and one Protestant, came into my mind when Lance asked in his last post: “is the potential unity of Rome and Orthodoxy … helpful to the whole of Christianity?” What I like about Lance’s post is that he speaks as a Protestant who cares both about church unity and about the disagreements which broke it in the first place. But Lance’s attitude is...

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Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 | 1 comment

Christ’s Descent into Godlessness

Christ’s Descent into Godlessness

One of my first theology classes of my undergraduate degree was a short lecture on the interplay between myth  and history; my professor passed around an icon of the Anastasis, the Harrowing of Hell. I recall rather vividly that each student studied the icon intensely during their brief turn. Now, years many years after my first encounter with the image of Christ in Hell, I can reflect back on my many theological shifts, and how the radical idea of Christ’s descent struck me in such a way that I have continually returned to it as a source of theological inspiration and hope. In fact, it was the post from earlier this week that beckoned yet again a return to the image. Rachel dealt with the complexities of suicide through an engagement with literature, intentionally avoiding any attempt to find a resolution to the sadness that is the act of suicide. The questions that confronted me after reading the post related to acts that “create” Nothingness, of “places” void of...

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 | 2 comments

Intuitive Experience: not just my abstract mind

Intuitive Experience: not just my abstract mind

I am a man of doubt. My first theology class of my undergraduate degree was on contemporary theology; by the end of the semester, I had little to no religious belief left in me. Where faith once stood, angst took its place, and it was almost two years before any real faith sprouted again. It became my prerogative to ascend the ladder and grasp onto faith intellectually. Worship became something I enacted stoically, a sort of psychodrama that offered me metaphor and stories to reflect upon. It wasn’t until my first semester of grad school at Regent College that I was struck by the fact that I was missing an essential piece of the Christian life. I was reading Hans urs von Balthasar for my class with Dr. Hans Boersma, eventually running into a quote that has stayed with me to this day: As time went on, theology at prayer was superseded by theology at the desk, and this brought about the cleavage now under discussion [mysticism and theology]....

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