Irony and Belief

Irony is probably too much to ask of youth. If I can remember myself in my college years, the most I could muster was sarcasm. Irony required more insight. There is a deep need for the appreciation of irony to sustain a Christian life. Our world is filled with contradiction. Hypocrisy is ever present even within our own heart. The failures of Church and those who are most closely associated with it…

Today Is Suspended – The 15th Antiphon

At the Matins service of Holy Friday the following hymn is sung: Today is suspended on a tree He who suspended the earth upon the waters. The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to…

Double-Minded

A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8 The debate between an ontological atonement and a forensic atonement will doubtless continue – they represent two very different world-views and understandings of our relationship with God. The details of that debate will likely be tedious for most people and seem like much ado about nothing. But since they are world-views, even people who have no position in the debate will…

Therapeutic Substitutionary Atonement

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures… (1 Cor. 15:3-4) No statement is more central to the Christian faith than St. Paul’s rehearsal of the Apostolic Tradition – for his words “delivered…received…” are specifically the words that describe the…

The Tree Heals the Tree

The Third Sunday of Great Lent is given to meditation on the Holy Wood of the Cross. I offer this mediation. Readers of the New Testament are familiar with St. Paul’s description of Christ as the “Second Adam.” It is an example of the frequent Apostolic use of an allegoric reading of the Old Testament (I am using “allegory” in its broadest sense – including typology and other forms). Christ Himself had…

Saving Communion

Few things are as fundamental to the New Testament as the reality of communion (koinonia). It means a commonality, a sharing and participation in the same thing. It is this commonality or sharing that lies at the very heart of our salvation. This communion is described in Christ’s “high priestly prayer”: I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as…

The Evidence for Life

Like many modern people, I watch with some interest when there is another report back from the Mars Rover: “Will we find life on Mars?” Somehow I doubt it. I doubt life on Mars precisely because it is so hard to find. Our experience here on our home planet is that you cannot get away from life: it’s everywhere. We have gone to great depths in the oceans, measured waters of extreme…

The Narrow Road

There is a small collection of Christ’s sayings that center on the topic of the “narrow road.” The heart of the topic is that the way into the kingdom of God is difficult and very few will find it. The sayings are troubling. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because…

From Mud to Light – the Saving Work of Christ

Man is mud whom God has commanded to become god. – St. Gregory of Nyssa +++ How do you create a God? How do you create a being that has true freedom, true love and thus, true existence? This is obviously not an entirely rational question – but it is a serious question for Christian thought. For, as St. Gregory of Nyssa notes, the creation of man is more than the story in…

Church Scandals Must Come

Scandals must come (Matt. 18:7). These are the words of Christ. He tells us that scandals are not only likely to happen – but that they will happen. They are necessary (ἀνάγκη). Most readers will marvel that this is a quote from Jesus. The reason is simple: the Greek (ἀνάγκη γάρ ἐστιν ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα) is rarely translated in such a manner. “Stumbling blocks,” or “offenses,” is the more common way to render…