Some Modest Thoughts on the Atonement

The doctrine of the Atonement, that is, the doctrine of how exactly it is that Christ has reconciled us to God, is a matter of much discussion. For some, particularly among conservative Protestants, the Atonement is defined by the model of the penal substitution (Christ bore the wrath of the Father that we deserved and thus made propitiation for us). Some have rejected this model as either bound too strongly to a…

Sailing to Byzantium

I recommend for your reading interests, a series on The Undercroft, which, thus far, is doing an excellent job of setting forth matters of the faith. Today he looks at Scripture and the Church. It’s a good read. I offer a short quote: Where, then, is the record of holy souls in the first centuries, raising their voices and shedding their blood for the sufficiency and pre-eminence of scripture against the rise…

The Unplanned Life

One of the geniuses of modern life is the plan. It is certainly the case that if you have a company and a product, or whatever passes for those in these days, there is probably a plan to go with them. Occasionally you hear from Christians, “God has a plan for my life.” Several years ago I was flying from Dallas back to Tennessee and was sitting in the middle of two…

From Dostoevsky – Miracles

From Chapter 5 Elders …but it seems to me that Alyosha was even more of a realist than the rest of us.  Oh, of coure, in the monastery he believed absolutely in miracles, but in my opinion miracles will never confound a realist. It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not…

Prayer and the Name of Jesus

From Archimandrite Sophrony’s On Prayer. The Name Jesus as knowledge, as ‘energy’ of God in relation to the world and as His proper Name, is ontologiclly bound up with Him. It is spiritual reality. Its sound can merge with its reality but not necessarily so. As a name it was given to many mortal men but when we pray we utter it with another content, another ‘frame’ of spirit. For us it…

Why People Become Orthodox

Now this is indeed a presumptious title for a post – as if there were only one reason that people convert to the Orthodox faith. There are certainly many reasons, nuanced by the various personalities that come. And do they ever come! I was asked in Minneapolis, “What sort of Evangelism Events do you have at St. Anne?” I had to confess that other than making ourselves accessible and somewhat “convert friendly”…

Thoughts on Dostoevsky

I have begun re-reading The Brothers Karamazov, this time in the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, which, I am told is a great improvement over earlier efforts. I readily confess to being a great fan of Dostoevsky and easily touched by his novels. I find an occasional brilliance in them that reveals the world in greater clarity than I see almost anywhere else. I read the following today in the…

News Media Loses Its Mind Yet Again – They’ll Believe Anything

Roughly paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton: “When a man ceases to believe in God, it’s not so much that he believes in nothing, as it is he is willing to believe in anything.” Proving this maxim once again, the media have given splash to a completely discredited discovery of the “bones” of Jesus (including an assumption that they are buried in a tomb with his “wife,” Mary Magdalen). I have to admit this nonsense…

It’s Not Just the Details, It’s Not Just the Particulars, It’s Something Personal

I have long been intrigued with the notion of our common responsibility, or rather, that I am responsible for the sins of the whole world. I think I first came across the notion in a quote from the Elder Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov. And even there, Dostoevsky was only putting on the lips of his fictional Elder the sentiments of the saints and the common teaching of the Church. At one…

It’s Not Just the Details – It’s the Particulars

I wrote earlier of the details – and my own wrestling with the details of my travel. Slowly, I am decompressing and regaining my own composure. The difficulty of life is not really found in the details but in its very character as particular.  I think people do very well in general – that is to say – with things in general. When we think of things on the general level we’re…