Mere Existence and the Age to Come

C.S. Lewis, in his marvelous little book, The Great Divorce, uses the imagery of “solidity” versus “ghostliness” to make a distinction between those who have entered paradise, and those who have not. He clearly did not mean to set forth a metaphysical model or to suggest “how things are.” But the imagery is very apt and suggestive when we take a look at what it means for something or someone to exist. The nature…

The Secular Man and the Christian Man

The Secular Man has been the great threat to the Christian faith over the past two or more centuries. Disguised as the person is only only doing the “normal thing,” he lives in a godless world, where others can be tempted to live as though there were no God. Earlier I quoted Berdyaev, “If God does not exist, then man does not exist.” I would add to that that the God Who…

Notes from the Underground And Man’s True Heart

I have recently been reading in a classic work, Nicholas Berdyaev’s Dostoevsky. Berdyaev was a twentieth-century Russian philosopher (existentialist) and deeply sympathetic to Dostoevsky’s works. I find some of his treatment to be tremendously satisfying and “on the mark.” I offer an extended quote and some thoughts… Berdyaev quotes from Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground: I shall not be a bit surprised, if in the midst of the Universal Reason [referring to…

The Things We Share

Modern culture frequently celebrates the freedom we each enjoy – in come cases going so far as to think of human beings as discreet individuals. Of course each of us lives in his/her own body – but even as such – we live in a common world. What I do and how I live affects others whether I want it to or not. In one manner or another, we live on the…

Beyond Pascha

Forty days of Great Lent having been completed, along with Holy Week, and the Great Feast of Feasts, Pascha, having been marked in the Church, it is very easy to take a deep breath and say, “Now, that’s done!.” And with the exhalation we take our leave of a liturgical feast and return to our daily routine and schedule. Just as the modern world has little understanding of the meaning of fasting,…

So Close to Heaven

When I think of the Iconostasis of the Church (the wall that demarcates the Holy Place) I thinkof “boundaries,” and how the definitions that exist in the Church reflect even greater realities. I believe those realities are two-fold. The first reality is to be found within ourselves. Fearfully and wonderfully made, created in the image of God, there is a spiritual reality to our composition and inner relationship that is far too…

Behind Closed Doors

The phrase, “behind closed doors,” has become synonymous in English with things being done in secret – generally of an unsavory or nefarious sort. Institutions speak of an “open door policy,” and promise “transparency” to those from the outside. Closed doors have always had a sense of secrecy about them. Sometimes the secrecy hides the darkness of evil, other times it protects us from the wonder of the holy. The stories of…

From the Foundations

Among the more interesting statements in Holy Scripture is found in Rev. 13:8: All who dwell on earth will worship it [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life, of the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world… That Christ is here described as the Lamb is not at all unusual: the Scriptures use that title for Christ from the time of John the…

Dying We Live

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:24). The above quote is perhaps the most counter-intuitive thing ever said by Christ – as far as general human experience goes. We do not want to lose our lives – despite the presence of suicides (an entirely different discussion). The instinct for self-preservation is among the deepest…