Jerusalem

Since the days of King David, Jerusalem has been a city of destiny, the center of the world, and the hometown of every soul that yearns for the Kingdom of God.   A beloved song from my Jesus People days ends with the words, “The highway to Your city runs through my heart”, and that city is Jerusalem. I am not the first or only person to think so. An epitaph inscribed on…

David Bentley Hart’s That All Shall Be Saved: a Review and Rejoinder

Note: recently a friend asked me to review Dr. Hart’s book and respond to it, and I obliged for friendship’s sake. Given the importance of the topic and the stature of an author such as Dr. Hart, the response is necessarily detailed and long. The first thing that a reader should know about Hart’s That All Shall Be Saved is what Dr. Hart is here offering the reader.   Hart is not writing…

Liturgical Boundaries: Praying for the World, Communing the Faithful

The question is sometimes asked: “Who may the Church pray for in its Liturgy?” What are proper subjects for the Church’s ministry of intercession? For example, may we pray for the repose of non-Orthodox and intone the “Memory eternal” for them? May we commemorate them at the Proskomedia? Should we differentiate between Orthodox and non-Orthodox in the Litany of Fervent Supplication—perhaps by using two separate columns for the names? What boundaries should…

In Praise of Old Wolves

Many decades ago, I was a Wolf Cub. This is not, of course, a confession of lycanthropy, but of my membership in an organization for young boys. The Wolf Cub organization was patterned after The Jungle Books written by Rudyard Kipling, and founded by Lord Baden-Powell (1857-1941). I still have the thin red textbook of the Cubs, entitled, “Tenderpad to Second Star” (i.e. from the first initiation to getting the reward of…

Christmas and the Humility of Yahweh

To really appreciate and understand the Old Testament, one needs to place it in the religious and cultural context of the Ancient Near East. Having done this, one can then see how much the Old Testament shares with that world and also how much it differs. Take, for example, the Tabernacle that Yahweh commanded Moses to construct, the house and shrine where He would dwell in the midst of His people. The…

Who Is My Neighbour: the Rise of a Snitch Culture

The current Covid pandemic is leaving many people scrambling, doing their best to navigate through (the now proverbial) uncharted waters. Government workers are trying to devise policies to combat the pandemic while inflicting as little harm on the economy as possible, and frontline health care workers are stressed and overworked. (And no, I am not going to discuss these wider aspects of the pandemic in the comments section.) None of what follows…