Tagphilosophy

A Lovely Sight

Love alone is capable of sight. But what do I love, O God, when I love Thee? Not the beauty of a body nor the rhythm of moving time. Not the splendor of light, which is so dear to the eyes. Nor the sweet melodies in the world of sound of all kinds. Not the fragrance of flowers, balms and spices. Not manna and not honey; not the bodily members which are so treasured by carnal embrace. None of this...

General Board of Silly Walks, Part Deux

For those within United Methodism (or even on the periphery) THAT time of year has come. Slightly more exciting than the extra day bestowed upon us every leap year is the Olympics of UMC-dom: General Conference. I know, it’s the awkward moment when you missed out on getting tickets to an event unrivaled in suspense, action and scope. But never fear, it’ll happen again in 2016. Anyway...

Social Justice is Not a Virtue

Social justice is one of those terms that has always perplexed me. My exposure to it is relatively recent, (within the last six years) but it has been bandied about so frequently within the intervening time that I couldn’t help but try and sort out what is meant by it. Which is harder than one might think. The term itself seems innocuous enough- after all, justice is (presumably) a good and...

Art and a Deal with the Devil

I happened across an interesting insight yesterday while sitting in a waiting room. I have never read Faust, and so I opened it up on my phone to start reading. I have a fairly vague notion of the overall plot of the book, and so when I started reading I was unsure if I was reading some kind of preface, the wrong book, or something else entirely. I discovered that Faust begins with a prelude in...

Love Wins (no, really it does)

This past week I worked my way through Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins.’ I realize I am rather late to the party, and, to belabor the metaphor, I was actually quite content to not even attend the party at all, as I find most books written by  prominent contemporary mega-church pastors to be dreadfully boring with nothing terribly interesting to say. Love Wins was certainly no exception...

The Art of Purgatory

To course across more kindly waters now, my talent’s little vessel lifts her sails, leaving behind herself a sea so cruel; and what I sing will be that second kingdom, in which the human soul is cleansed of sin, becoming worthy of ascent to Heaven.[1. Dante, Purgatorio, Canto 1.1-3] Dante’s Divine Comedy is perhaps best known for its first part- Inferno– in which Dante is led by the...

The Golden Bird

This installment of my church fathers paraphrases comes from St. John Chrysostom. St. John was born in Antioch around A.D 347. In his early life he was engaged in classical studies, but the influence of the bishop Meletius caused him to turn to the ascetic and religious life. He began as a lector in Antioch, later became a deacon and around 386 was ordained to the priesthood. In 397 John was...

The Distance Between Us is The Closer We Become

Love, which is the highest level of union, only takes root in the growing independence of the lovers; the union between God and the world reveals, in the very nearness it creates between these two poles of being, the ever greater difference between created being and the essentially incomparable God.[1. Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, p. 64]...

Individual Substance of a Rational Nature

A month and a half ago I was inspired by my brother’s foray into the burgeoning world of auto-tune theology (which, no doubt, is suffering from an over-population problem) and decided I would make my own attempt. However, as the market for auto-tune theology is surely quite crowded, I went a slightly different, albeit related, route. Listen to the auto-tune track here. The text for this...

Mystery

This installment of my church fathers’ paraphrases comes from St. Hilary of Poitiers. Hilary was born to pagan parents sometime around AD 310, but early in his life his study of the scriptures led to his conversion. He was well beloved and respected and in 353 was elected to the bishopric of Poitiers. Hilary’s life spanned the Arian controversy, and he inserted himself significantly...

The Limit of Naturalism

David B. Hart argues that naturalism is incapable of accounting for the reality of that which is, and thus ipso facto eliminates itself as an exhaustive approach to reality: The one thing that a naturalist view of reality cannot encompass is being itself, the very existence of nature; nature, by definition, is what already exists, and no investigation of its innate causes can penetrate the...

Ought

Yesterday I happened to read an article on NYTimes.com entitled Morals Without God? In it De Waal seeks to demonstrate that the building blocks of morality are older than humanity, and that we do not need God to explain how we got where we are today.

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