Major blocks today within our spiritual lives

In today's sermon, our priest quoted this passage from Catholic priest Ronald Rolheiser's book, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality: Among the many things that work against interiority today, three can be singled out as particularly cankerous: narcissism, pragmatism, and unbridled restlessness.  Defined simply, narcissism means excessive self-preoccupation; pragmatism means excessive focus on work, achievement, and …

On coveting books

To the crowd, Jesus warned: "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to …

The affinity between a philosopher and a poet

Yes, I am one of those geeky readers who actually consults the notes in a book, as if they contained the hidden treasures of an attic. Tonight, while reading Malcolm Heath's fine introduction to Aristotle's Poetics (Penguin Classics), which is notably longer than the primary source itself, I came across an endnote that clarifies the affinity between …

Liturgical rhetoric

In March 2006, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams delivered a sermon at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Oxford, England to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, his Tudor predecessor and architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Williams defended Cranmer's liturgical rhetoric against those who decry it as "overblown and …

To live futurally

In his newsletter for Image, editor-in-chief James K. A. Smith writes: With Advent, we learn to wait. Again. And again. And yet again. How long, O Lord?  While the church’s calendar revisits history, rehearsing the inbreaking of the God Incarnate, the reason Christians need practice waiting is because hope is indexed to what is yet to …

Published review on the future of orthodox Anglicanism

I reviewed a fine collection of essays, The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism (Crossway 2020), edited by Anglican priest and theologian, Gerald R. McDermott, for Christianity Today. I read this book at the same time that I taught Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, The Brothers Karamazov (1879). Serendipity was the result. I developed a unique angle to review this book: the fictional family (the …

Plunder the Egyptians

In an introductory essay for Homer's epic poem The Iliad, Douglas Wilson makes a fine point about the promises and perils of a Christian who appropriates pagan literature: By God's common grace, the ancient pagans were able to produce literature of unbelievable beauty. That beauty can and should be appreciated. Once understood and appreciated, it may be safely …