Brothers, do not be afraid of men’s sin, love man also in his sin, for this likeness of God’s love is the height of love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, both the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love very leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love animals, love plants, love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. –Elder Zosima, The Brothers Karamazov1
Currently, I am in the middle of reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. It is quite a large work, but so far it has been utterly satisfying. The previous quote is an excerpt of one of the Elder’s sermons that the main character Alyosha has recorded. To be blunt, it took my breath away when I first read it.
This single quote succinctly captures what I hope to be the aim and purpose of this blog. Expounding on what Dostoevsky really means here, I think, is unnecessary. The prose is beautiful and elegant enough without any of my efforts mucking it up. That said, I don’t think I can resist saying something about it here. Continue reading
Over this past school semester, and through these beginning summer months, I have been reflecting frequently about my own upbringing in the Christian faith, and some of the strengths and weaknesses in the general message that I perceive is being communicated to Protestant Christians.
In this post, I will be making certain judgments and generalizations about the tone and attitude of mainstream evangelicals and Protestants. I can only hope that, the broad strokes that I use to describe the intellectual and theological landscape will capture some truthful kernels that bear upon the situation that the Christian finds herself in today.
In this post I will argue that because the message of God’s grace for the sinner is so closely tied historically to the identity of Protestantism, that this has resulted in the message of God’s grace being overemphasized, both in liturgy of the Protestant Church and in the message preached to the congregation. Specifically, this overemphasis has caused the necessity of personal effort and participation in the sanctification process to dwindle in the mind of the typical protestant or evangelical Christian. Continue reading
Lately I have been reading Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. Though the main topic of the book is Christ’s resurrection and the implications that it has for how we live and what we believe about what happens when we die, Wright has some very interesting thoughts about beauty and art, which I thought might be relevant to this blog. He notes that a feature of many of the communities that we live in, typically poorer ones, is ugliness.
This rings true in a real way. The only shadow of beauty that people often have in these communities is the glitz and glamor of whatever new-fangled product the television is trying to sell them–or the shallow, sensualized, one-sided version of beauty that is showcased in our culture’s fascination with celebrities. Just drive through your local impoverished neighborhood and you can just feel an overwhelming grayness, often accentuated by some of the run down homes.
This brings us to Wright’s assertion:
“When people cease to be surrounded by beauty, they cease to hope. They internalize the message of their eyes and ears, the message that whispers that they are not worth very much, that they are in effect less than fully human.” (231) Continue Reading
I often worry about people who go through life and never take time to really reflect seriously about it. Instead, they move from one fleeting pleasure or thrill to the next, never taking the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds our human existence. Indeed, a wise man once said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
In that spirit, I have decided to create this blog. To give myself and others the opportunity and occasion to wonder, to ponder, and to reflect.
Often times the world can be a dark place. Full of evil, suffering, pain and the like. You probably don’t need any convincing of this. If you cannot think of an example from your own life, you will come up with one after living life a bit more. Yet, the most powerful examples often force us to ask. The mother of the still born infant, the victims of human trafficking, the survivor of the holocaust, and the atheist all ask the question: Where is God here? Continue Reading