Tag: Christianity

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Dostoevsky paid attention to the dramatic conventions of hagiography: A biblical parable would teach people more than any Cartesian meditation. The sayings of the Desert Fathers are part and parcel of Dostoevsky’s literary device. This is how Father Zosima is introduced in the book: as an elder surrounded by disciples, weak and strong, who are […]

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A Dark Echo of Christian Martrydom

 

Throughout millennia, suffering and sacrifice have always been respected. For example, Simeon the Stylite lived on ever increasingly high pillars alone in the desert to devote himself to G-d. Hindus have a long tradition of torturing their body to advance the strength of their soul. Buddhists have similar traditions of starving themselves to death. (though that’s controversial in Buddhism.)* Shia Islam seems to focus on flagellation and hitting yourself on the head with a sword (Grisly imagery contained in this link.

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“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.” – Jean Vanier More

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As a disclaimer, I would like to say that this post is targeted at Christians, but I hope that anyone who reads it will get something encouraging from it. :)   More

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the devastating fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and how the event struck a deep chord with many people around the world. They also are encouraged by how much of the 800-year-old cathedral was saved and discuss what […]

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How My Political Views Helped Me Grow Spiritually

 

I think most politically involved Christians would say that their politics are influenced by their faith. This is true for me, as well; however, I’ve realized recently that the opposite is also true: my growing political views have actually helped me to grow as a Christian.

Even from childhood, I’ve often been a judgmental Christian. I have a history of being hard on myself and others. I remember being very upset with my parents one Sunday because we weren’t going to go back to church for the evening service; weren’t we supposed to be there every time the doors were open? I also nearly broke down in tears once because my sister was talking about buying a two-piece bathing suit.

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When we hear the story of Jesus leading some of His apostles up a mountain and there being temporarily transfigured into glorified form, reflections on this scene trend toward one of two lessons. The first focuses on that moment as a revelation of Christ’s divine nature. The second reminds us that we too await transfiguration […]

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Religious fundamentalism, like most useful terms, is not defined the same by all. But the word “fundamentalism” itself can be misleading because it does not typically refer to the most original or the most spartan of theological interpretations or practices. Rather, it is most often associated with merciless codes of conduct based on selective, literal […]

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Returning on the Day of Ashes

 

During our liturgy today on Ash Wednesday (a colloquial name for the Day of Ashes), the priest made an interesting point. This is not a “holy day of obligation” for Catholics. Yet, like Christmas and Easter, it is among the most attended gatherings for worship every year.

Why do you suppose that is?

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Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. One of the most difficult aspects of the Way for me is not indulging in sarcasm and snide cleverness. There’s a background process in my general awareness that’s always looking out for an opportunity […]

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I am asking for prayers for my mother-in law. She is our last remaining parent. She has multiple serious health issues – she has been on multiple meds for some time. She is 83 years old and my husband’s family is complicated. There are ACOA issues, and a lot of stress. She has been admitted […]

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We’ve all heard people criticize the church or Christians or evangelicals (from within or without) for choosing Trump—but whatever his merits or demerits, Trump was not the choice of Christians. Peter Beinart in the Atlantic: More

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Recently my readings brought me to 1 Samuel 11, which I thought offered some fascinating reflections on government and political power. Humility in Leadership More

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Pope Francis marked World Day of the Sick this week by meditating on Matthew 10:8: “Freely you have received, freely give.” Some of his thoughts: Volunteer work passes on values, behaviours and ways of living born of a deep desire to be generous. It is also a means of making health care more humane. More

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Report from Urbana: Mainstream Evangelical Culture Responds to Racism, Politics, and Obsessing over the Eschaton

 

Last week I went to Urbana, the triennial missions conference of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. (You’ve read Elisabeth Elliot’s Through Gates of Splendor? When she mentions in the first chapter that her husband Jim Elliot’s journey began after he attended “a large convention . . . at the University of Illinois for students who were interested in foreign missionary work” in 1948, I’m pretty sure she’s talking about Urbana.)

It was quite an experience: 10,000 people converged on a St. Louis convention center for five days of seminars, Bible study, praise-and-worship songs, organization fairs, and meeting people.

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Philip Larkin: A Voice for Our Day and Time

 

Of all of the things one could accuse Philip Larkin of, rightly and wrongly, being a philosophical conservative or a Christian poet would hardly make the list. While he displayed certain instinctively right-wing attitudes and was by all accounts an admirer of Margaret Thatcher, Larkin hardly fleshed out a grand theory of conservative being or thought, and his pronouncements on religion certainly place him very far from any church. Yet, one of his lesser-known poems “Vers de Société,” is both an exploration of the decay of traditional society transposing itself upon the life of one man, and of the tragic almost-Christian, a thinly veiled autobiographical narrative.

Framed within an unnamed narrator’s thoughts on, and correspondence about, a party invitation, “Vers de Société” encapsulates in remarkably few words the conservative critique of modernity. The narrator reflects pensively upon all of the time that he has already wasted at parties that he knows will be quite similar to this one, conversing about little because his interlocutors know nothing beyond the present day; his time would be much better “repaid/Under a lamp, hearing the noise of wind.” However much he wishes to engage in study, to use his precious free time in pursuit of the wisdom of ancestors, he knows very well that “All solitude is selfish” in the view of modern society.

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As far as Christmas Carols go I’m mostly a fan of the old hymns. The older poetry had to conform to a stricter set of rules. You have to spend a lot more effort on your word choices when you’re constrained like that, and the effort shows in the quality of your writing. They also […]

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Over a week ago, I posted A Conversation About the Bible, a discussion about how a friend of mine read the Bible to her son and how her son reacted. In the comments section, the discussion took many turns and went down many avenues into some alley ways. One of the more interesting opinions was […]

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Ave Maria: Venerating the Brave Virgin, and her Consent

 

Warning: Including some crass humor in the description of a Great Christian Mystery is intended to drive home just how extraordinary a woman Mary must have been, as well as the extraordinary — indeed quite odd — nature of the mystery involved.

Ave Maria, gratia plena… Hail Mary, full of grace… These words, whether set to the sumptuous music of Biebl’s much-beloved one-hit wonder, sung to another tune, or simply spoken, will ring out through many a church today, the last Sunday of Advent, the last caravanserai parishioners pause at before reaching Bethlehem itself, and the Word Made Flesh.

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Why the Jews?

 

The outpouring of love and support for Jews following the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings has deeply touched me. I’m not surprised by it, but the reminder of the inclusiveness in our community is one more tribute to Ricochet. In one of the many posts I read, someone asked, “Why have the Jews always been treated this way?” It may have been a rhetorical question, but I took it at face value and decided to share my views about the reasons for anti-Semitism.

It’s important to say at the start that there is no way to provide every explanation for anti-Semitism:

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