Tag: theology

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“Now, more than ever…” I hate that phrase. But here it is apt. In an era bombarded by absurdities that make reality almost impossible to satirize, we are especially able to understand the value of experience. When daily news, attitudes, and behaviors venture beyond what one could have believed possible only a decade or two […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day – A Perfect Order

 

It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relations of man – social and political – and to the entire universe as a whole.

– Dmitri Mendeleev

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Can one know God? Can one experience God? Saint Gregory Palamas, an ascetic monk, priest, and later Archbishop of Thessalonica asked these very questions. His answers, based on centuries of understanding and experience, became the foundation of the final major dogmatic development in Orthodox Theology. For this, St. Gregory is commemorated on the second Sunday […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Zeal Without Knowledge

 

The translators of Proverbs 19:2 are in agreement: Zeal without knowledge is dangerous. I’m a little hesitant on the accuracy of this as a translation, since the word zeal apparently does not appear in the Hebrew. (Even the ancient Greek translations lack the word zelos–along with, apparently, the whole verse!)

But I’m not hesitant at all about the idea. It’s a correct idea. Zeal is lauded in the Bible in any number of places, like Psalm 69:9 and John 2:17, Romans 12:11, and Psalm 119:139. But zeal doesn’t create righteousness or wisdom out of nothing. Zeal is meant to be a righteous stand for a truth coming from elsewhere. Zeal is to be built on knowledge; see also Romans 10:2.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Discerning God’s Will

 

Judging by my Duck-search results, nearly every single preacher, pastor, rabbi and priest in the country has at one time or another written a study guide or given a spoken teaching — either a sermon of the classical type or a podcast — addressing the discerning God’s will in our lives and the world. John Piper, Tony Evans, J.I. Packer, Henry Blackaby, Benjamin Nunez… the list is gigantic.

I’m quite sure that a lot of the material is both insightful and written with the most benevolent intentions, and some of these entries I have even read, watched or listened to. But, it seems to me they might just be overthinking the question. A couple of more important authorities stated it more succinctly. From the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Alan Turing on Theological Arguments

 

I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past. In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, “And the sun stood still… and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (Joshua 10:13) and “He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time” (Psalm 104:5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory.” — Alan Turing

As a recovering math major, I must admit that I also have some difficulty with most theological arguments. Metaphysical interpretation makes a lot more sense and is applicable in everyday life. I don’t care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but I do care to be able to identify when I am taking a bite of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And on a political site like Ricochet, folks are handing me those fruits to taste every day. Usually, I pass and stay in the Edenic state of consciousness. But I doubt Turing ever met that sort of metaphysics.

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Several months back, in our Wednesday night bible study of the book of John, we found ourselves reading John 17 – Jesus’ high priestly prayer dedicating his work on earth to the Father. In typical bible study fashion, we read the chapter together, then clumped together in small groups to answer a set of pre-arranged […]

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Christianity and Eros: Essays on the Theme of Sexual Love, by Philip Sherrard, first published in 1976, is a modest attempt by an Orthodox theologian to begin to address the “sacramental potentiality of sexual love” from a Christian perspective, to correct what the author sees as several ways Christian thought has mis-stepped or erred over […]

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An American man traveled to Spain. There, in the great smithing center of Toledo, he bought a sword. Back home, he displayed it for neighbors and friends who universally admired the sword for its beauty. Beauty? Is not the greater virtue of a sword the strength of its steel? That is how Toledo made its […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

This one’s for @pseudodionysius. I don’t, ah, tumble, but some link recently redirected me to Discarding Images, a tumblr on Medieval illumination. Turns out the scribes who illuminated the initial Ks of psalters (K for Kyrie) were some pretty sick puppies. That’s some NSFR(EMP)* stuff right there. One less-bawdy illumination that caught my eye, however, […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Greetings, Ricochetti, friends, fans, and inquiring minds! You know who you are… I think I’ve come out of Lenten/Holy Week hermitage time into Easter-tide ready to put pixels to paper once more. In answer to questions you may never have thought to ask. Such as: “What brought Nanda out of the cocoon of small-town life […]

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From the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25: Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  More

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In @mjbubba‘s recent Introduction to Christian Prayer thread some evidence against the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura emerged. It was from the Church Fathers, and the reason for this post is that I finally got around to taking a look at it (and then waited awhile because of Christmas and such). Now Catholics tend to read […]

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The Dialogue THESIS: The deuterocanonical books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, and the additions to Jeremiah, Esther, and Daniel were always known by Christians to be part of the Old Testament canon–until Luther came along and reopened the question of canonicity! ANTITHESIS: That isn’t true at all! Even the Catholics didn’t officially canonize […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Oct 25 Fear: Unstory – the Greatest Horror Story of them All

 

A man briefly leaves his pregnant wife to fly to his dying mother, a mother who endured one last round of chemo not in any hope of remission, but merely to eke out a few more months in order to see her grandchild born. His mother dies two hours before he arrives. He stays for her funeral, missing his own child’s birth by a few hours, too. A youngster complaining of “arthritis” is dismissed because his range of motion is large, not small. His complaint thus “disproven”, he gets on with life, or tries to. Decades later, body gratuitously dilapidated and his stoicism rendered meaningless, he learns his flexibility was the one objective clue that, if heeded, could have prevented a world of hurt – even kept him off disability – but now it’s too late. Albert Camus dies in a car crash – with a train ticket in his pocket: he was supposed to take the train, but his publisher persuaded him at the last minute to go by car instead. His death, while fittingly comedic for an absurdist, existentialist Frenchman, is not “meaningful” otherwise – it’s only distinguished by its contingency, by how easily it might not have happened.

Suffering needn’t be particularly intense to seem intensely meaningless. Even suffering that’s just big enough to be unsafe to ignore, but still too “small” to explain, may qualify. There are many forms of suffering that hurt the body, but it is suffering without a story that hurts the soul. And that’s where the story of Job comes in, because Job’s story is the unstory – the story that happens when there is no story. Job’s story is that nothing – not even God – takes away life’s absurdity – life’s refusal to fit our narratives. Perhaps it’s even God’s greater story that makes absurdity possible.

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“Dylan is the real deal, cut from genuine American cloth. His output has accelerated during the fifth act of his long-running mystery play. His most recent recordings—of American standards—were so good they raised eyebrows. The Dylan voice, once the butt of jokes, has aged like good whiskey. It goes down smooth, with notes of smoke […]

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While other Ricochet members have been banging their heads against a wall, making that monotonous trumping sound, I’ve been blissfully aloof in Far Cry 4. The game is two years old now. But the dynamic open worlds of Elder Scrolls and Far Cry games are always fun to return to… not least for their beauty. More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Night of Fire

 

Blaise Pascal, mathematician, scientist, inventor, and philosopher, a man who from the age of 16 had been making historic contributions to mathematics and the physical sciences, who, despite a sickly constitution and a capacity for intense abstraction nonetheless oversaw the material construction of his experiments and inventions with great zest, was barely past 30 when saw something unexpected one raw November night. He saw fire. The vision of it so branded him that he sewed the record he made of it, his Memorial, into his coat, carrying it with him the rest of his life:

Memorial, Pascal

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My fellow Catholics, I have a conundrum for you. There is plenty to applaud in this pop article on eucharistic adoration. But how many Christians wonder as I do about the meaning of their time with “the real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist?  More

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Augustine is not a Christian Platonist! He doesn’t think sex is bad! The evil City of Man is not politics! It’s a shame we know so little about Augustine, and that myths about him are so persistent. In light of that (and as another excuse for shamelessly advertising my book, The Conversion and Therapy of Desire: […]

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