I Hope I Never Forget:

“Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.”- Martin Luther

Monday, June 25, 2007


I lifted the title from Michael J. G. Pahls of Reformed Catholicism; who commented on this amazing You Tube performance:

“The Radical Orthodoxy folks argue that in a postmodern world Christianity must out-narrate — that is, tell a better and more beautiful story of the world — than its competitors.

I think that the moment captured here only becomes fully intelligible within a story where the mighty are cast down from their thrones and the lowly are raised up; where the hungry are filled with good things and the rich are sent away empty; and where God remembers the promises once made to his lowliest of servants.

Even if we grant that the performance is set against the gilded saccharine of “reality television” (a more blatant oxymoron doesn’t exist), the chord that is struck in the heart — our resonance with the notion that this must be the truth of things — is powerful testimony that we were made for God and that our hearts will ever be restless until they find rest communion with God.

The most beautiful story is one where the losers finally win. It is why we are moved by Rocky, Rudy (Go Irish), and the 2004 Red Sox. It is the surprise ending of a world graced by the cross and resurrection.”

Amen to that! Only the church can tell men and women the “why” of what we all feel to be true in the transcendent moments of life- whether those moments involve another’s body, breathtaking beauty, selfless sacrifice…or the exaltation of the underdog. We alone can tell men and women who they are and why certain "scents of glory" remind them of another place.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


While I'm here, might as well straighten some things up.

I've fixed the Pontifications hyperlink to the right. It now connects to the Pontificator's new website.

I moved Fr. Stephen's Orthodox Blog into my Daily Blog list. Glory to God for All Things ought to be checked out as regularly as possible.

I've added a new Blog- Canterbury Tales. Taylor Marshall is a recent convert to the ancient Roman branch of the church. We have a little history (all positive) over on the Theologia Forums. I happened upon his site today, and I'm thrilled to be back in contact. Check him out.


I know I said I'd be staying away, but Alastair is posting some very important thoughts on the nature of the church and God's purposes through history. It would be wrong to let this go by without trying to draw some attention to it.

The initial post was occasioned by an amazingly parochial (and self-important) view of one particular (and particularly small) sect. Its message is much needed.

The second post deals with how we are to understand what God is up to throughout the church’s history. Please give it a read.

It occurs to me that I'd never have taken this stuff seriously (sharing the parochial and self-important understanding of the small sect mentioned above) a few years ago. The dam gave way when I understood that the Christian gospel is not "justification by faith alone." Millions of Christians were justified by faith alone before the innovation was first clearly articulated around the time of the Reformation. As Hooker said, a person can be justified by faith alone without ever knowing about or affirming justification by faith alone.

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is faith in Christ that justifies- not faith in a particular understanding of the mechanics of how guilt is dealt with. The gospel is found....well, in the gospels.

Once this became obvious, my whole world stood on its head. There was a entire reality of roadways and commuters out there that I had never considered before. I needed to pull the car out of the backyard and head for the freeway. That was both exhilarating and terrifying.

I understood for the first time that an automobile can be driven by people who have no idea of what's going on under the hood. Happens ever day, and I ought to be wary of mechanics who want to deny that, or who claim to be able to understand engine operations that are in fact hidden from view.

Sure, if I prefer I can tinker, modify and postulate on what's going on under that hood... the one that came from the manufacturer without a release lever... all day long, but I shouldn't look down on those who just get in and drive or who have a different idea of what's going on under the hood that neither of us can, in fact, open. The most important concern is that the thing is running. After all, a car is for driving, and there are those who have been on the road a lot longer than I; maybe they know a thing or two that I don't. Is it possible?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I still don't plan on posting til next month, but I ran across this post by the Internet Monk. It's good stuff and interacts with two of my favorite "reads": NT Wright and Robert Farrar Capon. Check it out

Tuesday, June 12, 2007



Monday, June 4, 2007


Our God isn’t a problem to be solved, nor an enigmatic knot to be untied. Too many Trinity Sunday sermons give exactly that impression. Rather, our God is love. That is the message of Trinity Sunday.

It’s not simply that our God chooses to love. It’s not merely that our God is loving. The Christian gospel makes credible a much more glorious message- ultimate reality has always been, is now and ever shall be, communal and self-giving.

Our Triune God has never been alone... ever, and He exists by pouring himself into another. He is love.

Love is more than the commanded end toward which we all strain. Love is the beginning and root of reality itself. Take away "complete and total self-giving," and our God would cease to exist. This is not because we’d be getting his character wrong, but rather because without everlasting self-giving there would be no eternally begotten Word of the Father and no eternal procession of the Son's Spirit.

God would not be a Father; he'd be a hermit instead, and the One revealed in the face of Christ would not exist.

To Christians everywhere, a god without love isn’t a matter of mistaken identity; it’s a matter of divine stillbirth.

This is the truth we are meant to remember on Trinity Sunday- true glory and power, Godlike glory and power, consists in individuals living in, for and through each other.

Of course, this is the truth that the whole of the Christian year holds up to us. From Advent to Whitsunday- this is the truth. But on this Sunday- after the whole story has been told- we finally see the eternal spiraling relationship, which makes the helpless creature's exaltation almost a hope from the very beginning.

If you only knew my God, then perhaps the gospel wouldn't come as a surprise. Not because it's any less amazing or gracious, but because he's never been stingy with himself.

That's just the way he is...literally.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen.