Tag Archives: Bible
Amateur Hour: On Prayer
But the sheer accumulation of vastness joined to the repeated elements of praise and the ever-evolving list of intercessions gave me a humble, grateful perspective on my faith and life that I could not have otherwise known I was missing. As I reached those last few chapters of City, where Augustine talks about the play of light on the sea and the consolations of this life of punishment that merely prefigure the glories to be revealed, I felt something like grief at being parted, at my prayer and hearing going on to a new companion.
I didn’t stay there. If I were assured of a hundred more years to live I don’t know that I would ever read Niebuhr again. Part of the problem with the blazing sunset era of high Protestant theology was that its authors sought to provide us with a place to stand–where faith and reason, revelation and science all worked together–when all they could offer was a point of transit. From the perspective of one moving out of Christian faith, however defined, those points of transit seem feeble and dishonest. For one moving into it, they can seem necessary and providential. Christians have a tendency to ask for kinds of assurance, whether from theological faculties, great collections of bishops, or second-century papyrus, that none of these can give. Our needs and our doubts give shape to the theories of revelation or ecclesiology or whatever else that we may then point to in order to meet them.
Sermon: Holy Cross Day
I preached this sermon on September 14, 2014. Now, as I mentioned earlier we are not a society that is very interested in wisdom. The church in Corinth seems to have been divided over the question of who had true wisdom, which is not something we’re likely to lose friends over. We are, on the […]
Chicago Diarist: Nowhere to Lay His Head
(I wrote this in June 2010) The storms on Wednesday night were very intense out here. We lost power before 6 p.m. After the cell passed, we called ComEd for an estimate of its return. The hour came and went, and so we went to a hotel. A baby girl in our care needed a […]
Chicago Diarist: Thought for the Morrow
(I wrote this in February, 2011, when I was serving as a part-time associate pastor in a small Chicago parish and it seemed that I was not going to receive a full-time call anywhere) “Be careful what you wish for” is advice that I long ago learned to heed in my preaching life. I don’t […]
God in the Gluten
I wrote about the Vatican directives for the bread and wine in the Eucharist for Religion Dispatches: The genius of the eucharist, in strictly human terms, is in its simplicity: bread and wine, the everyday foods of Mediterranean antiquity, enter the ritual process to become body and blood. The elements are plain and common, so […]
The Lollards Were Awesome
My newest piece for the Reformation 500th anniversary edition of Let’s Talk: Living Theology in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod: And it is in this surviving vernacular literature that we can sense the real import of the Lollard movement. Wycliffe’s translations, unlike later efforts, did not return to Greek or Hebrew, but rendered the Vulgate in […]