Category: The Big Picture: theological, cosmological, and mystical

On the Trinity.

For the background of my thoughts on several subjects referenced here, please see some of my previous essays, such as “On Dual Nature,” “On the Meaning of Life Personified,” “On How I Got Here part III,” “On Being Israel” and others. This is not the first essay of mine triggered by somebody’s question about why …

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On optimism, hope, and fish.

Between working on a book about Leonard Swidler, writing for the site you are reading right now, family, and discernment, I don’t have much time to write fiction, but on occasion I do it still. In bits. Between breaths, in a sense. During the Triduum, I started a story about Peter. I’ve thought a lot …

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On foot-washing, Peter, pride, and the opposite things.

I am spending my Triduum with the Dominicans this year, guided by their wisdom and basking in their warmth. A week ago, discussing the Holy Thursday Mass, my vocation director mentioned to me that at the church where we’d go we’d have an option to have our feet washed by the local young people. The …

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On the fluttering heart of the Triduum.

The piece to follow was written almost exactly one liturgical year ago: on Holy Saturday, 2012. I was alone that Triduum, a year ago. I have been essentially alone for every Christian holiday since Christian holidays began to mean something to me beyond the turning over of social calendars and subjects of scholarly study — except …

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On seeing and believing.

In the Gospel of John, there is a man among the disciples of Jesus who is absent on Easter Sunday, when the risen Lord appears to them to cause the first furor and relief and the awakening of faith. Thomas Didymus is told of this but refuses to believe until he has hard and undeniable …

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On Satan and what makes a Christian. Part 2.

Continued from “On Satan and What Makes a Christian. Part 1.” So here we are. There is no evil in the Hebrew Bible. Only sin. By the time Jesus of Nazareth walks the Earth, however – by the time nascent Christianity begins to develop its terms and concepts – by the time New Testament writers formulate …

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On Satan and what makes a Christian. Part 1.

We never know when we might engage in debates on religion. On theology, cosmology, faith… My most recent one occurred on Thanksgiving, in the company of family and friends, who happened to be a diverse bunch of atheists, agnostics, a Russian Orthodox Christian, and yours truly Catholic Christian. Our conversation, attended by all and with …

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On the Ninth Commandment and the Lying Baptists

I have noticed a pattern in my classrooms over the last decade or so: As I elicit from my students the heart of the Law of Moses, we almost always trip over the Ninth Commandment. “Thou shalt not lie,” they tell me. Sometimes closer to the text: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” And then …

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On the Will of God.

I believe in free will. I just don’t believe in lone will. Lonely free will making its way through a mess of heartless and random circumstances – that’s how the world looks to the proponent of absolute free will. At the extreme of free will is Sartrean existentialism, and its epitome is freedom so radical and …

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On being friends with God.

John 15:12-17 is a well-known gospel. “It is my commandment,” Jesus says in it to his disciples, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” And he says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” And he says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does …

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