Monday, February 21, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare, largely the frame Paul has in mind throughout Ephesians, comes to us in small and ordinary ways. The enemy is cunning — we often miss the small ways he attacks us because we are expecting noise and explosions.

As Paul notes, our trials come from both within and without. Inwardly we struggle to truly believe the Gospel: that I – even I! – am truly God’s beloved. Outwardly, we fail to accept and believe in one another. We accuse one another of faulty motivations and intentions without truly listening and understanding first. We become judges with evil thoughts. The enemy loves this! May we learn to put on the full armour of God, especially the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness – we must know in whom we stand or we will not stand for long.

Len Hjalmarson in a post called 90 Days, on the blog, NextReformation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Works of art

Let me say, right off, that I believe a work of art is primarily concerned with the creation of beauty, whether through words, colors, shapes, sounds or movement. But it is impossible to read serious novels, poetry, essays, and biographies without also growing convinced that they gradually enlarge our minds, refine our spirits, make us more sensitive and understanding.

Michael Dirda
Book by Book

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greek and Latin, or Greek vs Latin

‘From the start Greeks and Latins had each approached the Christian mystery in their own way. At the risk of some oversimplification, it can be said that the Latin approach was more practical, the Greek more speculative; Latin thought was influenced by juridical ideas, by the concepts of Roman law, while the Greeks understood theology in the context of worship and in light of the Holy Liturgy. When thinking about the Trinity, Latins started with the unity of the Godhead, Greeks with the threeness of the persons; when reflecting on the Crucifixion, Latins thought primarily of Christ the Victim, Greeks of Christ the Victor; Latins talked more of redemption, Greeks of deification… These two distinctive approaches were not in themselves contradictory, each served to supplement the other , and each had its place in the fullness of Catholic tradition. But now that the two sides were becoming strangers to one another—with no political and little cultural unity, with no common language—there was a danger that each side would follow its own approach in isolation and push it to extremes, forgetting the value of the other point of view.’

Kallistos Ware in The Orthodox Church (48-49)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Avoiding the Dark

Avoidance of the dark periods of our lives does not necessarily improve our lives. This is especially true when we lose our ability to cope with, or effectively navigate through, the darkness because we’ve experienced so little of it for so long. There’s something to be said for being able to work with a worst-case scenario. The times through which we struggle in our lives make us better able to celebrate the brighter times that follow. They also make the struggle itself, if not easier, at least a more familiar experience the next time.

David Brown
"Snowed in" from catapult magazine

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Things have changed. I still remain as convinced about Jesus as ever (most of the time - I still have my moments when I really hope we're not deluding ourselves) but I do experience a frequent tightening of the buttocks when Christians come up with easy answers to tough questions.

And prayer has become a complete mystery to me, and I don't mean that there are areas of confusion about it; I mean the whole subject has disappeared into a bank of thick fog. My problem used to be unanswered prayer - but now I'm more bewildered by answered prayer. Looking out at a world that screams with hunger and suffering, it stuns me that we in the affluent West get answers about anything at all, never mind reserved parking spaces. And yet....we do. God is interested in our trivial pursuits, though God knows why.

Jeff Lucas, writing to Adrian Plass, in Seriously Funny. (pg 12-13)