Beyond Smells & Bells by Mark Galli is a wonderful entry-level book on Christian liturgy. It paints an exciting picture of the hidden treasures afforded us by the various liturgical traditions. Galli’s knowledge of and excitement for liturgy, coupled with his easy-to-read style, make this a “must read” for all those interested in exploring the liturgical elements of the western church.
The Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate is one of the many modern theological issues that cause division in the Church. However, this divisiveness is not as modern as it may appear. Since the time of Cyprian, there were differing opinions concerning the nature of original sin. These deceitfully small differences eventually led to the creation of two opposite theologies in Calvinism and Arminianism.
Rather than the fidelity to a cause with a possibility of Christian thought tossed alongside, the averation of an undiluted faith in Jesus Christ and God’s authority is to be elevated. Rather than the indecisive fluctuation between Christ and the world, it is a discipline to embrace mere Christianity as venerated and irreplaceable. Rather than allowing one’s mind to be clouded by doubt, being “merely Christian” means the joyful devotion to sharing the testimony of unadulterated Christian faith.
Finkelstein repeatedly suggests that certain parts of Scripture are “clearly legendary” or “tales and legends”. He simply glosses over a very substantial ontological and epistemological claim that he knows certain parts of the narratives are legendary, yet he provides no support or evidence for such claims. It seems that he presupposes the falsity of the claims prior to examining them, likely due to a naturalist presupposition. It makes sense, however, because presupposing naturalism is the best way to rationalize his epistemological leap from withholding judgement to supposing the falsity. However, he had not established this presupposition, so this leap is unwarranted, and requires further discussion concerning the accuracy of naturalistic…
An anonymous 4th century homily from Holy Saturday says, “Something strange is happening – there is great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.” All seemed quiet on the surface, but what about beneath?
Today takes us back to a day when the world was unmade. We are transported to an epoch when chaos reigned over the primordial waters from whence we came. The execution of the Son of God pulls apart the very fabric of reality. It is an absurdity, a cruel joke. Very God from Very God and flesh of our flesh dies. Yet even here, in the ashes of a world that once was beautiful, hope glimmers.
He bends to bring his kingdom here He bends to come near To abide with us
Very often I have not wanted a King to rule over me, nor the type of life that he offers. Very often I have drawn a line in the sand that places me on the side of ‘basically good people’, meanwhile projecting all my own sins on those I consider sinners of a greater degree and deserving of true wrath. I can see myself in the ugliness of that crowd, yelling, “Crucify him!”
The truth is, well, lots of things. One of the main ones being, I have encountered a lot of pain over the last few years for various reasons. That pain has changed the terrain of my soul. I’m still learning how to navigate the newly carved space from the suffering I’ve walked through – the Man of Sorrows is good company.
Often we start strong and introspectively examine our lives as we march towards the cross with Jesus. However, this upcoming week may be the hardest time to do that despite how often times many churches will host multiple services throughout this week. If you're anything like me, this week is the time to grow impatient with Lent, to wish that it would just be over so we could go back to our "normal" lives.