God our Savior, Who Desires all People to be Saved

The Crucifixion, tempera, Andreas Pavias (active in Crete during the second half of the 15th century). At a recent book club discussion (on The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, to give only the subtitle), a gentle Christian lady seated to my left asked me if the author David Bentley Hart could still be consideredContinue reading “God our Savior, Who Desires all People to be Saved”

the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave

Our homily in church this morning was on Jesus Christ as the tree of life as it is given back to us at Christmas. This idea that Jesus is the tree of life is among the most prominent images from the church’s oldest Nativity hymns and prayers. Here is one example: Prepare, O Bethlehem, ForContinue reading “the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in the cave”

Santa’s Family Tree in Pictures

Santa Claus has an old and lively family. Like all families, it is filled with stories, but here I want to focus on the images before the stories. Following multiple branches through time is not easy to represent, and I’ve opted to move first down a secondary branch from Odin to Santa Claus and thenContinue reading “Santa’s Family Tree in Pictures”

My Accidental Day with Super Power

[Note: In preparation for our Thanksgiving get-together this year, my mother-in-law asked all of the extended family members (of a capable age) to write a short story describing one day with a superpower of their choice. I did not entirely follow the directions, but this is what came to me. It’s a foolish and wordyContinue reading “My Accidental Day with Super Power”

Greek Fathers on Human Sexuality and Eden (a Few Brief Comments)

Someone on a closed group posted a question about why several Greek church fathers would have taught that Eve was a virgin until after she left Eden. Someone else pointed out that, in this case, Adam would have also been a virgin before leaving the garden, and it was noted that Irenaus mentions Adam’s virginityContinue reading “Greek Fathers on Human Sexuality and Eden (a Few Brief Comments)”

she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire

God’s Mother was born today, the first of the twelve great feasts in the church year. These poor thoughts rattled around in my mind over the last few days, so I set them down. Those familiar with the feasts connected to Mary’s life will see that my words are just clumsy responses to three ofContinue reading “she will carry to her rambling race that bright and living fire”

Notes on the Life of Saint Anthony

After just having listened to The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks edited by Benedicta Ward, I recently listened to the Life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. [This is the text translated by H. Ellershaw: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo,Continue reading “Notes on the Life of Saint Anthony”

they will be here when we’re gone

I’m a professor of comparative literature, after all. I’ve read the Welsh stories, studied the lore. But it is one thing to read about it; quite another to confront the evidence. A little voice repeated something I’d read once: They were here before we came; they will be here when we’re gone. The world hasContinue reading “they will be here when we’re gone”

Myrrh, Trust and Everyday Miracles

My second-most-read post of all time is “Myrrh, Mercy and Oil: Deciding What to Do with It All.” These are not high numbers that I am talking about. My most read post has 352 views to date: “Response to Walter Wink’s Book Naming the Powers.” However, at 348 views to date, “Myrrh, Mercy and Oil”Continue reading “Myrrh, Trust and Everyday Miracles”