when the whole fullness of our nature has been perfected

God has one goal: when the whole fullness of our nature has been perfected in each man, some straightway even in this life purified from evil, others healed hereafter through fire for the appropriate length of time, and others ignorant of the experience equally of good and of evil in the life here, God intendsContinue reading “when the whole fullness of our nature has been perfected”

a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy

Wendell Berry on Heaven and Hell: I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are at once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven.Continue reading “a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy”

A List of Online Articles (and a Reading List) by David Bentley Hart

A few folks have asked me for this list from time to time, so I plan to start maintaining it publicly. Here is a list of online articles by David Bentley Hart going back in time (with his exchange with N.T. Wright separated below): “Three Cheers for Socialism: Christian Love & Political Practice” in CommonwealContinue reading “A List of Online Articles (and a Reading List) by David Bentley Hart”

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”

heaven is reality itself

C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce: Walking proved difficult. The grass, hard as diamonds to my unsubstantial feet, made me feel as if I were walking on wrinkled rock, and I suffered pains like those of the mermaid in Hans Andersen. A bird ran across in front of me and I envied it. It belongedContinue reading “heaven is reality itself”

Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out

Here are a few of the many hymns from last night with the start of Lazarus Saturday. Toward the end, several of them break into the voice of Lazarus himself or of Hell itself. Calling Lazarus from the tomb, immediately Thou hast raised him; but Hell below lamented bitterly, and groaning, trembled at Thy power,Continue reading “Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out”

you are unable to be saved alone

You are unable to be saved alone, if all others are not also saved. It is a mistake for one to pray only for oneself, for one’s own salvation. We must pray for the entire world, so that not one is lost. …I am not afraid of hell, and I do not think about Paradise.Continue reading “you are unable to be saved alone”

we know so little about life

The question is, does the system I’ve just devised help us in the evaluation of literature? Perhaps a real masterpiece cannot be crucified on a cross of this design. How about Hamlet? …But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth…. The truth is, we know soContinue reading “we know so little about life”

convinced that every innovation in the city influences the sky’s pattern

This is a scattered selection of some favorite passages in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: [Eusapia:] They say that every time they go below they find something changed in the lower Eusapia; the dead make innovations in their city; not many, but surely the fruit of sober reflection, not passing whims. From one year toContinue reading “convinced that every innovation in the city influences the sky’s pattern”

prayer is an education

Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. …[E]very day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on allContinue reading “prayer is an education”