Perhaps one of the weakest arguments that’s advanced against the hope that all mankind will eventually be saved from evil and enjoy the blessings of God’s love is the argument that this belief encourages sinners to sin. Without the doctrine of eternal punishment, some people say, people will sin with impunity, unafraid of the consequences. What an odd thing to say! Suppose I tell my son, “If you do such-and-such, you get no more screen time for a week.” And he really wants to do such-and-such so he says, “OK,… Read more Another Brief Word on Universalism →
Not long ago a friend told me the following story. She had been falsely accused of sexual sin, in a strict religious community, in her youth. She spent her teenaged years under a cloud of scrutiny, suspicion, and self-doubt. She was ostracized by the “good people” and later on she even was rejected as a marriage candidate by a suitor’s parents, because of the old rumors. Later on, one of this woman’s friends actually did the thing she had been accused of, more or less. When she heard about that,… Read more Martyrs →
When we Christians teach about the Old Testament sacrifices, we often place much emphasis upon the death of the animal. Do we believe that the moment of death is the moment that God reconciles himself to sinners? Does he venerate death so much? As a teenager I felt horror at the thought of the innocent animal, completely unconcerned in this divine drama, dying for sins that people had committed, because God was otherwise unable to forgive. My viewpoint now is a little different. It’s been a while since I examine… Read more Christ The Quiet Conversationalist →
I recently ran into this discussion over at an interesting blog. She called it the “scary Mary prayer” and apparently it is the one that says, “Most Holy Theotokos, save us.” The comments were interesting, but I wanted to add to them. Pretty soon my comment got too long so I’ve decided to post on my own venue. First of all, I had a similar crisis to this in Bible College when I realized that the scriptures – yes, the Bible – speak of things and people as saving folks.… Read more On Prayers to Mary →
Sir, we have heard of your death. To die thus is plainly brutal. But when we came to your tomb the sweet smell astonished us. You spoke once of white, painted tombs that reek of corruption within. Your tomb is shameful outside, the grave of a malefactor, but inside the breath is forever ravishing, more than lavender and cloves. What, then, has death become?
Jesus, you are the taker of souls, you are the secret thief of souls. Under cover of night you steal your daughter from pirates who curse and strike the air. Jesus, you are the divine piper and every soul who hears you throws away his living and runs after you leaving his winding-sheet in the road. Jesus, you are the all-loved man. Masked in darkness, you draw out the soul of a dying man from its lifelong home. Though he is terrified he surrenders. Jesus, you are the taker of… Read more Jesus, Taker Of Souls →
Suddenly the day is done. You look up from your occupation on the floor, your serious play, and see that darkness drifted in and took your sunny room. Your mother… Read more The Candle In Your Hand →
This deep horizon lies so long below my rushing gaze that at its edge, bereft of trees or structures, all my sight contains has blended to a soft and neutral gray. I never saw a true horizon once before today. And now, just as I see, for once, what human sight can really do if nothing intervenes, the sun is going down. I leap, like some dart beast, some deer or hound, I surge ahead and meet no obstacle. I stop and see that not a thing has changed. I… Read more Night Travels →