Tag Archives: Theology

“Paradise Lost” (but trying to understand the map)

“Bid welcome your new landlord – whose mind will not be changed by tome or place.
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, or hell of heaven. What does it matter where I am? What matters is that I am and shall remain…”

 

Here at least we shall be free. Here we are beyond his almighty envy; he will not drive us out from here. Here our reign is secure. And what we won is worth it, in my view, even if our kingdom be in hell.
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”

“Paradise Lost”, book 1, lines c254 – c264
Prose edition by Dennis Danielson

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I don’t read nearly as much or as well as I once did. But I am working on tying up a few loose ends, one of which is that I never read Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

I know many of my friends do not have this failure on their record. I specifically would value your point of view on the thoughts below. Continue reading

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“He descended into hell…”

This is a post I wrote a few years back. But Today, Holy Saturday, I think these ideas are worth wrestling with. Not so much for my ideas, but the thing itself is worth wrestling with. I welcome your own thoughts. May we, like Jacob, not let go until we have been blessed!

When I was young, we didn’t think much of the days before Easter other than the crucifixion itself, the whole period between the betrayal of Jesus and the Resurrection was pretty much ignored.
There is even a name for these days, “The Triduum.” Who knew?

There is much to think about, and today, Holy Saturday, the “Great Silence” is a good day for pondering.

I had been pondering a part of the creed little used in the branch of the Church I grew up in: “He descended into hell” particularly in connection with Jesus’ words from the cross “it is finished” and “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

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A Story of Two Groups of “Wise Men”

Well, I’m going to go WAAAY out of character for me, and out on a church calendar limb. Tomorrow is Sunday, 5 January, 2014, the last Sunday in Christmas this year. So I am going to race ahead and post about Epiphany. “Sin Boldly”; to half-quote Martin Luther.

So why jump ahead two days as if I were impatient for them to be gone? Well, perhaps I am in mid-revelation, and revelation is sort of what the word “epiphany” means. Or perhaps I am receiving my Christmas gift, which also marks it as OK as a Christmas post (now I feel better!). I understand that in many places in the world, in many parts of the Church, Gifts are not exchanged on Christmas, in remembrance of the Gift of the Incarnation, but on Twelfth-Night, Epiphany (“…my true love gave to me, …”) in remembrance of the gifts of the Magi, given TO the incarnate Son of the most High. I sort of like that, in that it puts the focus a little more where I think it belongs, on me giving to God as I seek to serve Him in all people, in recognition of my baptismal vow.

Well, rambling over, on with the point. In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Chapter 2, he says of the “wise men” (or Magi): Continue reading

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Karma and Exodus (borrowed from The Pews of Hope)

I edit another blog, partly written by me, but intended as a vehicle for expression and conversation for the laypeople of my church, Hope Episcopal Church (Houston).  It is called “The Pews of Hope” http://thepewsofhope.wordpress.com/ 
 
I wrote the following piece last May, in reaction to an incident in our Sunday eve Bible study, which I did not think we handled particularly well

That site doesn’t get a lot of traffic yet, and thus not a lot of comments. I would particularly welcome some other thoughts, so I thought I would place it over here as well.
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Last Sunday afternoon, May 26, our Bible Study group was reading in Exodus. We read the Ten Commandments, and we continued with laws relating to a variety of subjects, most of which our legal system would call tort law – or how to deal “with what is fair?” when one person has, intentionally or accidentally, caused harm to another. Continue reading

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Why Should Christians Study?

Last weekend I had the very great joy of participating on the leadership team of a retreat weekend. The purpose of this “little course in Christianity” was to give people a taste of an intentional walk with God in Community. Particularly, it teaches a path embracing worship (or piety), study, and action.

One of my functions was to talk about the role of study in Christian life. I thought I would like to share my address on that subject here. Continue reading

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A Visiting Preacher, Esau, and looking forward to Romans

This morning, we had a guest preacher, the Rev. John Newton, Canon for Life-Long Spiritual Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. He preached mainly from the Epistle reading for the day, from first chapter of Ephesians. He started in what I thought  was headed for a standard corporate-church theme of God’s blessings (“we need to realize that God has already blessed us, yadda, yadda, yadda …”)  Yes, he went there, and I can’t totally fault him for that; he has an excuse in that the point is correct.

But then he went somewhere more interesting. Continue reading

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On Questions and Mirrors, Truth and Images

“Would it possible to be tempted, in such a way that we miss God’s desire for us, by being part of a church that is almost perfect?”

As an answer to the question, I will suggest that part of the reason for the story of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament is to answer a related question. It is one I have sometimes heard from skeptics. It goes something like this:

“If God is real, why doesn’t he just “show up” and prove himself? Then people would believe in him! Instead, all we get are some writings in a book (and those kind of hard to understand), and the word of people like you who tell us just to ‘have faith and trust him.’
I’m sorry, but if he is real, and expects to be acknowledged, he needs to say so, directly. Then we would all see the truth, and could all believe. Until then…”

I think there is some merit to the question. Continue reading

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