How Do You Know That? (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 19)

The Chemistry Of Inversion, Raymond Bryson, CC license

You and I were born in an age shaped by scientific thinking. We find it hard to accept that there might be ways of knowing other than through science — the proof of hypotheses through experimentation. It is a sort of cultural mythos, this devotion to science. It is a religion without a temple. We spread it like Spackle over ways of knowing that are really not about science at … [Read more...]

Finding a Life-Giving Approach to the Bible (part 7, conclusion): Process & Goal

Paris Art Deco, by Sandra Cohen-Rose, under cc license

And so we come to the end of the classic book on lectio divina by Guigo II (d. 1188), The Ladder of Monks. The idea of a ladder is key to understanding his approach to the Bible -- despite all the food metaphors I've noted in these posts. He might have done better still with a spiral staircase, but The Spiral Staircase of Monks is not nearly so catchy. And he didn't ask … [Read more...]

Augustinian Soul Music!

Sam Rocha, Late to Love, on Wiseblood Records

Funny things happen in the world of the internet. August 28th was the feast day of St. Augustine, so I sent out last year's post on the influential theologian via Facebook and Twitter. For whatever reason it got far more attention than when I first posted it. Recycling can be fun. The best thing, though, was that Sam Rocha, whom I've never met, tweeted me back. Rocha is … [Read more...]

Finding a Life-Giving Approach to the Bible (part 6): Contemplate Upon It

Roof Ladder (Porvoo, Finland) by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho (cc license)

Contemplation is when the mind is in some sort lifted up to God and held above itself, so that it tastes the joys of everlasting sweetness." That is Guigo II (d. 1188) talking about the fourth and final step of lectio divina, the spiritual reading of Scripture. In his classic little book he compares the process to a ladder, and this is the top rung. When I was a … [Read more...]

Why Reformed Theology? (via Heidelberg Catechism Q. 18)

Christ Pantocrator (photo by Waiting for the Word, cc license)

I find Christian faith coherent, intellectually rigorous, and deeply soul-satisfying. Why? Probably because I have been fed a hearty diet of Reformed Theology. I did my doctoral dissertation on John Calvin, the Reformed theologian who shaped the tradition more than any other. For a good long while I've regularly taught the theological summaries that make up the … [Read more...]

My Nominee for “MIP” of the Middle Ages: St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Francisco Ribalta - Christ Embracing St Bernard; public domain via Wikimedia Commons

I don't know if there is a competition for "Most Interesting Person" in the Middle Ages, but today I'd like to nominate St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). August 20 is his feast day. What a rich and varied influence he had. He was a shaker and mover in the Cistercian monastic reform. Clearly his gifts were visible from the start: after only three years as a monk he was … [Read more...]

Finding a Life-Giving Approach to the Bible (part 4): Meditate On It

Dein Steak ist wuschelig und voller Neugier, by Brigitte Mackscheidt, cc license

Raise your hand if the word "meditation" brings to mind images of someone trying to empty their mind of every thought. Okay, how many of you think of "meditation" as repeating a mantra -- a secret word in a language you don't actually understand? What about option three: When you hear "meditation" how many of you think of a cow? Seriously. You SHOULD think of a cow. At … [Read more...]