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Category: The Father

My Help

“O MOST mighty and most merciful God … without thee all health is but the fuel, and all strength but the bellows of sin…” (Donne Devotion IV) Our help does not help when it does not address the curvature of sin. It simply abets the sinner’s own bent to self-execution.  The Prodigal’s father did not spare his well-loved son the experience of envying the swine’s supper that he might “come to himself” and yearn for restoration to the Father.  Only a stay of execution will help us.  Satan is quite capable of destroying us by giving us what we want.  Help not from God is but “the bellow of sin”. But “My help cometh from the Lord…” (Psalm 121)  

Into this Very Darkness

Pondering the current national security debate — any moral sensibility beyond utilitarian self-interest is hard to spot. If the prophets have taught us anything, it is that armies, weapons, and foreign alliances cannot compensate for expelling God. We still have “in God we trust” on our money only because the courts have accepted the defense that it is a “theological affirmation devoid of content.” Indeed. We are not self-securing beings. God controls the pre-conditions that make possible profitable labor. Apart from his blessing, we labor under a futility curse. Heedlessness cannot defeat lawlessness — it turns us into something not worth defending and stores up judgment for ourselves and our posterity. The chaos that results from disregarding the first commandment…

Homeless God

The greatest delusion of our day is that, absent God, our neo-pagans will somehow just decide to be nice. Even the atheist Freud knew better. Without a healthy conscience, civil society becomes impossible. We will prey on one another until violence becomes the only means of restraining chaos. A gun is a very weak tool to produce social order. God’s wrath has already begun when he lets us throw off his restraints. When disordered loves rule, we become our own worst enemy, we make God our enemy, and Satan remains our enemy. We cannot win that war. Above illegal immigrants, and armed terrorists, a nuclear Iran, and soaring national debt, if we are wise, we will fear the homelessness of…

The God Who Hides

I am tired of this lament, “Oh no, the Church is all old people … it is about to expire if we don’t get busy.” You are looking in the wrong direction. The Church descends from Abel, who always appears in this world as weak. It is not we who sustain the Church but the Church that sustains us. Our Lord is always victorious, though invisible in the vulnerable. Welcome Advent. Welcome the Lord who hides himself.

Saint Values

Gregory of Nanzianzus (330 – 389 A.D.) was a temperamental saint — melancholy and reclusive, yet right up there with Luther on the short list of great theologians with a great sense of humor. He laughs at those things that make God laugh (Psalm 2). His Oration 33 (380 A.D.) — is especially rich in “nothing new under the sun” perspectives.  He, struggled, as we do, with the announcement, “oh no! (or yippee! — as the case may be), the Church’s numbers are declining”, as though something tragically unusual has happened.  Gregory provides a view through a wider lens. Throughout most of his life, Arian heretics vastly outnumbered the Orthodox – the Emperor was Arian, as well as most of the bishops.…