Goodness, God and Insights from Maximus the Confessor and Pseudo-Dionysius

*This post was first published in my newsletter. A little while ago I was sitting on campus with my friend George.  We were playing a game he had picked up at the Renaissance Faire while talking, as we often do, about God.  George and I disagree on some pretty basic things.  I believe the ultimate […]

Old Books Are Good For Your Soul

I grew up in imbibing white evangelical American theology.  It was in the air I breathed.  There is much good in that air.  But there is also much that is questionable.  Like others, there came a time in my life when I began to ask questions.  Some questions were small (How come so much contemporary […]

Devotional Recommendations?

Students and friends often ask me what books I would recommend for devotional reading.  I admit I am not entirely sure what sort of book they are looking for.  If by devotional they mean a book they can read a few pages each morning that will provide spiritual reflection throughout the day, then nearly anything […]

Social Justice and Caring for the Poor in the Early Church

A while back a popular conservative commentator got all up in arms over the term “social justice”, warning his listeners to flee their church if the pastor mentioned it because it was code for communism.  He may be surprised to learn that the idea of social justice has roots as old as the Christian faith […]

Listening to the Saints – Gregory of Nyssa’s Great Catechism

I have so enjoyed working through the writings of long dead Christians whose work has stood the test of time.  Recently I’ve been reading the Cappadocian Fathers, three men who lived in the second half of the 300s.  Their work on the Trinity and Christian spirituality is fantastic. Gregory of Nyssa’s The Great Catechism is […]

Basil of Caesarea’s On the Holy Spirit

I recently read through Basil of Caesarea’s classic work On the Holy Spirit.  Basil is one of the Cappadocian fathers and this work on the Holy Spirit was hugely influential in the Council of Constantinople’s editing and affirmation of the Nicene Creed, including stronger language on the deity of the Spirit.  This work is also […]

The Dialogue of Catherine of Sienna (Listening to the Saints)

Over the past few years I have worked through various classics of Christian spirituality as part of my daily devotional.  I have found it incredibly life-giving to, in addition to reading scripture, to read the words of these saints of Christ who have gone before us.  Most recently I read Catherine of Sienna’s Dialogue which […]

Unity and Diversity (Listening to the Saints)

I am writing a series of posts as devotionals for my college students this summer.  Many of these have been inspired by Pascal’s Pensees, but I am also reading portions of the early church fathers.  This post is inspired by Clement of Rome. There is debate in scholarly circles, but in general all the books […]

Pascal’s Wager – A Leap of Faith (Reflections on Pascal’s Pensees)

If you’ve heard anything of Pascal, it is probably his famous “wager”: “Let us then examine this point, and say, “God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of […]

Having Faith and Doubt – When Both Sides Sometimes Make Sense (Reflections on Pascal’s Pensees)

I’ve been sharing reflections on portions of Blaise Pascal’s Pensees (Thoughts), writing with my students at PSU Berks in mind.  Today I come to one of my favorite quotes from the book: This is what I see and what troubles me. I look on all sides, and I see only darkness everywhere. Nature presents to […]