New Name and Direction

There are a lot of people still faithfully following my (Jonathan) blog and thoughts here. I have decided to shut this blog down and import the blogs into a new one. My new site will have a lot less religious writings as well. It will function more like a journal and such. The new blog is called Daring Greatly. I’d love if you come and follow me over on it. In a little bit, this blog will be deleted, but the blogs on here will be on the new site should anyone want to keep reading them. Thanks for all the support. I appreciate it.

-Jon

Recovering the Good News of Predestination

Eclectic Orthodoxy

How can the Church recover the preaching of predestination? The key, I believe, is the recognition that in Holy Scripture predestination is good news. It is not a philosophical conundrum to be solved; it is a form of the gospel to be proclaimed—and specifically, a form of the gospel to be proclaimed to the baptized. No theologian of the Church has seen this more clearly than Karl Barth:

The truth which must now occupy us, the truth of the doctrine of predestination, is first and last and in all circumstances the sum of the Gospel, no matter how it may be understood in detail, no matter what apparently contradictory aspects or moments it may present to us. It is itself evangel: glad tidings; news which uplifts and comforts and sustains. Once and for all, then, it is not a truth which is neutral in face of the antithesis…

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Thank God I wasn’t college material

The Matt Walsh Blog

I remember when I first learned that I was destined to be a failure.

I think it was ninth grade, or maybe tenth, and I was sitting in afterschool detention. I’d been sentenced to hard time for being late to class, even though I had a valid excuse. See, I was only late because I hated school with a burning passion. I dreaded every class, every assignment, every test, every worksheet, every mound of busywork, every shallow and forced interaction with peers I couldn’t relate to or connect with or understand; every moment, every second, every part, every inch of every aspect of my public educational experience. I hated it. I hated all of it. I was suffocating.

It had been ten years of public school up to that point and it wasn’t getting better. It never would, and I knew it. I was able to hang on for a long time, managing adequate grades, even…

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“Through Eucharist earthly flesh is deified and having been deified enters into communion again with earthly flesh”

Eclectic Orthodoxy

The Eucharist … is the Gospel in action. It is the eternally existing and eternally accomplished sacrifice of Christ and of Christ-like human beings for the sins of the world. Through it earthly flesh is deified and having been deified enters into communion again with earthly flesh. In this sense the Eucharist is true communion with the divine. And is it not strange that in it the path to communion with the divine is so closely bound up with our communion with each other. It assumes consent to the exclamation: “Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess Father, Son and Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.”

The Eucharist needs the flesh of this world as the “matter” of the mystery. It reveals to us Christ’s sacrifice as a sacrifice on behalf of mankind, that is, as his union with mankind. It makes…

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The Ladder of Humility: Introduction

Everyday Asceticism

[B]rethren, if we want to attain true humility, and come quickly to the top of that heavenly ascent to which we can only mount by lowliness in this present life, we must ascend by good works, and erect the mystical ladder of Jacob, where angels ascending and descending appeared to him. That ascent and descent means that we go downward when we exalt ourselves, and rise when we are humbled. The ladder represents our life in this world, which our Lord erects to heaven when our heart is humbled. And the sides of the ladder represent our soul and body, sides between which God has placed several rungs of humility and discipline, whereby we are to ascend if we would answer his call.

~ Rule of St. Benedict, 7

The excerpt above begins St. Benedict of Nursia’s teaching on the ladder of humility, which consists of twelve degrees (or…

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Ecclesiology and Ideology

Eclectic Orthodoxy

When I wrote for my old Pontifications, I often blogged on ecclesiological topics. Ecclesiology had been a strong interest of mine for several years, especially after being introduced to the eucharistic ecclesiology of Met John Zizioulas. Back in the 90s I even dared to write an inconsequential article commending a kind of eucharistic ecclesiology for Anglicanism (“Being Church: Theological Theses on Parish and Diocese,” Sewanee Theological Review 37 [1994]: 54-69). Oh the arrogance of middle age!

When I started Eclectic Orthodoxy, I made a provisional decision to avoid ecclesiology, except when occasions invited reflection on eucharistic ecclesiology, which I still strongly affirm. Why the avoidance of ecclesiology? Because of all theological topics ecclesiology is the most susceptible to ideological construction. We tend to invent our understandings of Church in order to defend, advance, and secure our institutional and political agendas.

I thought of this when the Russian Orthodox Church released…

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